So you’ve just enjoyed your dinner of sausages, mashed potato, sweet corn and onion gravy, washed down with a healthy glass of papaya juice and followed by an equally nutritious fresh fruit salad.
You feel full and satisfied, believing that you’ve got a belly-full of wholesome and nourishing food, but do you really know what you’ve actually just consumed? Was your ‘wholesome’ meal actually as hearty and natural as you believe it is?
What are the chances that Monsanto contaminated the food you have just eaten, and the beverage you have just drank with chemicals and genetically engineered food (GMOs)?
These questions are the fundamental basis of Occupy Monsanto, a Global Week of Action during the week of September 17, 2012, dedicated to “empowering citizens of the world to take action against Monsanto.” (1)
Monsanto is an agricultural company, which claims that it applies innovation and technology to help farmers from around the world “produce more whilst conserving more”. (2)
Whilst Monsanto’s claimed ideology may sound sincere, the crop biotechnology giant continues to face intense criticism for getting the world’s most destitute farmers hooked on expensive, patented seed technology.
The Occupy Monsanto Movement
The Occupy Monsanto movement essentially refers to an expanding group of individuals who are united in taking action against companies connected to the global trade of genetically engineered foods.
Determined to “confront the industrial agricultural system head-on”, a series of protests will take place during the week, aimed at “pushing back GMO food back into the lab from which it came from.” (2)
These predominantly California-based activists are fighting to pass Proposition 37, a law, which if passed, would oblige Monsanto and rival agricultural companies to label and advertise products produced and manipulated through genetic engineering as GMO products, so that consumers know exactly what they are consuming.
Predictably opposing the idea of labelling its GMO products, Monsanto and other GMO companies are reproachful of the legislation and, according to Russia Today, have donated more than $4.2 million to oppose it. (4)
Various Genetic Crimes Units which are part of the autonomous Occupy Monsanto affinity groups will be involved in “decontamination events” during the Global Week of Action against Monsanto. The imminent anti-GMO events are to take place at the facilities and offices of GMO food systems around the world.
These worldwide events include a top secret event in Manila, Philippines on September 17, a Concert and Education about Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) at the Hideout Bar in Reno, Nevada on September 21, and the Big E Fair on September 22 at West Springfield, Massachusetts.
A list of all of the Occupy Monsanto ‘decontamination events’ can be found at the Occupy Monsanto website. (5)
An Interview With Occupy Monsanto
In order to gain a better understanding of this highly anticipated week of protests, Top Secret Writers interviewed Adam Eidinger, media spokesperson for Occupy Monsanto, and the coordinator of the Right2Know March for GMO labelling.
Gabrielle: What do you hope to achieve by the week-long protest starting September 17 in St Louis?
Adam: These protests will be anywhere where Monsanto is operating, to educate the masses through media coverage and interaction with Monsanto itself. Choosing the one year anniversary of the Occupy Movement came out of an emerging decentralized network that seeks to maximize educating the public about the fundamental problems with Genetically Engineered crops (GMOs). It’s time to shift away from the chemical based agriculture system forced down our throats to a more natural method, before through contamination and unfair subsidies as in the case with Monsanto in the United States, we are locked into the industrial chemical treadmill that leads to food making people sick in the long run.
Gabrielle: Will the protests in September differ in any way from previous Occupy demonstrations?
Adam: Yes, there are surprises coming, we hope. I am only going off what people have stated they’re planning to do. We encourage people to make meaningful protests that contain substance, and we are not discouraging civil disobedience to symbolically or not affect change in the GMO food system. There will be differences from past Occupy actions, as things are focused on the food system.
Adam: No, but we are seeing very favorable media coverage in the Prop 37 GMO labeling effort in California, a worthy effort in the minds of most Occupy Monsanto organizers, but not the main goal. The global week of action is about the bigger picture with chemical companies that brought you DDT and Agent Orange now telling us it’s safe to eat GMO food. Everyone sees a credibility gap at Monsanto, and the Obama administration has made things worse. For example, putting Monsanto’s Michael Taylor at the FDA, you can see how former Monsanto attorney Hilary Clinton has used the Department of State as a showroom for GMO technology to African leaders. It’s time to stop the foxes from slaughtering the hens in our view.
Gabrielle: Apart from being the biggest maker of genetically engineered crops, are there any other reasons that you have chosen Monsanto as the focal point of the anti-GMO campaign?
Adam: Always go after the biggest GMO-fish.
Gabrielle: What is the evidence that ill health has increased since the introduction of GMOs in the mid 1990s?
Adam: Look at the US Center’s for Disease controls stats on Obesity, Autism, fertility in males, and look at the trends since the 1940’s and then again in the mid 1990’s until now. We are heading over the cliff over here.
Gabrielle: Do you think that protests and demonstrations are effective in drawing attention to public discontent and gaining results?
Adam: Not always, but when there is nothing left to do you are left with no choice. The lobby for GMO’s is huge and owns most members of the US government in a position to change priorities. We only have a few leaders willing to speak truth to power these days. Monsanto’s business plan is plain and simple: All plant life used for food will someday be genetically altered, not necessarily always for better nutritional traits, but to own the genes and patent them. It’s to maximize profit through centralized control of the food system. Someday, no farmer will dare grow non-GMO crops if we don’t resist it now. Our actions are not meant to convince people we are right, so much as to convince them there is a problem in the first place. If we can force the presidential candidates to take note of the GMO debate, that wouldn’t hurt either.