Volatility

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.
 
 

November 12, 2016

What is “States’ Rights”?

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And so once again we see lots of rhetoric about “states rights”. What does this term mean? I’ll begin by describing the principle of it, insofar as I can deduce any principle from the rather inchoate rhetoric of its proponents. Of course what it’s really supposed to mean in practice is something different, i.e. the usual collaboration with corporations.
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1. It makes a fetish of lines drawn on a map rather than any value derived from morality or reason.
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2. It does not want to be rational and base political units on watersheds or foodsheds.
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3. It is a form of pure statism which wants arbitrarily to centralize beyond rationally defined boundaries for no purpose other than to concentrate power.
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4. It differs from other pure statists in that it wants arbitrarily to halt the centralization at some point rather than expand this indefinitely. Lacking any other basis for where to call a halt, it chooses the arbitrary borders* of US states as the place to do this.
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[*There’s a few state borderlines which run along the crests of mountain ranges where streams divide, and thus in themselves are rational. But these are never organically part of any larger rational system of borders. Meanwhile far more common is the actively irrational practice of using rivers themselves as legal-political borders. This is worse than purely arbitrary; it aggressively splits reason in half.]
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So there it is. States rights ideology is based on two arbitrary leaps. First, it arbitrarily wants to centralize beyond rational boundaries and without regard for any rational or moral value. It has this in common with other forms of statism. Second, and contrary to conventional statism, it arbitrarily wants to halt the centralizing process somewhere short of however far power can concentrate itself.
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Some may say I’m leaving something out, that states rights does have a value, the value of constitutionalism. Allegedly, in exalting the tenth amendment this is trying to recapture the true spirit of the 1788 constitution.
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The most obvious refutation of this is that states righters, like everyone else who claims the constitution as a value, seem to care little to nothing about other core elements of the constitution such as those which would make the imperial army, the police state ,and the prison-industrial complex impossible, nor do they seem concerned to take back the constitution from corporate abusers. (For this, one must look to the community rights movement.) So in idolizing the constitution the states rights types are really just cherry-picking.
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And indeed, should the 1788 constitution, conceived by elites for the avowed purpose of quashing the American Revolution and building a continental empire (both Hamilton and Madison say so in the Federalist papers), be an object of idolatry in the first place? The fact is that constitution-worship is no value in itself for anyone, but rather is always a stalking horse for other, usually pro-corporate agendas. Of course the constitutional conventioneers accepted the Bill of Rights in the first place only under duress and only because they were confident that the authoritarian centralizing campaign enshrined in the main articles of the document wouldn’t unduly be hindered by what they saw as a pointless sop. And so it has been.
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Nor do I see any reason to think the states rights people have any greater respect than conventional centralizing statists do for the vastly more rational and morally coherent philosophy of community rights. If anything, the states rights types might be even more aggressive in wanting to allow/help corporations to devastate communities.
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Obviously in practice the notion of state rights is just like the constitution, or law, or property, or “free trade”, or “science”, or “the free press” or what have you. It’s propagated by corporate elites and meant to be used and abused, regarded and disregarded, in a purely cynical, tactical way according to whatever maximizes corporate domination.
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By fetishizing a purely arbitrary legally-defined border and caring zero for reason or any moral value, the “state rights” notion is especially useful for this corporate purpose. In this way it goes well with the most vile feral scam of all, “libertarianism”, which wants direct corporate dictatorship and uses the rhetoric of “freedom” to mean “freedom from all mutual responsibility, freedom from all human community, from all moral and rational values, license for total exploitation and theft, for those who are already rich.” Of course corporations are nothing more or less than creations and extensions of government, so to be for corporate power is by definition to be for big government, while to be against big government has to mean wanting to abolish government’s corporate power. That’s why it’s called the corporate state, a monolith. How in principle libertarians can be simultaneously for and against the most vile extremes of big government remains one of the mysteries of the universe. Of course the simple truth is that they’re liars. If they weren’t they’d be anarchists.
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Getting back to the state righters, I suppose many of them have the temperament which, among national groups, tends to manifest as nationalism. But, in spite of lots of idiotic rhetoric from conservatives and liberals alike, there is so far no such thing as an American nation, nor can a new nation ever cohere under the conditions of corporate globalization. Indeed, globalization’s basic thrust is to eradicate all human modes except that of the atomized individual, all alone in body and soul, facing the awesome might of the corporate demon. Never forget, anyone who in any way speaks against movement solidarity and organization as such is doing the work of the corporate Satan. (It should be needless to say that any political philosophy which explicitly or implicitly says voting is the be-all and end-all is part of this corporate assault.) Anyone who dreams of an American nation must commit to the total abolition of corporate rule as a prerequisite.
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It’s possible such an abolitionist movement itself can be a strong point where such a national consciousness can begin to cohere.
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Humanity and the Earth need a new movement based on a complete organic embrace of human values and reason, on the new idea necessary for a new beginning as natural history soon resumes after the berserk digression of the fossil fuel binge. And we need a movement basis which totally rejects and condemns all the lies and stupidities of the corporate global “order”. We must form the adamant core of the affirmation and the inexorable force of the negation. Anything which can be used toward these great goals may be used, but only in the right ways. The wrong ways also are for the flames.
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We have a long, hard road ahead. The necessary work is only beginning. It will continue at its necessary pace without regard for the idiocies of superficial “politics” and false “culture”. There we see nothing but decadent barbarism. The corporate age was always evil, and now it becomes ever more rancid. Sometimes it seems human beings need gas masks. It’s hard to tell what’s worse, the physical poisons or the spiritual ones.
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But the eternal wind, the wind of the spirit which nourishes and cleanses and carries us always between and through the home to which we’re heading and the home we never left, never stopped flowing. Briefly amid the din of Babylon we were unable to hear it and lost knowledge of whence and where it blows. But the strains of the new song are starting to come through.
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October 27, 2016

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

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Have to be hid in attics from Big Ag.

Have to be hid from Big Ag in attics.

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1. The case of Mark Baker may seem to be extreme, but it’s also typical of the attitude of corporate agriculture’s servant bureaucracies toward the rising Community Food sector, the most clear and present danger to the continued domination of poison-based agriculture and corporate “food”. What Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is trying to do to heritage pig farmer Baker is typical of many other cases of federal* and state thugs attempting, legally and illegally, to destroy our movement. In their minds the bureaucrats, from the lowest state thug to the federal agriculture secretary himself, are completely eradicating Community Food by whatever means necessary. In practice they’ll do so by whatever means are possible.
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This means whatever’s politically possible. The measure of that will be how intrepidly growers and citizens of food (that ought to be all Americans, though so far it’s still far too few) affirmatively organize ourselves to take back the land and grow real crops and distribute real food, and how fiercely we fight back against the corporate state’s attempt to destroy all we’re building.
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*For example the FDA, which bizarrely is much beloved among “anti-GMO” people and among the NGOs which usually claim to support Community Food but which turned around and abetted Monsanto’s “Food Safety Modernization Act.” (FSMA).
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2. From the outset of the pro-marijuana movement there were many who strongly insisted on the word and concept “decriminalization” rather than “legalization”. In addition to the philosophical implications of the difference, we see the very practical, big difference between legalization under corporate control only vs. true decriminalization, i.e. control in the hands of the people.
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This distinction can be applied very widely. For example, GMOs don’t naturally exist nor is it a simple, inexpensive thing to create them. Rather they had to be very aggressively legalized through corporate welfare, radical changes in patent law, changes in regulatory law and disregard of existing law by regulators. They could easily be abolished simply by removing the Rube Goldberg legalization structure they depend upon. No corporate welfare, no GMOs. No patents, no GMOs. In that case a legal ban would be redundant, although a legal ban would simply de-legalize something that was a purely fabricated, “legalized” government confection in the first place. This also shoots down the dumbest objection to labeling, that it’s “government interference”. No, the government massively interferes by artificially building the astronomically expensive structure that sustains GMOs in the first place. Think of it as a trillion dollar greenhouse the taxpayers pay for. Is the hothouse flower being grown within a natural creation of a “free market”?
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Here I’m applying to GMOs an analysis I first developed for everything Wall Street does. (I wrote about it in dozens of posts, go check ’em out. Like this one.) Un-legalize the legalized gambling the big banks do, and Wall Street will cease to exist. Finis. The same goes for much of the rest of Mammon’s evils.
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3. With this conventionally bred “orange maize” we once again have proof of one of the iron laws of GMOs, proven anew every time: Where it comes to any GMO touted for its alleged “product quality” (nutrition, taste, storability, etc.) or “agronomic trait” (drought resistance, etc.), there already exists a better, higher quality, safer, less expensive non-GM version. There are no exceptions. (And then the GM version is more often than not a hoax anyway. “Golden rice” in particular is one of the most flamboyant media hoaxes in modern memory.)
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The piece I linked demonstrates the pitfall of wanting to imitate the corporate hype surrounding techno-miracles, merely counterpoising “alternative” miracles which are otherwise just as unanchored, uncontexted, and imply that silver bullet solutions are possible. (The piece and GMWatch’s commentary keeps calling such varieties “enriched” and “fortified”. If they inherently contain the nutrient out of conventional breeding they’re neither.)
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It’s constructive to talk about these non-GM anodynes only within the context of stressing that all problems of diet and hunger are caused completely by poison-based commodity agriculture itself and can be solved only by restoring community food production and distribution, as is ecologically and economically natural. But then the orange maize is a product of the corporate state’s CGIAR “HarvestPlus” project and therefore is designed to be perceived only as an anodyne within the context of continued globalization.
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As we see with these examples, this kind of project can bring results which the people can then put to good use, and indeed the piece says the Zambian government claims it will prevent export commodity production of the orange maize but instead reserve it for national food production. That’s an excellent idea, and a motivated, well-organized, vigilant people can maintain control of such agronomic research and development and see to it that these products truly are advances. But a prerequisite is to understand clearly that where it comes to a putative public-private partnership like this, the developers themselves regard everything we’re talking about here as a transitional stage and fringe benefit at best, and more likely a propaganda front. The real goal, as with every other globalization project, no matter how ostensibly “public” and “national” in its form, and no matter what the PR presentation, is patent-based, profiteering commodity production. Again, golden rice provides the original template, with Syngenta claiming it would forego its patent prerogatives (but with lots of fine print the newspapers didn’t mention), while at the same time the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the “public” front of the Syngenta/Gates campaign and actual developer of the pseudo-rice, has explicitly reserved the right to take out patents of its own. This too is just another permutation of the corporation retaining all control and freedom of action.
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See here for the same dynamic in the case of the African project to develop “drought-resistant maize”, another Syngenta/Gates campaign.
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The takeaway: Don’t trust anything the corporate-controlled system does, because it’s not meant for us, and by us I mean humanity. The projects of the corporate system, no matter what the nominal form of the organization leading the project or performing the action, are corporate projects being done under corporate control toward corporate goals. No self-respecting big shareholder would ever settle for less in any of these cases.
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The takeaway: As always, we the people need our own organizations, our own projects, our own actions, our own movement.
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October 16, 2016

Black Horse Chronicle, October 16th. The Sin Against the Earth (With Special Reference to Monsanto)

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Can Wormwood baptize? I think not.

Can Wormwood baptize? I think not.

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A sin against the Earth is a sin against Humanity is a sin against God, just as a good work for one is a good work for all. “As you did for the least of these, you did for me.” (Matthew 25.40,45)
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In the West we no longer have the concept of crimes against God (although there’s plenty of passion for criminalizing contempt of the idols of the various pseudo-secular religions of the day), but we do have the concept of crimes against humanity. These crimes are being documented by the International Monsanto Tribunal, just as they have been documented abundantly for over eighty years.
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But as yet we don’t have the concept of crimes against ecology. We must understand, punish, and prevent such crimes, for Gaia’s own sake and because humanity is inextricably bound up with regional and global ecologies. This means that any crime against ecology is automatically a crime against humanity as well and must be dealt with as such.
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Only a movement dedicated to such necessary redemptive ideas fired by the faith and will to see them through to the end can be adequate to the crisis of the age. One of the potential blessings of this trial is its opportunity to name Monsanto’s ecocide a world-historical crime and to propagate this name and this truth, and the truth of the idea of crimes against the Earth as such, as a spiritual and political necessity.
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Some of the organizers and witnesses do seem to view this as a preliminary to eventual force-of-law tribunals. It would be even better if people viewed it as a fully legitimate tribunal in the absence of Babylon’s abdicated “law”, promising to apply the judgement as soon as true law is constituted by God and the people. Of course the moral legitimacy of the tribunal can be established only by the integrity of its procedure and its self-confident willingness to follow through to the end.
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Globalized organized crime against the Earth is standard for Babylon, whose criminality is based always on robbery. A small gang of thieves steal massively from humanity and even more from the earth.
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We must learn and live the truth that the ecology itself does almost all the work for humanity, which we then supplement. This sums up the infinite depravity and sinfulness of Mammon, for it rewards only the most useless and destructive sliver of what’s a small input of work in the first place, while taking the bulk for granted, and more often actively degrading and destroying it.
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This sin against the Earth is sin against Humanity, and each is sin against God, for these three are unified in one Ecotrinity.
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October 3, 2016

GMO Labeling Post Mortem, October 2016

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I don’t expect to write much going forward about GMO labeling. This is a post mortem, as labelism is dead and well buried, though it still may persist as an undead notion. By now we’re clear it was always the wrong idea and the wrong direction. Only various mistakes kept it in play at all. I myself was supportive in public beyond my stage of ambivalence in mind, and ambivalent in public beyond my stage of opposition in mind. I did this out of a misguided wish for concord, and the misguided belief that rational debate was possible on the subject.
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But it turned out such debate was always impossible, as I could never find anyone who was willing to defend the labelist position with argument and evidence. As for concord, I finally realize that concord centered upon a false idea is merely false concord which accomplishes nothing. (In all this I’m talking about people who embrace error as an article of faith and treat reality-based evidence accordingly.) On the contrary, one must insist first upon the right idea, then seek agreement upon it. Agreement centered upon error is simply error. It’s worthless and worse than worthless.
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Thus to reprise. These ideas predate and put in context the summer’s DARK Act debacle, always predicted by me and a few others. Fighting on an untenable line, refusing to move to more secure ground, they got the worst of all results. But this goes far beyond the DARK Act.
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This is an synthesis of what I’ve seen with my own eyes but doesn’t necessarily apply in toto to any particular rank and file person, though it certainly does apply to various system NGOs and especially to fraudulent corporate labelists from Big Food and Big Organic. Take this as a broadside against the “movement” Leaders and all who follow them.
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1. In my experience labeling advocates give every indication of wanting a label only, and as a rule will say “label then ban” only when ban advocates speak up. It seems very much an afterthought.
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2. As far as the canard that no one has a plan, if I must say so myself I’ve presented the only fully developed and coherent strategy which I’ve seen for how to accomplish the necessary goal of abolishing GMOs and pesticides. Meanwhile I’ve seen nothing but magical thinking from label advocates regarding how labeling is supposed to lead to ending GMOs. At most they offer a poorly drawn analogy with Europe. Of course they have zero idea where it comes to the more important necessity of abolishing pesticides.
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(In fact I don’t believe most labeling advocates when they claim to care about eventual abolition. I think they fantasize about real labels which would tell us everything that’s in a food, and advocating for this makes for great do-gooderism, but from there they’d leave it to the marketplace. If you have money to buy the good stuff, great. If not, tough. So, much like with many who say “let them eat organic”, I suspect many of the labelists of having the standard attitude “I’ve got mine Jack, screw you.”)
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3. Indeed, labeling advocates offer zero reply when you ask how we’re even supposed to get real labeling. Even Vermont’s law was full of loopholes, and GMOs are a very fast-moving target. What about NBTs? What about the fact that the “adventitious presence” which will be allowed before a label has to be applied will keep being raised by the label regulator in the same way they mechanically raise pesticide “tolerances”? These are just two of the things which render effective labeling impossible in practice. But ask label advocates what THEIR plan is to counteract this and you’ll get only crickets.
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4. To the best of my knowledge, I’m also the only writer who has published an analysis and theory for why, after the labeling idea always polls so well at first, people end up voting against it. Needless to say the answer isn’t “because of the GMA’s money”. That’s just begging the same question rephrased – why do so many people believe such obvious lies? The answer goes again to the inadequacy of the labeling idea as framed by these campaigns, a political inadequacy. But invite labeling advocates to respond to this and there’s nothing but crickets.
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5. I guess this inability to reply to questions is why the GMO Free USA Facebook group <a href="“>refused to publish several of my pieces. That’s when the term political monoculturist first occurred to me to describe most labelists.
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Here’s a basic question for everyone: Do you believe the anti-poison movement needs to thrash out all its questions in order to reach the right ideas and goals, or is labeling just a God-given dogma never to be questioned? Labeling of course is an idea which made some sense back in the mid 1990s, but seems to incarnate an extreme rut by now. Does this movement have any ability to learn and develop?
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Related to this: Do you believe the anti-poison cause thrives by driving controversy as hard as it can, or do you agree with Mark Lynas, the Cornell propaganda alliance, Vilsack and the Faber-types that the goal must be compromise and co-existence?
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6. My own position since I published my first series on labeling in 2013 had been: Support the state level movement, but labeling is insufficient and therefore labeling campaigns and/or policy must be seen only as partial steps toward abolition. But preemption seeks the death of the movement, and anyone who wants a preemptive FDA policy is Monsanto’s friend. Labeling, in principle, in practice, and in the act of fighting for it, can be worthwhile only in its state-level form. No one should want the federal government involved at all, and I don’t see how it’s possible that anyone who actually knows the slightest thing about the FDA, or who is the slightest bit sincere about principles like a “right to know”, would regard FDA preemption as anything but anathema.
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7. Thus my final disillusionment with most labeling supporters came when they slobbered all over the Campbell’s scam, and it turned out that almost all of them want a preemptive FDA policy just as long as the shiny dangly word “mandatory” can be put on it. Never mind that the FDA is 100% pro-GMO and would never under any circumstances promulgate anything but a weak, sham policy whose main purpose would be to preempt any better policy. The FDA would of course do nothing but enact the GMA’s proposed fake standards.
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That in turn led me to revisit the labeling idea as such, where I analyzed the many ways in which it’s just a bad idea and a rat trap for movement energies, to the extent those energies really exist as a political, democracy force, and not just as consumerist whining within a technocratic mindset more in tune with Monsanto than with any real vision for a transformed agriculture and food system. Even though most people claim to disparage Scott Faber, there’s a reason he and the likes of him are nevertheless able to function as labeling movement “representatives”. It’s because they are truly representative of most labeling advocates. They represent the technocratic ideology and the basic will toward “compromise” and wanting to believe in “co-existence”.
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Everyone claims to agree that co-existence with GMOs and pesticides is impossible. But people’s actions contradict this. Labeling in principle is part of a co-existence framework.
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8. Would someone please explain the bizarre cult of the FDA among labeling advocates? As best as I can piece it together, they believe there’s two completely different FDAs, the “bad” FDA of substantial equivalence and GMOs-are-GRAS, and the “good” FDA which they want to put in charge of labeling and give preemptive power over states and counties. But in reality there’s only one FDA, and it’s extremely pro-GMO right to its ideological and institutional core. It’s pure lunacy (or treachery) to want ANY kind of FDA policy, including the soft-DARK Merkley version of faux-mandatory federal bills.
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9. As for the canned talking point that “the DARK Act and TPP would prevent bans too”, number one this implies another falsehood. Abolitionists don’t say “don’t bother fighting the DARK Act”. We do point out that evidently labelists intend to keep fighting this same war of attrition over and over again ad nauseum until the thing inevitably passes one of these times. [As it did in summer 2016.] Is that really where people want to remain, perpetually on defense? Again we see what a rut the whole thing has become. Number two, it demonstrates the extremely narrow, legalist, consumerist ideology of labeling.
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When the DARK Act and/or TPP pass, that’s when the real nullification struggle would have to begin. That’s how a real pro-democracy and/or abolition fighter would see it. When the DARK Act passes, who would then be willing to fight it in terms of constitutional defiance and civil disobedience? And who would be willing to fight the TPP? Only those who were real grassroots fighters in the first place. The same grassroots who seem to be so despised by most labelists. On the other hand, the kind of person who’s so exhausted by the labeling campaign that they want to wash their hands of it and hand it over to the FDA is an unlikely candidate ever really to fight for anything.
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10. I have to mention that when I first started learning about GMOs and found that labeling was the near-consensus goal, I was taken aback by the extreme contrast between the dire forecasts about the dangers of pesticides and GMOs, and such a lame proposal as far as what to do about it. It seems hard to believe people really believe all the things they’re saying.
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Do you believe Roundup causes cancer or not? The actions of labeling advocates seem to contradict their words on this.
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The fact is that compromise would be impossible even if anyone on the pro-GMO side, such as Vilsack or the FDA, really wanted to compromise. But they don’t want to, and all their versions of “compromise” are lies. Co-existence is impossible, physically or politically. Pesticides are literally murdering us in real time. The fact is that total abolition is the necessary goal, and anything else, including labeling, must never be viewed “in itself” but only in terms of “does this help or hinder us in the necessary motion toward the abolition goal?”
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There’s no doubt whatsoever that ANY FDA policy which would preempt the states or anything else below the central government level would be a great hindrance. The entire history of grassroots movements proves this. Lynas and Campbell’s fully expect that a preemptive sham-“mandatory” FDA policy would destroy the movement once and for all. Many labeling advocates seem to agree that they want the whole controversy and struggle to just “end”, no matter how.
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So I look again at the position I developed from the start: Abolition is the necessary goal, the state-level labeling movement can help toward this goal, FDA preemption is absolutely wrong and evil in every way. So my only “anti-labeling” action is my opposition to any FDA preemption. But since support for preemption is tantamount to betrayal of everything which labeling advocates themselves claim to want in principle, it’s they who are splitting from the movement, or hijacking it, and seeking some kind of meeting of the ways with the likes of the GMA and Lynas.
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Today I modify this since I recognize that labeling was always the wrong idea in principle, and that it was always a vain hope that activists and advocates would treat the campaigns as abolitionist consciousness-raising events, as opposed to exalting the labeling fantasy for its own sake. Most of all, it was a fantasy on my part to think that any significant proportion of labelists would firmly reject FDA preemption. After all, the kind of person who would reject this would have been unlikely to commit to such a picayune consumerist program in the first place. The real abolitionists, if they’re ever to exist in the West, will have to come from elsewhere.
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So I now reject labelism in principle and would teach anyone to embrace a more holistic, fully ecological philosophy, based in knowledge of history, politics, science, and human psychology, which would compel the one and only idea of abolitionism and the one and only prescription of fighting relentlessly for abolition, with no compromises.
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Of course I respect the decision of anyone who opposes preemption and wants to continue to fight for labeling at the state level. Although it seems like that position is no longer around. I never saw anyone who had fought in Vermont giving their viewpoint on the near-consensus, among both labeling opponents and advocates, that their law represents some kind of loathesome “patchwork” which needs to be purged one way or another. Was I alone in sincerely wanting the Vermont law to go into effect? It seems like I was.
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Well, this whole FDA/Scambell’s/DARK Act debacle is all the more reason to grow out of the entire labeling concept and move on to more practically aggressive and politically smarter ideas and modes of organization.
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October 2, 2016

Moonshine Eugenics

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Heard of bathtub hooch? I like the Simpsons episode where Marge has to complain, “Homer, your homemade liquor is exploding again.” And then there’s the way it strikes drinkers blind or gives them lead poisoning.
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Well, looks like we’re going to have lots of Homer Simpsons whipping themselves up some bathtub Frankenstein monsters – plants, animals, their own children, even the sky’s no limit, as the scientism cult chants. According to the hype for these Do-It-Yourself Eugenics kits, random scumbags will be able to take a break from their meth labs to tinker with genetic engineering and environmental release right from their basements. (Not that corporate deployment is any less sloppy or reckless.) In discussing a lukewarm UK “bioethics” report, GMWatch gives as one of the reasons for the lameness of the recommendations: “tighten[ing] regulation in this field….would increase public alarm about the risks of gene editing at a time when the UK government wants to reassure people of the safety of the technology…”
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It’s probably true the British government, media, and science establishment are concerned about this possibility. But it seems to me that we could turn that around on them, saying to the people, “You were already worried about the corporate system’s GMOs. Now look at what a chaotic, deranged free-for-all genetic engineering is becoming. It’s like you feared all along – it’s complete recklessness and chaos, there’s zero controls, and literally no one has the slightest idea what they’re doing, how extremely dangerous this all is, or how horrific the effects are going to be.”
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The most vile thing is that the kits are designed to generate antibiotic resistant E. coli, just for the fun of it. If you weren’t already convinced by systematic antibiotic abuse in CAFOs and regular genetic engineering, are you now convinced that governments, corporations, and scientists are systematically working to eradicate antibiotics as an effective medical treatment, because they want this type of medicine to cease to exist.
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I say each and every person involved in any aspect of any of these campaigns to eradicate antibiotics is guilty of first degree murder in each and every case where someone’s death is related to antibiotic resistant bacteria, and of assault or attempted murder in each and every non-lethal case. I also apply full civil liability to each and every individual involved. These criminal and civil liabilities follow from strict application of conspiracy law. Certainly each and every one of them knows exactly what he or she is doing.
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Where it comes to all these crimes, we are far, far past the point of ignorance or honest confusion.
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March 18, 2016

GMO News Summary March 18th, 2016

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*Imagine if every American who claimed to believe in property rights, and who claimed to believe that trespassers, vandals, and assailants should be punished, would be serious and actually apply that to real cases like poison drift. Imagine if America really believed in this kind of property right and really thought there was no right to trespass and destroy. Just one of many reasons pesticides could never have gotten started in the first place if this was a rational, moral society.
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*Demand for non-GM conventional maize, soy, and other crops has been growing in recent years. Farmers who can deliver non-contaminated shipments are offered premiums by an increasing number of processors and manufacturers. This demand has been driven almost completely by grassroots political and consumer demand as embodied in the labeling movement and the rising abolition movement. Meanwhile farmers are also being driven away from GMOs by the overall poor and deteriorating performance of increasingly expensive GM crops. The political and consumer trend has been bolstered recently by low commodity prices, which are giving farmers an added incentive to make the switch from GM to non-GM cultivation. They look to the non-GM premium to make up for lost revenues. As a result in 2015 GM plantings in the US were stagnant for soybeans and declined for maize. But figures for both have been above 90% for years, and it’s likely that GMO cultivation has reached market saturation in the US as it has almost everywhere else on Earth. The cultural, scientific, and political movement to abolish GMOs therefore can contemplate the prospect that our main action can be to start driving back the monster, if natural and economic structural limits are already imposing a cordon on the GMO advance.
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*The Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) is dedicated to industrialized commodity cotton production. By no stretch of the imagination is it anti-GMO. Nevertheless it seems free of the religious cultism which is standard among Western regulators and researchers. It looks soberly at GMO technology, assessing it from a “rational” capitalist point of view. (That is, as rational as one can be within the insane framework of commodity agriculture.) Today the CICR is of the opinion that India will lose nothing and be better off if Monsanto were to become the first ever Galtian crybaby to actually follow through on its threat to quit and go home. In this case the tantrum and threat are because the Indian government has once again cut the tax it will allow Monsanto to exact on its seed sales. It’s quite true that India will lose nothing and be better off. But Monsanto probably won’t do us the favor of following through on its hissyfit.
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*A new industry report confirms what Charles Benbrook has been reporting for years, what Brazil’s National Cancer Institute said a year ago, and what we all know is the case, that GMOs greatly increase pesticide use. The report focuses on how GMOs have driven the great leap in glyphosate use in recent decades. The report is unrealistically optimistic about the future prospects for GMOs and glyphosate, however.
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*Thanks to pressure from labeling advocates, the Senate voted very narrowly to reject cloture on the DARK Act. It’ll be back immediately, indeed this was a procedural vote rather than a “final” vote until a new bill comes along. While I agree that the DARK Act must be opposed, this is obviously not sufficient. I note the changed concepts of what’s the basic trend and what’s a positive development: A few years ago the trend was the gradual but progressive growth of the state level labeling movement, and what was good was any progress on this front. Today the trend is an ever more obsessive focus on the pro-Monsanto central government, and what’s good is endlessly fighting off iterations of the hard version of the DARK Act while increasingly swooning over soft-DARK proposals. Axiom: Any version of FDA preemption is philosophically abhorrent and fraudulent as a practical matter, if the goal is really supposed to be a strong labeling policy as a step toward abolition. But where it comes to many labeling advocates, I increasingly doubt either of those is a real goal. Is this war of attrition, this rut, really now the measure of progress? Am I the only one who’s already extremely sick of it?
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February 24, 2016

What if They Pass the DARK Act?

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1. What would the preemption of labeling mean in itself? Labeling is not sufficient, and is conceptually flawed if envisioned as a worthwhile goal in itself. It implies the continuation of industrial agriculture and food commodification, and globalization as such. It merely seeks Better Consumerism within that framework.
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If people saw labeling as a temporary measure within the framework of an ongoing movement to abolish industrial agriculture and build Food Sovereignty, that would be good. If people saw the campaign for labeling as primarily a movement-building action, an occasion for public education, for democratic participation in a grassroots action, and to help build a permanent grassroots organization, that would be good. POE as I call it – Participation, Education, Organization.
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But labeling never could be a panacea. Especially the claim that we can expect miracles from it: Labeling = the end of Monsanto. This is highly doubtful. GMO labeling only indirectly tells us some things about the pesticide content, which is a far worse crisis. I think the most meaningful labeling campaign would have to fight for pesticide residues to be labeled/listed among the ingredients, since by any objective measure they’re intentionally inserted food additives.
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Also, just because a labeling initiative or law is passed doesn’t mean it will be enforced with any alacrity. It’s still the same old pro-Monsanto government which would be in charge of enforcement. That’s why getting an initiative or law passed would be just the first and easiest step. Then the real work of vigilance, forcing the enforcers to follow through, would begin. That, too, was a reason why the campaign needs to be, even more than just an intrinsic campaign, the building ground of a permanent grassroots organization.
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Then there’s the fact that most if not all of these initiatives and laws are riddled with loopholes, categories of food which don’t need to be labeled. That almost always includes GMO-fed meat and dairy. Actually, labeling would apply mostly to the same corporate-manufactured processed foods we ought to be getting out of our diets and economies regardless.
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When we combine the insufficient content of these labeling proposals with the fact that they are often called a self-sufficient panacea, and with the fact that the efforts have often been designed like one-off electoral campaigns rather than as processes of building permanent grassroots organizations, we can see the some of the inherent political limits of labeling campaigns.
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[See here and here for more on what the DARK Act is about; it seeks to enshrine the “voluntary” labeling sham, along with ferocious pre-emption as I described here.]
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2. The people consistently indicate that they don’t really want labeling. That is, they don’t want it as a stand-alone consumerist feature, sundered from the context of a complete affirmative (Food Sovereignty) and negative (abolitionist) movement.
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It’s clear that although the people overwhelmingly support the idea of GMO labeling in theory, their commitment to it is skin deep. As soon as the money starts flying and the propaganda noise starts booming, people are easily thrown off balance. They focus pre-existing feelings of dread on the controversy and recoil from such a meager thing as labeling, which seems to offer only a greater sense of helplessness.
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A survey done in California in September 2012 prior to the vote found that even the mention of an increase in food prices would “slightly diminish support”. This was prior to the big propaganda surge which hammered away with this lie. This musters every kind of inchoate fear. Since these days people are fearful and conservative, they shy from stimulation and don’t want anything to change. They’re easily convinced that any change will only make things worse. At any rate, they’re disinclined to undertake any change themselves. Here we have a one-off political campaign which is prone to muster elemental anxieties about poison in our food and the food we’re feeding to our children, about our ever more beleaguered personal financial position, about corporate power over us. This campaign becomes the scene of a media firestorm where people are asked, as consumers, to do nothing but vote a certain way and then implicitly to lapse back into their usual passivity. Their only payoff for having had all these fears aroused is that they gain even greater knowledge of what there is to fear, but get no new sense of what to do about any of it. Under these circumstances, is it any wonder that so many people choose to believe the lies and vote No?
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People don’t really believe the propaganda but are numbed into passivity by the volume and omnipresence of it. This is part of the job of the corporate media, to instill a sense of hopelessness in the individual, a false sense that she’s all alone with whatever objections she has, alone with whatever dissent and activism for change she’d like to undertake. The labeling campaign also instills fear about the safety of the food but doesn’t offer a productive context and course of action for this fear. It implicitly wants to leave you alone with your Yes vote and your new information.
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This is why many consumers don’t want to exercise their right to know. They’re settled in certain habits, have so many other stresses, they already know their food is poisoned and try to exist in a precarious psychological complacency about that. So they’d rather not hear about GMOs on top of everything. This supposition fits the data, that as the No propaganda surges and the noise level of the whole fight escalates, the weakly committed Yeses and the Undecided move toward No. If you’re going to stay within the bounds of passive consumerism, then does a GMO label really give you much of a new choice? Especially if you suspect, in most cases correctly, that the only result will be to discover that all your available choices have GMO labels, so that you really didn’t get more choice anyway, merely more stress.
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Labeling advocates point out that there is an individual, consumerist course of action available – change your eating habits, shun GMO products, petition manufacturers to purge them, retailers not to carry them. (Here we’re talking about doing these in an individual consumer context, not as part of a movement context.)
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But is this the likely result? What about the opposite possibility – that if labeling is enacted, people will just shrug and not change their buying and eating habits? Indeed, it might even help normalize GMOs.
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Since consumerism is inherently passive and not active, since “choice” is a pseudo-ideal that few people really want (their political and economic actions prove it), and since fear-itself induces conservatism in the choices people make, the campaign to label GMOs is bound to be at a disadvantage as soon as it becomes embroiled in a struggle. People naturally support the idea, but not enough so that they don’t abandon it as a kind of “rocking the boat” the moment they’re given a reason to fix their fears upon it.
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In itself labeling is a meager, insufficient measure. Most importantly, it’s conceptually insufficient, as it frames this critical political, socioeconomic, environmental, agronomic, and scientific issue as a matter of consumerist choice. Finally, the labeling idea is ripe to be hijacked by corporate interests or preempted by the central government, as we’re now seeing with this latest attempt in Congress.
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We can’t expect people to rouse themselves and go against the grain of their mass consciousness in any kind of ad hoc way, let alone in a way which they’ll have strong psychological reasons to resist. In order to get organic change, we first need to build an organic movement. We need to take the time and put in the work to build a movement culture where individuals find themselves as citizens, community members, members of a movement. We need to build a movement where people develop the individual self-respect to know that their action which seeks change will bring them a better world, and where they develop the political self-confidence to know that their collective action will work to bring about this bountiful change.
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We need to build a true grassroots movement, this movement has to be affirmative, and it has to seek the stark goal of total abolition of pesticides and GMOs. If we can offer people the opportunity to fight to abolish pesticides and GMOs, or to support this abolition movement with money, a vote, etc., and to do so toward affirmative goals like food freedom, food sovereignty, this offers vastly more on a psychological level than labeling by itself, which is more like yet another annoying consumer “choice”.
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(If anyone’s doubting the implicit criticism here of consumerism as such, keep in mind that poisoned food as a paradigm product class could never have arisen in the first place other than within a context of corporate/state-driven consumerism.)
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3. Consumerist labeling is really part of the “co-existence” notion. A core part of campaign rhetoric lauds “choice”, thereby echoing a standard pro-GM lie and implying that GMO agriculture can co-exist with any other kind of agricultural practice. But co-existence is impossible, politically as well as physically. Corporate agriculture envisions its own total domination of agriculture and food, and all its actions are dedicated to this goal. GMOs were developed as a classical public-private partnership and are aggressively supported by governments because they’re designed to attain the twin goals of physical (genetic) and economic (commodification and patents) domination. Therefore the only possible outcomes for humanity are complete abolition of GMOs or complete surrender to them. Given this circumstance, the constructive place of a labeling campaign or policy, or just the idea of labeling as such, is as a tactical element of the abolition movement. Anything outside of this movement context is at best a misdirection and waste of effort and time we don’t have to spare.
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4. We know the history of corporate lobbying for an FDA preemption policy, the central government’s complete support for GMO domination, its disdain for and hostility toward any meaningful labeling, the Monsanto Protection Act, and now the yearlong attempt to pass the DARK Act. We have clear proof that the central government will not allow political life and democracy to prevail on this, including at the state level, let alone the regional. Even if the DARK Act is forestalled in the Senate, the US government won’t give up. In the end, the only thing which will work will be defiance of the central government power, by whatever means, at lower government levels and especially through political action of the people from the ground up. This includes organized renunciation and replacement of the corporate industrial food system.
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If this is right, then our time requires a far more comprehensive goal.
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5. Abolitionists must use this crisis to reinforce the Community Food movement and goal. Just “buying organic” won’t suffice. Anyway much of organic is the industrial organic sector which is part of the overall corporate problem, and which has previously indicated its own desire to bring “organic” under Monsanto’s domination. We do have the Right to Know, but we’ll know little and have little until we rebuild the Community Food sector and protect it, toward the great affirmative goal of Food Sovereignty.
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We must lift our vision and expand our goal. We need the will to renew political life from the ground up, where necessary in defiance of the central government and corporate rule. We must use the government’s assaults as a political/moral lever to change the political consciousness from an individual consumerist consciousness (uncontexted labeling) to the abolitionist movement commitment, and the broader consciousness aspiring to freedom and demolishing the corporate-imposed bottlenecks against our prosperity.
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The corporate state’s goal is all-encompassing of the political and economic realms, from globalized corporate rule to strangling the rising Community Food movement in its youth. We can see how the DARK Act is not only anti-labeling but, with measures like preemption of local and state pro-democracy, anti-corporate laws, it’s also designed to provide more government power against the Community Food sector and movement as such. It will seek to do this in tandem with the Orwellianly named “Food Safety Modernization Act”, really a pro-big ag Food Control Act. But with the right kind of education campaign about how the government is trying to make it impossible for the people to know how toxic the industrial food supply is, we might be able to turn these assaults to our advantage. Certainly the one and only way to really KNOW what’s in our food and be citizens of agriculture and food production is to support local/regional retail agriculture, visit and know our farmers and processors, build up that sector. The central government and corporations are doing all they can to prove this.
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6. In the past I’ve sometimes been fatalistic about what the system “will do”, and how possible it is for political action to stop it. I’ve said things like, “the system will extract all the economically viable fossil fuels”, acknowledging various impersonal natural/physical/economic constraints on extraction while discounting political action as potentially such a natural force.
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Where it comes to fossil fuel extraction this is no doubt true for the low-hanging fruit, the reserves easiest and least expensive to extract. But as extraction proceeds along the line of deteriorating cost effectiveness, increasing complexity costs, and mounting physical difficulties, political action against it becomes more potent in proportion to the increasing overextension of its opponent. This can happen in the same way that various technical alternatives to fossil fuels become economically viable as oil prices rise.
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So it follows that corporate agriculture is finding its own position ever more costly and physically difficult to maintain, as costs increase, as natural (pest and weed) resistance mounts, as each new set of GMOs is more dubious, its economic rationale less coherent, its lies less viable, the legitimacy of establishment “science” and mainstream media more eroded, while public fear, skepticism, and opposition continue to rise. As this process evolves our action shall become more effective, and our ability to propagate all-encompassing ideas and desires more potent. There will be an ever greater will on the part of the people to organize against this enemy and to realize our affirmatives.
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In making these criticisms, I’m not disputing the basic truths of the pro-labeling argument. On the contrary, I avow these myself. I’m pointing out why, where labeling is presented as a typical ad hoc consumerist electoral campaign, rather than from within a movement context, the labeling campaigns are ineffective politics.
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At the moment the labeling campaigns comprise the main anti-GMO vehicle, and they can serve as good occasions for participation, organization, education – POE. In principle and in action abolitionists should support and join the campaigns. But we insist that labeling is insufficient, is no panacea, and that the fight for labeling is just one step toward building the consciousness toward building what’s great and necessary, a true abolition movement.
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For the moment, what’s a good proximate strategy?
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1. It’s important to defeat the DARK Act through whatever conventional within-the-system means, if possible. This is the system’s attempt to kneecap our movement through legalistic preemption. If this fails, they’ll try again, or else try for a more subtle “mandatory” scam. Anti-GMO people must reject any subsequent “softer” FDA scam, any form of DARK Act Plan B. The same goes for the TPP and TTIP, which are intended to do things like outlaw any labeling whatsoever, right down to the warnings on cigarette packages.
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If the DARK Act is passed, our campaigns must pressure the states and localities to go ahead anyway on democratic moral-political and constitutional grounds, including legal challenges (though we shouldn’t hold our breath in expectation of the court route succeeding). The central government’s ability to enforce its tyrannical policy will be a direct measure of the people’s willingness to crumble and obey, or our determination to stand tall and fight. Again, this applies most of all to globalization assaults like NAFTA, the TPP and the TTIP.
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2. Nevertheless, labeling in itself could never suffice. What we must have, what is necessary, is to drive out pesticides and GMOs completely. Indeed, the worst aspect of the DARK Act is the legal assault it would make on county-level pesticide and GMO bans.
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3. So in addition to POE, the main purpose of labeling campaigns is to provide an occasion to pressure manufacturers and retailers, and to supplement campaigns directly pressuring them.
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4. In this connection, a primary publicity component is to continue hammering away, not just at Monsanto, and not at the GMA, as for example who is providing the funding for the lawsuit against Vermont. Rather, it is Kellogg’s, Kraft, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, General Mills, General Foods, who are most responsible for inflicting these physical and political assaults upon us. The campaigns have often done a good job of this and should escalate. Combine this brand-condemning publicity campaigning and boycott organizing against these manufacturers with targeted pressure on retailers. These kinds of actions have the best track record, among reform campaigns.
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5. As I described in the strategy posts I linked here, both direct pressure and labeling advocacy must be enfolded within a comprehensive abolition movement and serve the abolition goal. Once we have a movement whose members and sympathizers see the world with the eyes of active citizens of a community, rather than with the eyes of atomized passive consumers among an unfathomable mass, then we’ll have the social foundation from which to launch any kind of political campaign. The campaigns will be organic, they’ll be part of an ongoing social and political context, and they’ll be waged and supported by citizens speaking to potential citizens who can see the living reality of the movement before them, rather than just a seemingly disposable campaign and stand-alone ad hoc policy proposal with no context for systemic change or human hope.
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If we want to do what’s necessary and do it right, in the process inspiring people to join a movement or support it (and this is what’s needed, rather than any quick fix electoral solution), we need to build a true movement toward a goal that’s necessary and great. The great goals available to us are the complete abolition of GMOs and breaking the power of corporations over our agriculture and food, in the process putting an end to their onslaught poisoning our food, water, soil, and air. The companion goal is to rebuild our community food economies on the basis of agroecology and food sovereignty, thus combining the best of freedom, health, democracy, and science. There’s no substitute for the patience and hard work required to build this new, affirmatively ecological and democratic, anti-corporate movement from outside the system. Along the way this movement can absorb whatever existing forces are available, so long as they’re compatible with the stark and non-negotiable goal of the abolition of poison-based agriculture. But its inception and the main thrust of its action must always be toward building a new human world.
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If the DARK Act is passed and the TTIP/TPP globalization compacts are forced upon us, raising our sights and escalating our demands upon fate is one of our options. Giving up is another. But it seems that the status quo will no longer be an option.

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February 12, 2016

GMO News Summary February 12th, 2016

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*José Manuel Silva, president of the Portuguese Medical Association, has called for a global ban on glyphosate: “For glyphosate the conclusion is clear: this herbicide should be banned worldwide.” This is the beginning of what will at first be a trickle of those who will first enter through the breach the WHO opened up and then go beyond to call for this ban. The job of the glyphosate abolition movement is to hammer away and widen this breach, drive the coming sea change in public knowledge and opinion, and bring the trickle to a flood.
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*The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is now talking tough to the EFSA about the agency’s slanders of the IARC’s work. Director Chris Wild is demanding that the EFSA retract the lies it has posted about the IARC’s study and correct several distortions before the cancer research agency will go through with a scheduled meeting with the pro-poison regulator. The lies center on the IARC’s determination to stick with the whole science and nothing but the science in their assessment of the glyphosate cancer evidence. The EFSA and German Bureau of Risk Assessment (BfR), by contrast, refuse to recognize the scientific record (for example, their anti-scientific dogma rejects epidemiological research even though this is the most complete scientific evidence possible), but instead recognize only “secret science”, which by definition is not science at all. The BfR and EFSA consulted only this mythical pseudo-science and, to add insult, berated the IARC for not having consulted the same even though: 1. Secret science doesn’t count as evidence at all; and 2. It’s secret, so the IARC panel wouldn’t have been allowed to see it even if they had wanted to. The EFSA has also told technical lies about the IARC’s methods. EFSA director Bernhard Url continues his months-long pattern of squirming and lying as he tries to do the minimum possible to induce the IARC to go through with the meeting.
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*Monsanto is settling with the SEC for $80 million to cover for a vastly greater amount of accounting fraud regarding the way it logged its Roundup revenues without subtracting the cost of rebates. From 2009-11 Monsanto paid rebates to farmers so they could purchase the additional pesticides they needed to spray when Monsanto’s GM crops failed to work as advertised. The SEC found that Monsanto was failing to log the full cost of these rebates in order to inflate its revenue figures. Monsanto admits no wrongdoing but is paying this small fine, and its CEO will regurgitate some of his bonuses. All this won’t help the company’s reputation on Wall Street, which is already looking askance at them.
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All this is just the mildest slap on the wrist. As I said two weeks ago about the court judgements against Monsanto for its crimes involving PCBs, the penalties aren’t even in the same galaxy with what the company, its executives, its technicians and its salesmen deserve.
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*Is the globalization-assisted Zika virus causing an epidemic of microcephaly? Are the GM mosquitoes themselves causing it? Or is it actually yet another epidemic being caused by a pesticide. The Argentine public health doctors’ group Physicians of the Crop-Sprayed Towns and their Brazilian counterpart Abrasco are reporting that they have evidence linking the epidemic to pyriproxyfen, a poison sprayed to kill mosquito larvae. If true, this means the specter of allegedly mosquito-borne disease, including birth defects, is being used as the pretext to sell and spray a poison which is actually causing the worst epidemic of birth defects. This kind of psychopathy is par for the course for disaster capitalism, and especially for the corporate poison sector.
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*According to records publicly posted by the EPA, the USDA along with state agriculture departments is openly exasperated with the EPA. As the USDA sees it, although the two agencies share a mandate to maximize the production and use of agricultural poisons the EPA has sometimes been slack. The result has been that “EPA added an additional and unnecessary burden to farmers by publishing a portion of an incomplete risk assessment”, which is regulator code for “an additional and unnecessary burden to the corporations.” By all accounts the EPA is just as ardent a poison booster as the USDA, but has sometimes had to delay approvals because of adverse legal decisions. Evidently the USDA believes EPA has been too willing to obey court orders and hasn’t been creative or defiant enough in disobeying them. This gives us an insight into the USDA’s attitude toward the law and society. Indeed in 2010 the USDA allowed planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets in direct defiance of a court order forbidding this.
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Meanwhile the EPA just got hit with another lawsuit. The Center for Biological Diversity will try again to force the EPA to obey the Endangered Species Act, this time with regard to its assessment of Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide. By now EPA’s attitude toward the ESA is clear: Ignore and evade it as much as possible. If a lawsuit forces them to face up to it, make the narrowest deal possible while continuing to evade and ignore at every other point. Force groups like the CBD to keep filing lawsuit after lawsuit over specific acts of flouting, and avoid any general accounting.
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Yet even this systematic lawlessness is still far too law-abiding for the USDA’s taste.
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*Over fifty farmer unions comprising a spectrum from small organic farmers groups to large commodity unions, including many members of the Modi government coalition, are opposing the rumored imminence of the government’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) cultivation approval for GM mustard. The unions object to the secrecy of the process and the fact that there’s no need for the product. They point out how Bt cotton has aggravated the economic crisis and suicide epidemic among small cotton farmers and how it has increased pesticide use. They accuse the government of pushing the project for no reason other than “collusion with the seed and chemical industry”.
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We can expect the same government and corporate propaganda campaign as was undertaken with Bt cotton. Advertising, seed dealers, and secretly paid local farming leaders will tout the product. The goal is to hook farmers on the pesticide and debt treadmill, accelerating the liquidation of small farmers and the consequent concentration of farmland. Perhaps with such better informed and organized farmer opposition this time around, there will be a more effective alternative source of information for farmers than the corporate status quo.
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*Researchers in Burkina Faso are attributing this latest in the long line of Bt cotton blunders to a typical pleiotropic effect, which in the case of the pirated Bollgard II Burkinabe varieties causes the bolls to produce lint whose threads are too short, even when the bolls themselves yield superficially well. This is poor quality cotton which can’t be sold at market price. As always, genetic engineering is sloppy, imprecise, opaque to the engineers who have only the haziest notion of what they’re doing, and the only thing predictable about it is that it will produce chaotically unpredictable effects. As always, any alleged pesticide reduction, even if true for the spraying, is fraudulent accounting since it omits the increasing number of neonic and other seed coatings as well as the Bt toxin itself. Meanwhile spraying reductions are always temporary.
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(This is also a good study in what a meaningless crackpot measure “yield” is in itself. What’s the substantive meaning when one says, “Even though cotton yields are up, the amount machines are able to extract from the picked cotton has diminished. In other words, Bt cotton produces both less cotton lint, and lint of an inferior quality”? That sure sounds to me like Bt cotton yields more poorly by any meaningful measure. And again, even by their measure any increase in gross bolls is dependent on optimal conditions and is purely temporary pending the inevitable debouching of secondary pests and evolution of resistance among the target insect.)
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*Government “intelligence” types including James Clapper are suddenly catching on to what we’ve always known, that genetic engineering is inherently a bioweapons program, in the same way that in its pesticide plant manifestation (pretty much all of it so far) it’s also a chemical warfare program.
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Of course system bureaucrats and flacks are concerned only with how “enemies” and “non-state actors” might obtain and use these weapons, not about the infinitely greater bio- and chemical warfare being waged right now by governments and corporations all around the world. Most of this is under the guise of industrial agriculture, but objectively speaking it’s literal war against all the ecosystems of the Earth and against almost all the people.
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*More on the Oregon state legislative proposal seeking partial reversal of the preemption law enacted in 2013 (on a fast-track “emergency” basis, no less) with the goal of crushing Oregon’s rising food sovereignty, anti-corporate, community rights movement. The bill’s sponsor insists he wants to retain preemption in general but just get rid of one provision, the regulation of seeds, which he thinks is over-broad. Opponents say the sky is falling and that this would “gut” the whole law. The truth sounds like the proposal is pretty meager. If everyone remains so in favor of preemption that those who are really opposed would have to operate by stealth, then how could they get a meaningful law passed anyway? One thing you can always be sure of is that anyone using the canned propaganda term “patchwork” is talking in bad faith.
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Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, told the committee the law was written so broadly that it prohibits any local regulation of plants, including city ordinances regulating overgrown yards, city tree policies, and lawmakers’ own desire to let counties regulate marijuana.

Several area farmers testified about the difficulties a “patchwork of local regulations” would present to those who farm in multiple counties.

Ivan Maluski, policy director for Friends of Family Farmers, countered that there’s been no action on a statewide solution to the conflict between GMO and non-GMO farmers, something that then Gov. Kitzhaber committed to in writing to win legislative support for the legislation in 2013.

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Surprise surprise, while yelling “Stampede!” Kitzhaber promised solutions to problems afterward, but turns out to have been lying about that.
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*Hawaii developments continue: The SHAKA movement is proceeding with its appeal of the federal court ruling slapping down Maui’s democratically voted moratorium on GMO cultivation. The court ruled that this ballot initiative was preempted by state law. The appeals court rejected the corporations’ motion to reject the appeal.
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In response to a similar preemption ruling from the same pro-corporate court striking down Kauai’s 2013 law imposing modest notification requirements for pesticide spraying near schools, hospitals, old age homes and similar places, state legislators have introduced legislation to impose similar notification requirements statewide.
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Hawaii is subject to one of the most concentrated poison attacks on earth. Modest as they are, these legislative attempts are the beginning of the necessary abolition of all poison-based agriculture in Hawaii.

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January 18, 2016

The Spirit of King Against Poison Agriculture

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In April 1963, Martin Luther King and many of his fellow Birmingham direct actionists sat in jail. They had expected such a response from the segregationist power structure. Unfortunately, it was also predictable that they’d be hearing criticism and condemnation from most of the people who in theory should have been on their side. King seems to have anticipated this, as he was able to respond immediately with an eloquent refutation and exposure of this collaborationist position. This was the great Letter From Birmingham Jail.
Here King faces those who object to demonstrations, to boycotts, sit-ins, civil disobedience in general, indeed to anything but the most tepid (and “civil”) criticism which is guaranteed to remain impotent. He opens up with their immortal objection to any real resistance, that it’s “unwise and untimely”. Today this could be the signature of all who are lukewarm.
As King knew, protest is always timely and wise in the broadest sense. As for the specific timing, we who want humanity and the Earth to have a future must recognize when the time has come, and when today is the day. Our task today isn’t the same as that of the Civil Rights Movement. They sought a specific set of reforms. They were up against an obsolete set of attitudes and practices which were mostly an embarrassment to corporate power and which wouldn’t interfere with corporate imperatives. (Indeed as we’ve seen, the end of segregation was put to good political use by corporate power. It has helped render racially astroturfed divide-and-conquer even more insidious and harder to counteract. This is the crime of the corporations and the rich and the fault of malingering racists themselves, not of desegregation. But we should be aware of this history of corporate domination.)
Today we need nothing less than to abolish pesticides and GMOs, which comprise a technological and organizational offensive against humanity. We need to transform our agriculture and food systems on the basis of moral, just, rational, and scientific agroecology. We must build this alternative to the corporate agriculture and food system, counter to it where possible, in resistance to it where necessary. This is a permanent necessity, whose goal is the eventual complete replacement of this world of crime and malice by a world of democracy and universal prosperity.
We’ll constantly be expressing the need for total abolition, and along the way we’ll probably encounter many opportunities for the kind of direct action and civil disobedience campaigns King so masterfully led. Two examples are direct action against GMO plantings, and civil disobedience on behalf of the Community Food movement which the corporate system is trying to repress as an economic and political threat to its domination. Up against these, we’ll no doubt also often encounter the same sort of opposition, including the opposition King specifically addresses in his Letter.

I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds. You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.

When we speak of the global ecological and human network and the global corporate assault upon it, in particular the global onslaught of poison-based agriculture, we know that anyone who lives in the Earth can never be considered an outsider anywhere upon it. (And conversely, corporations and the hominid functionaries of corporations are purely alien to the Earth, just squatters on its surface, and can never be considered part of it.)

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham.

1. There can be no doubt at all about the injustice.
There’s many reasons to fight to abolish Monsanto and GMOs. They’re agriculturally and environmentally totalitarian. They inevitably contaminate all other crops and the environment, and accelerate soil, water, air, and habitat destruction. They accelerate the same climate change which is cited as one of the reasons corporate agriculture allegedly must provide “new technology”. The more that GMOs are field tested and commercialized, i.e. the longer they exist at all, the worse this contamination shall become, and the more we’ll pass points-of-no-return where the contamination shall become significantly malign and irreversible.
They’re economically and politically totalitarian. The GMO cartel is increasing what’s already a non-competitive monopoly concentration in the seed sector. It aggressively uses this position to build horizontal and vertical monopoly power, enforce its dictates up and down the food production and distribution chains, drives non-GM seed varieties out of the market and increasingly out of existence (our most recent big demonstration of that has been the revelation that non-GM industrial sugar beet varieties were laregly driven out in just a few years of Roundup Ready dominance), greatly jack up seed prices, force obscenely lopsided “contracts” upon farmers, persecute farmers with harassment, thuggery, and lawsuits, and get governments to enact repressive seed laws intended to escalate and accelerate this whole process.
 
That’s just one way in which the GMO cartel has seized control of governments around the world. While governments are naturally controlled by corporate power, the kind of control being exercised by the GMO corporations, and the unique threat to humanity and the Earth posed by such corporate control over agriculture and food, render this form of corporate control over government particularly nefarious. Humanity must purge this clear and present danger to our freedom, our democracy, and our literal survival.
 
GMOs and pesticides also present a clear and present danger to our health. In 2015 the IARC confirmed what campaigners and science have long known, that glyphosate causes cancer. Similarly, we know that all pesticides are endocrine disruptors and are genotoxic, and therefore are all carcinogenic at low doses. All independent studies, and even almost all of the corporations’ own rigged studies, find reason for concern or alarm. The genetic engineering process itself, and the massive glyphosate residues in our food and water, wreck our microbiome (our internal gastrointestinal microbial community with which our bodies cooperate for mutual health), cause gastrointestinal inflammation which leads to every kind of disease, trigger escalations in allergies, asthma, autism, and every other kind of autoimmune disease, cause cancer, organ damage, infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects. These are just the best documented effects. Glyphosate-tolerant crops are also nutritionally denuded, and eating the processed foods made from them merely adds to the nutritional deficiency already inherent in diets centered on such “foods”, and the many diseases this can cause or exacerbate.
 
The most amazing thing is how all this is over such a pathetic, worthless product. GMOs are shoddy, antiquated, failure-prone products based upon a backward, luddite mental framework (that the way to deal with crop pests and disease is with poison) which don’t work for any purpose which could actually help people. Their yield is poor, no improvement over non-GM conventional agriculture. They require far more pesticides than non-GM conventional agriculture. By helping weeds and insect pests build resistance to pesticides, they generate superweeds and superbugs against themselves, uncontrollable by the same poisons which were supposed to be the reasons for having these GMOs in the first place. The ”special” GMOs – those for drought resistance, vitamin fortification, nitrogen-fixing, etc. – are all media hoaxes.
 
All these factors build the despair, anger, and sense of social, political, and economic cramp which are driving the March Against Monsanto, and the vast global movement of which it’s a part.
 
The trenchline runs across the global South, while here behind enemy lines in the West we are rising to take back our corporate-invaded land and agriculture.
 
2. Not that we the people owe it to those who are in principle our public servants to negotiate with them, but nevertheless we have done so ad nauseum. For decades now, starting before GMOs were ever commercialized, scientists and public health advocates have called for mandatory long-term safety testing of GMOs and actual regulation. (I don’t say “better regulation”, since there was never ANY regulation.) Citizens have fought for GMO labeling in all the states of the union. Citizens have fought for and passed anti-corporate legislation at the local level. Citizens and farmers have filed lawsuits like OSGATA vs. Monsanto. Almost everyone involved with the rising Community Food movement has wanted to do so with the blessing of the power structure and has been appeasement-minded about it.
 
No, we’ve done all we can to negotiate. The fact is, representative democracy itself, the periodic elections, were supposed to constitute such negotiations. But we see that this was always a sham. System politicians have never done anything but lie to the people, and have never felt the slightest obligation to live up to their promises after the election. Indeed, many ideologues of pseudo-democracy (if not the practicing liar politicians themselves) have explicitly argued that the “representative” has no obligation to his constituents at all after the election is over, but is free to “vote his conscience”, conscience usually being a euphemism for corrupt personal interest.
 
Reasonable people have to concede that the “negotiation” failed. We can never have a responsible, responsive, legitimate government in its current form.
 
In his own context, Martin Luther King came to a similar conclusion.
 

As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community.

 
All that was left was self-purification, and then you go out there and do it.
 

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

 
This is a direct rejoinder to those who want to keep the people kettled within a polity-wide “free speech zone”.
 
King goes on to discuss the change of governmental administrations which never constitutes a structural change. He agrees with the anarchists: Only direct action ever accomplished anything, and it did so with nonviolent force.
 

My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

 
We have not only the right, but the obligation, to disobey unjust laws:
 

One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

 
All this is morally and intellectually clear. Today we can add that just laws would be laws and policy in harmony with ecosystems and interrelating constructively with them, since the only thing which biologically exists are these ecological relationships. Agricultural and ecological pioneers long knew this intuitively and empirically, and over the course of the 20th century science has confirmed it. By contrast, poison-based agriculture, genetic engineering, “intellectual property”, property in land, the corporate-held agricultural system, segregates we the people from our work, from our land, from our food, from our own bodies. The whole ideology of scientism, technocracy, instrumental reason, arises out of a fundamental self-loathing and hatred for the physical earth and the physical human body.
 
The “I and Thou” invoked by Buber and King also signifies the human affinity with the Earth, its natural ecosystems, its soil, its crops, its food, and especially the earthly human labor which indelibly interacts with these. The “I and It” demarcates our sundering from all that makes us human, our forced exile driven by corporate agriculture. Alien, anti-human corporations and all that is of them renders human society a destructive and self-destructive parasite squatter on the surface of the earth, no longer a constructive part of it. With every action corporate agriculture expresses its contempt for the earth. It insults the soil as the cradle of all complex life, treating it as nothing but an inert medium. It insults the seed as the universal embryo, treating it as a commodity to be painted, pimped, and most of all controlled. It adds the obscene injury of its wholesale poisoning of the soil, air, water, crops, and environment.
 
Legally and ideologically also this is a surface squatter regime and an obscene alienation of humanity. The land, the soil, the very seed are “owned”, which word we must render in all corporate contexts as controlled and dominated by an alien, anti-human entity. Indeed, a patent on a seed is alienation squared, since the patent is an abominable segregation and sundering of we the people from our common heritage, and it’s “owned” by an alien, anti-human entity whose very existence is also such an abomination.
 
Economically also this is a surface squatter regime and an obscene alienation from humanity. Growing our food is the essential human labor, the core human economic activity, the primary economy, and a deep spiritual endeavor. It’s the main form of our communion with the earth and our thread of its harmony. We’re now to be alienated from this, driven off the land. For the Western middle class, into spiritual ghettos. For the Global South, into physical concentration camps called shantytowns. And in the longer run this bell tolls also for us in the West, as our economic liquidation proceeds and the capitalist era deteriorates to a more brutally direct mode of tyranny. 
 
We’re all too familiar with this type today:
 

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

 
Except that today the “moderate” isn’t an outsider with a shallow understanding, but either a predatory collaborator or else part of the prey herd himself. His moderation and lukewarm state are homicidal and/or suicidal. He sides with the oppressor against those who would fight.
 
King describes how the inertial mass deplores those who fight as “extremists”, as instigators of violence, and as being too impatient. But these charges are false. It’s the enemy who’s extreme, it’s the enemy who’s violent, and we’ve been far too patient for far too long.
 
But in all the things we do, we aren’t the ones generating the “tension” so unpleasant to conformists. Where it comes to that, we’re merely symptomatic:
 

Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

 
This is the only path forward.
 
King describes how the early Christians were sustained by their faith and their relentless will against long odds.
 

Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

 
That’s the hardest thing, to overcome the feeling of astronomical intimidation. The mission is daunting, and existing institutions are unlikely to offer any support:
 

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world.

 
This will ring true for us today wherever we transpose it to any institution of the corporate-dominated system.
 

I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands…

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: “My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest.” They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’ sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

 
Today, although for we who a relatively advantaged in the West the conflict isn’t over de jure slavery (but there’s still much of that worldwide) nor over de jure segregation (but land policy is very effective at “segregating” out of existence small farmers who produce food for the community and do so without poisons), we are being economically destroyed and physically malnourished and poisoned. We are literally being given cancer. Ecosystems, carbon sinks, arable soil all over the world are being physically poisoned and destroyed. New crop deployments based on massive upsurges in 2,4-D and dicamba will turn vast swathes of US cropland into the equivalent of Times Beach, while the “New Alliance” plan to recolonize Africa coupled with corporate-driven climate chaos threatens to turn all of subsaharan Africa into a literal desert. Do we have the luxury of the “patience” King discusses here?
 

I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: “All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

 
Time itself is neutral, and the flow of time itself has no characteristic independent of what we choose to do with it. Abolitionism is a way of life. It’s not just labor toward a goal, let alone the ideas contained in the goal itself. Most of all it’s a way of life. The goal is most realized in the here and now, every day. This way of life means not only exercising democracy in any way we can but also fighting for it everywhere we must. This adds to the challenge and striving, but this challenge is the challenge of being human at all. In the context of King’s struggle he was writing of direct action in the most literal sense. Abolitionists of agricultural poisons will certainly have all too many opportunities and needs for such direct action as well. But primarily we rise to the need for the positive direct action of rebuilding our agricultural and food systems, building agroecology and food sovereignty,propagating far and wide the ideas of these, while rejecting the poison systems on a personal and group level and propagating the demolition and condemnation of the ideas of these.
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The essence of humanity is to take responsibility for oneself within the community and ecology, to achieve power over oneself, to exercise one’s responsibility, combining one’s personal strength in free cooperation with others to build a free and prosperous human community. Only in such a community can we then create the space for the essence of humanity, positive freedom. This is spiritual freedom, creative freedom, political freedom, participatory freedom, ecological freedom. These can exist only on the basis of the cooperative prosperity which affords the time and opportunity for this freedom. Only this deserves the name democracy, and only this can be called in the most profound sense civilization.
 
Today corporate barbarians seek to destroy democracy, civilization, agriculture, the world ecology, and humanity itself. These barbarians are the opposite of the original tribes raging out of Central Asia. Those were the vigorous barbarians of ascent toward a richer civilization. Today’s barbarians of decadence are rotted and malevolent, ugly and stupid, but infinitely wicked. Their technology and wealth renders them the most powerful ruling class in history, at the same time that their utter lack of any redeeming quality whatsoever renders them history’s nadir, history’s most degraded, nihilistic, parasitic, worthless ruling class. They represent not a stage of Western Civilization but its final self-cannibalization. This is the end of this pseudo-civilization, for better or worse. The corporate barbarians certainly intend the worst – the full reinstatement of a slave economy, through the vehicles of debt indenture and corporate domination of agriculture and food.
 
But we can defeat this satanic plan if we redeem from the wreckage of the corporate industrial agriculture system the greatest treasure we’ve won: The consciousness that we the people can feed ourselves and rule ourselves. We can realize and fulfill our happiness and prosperity through full political and economic democracy. We don’t need “elites” for anything, those who are never anything but parasites and criminals.
 
All we need to do is accept this fact, believe in it, and take responsibility for it. The true Human Renaissance beckons. This is the same human evolution and salvation for which Martin Luther King fought, for which he sat in jail, for which he wrote a letter from that jail.
 
We shall live up to the standard he and so many other great fighters for humanity have set for us. It’s a very high standard, and the forces ranged against it are formidable. But we can do it. Freedom is ours wherever and whenever we want it. The time is ours whenever we choose it. Our freedom will assert itself as soon as we freely choose to fight for it.

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