GM crops promote superweeds, food insecurity and pesticides

GM crops promote superweeds, food insecurity and pesticides

After more than 15 years of the world gambling with genetically modified crops the verdict is in and it’s pretty damning.

There is now strong empirical evidence from a variety of authoritative places that GM crops increase pesticide resistance which ends up driving up pesticide use. They also

GM companies have used a variety of tactics to persuade farmers to take up GM, from attractive promises of more yield and less cost, to much harsher strategies such as making conventional seeds unavailable, vertically integrating seed and chemical companies locking farmers into using products from the same system, aggressive litigation of any perceived harm to the company, creating monopolies then driving prices to record highs leading to crippling financial debt that many Indian farmers can only escape through suicide.

There are also health safety concerns for human eating and there is strong evidence that pesticide use has doubled and in some cases has gone up 13 times to the original. Only a few traits have been developed to favour consumers or farmers, all the other developments favour GM companies at the expense of everyone else.

In many areas growing conventional crops has become impossible because of large scale cross-contamination which brings with it uncertainty, impossibility to isolate non-GM crops and also in many cases harsh litigation from GM companies who easily bankrupt farmers even when the claim is absolutely solid against the GM companies. Injustice occurs and choice is taken away. Not fair, not democratic, not ecologically sound.

The conventional instrumental rationality of technoscience coupled with ethics-free capitalism is clearly failing both the people and the environment. Again. Most who studied this issue through the last 15 years, such as myself, or those who have been at the front line of GM developments knew what was going to happen, yet developments went ahead. Clear failure of the underlying logic that drives both science and capitalism in this case.

Global Citizens’ Report on the State of GMOs:

http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Environment/documents/2011/10/19/GMOEMPEROR.pdf

Guardian article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/19/gm-crops-insecurity-superweeds-pesticides

Poly segment on SBS

Finally we’ve got our segment on polyamory up on youtube (thanks Craig for pushing for this!) so you can have a look. Me, my mum and friends are on from about 2 min into the video:

Considering the original footage from us was over 2 hours many of us were disappointed at the length and quality of our segment. Still, it was a great opportunity to put polyamory into a mainstream program that actively shows the alternatives to monogamous marriage. Good one guys, I’m proud of us :)

Chris Hedges on OWS

Finally someone worth listening to on the Occupy movement. Chris Hedges, Pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist and writer was shouted down in a Fox News style CBC show in the first video, then got his chance to properly explain the movement in the second.

Cogent, considered and making very important points that need to be made again and again and again… that the US financial system is completely broken and morally/ethically bankrupt, that it’s high time to stop putting corporations in front of people and that unbridled capitalism has led to a full-scale ecological crisis and we need to wake up to the reality in order to start changing our way.

And he’s got his own blog here too:

http://www.truthdig.com/chris_hedges

OccupyWallStreet

OccupyWallStreet

Finally average Americans have really had enough… of unemployment, of not being able to afford health care when their lives are in danger, of not making ends meet while working hard, on whole families and communities collapsing because of entrenched inequality and lack of opportunity, of banks and financial institutions being bailed out while families are not given any help, of both major parties being in cahoots with powerful industries and failing to govern for their people, of the US of A going down the drain as far as the world of the everyday person is concerned.

The Occupy movement has grown out of years of financial strife and disaffection, out of millions and millions of Americans losing their livelihood, health and lives because they have been screwed over by the political and financial elites.

Finally the movement is getting big enough on Wall Street that Michael Bloomberg had to yield ground and allow them to stay despite pepper spraying them in the face and brutalising them with the NYPD earlier. The movement is spreading all across the USA and abroad too. It’s an amazing time to be alive and watching this, on top of the Arab spring. Yet it is also a scary time: how many times in a lifetime do people of big, influential societies or vast oppressed areas get the chance to rise up and change history? Not many times. How many times have they succeeded in the past? I do not know the count, but from the last couple of centuries of European history my mind conjures up many many failed revolutions and failed uprising. In fact some are going on right now (Greece anyone? Ukraine?). I wonder which way the USA is heading. It’s going to be very interesting to watch.

A good sign is that the US right wing public sphere is starting to freak out. Here, watch this video from the Rachel Maddow Show about media coverage and how the tide is turning.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

The US of A is rotting from within.

One poignant sign is the Occupy movement. Unemployment is up (with the long-term unemployed rising in numbers), the second dip of the GFC is thought to be imminent, the Senate is so divided that almost no useful legislation can be passed and citizens have been pushed way too far on various fronts. A terrible health care system compounded by record inequality in wealth and opportunity, big financial and political institutions skimming the money and benefit and leaving very little for those in urgent need. There’s little hope and no real leadership. The situation is ripe for unrest and completely justified.

Thousands have poured to Wall Street to demonstrate peacefully and have been occupying space there for several weeks. The US media is barely reporting that it’s happening, trying to wish it away perhaps. The protest is now spreading to other parts of the US and there’s also international support. Protesters at Wall Street have been roughed up by police recently. The attack was unprovoked and served no point in protecting anyone. Protesters were pepper sprayed in the face and smashed with batons. I cannot believe that NYPD thinks they can get away with this with all the video cameras out there… I really hope that there will be lots of pro bono legal work to support protesters in bringing the police to justice over this.

Sociologists and analysts of all sorts will be chewing over this for a while. I hope there’ll be some useful cross-support from other movements. So far various US unions have announced their support and Avaaz is collecting signatures and money (as does the movement itself, with a bitcoin account), but I haven’t seen accounts of any other larger scale support. This is going to be interesting to watch.

It’s difficult to get good coverage and there’s a lot of jamming both ways (hoaxes, misinformation etc), but the Guardian and Al Jazeera seem to be some of the better sources:
Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/occupy-wall-street
Al Jazeera: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/10/201110781816308874.html
(sorry guys, my embedding is currently down)

From Al Jazeera:

“Officers mandated to protect the public, but well-trained in ways to hurt people, displayed little restraint as they beat, dragged and arrested dissenting citizens. Lopez says some protesters attempted to peacefully sit down but were targeted with violence regardless. She claims injured demonstrators were pulled beyond the barricade to prevent them from being helped by the crowd.

Speaking to Democracy Now! shortly after the melee, protester David Suker claimed to have witnessed an NYPD deputy inspector with a club, “swinging wildly” in the tightly-packed area.

Media attempting to document the crackdown were not spared from harm. Journalist Luke Rudowski with We Are Change, says he was rammed in the stomach with a club and thrown to the ground, despite repeatedly making it clear that he was with the media. A pair of local Fox News reporters were also hit with pepper spray and at least one police club.

Despite the initial violence, the bulk of the protesters stood their ground shoulder-to-shoulder on both sides of Broadway, separated by scores of police officers and emergency vehicles. At one point the crowd began to recite the 1st Amendment to the gathered officers.

One young woman claimed to have been arrested for “standing on the sidewalk.” As police pulled her towards an unmarked car, onlookers and journalists asked for her name. With her hands flexed-cuffed behind her back and officers attempting to force her into the waiting vehicle, the woman replied, “Troy Davis, Emmet Till, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King.”

Protester Hero Vincent was visibly frustrated with the heavy-handed police tactics. Speaking to Democracy Now!, Vincent pleaded, “People should not have been pepper sprayed in the face, should not have been slammed to the ground. We did absolutely nothing wrong. We came peacefully, and it’s gone on long enough. We just want peace. We just want change.”

Vincent added, “I’m tired of seeing it. I’m tired of seeing this abuse. They do not run this country. This is our country, and I’m tired of it. I am tired of it. This can’t happen no more.”