“Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently announced that Russia will no longer import GMO products, stating that the nation has enough space, and enough resources to produce organic food. ‘If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat them. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.’” (Collective Evolution, April 15, 2014, “It’s Official—Russia completely bans GMOs.”)
Gary Hirshberg is the CEO of Stonyfield Organics. “Love me. Hold me. Spoon me.” Yogurt, smoothies, milk, butter.
He is a founding partner of the Just Label It group. You know, “consumers have a right to know what’s in their food yada yada yada…”
That was the exclusive mantra of the losing GMO-labeling campaigns in California, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado.
Of all the leaders in the labeling movement, Hirshberg is the most overtly political. Let’s look at his strange track record.
During the 2008 presidential campaign season, his home in New Hampshire was a mandatory stop for candidates. Hirshberg’s first choice for the Democratic nomination was the execrable Tom Vilsack until he dropped out of the race.
Hirshberg hosted gatherings for John Edwards and Barack Obama, and eventually decided to support Obama.
Obama, despite his nods and winks, was, from the beginning, Monsanto’s man in Washington, allowing a parade of new GMO crops to enter growing fields and the marketplace, and appointing staunch biotech allies to key posts in his administration.
Vilsack, Gary Hirshberg’s first choice for President, became the Secretary of Agriculture under Obama. Vilsack is an avid supporter of GMO food. During his term as governor of Iowa, Vilsack was given a Governor of the Year award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Hirshberg serves as a co-chairman of an organization called AGree. Its objective is to “build consensus around solutions” to “critical issues facing the food and agriculture system.” As researcher Nick Brannigan has pointed out, AGree includes, among its foundation partners: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
It would be hard to find foundations more friendly to, and supportive of, big corporate agriculture and GMOs.
With colleagues like this, why is Hirshberg a leader in the anti-GMO campaign? Good question.
Hirshberg is the author of Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World. He advocates revolution-by-the-consumer as an exceedingly powerful force.
It may be pretty to think so, but giving American consumers a clear choice about whether to buy GMO or non-GMO food, through labeling, isn’t going to push Monsanto up against the wall.
Instead, an all-out counter-assault is necessary. And it doesn’t take a genius to see where to start: TV ads. Web ads.
The objective? To make Monsanto’s threat to health and life and liberty very real and very personal. To make that threat as imminent as it was when millions of students, in the 1960s, saw the military draft as their ticket to going to Vietnam to die.
After you’ve aired a few thousand plays of such attack ads against Monsanto, then you can do polls. Then you’ll see what people believe and think and feel in a new light.
The labeling movement should be a ban-GMO movement. It should be enlisting artists of all kinds to make ads that move people, that attack the poisoners of the food supply, that hold up to ridicule the corporate agenda of monopolizing and degrading the food of this planet.
Gary Hirshberg isn’t the man for the job.
He’s the soft salesman, a businessman who tap dances with strange partners when he enters the political arena. He’s with the wrong people on the wrong side.
He’s calling shots in a campaign that’s designed to lose the war.
Why is that?
Well-intentioned political stupidity? New Age cheese-melt mind? Supreme confidence based on nothing? A desire to issue orders and have them followed?
Or something worse?
Coda: Suppose you ran a TV ad in which a salt-of-the-earth farmer was standing on a barren piece of land, the camera zoomed in on him, and he showed his callused and worn hands to the audience and said:
“I am an American farmer. I’ve been on this land forty years. My family has been on this land every day for a hundred and fifty years. I’m a human being just like you. My relationship with Monsanto and their genetically engineered food ruined my farm, my future, and my life…”
Or this: a mother and her little child stand on their lawn in front of the camera. The mother says, “See the rashes and lesions on my son’s body? Do you know where he got them? From the weed killer we sprayed out of a bottle. It’s called Roundup. It’s made by Monsanto. Do you want this for your child?”
Lawsuits from Monsanto? Bring them on.
The discovery and deposition would be a nightmare for Monsanto, as their lies came tumbling out.
TV stations and websites would refuse to run the ads? Terrific. That spawns a global online underground who post the ads anyway, along with: “Monsanto took legal action so you couldn’t see this ad…here are the outlets who refused to run the ads…”
Get the picture?
Gary Hirshberg doesn’t.
Or maybe he does but he isn’t on our side. Never was.
While his soft and weak “label-it” ballot initiatives suck up time, energy, money, and distract people from the real answer—banning GMOs—the clock keeps ticking:
More toxic Roundup invades the air, land, water, humans, and animals; Monsanto genes drift on the wind and infect plants and crops across America.
Which is exactly what Monsanto is hoping for: a fait accompli. Too little, too late.
The label-it ballot initiatives are enabling the goal of Monsanto.
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at NoMoreFakeNews.com.