P.19 according to the United Nations commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) there are 65.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world today. And this number will grow as distorted economic ‘development’ and wars over resources intensify.
P.23 the knowledge of how to make a product or develop a technology is separated from awareness of the impact of that product or technology in nature and society. This translates into a separation of rights and responsibilities.
P.24 Hopi describes the phenomenon of destroying everything that sustains a society as powaqqatsi.
P.40/41 neither neoliberalism nor corporate globalization are new. They began five centuries ago with the age of Columbus who had set out for India, but reached the Americas. His journey to plunder became the’ discovery of America’. With the creation of the East India trading company in 1600, specifically created to plunder India, the foundations of contemporary corporate rule and corporate globalization were laid. The poverty created by corporate colonialism was then essentialised and separated from its causes, and, over the centuries, the disease has been offered as the cure. A myth has grown that only corporations can run an economy and only they can write the rules of the economy, of trade and commerce.
…’ of the people, by the people, for the people’ to ‘ of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations’.
Worse, the concentration of economic power in the hands of a small group of unelected, unaccountable individuals, translates into political power to influence governments, laws, and policies, to shape the future of our food and health and of the planet.
Endnote #9 p.50 the gramm-leach-bliley act (GLBA) also known as the financial services modernization act of 1999, is an act of the 106th United States Congress (1999-2001). It replaced the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, removing market barriers for banking companies, securities companies and insurance companies.
(Look up history of banking)
P.54 our beautiful planet has evolved over 4-5 billion years and sustained humanity for 200,000 years. We have farmed for 10,000 years without toxins and poisons. We have eaten more than 10,000 species of plants, bred with intelligence for diversity, nutrition, taste, quality and resilience.
More than 300,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide because of indebtedness.
Pesticides have ‘catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole, including an estimated 200,00 deaths a year from acute poisoning… chronic exposure to pesticides has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility.’
Anthropogenic species extinction and climate change is ecocide, crimes against nature. Killing farmers through debt, and people through cancer and pesticide poisoning is genocide, crimes against humanity.
P.64 The genetic engineering paradigm did not evolve, it was artificially constructed by big money of Rockefeller, the richest man of his time.
The term molecular biology was coined in 1938 by Warren Weaver of the Rockefeller Foundation.
From 1932-1959 $25 million was poured into the molecular biology programmes in the US, a quarter of the Foundation’s total spending. The groundwork for genetic engineering was created with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, with the profits made by Standard Oil.
Today, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is playing that same role.
Lily Kaye, The Molecular Vision of Life: P.8: molecular biology was aimed at ‘restructuring human relations in congruence with the social framework of industrial capitalism’.
P. 27 / 34 Eugenics was an important part of the project of the construction of the ‘gene’. For the Rockefeller Foundation, which drove the project, it was important ‘to restrict the breeding of the feeble minded…[and] social dysfunction due to society’s inability to adapt to the dislocations of technological change. These problems would be addressed through social control.’
P.65 The roots of today’s genetic reductionism and genetic determinism of the 1930s.
Then, as now, the issue is control…when in reality it is the articulation of subjective prejudice, of fear of the other, of the uncontrollable urge to dominate.
During the dozens or so years following 1953, all but one of the Nobel Prizes - in Physiology or Medicine - was awarded for research sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. (reference is Lily Kaye) It is therefore, not surprising that as the project of genetic engineering, based on artificial science and false assumptions of how life works, starts to fail no fewer than 107 (and growing) Nobel Laureates have been mobilised to defend a genetic engineering product, Golden Rice, which has failed to deliver in two decades.
Richard Lewontin said in The Doctrine of DNA, “DNA is a dead molecule, among the most non-reactive, chemically inert molecules in the world. It has no power to reproduce itself. Rather, it is produced out of elementary materials by a complex cellular machinery of proteins. While it is often said that DNA produces proteins, in fact proteins (enzymes) produce DNA. When we refer to genes as self-replicating, we endow them with a mysterious autonomous power that seems to place them above the more ordinary materials of the body. Yet, if anything in the world can be said to be self-replicating, it is not the gene, but the entire organism as a complex system.”
Carl R. Woese, microbiologist: “Society cannot tolerate a biology whose metaphysical base is outmoded and misleading: society desperately needs to live in harmony with the rest of the living world, not with a biology that is a distorted and [an] incomplete reflection of that world. Because it has been taught to accept the above hierarchy of the sciences, society today perceives biology as here to solve its problems, to change the living world…society will come to see that biology is here to understand the world, not primarily to change it. Biology’s primary job is to teach us. In that realization lies our hope of learning to live in harmony with our planet.”
P.68 Genetic reductionism leads to an assumption that genes control the traits of life.
Epigenetics - life is controlled by something over and above genes. Environmental signals acting through membrane switches that send secondary signals into the cell nucleus, and within the nucleus the signals select gene blueprints and control the manufacture of specific proteins. Epigenetics describes how gene activity and cellular expression are regulated by information from the environment, and not via the internal matter of DNA.
For example, Bt brinjal is being offered as a pest control solution; a gene for producing a toxin is being inserted into the plant, along with the antibiotic resistance markers and viral promoters.
This is like using a JCB (earth moving equipment) to make a hole in the wall of your house for putting up a painting. Just as the JCB will destroy the wall, the transgenic transformation will disrupt the metabolism and the self-regulatory processes of the organism. Genetic engineering is “high tech”, like JCB, but it is also crude tech for the sensitive task of maintaining the ecological fabric of agriculture to control pests. Pests are controlled by biodiversity, through organic practices which build up resilience to pests and disease.
The scientific alternative to the crude tech of putting toxic genes into our food is agroecology. Based on a global survey of peer reviewed studies, the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) has recognized that agroecology based systems outperform farming systems that use genetic engineering.
Epigenetics and agroecology are the sciences for the future. Reductionist biology is a primitive science of the past.
12/30/21 Peddling Poisons and scientific fraud, stealing lives.
P.69 Monsanto introduced Bt cotton illegally in the country in 1995.
In India, GMO’s are regulated by the Rules for the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms, Genetically Engineered Organisms, or Cells, 1989, framed under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
In March, 1995, Mahyco, Monsanto’s local collaborator, imported 100 grams of Bt cotton seed after obtaining permission from the Review Committee of Genetic Manipulation (RCGM), under the Department of Biotechnology, and not from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC)...
P.70 In 1998 Mahyco-Monsanto began large-scale, multi-centric, open field trials over 40 acres in 40 locations, spread across nine states. These trials too were undertaken without permission from the GEAC.
GEAC cleared Bt cotton for commercial planting in 2002 on the grounds that Bt cotton had pest control technology for the bollworm. Peddling this fraudulent claim, the company established a seed monopoly, even though patenting seeds is forbidden in India under Articles 3(H) and 3(J) of the Patents Act, 1970.
Monsanto knew that its actions would lead to farmers incurring massive debts, but even when nearly 85% of morre than 3,00,000 farmers’ suicides have happened in this cotton growing region where Monsanto has established a 99 per cent seed monopoly - the company simply continued with its plundering policies. In fact, since the legalisation of Bt cotton, Monsanto has made R’s 7,000 crore ($70 billion) through collection of royalty from farmers, reports Outlook (March 2017).
p.71 In 2015, the Government of India initiated a case in the CCI challenging Monsanto’s monopoly and started an investigation. It found that the company was imposing excessive trait fee and adding unfair clauses in the sub-license agreements leading to monopoly. Monsanto immediately went to the Delhi High Court (Case No: WP [C] 1776 of 2016) challenging the CCI’s price regulation as well as Article 3(J) of the Patent Act, which excludes seeds, plants and animals from patenting.
Fourteen years after the commercialisation of Bt cotton, the Indian government accepted that the GMO variety has essentially failed. In an affidavit filed on January 23, 2016, in the High Court, it has stated:
“Pink Bollworm, a major pest to the cotton crop, has already developed resistance in the last 2-3 years; farmers are a worried lot having sown Bt cotton seeds purchased at high price… The crop is getting damaged due to pink bollworm incidence. It is a natural phenomenon that over the years, [the] efficacy of the technology goes down, hence the royalty on technology should also be reduced… cotton seeds are now unaffordable to farmers due to high royalties charged by MMBL (Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech Ltd.) which has a near monopoly on Bt cotton seeds and that this has led to market failure.”
P.72 For cotton, the emergence of Bt resistant budworms and bollworms poses a real risk once this historically effective pest control agent loses its effectiveness. The Bt toxin is released in every cell and part of the plant making the pests resistant to Bt, and creating ‘super pests’, which require more pesticide use. Cotton farmers in the country have been forced to buy and use more pesticides as not only has Bt cotton failed to control the bollworm it has led to the emergence of new pests. The resultant debt as forced many to take their own lives.
Farmers are dying due to pesticide poisoning as well…Nine farmers died due to pesticide poisoning in Vidarbha in September 2017. Four others lost their vision and 70 are under treatment at the Vasantao Naik Government Medical College and Hospital in Yavatmal after spraying the toxic insecticide. The death toll increased to 35 in a few days, and the government charged the pesticide companies with culpable homicide.
12/31/21 roundup and the spread of cancer
P.71 global evidence that roundup has led to spread of disease, especially cancer.
45% of the soil in Europe has found to be contaminated with Roundup.
Monsanto launched a massive attack on WHO, that declared Roundup as a probable carcinogen, as it had done on other scientists whose research had shown that Roundup and Roundup Ready GMOs are contributing to cancer.
Roundup is several times more toxic than glyphosate alone. (Glyphosate is also linked to cancer).
The Monsanto Papers, a collection of documents which include internal emails, text messages, company reports, studies and other memoranda, obtained during pre-trial investigation, have exposed how the company knew Roundup is carcinogenic; how it attacked scientists who presented research confirming links between Roundup and cancer; and how it paid off scientists and journalists.
P.76 The documents obtained via Discovery (civil procedure in the US allowing the parties to obtain evidence from each other) revealed that Monsanto runs an internal programme, Let Nothing Go, which employs an army of Internet trolls besides scientists and journalists.
It has now been revealed how the company mounted a smear campaign against Gilles-Eric Seralini, the French scientist who published a groundbreaking study showing an increase in tumors among rats fed genetically modified corn and Monsanto’s herbicide weed killer.
Bret Wisner, a lawyer at Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman, the firm representing the cancer victims, said of the Monsanto Papers,
“This is a look behind the curtain. These show that Monsanto has deliberately been stopping studies that look bad for them, ghostwriting literature and engaging in a whole host of corporate malfeasance. They (Monsanto) have been telling everybody that these products are safe because regulators have said they are safe, but it turns out that Monsanto has been in bed with US regulators while misleading European regulators.
Monsanto’s influence on scientists and regulators has become a global problem. Independent scientists and journalists have been systematically attacked to maintain the false propaganda that GMOs are the miracle panacea to feed the world and that GMOs, as an invention, justify patent monopolies. This has led to Monsanto media and Monsanto public relations being paraded as ‘science’ and governments being hijacked by corporations that continue to push GMOs despite scientific evidence to the contrary.
Climate Change, big data and digital agriculture: the future of agriculture according to the 1%
P.77 3 kinds of convergences taking place in agriculture:
The first is the merger of corporations such as Monsanto and Bayer.
The second is the takeover of mega corporations by the billionaires through their investment funds.
The third is the merger of biotechnology and information technology.
Monsanto acquired one of the world’s largest climate data corporations, Climate Corporation, for $1 billion; and in 2014 acquired the world’s largest soil data corporation, Solum Inc. Both companies combine Monsanto’s patented GMO seeds with proprietary platforms which, like seeds, are a source of royalty and super profits.
P. 78 Climate Corporation does not bring the farmer deeper insights … does not share knowledge, but sells ‘data’. It’s website states:
“The company’s proprietary Climate Technology Platform ™ combines hyper-local weather monitoring, agronomic modeling, and high resolution weather simulations to deliver a suite of tools that helps farmers manage risk through precision agriculture products and services, including: precision farming equipment and software, prescriptive agriculture technologies, and insurance products. The company’s Climate Basic ™ and Climate Pro ™ mobile Saas solutions help farmers improve profitability by making better informed operating decisions.”
Solum Inc. does not work with the farmers to understand the rich soil food web - bacteria, fungi, earthworms… ‘The asset acquisition by Monsanto Company, the Climate Corporation’s parent company, includes the Solum brand, soil testing intellectual property, the soil test lab in Ames Iowa, and Solum’s No Wait Nitrate ™ platform.’
It continues to be the chemical and intellectual property treadmill which has destroyed the soil and is killing our farmers.
Monsanto has also collaborated with the world’s three biggest farm equipment companies - Deere & Co, CNH Industrial, and AGCO - and is working to put spyware into farm machinery in order to collect data on farms. It is buying IT firms not just to make farmers more dependent on them, but increasingly, on surveillance.
P.79 John Hammer, managing director of Monsanto Growth Ventures (the venture capital arm of Monsanto which has acquired 12 Silicon Valley companies) says frankly, “If you think about it, there are two people on earth that need to know a lot about remote sensing (technology) - Monsanto and the CIA.
Hammer was referring to the use of technology, such as satellites and drones, for farm surveillance by providing a constant flow of images of what’s happening on a given farm. Monsant’s Integral Farming Systems Platform has been set up by combining digital agriculture, data science and genetic engineering, creating higher level integrations of abstractions and instruments for control, which is not the basis of food security.
*intense imagery pops into my head here, illustrating this scenario* #idea
P.80 Bill Gates is the modern day Columbus. His empire is the continuation of colonisation five hundred years after the first colonisation. Columbus needed the Pope, a king, and a queen for the conquest of non-European, non-Christian societies, based on a civilising mission that would ensure ‘the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself’
Today the civilising mission of imposing the Christian religion on non-Christian cultures has given way to the civilising mission of forcing GMOs and digital dictatorship on small farmers and tiny businesses across the world.
Bill Gates is the Pope of his religion of the worship and imposition of genetic engineering and digital tools. Those who live in pluralistic worlds of biodiversity and diverse agriculture, diverse economies, diverse technologies, diverse languages, and diverse intelligences are the new ‘digital barbarians’ who must be ‘civilised’ and brought into the empire of the 1%.
P.81 technology is the process of creating the means to order and transform matter, energy, and information to realise ends which are at a higher level than the tools themselves. Tools, and technologies as tools, evolve according to need, and are assessed and used as means. They are not ends in themselves; they are chosen, not imposed.
In the fossil fuel age of industrial capitalism and in the age of ‘digital data’, data is being made the new oil, the new lubricant of the money machine. Technology is more than a tool now. It is an instrument of power and control, the means to construct a false narrative of our relationship with the natural world and society, eclipsing nature’s creativity and productivity, and the contribution of those who are colonised - women, slaves, workers, and farmers.
Besides narrowing the meaning of technology to violent industrial tools, technological fundamentalism inverts the means-end relationship. Instead of being a means to reaching a higher ecological, ethical, social and human ends, the deployment and use of industrial technologies become an end in themselves, a new religion. Industrial agriculture and genetic engineering were elevated from a means to be assessed and chosen, to a religion to be imposed as civilising missions on ‘barbarians’ practicing ecological agriculture. Instead of being evaluated against other tools on ecological and social criteria, those calling for scientific assessments of technology are declared ‘anti-science’. Such a discourse comes from fundamentalism, not from rational scientific debate.
“Scienceism” new religion / you gotta follow jesus : yikes
*intense imagery pops into my head here, illustrating this scenario* #idea
P.82 over the last two decades of globalisation, we have seen that large areas of economics decision making have moved out of the democratic control of people and parliaments. The rules of the game are written by the rich who own the corporations, enabling them to transfer larger parts of the economy into the hands of corporations. These powerful corporations then either bypass governments, or corrupt them, or buy democracy, as demonstrated in the Citizens United case in the US where the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporate financing of elections constituted the ‘freedom’ of speech of corporations.
In some cases, the 1% use their wealth to buy up institutions, shape global policy, and distort public priorities without any public accountability or democratic scrutiny. The very fact that the 1% can control the wealth of the 99% is an expression of the breakdown of economic democracy and justice.
Vandana tells the story of the new colonisation by the 1% through the journey of Bill Gates,
August 2017: $89 billion
2015: $81.6 billion
2014: $76 billion
2013: $76 billion
He is among the five men who control as much wealth as 50 percent of humanity. Gates knows how to create and run the money machine.
While presenting himself as a philanthropist who gives away his money, Gates has a personal investment company, Cascade Investment LLC, funded solely by himself and run by Michael Larson, one of the most powerful men in US wealth management. Gates now has vast holdings in real estate and non-tech companies, like the Canadian National Railway Co.; AutoNation Inc., an American automotive retailer; and Republic Services Inc., a waste management company.
We tell the story of Big Wealth and Big Money in our times by focusing on Gates and his role in destroying self-organisation in nature and society to engineer monopolies through mastery, conquest, invasion and dictatorship by the tools he owns and controls for rent collection, which in his double-speak, he calls ‘innovation’.
While he has been central to the establishment of the new civilising mission of technology as a religion, Gates himself did not invent anything. Microsoft Basic is based on BASIC (an acronym for Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), designed in 1964 by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz at Dartmouth College to make it easy to non-science, non-math students to use computers. Before the introduction of BASIC, computers required the writing of custom software which only scientists and mathematicians could do. Microsoft BASIC (MBASIC) became one of the leading applications in the world, but even the operating systems were developed by others.
Gates made his billions through patent monopolies, by enclosing the commons of software. The open source software movement began as a response to the patent monopoly; the free software movement is to patented propriety software what our seed freedom movement is to seeds.
Gates is now using his economic power (made from enclosing commons) to expand his patent empire to the living world, to enclose the biological and knowledge commons through patenting and biopiracy.
He is trying to control the seed by controlling the gene banks where the biodiversity of the world is stored; he is trying to pirate and patent climate resilient crops evolved by farmers; he is trying to use digital tools to take genomic patents on biodiversity and agriculture; he is trying to enclose our food commons by imposing GMO foods. Not only is Gates propping up failed GMOs, he is pushing new GMOs which are known not to work. Notably, through the Cornell Alliance for Science he is promoting the failed GMO varieties of Bt brinjal and Golden Rice.
*intense imagery pops into my head here, golden rice - killing people* #idea
Whereas with the bonus of tax free trade on software, the Microsoft monopoly went global, now, with DivSeek, CRISPR and the genetically engineered mosquitoes in Florida, Gates wants to control our food, our diversity and our heritage. And on top it all, he is financing a most unscientific and irresponsible experiment, that of geoengineering.
LOTS of imagery here. LOTS of ideas for installation / drawing / painting
Still can be fun to express and interact with, bring joy, yada yada. But it has a point. If people are ready to listen, it has a message. I don’t want to be preachy or pushy. But I need to get my voice out there even if subtly.
P.84 Bill Gates who is pushing One Agriculture has partnered with the Mexican telecom magnate, Carlos Slim, to use smartphones to dumb down the farmer, as he waits for instructions from the machine and loses his capacity to know his farming, soil and seed.
Intense imagery here as well. Thinking of how many times I have to tell myself to not use google maps to get from point a from point b - navigating my own surroundings. Now talking about co creating with other life forms - that knowledge is incredibly powerful.
Similarly, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, has tried selling big data to farmers in India through Free Basics, essentially repackaged internet.org which provides free basic Internet access to users in collaboration with telecom operators. It’s a system through which Facebook decides what information is important for the users.