Thursday, May 23, 2013

March Against Monsanto - Saturday, May 25 in Greenville, SC

This Saturday there is a March Against Monsanto planned in the city of Greenville, SC.

It's part of an international movement that calls into question Monsanto's use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the food products they sell all over the world, a movement to hold corporations accountable for their placement of short-term profits ahead of the long-term good of the people.

Greenville is a quintessential conservative community, with a power structure favoring religion and capitalism. To conduct any protest to the status quo here is to open ourselves to ridicule, retaliation, infiltration, subterfuge, arrest, violence. Our march will be small. But movements begin this way, and only solidarity and fearless dedication to fighting injustice will make it grow. If nothing more, marching through Greenville will build awareness about what Monsanto and other corporations are doing. And raising consciousness must be the first step in building movements.

There is some debate about whether or not using GMOs for food is safe. In my opinion, this is actually a secondary issue. A deeper concern is "who is deciding our fate?" When it comes to what we eat, we have some choice, but with the trend in market economies to consolidation, and the fact that buying non-corporate food is increasingly expensive and difficult, the answer is "an increasingly small number of rich people." When you think of Chef Boyardee, Hunts, Orville Redenbacher's, La Choy, Libby's, Van Camp's or Peter Pan peanut butter, you think of individual brands. But the fact remains that all are under the umbrella of ConAgra foods, one of Monsanto's prime competitors in the global food market, another conglomerate that cares less about public health than their own profits.

Corporations are, by law, required to place the profits of their shareholders above all other considerations. Real issues that affect entire populations (environmental degradation, working conditions and so on and so forth) are "externalities" or secondary considerations. If GMOs (and growth hormones and antibiotics and preservatives and pesticides and high fructose corn syrup) serve to sicken millions of people and contribute to an overall decline in health, it doesn't matter from the corporate perspective.

So let's make our voices heard. Let's march against Monsanto (and every other corporation we depend on that places their cash flows ahead of our interests) and hold them accountable for their greed.