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article imageOp-Ed: The logic of Monsanto vs. Occupy Monsanto

By Paul Wallis     Apr 15, 2013 in World
Sydney - Perhaps the world’s only eight letter four letter word, Monsanto is unique. Its march through the courts and governments of the world is extraordinary. This corporation acts like it owns the world. The Occupy Monsanto idea is to prove otherwise.
The new Occupy Monsanto March, scheduled for May 25 this year, is designed to show how strong public feeling is against this corporate lawsuit factory. The march, however, will have to compete with “the logic of Monsanto”.
Some background: Check out this search of Digital Journal Monsanto articles.. There are eight pages of search results, which include:
Alleged electoral fraud (Prop 37 re GMO labelling in California)
Alleged payment to government investigators of Monsanto products
Endless lawsuits by and against Monsanto
Endless patent law disputes
Legislation favouring Monsanto
Scientific issues related to Monsanto products
Alleged Monsanto influence on dieticians/nutritionists
Various public health issues related to basic Monsanto products like Roundup and constituents like glyphosate
Foreign class actions against Monsanto
US government input into an appeals court hearing on behalf of Monsanto’s case
Monsanto influence on dieticians
For most companies, the endless stream of problems would be fatal. Not Monsanto. This obviously very privileged corporate citizen apparently isn’t subject to normal political judgment. Most corporations which attract this sort of heat would be too hot by far. Not Monsanto.
Follow the logic here:
1. A corporation effectively imposes its products on the world. Most companies are expected to be compliant with laws. This company gets the laws changed or written to suit itself.
A corporation which sues and loses gets a second shot, even in an absurd case like the Bowman case in which the unwitting buyer of Monsanto seeds was alleged to have infringed Monsanto’s legal rights- With US government backing, memorably including the interesting (if insane) information provided to the court that Congress knew more about the proper result of the appeal than the court.
2. Monsanto also commercially imposes- there’s really no other word- its GMO products on the global food production sector. There’s no comeback for crop failures, farmer suicides, health issues, economic disasters or any other form of practical redress other than court cases. Governments won’t touch Monsanto, for some reason. A few have banned its products, but they’re a small minority.
3. Legal issues related to Monsanto have ranged from the profound to the absurd, and the company continues to operate as it always has- With total disregard for anyone or anything. It is absolutely uninterested in its public image. It’s the “1%” of the corporate world, above and beyond criticism, if its behaviour is anything to go by.
4. The Obama administration and Congress, to their eternal discredit, have signed into law a rider which protects GMOs from any liability for health risks. There should be no exemption for anyone or any corporation which causes health injury or risks to the public. This is a temporary (6 month) clause, but it should never have happened. Anyone suffering ill effects from GMOs has no legal redress to protect themselves?
How is that good law, if you deny legal rights to the public and private citizens? Why should any commercial product be protected against liability? It will now be a defence for any case to say that a plaintiff suffered the injury during the period covered by the rider. An enabling act will have to be provided to end the protection of that provision. Lousy legislative practice.
This is the existing logic of Monsanto. This company has foisted on the world dubious products with unknown health risks, and governments around the world don’t have a problem with that. It spends as much time in courts around the world and in the headlines as most wars. Evidently nobody thinks that unusual.
The conspiracy theory version of Monsanto
If the above shopping list of expensive, one-of-a-kind issues was bad, the conspiracy theory version of Monsanto is much worse.
You can take it or leave these theories, (and they do need to put it mildly some actual corroboration), but if they further explain the extent of total loathing of Monsanto by so many people for various reasons, they’ve done their job. Some people are quite prepared to believe these theories simply because the company acts as it does:
Monsanto is seen as an anti-human Illuminati company, working to destroy humanity and the global environment with large scale genetic manipulation.
Monsanto is considered a corruption machine, a big player in the nastily-defined, terminally unforgivable ultra-conservative ring of conspiracies which were responsible for the JFK assassination, 911, various murders of scientists, etc.
Those are the conventional theories. The other theory getting around is that Monsanto is somehow part of a global network of conspirators trying to enforce food control on the world, a totalitarian ideal favoured by the late and not noticeably very great Dr. Richard Day, famous for his 1969 Illuminati agenda speech. (Link is to my analysis of the speech, but includes links to the original.)
These theories are not exactly secrets. Yet our fearless politicians, who seemingly must pledge allegiance to every wind that blows, are apparently unaware of them? The deep public distrust of Monsanto has had absolutely no effect on policies or practices.
Occupy Monsanto- A few issues
The Occupy Monsanto challenge is no small task. The globally organised March Against Monsanto is a gesture which will make a point. The question is how much of a point and how it can build momentum for real change. The march may want to take on some more positive aspects and profile some alternatives to Monsanto Uber Alles, for example:
 Legal rights to alternatives to GMO food for consumers (easy to do, like mandatory vegetarian alternatives)
 A total liability for all commercial GMO products
 A total liability for any and all medical conditions arising from products affecting human health
 Responsibilities to ensure GMOs meet environmental safeguards to clear legal standards
 Protection against GMO cross pollination with non-GMO foods
 Patent law provisions to ensure that compliance with patent rights is within reasonable expectations
Monsanto isn’t going to be moved by opinions alone. It will be moved by enforceable facts, consumer action and appropriate legislation.
The Occupy version is the civilized way among civilized people. The other alternative is all-out, Anonymous-like, Wikileaks-level total war, forcing information out into the open whether anyone likes it or not. The probability is that very few people will. That’s a real possibility, but it also means that governments are as totally ineffectual as they seem.
Note: My thanks to DJ citizen Renee Fournier for drawing my attention to the Occupy Monsanto march with a blog. Much appreciated, Renee.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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