Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hell No Monsanto...


Last Saturday, we packed up the whole family (plus one of Kylie's friends) and went to Sacramento to participate in the March Against Monsanto.  This March was organized on the Internet by an angry single mother who is frustrated with the ease with which Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) have entered our food supply in the United States. The organizers claim two million people participated in over 450 protests in 49 countries. About 1,000 people showed up for the Sacramento protest.
The night before the march, the United States Senate voted against letting individual states have the right to label GMO's in our food supply. The issue has gathered traction here in California because we had a Proposition on the ballot in 2012 about labeling GMO's. The Proposition narrowly lost despite the usual lopsided spending by the Food Companies. Every major newspaper in California came out against labeling GMO's. The pockets of Big Ag and Processed Food are deep.
The labeling initiative was started by a frustrated housewife in Chico, California (are you noticing a theme here). Pamm Larry wrote the thing and got the ball rolling. Talk about making a difference, Pamm singlehandedly has brought the whole issue of GMO's to the nation's table.
The argument whether GMO foods are safe is contradictory. Both sides have their studies to support their cause. Much of the anti-GMO side resorts to anecdotal evidence with people stating how GMO free diets have cured ailments like Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I'm always a bit cynical when claims are made regarding ailments such as these because of the psychosomatic factors related to these afflictions. They tend to be conditions that are influenced by biography and personality. As such, they also respond to the placebo effect (which is underused in medicine anyway). There very well may be good evidence against the health effects of GMO's and I believe there is; just look at how obese and unhealthy we have become since the GMO's were introduced into our food supply. The science just isn't quite there yet, in my opinion.
 Right now, the anti-GMO arguments are stronger when it comes to the dangers of monoculture, pesticide use and the monopolization of the food industry by just a couple of seed companies. That's why 50 countries have banned GMO's. Hungary recently burned 1,000 acres of corn when their government found out it was GMO corn.
To me, this whole idea of combining genes from different species in order to tailor make a patented life form is philosophically repugnant and inherently dangerous. That is what gets me out of this Lazy Boy and on to the streets.
It was an eclectic crowd. I saw a couple of people wearing "Infowars" t-shirts of the frothy, right wing, conspiratorially loony Alec Jones. The Sacramento Anarchists were there which seems to make up the bulk of what is left of the "Occupy" movement.  I also saw a young lady, in her 20's and cute as a marigold, holding up a newspaper copy of the Trotskyite "Socialist Worker". Smart move by the inheritors of Trotsky's legacy: I would have converted had I been 30 years younger. We need more Sexy Marxian Inspired Socialists.
The march was led by a couple of loud mouthed males. They, obviously, came out of the Radical Left. As they spoke, I kept thinking to myself that I'd wished they'd shut up. I agree with the sentiment, it was just their testosterone laden bullish ways that annoyed me.
The real strength of this movement is that it is organized and run by women. It is a movement of Mom's and Children. Yes, there were the usual radical components; the moldy Professional Left is always there. But the bulk of the crowd looked like they had just left the Mall of America, hopped into their Soccer Mom Subaru's and impulsively decided to drop in on a March against a deceitful company that has managed to create commodities that foster farming dependency to their product and are dubiously unhealthful. Never underestimate an angry Mom: The She Bears arise! And they are defending their cubs!
That is why this movement to label, and even ban, GMO's is going to win. No amount of money can defeat an angry mother.


  1. I like the sign about the mattress labels, right on.

    The GMO thrust by Monsanto, et al., is all about making the crop Roundup-resistant, so they can pour more problematic herbicides on the veggies. Wonderful, just what we need. And the 'subscription model' for seeds: the biggest scam ever; hope farmers wise up and opt out.

    The fix is in; Big AG runs Congress. They obviously think people are too stupid to notice.

  2. Agricultural policy isn't exactly a sexy topic, but Michael Pollan and all those "back to the landers" in the 70's have had an impact. I think the GMO labeling thing is a fait accompli.