Volatility

October 5, 2019

Cause the Problem, Sell the (Fake) Solution

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GMOs help cause this and cannot help fix it

 
 
As climate chaos worsens, over most of the world drought tolerance will become an ever more critical trait for food crops. Conventional breeding on a regional basis for agroecological horticulture is the great need and is proven to be the only framework which is effective. Industrial agriculture is doomed to collapse for any of all of its many intrinsic fatal flaws: Fossil fuel dependency; fossil water dependency; fossil phosphorus and potassium dependency; soil toxification, malnourishment and physical erosion; the destruction of the genetic base of crops; the rising strength of pests and diminishing possibilities for combatting them; global heating which suppresses more yield for every degree of temperature rise; the general collapse of the ecology upon which monoculture agriculture is completely dependent. Corporate crop varieties geared to commodity production are developed for a system which has no future and offers no guidance for what needs to be done.
 
Even within the industrial commodity framework conventional breeding is proven to be superior to genetic engineering in every way, especially where it comes to agronomic traits like drought tolerance. Here the record has been clear for many years: Conventional breeding works and GM does not.
 
As is typical, most governments have not listened to the facts or conformed to reality, and so subsidies, regulatory approvals and mainstream media propaganda campaigns have emphasized GM drought tolerance as yet another way GMOs are going to “feed the world”, however much of a lie that is in detail and overall.
 
GM-based drought tolerance has been a special feature of the propaganda for the Monsanto-Syngenta-Gates Foundation colonial assault on Africa. Several African governments have approved these corporate products for cultivation in spite of their proven agronomic inferiority and socioeconomic and ecological malignity.
 
So it’s a significant victory for food sovereignty, democracy and deep ecology that the South African government has rejected Monsanto’s application to commercialize one of its so-called “drought tolerant” products:
 
“After more than 10 years of battling Monsanto’s “bogus” drought tolerant maize project, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has welcomed the decision by the Minister of Agriculture, Ms Thoko Didiza, upholding the decision by the Executive Council: GMO Act and the appeal board to reject Monsanto’s application for the commercial cultivation of its triple-stacked “drought-tolerant” GM maize seed.
 
This landmark decision is a win for the ACB and other civil society organisations on the continent that have resisted the introduction of these GM varieties in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
 
The Minister’s decision was made following the failure of the GM varieties to increase yield under drought conditions during repeated field trials in South Africa.”
 
The notion of “drought-resistant GMOs” is one of the most common PR scams found in pro-GMO propaganda. Along with similar hoaxes like golden rice and the GM Kenyan sweet potato, the purpose of the drought-resistant GMO trope is to misdirect attention from the fact that GMOs were created for no reason other than to sell poison. The two kinds of GMOs which actually exist on a significant economic level are those tolerant of herbicides, and those which generate their own Bt insecticidal poison in every plant cell. These also consistently fail in the field.
 
Drought-tolerance, on the other hand, along with traits like real pest and disease resistance, salt tolerance, improved nutrition, and improved nitrogen uptake, is solely the province of non-GM conventional breeding. This breeding, like any other, builds upon the accumulated work of thousands of years of farmer breeding, a collective human heritage. This status was reinforced in the 20th century, as all significant modern crop breeding was done using public money. Anything corporations do with this heritage is at most a minuscule contribution to a monumental and ongoing collective human project. That’s part of the reason it’s morally and rationally impossible for seed patents to have any legitimacy.
 
At best modern commodity breeding is a person standing on the shoulder of a giant. This “at best” is 100% within the realm of non-GM conventional breeding. A “drought-resistant” GMO, on the other hand, is nothing but a drought-resistant conventional variety which has one or more of the poison-enabling transgenes inserted. Thus we have the conventionally drought-resistant variety with an added Roundup Ready and/or Bt trait extraneously added. This then fraudulently is called a “drought-resistant GMO.”
 
The corporate GMO propaganda sounds especially bogus when we take into account the fact that of all economic sectors the industrial agriculture/food system is the primary driver of the climate crisis. Any big corporation, especially an agribusiness concern, which offers any sort of product touted as part of climate mitigation or adaptation, is engaging in straight disaster capitalism, seeking to profit off the crisis they themselves take the lead role in driving and having caused in the first place.
 
They [agribusiness] cause the problem [industrial agriculture is #1 driver of the climate crisis which is driving changing chronic drought and extreme drought events], then want to sell you the solution [drought tolerant maize], which doesn’t even work [the technology fails to produce greater yield under drought conditions] and is harmful in itself [as a typical GMO it drives escalated pesticide use; drives the crisis of antoibiotic resistant bacteria (ABR) through its use of a antibiotic resistance marker in the development process, as well as contributing to herbicide-driven ABR ; GM-driven mutations are never legitimately tested for safety].
 
Such “solutions” based on profit-seeking product and hi-maintenance technology also work to reinforce the technocrat ideology, that drought and farmer dependency aren’t socioeconomic and political problems but purely technical ones to be solved only by technology deployed by technocrats. But again this is precisely the mindset that has caused and driven the crises all along. No part of this framework can ever be anything but counterproductive and destructive, just as there can be no constructive action which doesn’t include rejecting and breaking free of this framework.
 
 
This particular example is typical of the overall economy and civilization which causes the climate crisis and general ecological crisis, then wants to sell you the solution of “green” capitalism, green hi-maintenance tech, technocratic carbon-trading schemes and “carbon neutral”, “offset”, “zero net carbon” regimes. These are solutions which don’t work (for over thirty years they’ve been deployed in various places and invariably are proven to be failures and often scams; overall emissions keep rising and accelerating their rate of rise, atmospheric carbon keeps rising and at increasing rate, deforestation and ecocide continue to rampage, often with the direct encouragement of climate policy as in the case of the Paris accord’s drive to accelerate deforestation by escalating subsidies for burning of wood pellets for electricity, biofuel, and heating*, aka the “biomass” scam/atrocity; plus the whole concept of “industrial renewables” is a fraud in that it remains completely dependent upon a fossil fuel foundation) and are harmful in themselves (industrial fake-renewables directly require massive mining destruction, poisoning of water and the environment, and then the electricity is put to harmful uses; hydroelectric generation is founded upon the enslavement of rivers and massacre of river ecological communities, most notoriously wiping out salmon; the whole concept is designed to prop up the inherently ecocidal economic system).
 
We see the overall recursive pattern. From the grandest “Green New Deal” perspective to the nitty-gritty detail of a particular product like Monsanto thirst-corn, this system offers nothing but malign scams designed to prop up profitable cancer/growth capitalism and herd the sheep away from real ideas and real work for the good.
 
There’s an endless number of such scams. They cause the problem then want to sell you the snake oil, while slandering and where possible forcibly suppressing the real cure. In the case of the climate crisis this means:
 
End all industrial emissions; stop destroying carbon sinks; allow all natural sinks to resume their natural ranges.
 
Food has to be grown on the basis of agroecology and distributed in accord with food sovereignty.
 
All else is a lie.
 
 
*Heating is done effectively in a low-impact way through passive solar and using the underground as a thermostat. Industrial electricity and fuel are inherently ecocidal, there is no sustainable or “eco-friendly” way to produce or consume them, we don’t need them, and would be better off spiritually and socioeconomically without them.
 
 
 
 
 

January 23, 2019

Earthways

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Where I live in northern New Jersey I walk through succession woodlands mostly of beech, birches, several kinds of red and white oak, maples, elms, black cherry and hickory, with scattered groups of conifers – white and pitch pines, red cedars, hemlocks.
 
Currently this is a temperate climate, a place long farmed and later built up, but today with large spaces of resumed woodland. The forest is growing back and restoring old growth ecology given freedom and time.
 
This is life, the natural ecology for this climate and soil, for the natural community and for the human soul. The forest is our home, where we were born and evolved and from whence we once set out on an open road which we chose to make a road to nowhere. In the same way we chose to revile our origin and ancestry, the way so many vagrants do, and to deny the possibility of home by destroying its image everywhere we see it.
 
Against the trees we call the grassland our home and even totemize it with the urban and suburban fetish of lawns. Of course civilization also hates wild grasslands and rampantly destroys these as well but at least gives them fake honors while regarding the trees with horror and contempt.
 
Silvicide, deforestation on every level, from the mass murder of clear-cut logging to mass destruction in order to clear space for agriculture, tree plantations, and pavement, right down to individual suburbanite tree-killing, is a campaign of invasion and total war. It’s every bit as destructive and murderous as the Nazi invasion of Russia but is happening everywhere and nowhere. Therefore it’s not seen the same way by those indoctrinated into official notions of history, which mostly is about human-on-human violence within civilization’s framework. Civilization-on-uncivilized-human violence, and civilization-on-Gaia violence, are regarded as outside history, even as necessary primitive accumulation in order for history to begin.
 
History conceived and written as a sub-discipline of natural history is an educational reform which will have to wait for the great ecological correction and collapse of the production-consumption-technocratic-extreme energy civilization. Then history will see the campaigns of ecocide as they really are, and will place all genocide in this context since the two go together.
 
Today in Brazil the new Bolsonaro government promises to eradicate all remaining indigenous peoples, by forced assimilation if possible, by mass murder if necessary. There are many expressing concern about this in the West. But in spite of the often smug hand-wringing of these Good People of the West, they represent the same campaign of ecocide-genocide Bolsonaro does: The ongoing destruction of the Earth and its peoples for the sake of the Economic Civilization.
 
What’s your position on industrial agriculture? On commodity logging and tree plantations? Your position on these dictates your real positions on everything else, since all else stems from support for or opposition to ecocide and the destruction of habitats, which is nothing less than the destruction of the very basis for life, our own most of all. This includes the ability and space for peoples to live traditionally, to live in peace and freedom and provide their own shelter. This includes food sovereignty and food security, the skills and land and healthy soil, the peace and freedom of a community to grow its own food. This includes the climate, clean air and water, the enhancement or destruction of natural habitat and biodiversity. (Not “conservation”; everything always is in flux of building or tearing down. In the context of total ecocidal war to say one wants to stand still is to concede ecological death, only “more slowly”.)
 
From there this ecological world view, or lack of it, dictates all the mere “politics” of the squatter-vandal civilization. Are yours the politics of squatters on the surface of Earth who want to remain squatters, always taking never giving? Vandals who want to remain vandals? Or are yours the earthways of those who recognize that ecocide and the mass murder-suicide of humanity are inextricably conjoined evils, that this portends total destruction for humanity and the attempted final murder of Gaia, that all the internal human evils of the civilization stem from the basic ecocidal campaign which is the core activity of this civilization.
 
The only way possible is to end all commodity production and consumption (waste and destruction), end all industrial energy generation, and redeem human ways of truly renewable usufruct living amid the truly renewable earthways. Only in this way can humanity physically survive and begin to give back to the Earth which has given literally everything we have. Only in this way can we stop being the destruction (“green” destruction is still destruction) and become part of the ecological renaissance, revolution and restoration. Only in this way can we avert the worst of climate chaos and the sixth mass extinction. Only in this way will we find our long-lost souls again, where after such a prodigal death-marching we once again walk lightly among the forests once again attaining their primeval communities.
 
 
 
 
 

February 23, 2018

Today’s Inversion of Yeats

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The consummation of civilization

 
 
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
 
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of
Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
 
 
– William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”
 
 
This poem was written in the context of the turmoil and radicalism of the interwar era in Europe. Yeats saw rational, humanitarian values in full retreat while the will to violence and destruction surged.
 
Today’s good moderates solemnly read this as cry of anguish against the extremes of fascism and communism. I don’t know enough about Yeats to know if that’s exactly what he meant by it, but given the context of the times it’s an obvious reading.
 
The problem is that today the matching of action to the perceived “moderation” or “radicalism” of political positions has flipped completely from that of Yeats’s time.
 
For years I’ve written from the perspective of speaking to those who have some level of anti-corporate consciousness and commitment and sought to heighten, enhance, intensify these. Most specifically I’ve spoken to the anti-GMO/pesticide movement and sought to help it evolve from reformism within a pro-corporate context (a position doomed to failure, as I’ve argued in countless posts) to the agronomically and ecologically necessary position of total abolitionism, a position which would require a broader anti-corporate consciousness.
 
You could say I’m trying to do the same thing King was doing when he realized that the civil rights movement never could win unless it broadened its consciousness and action to a comprehensive position against capitalism and war, and spoke to his people exhorting them to this evolution.
 
Well, my call to build an abolitionist organization, let alone a broader anti-system movement, has met with crickets. The most direct reason for this is that no one who talks radical wants to do any work, while those willing to work are willing to do so only within the system’s officially allowed reform frameworks. It’s a depressing paradox.
 
And when we look at where the real fury is in this society, that’s where it occurred to me that today we have an inversion of Yeats wrote.
 
“The best lack all conviction”: Today there are no MLKs who want to move from particular struggles to the commitment to build a movement to break corporate power and overthrow corporate rule. And there’s no one who would follow them if they did exist.
 
“The worst are full of passionate intensity”: Where’s the only place one finds fire, fury, radical feeling? Only among the Dembots and Trumpbots, only among the most pro-status quo conformists and cheerleaders of kleptocracy who nevertheless really ready to tear one another to shreds over whose team is better. Never in history, not even in Gibbon’s depiction of the Council of Nicaea, has the narcissism of microscopic differences generated such strife. And in this case, the identical twins locked in a mutual death grip are fighting over who gets to be the most mainstream, the most conformist supporters of entrenched power, the most ardent corporate bootlicks, the biggest warmongers, the most loyal (vicarious) followers of warlords and crime bosses.
 
Since civilization has become completely engulfed in the Extreme Energy Civilization, and since this civilization is doomed because by its nature it must violate the limits of resources and ecology until these force its destruction, it follows that for the adherents of civilization there’s nothing left but desperation, insanity, and the final rampage of destruction which will strive to drag down all of humanity and the Earth to extinction with it.
 
It follows that there’s no place left for any kind of “alternative”. No cultural, political movement is going to be built. The proof of this is that no one who in theory wants alternatives is doing anything toward this movement-building work. Politics is Dead. “Leftists”, “radicals”, just as much as your standard glad-handing Republican, care first and foremost about their work life. And just as much, they desperately support the Extreme Energy Civilization and yearn for its permanent continuation with all the ardent faith of the most primitive idolator. What’s the difference between someone who says we need total drilling and fracking to power the hi-tech economy, and someone who says we can power the hi-tech economy with renewable energy? Nothing. It’s the same religion and the same delusion. And in the end even the greenest renewables-touting, Prius-driving Sierra Club member will support drilling the last drop of oil and fracking the last cubic foot of gas in order to keep the city lights on for one more minute. It’s a fundamentalist religious commitment.
 
 
For whatever few of us hate what civilization has done to destroy humanity and the Earth, who can’t wait to see the lights go out and who can only hope there’s something left to rebuild upon, we’re simply the primal mammals hiding in the tree-tops and burrowing under the shrubbery, waiting for the end of the dinosaurs. We know the time will come, and just have to hang on till it does.
 
So it follows that any way we mammals can come together, any kind of actions we can take and groups we can form, must be dedicated to preserving our humanity, our ability to live as human beings, and the feeling of what it is to be human. Certainly this is a hard task amid such a hostile civilization.
 
As for the civilization itself, the masses of furious conformists and inert skeptics, there’s nothing to be done since they’re all committed to the terminal ride, and the only actions they’ll ever take are homicide and suicide.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

January 9, 2018

Japan is Buying at the Peak of the Bubble

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In spite of the US having temporarily pulled out of the TPP negotiations, Canada, Japan, Australia, and several Asian countries are going ahead (obviously expecting the US to adhere later on).
 
For the sake of tilting at this windmill Japan is scrapping what’s left of its classical public agricultural infrastructure, the same way the US and other Western countries did over the course of the 20th century. In the 1980s globalization’s debt terrorism was used to force most third world countries to scrap their public agriculture systems, as part of the IMF’s “structural adjustments”. India dismantled its system in the 1990s, immediately triggering a suicide epidemic among small commodity farmers which rages to this day. (The US stanched the beginnings of a similar epidemic among American farmers at the same time by greatly increasing Big Ag subsidies, many of which are laundered through the farmers in the form of crop insurance and direct payments. Without this massive planned-economy program of corporate welfare, commodity farming in the US would be economically impossible for the farmers.) Today the corporate “New Alliance” project, spearheaded by the Gates Foundation and USAID for the benefit of Monsanto, DuPont, Cargill, Yara, Unilever and others, is targeting African countries trying to force them to scrap what’s left of their public agricultural systems.
 
 
This a particularly stupid and short-sighted move for Japan at this late date. As the extreme energy civilization enters the era of Peak Oil and energy descent, as climate chaos drives sea-level rise and hyper-destructive Pacific cyclones, and as ecological collapse avalanches, it becomes all the more imperative for every society to wean itself from globalization, especially from commodity industrial agriculture, and to restore its food security on an agroecological basis. This is sanity, while any other course of action is insane.
 
This is especially true for Japan, a country whose classical problem has been to make the most of a small amount of land. The US always has had tremendous leeway to be stupid and wasteful because it was blessed with such a vast abundance of land and resources. Japan has no such cushion. It needs to be smart or perish. So it doesn’t bode well for Japan’s future well-being that it’s choosing now of all times to dismantle its public seed programs and other agricultural programs for the sake of propping up its exports of consumer junk. On the contrary, of all industrialized countries Japan ought to be one of the first to detach its food production from the globalized system and restore it to its natural, rational condition. Food production and distribution naturally and logically is regionally-based, as a rule concurrent with a watershed. Historically only a few luxury imperishables were traded extensively over long distances.
 
The modern era of extreme energy consumption which made it physically possible to globalize food systems has been an ahistorical blip based on the one-time draw-down of the unique, non-renewable fossil fuel hoard. At the same time this era’s obscene insult to the ecology is reaching its breaking point, and wholesale ecological collapse will make all human activities increasingly difficult or impossible.
 
For both these reasons, resource limits and ecological limits, Babylon’s ahistorical binge is coming to an end and soon humanity shall be forced to return to historical patterns whether it wants to or not. That means the relocalization of food production and distribution. At this site I’ve long called for the necessary abolition of industrial agriculture and the transformation to agroecology. This transformation is physically and scientifically possible, right up to the global scale, and lacks only the cultural and political will to do it. Humanity still can choose the agroecological transformation.
 
But there’s no choice as to the ultimate destination. If humanity refuses the route of chosen abolition and transformation, which would be the least hard way, then nature will impose both by force. And this will be the very, very hard way. It looks like Japan is choosing the hardest of all ways, and given its weaker position to begin with, nature’s correction is likely to be hard indeed.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
 
 

January 5, 2018

What’s Your Interest?

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It’s a lie when you aggressively extend yourself as an empire and then define your imperial interests as national interests. On the contrary, history’s unbroken evidence record proves that imperialism is harmful to the real interests of the home country, if we consider these to be the health, prosperity, security, and freedom of the people.
 
Every time the US political classes chatter about, for example, the Middle East, we hear lots about alleged American interests around the globe. Actually, America has no interest in the Middle East, if by “interest” we mean the well-being of the American people. Nor does America have significant interests around the globe. America’s interest, on the contrary, is to roll back the empire and roll back its insane dependency upon globalization.
 
On the contrary, the original Monroe Doctrine defined the limits, by any rational measure, of American interests. (Of course the Doctrine was imperialistic toward Latin America. This was immoral and by now is rationally obsolete as well. For purposes of this piece we’ll stick with a purely rational, morally dispassionate view of interests.)
 
 
Globalization brought benefits only to US corporate and government elites. All it did was maximize the power of the 1%. Therefore globalization has been a great harm to the American interest as defined by the interest of the American people, since the US elites are the worst enemies of the American people.
 
Stockholm Syndrome sufferers will claim that globalization brought one great benefit to the 99%: It enabled them to buy cheaply a tremendous amount of worthless expensive junk, since this binge could be done on the backs of the global South and by exporting the worst of environmental destruction.
 
As I said, for this piece we’ll leave aside the morality of living as a leech on the backs of slaves, and we’ll even leave aside what it means to purchase a momentary cheap luxury by destroying your grandchildren’s ecological world, dooming them to cancer and famine.
 
 
But was this binge in YOUR interest? Did all this junk make you happy, give you inner peace, cause you to feel more secure financially and physically? If you say Yes, odds are you’re lying. To give the most obvious example, everyone who argues about this, defending the alleged “American way of life”, always is clearly angry, unhappy, most of all very disturbed and scared, in spite of all their material junk. If that weren’t the case, why would they be out there, whether it be in politics or media or just as an internet commenter, expressing such rancor? Why wouldn’t they be off enjoying their utopia, which according to them they have in fact attained? Those who feel safe and at peace don’t go around quarreling.
 
I say it’s killing your soul. And I say the binge of addiction to worthless expensive junk also was never in the American people’s interest, just as it has never been in the interest of anyone else on Earth to imitate this derangement.
 
The fact is that the destruction of the American empire, the destruction of globalization, and the restoration of America’s original scope is in the interest of all the peoples of Earth, including the American people. Only a handful of criminal dinosaurs would be harmed. And this too would be greatly in the interest of humanity and the Earth.
 
 
 
 
 

December 16, 2017

Community Food Movement: Maine’s Food Sovereignty Act

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

November 19, 2017

Trickles and Blasts

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Life is complete right here

 
 
Picture a steady trickle of water from a faucet. Now picture this trickle, over hundreds of millions of years, filling a cistern whose walls gradually close in. Eventually the water would be so compressed that if you could insert a pipe the water would blast out with great force.
 
So far the analogy with an oil well is fairly direct. And for the sake of argument let’s go further and say the compressed water could be extracted and its force used in all kinds of ways. So we have an analogy with fossil fuels.
 
Now instead let’s say we want to go directly to the trickle and extract force from it. Immediately we see the problem. Yet the cultists of industrial renewables – industrial wind farms, concentrated solar panels, the whole notion of using solar power for consumerist electricity generation – think that the concentrated solar energy of hundreds of millions of years, compressed into fossil fuels (and of course it took vastly greater energy to concentrate fossil fuels in the first place than is contained in the fossil fuels themselves), can be replaced by tapping the present trickle. This is an example of the religious insanity of the modern ideological complex of productionism-consumerism-technocracy-scientism-progress-corporate rule.
 
It’s no wonder the apostles of a renewables-based “future” always support the fossil fuel status quo in the present. Just as almost all who verbally deplore climate change support this climate-wracking status quo. And as a Green Queen might say, it’s “fossil fuels today, renewables tomorrow, never renewables today!” Because deep down they know that the great renewables Millennium, like all utopian techno-hype, is a pipe dream. The idea of powering the extreme energy civilization on renewables is only that: An empty idea, a propaganda campaign. Like all other such propaganda, its purpose is to prop up faltering faith in the model of civilization based on fossil fuels, extreme energy consumption, productionism, and high-maintenance technology. Its purpose is to keep the gate against any thought of an ecological future. Keep “civilized” (i.e. technocratic) thought and action in, keep ecological thought and action out.
 
But the faith continues to falter, because deep down everyone knows fossil fuels are finite, these cannot be replaced, the Earth is not an infinitely disposable waste dump, Gaia shall impose its correction, there will be no technological savior and there are no “stars” to go to (i.e., no god will descend to save us, which is what both of these really mean). The extreme energy civilization, having bottlenecked all human potential and driven humanity into a socioeconomic and political dead end, now drives itself into its own terminal bottleneck.
 
Anyone who feels bottlenecked, whatever the surface reason seems to be, must understand that yours is a symptom of a global ecological crisis. You cannot solve your crisis within the bottleneck which causes it any more than the civilization can pull itself out of its own bottleneck.
 
There’s only one liberation, for all of us, for humanity, for the hope of an ecological civilization. This is to liberate ourselves from the decadent barbarism of the corporate-technocratic extreme energy Babylon. We must liberate ourselves first in thought, and propagate the necessary new ideas. Then we must organize, taking all actions possible within the existing framework, while preparing for the coming physical, political, and spiritual tribulations as the extremist civilization begins its collapse in earnest.
 
Renewable energy offers great benefits for the coming transformation. We must think in terms of passive solar heating, rebuilding and improving wind energy for pumping water and other on-site and local uses, small-scale electrical generation, and similar uses. In the same way many of us are working on agroecology, many are working on a truly rational theory and practice for renewable energy, starting with off-grid development today. These are thoughts and actions toward a human ecological future.
 
But typically extreme, gigantist, megalomaniacal notions of renewables powering vast cities floating on the sand are nothing but typical desert mirages, as often occur in the minds of those crazy from the heat. We must renounce such dinosaur notions ourselves and counteract them by propagating the necessary new ideas, the ideas of an ecological way of life, which is the only possible human way of life.
 
The trickle is indeed more than enough for all we need and all we could sanely want. For four billon years now it’s been more than enough for all life on Earth. All we need is to give up the insanity of thinking we need the blast.
 
 
 
 
 

October 24, 2017

Puerto Rico Amid Climate Chaos and Disaster Capitalism

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A great physical and geopolitical storm.

 
 
Puerto Rico is a typical victim of colonization. It exhibits all the usual symptoms, from political swaddling to cultural derogation to massive debt predation to total food insecurity and dependency.
 
Globalization is the fully consummated form of colonialism. It starts with the historically colonized “third world” but works systematically to reduce all people everywhere to total economic helplessness and servitude. Globalization acts to destroy all local production and distribution. It destroys this outright or seizes control of it in order to force it into the global commodity framework. It seizes control of indigenous land and resources. It dumps subsidized Western goods. It destroys any functional politics and democracy. It imposes the control of multinational corporations over every part of life it can. It does this purely in the power interests of Western elites. Any benefits it lets trickle down to locals are purely calculated payouts to accomplices. Much of the global South has been crushed under the corporate boot this way. Puerto Rico already has already been subject to the West’s debt indenture shock treatment (“structural adjustment”).
 
Hurricane Maria was the most recent major colonial assault on Puerto Rico. Maria is only the latest of the accelerating procession of extreme storms being driven by climate change, and the latest opportunity for corporate disaster capitalism to further ravage an already devastated target. The climate crisis is the direct result of extreme energy consumption and the industrial campaign to destroy all carbon and nitrogen sinks. Modern technocratic politics has attained consensus on the systematic ravaging of ecosystems, culminating in the rising climate chaos driven by the patterns of energy consumption, waste, and ecological destruction practiced and imposed by Western-style productionism and consumerism. The climate crisis is caused by these actions. Since the elites and their supporters have long known this and in spite of lots of lip service have refused to do anything to avert the worst of it, it’s long been true that climate change is an intentional campaign of aggression against the Earth and all vulnerable peoples such as the people of Puerto Rico. Thus climate change takes its place as the most extreme and far-reaching of the corporate campaigns designed to cause disaster, destruction, and chaos. The corporations then proceed to use the crises they intentionally generate as further opportunities for aggression and profit. All corporate sectors practice this. Corporate agriculture is the most aggressive and destructive practitioner of all.
 
Corporate control of agriculture and food has always been at the core of the globalization onslaught. The US government systematically uses its “food weapon” to wage economic, political, chemical, biological, and often literal shooting warfare. Throughout this history of war and sublimated war, globalized food and agriculture has been a constant weapon and battleground.
 
Puerto Rico needs to produce its own food on an agroecological basis. Only food self-sufficiency can help build political and cultural independence, while dependency upon commodity globalization can only reinforce every kind of dependency. Food sovereignty is the core and foundation, but the implications go much further.
 
If you’re colonized, don’t have your own currency, and want to buy all the worthless expensive junk the colonial power is peddling, you’re going to be enslaved by debt. (Same as the position of the average middle class American.) Until the neoliberal austerity system collapses, it will never wipe out any odious debt, only further “structurally adjust” it as the Obama administration just recently did. The one and only way for a people to free itself is to self-jubilate the debt*.
 
Of course, even if a people roused itself to do this and could make it stick against the escalated US aggression that would follow, it would be in vain if they went right back to the globalized Babylon. (You’re also then voluntarily contributing to the climate chaos and other environmental crises which will keep hitting you ever harder.) Consider how Argentina renounced its debt in 2001, but then turned right around and wiped out its previously self-sustaining food system in order to turn the country into one big industrial soy plantation, all in order to rejoin the globalized debt system. They just couldn’t help themselves. They still craved all the worthless expensive imported junk, exactly like an individual who could grow food to feed himself but just HAS to have a widescreen TV…
 
The self-enslavement scales well, from individual to the people of a country to the “New World Order” of corporate globalization fantasy: One can wish to live like a human being, which makes it possible to live within one’s means while enjoying freedom, self-sufficiency, economic sovereignty and security, well-being, and peace; or one can surrender to the productionist/consumerist derangement, renounce all human measure and hopes, set one’s desires at infinity and set out on the death march of rat-racing and debt, never attaining anything but increasing clutter, waste dumps, dependency, insecurity, ill-health, unhappiness, and fear.
 
The people of Puerto Rico, just like the people of all historically colonized lands, and just like the people of America and the West itself, will have to make the choice truly to free themselves if freedom and security is truly what they wish. All versions of the “we can have it all” fraud comprise the same lie, a symptom of the general pathology of Babylon. On the contrary, those who try to have it all, gamble for the infinite, guarantee themselves one terminal end. The corporate productionist system has one fated end for everyone on Earth from the colonized South to the gradually fading Western middle class: Debt slavery and the total destruction of food security, amid total ecological devastation.
 
To recap the truth about the climate crisis: There is one and only one way to avert the worst consequences of climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon and nitrogen sinks, rebuild sinks on a massive scale.
 
All else is a lie. The same goes for all other ecological crises. And the same goes for the great spiritual and economic crisis of the terminal Oil Age. You cannot solve the crisis of mortality by suicide or murder. You can solve it only by changing your life, choosing what lets us live, renouncing what is killing us.
 
 
 
 
*There’s been lots of rhetoric about how the Jones Act, a typical example of how the strongest powers like the US still enshrine “protectionist” trade barriers even as they ruthlessly try to wipe out all protective measures on the part of weaker powers, has allegedly been standing in the way of food relief to Puerto Rico. (So-called “free trade”, just like “law”, “property”, “science”, and every other alleged value of modern corporate societies, really is no value at all but only a propaganda notion to be used and abused according to the contexts of corporate advantage.) The form of this rhetoric has often gone “repeal the Jones Act and wipe out the debt.”
 
But this is a self-contradiction, just as it’s a self-contradiction to say “we need to become self-sufficient in food, and the Jones Act must be repealed.” In fact the two items don’t have the slightest logical or practical affinity. Anti-imperialists want to wipe out the debt but recognize the scapegoating of the Jones Act as standard misdirection. (And of course the US government could waive the Act anytime it chose, as it did a week later. In fact the existence of the Jones Act had zero to do with preventing food deliveries, but rather was only a pretext for extortion.) Meanwhile pro-globalizers, especially among congressional Republicans, want to use the crisis as an opportunity to get rid of the Jones Act, destroy the maritime union, further fling open the frontier of corporate rapacity, and drive the people of Puerto Rico and everywhere else deeper into debt slavery. Any force to repeal the Jones Act certainly will not wipe out any Puerto Rican debt, but will only strive to compound it.
 
Therefore there’s zero reason for anyone who actually wants the good of the island’s people to fixate on the Jones Act. (Indeed, from this perspective anything like the Jones Act which possibly could hinder the full fury of globalization is a good thing. It would be similar to how the US embargo has been a great help to Cuban self-sufficiency in food.) But the globalizers are getting their usual help from confused “progressives”, many of the same who couldn’t understand why the Haitian food sovereignty movement destroyed a predatory Monsanto seed shipment in 2010. Monsanto was seeking to take advantage of another “natural disaster”, the 2010 earthquake and UN-caused cholera epidemic. They sought to render the man-made disaster far worse than any “natural” component. So it is with the infantile fixation on “food aid”. Yes, in a crisis immediate food aid often is necessary. But the US-controlled food aid infrastructure has no altruistic component. On the contrary it’s designed to serve as a disaster capitalist campaign of its own, using the opportunity of the crisis to crush any local food production and distribution that still exists and forestall any aspirations to build such food sovereignty systems.
 
There’s great immediate need in Puerto Rico. But there’s a much greater long run need for the people to break their many colonial dependencies and reclaim their ecological sovereignty, most of all their food sovereignty. Hurricane Maria is just the latest and most extreme demonstration that Puerto Rico’s colonial dependency, including its globalization dependency, is not sustainable. Any aid ideology or measure which would hinder realization of this truth and the work toward this necessary goal is counterproductive and ultimately harmful.
 
And to say again, this truth is truth for us all, everywhere.
 
 
 
 
 

April 29, 2017

Note on the Rising Ecological Science and Practice

Filed under: Agroecology, Globalization, Peak Oil, Relocalization, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: — Russell Bangs @ 2:58 am

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An example of the right idea and correct design.

 
 
In most cases where anyone talks about renewable energy it’s still completely in the service of the wrong idea: Extreme energy consumption toward general productionism and wasteful consumptionism. “Renewable energy” is merely supposed to replace (in reality, supplement) fossil fuels toward the goal of feeding the extreme consumption maw.
 
And then this wrong idea automatically drives bad design. Renewable energy is conceived in terms of concentrated solar panels and industrial wind farms, all of it of course under corporate control. (And all of it dependent on a foundation of continued fossil fuel extraction and burning.) Massive electricity production, massive electricity consumption, all to be used as wastefully and destructively as possible. They even want to continue with the personal car, even though this requires using the propaganda meme of “renewables” in the service of what are really fracking cars, coal cars, nuke cars. Social and engineering design doesn’t get more stupid and pernicious than wanting to use electricity to power such self-indulgent luxury transportation in the first place, and it was inevitable that the whole thing would be nothing but a pure fraud. A Prius is exactly the same product as a Hummer and exactly as ecologically and culturally destructive.
 
 
We know the corporate science paradigm generates only waste and destruction. What kind of science and engineering will be constructive for the human and ecological future? This goes with the question of what constitutes real science and in what way science can be restored to its proper, constructive role as a tool for the benefit of humanity and helpmate of human well-being.
 
Science and engineering must focus on the most constructive result within the framework of low energy consumption, low greenhouse gas emissions, low-maintenance technology, resiliency, robustness, and which does not destroy carbon sinks or in any other way harm the environment. Optimally, it’ll contribute to rebuilding sinks. This is the science which will be constructive and beneficial toward the necessary ecological human future.
 
These criteria are dictated by the finitude of fossil fuels, surging climate chaos, the acidification of the oceans, the mass eradication of biodiversity, the imminent collapse of the soils, and other looming environmental collapses. We must learn to live harmonious with the ecology or die. We’ve also learned that humanity cannot co-exist with corporations and therefore with any technological deployment which is inherently high-maintenance and hierarchical. Science and engineering which would benefit humanity would focus on inherently low-maintenance, decentralized, democratic technologies. As Auden wrote at the beginning of WWII, a war which never ended, “We must love another or die.”
 
Obviously these criteria rule out “hi-tech agriculture”, which is mutually exclusive with all of these, as well as any development or deployment of high-maintenance technology. It rules out anything which assumes globalization, since modern globalization is mutually exclusive with low energy consumption and low emissions, and as the most fully developed form of corporate domination it’s mutually exclusive with human innovation and freedom.
 
Agroecology is the gold standard for a fully developed science and set of practices which superbly fulfills all these necessary specifications.
 
 
I write about the future of agriculture and food as Peak Oil, climate chaos, environmental collapse, and extreme cultural and political volatility impend. Others must take up the corresponding tasks to propagate the necessary ideas for other essential sectors.
 
 
 
Help propagate the necessary ideas.
 
 
 
 
 

February 7, 2017

Food Sovereignty and Agroecology for Africa and the World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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