Monsanto International Day of Protest
An international day of protest against the loathsome corporate giant Monsanto has been scheduled for May 25th, 2013. Activists across the globe are uniting in resistance to the monopolistic control of our global food system, most visibly embodied in the company of Monsanto. The protest will span 6 continents and over 36 countries.
Monsanto has long been under scrutiny for lobbying for loose regulations on genetically-modified foods, as well as for monopolizing seeds and exploiting poor farmers around the globe. This previous post, ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Sneaks Through Congress, outlines the horrors that Monsanto triggered in India in what has been termed the “GM Genocide” AlJazeera reports, “300,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995 after being driven into insurmountable debt by neoliberal economics and the conquest of Indian farmland by Monsanto’s Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton.” The post also outlines how a rider dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act”, formally called the Farmer Assurance Provision, snuck through Congress as part of the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013. This rider stripped federal courts of the power to stop the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seeds regardless of any consumer health concerns.
In the weeks since the rider was approved within an annual agriculture spending bill, anti-Monsanto sentiment has only increased. The international day of protest scheduled for May 25 is now looking at becoming one for the record books, and even a number of celebrities have lent their star power to help raise awareness of the movement.
“Here in America you don’t get the right to know whether you’re eating genetically modified organisms,” award-winning music performer Dave Matthews says in a video for the march that has been uploaded to the Web. Comedian Bill Maher and actor Danny DeVito also appeared in the clip to plead with people around the world to rally against GMO companies.
Avaaz.org is running a Monsanto vs. Mother Earth campaign through their website, trying to gather signatures on a petition to pressure governments to place stricter restrictions on GMOs and corporate misconduct. They write:
It’s unbelievable, but Monsanto and Co. are at it again. These profit-hungry biotech companies have found a way to gain exclusive control over the seeds of life – the source of our food. They’re trying to patent away varieties of our everyday vegetables and fruits like cucumber, broccoli and melons, virtually forcing growers to pay them for seed and risk being sued if they don’t.
But we can stop them from buying up Mother Earth. Companies like Monsanto have found loopholes in European law to have exclusive rights over conventional seeds, so we just need to close them shut before they set a dangerous global precedent. And to do that, we need key countries like Germany, France and the Netherlands — where opposition is already growing — to call for a vote to stop Monsanto’s greedy plans...
Since food, like water, is so vitally essential to life on Earth, surely we can not allow it to become commodified and controlled by the invisible hand of the market. Profit-driven corporations will continually overlook what is socially and environmentally responsible in the interest of capital and in expanding their control in global markets. Food insecurity and injustice is part and parcel of the global corporatist regime, where groups of people are systematically marginalized and unable to access the means of agricultural production and are unable to access affordable, healthy food in general. Companies like Monsanto produce great wealth alongside unthinkable poverty and exclusion, and so in the interest of both alleviating world hunger and striving for environmental sustainability, do sign the petition and consider joining the mobilization against Monsanto closest to you on May 25th.