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March 24, 2017

All of Today’s Establishment Science is Ghost Written

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And sustain your business’s “science” that way.

 
 
Last week we contemplated the revelations coming out the Monsanto cancer litigation. Monsanto has been forced by the court to divulge much hitherto secret information about its propaganda machine and how it has sought to cover up the facts about glyphosate’s cancerousness. The new information especially reinforces our longstanding knowledge of the real character of regulators like the EPA. Such regulatory agencies are indelibly pro-corporate and can never serve the people the way the good civics textbooks claim. They were designed to do the opposite, to assist corporate organized crime in looting and poisoning the people and destroying the environment.
 
Among the new proofs of what we already knew are the Monsanto e-mails crowing about their practice of getting academic scientists to put their names on papers written by Monsanto PR flacks. They call it “ghost writing”. Monsanto cadres discussed several specific examples including a pathologist at New York Medical College. Embarrassed that one of its prostitutes has been caught in the act, NYMC is scrambling to cover its tracks and promises to investigate the good doctor. Of course the kind of organization which doesn’t let it be known implicitly that such corruption is acceptable wouldn’t be the one caught sheltering it.
 
 
This is just de jure corruption, the more superficial kind. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
 
What’s vastly greater and more profound is the inertia of the scientific establishment as such, which works predominantly to reinforce prevailing “scientific” dogmas. This is what Thomas Kuhn called “normal science”. These dogmas in turn are dictated by the elite power interests of a society. Under corporate rule, Western society exalts the corporate science paradigm.
 
Therefore, in a broader, deeper sense Monsanto and its fellow oligopoly corporations “ghost write” the entire establishment agenda for toxicological and cancer research, and the paradigm of “science” deployed by regulators. Even mavericks like Seralini tend to define themselves as reformers within this corporate normative framework.
 
But history proves that nothing short of scientific and social revolution can overthrow such entrenched, sclerotic, malign frameworks.
 
 
For a compendium of the fraudulent “science” of glyphosate deployed in publications written by industry and used as religious gospel by regulators, see the new report “Buying Science”.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

March 17, 2017

The Regulators’ Rearguard Fight for the Cancer Poisons

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Where Gothic really does mean death.

 
 
Today we live in fear of cancer, one of the great and insidious fears deeply delving, haunting the civilized psyche. We know that the power structures ranging uncannily above us like storm clouds, pelting us unpredictably with rain and winds, are insinuating this cancer through the industrial poisons they pump into our air, water, and food. We know this adds up to an existential incarceration and we fear we’re on death row. People don’t know what to do, which is why denial is the most common response. To those who struggle to overcome denial, the corporate state directs its propaganda campaigns.
 
The most directly potent cancer agents are the agricultural poisons. Humanity has no choice but to come together as a movement dedicated to abolishing these poisons. Nothing less can liberate us from the fear and the reality of cancer. So far this movement does not yet exist, only the necessary idea for it.
 
Once in awhile one of these poisons becomes the subject of a political flash point. Today glyphosate, one of the most cancerous agricultural poisons, is under fire. Even some governments and other system forces have been cutting ties with it. Where this happens we abolitionists must urge all effective anti-poison actions and use the situation for the greatest benefit to the necessary ideas and to organizing for these ideas. But we must never regress to faith in discredited enemy organizations. Thus where we have evidence of discord at the EPA we use it to demonstrate that the evidence against the poisons is so extreme that even within the ranks of the enemy some are losing faith. But we must never give aid and comfort to reactionary notions about wanting to “reform” the regulator, or any version of wanting to resurrect faith in it. This is the main preoccupation of gatekeeper consumerist groups who really seek a deal with the corporations.
 
In the US the EPA has been the leader organizing and propagating lies and misinformation about glyphosate. This is a permanent EPA campaign which continues regardless of any merely cosmetic change of presidential administrations. All US presidents from Reagan onward have agreed to the EPA’s suppression of its knowledge that glyphosate causes cancer. All US presidents are therefore conscious, willful accomplices to this campaign of murder.
 
The EPA has been forced into damage mode by the rising tsunami against glyphosate. From the mainstream point of view, the milestone was the 2015 finding of the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency (IARC) that glyphosate causes cancer. According to secret Monsanto memos forced into the public light by ongoing litigation, the EPA tipped off Monsanto about the IARC’s upcoming finding and helped Monsanto prepare an attack. This included EPA officials working to prevent an investigation of glyphosate’s cancerousness by the Department of Health and Human Services, and academics agreeing to have their names placed on “scientific” papers actually written by Monsanto public relations cadres.
 
In April 2016 the EPA publicly released a document declaring glyphosate to be “unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans”, then withdrew it from public view. The memo publicly existed just long enough for Monsanto to tout it as an EPA formal public opinion. The EPA implicitly endorses this Monsanto characterization even as it claims the memo was posted inadvertently. This clearly is a lie.
 
What’s really happening is that the evidence of glyphosate’s cancerousness is so overwhelming that the EPA is scared to defend this position in full public view. Seeing how badly the EU’s EFSA has been floundering in public since its own formal declaration in 2015, the EPA has been unable to assemble a propaganda package it feels comfortable defending. That’s why it’s been stonewalling and resorting to such tricks as now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t with public releases. This has been nothing but an innuendo campaign meant to prop up the pro-glyphosate status quo without actually having to make a formal public declaration. The EPA knows it can never plausibly defend any such declaration, since it’s in the nature of the brazen pro-glyphosate lie that it can have no plausible content or evidence to justify it.
 
We’ve been getting more details about the EPA’s internal angst. According to a secret EPA memo leaked to a French magazine, there’s an internal dispute about the agency’s campaign to whitewash glyphosate. The EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) accuses the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP, the division which released and then suppressed the April 2016 memo) of using a reductive, anti-scientific measure instead of the internationally agreed scientific measure. All agencies including the EPA agree in principle to use a scale of five levels in assessing the cancerousness of a chemical, ranging from “carcinogenic” to “unlikely to be carcinogenic”. (The WHO’s cancer agency found glyphosate to be a “probable carcinogen”, the second most severe ranking.) According to the ORD’s memo, in practice the OPP drops this and applies a reductive Yes/No measure rigged always to give a No answer.
 
The OPP refuses to divulge the methodology it uses. This is because it really uses no method at all. It only starts with the dogma that it will whitewash the chemical, then engages in whatever convolution is necessary to reach this conclusion. Evidently these methodological convolutions are so contorted as to be laughable, which is why the EPA is refusing to release and stand by a public proclamation.
 
Meanwhile the EU continues to brazen ahead. Its Chemical Agency (ECHA) released its own declaration whitewashing glyphosate. This was written by a pro-industry panel in imitation of the prior BfR/EFSA declaration, which by the BfR’s own admission was nothing but a rewrite of a paper written by the Glyphosate Task Force, a de jure industry group. We see how in Europe the conveyor belt from Monsanto’s PR department to a regulatory finding has been completely mechanized, while the EPA’s procedure is more clumsy in action.
 
Nevertheless the EPA’s intent and result is the same: Whitewash glyphosate. Prop it up as long as possible. EPA performs this role most directly on behalf of Monsanto, the politically powerful corporation most precariously dependent upon glyphosate.
 
More broadly the EPA and its European counterparts have an ideological and power-conserving mandate to defend the entire regime of poison-based agriculture and maximize the use of poison. Therefore every fight for a particular high-profile poison is also the fight for all poisons.
 
Conversely, abolitionists must fight every particular cancer poison, which means all pesticides, and turn every fight against one poison to the fight against all poisons.
 
 
 
 
 
Help propagate these ideas.
 
 
 

March 10, 2017

Updates on the Poisonist Regulators

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It’s Green vs. Green, and the EPA exalts that of Mammon, not of the Earth

 
 
Yesterday we discussed further how examples of so-called “conflict of interest” highlight the fact that corporate regulators have no such conflict, since in principle as well as practice they exist to serve the corporate imperative. Therefore to fixate on superficial conflicts of interest and conventional notions of corruption is to mistake the character of the entity. Whether or not a soldier in your unit is pilfering from the ration depot is less important than the fact that he’s really an enemy officer wearing the wrong uniform. That’s how we have to understand the sham of a “public interest” regulator, as well as many other types of entities which claim to act in the public interest but really act only in the technocratic corporate interest.
 
Greenpeace has posted the ECHA’s response to its letter accusing the body of allowing conflicts of interest to ferment on its glyphosate review panel. This comes the same day as another public interest group, the US Right to Know, announced it is suing the EPA for that body’s flouting of USRTK’s many Freedom of Information Act requests.
 
EPA’s handling of its pro-glyphosate propaganda mandate has been especially brazen and clumsy. Last April its Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC) posted on the EPA website a memo whitewashing glyphosate’s cancerousness. EPA suppressed the post a few days later claiming it was supposed to be secret and had been posted inadvertently. In the meantime Monsanto copied the post and proceeded to tout it in public and in court, with full EPA approval.
 
Here the regulator’s pro-poison brazenness is extreme even by their standards. They post the fraudulent imprimatur, then quickly delete it claiming it’s not for public perusal, even as the corporation, with the regulator’s approval, publicizes this now-phantom imprimatur.
 
This proves that EPA’s phony “evidence” is so poor that even given the regulator’s extremely low standards, it doesn’t feel confident about posting even a sham assessment.
 
The ECHA also is nervous about how well its own lies will go over, to the point it didn’t issue the anticipated assessment on March 8th. The glyphosate panel meets again on the 15th.
 
The ECHA’s response letter to Greenpeace provides further evidence of our ongoing analysis. As we said yesterday a technocratic regulator like the ECHA has no concept of a conflict of interest, since it recognizes no value or goal other than the corporate imperative.
 
Greenpeace summarizes the five main points of the regulator’s position.
 

*ECHA explains how it manages specific conflicts of interest, but fails to address concerns about conflicts of interest that can affect ECHA’s overall work.

*Allowing experts to move freely between the private sector and public authorities, even if employment periods do not overlap, is the definition of revolving doors.

*Conflicts of interest related to industry consultancy cannot simply be declared. They must be ruled out.

*If an expert opinion in relation to regulatory processes can be omitted from the declaration of interests, the requirement to disclose such interests may as well be scrapped. These rules only make sense if they are enforced.

*Dependence on unpublished scientific evidence provided by industry calls into question the independence of scientific assessments conducted by European agencies.

 
(Note how Greenpeace itself insensibly parrots the enemy’s self-assessments, calling these usually ignorant and incompetent corporate operatives “experts”, and especially referring to secret science as “unpublished scientific evidence”. But secret science is a contradiction in terms and by definition is not scientific evidence. On the contrary, it’s evidence of nothing but the fact that the regulator is an indelible pro-corporate, pro-poison liar, an extension of industry. These examples are all too typical, and it’s a measure of the lack of political consciousness among anti-poison types. One measure of the mature evolution of a movement, much like a nation, is that it attains a coherent language and becomes disciplined in the use of that language. On the other hand to remain unconsciously mired in foreign terminology, especially using the terms imposed by one’s chauvinist oppressor, is the mark of immaturity and lack of political consciousness. Of course this lack of terminological consciousness and discipline is part of the same immaturity which remains mired in infantile “good civics” notions of what these regulatory agencies indelibly are. I’ve been writing these essays toward the goal of demolishing these notions and fostering movement evolution beyond them.)
 
 
Each of these five points highlights aspects of the true regulator character.
 
*”ECHA explains how it manages specific conflicts of interest, but fails to address concerns about conflicts of interest that can affect ECHA’s overall work.” In other words ECHA will, for cosmetic reasons, pretend to guard against the most brazen “conflicts”. But it does not in fact recognize such conflicts as having any real existence, and regards the combined corporate/regulator organism as normative and normal. This applies to each individual agent as much as it does to the agency as a whole. In its reply the ECHA explicitly says it regards this combined organism as normative “in principle” as well as desirable for practical reasons.
 
*”Allowing experts to move freely between the private sector and public authorities, even if employment periods do not overlap, is the definition of revolving doors.” As we’ve long known, regulators flat out do not consider the revolving door to be a problem. It’s a feature. It’s normative.
 
*”Conflicts of interest related to industry consultancy cannot simply be declared. They must be ruled out.” Since the regulator does not recognize any such conflict in the first place, it certainly will not regard anything more than a declaration as ever necessary, and even this only where it’s politically forced upon them.
 
Of course the regulator always points out that the system is designed to promote the combined public/private character of all institutions and personnel. Higher education is designed systematically to indoctrinate personnel into the corporate technocrat ideology, which is centered on the principle that the nominally “public” government exists to serve the corporations, which are indeed creations of government and extensions of government. These cadres proceed to careers where they’re completely immersed in the revolving door, the close collaboration of corporate and regulator operatives, and the complete dependency of the private sector on public subsidies. This relentlessly inculcates the technocratic mindset of the corporate state.
 
When we grasp this in its full magnitude, we see how picayune it is to think in terms of “conflicts of interest” and “corruption”. The entire technocratic system is predicated on one massive conflict between the corporate interest and the human interest. The entire system is one massive kleptocracy which views humanity and the Earth as literally nothing but a resource mine and waste dump. If we speak here of corruption we can speak only of corruption at the most extreme metaphysical level.
 
*”If an expert opinion in relation to regulatory processes can be omitted from the declaration of interests, the requirement to disclose such interests may as well be scrapped. These rules only make sense if they are enforced.” This refers to the ECHA’s fraudulent demarcation of “scientific positions” and propaganda (what it calls “influencing public debate”) as separate from one’s being “part of a regulatory, legislative, or judicial process.” Greenpeace correctly recognizes that where STEM cadres organize to issue a public statement about a current policy controversy, they are not acting as scientists nor are they merely exercising “freedom of opinion”, but are acting as political operatives and lobbyists, working to influence policy. The reference is to ECHA panelists who were signees of a public letter which regurgitated industry lies about endocrine disruptors. This propaganda campaign was part of the EU’s ongoing regulatory stonewall against enforcement of EU law which requires the banning of endocrine disruptors (i.e., all pesticides). This too is a typical example of the corporate/regulator combined organism.
 
The Nuremburg Tribunal took a rather different view of such “scientific positions” and “influencing public debate” which allegedly weren’t “part of a regulatory process.”
 
*”Dependence on unpublished scientific evidence provided by industry calls into question the independence of scientific assessments conducted by European agencies.” As we said above, there is no such evidence. The fact that the regulator is dependent upon the phantasmic “secret science” is proof that the industry and the regulator have literally zero science on their side, and that on the contrary the science is 100% against them, damningly so. Secrecy is, in fact, proof and an admission of the worst suspicions of critics. In this case, it is proof that glyphosate causes cancer and the ECHA knows it. Just as the EFSA and US EPA know it.
 
Of course the ECHA’s response is bogus in the conventional sense in that it doesn’t just operate according to Orwellian definitions of concepts like “conflict” but pretends to be using terms in the same way as its reformist interlocutor. Both strands of the lie are always operative. Both are core parts of technocracy’s culture of the lie.
 
But they couldn’t do this without willing collaborators. Organizations like Greenpeace seem committed to believing in the sham good-civics notion of public regulators, i.e. what gullible children are taught in the system schools. For all their talk of evidence, it seems they’ll never have enough evidence to reach the conclusion that an organization like the ECHA is an indelibly pro-industry, pro-poison organization, and was designed to be so in the first place. Compare if a public interest group wrote a letter to Monsanto’s CEO complaining that he cares about nothing but profit. Silly, isn’t it? But seriously-meant letters of complaint to pro-corporate regulators are the same thing. It’s fine to use such demands to unmask the regulator, the better to demolish its public credibility. But groups like this seem not to have this as their goal. They’re really naive enough to think they can “reform” the gangster organization. Similarly, USRTK seems sincerely to want these EPA materials even though EPA’s stonewalling is far more eloquent of the truth, and far more politically useful, than any release (no doubt heavily redacted) could ever be.
 
If humanity is ever to learn to fight, it must rouse itself from the consumerist, anti-political mire in which it currently wallows. It must transcend and renounce all consumerist consciousness and attain a true political consciousness.
 
One of the many litmus tests of this maturation is to evolve beyond the faith that regulators were ever supposed to be “public servants”, when this was always a lie. This lie always was obvious to anyone who cared to see with their own eyes.
 
 
 
 
 
Help propagate these necessary ideas.
 
 
 

March 9, 2017

Glyphosate Reviews Within the Corporate Science Paradigm

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One World

 
 
Greenpeace is accusing the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), whose opinion on the cancerousness of glyphosate is supposed to be imminent, of “conflict of interest” because its panel members also operate as “risk assessment consultants” for the industry.
 
As a system NGO, when Greenpeace says “conflict of interest” they’re referring to conventional corruption of “public servants” who are paid also by the industry they’re supposed to be regulating in accordance with scientific method.
 
Our abolitionist analysis is much deeper and more comprehensive than this, of course. While this kind of corruption is common, it’s epiphenomenal compared to the overall ideological and methodological framework of technocracy and the corporate science paradigm. Cadres of an agency like the ECHA, or the US EPA, FDA, and USDA, operate according to the corporate/technocratic template. Its three components are:
 
1. The corporate power/profit project is normative. It is the primary purpose of civilization. Under no circumstance can any other value or alternative project be allowed significantly to hinder the corporate project.
 
This has profound implications for actions like a pesticide cancer review. For technocratic regulators to acknowledge the fact that all synthetic pesticides cause widespread cancer would significantly hinder the corporate project. Therefore even the prospect of such acknowledgement is ruled out a priori. By definition it cannot be part of the review. Only the most grossly excessive and obvious carcinogenicity on the part of a particular chemical could be acknowledged even in principle. When outfits like the US EPA or the EU’s EFSA claim to believe that glyphosate is not cancerous, this is not according to any rational or scientific canon of evidence, and reformers who interpret it this way make a mistake about the fundamental character of these organizations.
 
Rather, technocratic regulators apply the canon of the corporate paradigm. According to this canon “causes cancer” is defined as: “So grossly carcinogenic that it’s politically impossible to deny it, to the point that lack of action would in itself be significantly bad for business.”
 
This is the template’s second component.
 
2. Given the strictures of (1), the regulator may if absolutely necessary impose limits on the most excessive harms and worst abuses. More often, it only pretends to do even this. Which leads to the template’s third component.
 
3. The regulator then puts its imprimatur on the corporate project as having been sufficiently regulated for safety. According to the ideology of technocracy and bureaucracy, the people are supposed to believe implicitly in the competence, rigor, and honesty of the regulator. They’re supposed to believe this for all measures of safety, public and environmental health, political and socioeconomic benefit and lack of harm.
 
All this is based on a Big Lie, since as we described above the regulator actually functions only according to the normative values of corporate power. But it fraudulently claims, always implicitly and very often explicitly, that it has acted on behalf of human values and to protect and serve the people. Therefore the people should repose implicit trust in the regulator, not assert themselves democratically in any kind of grassroots way, and most of all not start to think in any political terms which would be based on fundamentally different values and goals, values and goals opposed to those of corporate rule and technocracy.
 
Thus we see how technocracy is an ideology, method, and form of government which is fundamentally anti-democratic and anti-political as such since it is dedicated to the proposition that the people should relinquish all political activity and passively receive and believe the judgements of technocratic regulators. This system is based fundamentally on the Big Lie that it actually is a form of democracy and a form of society which encourages the political participation of the people. But in fact it conjures only sham versions of these and seeks aggressively to discourage and suppress any true politics.*
 
We see how the corporate state and technocracy, along with their allied economic ideology of neoliberalism, exist as species within the same genus as classical fascism. This is the genus of pseudo-democratic forms bled of all real political content which then stand as cultural facades behind which exists only state tyranny. Today’s corporate state is the most fully evolved form of this tyranny.
 
This site’s ultimate project is to oppose this tyranny. One prerequisite for such opposition is to understand what modern regulatory agencies truly are, and to renounce all faith in and support for them. As abolitionists one of our goals is completely to demolish all claims to legitimacy and authority of such agencies as the ECHA or US EPA. The destruction of such misguided faith is necessary for the people to conceive and commit to the necessary new ideas.
 
Toward that necessity, we need to substitute the more comprehensive analysis for the superficial and shallow “conflict of interest” and “corruption” notion. Corporate regulators, by their inherent nature, do not have conflicts of interest because their one and only interest is the corporate client. Everything else they claim about themselves is a lie.
 
The same Big Lie encompasses their ideology and propaganda of “science”. To take today’s example, the Greenpeace indictment specifically focuses on the ECHA panelists doubling as industry “risk assessment” consultants. We can leave aside the more vulgar modes of corruption though these too are common. Far more important, the entire concept, ideology, and methodology of “risk assessment” is based on the corporate profit endeavor as normative and therefore thinks, at most, in terms only of worst-case scenarios, never the omnipresent, chronic, daily harms and crimes of the corporate project. The official ideology of the US EPA is based on managing the human cancer and other tortures it and its corporate client inflict, via the concept of pesticide and cancer “tolerances”. This word should be taken literally: It means how much cancer can the corporate system cause before the magnitude becomes politically dangerous enough that the regulator needs to take evasive action, starting with sham reviews and lies meant to put the people back to sleep.
 
The European and US government establishment, along with the corporate media, reached this crisis point with glyphosate in 2015 because of the rogue action (from the corporate system’s point of view) of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The IARC, like some individual scientists, acted according to canons of the scientific method instead of the corporate science paradigm. This caused them to issue the scientific judgement that glyphosate causes cancer. The EFSA and EPA since then have carried out their propaganda function. They’ve lied about the evidence and lied about their canons of evidence.
 
(Although the WHO as a whole has been consistently pro-corporate, the IARC is out of step with the dominant corporate/reductionist ideological framework, instead emphasizing environmental factors in cancer causation: “Emphasis is placed on elucidating the role of environmental and lifestyle risk factors and studying their interplay with genetic background in population-based studies and appropriate experimental models. This emphasis reflects the understanding that most cancers are, directly or indirectly, linked to environmental factors and thus are preventable.”
 
The proposition that cancer is preventable runs directly counter to the dominant “science” ideology which views cancer as arising from genetic determinism and which conceives the acceptable response to be massively expensive and interventionist cures supervised by Big Drug and other corporate sectors. This ideology is driven by the need of the poison-peddling corporations to obscure and deny the fact that profitable products like glyphosate are in fact major cancer drivers. The corporate flacks are abetted by scientism’s religious zealots who refuse to hear any evil spoken of their technological objects of cult worship.)
 
The IARC also is a pro-science renegade in that it assesses only the scientific public record, which according to Popperian canons is by definition the only scientific record. But the EFSA, EPA, and (we can expect) the ECHA adhere to an exactly upside-down, anti-scientific canon of “secret science”. Secret science of course is a contradiction in terms. By definition, if it’s not part of the public record and open to public perusal, analysis, and debate, it’s not part of science.
 
Today’s corporations, governments, universities, the mainstream media, and the scientific establishment all exalt the perverse notion of “secret science”. This means that we can reject their entire paradigm as, by definition, anti-science and not part of science. This underlies any specific evils of the lies being protected by the secrecy.
 
We abolitionists, in response, assume that anti-scientific secrecy automatically indicates the corporation and/or regulator has zero scientific evidence which supports them, and that what evidence they do have must prove the extreme harmfulness of the corporate product. In this case, the evidence for glyphosate’s cancerousness which Monsanto and the EPA actually possess is likely far worse even than the conclusive amount which has leaked out.
 
 
We see how technocratic regulators, in general and where it comes to specifics such as “risk assessment”, the cadre as a whole as well as specific agents, whether or not particular agents have conflicts of interest and/or are conventionally corrupt, all are part of the corporate science paradigm and therefore are anti-science and anti-democracy, according to Popperian canons of scientific method and the open society.
 
 
*This same corporate-technocatic template can be applied to the STEM establishment, the mainstream media, much “alternative” media, system NGOs, system political parties, and electoralism as such. The details may vary, never the broad function: To conserve the indoctrination that corporate rule is normative, as much as possible to render this water in which we swim implicit and imperceptible, where necessary to reinforce the indoctrination with propaganda, where necessary to offer sham “reforms” and sham pseudo-political “options”, all toward the goal of rendering truly political thought and action extremely difficult, preferably unthinkable.
 
 
 
 
 
Help propagate these ideas.
 
 

March 2, 2017

The Scourge of Bt Cotton

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Humanity’s struggle against corporate agriculture, especially in the form of GMOs, becomes increasingly fierce around the world. One of the most critical and infamous battlegrounds is India. Here, Bt cotton is the locus of the struggle over commodification, the agronomic performance and socioeconomic character of GMOs, and this false crop’s role in history’s greatest suicide epidemic. It failed immediately for the small farmers of India and Africa. More recently it failed for the better-equipped farmers of the South. It soon will fail completely for all cotton farmers everywhere. India’s ongoing sea change against Bt cotton and against commodity cotton in general is only the tip of the iceberg. The consensus is changing. This most typical of GMOs is nearing the end of its time as a marketable product and useful propaganda item.
 
Bt cotton is one of the most notorious examples of how GMOs and the propaganda campaigns that tout them comprise a massive hoax and fraud on farmers and society. India’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture found in its 2012 report that “After the euphoria of a few initial years, Bt cotton cultivation has only added to the miseries of small and marginal farmers”. In 2014 this committee followed up with the finding that government claims of rising cotton farm income are false. Only debt and risks have risen, giving “ample proof to show that the miseries of farmers have compounded since the time they started cultivating Bt cotton”.
 
GMOs are a rich man’s technology. This is true of the corporations which control and distribute them, tightening their control of agriculture and food. It’s true for the farmers themselves. The only way GMOs may work temporarily as advertised is in the context of high-input industrial agriculture. GMOs require lavish external inputs and best case scenarios. They need to be supplemented heavily with irrigation, synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and mechanization. GMO seed sellers are also sellers of agricultural poisons such as herbicides and insecticides. The corporate goal always is to maximize both seed revenue and poison sales. That’s what GMOs are designed to do. They’re very costly to grow and require either huge cash reserves or that farmers go into debt. Only rich growers who can afford these expensive inputs can have any hope of getting GM crops to perform in the field as advertised so they can turn a profit on these very expensive crops. That’s why GMOs are an abject failure everywhere they’re not propped up with massive government subsidies.
 
In spite of these facts, corporations and governments consistently have targeted small farmers for GMO marketing. These farmers, who comprise the great majority of food producers worldwide, lack the resources to get the crop to grow as advertised or to render it economically viable. Across the global South the pattern has always been the same. Corporations and government launch a propaganda blitz targeting small farmers, promising high returns and threatening with economic extinction those who are slow to adopt the technology. The marketing campaigns promise lower pesticide costs, more effective pesticide coverage, and higher yields and revenues. Governments promise subsidies and generous credit. Lacking independent sources of information, often following local leaders in the pay of the cartel, small farmers buy the GM seeds. The GMO corporations use every tactic, from buying seed companies to imposing contracts on seed growers and sellers to having governments offer temporary subsidies to having “unapproved” seeds outlawed, in order to drive non-GM alternatives out of the market.
 
The farmer pays far more for this seed with its added “technology tax”. He quickly finds he must increase fertilizer application. Pesticide savings never materialize. He must go into debt to procure the expensive inputs he now needs. His farming dependent on rainfall, he learns too late that the Bt crop needs artificial irrigation to get enough water. Pests and diseases ravage the GMO crop in a way they hadn’t with conventional crops. The harvest is poor. Meanwhile the same corporate system is dumping globalized commodity crops on the market. The harvest price plummets. The farmer is wiped out. He’s driven off his land and into a shantytown. In India, he may kill himself by drinking his own pesticide. This individual tragedy is multiplied over hundreds of thousands, millions of small farmers. These millions are economically destroyed, forcibly subject to a mass expulsion from the land, one-way tickets to the terminal slums thrust into their worn hands. These slums have sprawled out from the fringes of the Southern cities in proportion to the intensifying death grip of corporate agriculture, their inmates the cast-off human destruction of this corporate assault.
 
This pattern has been unbroken wherever corporate agriculture has gone. Wherever commodity cropping has prevailed its primary effect has been to destroy community farmers and drive the people off their land. GMOs reinforce and intensify every pathology of corporate industrial agriculture and especially are evil in how they aggravate this social carnage. Today the goal of corporations and governments in pushing GMOs upon small farmers is to squeeze them for every cent possible, then drive them out. For small farmers and for society as a whole, GMOs are history’s most monumental socioeconomic fraud. That’s why the 2009 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development (IAASTD) rejected GMOs as unable to play any constructive role in the future of farming and food.
 
Bt cotton is the best-documented example of this pattern of fraud, failure, and human destruction. In India a human drama unequaled in history has been playing out, with millions of small farmers under economic assault by globalized agriculture. They’ve been viciously duped by Monsanto and the Indian government. They’ve been subject to a “ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops”. The story begins in the mid 1990s. Under economic pressure and in thrall to commodification propaganda, small cotton farmers began switching from their traditional diversified polycultural practices, which included intercropping with food and other crops for personal use and local sale, to monoculture based on hybrid varieties and destined for global markets. This first put them on the treadmill of rising input costs, pesticide use, and debt. According to government data, 75% of rural debt in India is from the need to purchase farming inputs. The seed dealers themselves double as moneylenders at usurious rates, thus repeating the 19th century American tragedy of impoverished sharecroppers and “the man”. The suicide epidemic is caused by this vicious circle. In Maharashtra state, ground zero of the epidemic, 2.8 million of 3.6 million farmers were in debt in 2006.
 
Hybrid varieties are highly vulnerable to insect pests. Each year farmers had to invest more borrowed money, time, sweat, and anguish into applying an ever more prodigious and complex mix of poisons. As if their situation wasn’t parlous enough, in 2001 the US radically stepped up the dumping of its own heavily subsidized cotton on the Indian market, causing the price to collapse. For all its cotton production, third in the world, India became a cotton importer on account of the low global price. India’s small cotton farmers were desperate.
 
This was the context for the commercialization of Bt cotton. It was first grown illegally in the Gujarat province starting in the late 1990s, then launched legally across the whole cotton belt in 2002. The first legal varieties were a joint project of Monsanto and its Indian subsidiary Mahyco. Farmers, trapped on the treadmill paying ever more for pesticides that worked ever more poorly, were desperate for a solution. It’s no surprise that they ardently listened when the massive Mahyco advertising blitz, bolstered with bullish government and media testimonials, promised them a Bt panacea. Bt cotton came from “magic seeds” which would solve all their problems and give them a prolific, profitable crop. It would rout pests once and for all, cost less to grow, yield better, and gross more at harvest time. Bollywood stars toured the countryside exhorting farmers to get on board. The government promised support and lenient credit.
 
Small farmers faced this marketing offensive with few independent sources of information. “There are no independent expert agencies in this country”, according to a 2014 panel report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. There’s practically no one but industry and its government flunkeys to advise farmers. Because of this, the adoption of Bt cotton has had little to do with knowledge and experimentation but was mostly a social response. In a time of agricultural deskilling and economic uncertainty, farmers fell back on following a leader or following their neighbors. This environment was rich to be manipulated by Monsanto/Mahyco’s propaganda blitz.
 
Most Indian cotton farmers heard about Bt cotton through word of mouth, from neighbors who had been tapped by Mahyco to serve as proselytizers, or from advertising coordinated by seed dealers. In Maharashtra 79% of farmers said they’d heard of it from seed dealers. These Mahyco-licensed dealers are often also peddlers of the expensive inputs needed as accessories to Bt crops and loansharks offering the credit needed to buy this expensive apparatus.
 
This information problem is aggravated by the fact that Bt seeds have been highly unreliable in germination, Bt expression, and yield. This again is a function of how lavishly expensive external inputs are applied, but is also inherent to the shoddy GMO seed itself. If small farmers who are unable financially to deploy the whole input apparatus follow the lead of a local bigshot who can afford it, or believe the lies of government and industry, this is a recipe for economic self-destruction.
 
Throughout its history the private seed business has been about nothing but marketing, trivial “product differentiation” which even the National Academy of Sciences derided as “pseudo-varieties” representing no kind of actual improvement, destroying farmer choice through enforcing monopoly, and fiercely resisting attempts to enforce transparency and quality control. Jack Kloppenburg’s First the Seed gives an excellent historical account. Just from this historical record it was easily predictable that GMO seeds would comprise a shoddy, fraudulent product. This prediction has been borne out. Bt cotton may be the best case study of how high maintenance GM crops are, how they require a vast, exorbitantly expensive apparatus of inputs and optimal conditions in order to work as advertised, and therefore how inappropriate they are for small farmers. GMO agriculture and smallholder agriculture are antithetical and cannot “co-exist”, to use the GM cartel’s favored propaganda term. Any assertion or advertisement to the contrary is perpetrating a hoax and a fraud. It’s a Nuremburg level crime. As is Monsanto’s aggressive campaign to impose a near-monopoly on cotton seed in India.
 
The lies were aggressive and virulent from the start and remain so to this day. “Bollgard protects you! Less spraying, more profit! Bollgard cotton seed: the power to conquer insects!”, blared an early poster. “Our products provide constant and significant benefits to both large- and small-holder growers. In many cases farmers are able to grow higher quality and better-yielding crops.” That’s from Monsanto’s “Pledge Report” for 2006, which was the exact time it was rolling out Bollgard II with two Bt toxins. This was in response to the collapse of the original Bollgard on account of bollworm resistance to its single toxin. Clearly the only “constants” are the ever-escalating pesticide treadmill, the ever-rising Tower of Babel as GMOs have to incorporate more and more stacked poisons, and Monsanto’s revenue from this business model of captive markets and planned obsolescence. The other constants are the vicious circles of farmer struggles, debt, misery, exodus from the land and into slums, and suicide. And the lies march on, as the Advertising Standards Council found when it recently flagged Monsanto-Mahyco’s campaign for falsely claiming “Bollgard boosts Indian cotton farmers’ income by over Rs.31,500 crores” (over 315 billion rupees, which is around $4.725 billion as I’m writing this but was much more at the time).
 
Taking advantage of Indian cotton farmers’ parlous economic circumstance and their lack of information, the propaganda campaigns worked. In spite of the unprecedented high price of the seeds, farmers began planting Bt cotton. By the time they realized the debt and monopoly trap they were in, it was too late. The result has been a disaster.
 
We’ll survey in detail the real world performance of Bt cotton in India. This is in contrast to the “studies” of Monsanto flacks like Matin Qaim, much touted in the corporate media. Qaim, who barely set foot outside the Mahyco greenhouses and field test sites during his few visits to India (he’s based in Germany), simply propagates corporate-asserted numbers based on secret data from the corporate trials. There’s no reason to trust these numbers in the first place, and even if they were true they’d be valid only for the ivory tower conditions of the trial sites. Either way these figures have zero validity for real world agriculture of any sort, let alone that practiced by small farmers. Yet this person is the main “scientific” source for the corporate media and pro-GMO activists everywhere. Since we can assume Monsanto provides the best flackery it can, in dismissing Qaim we can dismiss the entire pro-Bt “side of the story” as fraudulent and invalid. Now let’s move on to what reality testifies.
 
*In reality Bt cotton never improved yields. Data compiled by government and trade groups tells a stark story: The great bulk of the yield increase (measured by nationwide average kilograms per hectare) of the commodity cotton era in India occurred from the 2000-01 to the 2004-05 seasons, at which point only 5.6% of cotton acreage was planted to Bt varieties. During the Bt acreage surge from 2005-06 (18% of cotton acreage) to 2008-09 (84%) yield increased only a slight amount, then stagnated and declined. In the ensuing years as Bt acreage crept up above 90%, yields have declined. Overall, yield increased 70% from 2000-01 to 2004-05 when Bt acreage was negligible, and increased only 2% from 2005-06 to 2011-12, with a decline since the 2007-08 peak.
 
This proves that the entire increase was from other causes and had nothing to do with the GMO. The real cotton yield surge came from the switch from traditional polyculture-based cotton farming to hybrid monoculture deploying massive, expensive inputs – irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides. This is only monocultural yield, not food for people or farmer income. “Yield” by itself is a crackpot measure with no inherent meaning. It can have meaning only within some socioeconomic, political, or environmental context.
 
In fact almost the entire yield increase came from improvements in conventional hybrids and expanded irrigation. As for pesticides, Keshav Kranthi of the Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) scoffs at the notion that Bt crops can hold their own. On the contrary, he attributes the viability of any kind of hybrid cotton, Bt or conventional, versus a wide range of what from the Bt point of view are secondary pests (Bt cotton’s target pest is the bollworm; secondary pests include whiteflies, jassids/leafhoppers, mealy bugs, mirid bugs, thrips, stink bugs, and many others), to the standard seed treatment with the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. This too is a deadly poison we need to abolish, and jassids increasingly are resistant to it. Therefore, to the extent poisons contribute to yield at all, this non-GM poison is far more important than genetically engineered Bt. The great increase in the years of low Bt acreage and stagnation of the years of Bt domination prove that this GMO offers no yield benefit whatsoever and is actually inferior to conventional cotton hybrids.
 
These numbers, damning as they are, actually exaggerate GMO performance since they’re skewed by the relatively better results from Gujarat state. Gujarat is an outlier in that its agriculture is dominated by fewer, bigger, richer farmers than is typical in other states. Gujarat is far better served by irrigation projects and fertilizer subsidies. Its more capital-rich farmers can better afford the expensive inputs Bt cotton requires. The better Bt cotton production in this state therefore confirms the thesis that GMOs work only for rich growers who can afford lavish outlays for irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides. Take Gujarat out of the equation and Bt’s performance for small farmers across the cotton belt has been dismal and worsening.
 
Besides its overall poor yield, Bt cotton (and Bt crops in general, everywhere on earth) has performed in an extremely variable way. There have been several regional crop failures, most recently in Karnataka in 2014. In general the national and state averages obscure extreme local variability. As a rule, how the GM crop will perform is a crapshoot and will vary from farmer to farmer. Seed quality is often poor and Bt expression in the crop is highly variable. Is this caused by the chaotically modified genetics, by agronomic factors like watering levels or soil quality, by environmental factors like temperature? Who knows? No government or corporation has ever studied this in Bt cotton. Not Monsanto, not the US government, not the Indian government, no one. An independent study of Bt expression in GM maize, however, found great variation depending on climatic conditions. We see how climate chaos driven by the corporate system is intended to maximize the chaos of all aspects of agriculture, right down to the performance of the corporate flagship product.
 
At the farm level, Bt cotton intrinsically yields less than conventional hybrids. Given high inputs it may have better operational yield for the first few years until the bollworms develop resistance. Given the low inputs which comprise the limit for indebted small farmers, Bt always yields much less, along with many acute failures. Yields have always been far less, often by more than half, than what Monsanto’s advertising promised. Poor yields continue to this day. The meager overall numbers conceal a vast number of individual tragedies.
 
For the individual farmer, growing Bt cotton is like “playing Russian roulette in order to get out of poverty”, as Nassim Taleb put it regarding civilization and GMOs as a whole.
 
*Here’s a good place to add a critical point. While the individual small farmer crushed by commodity agriculture is often impoverished, the opposite is true of agriculture as a whole. Here we’re talking about cotton, which isn’t directly a food although the seeds are pressed into oil which is used in processed foods. Nevertheless in any discussion of GMO yields we must always stress the fact that industrial agriculture produces far more than enough food for everyone on earth today, and more than enough even for the highest future population projections. The fact is that there’s zero problem with the quantity of food produced, today or at any time in the future for as long as industrial agriculture persists. (It won’t for much longer. Humanity must transform to agroecology and food sovereignty if we want to continue eating.) Therefore there’s zero need to increase yields in order to “feed the world”. Feed the World is a classical Big Lie. The world currently produces enough food for 10 billion people, yet of the 7 billion here, one billion go hungry (and another 2 billion suffer from dietary diseases such as malnutrition or obesity, often both at the same time). This is caused purely by pathological economic and political systems for maldistributing the cornucopia we have. For example, India has vast food stocks, indeed it allows vast amounts of stockpiled food to rot, yet 250 million go hungry. The problem, today and tomorrow, is 100% from corporate maldistribution, 0% from insufficient production. It’ll be a great leap forward for civilization when we can completely purge the “Feed the World” notion from rational and moral discussion as the criminal Big Lie it is.
 
*Perhaps the core lie Monsanto-Mahyco and the Indian government told cotton farmers is that Bt cotton is suitable for rainfed cultivation. In reality Bt cotton is dependent upon artificial irrigation. In fact Bt cotton requires as much as twice the water needed by conventional hybrids and cannot be effectively grown without expensive artificial irrigation. The vast majority (70%) of India’s farmers depend completely upon rainfall. In Karnataka state where yields collapsed in 2014, most cotton cultivation is rainfed. Gujarat is the exception again, reversing the proportions of irrigated (65%) and rainfed (35%) farms. Here the irrigated area has accounted for 84% of the state’s cotton production, 689 lint kg/ha, while the rainfed area produces only 247 kg/ha. That’s a typical yield difference between Bt cotton grown with irrigation vs. rainfall.
 
To try to sell Bt cotton, or any GMO, to a rain-dependent farmer is criminal fraud. Investigative journalist PJ Sainath went further – “promoting [Bt cotton] in a dry and unirrigated area like Vidarbha [ground zero for the cotton farmer suicide epidemic] was murderous. It was stupid. It was killing.”
 
*Another core lie is that the Bt technology can be a permanent panacea against insect pests. On the contrary, Monsanto knew from the start that pests would develop resistance to any Bt toxin just as they do with any other pesticide. This is elementary knowledge of how evolution works. Monsanto built the planned obsolescence of each GMO variety and its being superceded by ever more complex and expensive “stacked” varieties into its business strategy. They called this marketing plan “expanded trait penetration”. But in the early 2000s Monsanto was promising the opposite, that single trait Bt cotton would maintain its potency versus the bollworm indefinitely.
 
Farmers who believed the lies were quickly disabused. Overall there was never a real decline in pesticide use in Indian cotton farming. Indeed, nationally pesticide use went up 10% during the peak years of Bt expansion. This was despite the increased use of lower-volume, higher-toxicity poisons during these years. In some regions Bt may have used less pesticide than conventional hybrids for the first few years, with a difference range from minuscule to significant. It’s a function of how much water and fertilizer the crop gets. (As always, every possible agronomic benefit of a GMO is dependent upon lavish and expensive artificial inputs. To spend less on pesticides you need to spend more on water and fertilizer.) Any temporary relief also depends upon high-quality trait expression. But many varieties are inconsistent, shoddy, or just fraudulent. There’s never a lasting decline. After four years at most the pesticide use and cost equals out. A few more years and Bt cotton needs more applied pesticides than non-GM conventional cotton. In terms of aggregate poison use and environmental and health hazards all the numbers comprise a false accounting because they don’t account for the Bt endotoxins themselves. But these too are pesticides and must be counted as such.
 
Meanwhile all commodity cotton, even Bt cotton, always needs sprayed and seed-treated pesticide since cotton is attacked by the widest array of insect types. In the case of anti-bollworm Bt cotton, secondary pests quickly move in to fill any temporary void left where the Bt toxin has temporarily killed the target pest. As I mentioned above, according to the CICR’s Kranthi without neonic seed treatments Bt cotton would be routed by whiteflies, jassids, mirids, aphids, thrips, and many others. As Monsanto’s own propaganda often emphasized, Bt adoption has to be put in the context of the failure of earlier pesticides. Since the same companies propagate both kinds of poisons, applied and GMO endemic, it’s obvious that the poison treadmill culminating in stacked Bt poisons is planned obsolescence, a form of disaster capitalism.
 
In some cases the Bt cotton never worked against the target bollworms at all. In every case bollworms developed resistance within a few years. In 2006 Monsanto introduced Bollgard II containing two Bt toxins, the original Cry1AC plus Cry2AB, thus admitting that the original Bollgard no longer worked. Bollworms have since developed resistance to Cry2AB. This is standard for the GMO pesticide treadmill.
 
The result of all this has been that farmers found any reduced-pesticide dividend to be minimal and temporary at best. While pesticide use and cost may have declined by a small amount at first, within a few years these were back to pre-Bt levels. Today Bt cotton farmers have to spend more on pesticides than farmers growing non-GM conventional hybrids. And to correct the false accounting again, the great expense of Bt seeds has to be entered as a pesticide cost, since farmers are purchasing the Bt endotoxins the crops allegedly will produce.
 
This ongoing pesticide disaster of insurgent secondary pests, resistant target pests, and soaring pesticide use and costs has reached new levels of infamy since 2015, as Bollgard II is collapsing in the face of resistant bollworms even as secondary whiteflies decimate the crop in many states. There’s a rising consensus among Indian farmers, agronomists, and even officials that the Bt cotton experiment has been a disaster India needs to purge.
 
*As Monsanto flooded the market with its seeds it pressured seed growers and sellers to stop producing and offering non-GM seeds. Monsanto calls this tactic “seed replacement”. Once enough farmers had adopted Bt cotton and GM seeds had attained a dominant market position Monsanto jacked up the price to astronomical levels. Here too there has been great variation over time and across regions, but distilling from many sources tells us that seed prices soared to 2-10 times as much as the price of non-GM hybrids. Prices have run from 700-2000 rupees per packet. For contrast, the original Desi varieties cost 5-10 rupees a packet. The bulk of this price explosion is Monsanto’s technology tax. By one estimate, by spring 2014 Monsanto had extracted 5000 crore in taxes (50 billion rupees; c. $810 million in contemporary dollars) from Indian cotton farmers. Imagine what this wealth could have accomplished if Indian society had invested in agroecological food production instead of throwing it down a corporate commodification rathole.
 
This extremely high priced seed input and accompanying tax is unique to the GMO varieties and therefore piles a new burden on the backs of already beleaguered farmers.
 
Various Indian state governments and some central government officials have made half-hearted attempts to relieve the crisis. In 2005 the government of Andhra Pradesh banned three Monsanto-Mahyco varieties for poor performance and sought in vain to force Mahyco to compensate farmers. In 2006 the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) issued an anti-monopoly pricing order against Monsanto-Mahyco, which Mahyco has done all it can to flout. The central government in 2008 as well as the state governments of Maharashtra in 2008, Maharashtra again in 2011 and 2012, and Karnataka in 2014 undertook regional farmer bailouts in response to atrocious Bt performance and crop failures. At various times Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have banned Mahyco seeds for bad performance and fraudulent sales practices. But these ad hoc, piecemeal measures have been utterly insufficient. In 2016, even as Karnataka geared up for its second farmer bailout, the Indian central government ordered price caps on cotton seed and the tax Monsanto imposes on the seeds. The government also threatened to revoke the Monsanto’s Bollgard II patent on the grounds that the product is a failure and a fraud.
 
The result of these escalating input costs has been that Bt cotton is considerably more expensive to grow than non-GM hybrids. At the same time cotton prices forcibly have been depressed and kept low by US dumping of heavily subsidized cotton. The result is that even for the best-equipped farms, Bt cotton’s profit margin is razor-thin, worse than for non-GM conventional. For small farmers, it’s a wipeout. It’s near impossible for them to do anything but lose even more and sink deeper into debt each year.
 
As all this has been going on India’s conventional agricultural credit structure, based on nationalized banks and lenient payment terms (obviously the right way for society to handle its food producers if it’s to force them to incur debt at all, which of course it should not), has been gutted by the same globalization process which has driven first monoculture hybrid commodification and then Bt commercialization. As a result farmers have been forced to turn to usurious “microlenders” and the seed and poison dealers themselves who often double as loansharks. This sinks them even deeper in the quicksand.
 
Around the world this pattern has held everywhere, from the richest countries like the US and Australia (both suffered yield declines and subsequent reduced Bt plantings during the drought of 2013) to Asia to Latin America. In Argentina the same pattern of partial but fleeting success for wealthy growers, failure and bankruptcy for small farmers, prevailed. The Colombian government fined Monsanto for the awful performance of its Bt cotton seeds. It was the same story: for small farmers Bt cotton didn’t perform well against pests, didn’t reduce pesticide use or costs, yielded poorly.
 
Returning to Asia, Chinese production, long afflicted by the secondary mirid bug, is suffering from surging bollworm resistance. Chinese problems with Bt cotton aren’t new. A 2006 Chinese/Cornell study already documented the standard pattern: Seven years of Chinese Bt cotton cultivation had seen a temporary decline in pesticide use and rise in income, then the surge of secondary pests drove farmers back to spraying as much as 20 times a year. Soon they were paying more for pesticides and making less money than non-GM conventional farmers. In Pakistan pesticide use and costs are rising steeply on account of the rampant fraud and the generally dismal performance of the seeds against pests. In Africa’s Burkino Faso farmer success or failure with Bt cotton has been a function of farmer access to credit on rational terms and the ability of farmers to pay for expensive inputs.
 
African cotton farmers, like the small farmers of India, are especially devastated by US dumping of its heavily subsidized cotton. The same US government which touts GMOs around the world as a great bet for small farmers is ruthlessly dumping its corporate welfare crops on the heads of those same farmers like hot coals. China and the EU also subsidize cotton.
 
Second to the Indian debacle, the most infamous Bt cotton rollout was the abortive deployment in the Makhathini Flats region of South Africa from the latter 1990s to 2005. In Makhathini, the neoliberal government deployed the same kind of propaganda campaign, promised loans and subsidies, told the same high-flying lies. This propaganda was directed at the international community and world media at least as much as at Makhathini’s farmers. (The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization bit. Its 2004 State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report swallowed the lies whole and has been a favorite citation of corporate and media flacks to this day.) The seed cartel enlisted local leaders to attest to the alleged benefits of Bt cotton. Economically beleaguered small farmers responded by adopting the Bt technology with the same result as in India – increased costs, crop failure, the poison treadmill, the debt trap, ending in their being driven off the land. Some were able to stick around as laborers on land they’d once stewarded. Most survivors abandoned cotton completely. By the late 1990s over 90% of Makhathini cotton farmers had adopted Bt varieties. By 2004 drought (lack of irrigation), pesticide costs (secondary pests and then target resistance), depressed cotton prices (US dumping), and impossible debt had caused most farmers to abandon cotton completely.
 
The worldwide evidence record of the agronomic and environmental performance of Bt cotton has been the same everywhere. It has always led to failure and disaster for small farmers. The fact that Monsanto, governments, academia, and the media continue to hype Bt cotton as appropriate for small farmers constitutes one of history’s ultimate frauds. It “works” for no one but the destructive, parasitic elites who profit off it and use it to exert ever greater control over agriculture. By Nuremburg standards it’s a crime against humanity.
 
From this history we see how Bt cotton has aggravated the poison/debt agronomic treadmill and economic trap which enclose small farmers in hopelessness and misery, to the point that in the end their only avenues of escape are suicide or to flee the land for the terminal shantytown slums. Bt cotton has turned an agricultural crisis into a catastrophe.
 
This result was no accident, nor was it unforeseen. On the contrary, it’s simply an escalation of standard “green revolution” phenomena: The replacement of food-based (or in this case textile-based) agriculture with a poison and commodity basis; the enclosure and concentration of agricultural power and profitability on an elitist basis; the forced mass expulsion of the people from the land. The fact that government, corporate, academic, and media elites touted Bt cotton to small farmers knowing it could lead only to their destruction comprises a great crime against humanity. The same is true of all GMO deployment.
 
It’s clear that Bt cotton is a product which, where it works at all, works only for a brief period and only where supplemented by an expensive, cumbersome apparatus of artificial inputs. Like all other GMOs, it’s an extremely high maintenance hothouse flower. Industrial agriculture as such is highly destructive, wasteful, and unsustainable. GMOs represent an escalation of all the worst aspects of corporate industrial agriculture while conferring no benefits. As a whole GMOs are the extreme manifestation of a backward, economically cramping, agronomically destructive, retrograde technology and mindset. Collectively GMOs are a hoax and a fraud, and most of all where touted for small farmers. The goal of marketing GMOs to small farmers is to destroy them economically and drive them off the land so that large-scale corporate industrial plantations can more “efficiently” enclose and monopolize agriculture. In First the Seed Jack Kloppenburg discusses how the corporations faced barriers to the full commodification of farming itself (as opposed to the system of agricultural inputs and processing). Here we see the answer: One of the basic purposes of GMOs is to drive up the costs of farming to the point that it becomes economically impossible for small independent farmers to exist. Bt cotton provides one of the best case studies.
 
In fact, the failure of Bt cotton and the great fraud it incarnates are typical of the insecticidal and herbicide tolerant GMOs in general. These essentially are the only two types of GMOs. Both are literally poison plants. They’re engineered to produce their own endemic Bt insecticide and/or to tolerate copious slatherings of herbicide, usually Monsanto’s Roundup. The herbicide is taken into the crop itself and suffuses all its cells. Therefore GMOs add two completely new, massive, indelible presences of extreme poison in our food.
 
In both cases the poison treadmill and the business strategy of planned obsolescence are fully operational. Except for a few trivial exceptions like the small and declining acreage of MON810 cultivation in Spain, no single-trait Bt maize variety has been effective for years. They’ve been replaced by stacked varieties which produce as many as six Bt toxins. Varieties which produce even more are in the pipeline, as pest resistance escalates and accelerates. Meanwhile the Roundup Ready GMO regime no longer works, as over a dozen glyphosate resistant superweeds rampage across North America, Brazil, and elsewhere. The only solution the system offers is to stack herbicide tolerances. Monsanto originally touted Roundup Ready GMOs as rendering even more toxic poisons like 2,4-D and dicamba obsolete while glyphosate (the main ingredient of Roundup though not the only actively toxic ingredient) would never suffer weed resistance.
 
Today Roundup Ready is in ruins, and the cartel and governments are pushing GMOs tolerant of the exact same ultra-toxic 2,4-D and dicamba which those same corporations and governments promised us would be a thing of the past if we just believed them about Roundup Ready. The results with each of these shall be exactly the same total failure, but with even worse socioeconomic, agronomic, environmental, and health destruction wrought along the way. This is why the Technical Expert Committee appointed by India’s supreme court to advise it on GMOs recommended, among several other important restrictions, that herbicide tolerant GMOs never be commercialized because of how badly they would aggravate the ongoing socioeconomic carnage by wiping out vast numbers of agricultural laborers. Economically, herbicide tolerant crops are meant to be standard “labor-saving”, job-destroying devices. They’re also designed to save time so the farmer can expand his acreage, thus feeding the classical vicious circle of agricultural overproduction and trying to “make it up on volume”. This of course also adds to the Get Big or Get Out pressure.
 
We can see how both the insecticidal and herbicide tolerance genres as a whole are massive frauds of the exact same character as Bt cotton. Bt cotton just provides the most clear example of how GMOs as such comprise a monumental fraud and crime.
 
GMOs are worthless, wasteful, counterproductive, and destructive. They impose a severe constraint and bottleneck on all attempts to innovate and advance in agriculture, farming, and food. They are designed and intended to drive out all small and independent producers and, through attaining total corporate control of agriculture and food, impose such a strangulation grip on the throat of humanity that we’ll never break free.
 
GMOs must be completely abolished.
 
 
 
 
If you agree with the ideas in these posts, propagate them.
 

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February 26, 2017

Sample Party Program

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It’s proven beyond any rational doubt that there’s no way forward within the framework of existing politics. Corporate rule dictates corporate politics, and that’s all that exists within the established political framework. This includes the Corporate One-Party system. The only way forward is to put in the hard work of building new social and cultural movements. I’ve dedicated my life to sowing the ideas for a movement dedicated to the abolition of corporate agriculture and the global transformation to agroecology and Food Sovereignty. Until these movements rise and become strong enough to nurture their own political parties dedicated to affirmative ideas, no new ideas can become real as a matter of political policy, because all existing institutions including both factions of the Corporate One-Party are committed to strangling all new ideas in the crib. In the meantime the only work dissidents could possibly do within the existing system is the obstruction work of monkey-wrenching and gridlocking, to prevent some of the evils attempted by existing corporate politics and help generate space for the extra-system movement.
 
So the great work of today and tomorrow, and perhaps the day after as well, is to build the new movement completely from outside the system. But for today there’s also potential for disciplined, targeted abolition work against pesticides and GMOs. Today I’ve written up a possible program for a political action group. The point here is to sum up and consolidate once and for all our own knowledge and philosophy, as well as offer some standards for public communication. In a previous piece I offered a strategic and tactical plan for such a group.
 
1. We know that every pesticide is genotoxic and an endocrine disruptor and therefore is carcinogenic and causes birth defects and reproductive problems. We know that every pesticide is broadly toxic to all animal groups including humans. We know all are harmful to bacteria and therefore to soil ecology and our microbiome. This list can be expanded. We know that each pesticide is highly toxic to us, to the soil, to the environment.
 
2. We know that one of the system’s scams is to say that even if it could be proven that “some” pesticide “possibly” had caused some kind of harm, one could never prove for sure which poison it was, or from exactly which source. Wherever the general lie that a pesticide isn’t toxic in the first place ceases to work, they move on to the next lie that you can’t pinpoint the cause – of a particular cancer, of exactly where that 2,4-D drift came from, etc. We’re seeing Monsanto use both tactics in its cancer lawsuits.
 
3. Therefore, to be willing to play along with the system game of trying to pinpoint each particular causality and each particular point source is both practically impossible and philosophically mistaken, since all the poisons from all the sources are contributing to the general epidemic of destruction.
 
(This is similar to the timidity of those who still hesitate to attribute extreme weather events to climate chaos. While it’s technically true that you can’t “prove” a particular hurricane or El Nino was driven by artificial climate change, we do know that the corporate system, including its political system, intentionally are driving the climate crisis as hard as they can, and we know that an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events is one of the effects of climate change. Therefore it follows that the corporate system consents to and embraces each such event as an artificially caused manifestation of climate chaos. The system does this through its hellbent-for-leather actions to maximize greenhouse gas emissions, destroy all carbon sinks, and its exploitation of every weather-related disaster in order to increase its own profits and power. Corporate industrial agriculture is the worst driver of the climate crisis, which is why its abolition is a requirement if humanity is to avert the worst effects of climate chaos.)
 
4. So if I were founding an Anti-Poison Party, for the party platform I’d enshrine strict liability for the entire poison stream, from development to production to sales to use, for all effects of any poison. It’s the same principle as for any other criminal conspiracy: The guy driving the getaway car is just as guilty of murder as the robber inside the bank who pulls the trigger, even though he never left the car. As per (1), everyone knows how toxic all these chemicals are, and the corporations and regulators most of all, so no one can claim innocent ignorance. This would be a core Party principle and the Party promises to put this into effect wherever it gets the power.
 
5. This simplifies political education and campaigning, since there would no longer have to be squabbles over what’s most responsible for particular health harms, such as cancer, autism, celiac disease, and others which often seem overdetermined, to the point that people squabble over what’s “the” cause. Since Party members would agree in principle that any poison has a full share of the blame for each harm, political tactics would then be free to focus on what’s most strategically critical and politically effective. For example, a primary focus on glyphosate.
 
The basic principle underlying all of this is that the entire poison paradigm is a campaign of homicidal insanity which doesn’t work, serves no human purpose, has absolutely no legitimate reason to exist at all, does nothing but cause horrific harm to humanity and the Earth, and according to all reason and morality needs to be abolished completely. The strategic, tactical, and philosophical precepts I just listed follow from this rational and moral reality.
 
 
 
If you want to help spread these ideas, propagate these pieces.
 
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February 17, 2017

Golden Rice – A Supreme Hoax, Part of A Supreme Crime

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The corporate world is full of hazards for rice. Genetic engineering adds to them.

The corporate world is full of hazards for rice. Genetic engineering adds to them.

 
 
The program to breed a commercially deployable version of “golden rice” continues its perfect record of failure. In the latest screw-up, an attempt to back-cross a GM rice variety with a conventional Indian variety resulted in a crop with reduced yield, stunted growth, and growth abnormalities.
 
The authors of the new study documenting this result blame the effects on transgenic interference with the plant’s growth hormones. Worse, the transgene is fully active not just in the rice grains as “intended”, but in the leaves as well. This resulted in reduced photosynthetic ability.
 
These visible effects had not manifested in the GM variety. Therefore the engineers assumed the transgenic effect was “stable”, and that this stability of transgenic effect could be taken for granted throughout the process of back-crossing the transgene into the Swarma variety, perfecting this Indian version of golden rice, increasing the seed, and commercially deploying it.
 
This is typical of how GMOs are developed. The entire process, from tissue culture to seed increase, focuses only on whether the crop visibly seems to meet commercial standards. That’s the full extent of the quality control and safety testing. It’s the same as how all alleged safety tests in the lab really have been tests of nothing but whether CAFO inmates can reach their slaughter weight being fed grain from the crop. This and similar industrial parameters comprise the sum total of the “safety tests” performed by corporations, accepted by regulators, and touted by regulators and media. The same paradigm applies to agronomic testing. Therefore it’s no surprise that under new conditions, conditions not as controlled as the laboratory greenhouse, GMOs often break out with completely unexpected deficiencies, sicknesses, and crop failures. This is especially true under real world agronomic conditions.
 
Michael Antoniou commented that this latest GMO failure is probably yet another example of the pathology of the GM insertion process. “The GM transformation process as used in the development of GMO crops selects for the insertion of the GM gene into active regions of the genome (areas where plant host genes are switched on and functioning). This bias in the GM gene insertion into active regions therefore maximises the possibility of disrupting the function of one or more host genes, with potentially adverse effects such as poor crop performance or even toxicity.” In order for the GM process to work the transgene must be inserted into the most active part of the recipient genome, and the gene cassette usually includes an epigenetic component called a “promoter” which keeps the transgene turned on to maximum expression mode at all times. Therefore the entire development and deployment process selects for maximum effects of the transgene, both the advertised effects as well as the unheralded ones.
 
Evolution crafted our genomes in an exquisitely nuanced way, including a complex orchestration of notes, volumes, and rests for all genetic elements. Genetic engineering, being a very stupid, imprecise, blunt-force tool, is incapable of any kind of nuance whatsoever, and engineers have always had a fundamental contempt for complex systems which reflects the limitations of their own minds. Their only tool isn’t even a hammer but a caveman’s club. That’s why they loathe evolution and its works and yearn so fervently to subjugate evolution to the brute force simplifications of their concepts and engineering processes. That’s why they’re congenitally incapable of comprehending the fact that nature works, genetic engineering does not. And that’s why they carry their evolution denial to the extreme of wanting to leap over all the evolutionary tests and safeguards of competition, space, and time, to deploy their shoddy, half-baked, failure prone product as completely across the entire planet as possible, and completely to eradicate as much of non-GM agricultural biodiversity and wild biodiversity as possible. It’s a fundamentalist hatred of evolution, of nature, of life itself.
 
The effects of this have always been well known to all. Contrary to the standard lie, genetic engineering has zero in common with conventional breeding and disavows all principles of sound breeding. Unlike conventional breeding, unlike conventional sexual reproduction, this technological evasion of sex generates an artificially hyper-active section of the genome which can generate severe unpredicted effects at any time. (CRISPR “gene editing” is designed to render this genetic chaos far more severe.)
 
The crisis points especially occur wherever there’s a discrete change in circumstances, as in the case of this golden rice back-crossing project. Such crisis points occur often in the real world, amid the general environment, wherever GMOs are commercially deployed. These real world crisis points will become far more common as the climate chaos driven by corporate industrial agriculture becomes more intense. As Antoniou points out, this breeding blunder goes to show that any golden rice variety, if released so that it can cross with non-GM varieties, may cause general rice crop failures and endanger harvests over vast regions. (Rice has moderate cross-pollination, and GM contamination has been rife in China where Bt rice was widely if illicitly released.) And yet certain smug, racist Westerners, even among “GMO critics”, have seen fit to lecture Philipino farmers about how uncivil it was for them to tear up a golden rice field trial in 2013.
 
We must stress that there is nothing at all “unintended” about these effects. The effects of genetic engineering are grossly unpredictable, but this unpredictability is known and embraced ahead of time. “Unpredictable” has nothing conceptually in common with “unintended.” We can compare the typical operations of poison-based agriculture to spinning a roulette wheel where the various colors and numbers indicate various chaotic effects, many of them to be a surprise. Which number will come up is unpredictable, but one spins the wheel with full malice aforethought, full intent to trigger the chaos.
 
Genetic engineers and breeders involved in developing GM crops for commercial release have full knowledge of their inability to predict anything, therefore they intend chaotic results, just as they do with their broader mandate to drive climate change and pump as much synthetic poison into ecosystems as possible. The pro-GMO activists simply lie about all this when they make any claim to “precision” or predictability. No one who wanted stable, predictable results would still be working with genetic engineering. Where it comes to our food, agriculture, and environment, we’re not just spinning the roulette wheel. We’re playing Russian roulette, as Black Swan author Nassim Taleb put it.
 
Therefore I recommend to anyone interested in conceptual and terminological discipline that we discard the whole false notion of “unintended” effects of GMOs, pesticides, climate change, etc. This is factually wrong and morally far too lenient. Chaos is the predictable effect of genetic engineering, therefore the pro-GM activists intend chaos. That’s one of the purposes of this massive uncontrolled human feeding experiment, to log the unpredictable effects of the globally promiscuous deployment of GMOs in the environment and diet. They premeditate the chaos so they can hope someday to understand it, toward vastly more far-reaching eugenic goals. As a US mayor once said following a police riot, in a profound slip, “The policeman is there to preserve disorder.”
 
 
And what if golden rice ever were to overcome the incompetence of its designers and actually “worked” to the point it could be deployed commercially? Like every other technological dodge, and like every other element of corporate agriculture, it would only increase hunger and aggravate the very malnutrition diseases it’s allegedly being designed to treat.
 
This is because golden rice, like all other forms of “improved seed”, is designed for industrial monoculture commodity agriculture in a globalization framework. Therefore in addition to the special contamination problems golden rice presents, it would make the standard contribution to corporate agriculture’s general destruction of soil, environment, farmers and communities, and the standard contribution to increasing hunger and malnutrition.
 
What’s the real market for a commercialized golden rice, beyond some token food aid shipments paid for by taxpayers? I suppose it could become an ingredient in “biofortified” processed foods, similar to enriched and fortified breakfast cereals. But how could it ever actually do the thing it’s allegedly supposed to do, provide vitamin A to impoverished people suffering from deficiency disease? How are the people who need it supposed to pay for it? The reason they suffer the night blindness symptom is that they can’t afford real foods containing vitamin A like green, yellow, and orange vegetables. The reason they have no money to pay for these is the same reason they can’t grow real food themselves: They were driven off their land by the same corporate agriculture now offering this techno-solution in exchange for the same money these people don’t have.
 
It’s clear that “golden rice” has always been a media hoax. After nearly twenty years of hype the thing doesn’t exist in deployable form and there’s no evidence it ever will be worked into such a form. Nor is there any evidence that there’s any system intent truly to deploy it, since it’s very hard to see what the commercial market is. Unless the plan is for Western taxpayers to pay for the whole production and distribution shebang, 100% corporate welfare for Syngenta and the rice commodifiers. It’s true that each individual corporation contemplates the taxpayers as an infinitely deep trough. But how much longer can they all maximize their gorging?
 
Far worse, golden rice is a core part of the overall “Feed the World” hoax. Corporate agriculture causes hunger, drives hunger, maximizes hunger. It can never do otherwise, nor can any element of it do otherwise. Just like every other product of corporate industrial agriculture, golden rice is designed to cause malnutrition, it’s designed to cause hunger. It’s designed to force ever more people into the trap where they have no money, can get no money, and yet need money to get food.

 
Night blindness resulting from vitamin A deficiency has one and only one cause: Corporate agriculture destroys food production, drives people off their land, requires them to use money it denies them the ability to get, and leaves them to sicken and starve. Golden rice, like every other technological solution, every other alleged “silver bullet”, represents no alternative to this hunger-mongering paradigm. On the contrary golden rice, and GMOs as such, represent nothing but the escalation of this destructive system. GMOs stand for nothing but disease, hunger, starvation, famine. They’re designed to make all of these worse. This design is intentional. And in this case the effect is 100% predictable.
 
 
 
If you like these pieces, propagate them! Like heirloom crop varieties, ideas die if they’re not planted far and wide.
 
 
 

February 14, 2017

Humanfrei

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They hate food. (They hate the fact that we have to eat.) They hate the Earth. They hate the literal soil, the “dirt”. They hate the human body.
 
If for the time being they have no choice but to inhabit bodies which need food, they want to render it all as abstract, fictive, clinical, bureaucratic, technological as possible. For the same reason they want as much as possible to remove all direct human participation from food production and remove all contact with nature. They want to render the soil as inert and sterile and dead as possible and then jolt it with synthetic fertilizer. They want to sunder its contact with the rain and wind by rendering it dependent on irrigation water supplied by high-energy systems. They dream of covering all crop fields with black tarps and using only artificial light for photosynthesis. They want to use poisons to kill, not just “pests” but all life other than the crop itself. The fact that industrial agriculture is extremely wasteful in its use of fertilizers and pesticides, and the fact that GMOs are designed to maximize the use and waste of pesticides, is wasteful only from a rational point of view. From the point of view of technocracy and the scientism religion, maximal deployment of synthetic poison, through external application and by engineering crops to ooze poison from every cell, is an ideological value in itself. They do it on principle.
 
Besides maximizing pesticide use, from the cult’s perspective the main purpose of GMOs, and of corporate control of seed in general, is the religious principle of enclosing the seed and the genes, and therefore the physical crop, within the ritual of patenting. However artificial and fictive this is from a rational point of view, if the technocracy cult can convince enough people religiously to believe in intellectual property, and especially the patenting of life, and if this cult can convince the thug arm of the state to use force and the threat of force on behalf of this fiction, it becomes real. The crop now verily is something “new”. In some way it has been abstracted from the hated ecology.
 
Throughout the history of industrial agriculture and its Green Revolution, culminating in herbicide tolerant GM crops, the system has striven to be “labor saving”, aka job destroying, has been designed to purge as much human participation from the system as possible. Human beings are to be wiped out as farmers, wiped out as laborers, wiped out as communities, wiped out as people living on the land. This campaign has been most overt across the Global South, but it intends to encompass all of humanity. Human beings are to be wiped out as producers and eaters of food, since each of these human activities are odious to the technocrats and scientism cultists. Only as agents conveying money, as moneyed consumers, are human beings to be granted the right to exist at all.
 
In all the goal is to render food as abstract, technocratic, mechanized, chemical, biotechnological as possible. Monsanto’s goal always has been to remove all nature from the seed. Robert Fraley envisioned Monsanto becoming the “Microsoft of seeds”. By this he meant not just the mundane goals of greed and monopoly power. More profoundly he thought Monsanto’s transgenes would comprise the fundamental software of all agriculture, with the physical seeds and crops being just the stupid, fungible, cheap factory-produced hardware. Lots of people tried to tell them agriculture doesn’t work that way, that on the contrary the transgene is a stupid, messy gewgaw dependent upon the quality of germplasm in which it resides. For a long time the company wouldn’t listen.
 
After some years of stubbornness Monsanto had to concede to reality. But the company fixed its ignorance of agronomy only under duress. Their attitude has not changed. To this day they resent having to temporize, they resent having had to buy all those seed companies. They’re still trying to figure out how to impose maximum monopoly control with minimum real-world apparatus or indeed contact with physical reality at all.
 
This is the grail of all corporations, themselves such fictions rendered real only by the violence of the state and the inertia of the people. The sector comprising corporate agriculture and food, along with its lead enablers from the state, like USAID and the USDA, and from the world of private philanthropy, led by the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, thinks exclusively in terms of Mammon’s fictive numbers. The measure of agriculture is never food for human beings but sanctified fake numbers like GDP, trade balances, sovereign debt, commodity and stock prices, corporate profits, money as such. These pure fictions are rendered real only by the corporate state’s violence and the tolerance of the people. Thus the corporate/government/NGO structure is able globally to impose and enforce the agricultural model which conforms to these measures and eradicates, as much as possible, all actual food production for human beings.
 
In all these ways the goal is to render it as literally true as possible that food is produced by money, that food comes from the supermarket.
 
The entire corporate system is dedicated to enforcing the religion of Mammon to its ultimate extreme, where the only relationships which shall exist shall be between sterile objects, preferably legal fictions like corporations, patents, titles and money, while all ecological relationships, all relationships between human and human, human and Earth, shall be eradicated. These relationships are to cease to have any right to exist, and then cease to exist in the most literal sense. This is the logical end of all theory and practice of the profit-seeking corporation. As we see every day, the corporations at all times are working aggressively toward this end.
 
So we have the situation:
 
Corporations regard human beings as superfluous, potentially dangerous, and would prefer they simply disappear from the earth.
 
Technocrats regard human beings as superfluous, potentially dangerous, and would prefer they simply disappear from the earth.
 
Corporations regard the Earth as literally nothing but a resource mine and waste dump.
 
Technocrats regard the Earth as literally nothing but a resource mine and waste dump.
 
Here we have perfect accord on an ideology, an economic system, and a technology set dedicated to rendering the vast majority of human beings superfluous and worthless in the most literal sense of the term. In the same way there’s perfect agreement on the complete destruction of the global ecology.
 
What do you think follows from that? Especially as the people stop being so patient, so tolerant, so inertial.
 
 
 

February 1, 2017

The Green Revolution and Corporate Agriculture Drive Hunger and Famine

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Philanthropy, corporate style.

Philanthropy, corporate style.

 
 
 
History is repeating itself as Africa, so many times in the past the target of colonial depredation, is today the target of a new dual campaign of aggression. The first prong of this campaign is the new colonialism based on land-grabbing and export commodity agriculture. The goal is to seize control of the land, destroy all food production and replace it with industrial plantations to produce export commodities, and drive all the people off their land and into shantytowns. The second prong is the already turbulent climate chaos which has been driven most by the same industrial agriculture, and which in recent years has been wreaking havoc on African farming and food harvests. Today, after years of widespread drought and collapsed harvests, large parts of sub-Saharan Africa are on the verge of famine. This famine, like all previous modern famines, is completely artificial, completely man-made, caused by corporate agriculture and now by the climate change of which this agricultural sector is the main driver.
 
This latest food crisis follows upon the purely financial food crisis of 2008-2009 which was triggered by rising commodity prices. This was part of the finance sector’s war of speculation and its intentional crashing of the global economy in 2008. In all these ways – financial crisis, land crisis, climate crisis – we have corporate campaigns designed to cause disaster, destruction, and chaos. The corporations then proceed to use the crises they intentionally generate as further opportunities for aggression and profit. This is called disaster capitalism. All corporate sectors practice it, and corporate agriculture is the most aggressive and destructive practitioner of all.
 
In the classic disaster capitalist manner today’s corporate imperialists are using the crisis and the famine they have systematically caused as the pretext to call for the escalation of their campaigns of finance speculation, land-grabbing, and food destruction. They call their plan a “second green revolution for Africa.” Toward this goal they have set up a propaganda and organizational apparatus funded by American and British taxpayers and administered by a coalition led by USAID and the Gates Foundation. They call the plan the “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition” (NAFSN), and the Gates cadre which serves as overall coordinator is called the “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa” (AGRA). The goal of this campaign is to induce and force upon African countries the whole standard globalization package which has already ravaged Latin America and Asia – privatization of tribal land, publicly-funded export and import infrastructure, eradication of all “trade barriers” which are defenses against Western subsidized dumping, corporate-dictated intellectual property policy, tax abatements and removal of all environmental and labor protections, removal of all currency expatriation restrictions, and in general the complete submission of African countries to the domination of Western-based corporations. The NAFSN seeks to impose all this on behalf of Western agribusiness corporations which have signed up with the plan. They pledge pennies to the public dollar of both Western and African taxpayers; they get to extract 100% of the profit and take it back home. The beneficiaries include pesticide and seed sellers Monsanto, Syngenta, and DuPont, traders Cargill and ADM, synthetic fertilizer manufacturer Yara, food manufacturers Unilever and Diageo. These and more will get special deals via the usual “public-private partnerships” which place all the cost and risk on the public and hand all the profit and control to the corporation.
 
The physical goals of the plan, which are always the real goals, are to seize control of all good farmland, wipe out all food production, drive out the people, divide the land into big corporate industrial plantations growing export crops, and use as much GM seed, synthetic fertilizer, and pesticide as possible. The goal is to be as destructive as possible of the soil’s capacity ever to grow food again, of African ecosystems, and of African communities and economies. Beyond a small collaborator faction which can be maintained as an urban middle class, the goal is to wipe out the African people completely. According to the US/Gates/corporate vision, these people have no purpose existing. There’s not even a plan to exploit them, just to drive them out. They call this the Second Green Revolution.
 
Does this description sound exaggerated? Not to anyone familiar with the record of failure, destruction, and corporate crime wrought by the original Green Revolution.
 
The best introduction to the facts about the Green Revolution and world hunger, and Africa’s alleged need for a second revolution, is the fact that contrary to media depictions, by the 1990s most of the hungry people of the world were not in Africa, which had been represented in Western media for much of the 1980s as the ultimate hunger disaster zone, but in the prime land of the Green Revolution, southern Asia. (Unless otherwise indicated, these numbers are compiled from government and UN sources by Food First in its magisterial World Hunger.)
 
In truth all the numbers which have been touted incessantly for the Green Revolution have been false accounting and lies. The figures claiming that hunger declined during the twenty year period from 1970 to 1990, the heyday of the Green Revolution, are based on the inclusion of figures from China, not a Green Revolution recipient. If China is left out of global figures, then during this period the number of hungry people in the world increased 11%, from 536 million to 597 million, even as food production significantly increased.
 
We can be more specific and focus especially on the two regions most intensely subjected to the Green Revolution. In Latin America during this period per capita food supplies went up 8% while the proportion of the hungry increased 19%. This is an 8% increase in per capita food even as the number of those going hungry leapt significantly. This means that population increase had zero to do with rising hunger, contrary to the claims of the corporate media and Malthusian commentators.
 
In the same way, in South Asia food available per person increased 9% while the hungry increased by 9%. This proves that hunger has nothing to do with the gross amount of food produced and everything to do with its distribution. It proves that any production increase attained by Green Revolution methods is irrelevant since the corporate distribution system which is indelibly conjoined with these production methods acts ruthlessly to make all food less available to people. This proves that corporate agriculture and its Green Revolution automatically and inexorably increase hunger and render increasing numbers vulnerable to famine.
 
And so it has gone. Under the corporate agricultural paradigm, by the latter 1990s there were over 800 million hungry in the world. By 2009 the number exceeded one billion, and continues to rise. This is never under any circumstance because there’s physically not enough food. Without exception hunger is caused by the artificial withholding of food from people to whom it would otherwise be available. Only on account of the artificial constraints, inefficiencies, and rituals of capitalism can food which physically exists, effectively cease to exist, because of the purely arbitrary reason that people lack the money to buy it. The historically proven fact is that as a rule hunger is caused only by inequality and poverty.
 
These are the same people who used to be able to produce more than sufficient food for themselves and their communities when they lived holistically on the land. Their way of life was socioecologically integrated with the Earth. They worked, the Earth produced, the people had food. And this productive balance must be restored if any significant number of people intend to eat in the post-fossil fuel age, since industrial agriculture is 100% dependent upon cheap, plentiful fossil fuels. But the cheapness and plenty are nearing their end, and the industrial paradigm inevitably must collapse.
 
But for now the onslaught continues. With some non-perishable and luxury exceptions, food production and distribution is naturally a local/regional physical and economic system. Corporate agriculture seeks to destroy all food production by forcing all production and distribution into a globalized commodity system. The only way to do this is to force economic structures upon the sector which economically destroy the viability of community food production and, through the enclosure of land, render it physically impossible. This then encloses all food production within the monetized framework and renders that food destroyed and nonexistent from the point of view of people. The “food” now exists only as a globalized commodity which is transported to wherever money is already concentrated. The rich get richer and literally fatter, while an ever rising mass of human beings gets poorer and more hungry. This is the indelible mathematical calculus of corporate agriculture and the Green Revolution, as well as the evil intent of its architects and cadres. It will never and can never have any result but to increase poverty, misery, and hunger.
 
The historical record has long been conclusive that increasing food production cannot reduce hunger because it doesn’t improve access to good land or the money to buy food, and therefore it does not increase access to food. On the contrary, it inexorably makes all these worse, and therefore makes hunger worse. In the same way, the introduction of any agricultural technology into an unjust, unequal system, without a prior social revolution to render that system just and egalitarian, inevitably increases the inequality and poverty and from there the hunger. (Indeed, this is a law of technology as such.)
 
And so we have the incontrovertible record of the Green Revolution and corporate control of food and agriculture. It was based on wheat, rice, and maize seeds specially adapted to high-input monoculture production. The goal was to maximize use of fossil fuels in order to industrialize agriculture and bring it under full capitalist control for maximum profit and power. The campaign did drive up “official” production, measured in commodities, while destroying much community food production and driving much of the rest off the official tally. (This is in order to suppress knowledge of how capable the people are of feeding themselves if they’re left alone and unassaulted.)
 
By official measures food available per capita went up everywhere, and hunger went up everywhere. Corporate agriculture and its Green Revolution act systematically to destroy all production of food which would be available for human beings while applying massive resources to drive up production of agricultural commodities to be exported for luxury use, especially for cheap meat and processed goods for Westerners. This, self-evidently, does not exist as food for the people of these places. On the contrary it represents nothing more or less than the destruction of their ability to produce food and their ability to eat.
 
By 1990 at the latest it was clear that the Green Revolution had no goal of decreasing hunger and helping farmers, but on the contrary was dedicated to economically destroying the farmers and driving them and their people off the land and into the terminal poverty of the shantytowns. Corporate agriculture is dedicated to increasing hunger and bringing famine. This is its systematically attained result, therefore this is its strictly proven intent and goal.
 
Today Africa, so many times ravaged by Western predation, is again under the gun. This time nothing less than the control of its very ability to farm and eat, today and for the future, is at stake. The “Second Green Revolution” already underway in parts of Africa is the greatest crime of our age.
 
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.
 
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, 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 where it comes to the sheer amount of food produced. We produce far more than enough food for everyone. 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 twist and contort 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. Agroecology is already accomplishing great things in Africa.
 
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.
 
 
 
 
 
 

January 3, 2017

For An Introduction, Poison vs. Evolution

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The law and culture of Gaia’s ecology is the framework for human citizenship on Earth. Civilization enhances ecology where it upholds this law and embodies this culture. Today humanity and ecology alike stagger as slaves in a wilderness, beaten and insulted by the barbarism of a civilization berserk in its rebellion against the very womb which feeds it. This is a civilization gone mad.
 
This madness is driven by humanity’s depraved creation of “corporate persons” and the exaltation of these entities as tyrants over all actual human beings. By any measure, religious or secular, this has been a summoning of demons, and for as long as humans believe in them and worship them the demons are real with incredible power for evil. The evil they’ve done has been devastating, and the evil they yet intend is unfathomable.
 
Today the true human and citizen of the Earth is a voice crying out from the wilderness of barbarism. Today there can be only one call: Prepare the way of the Earth. Because all which is sustained by the finite and fleeting fossil fuel hoard, the entirety of the fossil fuel civilization, its energy and agriculture, cannot be sustained. All must soon collapse and destroy itself forever. If the faithful remnant of humanity prepares nothing, builds nothing in anticipation, the final immolation will leave nothing but the ashes.
 
What is fossil-fueled corporate civilization doing to Gaia’s ecology? We humans have always modified our environments with predictable as well as predictably incalculable direct and reverberation effects. Indeed, the grammar which makes us tend to separate “the organism” from “the environment” is scientifically and philosophically wrong. There’s no such delineation. Organisms interact with and change and are changed by their environments, which are inextricable working parts of “the” environment as a whole. Each species is an active participant in its environment, a participatory citizen of this ecological polity, an integral action amid the vast commonwealth of the Earth.
 
But the modification which industrial civilization has been able to undertake, afforded by the one-off spending of our inheritance, the fossil fuel residue of billions of years of extremely refined sunlight, is at such a higher order of magnitude than the historical norm as to be qualitatively different from this norm. The “Anthropocene” scam is designed to absolve industrialization and capitalism of any absolutely unsustainable level of destructiveness, and to justify continuing with business as usual. But to leap from a thousand foot cliff is very different from undergoing a two foot drop.
 
What are we doing to Gaia, this Earth, our only womb and home for the rest of our human journey? The environmental chaos of climate change is already rending the Earth and will only get much worse. This is the thrashing of a body trapped in an oven while the temperature rises and rises and rises. The physical and psychological agony is profound, and the potential chaos can only become more kinetic in every way as the system is ever more energized by the embodied violence our fuel-burning and soil-ravaging corporate industry keeps pumping into it.
 
All the networked organisms of the ecological system are always reacting to changes in temperature, and climate change has always occurred naturally. The organic reactions generally sum up to relative stability over evolutionary time, and this is part of the process of evolution. This evolutionary process, in climate and ecology, would have proceeded naturally in recent centuries as well.
 
But where the change radically overleaps the dampening effect of evolutionary time including its many safeguards and diminishing feedback loops, especially where this radical change is combined with many other drivers of chaos and destruction, the network becomes overstressed as many component organisms find it difficult or impossible to adapt. Civilized humans, and people subject to corporate imperial civilization, are the most vulnerable of these organisms. The emission waste from the industrial burning of fossil fuels and destruction of carbon sinks (natural processes generate little or no waste) comprises an absolutely different order of magnitude and a qualitative difference in the speed and extremity of modern artificial climate change.
 
Those who deny this, who deny the time element of evolution’s process of simmering and adjustment, are the most irrational and destructive kind of evolution denier, far worse and more ignorant than religious creationist types.
 
(Whether or not a process generates waste, defined here as a by-product the ecological system cannot readily assimilate, is a criterion for distinguishing ecological vs. anti-ecological processes. The more usual attempt to distinguish “natural” vs. “artificial” is an unfruitful diversion. While as a rule there cannot persist a natural process which is anti-ecological, artifices can be ecological or anti-ecological. As examples of the latter, human-artificed industrial processes often produce massive, toxic waste. Agroecology is the best example of an ecological artifice.)
 
Industrial consumption of water, especially for industrial agriculture, and personal luxury consumption are rapidly depleting the fossil aquifers which originally filled over geologic time. This depletion proceeds in the same way we’re depleting the fossil fuel principal. Since the water cycle can recycle only a finite amount of water, far less than we use, the rest is effectively lost to us after at most a few usages as it empties into the oceans.
 
Those who deny this, or who deny fossil fuel depletion, are simply denying the very existence of geologic time. They blaspheme against the actual Gaian creation with the exact same mindset as those who believe the Earth is 5000 years old. They’re the Oil Creationists, the Water Creationists. Again, their version of creationism is the most ignorant, irrational, and destructive. We do indeed need an evolution education movement, and its main target must be the false teachings of those who deny evolution because of corporate and techno-cultist faith.
 
We are decimating Gaia’s biodiversity and habitats. At any ecological level, from the microscopic to the global, from the most pristine wilderness to agriculture (these are all interlinked and are divided here only into broad, convenient conceptual groupings), the more diverse and multi-linked the networks, the more resilient, robust, complex, adaptable, and therefore healthy the organic network is. As we started out saying, the network itself is a collective organism. By contrast, the more denuded and simplified the interconnections become, the more they become vulnerable, inflexible, calcified, maladaptive, inherently unhealthy and exposed to predation and disease.
 
There’s another kind of Creationist (usually the same person, of course) who believes there’s the water he poisons, and a “different”, separate, Specially Created Water which is reserved for himself, his kind, their families. Same for the air they poison and the Specially Created Air, the Specially Created Food, the Specially Created Soil, and in general the Specially Created Earth, which is different and separate from the Gaia these Poisoners ravage and are attempting to murder.
 
Indeed they are attempting universal murder by poison. The entire corporate industrial system has a poison mandate at its core. Its core goal is to supply poisons and generate, by force where necessary, markets for these and deployment of them. This has many metaphorical applications, but today I’m speaking in the most physical sense. Poison-based agriculture is the core activism of corporate globalization, and in the end the entire structure will stand or fall based on capitalism’s ability to sustain this poison imperative. The proximate goal is to destroy everything which lives on Earth, figuratively and physically, except what’s functional toward corporate domination.
 
We’re already seeing the physical ravages, as the ever-compounding poison load destroys human, animal, and environmental health. Everywhere these poisons are deployed we see the surge of cancer, birth defects, every kind of reproductive and developmental disease, neurodisease, allergies and other autoimmune disease, respiratory and digestive ailments, hormonal and neurotransmitter chaos, genetic damage, and myriad acute symptoms. All these are iterated at every scale, from the bacterial, where antibiotic-resistant pathogens are boosted, beneficial gut and soil bacteria suppressed; to the complex organic, where the networked diversity of life has more and more of its bonds frayed and broken completely as the poison load accumulates in organic tissues and, as an expanded mutation load, in the genes, as well as wreaking havoc with the endocrine, neurotransmission, and immune systems of organisms; to the global, as vast amounts of arable soil and groundwater are toxified, their microbial ecosystems decimated, the oceans are blemished with dead zones expanding from the great estuaries, as just the most visible leading edge of the oceanic toxification, and all the ecosystems which ramify from these are crippled by the poisoning of the foundation.
 
All environmental crises and all hunger on Earth are driven completely by globalization, and most of all by commodity agriculture. There is no human or environmental problem which would not disappear completely or be greatly mitigated if humanity were to abolish corporate industrial agriculture. And we would prosper in every physical, psychological, and spiritual way. The abolition of the corporate demons is the great necessity, preliminary to the great affirmative preparation of the Earth for the ecological human age to which we must evolve or perish completely.
 
Corporate industrial agriculture seizes all the best land, drives the people and their food production onto marginal lands and into forests, or else off the land completely into shantytowns. Corporate agriculture is the worst emitter of greenhouse gases and destroyer of carbon sinks. Along with industrial loggers it destroys the rain forests. It destroys the grasslands. It is dedicated to maximizing the use of poisons which toxify the soils, waters, air, and food. Poison-based agriculture is the worst driver of climate change, the worst destroyer of forest and grassland and all other habitats, the worst destroyer of biodiversity and driver of the modern era’s mass extinction, the worst poisoner of every element of the environment right down to our very bodies. Poison-based agriculture is pure evil, has zero purpose, zero rationale, zero redeeming qualities. It must be abolished completely. There is no goal as critical, no need as pressing, no imperative as severe. This abolition imperative encompasses all other goals, all of which are in line with it or would be meaningless without it. Only the parasite squatters on the planet’s surface, those who have renounced their ecological and therefore human citizenship, would dispute this.
 
Capitalist industrialization, globalization, corporate rule, scientism and technocracy, most of all where these crystallize as the Poisoner and monoculture campaigns of corporate industrial agriculture, systematically and willfully destroy all biodiversity and the entire basis of organic resiliency and health. This will to destruction and monoculture has always been characteristic of tyranny, but only in the modern era have the aspiring tyrants been able to deploy such destructive force with the hope of wiping out everything which is not under the most physical direct control and manipulation of the tyrants and their engineer lackeys.
 
In all these ways corporate barbarism pumps ever more potential energy into the system. It pumps its poison, its greed, its powerlust, its gluttony, its violence, its sadism, its hatred, its anguish, its despair.
 
This, most of all, is the joint assassination attempt upon humanity and the Earth being conducted by the corporate and techno-cultist Poisoners. Humanity must act in the same self-defense vs. this murder attempt as any intrepid individual or group would against any other.
 
They are cancer.
 
What do you do when you’re suffering heat exhaustion? First thing, you stop throwing fuel on the bonfire. What do you do when you’re dying of thirst in the desert? You stop pouring your water out onto the sand. What do you do when you’ve ingested poison and become violently ill? You stop drinking the poison. When you’ve damaged or destroyed so many of the things you depend upon for your very life? And all the things you love? You stop destroying, and start fixing what you broke. And you seek the antidote for the poison. And you drink salubrious refreshing water. And you douse the flames and welcome a cool breeze.
 
These are what humanity must do in order to save the Earth for our time and prepare for the next age, the age of Gaia, the ecological age. This salvation is necessary for the entire weave of life, but most of all for its most frayed, vulnerable thread – our own species. In the long run Gaia will recover from us and continue as she was, whether we save ourselves or not. But unless we take the necessary cooperative action now, we shall not be part of this recovery. As I’ve written of many times before, the first step toward ultimate destruction will be the full dominion of the corporations. This will be political tyranny and economic enslavement. But this will be followed shortly by physical death.
 
Let us change from this future. We start by changing our minds. From there, as Shakespeare wrote it, “All things are ready if our minds be so.” All the ideas, the entire system of reason, science, and morality, starting with agroecology and food sovereignty, are fully demonstrated and ready for the entire human and ecological deployment all over the world. All the resources for today and the future are available and waiting. All that’s been lacking is sufficient will and organization. All that’s lacking is the spirit, the faith, the action of faith.
 
 
 
 
 
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