My following article below was originally published by Transhumanity.net:
Going against GMOs because of one’s opinion regarding the corporation Monsanto, who produces the vast majority of transgenic seeds, is equivalent to saying that you’re against the sword because of your opinion on its wielder. No one really makes the latter argument, especially not those of the revolutionary left. Then again, a lot of people do make the former argument, even some among the revolutionary left.
For the latter – which, again I argue, is an equivalency to the former – we always see the greater alternative to outright opposition of the sword: we take the sword ourselves and use it against its former wielder. So why then do we not make the same argument for the former – toward GMOs and its current, major wielder Monsanto?
Most would argue because of the fact that Monsanto is almost the only corporation actually producing transgenic seeds. Never mind, of course, the fact that Cuba’s successfully pushed forward its own set of GMO production without the help of Monsanto. Which then begs the question, do we really need Monsanto? The simple answer would be no. DIY innovation is at a staggering high today, especially when we live in a very technological society at a decentralized level. The better question would be, in my opinion, why are we relying on Monsanto to be the near-sole creator of transgenic seeds?
The answer was given by Mark Lynas, former leader of the anti-GMO movement in Britain now pro-GMO, during his lecture to the Oxford Farming Conference on Jan. 3 of this year:
“Before [Norman] Borlaug died in 2009 he spent many years campaigning against those who for political and ideological reasons oppose modern innovation in agriculture. To quote: “If the naysayers do manage to stop agricultural biotechnology, they might actually precipitate the famines and the crisis of global biodiversity they have been predicting for nearly 40 years.”
“And, thanks to supposedly environmental campaigns spread from affluent countries, we are perilously close to this position now. Biotechnology has not been stopped, but it has been made prohibitively expensive to all but the very biggest corporations.
“It now costs tens of millions to get a crop through the regulatory systems in different countries. In fact the latest figures I’ve just seen from CropLife suggest it costs $139 million to move from discovering a new crop trait to full commercialisation, so open-source or public sector biotech really does not stand a chance.
“There is a depressing irony here that the anti-biotech campaigners complain about GM crops only being marketed by big corporations when this is a situation they have done more than anyone to help bring about.”
As Mark Lynas points out very clearly, despite our disapproval of Monsanto attaining such a high monopoly over GMO production, it is, ironically, our own opposition toward GMO production itself that is granting corporations like Monsanto the power in which they currently uphold, instead of said power going to the people.
So regardless of our abilities of creating GMOs ourselves via DIY technologies, the price of doing so is so incredibly high, and so tightly regulated at a choking fashion by the FDA – who, by the way, just finally approved GM salmon after 17 years of being asked to evaluate and approve – that we’re unable to defend our doing so without being successfully attacked by both Monsanto and the FDA. Our opposition has bred the real monster. Or as Mark Lynas states:
“We employed a lot of imagery about scientists in their labs cackling demonically as they tinkered with the very building blocks of life. Hence the Frankenstein food tag – this absolutely was about deep-seated fears of scientific powers being used secretly for unnatural ends. What we didn’t realise at the time was that the real Frankenstein’s monster was not GM technology, but our reaction against it.”
It’s time we put an end to the anti-GMO movement. It’s time we put away our childish idealist conceptions of what we deem as “reality”, stuff it in the closet, and begin facing reality head on. It’s time that we created a pro-GMO movement – a real pro-GMO movement! – a People’s GMO Movement!
Demand an end to all the bureaucratic red tape over this much-needed technology, demand an end to Monsanto’s monopoly over said technology’s production, and demand that the people have a right to create and use said technology in the interests of the poor and working class, not just for private corporations!
Brothers and sisters – comrades – it is time we took the sword ourselves and use it against its former wielder!