Farm Photos

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Game of Exploitation as Progress

“If you're not angry
you're just stupid
or you don't care
how else can you react
when you know
something's so unfair
the men of the hour
can kill half the world in war
make them slaves to a super power
and let them die poor

I was locked
into being my mother's daughter
I was just eating bread and water
nothing ever changes
and I was shocked
to see the mistakes of each generation
will just fade like a radio station
if you drive out of range”
-          Ani Difranco, Out of Range

Desacrilization  - “occurs when a sacred item or symbol is removed from its special place or is duplicated in mass quantities, becoming profane as a result”

Unfortunately, the mistakes of todays’ generation are global. So far reaching in fact, that not just half, but most of the world is enslaved to a superpower. The biologically rich Southern nations are literally enslaved in every way; their labor is exploited, their land desecrated, their natural rights are denied. The monetarily rich Northern countries every-day citizens are enslaved in a more psychological way. Their freedoms and choices are being systematically taken away, their security is misplaced and destabilizing, their education is no longer integrated, they know only what they need to know in order to keep them consuming.
Who is this superpower? The global monopolies of big business: big-agriculture, big-pharmaceutical, big-chemical, big-weapons and big-oil. It’s not just that I don’t agree with their systems of colonization, it’s that their systems are murdering people; enslaving people; and destroying Nature. Genetic Engineering is, yet again, another attempt to further oppress Nature’s abundance; to commoditize it, enslave thousands of people to grow it, package it in plastic, distribute it globally and sell it under false pretenses of ‘health’ and ‘progress.’

It is a lack of developed ethics which is the active evil here. This culture of the white man, so intent on mastering Nature, has colonized the globe, forcing its beliefs upon people everywhere. When they don’t fall in line, they die. The first step to colonization is desacrilization;

“For those who hold the soil as sacred, relocation is inconceivable. At the public hearing of the World Commission of Environmental Development, an elder of the Krenak tribe spoke of the impossibility of resettlement:
When the government took our land in the valley of the Rio Doce, they wanted to give us another place somewhere else. But the state, the government, will never understand that we do not have another place to go. The only possible place for the Krenak people to live and to re-establish our existence, to speak to our Gods, to speak to our nature, to weave our lives is where God created us. It is useless for the government to put us in a very beautiful place, in a very good place with a lot of hunting and a lot of fish. The Krenak people, we continue dying and we die insisting that there is only one place for us to live.” – Ecofeminism, Page 104.

Many native lands were taken without offering any alternative place to go. The world was united in a belief of sacred lands, sacred spaces, prior to the influence of territorial space. The spread of lines and boundaries marks the spread of colonization and capitalism. It marks a shift in cultural consciousness from a way of thinking that is interconnected to a way of thinking that is compartmental. Imagine actually being from a place (maybe that is easy, maybe not); belonging to a land, not owning the land. It made you. You live here with the animals and plants which came long before you and are part of the place. It provides sustenance and shelter, warmth and spirituality for your whole family and your neighbors’ family. You will die here. The land will live on and your children will belong to it as well.

Once, long ago, all of our ancestors felt that way. The exploitation of space, land, and soil is the exploitation of a way of life. It’s a desacrilization of a really basic interconnected network: soil -> air -> water -> plants -> animals -> humans -> culture. To reduce these things to their individual parts is to ignore their true nature. To reduce any interconnected system to its’ individual parts is a reduction of that system as a whole and therefore a false representation of it. Yet, big-business and biotech get away with this logic all the time.

When corporations and governments promise that economic growth is going to help “third-world” or colonized nations catch-up so that we can all enjoy similar living standards, their claims are nonsense. The world’s richest countries consume two-thirds of its resources. It would take 500 years at the current rate for colonized people to have living standards comparable to Americans but Earths resources are going to run out long before then. If we were to distribute energy equally among all the worlds’ people, Americans would need to consume one fifth of the electricity per capita that they presently do. (Ecofeminism – page 60). The only thing that a capitalist growth-based economy accomplishes is making the small percent of already rich richer and the poor even more impoverished. Their motive for colonizing these nations is a rich supply of resources, soil, seed and labor to exploit for their own profit. 

“U.S. Grain exports account for 74% of world agricultural trade…By the end of the 1970’s, just six companies: Cargill, Continental Grain, Luis Dreyfus, Bunge, Andre & Co., and Mitsui; exported 85% of U.S. Wheat, 95% of its corn, 80% of its sorghum. They also handled 90% of EC’s trade in wheat and corn, 90% of Australia’s sorghum exports. Between them, Cargill and Continental Grain control 25 percent of the market.”
(Ecofeminism Page 237)

This is a similar picture no matter what major agricultural product you look at. Subsidies for these trade national corporations (TNC’s) drive down the prices of grain in third-world nations and force local agricultural workers out of the business; destroying food sovereignty (and jobs) in these regions. This is an active goal of these corporations; drive down food costs in an effort to stay if there was anyone left to compete with.  Small farms, community coops, tribal agricultural traditions…these are seen as threats by TNC’s. 

It isn’t enough to monopolize the world agricultural market. These companies think it is within their right to manipulate and patent Nature. They steal the colonized nation’s seed. Manipulate it into no longer reproducing itself and only growing in artificial conditions…claim that we invented it and call it elite, and sell it back to them at a price. Hybridization and more recently Genetic Modification are attempts at doing this very thing. Hybridized seeds will not produce (about 50%) in the second generation so farmers have to purchase seed every year, keeping them dependent and not allowing plants to adapt to various regions. 

As scientists increased the size of fruit or amount of fruit per plant ect., they also lost traits such as draught/cold hardiness or disease/pest resistance…they lost what the original varieties of those plants needed in their various ecosystems. Only the land-races, the original varieties often grown by small traditional farmers, possess the genetic information for those lost traits (the ability to grow without inputs)…yet reduction science refers to these varieties as ‘primitive’ and genetic engineering is putting them at risk forever.

Corporations push for hybridization and genetic modification because they can patent these seeds as their own ‘intellectual property’. Under these laws, they’re claiming to have invented a corn seed or a soy seed. This is a distortion of what they actually did, which is manipulating a renewable resource into becoming a non-renewable resource. They can actually persecute farmers whose crops are contaminated by their seed. They have legally forbid scientists from further testing their technologies under this claim of ‘intellectual property.’ Without peer consideration, review and trial how do we know that anything these companies are selling us is safe?

1 comment:

  1. You make me think, Michaelyn. I cringed a little when I read the lines "I was locked into being my mother's daughter..." but then breathed a sigh of relief that it was really Ani DeFranco talking.... but then I thought - well, you could also write that too... :) You help us be aware, Michaelyn...