Sun Jan 25, 2009
For years, environmentalists have been struggling to stop pesticides that are deadly to everything, and food safety people have been trying to stop GMOs that are threaten to human health and all of nature, and farming groups have been trying to stop regulations that make farming literally impossible. The arguments for organic farming and freedom to farm go beyond argument – it is patently obvious that is the only thing that makes any sense whatsoever.
So, why is industrial agriculture – which is depleting and contaminating our water supply, filling animals with drug after drug that make us sick, using such disgusting practices it has created Mad Cow and Bird Flu, wiping out fish stocks in the ocean with poisonous run-off into the Mississippi, causing suicides by the 10s of thousands in India and our own farmers deaths in huge numbers in the 80s here, destroying farming communities and the democratic base they provide this country, killing bees, and giving us diabetes and heart disease and cancers – pre-eminent over an agriculture that is simply and by all common-sense, good?
Look hard at that word. It is unfamiliar within the paradigm of agriculture but it is the unseen bedrock reality and it is the source of all the insanity mentioned above.
Monsanto is currently in the process of wiping out hundreds of farmers in southern Illinois and destroying previously close communities through fear and paranoia. Within a frame of “agriculture” or defending “patents,” it somehow passes as “normal” to have hired thugs trespassing, harassing, threatening, tracking, and abusing farmers and then pushing them into bankruptcy through lawsuits against patent infringement.
From an agricultural frame, though, one can see that those patents as similar to laws that defined slaves as 3/5 of a man legally, because they, too, contravene all equal and natural rights of each individual to what is inherently theirs – in the first case, freedom and a vote, and in the second case, ownership of nature itself. And Monsanto is also acting as did the KKK, striking fear into communities on purpose, to cow farming communities and even to eliminate them in what it calls “rural cleansing.”
A discriminatory group has intruded itself into a setting in which all people once had equal rights over nature, and it has managed to alter the entire system of rights which no one had noticed as “rights” before, access to nature being so unconsciously assumed. This immense overturning of justice did not happen accidentally but derived from extremely corrupt means – inserting a Monsanto employee, Clarence Thomas, onto the Supreme Court to make rulings that genetically altered organisms were no different from normal ones, and then on intellectual property law which allowed fro the take-over of nature through genetic engineering. People have recognized that this gave Monsanto a massive benefit – a lock on ownership of whatever it screwed with. But what has been missed is that those rulings by a black “Justice” destroyed previously taken for granted and thus undefined civil and human rights around nature.
The approach to pesticides has been similar. They have been seen merely as a product to be tested and approved or not approved, but something primary has been missing in that – a recognition that the corruption of the process is a civil rights issue. “Life,” liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In those words, it becomes plain that health, and thus what is done to threaten nature, the source of all life, is a civil right. Lost within “agriculture” and “commodities” or “profit” or “studies” is the profound truth that this is about life or death and our civil rights to life. One group is using corrupt means to discriminate against a defined segment of the population – all of us who wish to live.
We are used to seeing discrimination personified – George Wallace in the school house door blocking little black children from getting an education. Bull Connor setting fire hoses and dogs on peaceful black protesters. That template became the defining one for civil rights – white over blacks, bad people being stopped by the government. But it does not fit civil rights abuses now.
Today, government is not the rescuer but itself is attacking a marginalized group and stands between it and something they need. This is even harder to recognize now that Obama is president – for he is a black man overseeing a government that is discriminating and abusing a marginalized group. Who is the marginalized group? It is hard to see as well because it is all of us. And what is that group being denied through discriminatory laws and practices (and armed raids)? What we all need to survive – nature in a healthy state and full freedoms to it. And who is being discriminated in favor of? Multinational corporations such as Monsanto.
It makes for a much harder to draw political cartoon because the discrimination is so total and the government, run by a black man, is part of it.
But let’s look at only a couple of examples to see how it works precisely as discriminatory laws worked against the civil rights of blacks.
Voting rights were the heart of civil rights because they defined the equal personhood of black people. To block them from this civil right, poll taxes were interposed between them and the vote. They “were allowed” to vote, only the cost made it prohibitive.
Today, farmers are allowed to farm but the FDA’s seed contamination regulations (with Monsanto’s hand in them easy to see) have set an economic bar they can’t climb over. The FDA has listed seed cleaning equipment as sources of seed contamination and farmers are no longer allowed to use the equipment they have always used to clean seed to sell to the public now. The seeds included? Those eaten raw (flax, poppy, sesame); those sprouted (wheat, alfalfa, beans, greens, brocolli ….); those pressed into oils (corn, soy, sunflower, canola, …); those used for animal feed. Farmers can still clean those seeds if they get the seed cleaning equipment that meets the FDA’s requirement for “food safety” – a million to a million and half dollar building and equipment … for each line of seed. A farmer with hand made seed cleaning equipment he’s used for 40 years to clean seeds which never made a single person sick, would now need to build 15 buildings if he wishes to raise and sell 15 kinds of seeds. This corporate influence is criminal and corrupt. But even putting that aside, the imposition of corporate standards on small farmers is discriminatory. And intentionally so. Just as with voting rights, it is meant to deny the civil rights of one group to the advantage of a more powerful one.
A second example. Once poll taxes were eliminated, racist white people found another means of blocking blacks from voting – literacy tests. Using the seemingly rational argument that people should be educated enough to vote, they inserted this bar between black people and their full Constitutional right to vote. Black people were slurred, deemed “too dumb to vote.” No one, of course, was testing whether the racists were too undemocratic to vote, too cruel, too miseducated, too corrupt, or too … whatever. And no one asked whether common sense and decency and a history of being treated unjustly were actually ideal qualifications for voting and literacy was irrelevant and not included in the Constitution. What mattered was only that one group discriminated against another and denied them their Constitutional rights and using “false measures of value” to do so.
Today, farmers have “the right” to farm but the government is attacking their products as “too dirty to sell.” The USDA and its state agriculture departments are increasingly making raids against Mennonite and Amish raw milk dairy farmers and others who have been producing and selling their clean and healthy products for hundreds of years without complaint from customers.
The government lab results which are used to close down farms don’t match independent labs, and farmers fear the permits demanded of them set them up for attacks against them. Those behind the “food safety” attacks represent filthy food already making our population sick – food derived from disease-creating feed processes, from GMOs, from heavy pesticide use, from hormones, steroids and antibiotics. Just as the racists hid behind literacy as the criteria for democracy, but were at their core illiterate about democracy and anti-democratic, those discriminating against farmers (“farmist”?) set “food safety” as a bar to selling food, but at their core are “too profit-blinded to produce safe food” as well as profoundly anti-democratic. “Food filthy” is attacking those providing true food safety and the healthiest food in the country. These attacks are certainly criminal and corrupt and in Canada, a farmer is actually suing the government for criminal conspiracy.
But what is important is to see through the criminality and corruption and the bogus use of “food safety” to the discrimination involved in generating a view of farmers as incapable of farming adequately – and by those actually farming dangerously. Just as with demanding literacy tests (which were also rigged), condemning farmers’ food as unsafe it is a device meant to stop farmers from farming. And just as with voting rights, this is discrimination – an absolute denial of the civil rights of one group to the advantage of a more powerful one.
So, yes, American farmers “may” farm, only their means have been removed and they are being being raided and their products seized and the public is told what they produce is dirty and dangerous. Many farmers refuse to get permits out of fear and out of their belief it is their Constitutional right to contract freely with neighbors without the interference of a corrupt government, one that is not only intentionally discriminatory but has become dangerous in its armed attacks against them. They want testing for pathogens but distrust the government labs now. And in California, “too dirty to sell” comes now in the form of a government law that intentionally sets the bar higher than normal fresh milk can meet. Farmers recognize the George Wallace/Bull Connor behind the demand for permits, and are standing up for their Constitutional rights against their own government, and using the language of Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement in doing so.
Monsanto triggers thoughts of the civil rights movement, because its KKK tactics work the same way, as does its infiltration of good ole boy networks within state and national governments. Vilsack pushing of anti-democratic laws that preempt a community’s means to control what is planted in its area, his pushing for GMOs, his pushing of NAIS, his supporting CAFOs which wiped out thousands of small farmers in Iowa, should be seen only through the lens of his working for Monsanto or of the government being corrupted through his closeness to Monsanto. Instead, his actions should be seen as massively discriminatory against farmers and against citizens whose constitutional right to life, and to liberty through democratic laws, is being aggressively and endlessly and covertly and powerfully denied.
Pull farming and pesticides and GMOs out of the frame they have been held in. It’s almost like pulling them out of the mud. Wash them off and hold them up and look at them again. Realize that you are the little black child now unable to reach a decent life. And in that doorway, towering over you and all of us, is our own government (infiltrated by Monsanto), blocking every one of us from farming, from having a country full of small farmers, from local food, from safe food, from clean unpoisoned land, from healthy bees and birds, from normal seeds and trees and animals, available to everyone, and from our democracy.
Instead, we have a government ramping up to create a disease scare (as bird flu is being used in Asia right now) and use Homeland Security to wipe out normal animals stocks and normal seeds at will, and replace them with genetically engineered and patented ones. “Food safety,” “diseases,” “bioterrorism” all part of how the Patriot Act and Bush’s “war on terror” are justified as weapons against us and our civil rights.