2.0 GM Campaign

Urgent international action required to prevent release of risky technologies

It's looking as if Australia might have the dubious distinction of being the first country in the world to deregulate the use of new GM techniques such as CRISPR and RNA interference in animals, crops and microbes.

In recent years large agrochemical companies such as Dow, Syngenta, Bayer and Monsanto and other players have been investing in a suite of risky new genetic modification (GM) techniques, which industry refers to collectively as ‘New Plant Breeding Techniques’. Industry is arguing that these techniques are much more precise than older genetic engineering techniques – or even that they are not really genetic engineering at all – in order to attempt to circumvent regulation and public resistance to GMOs.

If we allow this to happen, products from these new GM techniques will enter our food chain and our environment with no safety testing and no labelling. The risks are enormous and the results could be catastrophic.

The Australia/New Zealand food regulator FSANZ has released a discussion paper on this: Review of new breeding technologies

Friends of the Earth Australia has an online submission tool. Whichever country you live in, please use it to send a comment (points are suggested for your emails) and promote this action through your networks. Since Australia is a major food exporter we are all going to wind up eating this stuff if it is deregulated. Go to: Demand all GM food be assessed for safety

In your campaign email you might like to refer the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility's statement on new GM techniques, which concludes that they "should be strictly regulated as GMOs":


Anti-GMO Media in Russia

Spreading Fears of the US Attempting a Global GMO Dictatorship

Researchers at Iowa State University expressed concerns that the activity of Russian media could harm the American GMO industry, by speculating upon how it intends to dominate the global food market.

"Russia is funding articles shared online that question the safety of GMOs in an effort hurt U.S. agriculture interests and bolster its position as the "ecologically clean alternative" to genetically engineered food, said Shawn Dorius, an Iowa State University assistant sociology professor. (Source - Feb. 2018)

The accusations are against Russian journalists trying to increase consumer interest in malicious technology take place against a backdrop of two trends. Firstly, the anti-Russian campaign launched by the Democratic Party in the US after the victory of Donald Trump in the presidential elections, and the US attempts to establish a GMO dictatorship across the world, which Russia is opposed to.

Seeds of Destruction (2007, F. William Engdahl)
This skillfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”
This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.
The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.
Engdahl’s carefully argued critique goes far beyond the familiar controversies surrounding the practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique. The book is an eye-opener, a must-read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and world peace.

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Author’s presentation (2014) —
GMO – Seeds of Destruction

EFSA’s Pesticides Unit

Has updated its risk assessments of three neonicotinoids (Mar'18)

Most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees, according to assessments published today by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).

These new conclusions update those published in 2013, after which the European Commission imposed controls on use of the three neonicotinoids – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam – that are currently subject to restrictions in the EU because of the threat they pose to bees.

For the new assessments, which this time cover wild bees – bumblebees and solitary bees – as well as honeybees, EFSA’s Pesticides Unit carried out an extensive data collection exercise, including a systematic literature review, to gather all the scientific evidence published since the previous evaluations.

In New Zealand honey is harvested by and large from hill country and bush, rather than croplands. NZ beekeepers have not been that concerned about neonic pesticides: their interests being unlikely to extend to the fate of bumble- and native bees.
The NZ-EPA in 2103 approved an application for an insecticide that contains bifenthrin and imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid, but in 2014 it refused an application to import Ortus, an insecticide containing thiamethoxam, because of its threat to bees.

As early as 2013 Placemakers and The Warehouse opted to not sell these products to the public. Now Palmers, Oderings and Kings are also under pressure to take neonics off the shelf.

JOIN the CAMPAIGN

in Australia every major retailer has ALREADY agreed to phase out neonics like Confidor by the end of 2018.

InPower Recharging

The Heart of the Matter

An organisation-wide update, 17 February 2018.

For background see: Inpower

We realise that there are rumours that InPower is dormant, or has even ‘gone away’, due to the seeming inactivity. This is FAR from the truth. We have been working hard to prepare for a major promotional push of the Notice of Liability (NoL) process. This preparation had to go back to starting with a proper foundation, in order to “build the house on the rock” so that WHEN the storm comes, it will stand. Last summer when we released the NoL and simultaneously did promotional pieces with Dr. Mercola and other groups, we were overwhelmed by the response. This showed that we were not prepared for what will be coming.

But in that influx of responses, some very astute and capable people joined the movement, and have stayed. We have gone through a re-structuring of the leadership of InPower Movement, in obedience to Divine order, to get the correct people into positions to build ‘the house’ so that it can accomplish all that needs to happen. To this end, we temporarily stopped all promotions and interviews, until we could get in proper order.
From the outside it may look like we’ve gone silent or gone away, but know that WE ARE HERE. Since getting in order, and without any promo, the movement is picking up momentum, like a locomotive, and groups are joining every week across North America, and now also overseas.

Roundup Whitewash

Monsanto Now Wants to Defund the WHO

Monsanto anticipated that the World Health Organization scientists would find glyphosate to be a probable human carcinogen.

They knew that this would happen and have been preparing to discredit them since March of 2015.

The UN for decades has been telling us what will cause cancer and what won’t cause cancer. In 2016 they came out and they say, “Roundup is a probable cause of cancer.” So rather than Monsanto saying, “Well, maybe we ought to warn people about that” instead they’re now trying to de-fund the World Health Organization because it said something that’s going to hurt their profits.

Apparently Monsanto have some friendly Republicans in Washington D.C. to push the message. They’re looking trying to de-fund IARC. A hearing was scheduled for 06/02/18 to take a look at some of these matters. It’s a really powerful move by a powerful company to try to take on these international cancer scientists.

In February 2018 Monsanto hit Avaaz, the international petition site, with a 168-page court subpoena about a petition they had just launched.


An interview with Carey Gillam, author of – Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science

Over 33,000 fed up citizens joined in the streets of Berlin to tell the world – Food is Political!

This year’s Wir Haben Es Satt (We Are Fed Up) demonstration featured a wide and colourful array of people from a number of food farming and environmental perspectives.

The focus of the protest was on farmers – loss of farmers and small scale farmer’s rights, and land access. Highlighted also were GMO free food, refugee solidarity, animal welfare, food sovereignty, fair trade, bee friendly agriculture, climate and environment, CAP reform for rural and ecological improvements.

Food is Political ...!

Joel Labbe (pictured) also spoke at the rally. He was the driving force behind the successful banning of herbicides from public use in France. This means that public parks, schools forests and other areas are no longer treated with these agri-chemicals in France. Further restrictions are coming in in the coming months and years.

WTO – Out of Agriculture !

Face off at WTO Conference, Argentina

The WTO: since its beginnings in 1995 as derivative of General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATTs), the World Trade Organisation has promoted the most brutal form of capitalism, better known as trade liberalization. At successive Ministerial Conferences, the WTO has set out to globalise the liberalisation of national markets, promising economic prosperity at the cost of sovereignty. In more or less the same terms, by its “liberalization, deregulation and privatization”, which is called Package of Neoliberalism,

The WTO has encouraged the multiplication of free trade agreements (FTAs) between countries and regional blocs, etc. On this basis and by making use of governments that have been co-opted, the world’s largest transnational corporations (TNCs) are seeking to undermine democracy and all of the institutional instruments for defending the lives, the territories, and the food and agricultural ecosystems of the world’s peoples.

In the previous Ministerial Conference (MC) in Nairobi in 2015, WTO had made six decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to LDCs. The agricultural decisions cover commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports, public stockholding for food security purposes, a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, and measures related to cotton. Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment for least developed countries (LDCs) in the area of services and the criteria for determining whether exports from LDCs may benefit from trade preferences.

This year, with Macri Inc. in the Casa Rosada (Government House in Argentina), the coup leader Michel Temer in the Palacio del Planalto (the oficial workplace of the president of Brazil), and Brazilian Roberto Azevedo as its Director General, the WTO wants to return to the subject of agriculture, to put an end to small-scale fishing, and to make progress with multilateral agreements such as the misnamed General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Notwithstanding the misleading protectionist statements coming from Washington and London, the WTO will meet again to try to impose the interests of capital at the cost of Planet Earth, of the democratic aspirations of the world’s peoples, and of life itself.

During these 20 years of struggle against the WTO, the world’s peoples have resisted its attempt to globalize everything, including the food and agricultural systems, for the benefit of the TNCs. Our struggles have been the biggest impediment to the advance of the WTO, and there is no doubt that La Via Campesina has played a decisive part. Our resistance to market liberalisation under this neoliberal regime has continued since the Uruguay round conducted within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Ever since, La Via Campesina has mobilised against almost all of the Ministerial Conferences since Seattle (1999) and Cancún (2003) – where our brother Lee Kyung Hae, holding a banner declaring that “The WTO kills peasants”, sacrificed his own life – and up to Bali (2013) and Nairobi (2015).

From December 10 to 13, an international delegation of La Via Campesina will be in Buenos Aires to participate actively in multiple mobilisations, forums and debates of the organised people, at the Peoples’ Summit “WTO, Out! – Building Alternatives“. We will denounce the WTO as the criminal organization that it is and will raise our flag of Food Sovereignty. We will denounce all governments, which, after having understood that the WTO had been weakened, resorted to mega free trade agreements, bilateral and regional, that threaten to annihilate our food systems, just as the WTO has done in the last two decades.

La Via Campesina now an irrepressible global movement

La Via Campesina is a global activist movement linking together rural organisations from many countries under a unified umbrella. Its goal is to bring about change in the rural sector: real changes that improve livelihoods, enhance local food production, and open up democratic spaces for food-land-people issues.

It promotes changes that empower people working on the land with more rights on issues that impact their everyday working lives. The movement believes that real change can occur only when local communities have greater control over local productive resources, and more social and political power.

Whenever international institutions like the World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Bank (WB), and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) meet to discuss agricultural and food issues La Vía Campesina[ 1 ] (LVC) aims to have a presence. LVC is also active in local communities whenever peasants and farming families in places - such as Honduras, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Indonesia, Europe or Canada - are resisting the spread of genetically‐modified seeds, or are being evicted from their land to facilitate urban sprawl, golf course development, intensive shrimp or pig farming, or oil-palm plantations.

brochure linkThis uprising of the peasantry is surprising to many westerners. It was always assumed that modern intensive agriculture would eventually supplant the old ways of farming. Surely by now that should all be gone! Instead, peasants are turning up everywhere[ 2 ], a troublesome and discordant voice to those extolling the praises of economic globalisation. La Vía Campesina has become an outspoken radical opposition to the globalised corporate model of agriculture.
Politically, the (neo)-liberalisation of agriculture is a war on peasants: it decimates rural communities and farming families. Environmentally, it causes a degradation of the rural ecology and biodiversity, causing superbugs, superweeds and toxified soils.
La Via Campesina is strongly rooted in local communities, at the same time being increasingly engaged on the international stage. Its growing visibility as a key social actor has attracted the attention of many rural organisations. It now includes 164 organisations from 73 countries. Much of its success is due to the fact that it is represents the diverse interests of its membership, balancing potentially divisive issues such as gender, race, class, culture and North/South relations3. According to LVC the conflict is not between farmers of the North and peasants of the South, rather, the struggle is over two competing models of land-use, social and economic development. On the one hand the neoliberal corporate-driven model of input/output agriculture; on the other hand the socialised model of ecologically-based sustainable agriculture geared to localised resources and markets.
The rise of La Via Campesina indicates that small-holder families have not been passive victims in the face of the global economic restructuring, with its increasing poverty and marginalisation. Instead they are resisting the corporate model of agriculture, using the typical methods of the oppressed; organisation, cooperation and community to build an alternative model of agriculture based on the principles of social justice, ecological sustainability and respect for peasant cultures and peasant economies. This involves creating small agricultural cooperatives, local seed banks, fair trade ventures and reclaiming traditional farming practices. It also means linking these efforts beyond the local by working at the national, regional and international levels.
In forming La Via Campesina, the smaller peasant organisations have effectively internationalised and succeeded in carving out a space in the international arena. It provides an international space for the peasant voice, its demands and efforts to resist the imposition of a corporate model of agriculture. The solidarity and unity experienced within this organisation yields perhaps the most precious gift of all, hope. Hope that ‘another’ agriculture is possible. Indeed, La Via Campesina enables us to imagine that change is possible and that an alternative way is being created.


  1. Translated from the Spanish it means ... 'the way of the peasant woman'
  2. Peasants and small-holders comprise about 40% of the world's population, and growing.
  3. Food sovereignty, seed sovereignty, land grabbing, biopiracy, land use, women's rights.

For more information visit www.viacampesina.org

The fight over who will control our food, countryside and natural resources is heating up

“Feed the World” – a battle-cry for both sides in a fight heating up over who will control our food, countryside and natural resources.

Today, April 17th, marks the International Day of Peasant Struggles. These ‘peasants’, or paysans in French, are the hundreds of millions of small farmers who currently produce the majority of the world’s food. They are the David struggling against the agribusiness Goliath – the large corporations consolidating control over global food production.

There is little in common between these two sides. The former know that food sovereignty and small-scale ecological farming can feed the world – once food production is fully in the hands of producers and consumers. The latter desire a resource intensive, chemical-based industrial farming model where control over seeds, chemical inputs, machinery, distribution and most importantly profits, sits in the hands of corporations.

In the last month the European Commission approved the merger of Dow Chemicals and DuPont, and Chinese state company ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta. Next up is the potential merger of Bayer and Monsanto – a ‘marriage made in hell’. These are some of the biggest agricultural companies ever known, true Goliaths, with market power that sends shudders through small-scale farmers worldwide.peasants_feed_the_people.jpg

Click to support the rights of peasants

We cannot allow corporations bent on profit at any cost to take control over our food and farming. Increasing corporate control, combined with a political fixation on export-led growth has tipped the scales in favour of industrial agriculture, threatening the existence of small-scale farmers, biodiversity and the environment.

In Europe, four million small farms disappeared between 2003 and 2013, a staggering 33% of all farms in the European Union. In contrast, three percent of industrial farms now control 52% of the European Union’s agricultural land.

Exacerbating this are trade deals that favour global food chains instead of de-centralised local markets – benefitting a small number of transnational companies. If the current trend of chemical-intensive industrial farming persists, the UN estimates we may have fewer than 60 years of farming left. The status quo is simply not an option.

Resistance to this trend has begun. Direct food distribution like Community Supported Agriculture initiatives and organic sales are booming, and opposition to trade deals that only cater for corporate wishes is increasing. The myths of industrial agriculture are being busted at the highest level, and now peasant farmers, as well as a large number of civil society organisations are pressing the United Nations to recognise the rights of peasants. A petition to European foreign ministers calls for support from European governments for the rights of peasants to land, seeds, a decent income and livelihood, and means of production.

It is time for political leaders to catch up. The European institutions, as well as national governments across Europe, need to unshackle themselves from corporate influence, and focus support on truly sustainable food and farming.

Nothing less than a radical overhaul of trade deals and the Common Agricultural Policy is needed. Putting peasants and a locally-based food system at the core of policy-making means shifting public money away from industrial agriculture to those who deliver for the environment and society.

This would mean ensuring fair prices for farmers, providing support for agro-ecological food production and artisanal infrastructure, such as small-scale food processing facilities and farmers’ cooperatives, to help them thrive.

At a local level, authorities can help by providing support to revitalise local shops, farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture, and fair-trade schemes. Internationally, it means recognising the rights of peasants and communities to define and build the food system.

The Davids of this world are not alone, and they have their slingshots full of public support. The fight to ensure that food and farming works for people, and the planet, has begun.


Stanka Becheva is food and agriculture campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe where she coordinates  work on agroecology and food sovereignty.


Right for Peasants

Join the movement for Peasants’ Rights and ask the EU and its Member States to actively participate in good faith in the elaboration of a “UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas“.

Background:

“Peasants and others working in rural areas  represent the largest group of people in the world  suffering from hunger and malnutrition. These  people have faced political and economic  discriminations for decades. In light of this situation,  the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)  undertook several studies that ultimately asserted  the need for an international protection instrument.  Consequently, a working group was created to draft  a Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other  People Working in Rural Areas. The first draft of the  declaration was completed in early 2015, following  two rounds of negotiation. The current challenge is  to pressure States to actively engage in the process  so that an ambitious declaration can be adopted.” ~ Factsheet: Hands on the Land (2015)

Join the movement and ask for the adoption of
the UN Declaration on Peasants’ Rights!

Sign the petition here …
No peasants, no food. Let’s grow their rights!


Resources:

FACTSHEET Declaration of the Rights of Peasants: Special Protection is Needed”


Videos:

“Towards a Declaration on the Rights of Peasants”

References:

International focus:
International Congress on Global Peasants’ Rights (7-10 March 2017, Schwäbisch Hall, Germany)

European focus:


Sign the petition here …
No peasants, no food. Let’s grow their rights!

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