October 17, 2016

The Reason: The Climate Crisis


Along with war, the climate crisis gives perhaps the best example of how, according to the tenets of the electoral faith, the voters vote for exactly what they want, which contradicts what they fraudulently claim to want.
To state the fact clearly: There is one and only one way to avert the worst consequences of climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
Currently it’s not possible to vote for a party which wants to do this, so it follows it’s not possible to vote in any way but for worsening climate change.
It is possible to build an anti-corporate movement which would do this, and stemming from that movement a political party which given the power would do this. But that requires hard work and the suspension of demands for instant gratification and celebrity Fuhrerprinzip.
But as we’ve always seen, no one wants to do movement-building work and the voters want nothing other than the instant gratification of exalting a Leader. They refuse even to try to comprehend any other idea. That’s why they’re the faithful of the electoral cult in the first place, the political participation equivalent of McDonald’s.
And thus: If everyone who claimed to care about the climate crisis would refuse to vote for anyone who promises broadly to continue the high-emission, sink-destroying system, America would transform itself to a low-emission economy (which would also accomplish a general economic liberation and broadly spread prosperity and health).
The reason the US government propagates nothing but policies that increase emissions and continue to destroy sinks is not because of de jure climate change deniers. It’s primarily because almost all who claim to care about climate change are frauds who really want to make it worse. Their vote proves it.
(This vote being part of a general kind of climate change denialism which, for example, thinks driving a fracking car or mountaintop-removal mining car is “doing something about climate change”. No, that’s contributing to it, and adding more hypocrisy to the brew while you’re at it. The problem, as everyone knows perfectly well, is the personal car as such. Since no one wants to give up the car, there exists no political party of giving up the car, and therefore no political party which isn’t an aggressor of climate change.)
If you vote for continuing this level of emissions and continuing to destroy carbon sinks, you have no right to complain about climate change.
Or to put it more simply, if you vote for the Corporate One-Party you have no right to complain about climate change. Same as for war, corporate agriculture, and Wall Street.
To repeat, in reality voters in the corporate neoliberal pseudo-democracy don’t really have this power. (And to get a different system you need to do movement-building work from outside that system, not keep voting within it. This should be obvious to any sentient being, yet in today’s “politics” it might as well be the most unfathomable mystery of the universe.) But the religion of electoralism, on full imbecile display at such noxious times as these, claims that voters have 100% of the power. So I’m explaining them to themselves according to their own measure. According to their own faith, they’re nothing but despicable liars where it comes to everything they ever claim to care about. Their vote proves it, always.

October 1, 2013

“Feed the World” Is A Big Lie


“Feed the World” is a classic Big Lie. Corporate agriculture has been dominant for fifty years, it currently produces enough food to comfortably feed 10 billion people, yet of the 7 billion on Earth, 1 billion go hungry, while another 2 billion experience various kinds of dietary diseases. That’s proof beyond any reasonable doubt that corporate ag cannot feed the world and does not want to, because its profit is based on imposing artificial scarcity on naturally abundant food. (This natural abundance is 100% the work of nature and the actual growers, 0% that of governments, corporations, or professional liars. All these only work to destroy abundance.) GMO seed patenting, of course, has no goal other than to make this corporate enclosure and artificial scarcity far worse. It wants to double down on corporate industrial ag.
The whole notion that the world needs corporations to “feed” it is also the worst kind of anti-democratic, anti-human passivity. This is no accident. Just as agroecology and Food Sovereignty are the only way forward for all of humanity to provide itself with enough food, and healthy, nutritious, non-poisoned food, so these also comprise the mode of food production and distribution which gives free rein to human action, creativity, self-management, and democracy. So it’s obvious why, politically, the power structure wants to force Big Ag’s total control upon us, and destroy the agroecological alternative.
I think this is the main line of counterattack: GMOs have no reason to exist whatsoever; there’s never been any economic demand or natural market for them; no one – farmers, eaters, food manufacturers and retailers – wants them around; they’re a pure artifice and imposition of the corporate welfare planned economy. They’re purely gratuitous, purely pointless, a crappy product, totally worthless to anyone for any purpose. Pro-GMO liars have no argument in favor of their product other than this “Feed the World” lie. Therefore, this lie must be demolished. I’d place this prior even to arguing the socioeconomic and human health evidence, though these too are very important. But the lead argument is that GMOs serve no purpose, have no rationale, fulfill no need, and have been correctly not wanted by anyone but the GMO cadres themselves in corporations and government. They serve zero purpose other than to increase corporate and government power and wealth, and to repress agricultural innovation (100% of which occurs among decentralized farmers and public sector breeding programs) and scientific research (as a rule patented plant materials are available only to corporate-vetted researchers), just as monopoly consolidation and “intellectual property” repress all innovation and change in every other sector, and in society and politics at large.
This is also why we must not only reject specific neoliberal assaults like the G8’s “New Alliance” and AGRA’s “second green revolution” for Africa. We must also reject to any implication that a corporate globalization front like the G8 should be doing anything at all. Not only because its action will always be evil (on behalf of Monsanto, Wall Street, and other corporate sectors), but because even to contemplate something like “what should the West do?” is implicitly to give aid and comfort to the Big Lie that world agriculture and world food is in any crisis at all other than the artificial crisis generated by those exact same corporatist cadres and policies. As we know with the wars, the one and only worthwhile thing the West could ever do for humanity is to GET OUT. That’s why we need an abolition movement here in the West as well, to get corporatism out of our landbases and societies. But in the meantime we can support the heroic efforts of the rest of humanity to resist and roll back the corporate onslaught.


September 18, 2013

Colombia’s Seed War: Winning A Battle


For our physical survival and flourishing, everything starts with seeds. And for our political and economic sovereignty, everything starts with control of our seeds. That’s why a core goal of corporatism and globalization is to seize total control of the global seed supply and crush our right to save and plant our own seeds. That’s why a primary goal of the US government is to force GMOs on the world. GMOs are a crap product which have zero practical purpose and are poisonous to our bodies and the environment. Their sole purpose is to escalate and enforce corporate profit, enclosure, control, domination.
This is why globalization compacts try to force a repressive proprietary regime over seeds, and require subject governments to suppress seed sovereignty among farmers, gardeners, and the citizenry as a whole. This is a key part of the planned recolonization of Africa under the propaganda auspices of a “second Green Revolution”, as if the effects of the first weren’t disastrous enough. Governments adhering to the scheme are required to stop dispensing non-GMO seeds and take measures to prevent farmers from distributing seeds among themselves. The European Union is also plotting a repressive seed “certification” policy. This is just one of the EU’s endless schemes to let in GMOs, which have hit a brick wall of democratic rejection and opposition among the people of Europe, by the back door.
Bilateral “agreements”, like the one between the governments of the US and Colombia (such globalization pacts are always opposed by the vast majority of the people of all countries involved, and are always radically anti-democratic), are among the most repressive. In Colombia, the anti-seed provision is called Law 970. Over the last two years the government has aggressively sought to destroy the people’s seeds, most notoriously in a 2011 assault at the town of Campo Alegre, where government thugs destroyed 70 tons of rice seeds the farmers had grown, gathered, and were distributing. This crime inspired Victoria Solano’s film, “970” (in Spanish).
This occurs among the general process of small farmers being economically destroyed, forced off their land by the thousands, and driven into squalid shantytowns which spread at an accelerating rate around the fringes of cities all over the global South. This is the planned outcome of all neoliberal corporatist agricultural policy, and those who support such policy support this mass dispossession, ghettoization, immiseration, the worst crime against humanity history has seen. That’s the moral fact of support for GMOs and industrial agriculture.
But the world’s people are increasingly fighting back. Today we can celebrate, provisionally, a sign of victory in Colombia. The government’s assault on seeds was one of the prime causes of a farmer-led strike and protest movement which rose up in August. The farmers were quickly joined by miners, bus and truck drivers, students, teachers, civil society protesters, and many others. Workers went on strike, protesters blocked roads and fought the police. Over a dozen were killed, and hundreds arrested. In the face of this mass action, the government wavered from day to day, now calling for repression, now offering sham concessions, now denying that anything was going on at all.
Finally, at least for the moment, the government has had enough and is offering real concessions. It promises to suspend Law 970, release those arrested, and to enact a new mining law more favorable to miners. It promises to negotiate on the protesters’ other demands, including a partial dismantling of the country’s globalized agriculture policy, and compensation for the way this has economically harmed the country’s farmers. Of course, the proof will be in the execution, and we can’t count our seedlings till they’re sprouted. None of the promises have yet been written into law, and the promised suspension of Law 970 has several caveats. But the protesters vow to hold the government to its promises, and democracy activists and advocates everywhere can look with cheer to this uplifting demonstration of what democracy in action can accomplish, where the people are willing to stand up for themselves.


July 11, 2013

GMOs Uber Democracy: European Examples

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Globalization — Tags: , , , — Russ @ 7:36 am


Yesterday I commented on how insecticidal and herbicide tolerant GMOs no longer work, as was predicted by all rational, non-criminal observers. (Those two are the only genres of GMOs which ever temporarily worked or were commercialized. All other sorts – “Golden Rice”, “drought-resistant”, “nitrogen-fixing”, etc. – are just PR hoaxes. The propaganda of these varieties exists because people are understandably turned off when they learn that the only things GMOs actually do are let more poison be sprayed upon them, or produce their own poison from within.)
Of course governments are intent on continuing to force these worthless, destructive products, for which there is zero natural demand, upon us anyway.
These days the EU’s Commission (an unelected technocratic government) continues in its desperate mission to force GMOs upon Europe, in spite of the continued overwhelming rejection of GMOs by the European people.
See also how, as more independent tests like last year’s Seralini feeding trial are proving the health malevolence of GMOs, the GM flacks are reduced to demanding that testing simply not be done! That’s the kind of swine who populate “our” hierarchies.
(The links there also give a good intro to the fundamentally anti-democratic character of government-by-bureaucracy like the EU, and the similar character of globalization’s “free trade agreements”. Since the European Commission continues to falter in pushing Monsanto’s imperative, the US government is trying to force GMOs literally down European throats via a bilateral “agreement”.) 


June 15, 2013

Humanity’s Great Movement Against Corporate Hunger, Notes on Strategy (3 of 3)


What must be done? As one living in the West, I’ll write mostly about what must be done in the West. Here we live in occupied territory. Monsanto is in power in the US and Canada. The governments of Britain and the EU want the same thing for Europe, and GMOs continue to infiltrate England (but not Scotland or Wales), but a much more vigorous rejection by the people has forced a stalemate on the continent. The much vaster trench line extends across the global South, and it’s there where GMOs, and global corporatism itself, shall persist or suffer a mortal defeat.
The 2012 report Combatting Monsanto gives a good overview of the action across the South and in Europe. GMOs now dominate North America and large parts of Latin America and Asia, but have mostly stalled out on these continents and are now achieving only ever-diminishing gains of ground at ever-increasing cost. More countries are resisting as a whole, thus for example Peru and Thailand have imposed moratoria on GM cultivation and importation. India is in a state of figurative civil war, where amid a farmer genocide (300,000 indenture-driven “suicides”; but if gangsters hound a farmer literally to death, I’d call it murder) the states are increasingly defying the central government, which in turn is openly preparing to try to force its own pro-GMO policy on the states and the people. The same is true in Australia and New Zealand, where in spite of intense government aggression, the people continue to force retrenchments and even setbacks. (At least one Australian state has since banned the cultivation of GMOs.) In Europe as well the people continue to reject and resist GMOs in spite of the worst efforts of the EU bureaucracy and US diplomatic aggression. It’s gotten to the point that Germany’s BASF is removing its biotech division from Europe to the US, while Monsanto has announced that it’s putting plans for European expansion on the back burner.
In all these places the analogy to trench warfare is useful to describe not just the totality and viciousness of the combat, but also the increasingly costly futility of the aggressor’s action. In 1914 the Germans were able to rampage across Belgium and into northern France, but then stalled out and could achieve no further meaningful advance. Their temporary gains in 1918 were so costly as to deal themselves a mortal blow.
The final frontier, as I’ve been discussing, is Africa. Except for South Africa’s already devastating experience with cotton (repeating that of India), the continent so far has suffered only minor GMO infiltrations. That’s why the elites of the West view this as the soft underbelly of humanity, the front where they can get the stalled GMO juggernaut rolling again and achieve a decisive breakthrough.
How must the global movement evolve and fight? The people of each region and continent must decide for themselves. For example, whether or not they think they can “take back their governments”, ban GMOs, and restore the old-style public agricultural investment; or whether they end up having to build revolutionary movements; or anything in between and all at once. For now it looks like there’s not going to be any further constructive investment, but only the subjugating neoliberal “investment” of Monsanto and the Big Ag gang. 
We can figure out a few basic guidelines for action which will apply everywhere.
We need both a political advocacy and publicity movement, and also a movement for practical agroecological education, based on the horizontal exchange of information. The world standard for the political movement is La Via Campesina (the Peasant Road). In America the 19th century Farmers’ Alliance movement with its lecture system also offers an excellent model. Models for the practical educational movement include Latin America’s Campesino a Campesino (Farmer to Farmer), Africa’s PELUM (Participatory Land Use Management), and Asia’s Farmer Field Schools. This practical research and information exchange will have to continue to be done in an ever more decentralized, democratic way, since system agricultural research is already far more privatized and corporatized than even the police/military or the schools. 
These two kinds of movement need to be effectively coordinated, since neither can sustain itself without the other. Agroecological practice will be suppressed if it cannot politically fight for itself, while as we saw with the American Populist movement, no kind of innovative politics will suffice to rescue farmers still mired in the same commodity system practices which were indenturing and liquidating them in the first place.
This will have to be done by the Southern movement in a state of skepticism, at best, toward Western NGOs. Most of these are congenitally corporatist, and many are mere astroturfs running pro-Monsanto scams.
We who are physically and legalistically in the West but are spiritually and, in a more profound way, physically of the Earth, must view our legal and system-political surroundings as the artifices of a destructive parasite squatter civilization. This regime shall soon pass from the Earth, however facially destructive its ravages are at the moment, and however long this moment seems to we who must live through it.
We’ll have to fight any way we can. If there were a real anti-corporate fortress somewhere, arguably our job might be to serve as a pressure group for it. No such regime exists, and we probably don’t want “regimes” of our own. But we can infer a global movement for Food Sovereignty and against GMOs and food corporatism in general. How can we assist the Southern movement? We in the West can envision this movement, then act: (1) as a post-Western primalist movement ourselves, (2) as a pressure group on behalf of grassroots movements in the South against Western globalization and corporatism.
Our view of Western NGOs, and of system reform strategy and tactics like labeling panaceas and lawsuits, must be the same combination of ambivalence and rejection as the South deploys. I think that on the whole we can find excellent reportage from many of the NGOs, and that they do lots of excellent publicity work, but that we must always consider them incompetent to give practical political advice, since at best they’re congenitally system-oriented, hierarchy-oriented institutions.
What kind of action could a grassroots abolition movement take? At first it would mostly engage in publicizing the facts of GMOs, educating the public about this vicious poisoning of our bodies and our societies, impressing upon people the need for us to purge them from both our personal lives and from our public lives, from our politics, economies, and communities.
This won’t primarily be accomplished through any kind of corporate media interaction. The corporate media will never do anything but ignore, ridicule, slander, or patronize and misrepresent us. (The same goes for any democracy cause, and any anti-corporate cause. We know this well enough by now, so that we know any “leader” type who wants to focus on engaging the system media is some kind of astroturfer and misdirectional scammer.)
No, just as farmers need to retail directly to eaters, so we need to publicize directly to the people. We need a relentless, disciplined, systematic online writing project. As much as possible we need to disseminate information in print form. We need an ongoing campaign of public presentations and town hall discussions. All these could be publicized through social media as well as the time-tested physical means of signs on lawns, canvassing, etc. It will be the kind of grassroots campaign that should have been run during California’s Right to Know voting season (instead of the “professionalized” disposable election campaign which actually was run), and it will be permanent, with the goal of constantly extending the range of people who know what GMOs are and what they do, who have purged them from their individual lives and present themselves as exemplars, and who have resolved to purge them from the Earth.
This resolve, if it reaches a critical mass, could possibly force bans and such from some levels of government (though probably not the central US government). Better, it can serve as the nucleus for a more general movement determined to abolish corporations and corporatism as such. At the same time the anti-GMO movement will complement and intertwine with the movement to aggrandize the rising Community Food sector, as an economic sector and as a way of life upon which we can forge a new beginning for our communities, economies, and politics.


June 11, 2013

Corporate Hunger and Africa (2 of 3)


As the great battle escalates in Africa, I should review 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 also gave a basic account of the clash of agricultural corporatism against humanity in this post from a year ago on the plan for the recolonization of Africa.
To sum up, agroecology, a synonym for organic agriculture in the original sense of the term (not the degraded US government sense), is the practice of agriculture in imitation of nature. It strives to work within the rhythms of nature rather than against them, with it rather than against it, 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, and doing so in a way which enhances ecosystems, economies, and communities, rather than destroying all these the way industrial ag does.
The term “agroecology” indicates its basis in the combined sciences of agronomy and ecology. It is truly scientific in the best sense of the term, in that its practitioners are constantly experimenting, and based on the results modifying and repeating their experiments, all toward the goal of sustainably producing sufficient calories and nutrition. Combined with the political philosophy of Food Sovereignty, AE then seeks to distribute this food, more than enough to feed everyone, so that everyone actually gets enough to eat.
(By contrast, science condemns the industrial ag experiment as having failed at everything it ever promised it would do, with the exception of using the temporary fossil fuel surplus to produce more gross calories. But it’s been an absolute failure in terms of ending hunger, food’s denuded nutritional value, food toxification, the destruction of the environment (including greenhouse gas emissions; the industrial ag sector is the worst emitter by a considerable margin), and the destruction of economies, polities, and communities. Food corporatism and its “Green Revolution” promised to solve all these problems, all of which industrialization generated or exacerbated in the first place. By any scientific standard it’s a proven failure. To wish to continue the experiment, now extending it to Africa in a more virulent form than hitherto, is proof that the experimenters were lying about their proclaimed goals all along. We know these facts: Corporatism 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.)
Agroecology or organic agriculture is highly skilled work. It requires intimate knowledge of of the ways of the soil (building it with organic matter), weather, climate, plants (crops, other beneficial plants, potentially harmful plants called “weeds”), animals (livestock, other beneficial animals, potentially harmful ones called “pests”). AE’s innovative and highly productive techniques, eschewing monoculture and synthetic fertilizers and other poisons, include natural nutrient-cycling and soil-building, the use of manure, compost, and cover crops (AKA green manures), crop rotation, intercropping, alley cropping with leguminous trees, infusion of free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria into the soil, biological pest control (often called “integrated pest management”), agroforestry, better water management, rotation of livestock with annual crops, the whole art of integrating grass-fed livestock pasturage with vegetable production. It also requires the most efficient and effective use of energy and other resource inputs. All this knowledge is primarily built by the farmers themselves and distributed among them horizontally. (With some supplement and aggregation help from agronomy schools and NGOs.) All of it’s done with emphasis on the most appropriate specific application of general principles within a particular region/locality. All these factors will require even more precise knowledge as the fossil fuel crutch, required for each and every part of industrial ag, from the inputs and financing to the growing to the processing and distribution and preparation, is removed once and for all.
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 led by Catherine Badgley did a survey of hundreds of organic trials and found that agroecology/organic production, using the same amount of land under cultivation right now, can maintain and improve upon current conventional bulk and 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.

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

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 US, Canada, and Australia, insisted on the sufficiency and necessity of agroecology.
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 them and enhance them in light of modern agroecological knowledge. Where these have been marginalized or obliterated, they need to be rebuilt.
In the past public sector agricultural investment worked well to support farmers, although in emphasizing industrial ag it was building on sand, for farmers and for itself. But in principle there’s no reason there couldn’t be a “New Deal for Agroecology”, which would have to start with land reform. As Rosset explains,

In order to reverse these trends and provide a life with dignity for farming peoples, protect rural environments, and correct the structural causes of the food crisis, we need to revitalize family and peasant farming. That means restoring the public sector rural budgets that were cut under neoliberal policies, restoring minimum price guarantees, credit and other forms of support, and undertaking redistributive agrarian reform. The peasant and family farm sectors in most countries cannot be rebuilt without land reform, which redistributes land from export elites to food-producing peasants and family farmers. This is a central pillar of the alternative proposal for our food and agriculture systems that is put forth by the international farmers’ movement.

This could be the basis for a general program of farmer assistance, public credit, public sector research and education on organic practices and public domain plant varieties, policy favoring local/regional inputs and natural demand-based markets, storage of the harvest and maintenance of grain reserves, doing all of these with full farmer input and participation in decision-making. All this would recognize the fact that the basis of a healthy economy, polity, and society is the ability of the productive class to buy everything it needs for a decent life. So given the premises of modern civilization and the middle-class aspiration, agroecology is the most fruitful and healthful basis of agriculture. As always, where it comes to food issues the answer to any problem is along the same vector regardless of whether one’s a sincere reformist or a revolutionary. Either way one must be an anti-corporatist.
No such revival of public sector investment seems to be in the offing for much of the world. (It’s still working in parts of Latin America.) The system’s disaster capitalist response to the food price crisis of 2007-08 (NOT physical scarcity, which doesn’t exist) and the social unrest it provoked wasn’t to call for new investment, but new “investment”, meaning an escalated corporate agricultural assault, using the global financial crisis the banks themselves triggered as the pretext to accelerate and intensify corporate enclosure and domination. (That’s the definition of neoliberalism in this context: Corporatism’s use of globalization to seek and enforce total domination.*)
As Rosset put it, corporate agriculture has an “export-producing vocation”, what’s also called commodification, while real farmers have a “food-producing vocation”. In the end this is the clear criterion by which to judge the benevolent or evil character of a type of agriculture: Does it seek to produce food, or does it seek to produce commodities, toward the goal of corporate power? This is also the measure by which to judge anyone who claims to care about “feeding the world”. As we already see with biofuels (for which there is no demand and no market; the sector is 100% the planned-economy creation of government subsidies and mandates), corporate agriculture has literally zero concern with producing food for anyone. If the most profitable thing to do would be to burn the crops in the fields instead of harvesting them, it would do so. (This would actually be less destructive than harvesting industrial crops for fuel.)
Corporatism offers nothing to humanity but destruction, and humanity can find no path forward on the same Earth with corporatism. We have what might be called a “clash of civilizations”, or the final conflict of humanity against the depraved corporate “civilization”. Or we can keep the best of the word civilization and call corporatism a post-civilizational Hobbesian barbarism.
However one connotes it, the denotation is that this is a struggle between agroecology, as the basis of a steady-state economy of, by, and for the people, with Food Sovereignty as its companion political philosophy, vs. the totalitarian “growth” economy, and the neoliberal anti-politics which is its appendage. (It’s totalitarian because it recognizes nothing but its own imperative.)
This is a global struggle, and the front line is everywhere. Today the continent of Africa is the site of an escalating battle which promises to be the most critical of all.
[*Just as corporatism cynically regards country, government, and property as tools and weapons to be exalted or disregarded according to convenience, so in the end it will be the same with money and profits themselves. They understand that money is a fiction, and that for those who greedily seek it power is the only thing that’s real. The only thing corporatism wants, like prior forms of totalitarianism, is total power and total control.]


February 25, 2013

An Example of the Corporate Secession of Power


By secession of power I mean the way, under the neoliberal corporatist strategy, the 1% transfers power, prerogative, and wealth from nominally “public” government to nominally “private” corporations, while all costs, liabilities, and of course the fraudulent facade of “democracy” and kangaroo elections, remain with government.
Corporations, as I’ve written about many times, are created by government and are extensions of government. “Government” and “corporations” are merely different forms of concentrated elite power.
Here’s an example. On account of the Bill of Rights and the general indoctrination into ideas of “freedom”, it’s difficult for government to directly require people, as “citizens”, to do things like rat each other out for stuff. But the increasingly common way for the 1% to get around this is by concentrating elite power not in governmental form, but in corporate form.
Sure enough, most people think corporations are somehow “different” from government, even though they’re just superficially different forms of concentrated power.
Once an individual is part of a corporate hierarchy, there’s now few limits on requiring every kind of behavior characteristic of a totalitarian society, like snitching. But now totalitarianism is imposed, not directly upon the “citizen”, but as a requirement of one’s “job”.
(This is also a further refinement of bourgeois ideology and status. It turns out that being a private individual rather than a citizen of a community was only a transitional status. The more refined status is to be a cog within a corporation. Meanwhile to be “unemployed” is to be utterly dispossessed, to be an unperson, a kind of stateless, since there’s no community or even bourgeois “civil society” to fall back upon.
It’s just like how GMOs are quashing conventional ag, which has tried to quash organic ag.
In both cases, we have to wipe the slate clean, clear our minds completely of all recognition of everything that exists, go back to the beginning and rebuild.)


June 10, 2012

We’re All Lumpenproles Now – GMO Death Camps


The Green Revolution is still fraudulently touted as having helped to “feed the world”. This Big Lie is necessary to justify the sequel, that a second GMO revolution is necessary to continue this feeding.
In reality, agriculture doesn’t strive to feed a population which spontaneously increases. Cause and effect go in the opposite direction – industrial agriculture is a supply-driven process, and to the extent this extra food is available to the populace, population will increase in response.
What the Green Revolution really did was drive up the population while accelerating the arc of enclosure, driving ever more people off the land and into the cities. Shantytowns were the direct, intended result of this agricultural policy. The goal (as proven by the fact that it’s been the clear result, and that elites have continued the policy in light of this result; that proves that they intend the result) was to further separate humanity from the land, further assault subsistence food economies and replace them with food commodification, forcibly turn subsistence farmers into “job”-seekers, drive up the population, drive up the proportion of the population which is food insecure, drive up the number of unemployed, in both of the latter ways increase the desperation and infighting among the destitute masses, and in all these ways aggravate and accelerate the processes of colonialism and corporatism in general. Today’s GMO onslaught is an escalated version of all this. That’s why neoliberalism calls GMOs a “second green revolution”.
It doesn’t increase yield (temporarily cheap, plentiful fossil fuels, along with age-old traditional breeding, did that), and it’s not intended to. It’s not more efficient, and it’s not intended to be. It’s more “efficient” only from the point of view of purging human labor from the corporate economy and purging human beings from the land.
I defy anyone to explain how the logic isn’t that human beings (except for a rump slave class) must be physically purged from the Earth itself.
A real Nazi like Hitler at least had intellectual and moral clarity regarding his policy, unlike corporate liberals or conservatives. They follow the exact same logic, but out of cowardice or stupidity remain willfully ignorant of the fact.
But what could it mean to want to purge all people from the land, but not want their physical deaths? A shantytown makes zero sense from ANY point of view – moral, rational, practical. Even from the point of view of the most predatory, exploitative corporation, a shantytown is nothing but a waste dump, filled with potentially dangerous toxic waste. (It’s rare, but the inhabitants do sometimes rise up against the system.) The only way to make any sense whatsoever of the phenomenon is to view shantytowns as putative death camps.


May 14, 2012

More on GMOs and “Representative Democracy”


Sorry I don’t have time for a longer post on this (very busy these days, but I’ll get back to longer posting soon), but I wanted to point out quickly a few typical mistakes in this reasonably good (for the MSM) piece.
Can you spot the non-sequitur?

Just over half of Americans say they wouldn’t buy a food they knew was genetically modified. Another 87 percent say they want to see GM labels at the grocery store. That’s one reason why Connecticut’s recent failure to require labeling is so surprising, says Treehugger.

One would think there’s some necessary connection between the clear will of the people and the way government should respond to this will. It looks like Treehugger fundamentally misunderstands what the government is. It’s making the typical mistake of believing the good civics textbooks about government being responsive and accountable, so that this behavior is “surprising”. It’s buying into the neoliberal scam, the preparations for which go back to 1788, of “representative democracy”. But in fact government is there to serve power prerogatives, and will be accountable to the people only to the extent that the people directly force this accountability. Government is never accountable other than out of fear. It only makes pretenses at representative democracy out of fear of true democracy.
Mistaking this fundamental character and procedure leads to further mistakes like this one.

But the biggest opposition in Connecticut didn’t come from scientists. The reason the bill failed appears to be pressure from Monsanto, which reportedly threatened state legislators with legal action. This was the same tactic that got a GM labeling provision thrown out in Vermont last month, as the one thing cash-strapped states don’t need is a big lawsuit.

This is confusing a pretext for a cause. Monsanto* is a racket particularly vulnerable to the people’s direct action and particularly dependent upon broad quasi-voluntary acquiescence. (GMO crops and IP prerogatives aren’t like a handful of oil wells – they’re rather dispersed, soft targets. There’s a reason why, in spite of favorable laws, Monsanto hasn’t penetrated the Iraqi countryside to any great extent.) It would hesitate to sue any state that would actually fight and respond with general hostility.
But these lawsuit threats are really part of a consensual dance between the racket and state governments who want to be friendly to it. Given the level of democratic support for GMO labeling, state governments are often too cowardly to vote against it (same for raw milk decriminalization). So they’re happy for the pretext the lawsuit threat provides. They pretend that this threat is too dire to contemplate (but avoid actually explaining why the threat is so dire; anyone who thinks about it even a little bit would see it for the bluff it is, and anyone who actually wanted labeling wouldn’t be deterred for a moment), and that it practically forces them to back down on public interest action.
But in reality, the government is happy to be able to use the threat as a pretext. I wouldn’t be surprised if they secretly asked Monsanto to issue such threats.
As we’ve seen ad nauseum, this scam usually is convincing to “progressives”.
[*Monsanto is at least as cash-strapped as any state. In 2010, from the Wall Street point of view, Monsanto was on the ropes. Obama’s pro-GMO escalation starting at that same time has been, in part, a Monsanto bailout.]
Finally, in case anyone’s still inclined to view the World Health Organization as any sort of implicit authority (the piece seems ambivalent), think about this.

The World Health Organization, for instance, while noting some potential human health hazards like gene transfer, maintains GM safety is a case-by-case issue.

I’ll be revisiting this kind of scam. For now I’ll just point out the fraud, anti-reason, and anti-science of any dogmatic declaration that evidence trends do not exist, that induction and deduction are invalid procedures, and that we must never draw conclusions. This is not, of course, the WHO’s normal stance. But where it comes to GMOs, its official position (along with the US government-enforced “substantial equivalance” dogma) is that each product must be taken as a stand-alone “case”, and that this “case by case” assessment must never seek to compile any evidence whatsoever from previous cases.
This is a typical example of the system’s ideology on GMOs, and typical proof of GMOs as the great structural hope for the system’s imperialism. I’ll write much more on this.


April 26, 2012

GMO Labels and Corporate Liberals


Why Not Label GMOs?, asks this not-untypical editorial. (Studies of the media have found near-unanimous support for GMO commercialization, but a split on mandatory labeling.)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already requires food manufacturers to list ingredients, nutrition facts and common allergens. Why make an exception for genetically modified ingredients?

It’s obvious, isn’t it? Sunshine is not only a basic principle of democracy, which everyone at least claims to respect. It’s also a bedrock premise of consumerism and the “free market” ideology. So how could anyone legitimately oppose it? I think we’ll find that GMO labeling is a handy litmus test to differentiate real believers in democracy from those who lie about the way they actually hold it in contempt. Without exception, all arguments against mandatory labeling boil down to “the people are too stupid to understand such labels.” Of course, even if that were true it wouldn’t make a difference – if you support democracy you have to support its practice, taking the bad with the good. But in truth the people understand GMO labels perfectly well. Humanity has always rejected GMOs on the perfectly sound, rational ground of the precautionary principle. We don’t know if it’s safe, there’s good reason to believe it’s not safe, we don’t need it in the first place, on the contrary it’s the escalation of a food system already proven to fail according to all its promises, so a rational person would reject it.
One place where this issue helps flush out the traitors is among the “food safety” groups. The Center for Food Safety, in spite of some pernicious positions like its support for the Food Control Act, has been strong on GMOs. By contrast the so-called “center for science in the public interest” (CSPI), in direct contradiction of its name, its alleged principles, and its advocacy at every other point, has been implicitly pro-GMO (no doubt only cowardice keeps it from making its support explicit; but it does regurgitate corporate propaganda at its biotech page (several links at the post I just linked)). Its executive director went so far as to personally vouch for the career of Michael Taylor, one of the most notorious corporate thugs and corrupt revolving-door transitors. (“Corrupt” by liberal good-government standards, that is. By that standard the CSPI is similarly corrupt.)
The CSPI’s advocacy is all about labeling. This is its default prescription for pretty much everything. That, plus the general default in favor of democratic transparency, ought to mean that if nothing else it should be at the forefront of advocating mandatory GMO labeling. That renders its absolute silence on the issue all the more glaring. (I guess they’re too cowardly to actually oppose labeling, so instead they go silent.)
Why would an outfit like the CSPI be such ballbreakers where it comes to labeling every other kind of additive, demanding nutrition labels on fast food, etc., but omit labels for this kind of adulteration? This provides a clue to the real nature of GMO imperialism. For savvy corporate liberals like this group, it’s the difference between wanting some regulation of things like regular additives, which are just details of secondary importance, as opposed to regulations which would compromise the integrity of the structure itself. It makes little big-picture difference whether a particular additive is subject to labeling, or is even banned as a carcinogen. But GMOs as such are not a structural detail. On the contrary, they comprise an attempt to replace the entire existing food structure, and beyond that vast swaths of Gaia’s biological structure, with themselves. Therefore any regulation which would compromise the general freedom of the GMO imperative is taboo. Here corporate liberals join hands with regular conservatives. The CSPI provides an example of where the boundary of regulation-seeking lies. This is a good example of the role of corporate liberal cadres in general, and in turn their role within neoliberalism provides insight into the basic scam of neoliberal tyranny itself.


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