Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Monsanto: the Toxic Face of Globalization

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/26/monsanto-the-toxic-face-of-globalization/ 
To the rhythms of drums and chants, concerned people took to the streets across 436 cities in 52 countries yesterday. The message was clear: smash Monsanto. With thousands marching from coast to coast, Canada to Argentina, and around the world, the day of protest has emerged as one of the largest global events—and it has only been around for two years. However, more than small hopes for a mandatory labeling of genetically modified products, smashing Monsanto entails a larger transformation of the modern relationship between people and food.
It is not only GM products, but the continuing economy of globalization, that Monsanto represents. Thanks to major seed companies and agricultural conglomerates like Monsanto and Cargill, the very definition of farmer has changed throughout the world—from a person or group of people in a given community who specialized in producing food to a corporate, land-owning entity comprised more of machines, technological assemblages, and inputs than of people who work the land. Thus, the target of protest is not only GMs, although GMs are a central aspect, but also the supply chain of multinational corporations that transforms food into a commodity that many throughout the world cannot afford.
In the context of today’s historical epoch—the Global Land Grab, in which farmland is being grabbed by multinational corporations from vulnerable populations like small farmers, campesin@s, and Indigenous peoples throughout the world—the March Against Monsanto has taken on a particularly sharp edge. In Ethiopia, where Monsanto has taken up shop through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, reports have emerged of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people flooding the streets of the capital city, Addis Ababa, to demonstrate against land grabbing.
Monsanto has also ingrained itself in Mali since the US-backed coup of 2012, in spite of renewed fighting in the North that only yesterday claimed the lives of 50 soldiers. Malian cotton farmers, who have resisted Monsanto’s genetically modified Bt Cotton seeds since 2004, are being brushed to the side. The process of side-stepping traditional agriculture moved forward in 2010 through the IMF-mandated privatization of La Compagnie malienne pour le d√©veloppement du textile against the organized opposition of farmers who petitioned through the People’s Forum. A year after the coup, the USDA announced that Malian farmers are “ready to adopt Bt Cotton,” although Mali’s “biosafety law needs to be revised and made functional.” The biosafety law is to be removed, because it restricts the ability of researchers to run field tests.

READ MORE: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/26/monsanto-the-toxic-face-of-globalization/

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