GMOs in Oregon — What Would Subcomandante Marcos Say?

Oregon voters in two counties voted against GMOs, against Monsanto. That’s 2 to 1 in favor of protecting organic farmers, communities, farmers and our health from pollan and seeds of the Frankenstein variety.

Vermont has signed the nation’s first GMO-labeling law, effective July 2016 (again, incremental, slide-side change — labels — but it’s something, nonetheless).

That’s the impetus — Oregon and Colorado are in a signature-gathering frenzy to get GMO labeling on November’s ballot. Interesting, uh? Capitalism, left of center or right of it politically. Interesting. Can you imagine a world where the corporations, the toxin purveyors, the land killers, air polluters, water theives, can you imagine all the building and road and engineering trades, having to GET permission from the voters to do the terrible things they do? You know, home rule, community bill of rights, the old way of not giving corporations personhood status, whereby all industries or corporations have to  get a charter from each community to do business in and around us, the people, our homes, our lands. Up to a vote, a people’s vote, Koch Brothers and Google cloud servers.

Example: Should a 60,000 pig confined feeding operation be allowed in a small rural community, in the county, where clean water and springs and creeks and rolling hills of oaks draw tourists; where the air is clean and where families raise families? Is that pig farm — equal to 200,000 human beings in terms of shit and piss produced — worth it? Worth lung disease, cancers, stench, dead creeks and scum-covered creeks? You know the drill, the effects of CAFOs —  people ecrement and waste HAS to be treated (sic), but animal ecrement can be pooled and ponded and impounded without any real oversight. The amount of waste a 300,000 chicken operation produces is mind-boggling!

GMOs or nanoparticles or plastic lined tin cans for our food, or Google computer cars, or forced urine tests, or . . . or . . . or . . . place ten thousand things here, forced on us by the Consumer-Capitalist-Lobby thugs.  How about flipping democracy back around. Freedom over the tyranny of Capitalism.  Anarchism, the very power of communities taking the bull by the horns, no powerful overlord, but communities in action, determining futures, and collectively working on bioregionalism, on bioethics, on multiple-contexts and narratives (AKA, diversity), respecting individuals and cultures but coalescing around the powerful tools of public health, safety, welfare and creativity. Maybe listening to our elders, i.e. tribe, first peoples?

Instead, we are collectively punch-drunk, slap-happy slaves to the war mongers, the industry huggers, the water, air, land, space, mind polluters.

So, below, a piece from  Mae-Wan Ho, who we have featured here at DV: “Ban GMOs Now” & “There Is No GMO Debate When the Masters of the Universe Leave Truth on the Cutting Room Floor.”

But first, a heads up on a piece I’ll be writing about Subcomandante Marcos announcing yesterday the end of Marcos and the birth of Galeano. I spent time in Chiapas and on the Mexico-Guatemalan border in the 1980s, as journalist and activist and undergraound railroad “something/somebody.”

Here, “Subcomandante No More.”  

& “Farewell Marcos, long live Subcomandante Galeano.”

Post image for Farewell Marcos, long live Subcomandante Galeano!

Quote, from Marcos, before his metamorphosis into Galeano, a fallen revolutionary, murdered by paramilitary Mexican forces May 2. A fallen hero who took his name from Eduardo Galeano.

“Why do we need to be pardoned? What are we to be pardoned for? For not dying of hunger? For not accepting humbly the historic burden of disdain and abandonment? For having risen up in arms after we found all other paths closed? For not heeding the Chiapas penal code, one of the most absurd and repressive in history? For showing the rest of the country and the whole world that human dignity still exists even among the world’s poorest peoples? For having made careful preparations before we began our uprising? For bringing guns to battle instead of bows and arrows? For being Mexicans? For being mainly indigenous? For calling on the Mexican people to fight by whatever means possible for what belongs to them? For fighting for liberty, democracy and justice? For not following the example of previous guerrilla armies? For refusing to surrender? For refusing to sell ourselves out? Who should we ask for pardon, and who can grant it? Those who for many years glutted themselves at a table of plenty while we sat with death so often, we finally stopped fearing it? Those who filled our pockets and our souls with empty promises and words? Or should we ask pardon from the dead, our dead, who died “natural” deaths of “natural causes” like measles, whooping cough, break-bone fever, cholera, typhus, mononucleosis, tetanus, pneumonia, malaria and other lovely gastrointestinal and pulmonary diseases? Our dead, so very dead, so democratically dead from sorrow because no one did anything, because the dead, our dead, went just like that, with no one keeping count with no one saying, “Enough!” which would at least have granted some meaning to their deaths, a meaning no one ever sought for them, the dead of all times, who are now dying once again, but now in order to live? Should we ask pardon from those who deny us the right and capacity to govern ourselves? From those who don’t respect our customs and our culture and who ask us for identification papers and obedience to a law whose existence and moral basis we don’t accept? From those who oppress us, torture us, assassinate us, disappear us from the grave “crime” of wanting a piece of land, not too big and not too small, but just a simple piece of land on which we can grow something to fill our stomachs? Who should ask for pardon, and who can grant it?”  —Subcomandante Marcos

The Zapatistas are fighting the very core of capitalism, the very core of what Monsanto is, stands for, and plans for; against seed thugs, these felons with billions in banks, paramilitaries their protectors, Western militaries propping them up, and lawyers, accountants, lobbyists running the Little Eichmann show.

I will be writing my post on Chiapas, Me, and Zapata-ist-A!

So, below, Mae-Wan Ho:

Marching Against Monsanto
Mae-Wan Ho, I-SIS

It is wonderful to be here with all of you. I have been marching against Monsanto for close to 20 years now since GM crops were commercialized and I first warned of the dangers of GMOs and Roundup herbicides.

Unfortunately, all my predictions and more have come true. Over the years, farm workers and their families across the world have been seeing sharp rises in birth defects, cancers, allergies, lethal kidney disease and so on. Their livestock die, get diarrhoea, become sterile, cannot conceive, or give birth to dead and deformed animals.

Scientists had to get through tremendous hurdles and obstructions to do the research, not just from Monsanto, but also from corrupt and/or misguided governments, including the UK. For years, practically the only research on safety of GMOs was carried out by the companies themselves, and their raw data are kept from the public as commercially sensitive information.

But whenever and wherever independent scientists carried out feeding trials, they find what farmers have found, regardless of the GM crop or animal species, with, or without glyphosate/Roundup herbicides, or with Roundup herbicides alone; and this includes Monsanto’s data obtained through the courts: kidney and liver problems, gut inflammation, immune problems, premature deaths, sterility, birth defects, still births, and recently, excess of large grotesque tumours.

Monsanto and other biotech companies have been poisoning us with GMOs and herbicides for the past 20 years; and they’ve also done their best to suppress the information by vilifying the scientists, and the farmers who dare to fight them. But we won’t tolerate that!

Arpad Puztai and his colleagues Susan Bardocz and Stanley Ewen here in Britain were the first to lose their research grants and jobs in the University of Aberdeen, because they found that rats fed GM potato with snowdrop lectin had gut inflammation and damage to practically every organ system.

Andres Carasco from Argentina sadly died a couple of weeks ago. He was a developmental biologist and government advisor, forced to give up his job because he showed that glyphosate caused the same kind of birth defects in frogs that the farm worker families were seeing in their new born.

The latest, molecular biologist and toxicologist Gile-Eric Séralini and his team at University of Caen in France showed that rats fed over their lifetime with Roundup tolerant GM maize and/or Roundup herbicide had all the health problems previously identified compared with controls and in addition, tumours so large that the rats had to be put down.

They are just a few in a long and growing list of distinguished scientists who will be honoured and remembered when we have wiped GMOs and Roundup herbicides from the globe, and we will!

The days of GMOs are numbered. If you look at the real evidence behind the hype and the lies, you will see that GM crops have remained a minority sector in food production, now shrinking fast from consumer and farmer rejection worldwide.

US farmers are abandoning GM crops and turning back to non-GM and organic, mainly because it is more profitable due to increased demand for non-GMO and GM-free produce by people everywhere including in the USA, the world’s top GM producer.

In twenty years, GM crops are still confined to 27 countries out of a total of 196 in the world. They are now explicitly banned in at least 29 countries, and GMO-free regions and partial bans exist in most other countries including the USA. Yes, do ban GM food from your home, your schools, your local communities; you don’t need to wait for governments to do that for you.

GM crops now occupy 175.2 m ha or 11 % of cultivated land globally compared with the 89 % occupied by non-GM crops.

GM crops are restricted to two main traits – herbicide tolerance and insect resistance – in three major crops: maize, soybean and cotton. Non-GMO crops consist of thousands of domesticated species with millions of local varieties created by peasant farmers.

GM crops are grown by less than 1 % of the 2.6 billion farmers in the world, 99 % growing non-GM crops are peasant farmers with small farms producing 70 % of the world’s food.

Three quarters of those peasant farmers farm ecologically with no chemical input on 600 m ha globally, producing well over half of the world’s food consumed. It is by far the largest food sector in the world.

These farms are 2 to 10 times as productive as monoculture industrial farms, they are environmentally and climate friendly as well as sustainable and resilient to climate extremes. That is the way ahead for people and planet, and we won’t let Monsanto get in our way. Tell Monsanto, and tell your governments.

Thank you all.


Food Democracy Monsanto Kit!


Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.

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  1. Paul Haeder said on May 29th, 2014 at 6:56am #

    Thanks again to DV poet Chuck:



    Thank you for the compliment on Whiplash Ashoe and Thermidor (below), and what’s more, I appreciated your article “GMOs in Oregon” very much. At present, I’m re-reading Brave New World, and while reading your brave new article, I compared the following question asked by a “lower caste” character (John) in A. Huxley’s book, who inquired, “What are chemicals?” When brought to rational attention, which is rare, I have a good sense that much of the world (the ‘unwashed”) asks the very same question about what’s in the food they eat, “What are GMOs?”

    Huxley’s life-beaten Linda, John’s mother by fate adoption, & one who had work experience in Brave New World “Food Factories,” replied, “Oh, chemicals are stuff like magnesium salts, and alcohol designed to keep the Deltas and Epsilons small and backward.”

    “But how do you make chemicals, Linda?” inquired John.

    “Well I don’t know. You get them out of bottles… it’s the Chemical Store employees who make them.”

    As a “small & backward” kid who spent summers in Laurel, Maryland and listened to the Baltimore Orioles on WBAL radio, I frequently heard commercials advertising highly popular and affordable National Beer. Enticingly, the beer was advertised as stimulating, powerful, “It’s brewed in the dark,” and this is exactly what happens in the case of GMO foods. Thank you, and I wish you well.

    Charles “Chuck” Orloski
    Taylor, PA