Monday, May 20, 2013

Millions March Against Monsanto

Brad Jordan
Activist Post

[Editor's note: This article is an excellent rundown of what Monsanto is in regards to food rights, safety, monopoly, patents, cronyism, and why millions are marching in peaceful protest. Please read and especially share with friends and family who are hearing about it and may not be aware of Monsanto and genetically modified foods. -HC ]

Fight for your right to eat food

Tired of not being able to trust your food? Tired of all the food deserts in this country, where there’s no choice other than which nasty fast-food place to drive-thru? Tired of federal regulators banning nutrient-dense foods, like raw milk from pasture-raised cows? Tired of not knowing what’s genetically modified and what’s not? Tired of things being labeled “natural” when they’re not? Tired of being sick and tired?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then it’s time to rise up off of your couch, grab a pitchfork, and join the worldwide March Against Monsanto, May 25.

Who is Monsanto?

For those of you who don’t know, Monsanto is the largest producer of pesticides, herbicides and genetically engineered crop seeds in the world.

The agribusiness giant has been playing God with our food supply over the last several decades by changing the DNA of staple crops in the United States like corn, soy, sugar beets, canola and cottonseed. These crops are found in one form or another in almost every processed, pre-packaged food in the grocery store, even though safety of their manmade genetic mutations is hotly disputed.


Safety

The company responsible for DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange wants us to take its word for it that its modern insecticides, like BT, and herbicides, like Roundup, are safe. And it also wants us to swallow the seeds it genetically engineered to withstand those chemicals, like Roundup-Ready corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, cottonseed and now wheat, and Bt cotton, corn and soy.

But these products have been linked to cancer, birth defects and infertility. They’ve also been blamed for dangerously depleting the world’s bee population, destroying biodiversity and producing food that is nutritionally deficient… and it can be argued that nutritional deficiency is at the root of all kinds of disease.

Monopoly

Monsanto’s rise to power did not come easy. Without the help of government – in the form of intellectual property rights or patents, cash subsidies, regulation of its competitors, and a “justice” system stacked in its favor – Monsanto wouldn’t be the powerhouse it is today.

Intellectual property rights

One of the key tools Monsanto and a handful of other biotech giants – including DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and Land O’ Lakes – have used to cartelize the world’s seed supply is U.S. patent law. 82 percent of all seeds for sale in the world are genetically modified and patented by about a dozen companies.

Intellectual property laws allow people to own intangible property like works of music, literature or art, words, phrases, symbols, designs, discoveries, inventions, or, in Monsanto’s case, genetic codes.

Monsanto owns all of the seeds – and by extension the crops they produce – in the world that contain their genetic codes.

Should a company own the genes of plants, such as corn, soy, or canola? Well, Monsanto does. They own the rights to how a seed is made and used, preventing farmers from saving seeds from their harvest or storing them for future planting seasons. By not being able to store seeds or use their offspring, farmers are handcuffed to Monsanto as returning customers, each and every year. If Monsanto finds any part of their GM gene in another crop, even if it’s one splice, they’ll come after you.

Monsanto argues it needs patents to recover its investment into this “planet-saving” technology.

“Monsanto patents many of the seed varieties we develop. Patents are necessary to ensure that we are paid for our products and for all the investments we put into developing these products,” it says on the company’s website.

The question isn’t whether Monsanto should get paid for its product – it should, once – but rather how long it should be allowed to extort money from farmers and consumers for its intangible invention. It just seems so unnatural, for there even to be a seed “industry,” when seeds themselves are oh so abundant in nature.

Monsanto has no natural right to own “nature,” even though U.S. patent law has granted them such a right.

If a farmer buys a seed, he should be able to do whatever he wants with it – grow it, reproduce it, sell it, or whatever. If I create a delicious meal and share it with someone, and they figure out how to recreate it, I don’t have the “right” to prevent them from making that same dish, or to sue them for stealing my “intellectual property.” Or, if I grow a tomato and sell it to someone, they should have the right to keep its seeds, plant them, or throw it at a politician if they want to, without the threat of prosecution for stealing my mystical invention.

But Monsanto’s doesn’t want you to have that type of freedom. Their henchmen snoop around farm fields searching for some plant that may have cross pollinated with one of their seeds that fell off some guy’s truck, which the farmer doesn’t even know about in most cases, and sue the pants off of him. The courts side with the GM giant every time.

Cronyism

Monsanto has created quite a cozy (to say it mildly) relationship with government officials. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for instance, was a former attorney for Monsanto. Shockingly enough, he just sided with Monsanto in a case involving a 75-year old farmer who saved his GM seeds, from one season to the next, a practice that has been done regularly in farming for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

If being in bed with Clarence wasn’t bad enough, here comes Michael Taylor, the FDA’s food czar. He also worked as an attorney representing Monsanto. One of the many things this regulatory agency is in charge of is… labeling. That’s why there are no GM food labels out there. Monsanto doesn’t want you to look up what “genetically modified” means.

And if you thought buying off food czars and judges was enough to solidify their foodopoly, you better think again.

Monsanto, along with other GM food producers, spent millions to stop Proposition 37, a bill in California that would have required food companies to label GM ingredients. That bill was enough to scare the GM poop right out of them. So they did what any monopolistic company would do, ask the government for more help. And, like any good money-grubbing politicians would do, they obeyed, attaching the “Monsanto Rider” to a budget bill.

As many of you have heard, Obama – who, in his first presidential election campaign, called for the labeling of GMOs – recently inked into law the “Monsanto Protection Act,” which protects Monsanto from “frivolous” lawsuits.

To the Streets

The Monsanto Protection Act is the final straw for some folks. Hippies, farmers, food lovers and liberty lovers, prepare to unite. Let’s pack the streets, even if it is a holiday weekend, and March Against Monsanto, May 25, 2 p.m. Eastern.

Join the revolution

If you’re still not with me, fine. You can sit home on the couch and watch Dancing with the Stars, drinking a Big Gulp and eating a bag of GM corn Doritos. I’ll head to the streets and peacefully protest against these real-food assassins.

While we march, let us not forget, it takes two to tango. It was government who granted Monsanto all this power in the first place, through patent laws, backdoor deals, and bribes. While I’m mad at Monsanto, I’m equally irate at our “benevolent” government.

Politicians don’t have to take the money, don’t have to make laws that protect precious “intellectual property,” but they do. So, I’ll be waving two signs at the March – one protesting Monsanto and one protesting the government. I don’t need poster board or paper though… just two hands and two fingers.

Please “like” Food Riot Radio on Facebook.

Brad Jordan hosts a podcast called Food Riot Radio. He and his co-host Sara Burrows work to expose how a collusion between government, big agriculture, big pharma and big food has determined what ends up on our plates and offer ideas for how to fight back.


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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm going to my city's demonstration. Thank you for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the protests should be in front of the major grocery stores?

Unknown said...

It makes sense for Americans to oppose Monsanto as this company exports advanced US agricultural technology to the competition in South America. Argentine and Brazil who export GM crops worth $30 billion a year to Asia and Europe in direct competition with US exports, costing US farmers plenty in lower prices. However, it makes no sense at all for South Americans and people in China and in Europe and elsewhere to complain about Monsanto: they get the benefits either of a large export income for their farmers or lower food prices (in particular, meat, as most GM crop exports end up in feed bins).

Anonymous said...

who wants the gmo food, even they are free. Monsanto is an evil company, they just want to control this world by food supply. step by step they are forcing farmers and consumers out of choice! If we don't stop it before it grow into a too big monster, we will all become its slaves!

Anonymous said...

Chinese and European people do not want any gmo food, keep them away!

chakras yoga said...

share this list of GMO foods to avoid with everyone you know. BOYCOTT http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/04/butter-salt-a-side-of-poison-how-to-protect-your-family-from-monsanto-genetically-modified-foods-marylee-fairbanks/

David A. Laibow said...

Monsanto's efforts in the Philippines have been unsuccessful so far. Many Roman Catholic farmers in the north of Luzon, and many Muslim farmers in Mindanao in the south, have come to believe that "MO" means ownership by Mossad, the Israeli intelligency agency, and that if they use Monsanto GMO seed, they will be automatically converted into Jews. We buy natural foods here in central Luzon at local markets from local farms.

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