We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Poisoned, Marginalised, Bankrupt And Dead: The Role Of Agroecology In Resisting The Corporate Stranglehold On Food And Agriculture

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from East by Northwest (Britain).

Todhunter is one of my heroes in an age in which our ruling capitalist masters are promoting their own versions of "heroes". In the latter version people who are designated as good guys use violence to subdue evil-doers who wish to harm us. One of the many problems with this formulation is that these fairy tales are used to extol the use of violence to ward off those who theoretically wish to harm us; but they also hide the reality that we ordinary people must rely on a few "heroes" to save us, and those heroes are carefully selected by our masters to serve their interests of profit and power. And worse, our masters want our consent for them to use violence against their enemies. The main problem with this comic-book formulation is that their enemies are nearly always ordinary good guys like most of us, and not our enemies.

The engines that our masters use to obtain profit and power are corporations, and Todhunter exposes the role of agricultural corporations to poison and de-nourish our food and destroy farmers who practice sustainable agriculture, a practice that he identifies as agroecology.
The current global system of chemical-industrial agriculture, World Trade Organisation rules and bilateral trade agreements that agritech companies helped draw up for their benefit are a major cause of structural hunger, poverty, illness and environmental destruction. By its very design, the system is parasitical.

Across the world, we are seeing farmers and communities continuing to resist the corporate takeover of seeds, soils, water and food. And we are also witnessing inspiring stories about the successes of agroecology: a model of agriculture based on traditional knowledge and modern agricultural research utilising elements of contemporary ecology, soil biology and the biological control of pests.
He concludes this essay with a warning: our masters are pursuing a strategy to isolate and contain the practices of agroecology so that it doesn't interfere too much with the operation of their corporate engines.
While many argue in favour of agroecology and regard it as a strategy for radical social change, some are happier for it to bring certain benefits to farmers and local communities and see nothing wrong with it being integrated within a globalised system of capitalism that continues to centralise power and generally serve the interests of the global seed, food processing and retail players. And that is the danger: a model of agriculture with so much potential being incorporated into a corrupt system designed to suit the needs of these corporate interests.

But there is only so much that can be achieved at grass-root level by ordinary people, often facilitated by non-governmental agencies. As long as politicians at national and regional levels are co-opted by the US and its corporations, seeds will continue to be appropriated, lands taken, water diverted, legislation enacted, research institutes funded and policy devised to benefit global agribusiness.

And that's something that only a broad-based, global movement of peoples, spanning continents and nations, countryside and cities, farmers and consumers, can take on with assurance of ultimate victory.
My hero, Todhunter, has identified one major area of our lives that is being threatened by the system of capitalism. There are many others. But we as individuals can only do a little to fight for our survival, and Todhunter is doing so much. Todhunter, like many other ordinary heroes, barely survives economically. This is a major problem for all those who defy our masters and their interests. The only way the Todhunters of the world can do their work--which is for our benefit--is by each us doing what little we can to promote our real interests. (And think how we outnumber our real oppressors by the billions.) Todhunter provides a vital role in identify the real threats to our survival and what we need to do to survive. One thing we can do is send what little we can afford to help him survive so that he can help all of us to live in a sustainable, peaceful world.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comments and support. Much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete

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