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 Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, July 18, 2016

New trade deals legalise corporate theft, make farmers’ seeds illegal

Click here to access article from GRAIN.

This topic has often been discussed and condemned before, but this report goes into much greater up-to-date details that the issue deserves.
The patenting of life has been hotly contested for decades. For farmers, it makes seeds and livestock more expensive and takes away their right to freely reproduce them. It also reduces life and culture to a commodity that corporations can own and control. While the WTO agreement allowed countries to exclude plants and animals other than microorganisms from their patent laws, it required that they provide some form of intellectual property protection over plant varieties—the seeds that farmers sow—without specifying how to do that. According to industry representatives who helped draft the text, the US corporations got 95 per cent of what they wanted from TRIPS.

FTAs negotiated outside the WTO go even further and help US and European corporations get what they weren’t able to achieve under TRIPS.