March 24, 2018

Fight the Right Target (Animal Activism Case)


For those who truly want to liberate animals, humanity, and the Earth, THIS is the target, not small farms

According to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), animal rights activists launched an action against Long Shadow Farm in Colorado. I haven’t personally been to Long Shadow, but based on the tactics described in the article, the farm’s website and the imprimatur of the FTCLDF it looks like they’re the kind of small pastoral farm which must be the basis of all healthy, humane and ecological animal farming for the Food Sovereignty movement.
Therefore it’s an unfortunate clash where animal activists who ought to make their focus the abolition of CAFOs choose instead to target such a small, benevolent operation. Of course from the point of view of the more extreme form of animal welfare, any kind of husbandry automatically is bad. (Though I’ve never heard a coherent prescription from any of them; in my experience the vast majority of animal activists are grossly ignorant about food, agriculture*, economics, and probably ecology as well – for most it’s a typical boutique “cause”, like Prius-driving, luxury vacation-flying “climate activists”.) But even they, if they have any sane sense of magnitude, must agree that a CAFO is infinitely more cruel than a small pasturage. And they must also agree that CAFOs must be abolished, not only on the moral ground that they’re literally the equivalent of the Nazi death camps, but also on critical ecological, agronomic, socioeconomic, and public health grounds, all crises where small pasturages are, at the very least, doing no harm.
Therefore I have to question the sincerity and, probably, the physical courage of activists who would duck away from taking on the big corporate target in order to attack the much easier, shall we say softer small farm target. I also wonder another thing. Most animal welfare types display a great enthusiasm for commodity industrial agriculture. Specifically, they usually tout as their “solution” that corporate industrial grains should be used as “food for people” instead of as CAFO feed. This demonstrates a perfect ignorance of capitalism in general and agribusiness in particular, which depends upon CAFOs as the subsidized “demand” for the overproduced grain. This is innate to capitalism and to productionism as such. Conversely, the kind of system which maximizes industrial grain in the first place would never focus on food for people as its goal, since this goal does not serve to maximize power, profit, and destruction. I’ll also observe that such a prescription highlights the activists’ lack of concern for the plight of agricultural workers and the millions driven off their land by these plantations. But like I said, these mostly are white Western liberals who automatically despise unskilled workers, especially brown ones, and who effectively regard the totally dispossessed as not human at all.
Given this, I wonder how much of the special animus animal welfare types hold against small pastoral farms is driven, not just by a general belief that any kind of animal husbandry automatically is exploitative and cruel, but by the standard technocratic statist hatred of any activity outside the corporate system, hatred especially for the Community Food sector. In the same way that mainstream food NGOs have more in common with Monsanto than they do with small farmers (especially Southern brown farmers), indigenous peoples, and grassroots democracy activists, so the average Western liberal is likely to hold more in common with big corporate structures as such, including even the CAFO system, than with decentralized, uncorporatized economic systems. Again, it’s no accident that the same who deplore CAFOs tend to move smoothly to exalting the grain and vegetable equivalent of CAFOs, even though the corporate agriculture and food system is an integrated whole, every one of whose parts drives the all the pathologies of the whole. Of course an industrial soy field is an ecological disaster different only in degree from a pig CAFO. The underlying psychological and moral premise is the same.
As for the special animus I mentioned, I’ve seen lots of squabbles between small animal farmers and vegan types, including some on both sides of my personal acquaintance. And while grass farmers sometimes do bait animal welfare people, in my experience it’s far more common for animal people to single out small husbandry for special abuse, as if this kind of activity were especially loathesome to them. In that connection, I’ll add that the FTCLDF’s article on this incident was more fair in describing the motivations of anti-cruelty activists, and in giving them credit for their excellent exposures of CAFO horrors, than the depictions of small pastoral operations that I’ve seen in the animal welfare literature.
To close where I began, the abolition of CAFOs is a critical human and ecological need for the many reasons I briefly listed above. The community food movement, animal and vegetable farmers, all agree on this. Presumably most animal activists would agree also. That’s why the focus of their action ought to be on the main target and not on a key part of the rising Community Food sector, whose expansion and flourishing is the equal affirmative need corresponding with the great abolition need. Therefore it’s unfortunate where two such important groups conflict.
But it’s also unfortunate that many who oppose some notion of animal cruelty seem not to agree on the overall destructiveness and unsustainability of the corporate food system as such. Perhaps many of them usually support that system against any attempt to operate outside it. (We saw how all the food NGOs supported Big Ag’s “Food Safety Modernization Act”.) It seems these are the reasons that the conflict is so largely driven, not by the small farms but by the animal activists. Of course they’d reply that they regard these farms as cruel as well, and probably most of them believe that. But as I described here, only bad faith or a grotesque lapse of proportion could cause them to lose sight of the main goal, the abolition of CAFOs. Certainly if I were an animal activist I’d eat, drink, and sleep nothing but this goal.
In the end CAFOs, like the rest of industrial agriculture, are unsustainable and will cease to exist. We who fight to build Food Sovereignty will win in the end, with or without the assistance of the animal welfare movement. It’s up to them to decide whether they’re really part of opposing corporate power and industrial ravage, and whether they really want to help build a human, ecological future, or whether like the climate crocodiles they’re just another stupid self-indulgence amid Babylon.
*I used to think agroecology wasn’t sustainable without the supplement of animal manures. Invariably, any alternative I’ve seen touted by animal activists turned out to be based on more or less hidden fossil fuel supplements. The few times I discussed this with vegans or animal activists I told them I was willing to be convinced otherwise, and that researching this question would be a useful thing for them to do. None ever took me up on it.
Ironically, the more I’ve researched cover cropping the more convinced I’ve become that with maximal cover cropping and composting, a truly vegan agroecological horticulture probably could work. But I got no help from the vegans themselves in reaching this conclusion.

December 16, 2017

Community Food Movement: Maine’s Food Sovereignty Act


“Certified organic” increasingly becomes a farce as it comes to equal industrial “organic”. The latest degradation: Hydroponics now can be certified “organic”. On its face that’s absurd and Orwellian. What could possibly be called organic about growing vegetables in fortified water? You might as well allow synthetic fertilizer of every sort. The industrial organic sector is industrial first, organic second.
The organic certification was never more than a second-best stopgap. The only real solution is the Community Food movement, the relocalization of food production and distribution. As much as possible, buy local from farmers you know. But just buying local as a consumer isn’t enough. Community food is a rising alternative economic sector. We need to continue building and defending this rising economic and agronomic movement.
Toward this goal, campaigners in Maine worked for years and finally attained a legislative victory as the state passed its Food Sovereignty Act in 2017. This Act makes Maine the first state in the country to have such an ordinance. The Act frees municipalities to regulate their own local food systems if they choose to pass an ordinance taking on such responsibility. The Act applies only to food produced and sold directly to consumers within the town. Anything produced for wholesale or retail distribution remains subject to state regulation (so Big Ag can’t use this as a loophole to find a corrupt town and set up shop there).
Since production and sale must take place within the town, the geographical scope is more narrow than the average farmers’ market. (Although many Maine towns are quite large geographically.) Nevertheless this is an example of the kind of act the Community Food movement must fight to enact in every state, as a way to boost local food production, processing, and distribution.
No surprise, the thugs at the USDA insisted that if the state relinquishes authority over meat and poultry to towns, that only means the feds will have direct authority over it. This forced Maine to enact an emergency amendment to the Act stipulating that meat and poultry remain under state regulatory authority. This power play gives a perfect example of what we’re up against.
It also demonstrates the limits of legislative action.* Campaigning for food sovereignty laws, just like campaigning for GMO labeling and/or GMO/pesticide bans, is at best a supplement to the work of building the affirmative movement. In the case of community food, this includes building the economic and physical infrastructure of relocalized food production and distribution.
There’s lots of people already doing good work toward that eventual goal. We need to scale that up, in tandem with escalating the campaign of ideas. As for our personal lives, the Earth’s call to anyone is to commit your life to the cause. That’s a very hard sell in this Mammon theocracy where even among the people who superficially have the right ideas and good intent, most still objectively adhere to Mammon in the way they view the world. Even fellow travelers of the necessary ideas fundamentally don’t understand the concept of subordinating one’s “private” existence and existing fundamentally as a political animal, a public citizen. All we can do for starters is to systematically propagate ideas which are fundamentally against the whole grain of this theocracy and try to find fellow atheists versus the superstitions of Mammon, technocracy, scientism, productionism, who want to work on that propagation project. This is one of the basic building blocks necessary to build a true cultural, spiritual, existential movement dedicated affirmatively to the necessary agroecology/food sovereignty transformation, negatively to the total abolition of poison-based agriculture. This campaign of ideas is the necessary counterpart to the intertwined actions of building agroecological science and food sovereignty practice.
That’s the ultimate need. What individuals and small groups can do right now:
1. Take on as much of the propagation work as you can.
2. Become active building up the community food sector as much as you can. Growing some of your own food in a garden is a good first step, and the actions quickly scale up from there. In my case, in addition to my intermittent market gardening I’ve worked at a farmers’ market, herbal medicine garden, and am director of two community gardens.
3. In your personal lifestyle get as independent of the system, as “off-grid” (using that term both literally and metaphorically) as possible.
4. To the extent you have to remain enmeshed in the system for the time being, at least be clear in thought and word that this is under duress. I still have to drive a car, but I never think or say anything other than that the car as such has to go. This is contrary to the climate crocodiles who wring their hands and then tout hybrids and electric cars (i.e. fracking cars, nuke cars, coal cars) as some kind of answer. No, that’s just a more pernicious form of climate denialism.
5. In general: Do the most good you can and never do evil. I have never once heard of an example of an evil action that was necessary in any way. That’s always a lie.
Much of this focuses on ideas and propagating ideas. I’m forced to be a writer since for now I lack any greater scope for action. In Eric Hoffer’s terminology, I’m an activist by nature who’s been forced into the role of the “man of words”. For now there really is no greater scope for action in America, since the necessary movement doesn’t yet exist in any tangible, coherent form. Or, any rudiments which may be cohering are not yet visible to the general culture of dissent.
So it follows that the first, prerequisite step toward building this movement is to propagate the necessary ideas for this movement. Not even at first to convince people, but to force the existence of truly alternative and practicable ideas into the public consciousness so that, when the cultural tipping point suddenly comes (history demonstrates that we have no idea when it will come or what proximate cause will trigger it) and lots of people are suddenly looking for a new idea, this set of ideas will be one of the sets laying around ready to be taken up.
Toward that great goal, the second necessary preliminary step is to form the skeleton of a future mass movement in the form of coherent organizations, of whatever size attainable, which will undertake whatever wedge actions are possible for the time being but whose primary action will be to propagate the ideas as far and wide as possible.
All this must take place in tandem with building up the community food sector. We especially need more local retail producers, and processing infrastructure, and political organization against the state’s repressive campaigns. The community food movement already exists as a vibrant movement with great scope for all the action one could desire. We need for the whole thing, from organic horticulture to market gardening to abolition of pesticides/GMOs to a global agroecology transformation, to evolve into one coherent cultural force.
Propagate the new and necessary ideas.
*As a general rule within-the-system action is worthless, especially at the higher levels of government and especially where people seek positive policy, as opposed to resisting bad policy. But there are some wedge issues which cut across the system’s calcified political lines, where especially at lower levels of government dedicated pressure groups can get action. I argue that food is one of these potential wedges, and that organizations dedicated to the right kind and mode of food action can get good results, both directly and in terms of driving a broader cultural wedge. That’s the wager I make with my writing.

May 31, 2017

Abolition Movement Part Two – Basic Goals for Organization


In Part One we sketched the need for an abolitionist movement built from the soil up, from completely outside the existing political system, toward goals and a way of life contrary to those of this psychotic, homicidal and suicidal system. What are the basic operations and goals of this movement?
It’s not possible to “stop” the corporate system as long as the fossil fuel, environmental, and organizational basis of its power remains intact. The purposes of starting right now to build a pioneer movement for the abolition of poison-based agriculture and for the spiritual and cultural affirmatives of the new Earth are more evolutionary and cumulative, with an eye toward the long run. But this still requires hard work in the here and now.
1. The movement must propagate the new and necessary ideas. Humanity needs a dedicated abolitionist organization whose first goal is to sow in the public consciousness ideas of the need and practicability of abolishing poison-based agriculture and building the complete economy based on agroecology and food sovereignty. Toward this goal we must speak to those who already feel these things to varying extents, to further radicalize each from whatever level they’re currently at, toward the full abolitionist consciousness. [Definition of abolitionist consciousness: Implicit acceptance and avowal of the need for total abolition; total commitment to this goal no matter how long it takes and no matter what’s necessary to attain it. Therefore complete flexibility and lack of bias with regard to strategy and tactics.]
Almost no one knows yet about the need to do this and the fact that it can be done right now. Most people have no idea that there exist far better alternatives to industrial agriculture, globalization, the finance sector, etc., that all these things are destructive rather than constructive, and that there’s no physical basis for the future of this system. There’s no substitute for fossil fuels; the soil and ecology as a whole cannot sustain the exploitative and destructive status quo. So we must propagate the ideas into the general public consciousness. At first this isn’t primarily to “persuade” anyone, though to whatever extent that happens it’s a fringe benefit. Rather, the primary goal is to make people aware that the alternative ideas exist, so that when history brings a radical change in the situation and large numbers of people suddenly become ready for a radical political change, they’ll know where to go.
Agroecology is a fully demonstrated science and set of principles ready for full global deployment, as soon as humanity evolves the will to do it. Therefore the first task is to make these ideas fully public. From there food sovereignty and poison abolitionism can start building a true social and cultural movement toward active political goals.
So the first task is to make these ideas part of the public consciousness, even if at first most people don’t take them up.
2. The movement must build the new within the old. Especially agroecological practice and the community food economic sector, but also whatever else is possible in other sectors. We must defend this rising economic and agronomic movement against the government’s increasingly aggressive attempts to suppress it. This is an economic necessity for the flourishing of truly organic farming and food processing and distribution restored to their rational regional basis. (Almost all food production and distribution is done naturally and rationally on a regional or local basis.) This is a physical necessity since it’s necessary to preserve as much of the agricultural and wild germplasm as possible for the future basis of agriculture. In the same way it’s necessary to preserve as much of the still-living arable soil as possible and to start rebuilding the soil wherever possible, starting right now. It’s also the ongoing empirical and scientific process of building our agroecological knowledge and expertise. All this is already happening. It needs greatly to expand and to become fully conscious of itself as a world-changing movement.
3. The movement must prepare for the time, which will come unpredictably but can start accelerating at any time, where the basis of corporate global power begins to erode in earnest. We must be ready to act in any way possible as this proceeds. Even now I think there’s several potentially powerful wedge campaigns we could run which could help to break up existing political alignments, in particular the overall fear and loathing of poisonism.
4. This movement comprising the pioneering abolitionist organizations must build itself as the skeleton of a future mass movement, which will cohere when the masses to whom we previously propagated the new and necessary ideas suddenly become ready to take up these ideas and commit to them. That’s when the abolitionist and ecological movement (by “ecology” meaning not just the physical environment but economy, politics, spirit, culture) will have its first great chance to transform the Earth. That’s also when it’ll be humanity’s one and only option, other than the mass starvation and pandemics locked in to the status quo path.
There’s the overall strategy. In Part Three we’ll sketch a plan for the day-to-day actions of pioneer abolitionists.
Help propagate the abolitionist need.

February 24, 2017

Fueling the Destruction of Food


The fire is in the mind of the scientism cult. Their goal is to consume the Earth with it.

The fire is in the mind of the scientism cult. Their goal is to consume the Earth with it.

GM ethanol-ready corn is perhaps the perfect GMO, at least within the realm of what readily can be sold given conventional subsidies. The only thing better would be a GMO which spontaneously combusts in the field prior to harvest. Indeed, this would be less costly to society, which is why it wouldn’t be as attractive to the GMO cult which is dedicated to being as destructive as possible.
Ethanol-ready GMOs represent an advance in the anti-food paradigm of corporate industrial agriculture. Corporate agriculture’s primary goal is to eradicate direct, efficient food production and replace it with highly costly, highly wasteful, highly inefficient commodity production designed to channel all proto-food production through CAFOs and processing in order to generate one calorie of eventual food product out of as much as a hundred calories’ worth of energy. This is the most effective way to destroy as much fuel and food as possible for the least return to human beings. The real product is concentrated power for governments and corporations. The process is made economically possible through massive subsidies and forcing all the costs onto society and the environment. The entire human and earthly economy must bear the burden of this massively bloated parasite. There’s the true cost of corporate industrial agriculture, which through smoke and mirrors is made to seem so cheap to the Western consumer at the retail checkout aisle.
This mirror effect is part of the funhouse designed to reinforce the religious mindset which believes that food comes not from the earth but from the supermarket, and ultimately from corporations.
Ethanol and biodiesel production comprises a refinement in this Food is Dead paradigm. With cropping bound for ethanol, the commodity crop no longer will be turned into even the most vestigial food. Instead the entire process is a pure loss: The land, the soil, the seed, the water, the air, the work, the socioeconomic destruction, the massive poisoning of the environment, all a total write-off for humanity. This is why ethanol subsidies persist even though this is one of the few corporate projects which actually has provoked resistance from other corporate sectors. In spite of the self-evident insanity and impracticality of the agrofuel concept, it remains sacred to the core of the anti-food technocratic priesthood. To put that more precisely, agrofuels are attractive to technocracy exactly because of their insanity and impracticality. Which is also why GMOs in general are such an object of cult worship for this fundamentalist religion. The cultists believe because it’s insane.
The “anti-GMO” movement will never get anywhere until it understands this fact.
Ethanol-ready GMOs offer another benefit from the technocratic point of view. Commodity agriculture in general eradicates food production. For a typical example, NAFTA was designed forcibly to convert Mexican production from regionally-based food corn for tortillas to globalized commodity corn for CAFOs, while food corn now would have to be imported and at the mercy of Wall Street speculators. The intended result was a great price surge in tortillas and radically escalating hunger in Mexico. Today ethanol-ready corn is taking this assault on tortillas one step further.
Corn is wind-pollinated and therefore is one of the most readily cross-pollinated crops. For that reason it’s among the most difficult to protect from contamination by toxic pollen such as from GM corn.
Today we’re seeing an epidemic of documented contamination incidents in Nebraska, and of poor-quality masa flour used to make tortillas. The preparation falls apart during cooking, just the effect one would expect from contamination of corn bred to be more starchy by corn engineered to be more sugary. There have also been many reports of food poisoning caused by the contaminated corn. All this is what we’d expect if the tortilla flour was contaminated by the ethanol-ready corn. This latest contamination and food poisoning outbreak is parallel in every way to the StarLink crisis of 2000-2001 where another special type of GM corn, this one designed especially as CAFO feed, contaminated the food supply causing an epidemic of allergic reactions, many of them life-threatening.
All this is what we’d expect from a system committed to wiping out food production for human beings as well as human participation in commodity crop production in general. It’s a system dedicated to driving humans off the land in the most literal sense and denying them food in the most literal sense, all the while preaching such religious mantras as “Corporate Profit is Food” and “Hunger is Food”, that these are the modes of “Feeding the World”.
The truth is that from the technocratic point of view, corporate persons literally are the world, and are the only “people” who need to be fed. Meanwhile, except for a handful of elites and their cult supporters, actual human beings are supposed to disappear. Corporate agriculture is designed to make human beings disappear, first from the land into shantytowns, and then, via famine, from the earth completely.
The assault of GM corn upon corn bred to be food for human beings is an epitome of this corporate/technocratic paradigm.
If you like these seeds, propagate them.

February 7, 2017

Food Sovereignty and Agroecology for Africa and the World


As the great battle escalates in Africa, we must learn what agroecology is and why it’s the necessary and bountiful path forward for Africa and for all of humanity. I’ve written about it before many times, including here, here, and here. I’ve given basic account of the clash of corporate agriculture against humanity in my new pieces on the corporate plan to recolonize Africa.
Agroecology is the practice of agriculture in harmony with the overall ecology. It is agriculture as a constructive, contributing part of local and global ecosystems. The practice of agroecology is the only way humans can practice agriculture in a way which gives as much to the Earth as it takes. It’s roughly synonymous with organic agriculture in the original sense of the term. (Not the degraded sense of the US government and the industrial organic sector. Industrial organic is not agroecological, it’s industrial. It mines the Earth in a way similar to regular poison-based industrial. The only difference is it doesn’t use most synthetic poisons.) In philosophy and practice, agroecology works as a part of nature rather at war with it, in harmony with the rhythms of nature rather than against them, using natural features as reinforcements or remedies, keeping actions within the natural cycles of a regional ecosystem. All this makes for an agriculture which is most sustainable in producing the most nutritious food (and the most calories, acre for acre) using no artificial poisons, doing so in a way which enhances ecosystems, economies, and communities, rather than destroying all these the way corporate industrial agriculture does. Agroecology grows food for human beings. The more the practice spreads, the less hunger, food insecurity, and dietary disease there will be. In contrast, corporate agriculture has always increased hunger and always will increase hunger and cause famine, wherever it prevails. Agroecology provides the only way for humanity to live in a way not destructive, not parasitic, not a mere worthless squatting on the surface of the Earth. It’s the only way forward, if humanity is to have a future.
The term “agroecology” indicates its basis in the combined sciences of agronomy and ecology. It is scientific in the true sense of the term. Its practitioners are constantly applying theory to locally-based (i.e. real world) practice, and based on the results modifying and repeating theory and practice, all toward the goal of producing sufficient calories and nutrition. Combined with the political philosophy of Food Sovereignty, agroecology then distributes this food directly to human beings, more than enough for everyone, so that everyone actually gets enough to eat.
By contrast, science condemns the industrial agriculture experiment as having failed at everything it ever promised it would do. It did nothing but use the temporary fossil fuel surplus to produce more gross calories. But it distributes these calories in a grotesquely wasteful, inefficient, and inequitable way. The result is that even as food production goes up, corporate industrial agriculture invariably increases hunger. Corporate agriculture can never do anything but increase hunger and make famine more common. Hunger and famine are caused exclusively by poverty and inequality. They have none but artificial, socially caused reasons. Corporate agriculture inherently drives poverty and inequality, because it inherently drives concentration of control over the good land and the control of all resources including food, which must always be rendered artificially scarce. Artificial scarcity is the only way capitalist profit is possible. On the first day of Economics 101 students are always told, on the first page of the textbook, that economics is about allocating scarce resources. The course then tells the Big Lie that this scarcity is “natural”. But in truth the scarcity is almost always purely artificial. In the case of food, it is always artificial. The fact that governments, corporations, media, academia, and the parasite intelligentsia in general wish to continue the evil experiment, now extending it to Africa in a more virulent form than hitherto, is proof that the elites and the experimenters were lying about their proclaimed goals all along. Their goal always has been nothing but to enforce hunger, because their goal always has been nothing but to enforce power and control. We know these facts: Corporate rule is purely wasteful and destructive, does nothing for humanity, and accomplishes nothing but to enable a small group of criminals to further concentrate wealth and power and exercise domination. In the end power and domination are their only goals and their only reasons for being.
The core lie of capitalist civilization is that there isn’t enough food for everyone to eat well. In reality both industrial agriculture (for the duration of cheap, plentiful fossil fuels) and agroecology produce far more than enough food. This is true globally, it’s true in every region, it’s true in every country. Hunger is driven only by profiteering and aggression. Famine is caused only by economic aggression and war. The great lie of scarcity is told in order to justify these wars, justify the campaigns of economic and political aggression called “globalization”, justify centralized state power, justify corporate power and profit, justify the massive use of poisons, justify the development and deployment of technologies which are extremely expensive, usually destructive, and always wasteful and worthless. It’s told to justify forcing people to buy food with money according to a predatory commodity system. It’s told to justify forcing people into the framework of submitting to coercion and de facto slavery in order to obtain this artificially necessary money. It’s told to justify the fact that a billion people on Earth go hungry for no other reason than that they lack this money, even as there exists far more than enough food for 10 billion people to eat well, and even as astronomical amounts of food go to waste every day.
The “Feed the World” lie is told by elites and their parasite hangers-on and supporters. It’s told in order to justify all crimes of all institutions. It’s told to justify, absolve, normalize, exalt as “the good”, and turn organized crime into the normative measure of “civilization”. The whole abomination stands or falls with this malign religious belief which strives to erase the fact that the Earth is a world of abundance, that human labor coaxes a great bounty from the fruitful Earth. The corporate system exists to enclose, hoard, constrain, ration out, where necessary destroy this Earthy abundance, this human greatness. Food Sovereignty shall break all the chains and shatter all the bottlenecks the corporate “order” has forced upon humanity, liberating all of humanity’s creative forces. Agroecology is the great vehicle, the way.
Agroecology is highly skilled work. It requires intimate knowledge of the ways of the soil, weather, climate, plants (crops, other beneficial plants, potentially harmful plants called “weeds”), animals (livestock, other beneficial animals, potentially harmful ones called “pests”). Agroecology’s innovative and highly productive practices reject the straitjacket of monoculture, reject synthetic fertilizers and other poisons, include natural nutrient-cycling and soil-building, the use of manure, compost, and cover crops, crop rotation, intercropping, alley cropping with leguminous trees, infusion of free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria into the soil, biological pest control, agroforestry, better water management, rotation of livestock with annual crops, the whole art of integrating grass-fed livestock pastoralism with vegetable production. It requires the most efficient and effective use of energy and other resources. This knowledge is built primarily by the farmers themselves and shared among them. Agroecologically-inclined agronomists use this body of knowledge to build agroecological theory which the farmers then apply to their practices, with some help from agronomy schools and NGOs. All this is done with emphasis on the most appropriate specific application of general principles within a particular region/locality. This great work of knowledge and practice is fully developed and ready to be deployed globally.
This global deployment is necessary because the fossil fuel crutch, required for each and every part of industrial agriculture, from the inputs and financing to the growing to the processing and distribution and preparation, soon shall be removed once and for all. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, there is no substitute for them, nothing can provide even a fraction of this extreme, ahistorical level of energy consumption, and the age of cheap, plentiful fossil fuels therefore nears its predestined end. Corporate industrial agriculture is not sustainable, and proceeding with it is not an option. The two options are to stick with industrialism to the bitter end until it collapses once and for all, leaving in its wake universal famine, universal chaos and confusion, and the desperate struggle to find some new way to procure enough food under the worst practical and intellectual circumstances. Or, to undertake the great affirmative transformation to agroecology and Food Sovereignty, deploying the great body of science and practice we have built. This body of knowledge and practice, as it exists today, already is humanity’s greatest accomplishment. The only greater attainment will be the great transformation, the full global deployment of Food Sovereignty, which will comprise the redemption of humanity and Earth in socioecological concord. Any other path leads inexorably down to disaster.
Agroecology is proven to be the most nutritionally productive form of agriculture as well as the most calorically productive, acre for acre. Peter Rosset testifies:

In fact, data shows that small farms almost always produce far more agricultural output per unit area than larger farms, do so more efficiently, and produce food rather than export crops and fuels. This holds true whether we are talking about industrial countries or any country in the third world. This is widely recognized by agricultural economists as the “inverse relationship between farm size and output.” When I examined the relationship between farm size and total output for fifteen countries in the third world, in all cases relatively smaller farm sizes were much more productive per unit area—2 to 10 times more productive—than larger ones.

A team at the University of Michigan surveyed hundreds of organic and agroecological trials and found that agroecological/organic/low-input production, using the same amount of land globally under cultivation right now, would outproduce industrial agriculture in caloric production for all significant food groups, and can do so while replacing synthetic fertilizers with natural nutrient cycling. They analyzed the data according to two models, one a best-case scenario and the other more conservative, and found that even by the conservative parameters organic agriculture would produce calories, including in grain production, comparable to today’s industrial output, and therefore more than enough to feed everyone on earth. By the best-case model, agroecology could produce over 50% more than the current industrial production.
The 2010 report on agroecology from the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food summarized a similar survey performed by a team led by Jules Pretty, with special emphasis on Africa.

17. Such resource-conserving, low-external-input techniques have a proven potential to significantly improve yields. In what may be the most systematic study of the potential of such techniques to date, Jules Pretty et al. compared the impacts of 286 recent sustainable agriculture projects in 57 poor countries covering 37 million hectares (3 per cent of the cultivated area in developing countries). They found that such interventions increased productivity on 12.6 millions farms, with an average crop increase of 79 per cent, while improving the supply of critical environmental services. Disaggregated data from this research showed that average food production per household rose by 1.7 tonnes per year (up by 73 per cent) for 4.42 million small farmers growing cereals and roots on 3.6 million hectares, and that increase in food production was 17 tonnes per year (up 150 per cent) for 146,000 farmers on 542,000 hectares cultivating roots (potato, sweet potato, cassava). After UNCTAD and UNEP reanalyzed the database to produce a summary of the impacts in Africa, it was found that the average crop yield increase was even higher for these projects than the global average of 79 per cent at 116 per cent increase for all African projects and 128 per cent increase for projects in East Africa.

These numbers prove that the US and British governments, the Gates Foundation, and agrochemical corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta are lying when they claim to want to “help small farmers” and “feed the world”. The fact that they ignore these numbers, and ignore the entire failed history of corporate agriculture and its “Green Revolution”, and instead persist in touting fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, and the entire industrial monoculture commodity framework, proves that their conscious goal is to destroy all food-based community farming and replace it with export-based commodity industrial plantations. The vast majority of the people are to be driven off their land and into shantytowns to starve. This is the one and only purpose and goal of Green Revolution II, the “second green revolution for Africa.”
Subsequent sections of the UN report give more details on what agroecology has proven in demonstration and partial deployment.

18. The most recent large-scale study points to the same conclusions. Research commissioned by the Foresight Global Food and Farming Futures project of the UK Government reviewed 40 projects in 20 African countries where sustainable intensification was developed during the 2000s. The projects included crop improvements (particularly improvements through participatory plant breeding on hitherto neglected orphan crops), integrated pest management, soil conservation and agro-forestry. By early 2010, these projects had documented benefits for 10.39 million farmers and their families and improvements on approximately 12.75 million hectares. Crop yields more than doubled on average (increasing 2.13-fold) over a period of 3-10 years, resulting in an increase in aggregate food production of 5.79 million tonnes per year, equivalent to 557 kg per farming household.

19. Sometimes, seemingly minor innovations can provide high returns. In Kenya, researchers and farmers developed the “push-pull” strategy to control parasitic weeds and insects that damage the crops. The strategy consists in “pushing” away pests from corn by inter-planting corn with insect-repellent crops like Desmodium, while “pulling” them towards small plots of Napier grass, a plant that excretes a sticky gum which both attracts and traps pests. The system not only controls pests but has other benefits as well, because Desmodium can be used as fodder for livestock. The push-pull strategy doubles maize yields and milk production while, at the same time, improves the soil. The system has already spread to more than 10,000 households in East Africa by means of town meetings, national radio broadcasts and farmer field schools.

20. Agroecology is also gaining ground in Malawi, a country that has been at the centre of attention in recent years. Malawi successfully launched a fertilizer subsidy programme in 2005-2006, following the dramatic food crisis due to drought in 2004-2005. However, it is now implementing agroforestry systems, using nitrogen-fixing trees, to ensure sustained growth in maize production…By mid-2009, over 120,000 Malawian farmers had received training and tree materials from the programme, and support from Ireland has now enabled extension of the programme to 40 per cent of Malawi’s districts, benefiting 1.3 million of the poorest people. Research shows that this results in increased yields from 1 t/ha to 2–3 t/ha, even if farmers cannot afford commercial nitrogen fertilizers…An optimal solution that could be an exit strategy from fertilizer subsidy schemes would be to link fertilizer subsidies directly to agroforestry investments on the farm in order to provide for long-term sustainability in nutrient supply, and to build up soil health as the basis for sustained yields and improved efficiency of fertilizer response. Malawi is reportedly exploring this “subsidy to sustainability” approach.

21…One key reason why agroecology helps to support incomes in rural areas is because it promotes on-farm fertility generation. Indeed, supplying nutrients to the soil does not necessarily require adding mineral fertilizers. It can be done by applying livestock manure or by growing green manures. Farmers can also
establish a “fertilizer factory in the fields” by planting trees that take nitrogen out of the air and “fix” it in their leaves, which are subsequently incorporated into the soil. That, in essence, is the result of planting Faidherbia albida, a nitrogen-fixing acacia species indigenous to Africa and widespread throughout the continent. Since this tree goes dormant and sheds its foliage during the early rainy season at the time when field crops are being established, it does not compete significantly with them for light, nutrients or water during the growing season; yet it allows a significant increase in yields of the maize with which it is combined, particularly in conditions of low soil fertility. In Zambia, unfertilized maize yields in the vicinity of Faidherbia trees averaged 4.1 t/ha, compared to 1.3 t/ha nearby, but beyond the tree canopy. Similar results were observed in Malawi, where this tree was also widely used. The use of such nitrogen-fixing trees avoids dependence on synthetic fertilizers, the price of which has been increasingly high and volatile over the past few years, exceeding food commodity prices, even when the latter reached a peak in July 2008. In this way, whatever financial assets the household has can be used on other essentials, such as education or medicine.

The 2008 report from the World Bank’s own International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development, endorsed by all participating countries except the predatory globalists the US, Canada, and Australia, insisted on the sufficiency and necessity of agroecology. A 2013 report from the UN’s Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reinforced this consensus among all honest commentators.
Today we need to build new food systems in light of this knowledge. Where the age-old organic practices persist as in Africa, farmers need to sustain and enhance them in light of modern agroecological knowledge. Where these have been marginalized or obliterated, they need to be rebuilt. The people of Africa have a great opportunity. Instead of going further down the destructive and self-destructive corporate path, they have a golden opportunity to fully embrace agroecology. All of African agriculture has this opportunity to reject the evils of corporate poison-based agriculture and instead undertake the natural and rational transition from their traditional agriculture to scientific agroecology. This is the path to food security, economic stability and prosperity, human and ecological health, and political freedom. The same is true throughout the world. All the world must answer this great call to human and ecological necessity.

January 24, 2017

Seeds of Doom vs. Seeds of Rebirth


“These people think that Africa is a country of animals, that we do not think, that we know nothing, but they are wrong. We are human beings, we know what we want and we will fight on to victory.”
– Zimbabwean participant at the 2011 International Conference of Peasants and Farmers vs. Land-Grabbing
Tanzania’s new seed control law is the latest victory for Western agribusiness seeking dominion over Africa’s land, seed heritage, and commodity export potential. Conversely, it’s the latest blow to Africa’s fight for self-determination and food security.
To gain Western “developmental assistance”, which means Western “investment” toward the goal of transforming a country into a corporate export plantation, the Tanzanian government has enacted “reform” meant to ease corporate control of the land and now will try forcibly to destroy Tanzania’s ancient and socially and ecologically stable system of seed saving and distribution among the small farmers who grow food for their people. All this is to be wiped out and replaced by corporate-controlled export agriculture while all food production disappears from the country and is replaced by mass hunger and misery.
This is the most recent development in an ongoing globalization campaign to enforce corporate control of all seeds and all of global agriculture and food. In Africa this campaign has been elaborated into a vast formal project, the so-called New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN). The New Alliance is the corporate strategy for the recolonization of Africa led by Western agribusiness. Its goal is to drive millions of Africans off their land and gain full control of all arable land in order to convert it to export commodity production. African farmers, tribes, consumers, environmental and civil society groups are opposing this, with support from anti-corporate and democracy activists from all over the world.
The record of over fifty years of aggressive globalized corporate agriculture based on production for commodity export proves that corporate agriculture equals human hunger. Corporate agriculture generates mass hunger and seeks to perpetuate and maximize hunger. Its goal always is to destroy food production, seize the land for commodity production, and drive the people OUT.
The NAFSN is driven by the US and UK governments, paid for by US and UK taxpayers, and functions according to operational goals dictated by corporations such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill, Unilever, and others who have signed up for the program as part of various “public-private partnership” scams. The NAFSN operates officially under the auspices of the G8. The program is directly administered by USAID in its usual role as alleged “humanitarian” front group, public sector version, with the Gates Foundation and others serving as the “private”, so-called philanthropic counterpart. The Gates Foundation has set up its “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa” as a key activist and propaganda weapon of the campaign. The corporate beneficiaries have signed “letters of intent” to join this so-called “investment” program. This means they put up pennies to the taxpayer dollar while being slated to extract 100% of the profits. An African fig leaf is provided in the form of the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP). This is the Stockholm Syndrome blueprint African governments developed in the wake of the West’s “structural adjustment” assaults. The NAFSN is a typical vehicle wherein African governments beg for “investment” on the corporations’ terms. The New Alliance is a prime fruition of this radical corporate control of Western investment. Ten African governments have sold out: Ethiopia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, and Tanzania, Benin, Malawi, Nigeria, and Senegal. (The US remains frustrated by the ambivalence of Kenya, which was supposed to be the crown jewel member by now.)
The people of Africa are opposing this plan to destroy them. The people are organized into a coalition of hundreds of democracy networks, tribal alliances, and groups representing real farmers and pastoralists. These comprise the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and include the African Center for Biosafety, the African Biodiversity Network (ABN), the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations (CNOP, a member of the worldwide Via Campesina, the Farmer Way), the NGO Federation of Collectives (FECONG), the Coalition for African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN), the Food Sovereignty Campaign, Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development (COMPAS) Africa, the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association (PELUM), the Eastern and Southern African Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF), People’s Dialogue, Rural Women’s Assembly, Food Sovereignty Ghana, GMO Free Malawi, and many others.
Here we have a clear black and white division between humanity and a criminal elite. We have the aggressive elite power of the US and other Western governments, corporations, the mainstream media and technocratic establishment, and other elitists including racist liberals and NGOs. The whole project has had zero input or representation from the people of Africa or the West. Even as they mouth platitudes about helping the small farmers of Africa, the roster of participants in the cabal’s conferences reads each time like a technocratic dream guest list – Western politicians, corporate agents, NGO operatives, motley “experts” and engineers. It includes every illegitimate elite which is alien to the Earth and excludes every representative of actual human beings. Those opposing this assault comprise a truly representative lineup of African farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, and the citizenry in general.
Even if one didn’t know the issues and facts, just from the order of battle it would be clear who’s right and who’s wrong, who represents human prosperity, security, democracy, and freedom, and who represents the destruction of all of these.
The goal of the New Alliance is the corporate Gleichschaltung (coordination) of African agriculture and trade practices and policies for maximum plunder and domination. Its main goals are to drive the people of Africa off their land and into shantytowns, seizing all the arable land for corporate commodity production for export. The goal, as with all agribusiness endeavor, is to wipe out all food production and replace it with commodity production. This is the same program of globalization and commodification which has already devastated much of humanity. African governments are to collaborate in dominating and exploiting the people and the land. The goal of corporate industrial agriculture, and the ultimate goal of all globalization, is to seize control of the land and drive the people out.
Here’s the main elements of the plan:
*The privatization of land. In Africa vast numbers of people still farm and graze the commons. This makes it difficult for the corporate state to impose dependency upon money and loans of indenture, to set up corporate infrastructure and distribution facilities for pesticides, proprietary GM seeds, synthetic fertilizer, industrial machinery, to impose commodity cash cropping, and to arrange the export of the entire production of the land, leaving the people with nothing. As a prerequisite, corporations which would dominate and exploit these people and their land first need government to enclose and parcel out the land. This has been a priority of the World Bank going back to the 1980s. Obama’s USAID chief Rajiv Shad emphasized that the goal is to accelerate land grabbing. As Via Campesina put it, “These policies aim to allocate title deeds to land in order to facilitate the purchase and sale of landed property. In the end, poor peasants and other rural people lose out to the benefit of those who have the means to purchase land.” Tribesmen and pastoralists who have farmed the land for generations suddenly are told that the land of their ancestors is “legally owned” by a Western speculator or the land-grabbing agent of a foreign government. The NAFSN is designed to escalate this colonial process of stealing the land. The only difference from the old-style conquistadors is that the direct gun and sword have been replaced by the fountain pen, backed by guns, drones, and cruise missiles.
*The formation of economic hierarchies to centralize and integrate production, processing, storage, and distribution. All this is to be done according to corporate specifications, toward the goal of forcing most farmers off the land and reducing the rest to indentured servitude and wage slavery within a cash-based commodity export regime. Today the farmers of Africa are smallholders and commons managers producing food for their families and communities. This is ideologically odious to Western technocracy and an obstacle to total corporate domination and exploitation. The goal of the New Alliance is to eradicate this human order and replace it with the corporate-controlled globalized commodity export system.
*Use propaganda to induce the beleaguered farmers to adopt commodity cropping themselves, then impose expensive industrial infrastructure on them. The NAFSN reprises the decades-old ploy of offering credit in order to indenture farmers and trap them on the cash-crop debt treadmill. The procedure is always the same everywhere, with only minor modifications. 1. Propaganda – you have no choice but to get on board with commodification, and you better do it fast or you’ll be left behind. 2. Enforce this with Western commodity dumping and general coercion into a cash economy. 3. Offer the necessary product (“improved”, i.e. corporate-controlled seeds, synthetic fertilizer, industrial herbicide and pesticide, machinery, oil) and the debt-mongering loan in order to buy it. 4. In this way destroy most independent farmers completely, turn the rest into indentured sharecroppers or wage slaves.
*A severe and rigorously enforced “intellectual property” regime for the benefit of the seed cartel and its patents. The Tanzanian law is the latest example. All intellectual property in seeds has been the result of biopiracy. All crops and landraces were developed by farmers selecting seeds over thousands of years in cooperation with nature, and all existing varieties have been developed by farmers in tandem with modern public sector breeding projects. The private sector has never contributed anything constructive at all. This is just as true in Africa as anywhere else. IP seed regimes are designed to expropriate a vast property interest of the people as a whole, in exactly the same way as land-grabbing.
*Selectively open borders for corporate dumping and looting. “Free trade” is the standard Orwellian term for this; a truthful term would be something like corporate command trade, forced markets, forced commodification. This so-called “liberalization” applies where it comes to the government-approved and licensed “formal sector”. Meanwhile traditional markets and actual free trading among the people would be criminalized and repressed, as we see in the case of corporate seed regimes like that being imposed upon Tanzanians.
*”Free trade” zones, tax-free zones, laws licensing the total repatriation of profits by Western “investors”. These ravages of Latin America and Asia are set to be reproduced in Africa.
We already know the end result of this because we’ve seen it play out over sixty years in Asia, Latin America, and in South Africa which already has a near-fully corporate controlled regime. Seeds and the land are largely enclosed, farmers have been reduced to servitude, profits are ruthlessly extracted and removed from the country.
The program of the New Alliance is being called a “Second Green Revolution”, a “Green Revolution in Africa”. We already know the evils of the first Green Revolution. It drove the people off the good agricultural land, forcing them to struggle to grow food for themselves on worse, environmentally more fragile land. Meanwhile all prime agricultural land was enclosed for export production. The land is stolen and locked away. From the people’s point of view it’s as if all the best land literally was destroyed, while all the food they used to produce ceases to exist. This is the driver of all Southern hunger, just as forcing the people who used to support themselves across the land to become crowded into small desolate regions is the cause of so-called “overpopulation”. Thus the Green Revolution drives ever more people off the land and into urban slums and shantytowns. Shantytowns have always been the direct, intended result of this agricultural policy. The goal always is to further separate humanity from the land, assault human food economies, replace these with the global corporate commodity economy from which food is supposed to “trickle down” to those who have money to buy it, forcibly turn community farmers into “job”-seekers, generate population pressures and all the political divide-and-conquer gambits this enables, drive up the proportion of the population which is food insecure, drive down wages. In all these ways the Green Revolution increases desperation and infighting among the destitute masses and aggravates and accelerates the processes of colonialism and corporate rule in general. Today’s onslaught of corporate agriculture is an escalated version of all this.
Pro-technocracy, pro-corporate types still believe and propagate the lies of the Green Revolution. But it takes only a look at the historical record and current events to see that corporate agriculture has nothing to do with feeding people and everything to do with starving them for the sake of its profit and domination imperatives. How does it feed an African community to force it to stop feeding itself and start growing cash crops to be turned into cheap meat for Westerners and ethanol for Western cars? How does it feed people to drive them off the land they farm and into shantytowns? How does it feed people to impose artificial scarcity on the abundance their work coaxes from nature?
Let’s cut through all the lies. If you want human beings to eat, you want people to provide their own food for themselves, their families, their communities. If you want corporations and governments to crush this normal, natural food system and replace it with the corporate system of scarcity, coercion, domination, extraction, you want only those with money to feed. (As for the Western middle class among whom this attitude is common, the bell is tolling for them as well. If any among them ever wonders what the corporate and technocratic elite has in store for them, they need only look to the farmers of Africa now. In the end they’re slated to be liquidated the same way, even if it takes a little more time. But there’s already no lack of tent cities in America.)
The entire modern record of corporate agriculture and food proves that the corporate system does not want to feed the world and cannot do so, by its very nature. It takes a unusual form of stupidity to think that the way to end hunger is to take naturally abundant food and render it artificially scarce, as capitalism must do according to its nature. Just as it takes a special kind of arithmetic to think the way you end hunger is through a system whose primary action is to use ten calories’ worth of grain to produce one calorie of meat. This fact lays bare the entire truth about the corporate system, its goals, and the evil of anyone who supports it while even a single child goes hungry.
Corporate neoliberal ideology is a proven lie in every sector. There is no sector, especially food and agriculture, where corporate practice hasn’t brought oligopoly, inequality, deteriorating agronomic results, ever more frequent socioeconomic and environmental disaster, and mass hunger. All the while our prosperity, freedom, democracy, and happiness are destroyed. We know that agroecological production and distribution bring better practical results than the corporate system, we know that only it can sustain the environment, we know that all true innovation in agriculture throughout history has been the result of cooperative action in the public domain, and we know that corporate enclosure like the intellectual property regime has functioned only to smother true innovation. We know that the industrial food system is unsustainable in terms of energy consumption, we know it’s the worst driver of the climate crisis and other environmental crises, we know that even in the West it’s no longer keeping prices down, and we know that at every point it diminishes our freedom, autonomy, and community.
In direct contrast to the failure, destruction, and organized crime which is the proven pattern and intention of corporate industrial agriculture, the true way forward is already operating and achieving great things in Africa and around the world. This is the path of Food Sovereignty and agroecology. This is the way human beings produce abundant food for themselves and their communities without massive, expensive, and destructive inputs of fossil fuels and poisons, in harmony with the greater ecology, toward the greatest freedom, democracy, security, and happiness.
There’s zero problem with the sheer amount of food produced. We produce far more than enough food for everyone on earth and then some to fill their stomachs. This is true globally and it’s true in every region of the world. The only problem anywhere is with the corporate distribution system. Anyone who truly wants to feed people has to want people to be able to feed themselves. We have to change the distribution of the food we have, not struggle to produce “more” within a framework which has already proven it won’t distribute that food to humanity. Anyone who truly wants the world to have food must fight to abolish corporate agriculture, abolish the enslavement of food production to the commodity system, rebuild socially and economically natural food systems (food production and distribution is naturally and logically done on a local/regional basis, and only authoritarian systems can ever force the contortion of these into a globalized framework), and build the Food Sovereignty movement. This movement must be based upon the great class of small community farmers who have always been the food producers for humanity and always will be, and upon agroecology, a fully demonstrated science and set of practices ready for full global deployment any time humanity wishes to embrace them. Look at what agroecology is already accomplishing in Africa against such economic pressure and corporate and government hostility.
Meanwhile anyone like the elites and elitists of corporate domination and technocracy, who claims to want to “feed the world” but wants to do so by doubling down on the proven failure of a “Green Revolution” and corporate industrial agriculture is really a liar and a criminal.
The goal of corporate industrial agriculture, and the ultimate goal of all globalization, is to seize control of the land and drive the people out. This has always been the ultimate goal of all imperial conquest: To render all land terra nullius, empty space, to be subjugated, exploited to the hilt, wrung out like an old rag, left for dead. Today is humanity’s last chance to halt this corporate campaign of total destruction of our agriculture and our environment. We have our great chance to halt it and roll it back. This is what is necessary if we hope to have any agriculture and ecology left going forward beyond the fossil fuel age. The land is still there for us if we wish. We must save it and cherish it.


October 27, 2016

The Community Food Sector Must Fight to Survive and Win (Also Some GMO Comments)


Have to be hid in attics from Big Ag.

Have to be hid from Big Ag in attics.

1. The case of Mark Baker may seem to be extreme, but it’s also typical of the attitude of corporate agriculture’s servant bureaucracies toward the rising Community Food sector, the most clear and present danger to the continued domination of poison-based agriculture and corporate “food”. What Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is trying to do to heritage pig farmer Baker is typical of many other cases of federal* and state thugs attempting, legally and illegally, to destroy our movement. In their minds the bureaucrats, from the lowest state thug to the federal agriculture secretary himself, are completely eradicating Community Food by whatever means necessary. In practice they’ll do so by whatever means are possible.
This means whatever’s politically possible. The measure of that will be how intrepidly growers and citizens of food (that ought to be all Americans, though so far it’s still far too few) affirmatively organize ourselves to take back the land and grow real crops and distribute real food, and how fiercely we fight back against the corporate state’s attempt to destroy all we’re building.
*For example the FDA, which bizarrely is much beloved among “anti-GMO” people and among the NGOs which usually claim to support Community Food but which turned around and abetted Monsanto’s “Food Safety Modernization Act.” (FSMA).
2. From the outset of the pro-marijuana movement there were many who strongly insisted on the word and concept “decriminalization” rather than “legalization”. In addition to the philosophical implications of the difference, we see the very practical, big difference between legalization under corporate control only vs. true decriminalization, i.e. control in the hands of the people.
This distinction can be applied very widely. For example, GMOs don’t naturally exist nor is it a simple, inexpensive thing to create them. Rather they had to be very aggressively legalized through corporate welfare, radical changes in patent law, changes in regulatory law and disregard of existing law by regulators. They could easily be abolished simply by removing the Rube Goldberg legalization structure they depend upon. No corporate welfare, no GMOs. No patents, no GMOs. In that case a legal ban would be redundant, although a legal ban would simply de-legalize something that was a purely fabricated, “legalized” government confection in the first place. This also shoots down the dumbest objection to labeling, that it’s “government interference”. No, the government massively interferes by artificially building the astronomically expensive structure that sustains GMOs in the first place. Think of it as a trillion dollar greenhouse the taxpayers pay for. Is the hothouse flower being grown within a natural creation of a “free market”?
Here I’m applying to GMOs an analysis I first developed for everything Wall Street does. (I wrote about it in dozens of posts, go check ’em out. Like this one.) Un-legalize the legalized gambling the big banks do, and Wall Street will cease to exist. Finis. The same goes for much of the rest of Mammon’s evils.
3. With this conventionally bred “orange maize” we once again have proof of one of the iron laws of GMOs, proven anew every time: Where it comes to any GMO touted for its alleged “product quality” (nutrition, taste, storability, etc.) or “agronomic trait” (drought resistance, etc.), there already exists a better, higher quality, safer, less expensive non-GM version. There are no exceptions. (And then the GM version is more often than not a hoax anyway. “Golden rice” in particular is one of the most flamboyant media hoaxes in modern memory.)
The piece I linked demonstrates the pitfall of wanting to imitate the corporate hype surrounding techno-miracles, merely counterpoising “alternative” miracles which are otherwise just as unanchored, uncontexted, and imply that silver bullet solutions are possible. (The piece and GMWatch’s commentary keeps calling such varieties “enriched” and “fortified”. If they inherently contain the nutrient out of conventional breeding they’re neither.)
It’s constructive to talk about these non-GM anodynes only within the context of stressing that all problems of diet and hunger are caused completely by poison-based commodity agriculture itself and can be solved only by restoring community food production and distribution, as is ecologically and economically natural. But then the orange maize is a product of the corporate state’s CGIAR “HarvestPlus” project and therefore is designed to be perceived only as an anodyne within the context of continued globalization.
As we see with these examples, this kind of project can bring results which the people can then put to good use, and indeed the piece says the Zambian government claims it will prevent export commodity production of the orange maize but instead reserve it for national food production. That’s an excellent idea, and a motivated, well-organized, vigilant people can maintain control of such agronomic research and development and see to it that these products truly are advances. But a prerequisite is to understand clearly that where it comes to a putative public-private partnership like this, the developers themselves regard everything we’re talking about here as a transitional stage and fringe benefit at best, and more likely a propaganda front. The real goal, as with every other globalization project, no matter how ostensibly “public” and “national” in its form, and no matter what the PR presentation, is patent-based, profiteering commodity production. Again, golden rice provides the original template, with Syngenta claiming it would forego its patent prerogatives (but with lots of fine print the newspapers didn’t mention), while at the same time the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the “public” front of the Syngenta/Gates campaign and actual developer of the pseudo-rice, has explicitly reserved the right to take out patents of its own. This too is just another permutation of the corporation retaining all control and freedom of action.
See here for the same dynamic in the case of the African project to develop “drought-resistant maize”, another Syngenta/Gates campaign.
The takeaway: Don’t trust anything the corporate-controlled system does, because it’s not meant for us, and by us I mean humanity. The projects of the corporate system, no matter what the nominal form of the organization leading the project or performing the action, are corporate projects being done under corporate control toward corporate goals. No self-respecting big shareholder would ever settle for less in any of these cases.
The takeaway: As always, we the people need our own organizations, our own projects, our own actions, our own movement.

October 21, 2016

From Superstition to Superstition, Fatalism to Fatalism


1. Primeval humanity faced the uncanny wilderness. People had to forage and hunt. They were active. They had to live in a constant, complete communion with the world. They probably never “thought about” this. Theirs was the life of supreme faith-in-action.
2. Humans developed agriculture. Their empirical practice was rudimentary and their intellectual knowledge meager. They became passive, fatalistic. They had to envision and appease the rain gods, the earth gods. They were superstitious.
3. Gradually farmers learned the crafting of the seeds and soil. Once again they were active. Their empirical practice became complex. Although they lacked scientific knowledge, their empirical practice was sufficient. They had resumed faith-in-action.
4. In the modern era (modern means the ahistorical era of the fossil fuel drawdown) there have been two contrasting developments.
4A. Farmers submitted to the complete domination of corporations and big centralized government. This is a return to total passivity, fatalism, superstition, idolatry. Farmers now worship the corporate demon to deliver the magical seed, the magical potions and powders to invigorate the soil and drive away the pest, the temples and founts of the magical irrigation, the fabulous metal monsters and the mystical fluids that fuel them, most of all the magic spell called credit and subsidy which causes all these things to exist in the first place, the failure of the spell causing them all to disappear in a puff of dry dusty wind.
All depends on the superstitious ritual with entrails called money to propitiate the demon. The demon will excommunicate those who profane the ritual with insufficient faith measured in money, and will smite with fire and brimstone any who attempt to work directly with the Earth without the certification of the demon priesthood. The Book of Revelation calls this demon’s certificate the mark of the beast. (13.17)
They make a sacrament of poison as the core of the demonic summoning and propitiation.
The corporate demons’ propagandist uses the term “science” for these cult rituals, and the passive, benighted cult worshippers endlessly and brainlessly chant this mantra. And the vast masses squat inert, minds emptied and mouths open, passively waiting to be “fed” in obedience to the propagandist’s incessantly amplified slogan, “Feed the World”.
Thus most of Western humanity, and many of the South as well, have returned full circle to the deepest darkness of passivity, fatalism, superstition, idolatry. They sit spellbound and in awe of the great mystery of the colossus upon whose whim their lives hang.
4B. And in the same time we truly have learned the science of the seed, the soil, the ecology in which they’re nestled and of which they and we are inextricable threads. Agroecology is a fully developed and demonstrated science and set of practices, ready now for full global deployment, the most fully scientific of all sciences according to the self-measure of science itself.
5. Thus whenever we will we may return to self-determined action, the highest synthesis of faith-in-action with true knowledge. The life of agroecology, the community of Food Sovereignty.
But we must purge the corporate demons and their summoners, their Poisoner priesthood, once and for all.

October 14, 2016

FDA Temporarily Backs Down on Food Control Campaign


Thanks to large-scale organized pressure from the community food sector, including organizations like the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), the FDA backed down and has issued a final rule under the so-called “Food Safety Modernization Act” (how’s that for an Orwellian jawbreaker?) which is more reasonable in defining a “retail food establishment” which would be exempt from the most onerous regulations under the Act. Artisan producers didn’t fare as well.
To recap the history, prior to the FSMA sufficient laws already existed for the USDA and FDA to effectively regulate the big corporate producers, manufacturers, and retailers who are the source of all significant food outbreaks. But the regulators almost never enforce these laws against these corporations, only against the rising community food sector which is challenging corporate agriculture and food.
Nor will the FSMA be used against these big corporate actors. The purpose of the FSMA is to give the FDA much greater discretionary power to attack community food.
We see how craven these regulators are where they’d have to take the offensive and are faced with real opposition. (They’re far more comfortable empowering the corporations’ own campaigns and regurgitating corporate lies.) Of course they won’t give up but are now regrouping. But let this partial victory be a lesson in the need to organize and fight. We’ll need to do far, far more.
To be clear, food production and distribution naturally have a local/regional basis. So it follows that an alien central government like that of the US could never conceivably have any legitimate authority over community food. Conversely, the kind of globalized commodity systems which would theoretically come under the purview of such a centralized government are clearly unnatural, irrational, anti-ecological, and themselves have no legitimate basis. Nor would we expect such systems, which are designed to produce commodities, not food, to deliver anything other than low-quality, poisoned, and immorally distributed food with resultant mass hunger, malnutrition, other dietary diseases, environmental diseases like cancer and birth defects, and every kind of environmental and socioeconomic pathology.
And that’s exactly what the FDA’s notion of food production brings.
Of course this still hasn’t put a damper on the idolatry of the FDA among “anti-GMO” types and others involved in food campaigns. Let’s never forget that most of the food NGOs supported Monsanto’s FSMA and even kept prodding the FDA to get on with the assault when it was dragging its feet. That’s the kind of evidence which proves we the people can never trust system NGOs. We need our own organizations, period.

January 25, 2016


Filed under: Food and Farms, Mainstream Media, Relocalization — Tags: , — Russ @ 10:41 am


As Chipotle was blamed for E. coli outbreaks, the corporate media piled on, blaming the chain’s local produce sourcing. The Schadenfreude was palpable, against both the chain and its customers. Chipotle itself was spooked into a partial disavowal of its own proclaimed philosophy even though the evidence never supported the allegation that local sourcing had anything to do with the outbreak. It seems like Chipotle panicked and rushed to appease the mob.
Some analysts agreed:

Ultimately, though, Chipotle will need to step back from its ‘food with integrity’ corporate ethos and become a more traditional fast/casual chain. Foods, including all produce (not just tomatoes), spices, and meats, will need to be centrally sourced and prepared to realize the economies of scale that are necessary to profitably integrate costly periodic food testing…

There was little room for facts or thought amid the media firestorm. While there is at least a correlation between Chipotle and the E. coli outbreaks, by all accounts it was simply a lie to blame the local sourcing model.
In December the Centers for Disease Control stated, “The epidemiologic evidence available at this time suggests that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states is a likely source of this outbreak.” This would rule out the locally sourced produce the corporate media gleefully rushed to finger as the culprit. This witch hunt atmosphere provided the background for the New York Times’s recent slander of farmers’ markets. There’s clearly no end to the junk reasoning and innuendo the pro-poison media will propagate as their cancer-causing system comes under increasing scrutiny. And, I feel safe assuming, no retractions from media or “experts”.
Therefore the CDC itself vouches for the fact that the source had to be part of the chain’s centralized distribution, unless it was a bioterrorist attack using similar pathogens at several locations at once. (I haven’t heard of any special evidence for this latter thesis, though the record of the pro-GM activists is vile enough that we know they’re capable of it. Given their outpourings of hatred for Chipotle since it announced it was going partially non-GMO, the possibility can’t be rejected out of hand. The only thing we know for sure is that locally sourced ingredients weren’t to blame.)
If Chipotle has been the source of these outbreaks, the vector was central sourcing, the same centralizing scourge of the whole corporate industrial food system. Therefore, far from these events being a reason for Chipotle to retreat from its identity, this is the time for it to reaffirm and strengthen its commitment. Many commentators and analysts agree.
Fast food is a toxic and unsustainable model across the board, and no one should romanticize Chipotle. Nevertheless, given our dawning situation where in so many ways so many growers, suppliers, processors, and consumers are trying to find their way toward less poisoned, better quality, more relocalized food, Chipotle’s partial efforts on local sourcing and purging some GMO ingredients are steps in the right direction. It’s best to purge fast food and industrial food completely, and once we do this we can wash our hands completely of these kinds of squabbles among the system. In the meantime it’s best to be aware of the lies and give moral support to those who are on the vector.
While Chipotle may be suffering from weaknesses inherent to the very model of centralization the analyst quoted above touts, we need to stick up for local food and encourage local sourcing on the part of bigger operations. Like I detailed above, the same media lie we see here also strikes much deeper at our farmers’ markets and our generally growing direct retail community food sector. So I’m writing this post not for Chipotle’s sake, but for the sake of the local sourcing model, which the corporate media rightly sees as an enemy of the centralized poison-based agriculture and food system it worships.


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