Category Archives: India’s Green Revolution of Control

Manufacturing Consent – India’s Block to an Organic Future

By Kamala Das
John Maynard Keynes cautioned that we live our lives under the illusion of freedom, but likely to be slaves to some defunct economist. Even that description understates the problem. The world may be caged by a defect of the entire economic profession, namely the idea that we can asses value in banknotes, or that we can understand our relationship to the material world using an abstract metric rather than a biological one. The extraordinary advances made by Western societies will , in the end, be subservient to the land and what it can provide and teach.

Admittedly, this started off as a Facebook rant serving the dual purpose of allowing me to write out my ideas for Act Naturally’s documentary project synopsis. I had quoted Paul Hawken’s book Blessed Unrest, and edited it for status update size:

“To calculate the geometrical quickening of our footprint on the planet, consider that the population is 1,000 x greater today than it was 7000 years ago. People use 100 to 100,000 x more resources and energy than their ancestors did. The earth today withstands at least 100,000 x the impact than did in 5000 b.c.e… We have the same impact in 5 minutes than our ancestors had in a year. It is not merely a question of overdrawing our natural capital account; it is also a matter of destroying the currency.”

I like to coin the phenomena he’s talking about as Industrial Catabolism. The worldwide mantra for business is “growth” stated in so many mindless ways as we need to grow the economy”, or “economic growth”, “unprecedented growth” etc. But this concept unchecked is self defeating on a finite planet. Nothing in life grows and grows in a linear fashion without some kind of recycling. A tumor that grows beyond carrying capacity destroys its host. Nature shows us, there are limits, which is not a popular concept among those in speculative industries.

I found it interesting to read the Wikipedia definition of economic growth. It is “defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of its members.”

To satisfy the wants of its members is the key phrase. This is actually quite an empowering definition to read considering unchecked growth in the economy is a driving factor for ecological and social devastation. It means that it is not inevitable, and that we- as in you, me, and everyone, casts our votes with our participation in the system. Wants are tenable, not fixed, and not absolute. Wants can change to slow down the industrial catabolism if we can take personal responsibility over what we want. But we have to know what to take responsibility for, and advertising and public relations campaigns, “experts” and daily editorializing and gossiping, has made this task very confusing.

TRANSMITTERS

Alot of energy is spent to manufacture, manipulate and engineer these wants for us. Wants are like chains on our freedom, chains on our planet and polarizing chains to each other. A long time ago, before we were born, the fabric of our descent as a people was sown by those who understood that wants were manipulatable. Consider master public relations/propagandist Edward Bernays. If you’ve never heard of him you should watch the Century of the Self.

In his book History as a Weapon (1928) he writes, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

Again, alot of energy is spent to socially engineer these wants for us.

Can any who reads this prove this man wrong through your own experience? From my experience, habits and opinions have their root in ignoranceLiberation from the control of the senses requires discipline.Yoga, or some internalized practice, where one begins to investigate “who/what” operates the body/mind/sense complex is a way to distance oneself from this manipulation.

We must take personal responsibility for our perceptions which bind us to systems of control that are hiding in the minds shadows. These subconscious desires and fears as Bernays would put them, are easily preyed upon through advertising; the shape and color of a logo, the language spin of an article, the fast flickering visuals of the television. Then we repeat this blather to others, in idle chit-chat, in our educational institutions, gossip and self righteous proselytizing; repeating and amplifying the stories which become teachings for the next generation.

Let’s consider something. People in “developed and developing” countries, which actually means, countries who promote consumerism as the driving social value, commonly have a television in their home or business. In the United States, television has been commercially available since the 1920s! As Wikipedia states, “a television set has become commonplace in homes, businesses and institutions, particularly as a vehicle for advertising, a source of entertainment, and news.”

“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'” — George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3

Advertising funds the programs you watch, the radio you listen to and the articles you read. What social values do you think get passed forward from the advertisers, and how do you think they control the content of what you are watching? This goes beyond the scope of this article so it’s up to you to research now.

THE METHOD OF TRANSMISSION

In Journal of Cognitive Liberties, Vol.2. Issue No.2 Pages 59-66, Wes More, describes in his article Opiate for the Masses,

“When you watch TV, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. In fact, experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that while viewers are watching television, the right hemisphere is twice as active as the left, a neurological anomaly.1 The crossover from left to right releases a surge of the body’s natural opiates: endorphins, which include beta-endorphins and enkephalins. Endorphins are structurally identical to opium and its derivatives (morphine, codeine, heroin, etc.). Activities that release endorphins (also called opioid peptides) are usually habit-forming (we rarely call them addictive). These include cracking knuckles, strenuous exercise, and orgasm. External opiates act on the same receptor sites (opioid receptors) as endorphins, so there is little difference between the two………..

First of all, when you’re watching television the higher brain regions (like the midbrain and the neo-cortex) are shut down, and most activity shifts to the lower brain regions (like the limbic system). The neurological processes that take place in these regions cannot accurately be called “cognitive.” The lower or reptile brain simply stands poised to react to the environment using deeply embedded “fight or flight” response programs. Moreover, these lower brain regions cannot distinguish reality from fabricated images (a job performed by the neo-cortex), so they react to television content as though it were real, releasing appropriate hormones and so on. Studies have proven that, in the long run, too much activity in the lower brain leads to atrophy in the higher brain regions………….

It is interesting to note that the lower/reptile/limbic brain correlates to the bio-survival circuit of the Leary/Wilson 8 Circuit Model of Consciousness. This is our primal circuit, the base “presence” that we normally associate with consciousness. This is the circuit where we receive our first neurological imprint (the oral imprint), which conditions us to advance toward anything warm, pleasurable and/or protective in the environment. The bio-survival circuit is our most infantile, our most primal way of dealing with reality…………..

Levels of brain activity are measured by an electroencenograph (EEG) machine. While watching television, the brain appears to slow to a halt, registering low alpha wave readings on the EEG. This is caused by the radiant light produced by cathode ray technology within the television set. Even if you’re reading text on a television screen the brain registers low levels of activity. Once again, regardless of the content being presented, television essentially turns off your nervous system.

In other words we are activated on a subconsious and emotional level, generally beyond the control of our neo cortex that judges real from unreal, meanwhile are bathed in pleasure/reward habit forming endorphins to keep us watching.

Psychophysiologist Thomas Mulholland found that after just 30 seconds of watching television the brain begins to produce alpha waves, which indicates torpid (almost comatose) rates of activity. Alpha brain waves are associated with unfocused, overly receptive states of consciousness. A high frequency alpha waves does not occur normally when the eyes are open. In fact, Mulholland’s research implies that watching television is neurologically analogous to staring at a blank wall.

I should note that the goal of hypnotists is to induce slow brain wave states. Alpha waves are present during the “light hypnotic” state used by hypno-therapists for suggestion therapy.

When Mulholland’s research was published it greatly impacted the television industry, at least in the marketing and advertising sector. Realizing viewers automatically enter a trance state while watching television, marketers began designing commercials that produce unconscious emotional states or moods within the viewer. The aim of commercials is not to appeal to the rational or conscious mind (which usually dismisses advertisements) but rather to implant moods that the consumer will associate with the product when it is encountered in real life. 

When we see product displays at a store, for instance, those positive emotions are triggered. Endorsements from beloved athletes and other celebrities evoke the same associations. If you’ve ever doubted the power of television advertising, bear this in mind: commercials work better if you’re not paying attention to them!

Edward Bernays was in the business of “manufacturing consent”. He was highly successful because he understood a few things about the human condition; in general humans trust organized systems of information (media), they are conditioned to submit their consciousness to authority and hierarchal structures, they are social creatures, and are emotionally manipulatable. In this regard, the age old debate whether human nature is good or bad, doesn’t matter. Human nature is malleable and the more unaware an individual is of his/her own thoughts and desires , the more manipulatable he/she is.

Being unaware is profitable and being profitable in the current free market economic growth paradigm is exploiting something from a distance. Here, we do the work of the man for the man through the power of an unquestioned thought, and never see the consequences in the rainforest, in a village far far away, or with a family we will never meet.

Belief systems/politically motivated stories, have an origination agenda, and are maintained through social engineering and replication of values and assumptions.

THE STORY BEGINS

For example, in the 19th century the United States, people and politicians had a mainstream attitude of expansionism and nationalism. This belief was labeled “Manifest Destiny”.  Manifest Destiny was an accepted “general notion” rather than an official policy. This allowed America to expand its borders, adding Oregon, California, and Texas, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, through military and diplomatic maneuvers aimed at continental expansion.

Historian, William E. Weeks has noted that three key themes were usually touched upon by advocates of Manifest Destiny, 1. virtue of the American people and their institutions. The belief that the American way is superior. 2. The mission to spread these institutions thereby redeeming and making the world in the image of the U.S; and 3. a mandate from God to do this work. In other words, the killing and relocation of the native population is justified because the American way was mandated by God to reform those perceived as needing an image upgrade.

The voting public, military men, housewives, etc. upheld these values in their social interactions, from the pulpit, in the street and through laws that were passed. The inhabitants of America, there long before the  Manifest Destiny or Columbus infact, suffered a ruthless genocide and uprooting because of the “power of ideas” – the power of a social story. What followed was forcible resettling of Native Americans as the citizenry of the United States forged westward.

In 1830, the Indian Removal Act was passed by then president Andrew Jackson, to expand the Presidents power to conduct treaties, to exchange Native American land east of Mississippi river for lands west of the river. It took until 1924, when Native Americas were finally recognized by the U.S government as “citizens.”

Many Native cultures were matrilineal. This meant people occupied lands for use by the entire community, for growing food and hunting. The Manifest Destiny was inherently patriarchal, stemming from ideas of European patriarchy that used ideas of individual property rights, and ownership over nature. The flag of Manifest Destiny did not recognize native lands as “legal”, nor the stewardship of these lands by the inhabitants. The inhabitants were unquestionably externalities to the physical expression of ideas.

AND ONE STORY CREATES ANOTHER

Another politically motivated story, or what I like to call “engineered myth” is that India can’t feed her people without foreign intervention and philanthropy that purport the use of subsidized wheat and rice, GM seeds and chemicals. This myth takes hold in times of crisis such as during a drought or famine, as it relies on the fear of starvation and death to work the minds of the public. This myth has three parts,:

1. Those promoting the myth do so because they stand to profit from the GM seeds and chemicals. In other words, market access is guaranteed if the general population plays along with the story- thus ensuring the idea will not be met with resistance. Politicians are also rewarded by enforcing the myth through responsive legislation;

2. The second part is that the myth plays on emotion, particularly the primal fear of starvation rooted in cultural imprints of past famines, food shortages, etc.;

3. The third part is that the myth must be seeded, until it saturates the media, which saturates the commons, and replicates on its own. Once this occurs it is detached from its original creators. A meme, which represent a thoughtform or belief, acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices. Memes self-replicate through various modes of transmission, from one person to the next, through gesture, writing. etc.

The second part of the myth, the primal fear of starvation is maintained by the first (laws and legislation) and second (advertising) parts. Brilliant.

Edward Bernays in History as a Weapon writes,

“The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and cliches and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.

Fortunately, the sincere and gifted politician is able, by the instrument of propaganda, to mold and form the will of the people. “

Mr. Bernays is talking about meme transmission.

PHIILANTHROCAPITALISM AND THE STORY TELLERS 

The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations entered the market of philanthropy in India, to lay the groundwork for an agricultural shift that would use chemical inputs, special seeds, and western agricultural techniques to improve food production, inspired still byManifest Destiny style nationalism. To do this they had to convince the country of India that it couldn’t feed it’s people, and thus needed assistance. In other words, to access the Indian market, there would have to be a reason why Indians would widely adopt American agricultural techniques. The perfect sales pitch was hunger and famine, starvation and drought. The assumption is that rural peasants aren’t smart enough to manage their problem, and the elite class must intervene. India, simply couldn’t feed her people without their help.

Fredrick Gates, a wealthy baptist minister, became Rockefeller’s key philanthropic and business adviser. He helped him set up well-funded foundations that were run by experts who decided what topics of reform were relevant and profitable, actualizing Rockefellers idea that for every dollar given away in philanthropy you ought to be able to make at least a hundred back. The foundation operating as a tax free entity, would identify problems, (or create them), then provide the solution. When there was no problem, they would find one to solve. This is the beginning of  philanthrocapitalism.

The Rockefeller and Ford foundation come requisite with a mindset that the rich are the best qualified to determine what the poor needs, eats, lives and what kind of work they can do. Read on.

In 1902 John. D Rockefeller met with a group of southern educators to establish The General Education Board for educating other “races”, starting with “negros” but not limited only to them. To get a peak inside the motivation behind the boards outreach we have only to read a letter from one of its founders. In the Board’s Occasional Letter No. 1, Fredrick Gates  writes,

In our dreams, we have limitless resources and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions fade from our minds, and unhampered by traditions, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk!

We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into Philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, editors, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply.”

There is a inherent belief encapsulated in his writings and that is, that the general public should yield to the agendas of those who “know better.” This is not all together different than the mindset of the Manifest Destiny.

In 1925 public relations specialist, Edward Bernays was hired to make Standard Oil, founder and tycon family the Rockefellers to improve their public image. Standard Oil was widely criticized as a monopoly, and polluter, though it made John D. Rockefeller the richest man in modern history. After Ida Tarbell’s muckraking book, The History of the Standard Oil Company, came out, Bernays stepped in to spin the Rockefeller “image”. Bernays was quoted as saying, “it is possible to regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies.”

He said these” new techniques of regmintation of minds, had to be used by the intelligent miniorities in order to make sure that the Slobs stay on the right course.”(From Chomsky’s “What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream”: A talk at Z Media Institute, June 1997). The slobs he is referring to is the general public, me and you, because we are not smart enough, empowered enough or strong enough to rule ourselves. How does that make you feel?

As a side note, Bernays was not the main PR representative to the Rockefellers. A contemporary and competitor of Edward Bernays, was Ivy Lee. He was retained by John D. Rockefeller to manage the public image of his family and Standard Oil. Shortly before his death, the U.S. Congress had been investigating Lee’s work for the controversial IG Farben company in Nazi Germany.

The Ford Foundation focused originally on setting up educational television and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Like the Rockefeller Foundation, public relations was a major part of their outreach to the American people, though that will be covered in a later article.

“In 1935, the Rockefeller Foundation set up an office in New Delhi to oversee all of its activities in India. This center was in operation for more than 30 years. It was the headquarters from which the foundation implemented its expanded activities in medicine, agriculture, and the humanities in the golden age of American involvement during the 1950s and 1960s.”

“During the golden age of the foundation’s work in India, roughly 1948 to 1973, it expanded its operations in India. By 1966, it had 15 of its personnel in India helping to oversee numerous proposals and grants in medicine, agriculture, the social sciences, and the humanities.” (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)………

“The first president of this new Ford Foundation, who eventually detached from the Ford Motor Company, was Paul Hoffman. He decided that India, one of the two Asian giants, and the non-Communist one, was to be a focus of serious investment by the Ford Foundation for the good of the future of India and the good of the free worldAssistance to India would demonstrate what free men with wealth and wisdom could do to help other men to follow them down the same or a similar path of development.”

“Although Hoffman’s vision cannot be explored here, he seemed to think that alleviating poverty in India would put Indians firmly in the Western camp and further democratic rights.” (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Hoffman recruited an agricultural sociologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Douglas Ensminger, to be the foundation’s representative in India. The latter visited India in 1951 and took up his job in 1952. He became, in time,the most powerful and longest-lasting representative of the foundation abroad. Not only did Ensminger develop a unique tie to the government of India through Nehru and other top officials, but he formed unusual ties to the trustees of the foundation in the United States that allowed him occasionally to go around administrators including the foundation’s presidents in New York, who were supposedly supervising him.”

“Ensminger, in his lengthy topical [*112] and repetitious memoir of his India days, described himself as a “change agent” loosed in a society tied up in tradition, static, going nowhere, but desperately needing changes. He was going to help to show them the way and he had considerable resources to utilize. n17″ (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Ensminger and the Ford Foundation more generally stressed the importance of American technical assistance to so-called developing, or Third World, areas during the 1950s and 1960s. Technical assistance in practice meant that a substantial part of the grants was spent on bringing foreign experts to show the Indians the way. These were most often Americans but included a smattering of Europeans, Canadians, and others as well. Although elaborate orientation programs were worked out for these visiting foreigners who were to teach Indians about a variety of subjects….”(Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Technical assistance in practice meant that a substantial part of the grants was spent on bringing foreign experts to show the Indians the way.”

“However, this was the heyday of American overseas aid and institution building in the new nations of South Asia and confidence started high–both as to what the foreigners could give and how India and also Pakistan could progress rapidly.”

“In the period from 1951 to 1995, the Ford Foundation made about 2500 grants to India; it expended $ 128 million by one account and $ 275 million by another. In any case, the number of grants and diverse projects to which they have been applied is staggering. Much early attention was given to the community development area, a special interest of Nehru and one which appealed to Ensminger and the foundation as well. ….in the Ensminger period, technical aid to agriculture was stressed rather than holistic community development.”(Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Ensminger recruited F. Champion Ward from the University of Chicago to serve as educational specialist for the foundation in India. Inter alia, Ward hoped that [*113] by giving grants for general education to a number of Indian universities, he would help them to provide the kind of wide view that he thought students at America’s best universities were getting.” ‘ (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

It is important to understand that what was taught in the agricultural and medical universities in India during those times were technologies that had already existed in industrialized nations. Those technologies were largely based on oil based solutions – from synthetic fertilizers, to motorized pumps and tractors, to pesticides, because those technologies were introduced by a few select billionaire families, notably Standard Oil and its offshoots (Exxon, Mobil, Amaco, Chevron). I think one can assume without it being fallacious that when a oil tycoon and not a farmer creates the solution of how India will feed her people, that solution will include oil. Certainly history has prooved this to be true.

The energy for increasing production “did not come from an increase in incipient sunlight, nor did it result from introducing agriculture to new vistas of land. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation. ” Since fertilizers are largely what made the Green Revolution possible, they forever changed agricultural practices because the high yield varieties developed during this time cannot grow successfully without the help of fertilizers. “(About.com)

What was taught in the Rockefeller/Ford sponsored curriculum in India’s universities were new techniques in mono cropping, irrigation, use of pesticides, and synthetic nitrogen based fertilizer as well as using two high yielding crop varieties that worked well with industrial techniques.

Prior to the Green Revolution,  India was growing food and did feed her people, and when she didn’t it wasn’t the farming techniques that were at fault. India, including now Pakistan and Bangledesh, has had 90 famines in the last 2500 years. It is difficult to estimate the total number of deaths, a conservative estimate puts it near 60 million. I challenge my readers to find me an example where subsequent starvation wasn’t because of one of the following:

Government inaction, devaluation of farming, inadequate transportation of food, routing of food to specialized projects -such as to the military, export of food is not rerouted back into the country, lowered feasibility of migrate do to cultural tensions,  failure in Colonial leadership to respond quickly to food shortages, lack of reduction in the price of food, and finally, the loss of employment of agricultural labors and artisans.

Dying from malnutrition, happens regardless of natural catastrophe, even though the likelihood is expanded.  If we are foolish enough to believe, however that subsidized wheat and rice given to the poor will meet the nutritional challenges of a hard working life, we are fooling ourselves and not comprehending the actual intent of foreign aid programs in time of “need”.  The United States never gives away something for nothing.  (This too is another article I will attempt to write in the coming months)

 Before the Green Revolution India grew polycultures of native and sometimes hybridized seed, planting in relation to the monsoon. People and land were at the mercy of natural boundaries. Population could not grow beyond the capacity of the land and weather patterns to support food production. It was  common that India was subject to famine and flood just like she is today, and nowhere in the world, not even in the mighty west, can people stave off natural disasters.

India had adapted her agriculture to meet climactic challenges the best she could.  India has a wealth of  time honored techniques, the were not barcodable. Take for instance the commentary by Zero Budget Natural Farming. This was written by Subhash Palekar, a farmer who grew up using traditional methods, then was educated in an agricultural university to use chemicals and after observing their destruction, returned to traditional agriculture. He writes,

“Since thousands of years, our farmers were treating their seeds by local cow urine, cow dung and little soil from the bund of the farm or land of the farm. This was the traditional method and also a totally scientific method. But, after the arrival of Agricultural Universities, all good things in Agricultural sector were destroyed and all unnatural and so unscientific techniques were imposed on the farmers and indirectly on the urban consumers. Agricultural Universities propose you now all dangerous poisons for seed treatment. When you apply any poisonous fungicides or medicines to the seed, all useful effective (our friends) microorganisms are destroyed in the soil. When these poisonous chemicals treated seeds germinate and grow, these poisons are also sucked by the roots with the soil water solution and are deposited in the body organs of the plant i.e. vegetables, grains, fruits, tubers etc. When we eat these produce, these poisons are transmitted to our body and causes T. B., Diabetes, Cancer, Heart problems to the eater consumers. As well as, when farmers purchase these fungicides & medicines for seed treatment, a big exploitation of the farmers occurs.”

 It is true that after the Green Revolution, the production of wheat and rice soared. To credit the numeric rise to the miracle seeds and pesticides is to fail at the exercise of critical thinking. Poly means many. So simply put farmers were growing many things on one piece  of land or in cooperation with other farmers to meet their nutritional needs.  If you replace every varied crop they were growing with just one, the numbers of that one crop is going to rise. If you give that one thing a veritable “growth hormone booster” a synthetic fertilizer, it will yield higher results but for how long? Every short cut comes with a cost.

 The charts and graphs used for proof of the Green Revolutions success are smoke and mirrors to make us believe that somehow the Green Revolution was a miracle that fed the world. Meanwhile the charts and graphs, by their very nature, distance us from the socio-ecological impact of what was thought up by foundations started by an oil tycoon and automobile manufacturer…not a farmer.

What is interesting about the drift away from traditional agriculture is that it the profit, monetarily and nutritionally drifted into the pockets of the philanthropists. Take a look:

Oxen drawn plows /REPLACED WITH / Oil/gas powered tractors and machinery (ideology set up by Standard Oil/Ford Motor Company founders, profits guaranteed by Rockefeller/Ford global enterprises, industry offshoots)

Fertilizer from cows, preparations from cow urine/dung and other plants /REPLACED WITH/Nitrogen based synthetic fertilizer which are typically synthesized using fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. Profits guaranteed by Rockefeller/Ford global enterprises, industry offshoots.)

Natural pesticides, using ferments of cow urine/dung/ and other plants, ash, safe pest levels maintained through companion planting and polyculture, and other biological solutions /REPLACED WITH/ Methyl iodide, glycosphosphate (Monsanto), endosulphan (originator Bayer Crop Science), organophosphate pesticides, Malathion (originated in America now manufactured in India Atrazine (Sygenta -GM Seeds, Monsanto competitor) Sandoz ( Ciba Geigy (chemicals, gm,) Sandoz, and Geigy now called Novaris (pharmaceutical) )Diazinon, Chloropyrifos, Chlordane, Lindane, Pemethrin, Cypermethrin. These are regulated by government control agencies, made of fossil fuels and higher chemisty and owned by pharmaceutical, biotech and agrobusiness giants. (list names a few only)

Seed Saving. Farmers saved seeds year by year, created their own farm level characteration of traits /REPLACED WITH/ Genetically modified and hybrid seeds patented as intellectual property and sold through Monsanto, Sygenta, Bayer, Dow, Dupont (see seed industry structure)

This structure moved the control of India’s food supply out of farmers hands and into corporate interest, nationally and abroad.

You might be scratching your head and thinking I thought you were talking about the Rockefeller and Ford Foundation and a socially engineered myth? True, and every story has its initial motivation, in this case, it’s a world view , much like the Manifest Destiny, that promotes the rich and powerful solving problems for the “underprivledged”. In other words, problems they attempt to solve are ultimately spun by foundations who lay the framework of the problems the Corporations must solve through their world view. 

Knowingly or unknowingly, they also create the problem, or an axillary problem from the solutions. In the meantime, foundations, corporations, and governments all share members, and missions. Because of the reach and power of a few, the “myth” permeates government and universities, then the general population follow in-step via massive public relations campaigns.

Take for instance this speach given by Gordon Conway, from the Rockefeller Foundation on June 24, 1999.

“The Rockefeller Foundation has funded over $100 million dollars of plant biotechnology research and trained over four hundred scientists from Asia, Africa and Latin America. While this may not sound like much by Monsanto standards, our grantees have made significant progress. At several locations in Asia there is now a critical mass of talent applying the new tools of biotechnology to rice improvement.”

…”Trying to ensure a future that includes the poor and excluded is not only a huge job, it is, you may say, not Monsanto’s job. Monsanto’s job is to provide a decent return to your shareholders by running a sustainable, innovative and responsible enterprise.”

The intention is so blatant it’s astounding.

This article is admittedly focused on the myth and story. Presenting the scientific evidence against or for genetically modified foods is another article. Outside of the lab result slinging, expert testimony, and political endorsements, is the broader issue – who profits from our basic necessity to eat? When  investigation turns up that it’s not the farmers but chemical companies with appalling environmental records, oil empires that have drug the world into war, and pharmaceutical companies whose profits increase when a population gets sicker and sicker, one has to question if the creator of such technology has our best interest in mind or is deluded by their own ideology. When we do consider the adoption of such technology on a global scale, as Monsanto advises, we must consider the implications. Long -term testing would seem like the only ethical solution, to appease both sides of the debate.  However, as we have seen through the manipulation of government, including the United States F.D.A, and India through the recent push for the BRAI bill,  the exact opposite is happening.  Technology with no long term broad spectrum world wide studies is being pushed on all of us, without labeling or conscious.

“The conscious choice of a few genes for mobilization and widespread replication substitutes human judgement for natural selection. From a theological viewpoint it is questionable that the agribusiness scientific staff have the collective wisdom to determine what constitutes the good when it comes to desirable genes. The fact that their choice could be self-sustaining (e.g., if the gene escaped into the wild) is cause for further concern. Initially, this and other adverse impacts potentially resulting from mass scale transgenic operations are likely to be invisible.” (Marc Lappe and Britt Baily, Against the Grain: Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food [Monroe, Me.:Common Courage, 1998], 114 )

“Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?”

THE NEW FOUNDATION OF THE PUSH FOR A 2nd GREEN REVOLUTION – THE STORY REPEATS

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, is now partnering with The Rockefeller Foundation to launch a Green Revolution in sub-Saharan Africa to “revolutionize food production and reduce hunger and poverty and to enhance agricultural science.”

That sounds great, but who gets to participate. Let’s look at the foundation’s connections. The Gates Foundation has holdings in

  • Walmart (9.2 million shares)
  • McDonald’s (9.4 million shares)
  • ExxonMobil (6.3 million shares) : Exxon Mobil Corporation was formed in 1999 by the merger of two major oil companies, Exxon and Mobil. Both Exxon and Mobil were descendants of Standard Oil started by John D. Rockefeller which was established in 1870. Sound familiar?
  • Berkshire Hathaway (76.4 million Class B shares)
  • Monsanto (500,000 shares)

On the board of the foundation is also pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, banks and Dupont Pioneer Hybrid. The Rockefeller foundation has contributed $50 million. Critics, including myself think that the foundation has a preference to make grants which benefit who the foundation holds stocks with, such as Monsanto. As a side note, recently Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet both visited India to encourage the billionaires to invest in social programs, like the Gates Foundation. All of this is a matter of public record, available for any of my readers to find

Something less obvious is happening here. The word Corporation and Multinational is getting linked as culpable co-creators in the ecological and social devastation on the earth.   The Gates Foundation, can now hide behind its billions while making billions by using the powerful public relations spin and oxymoron of philanthrocapitalism. Meanwhile, all those attached to the Gates Foundation can declare to the public that they are supporting a good cause!

“The term was coined by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green, the British authors of Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World, which identified an emerging trend towards blending charitable giving with market disciplines. The great benefactors of the past tended to operate through cumbersome, if well-meaning, foundations over which they retained relatively little control, beyond an insistence on having their names slapped upon municipal parks, museums and hospitals. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businesslatestnews/7932127/The-billionaire-boys-Beware-of-geeks-bearing-gifts.html)

But all that has changed:

“In other words, as a long critique in the American magazine Foreign Affairs puts it, the foundation gives with one hand and takes away with the other. In his book Small Change: Why Business Won’t Change the World, Michael Edwards, a former World Bank adviser, asks: “Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?” In this sense, say opponents of the new philanthropy, the needy are being written out of their own story, with the world’s attention focused instead on the people doing the giving. “

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businesslatestnews/7932127/The-billionaire-boys-Beware-of-geeks-bearing-gifts.html)

This is a question India needs to ask her self? “Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?”

How much foreign involvement, nepotism, corruption and farmer cleansing will the Indian population take before it revolts against the silly myth of the market place?

THE STORY BEGINS TO UNRAVEL

A critical eye will easily find that the bylines of successes presented in ad campaigns, official company reports, and the nightly news, are contradictory. The  World Health Organization, (WHO) which is by no means a neutral or anti-globalization organization states that in India:

“At the other end of the malnutrition scale, obesity is one of today’s most blatantly visible – yet most neglected – public health problems. Paradoxically coexisting with undernutrition, an escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity – “globesity” – is taking over many parts of the world”

But wait wasn’t the wheat and rice of the Green Revolution a success?

The WHO shows a chart that says that 37% of India’s lower middle class suffer from nutritional, communicable, and perinatal deaths, and the likelihood of cancer is 6%. Systolic blood pressure and glucose is also rising. They go on to say that,

“Over the last few decades, traditional societies in many developing countries have experienced rapid and unplanned urbanization, which has led to lifestyles characterized by unhealthy nutrition, reduced physical activity and tobacco consumption.1 These unhealthy lifestyles are associated with common modifiable risk factors for chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia and obesity.2

So the World Health Organization admits that in India,  urbanization – which is the forcing of  peasants and farmers off their land due to market forces, such as debt and unemployment, is causing health problems. But urbanization is caused by trade liberalization, and a devaluing of the agricultural sector. Urbanization has happened because high agricultural input costs for pesticides, fertilizers, tractors, patented seeds, etc. have creating spiraling indebtedness and land has been reprocessed -water tables have lowered, or water is unavailable -once fertile land is now ruined – soaked in chemicals and stripped of life and finally billboards blasting the youth with images of urban sexy-sleek living is luring able bodies from the fields. And, why would they want to stay? The government has cut back subsidies and support to the agriculture sector, and international competition has lowered the price the farmer can get for their food to demeaning levels.

Ultimately, this means there is a problem with the glowing promises of the foundations who state they are solving the  problem of an imagined future of starvation, but in truth the solution is creating more problems, so the corporations still have to solve the problem. There appears to be an endless supply of future profit!  Yet, to a lay person, their also appears to be crack in the facade!

The World Health Organization continues:

“It is expected that by 2020 in developing countries, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) will account for 69% of all deaths, with cardiovascular diseases in the lead.3 The prevalence of diabetes mellitus will almost double in the next 25 years and at least 75% of those affected will be in developing countries. The burden of disease will be worse in these countries, as the majority of sufferers are expected to be relatively young, of lower socioeconomic status and to suffer from severe disease of premature onset.4

OBSERVATION REVEALS A STORY IS A STORY

If one observes the last 45 years since the Green Revolution began, and drops the ideology taught through the media, and through biotechnology and agricultural university curriculum, one can piece together the truth of what has happened.  Observe and remember.

In the book Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken’s explains the differences between observation and ideology. He explains it in the context of a new movement that has sprung up in response to what its observed. This movement includes millions of N.G.Os and non-profits springing up around the globe to combat the ravages of globalization, human rights atrocities, environmental destruction etc.  Included in this movement is the organic, sustainable, non-gmo, natural farming groups.

“One of the differences between the bottom-up movement now erupting around the world and established ideologies is that the movement develops its ideas based on observation, where as ideologies act on the basis of belief or theory, the same distinction that separated evolution from creationism.”

“The movement doesn’t attempt to disprove capitalism, globalization or religion fundamentalism, but tries to make sense of what it discovers in forest, favalas, farms rivers, and cities. Are ideologues in the movement? To be sure, but fundamentally the movement is from the part of humanity which has assumed the task of protecting and saving itself. If we accept that the metaphor of an organism can be applied to humankind, we can image in a collective movement that would protect repair and restore that organisms capacity to endure when threatened. If so, that capacity to respond would function like an immune system, which operates independently of an individual persons intent.”

“Specifically the shared activity of hundreds of thousands of nonprofit organizations can be seen as humanities immune response to toxins like political corruption, economic disease and ecological degradation.”

Try some observation yourself.  Ask yourself   the following: Am I healthier now than I was ten years ago? Is any member of my family on prescriptions or overweight? How many people do I know who have cancer or have died from a heart attack? Is there more environmental pollution? Are there more homeless in the cities? Am I fulfilled with the work that I do? Is my water safe to drink? Does my food have chemicals? preservatives? What are the brands of food I eat? Where does my food come from? Does anyone I know smoke? Is someone in my family addicted to drugs or alcohol?   Are there more birds? Is there more trash in the streets?

As mentioned before, the selling of a social myth, on a wide-scale is possible through the advent of the television. Television does not make for watchful observers! Why does pharmaceutical companies advertise on television when its your doctor who can decide your access to such medicine? Simple, it’s auto suggesting a disease, that you might think you have. Repeat the story long enough and you will manifest it.  Are you depressed? having trouble sleeping? Stressed out? Television repeats ideologies, with no room for us to insert our experience or opinion. The felt sense of immediate experience, our experience – our direct observation, is the only way to really know, is it true? If we operated from this informing our choices, how would the world look?

Dr. Vinod Verma,  who has written eighteen books on Ayurveda, Yoga and is a neurobiologist from Paris University. She  has also worked in a pharmaceutical company in Germany.  She writes regarding the western influence of Indian agriculture,

“Until about fifteen yeas after the independence of India, the above-described wisdom (cyclical crops, natural pesticides, planting with astrological cycles) was part of the school curriculum. However the policy makers of independent India ignored the indigenous wisdom and followed the West blindly. Many centuries of foreign rule was enough to make the English speaking Indian elite slavish in their mentality.  However, the Indian farmer was very wise and it is well known that the farmers always kept a piece of land for themselves where they did not use urea or chemical pesticides.  They used the traditional Indian methods to grow food for themselves. Not that they knew the destructive effects of the chemicals they were cajoled into using, it was simple a question of taste and flavor for them.”

“Gradually, we lost the great tradition of our natural way of farming an took to the unnatural and harsh ways from the West. Of course it was the vested interest of the West to find a market for their products in our big and highly populated country. we cannot blame the est but our own foolishness to ignore our indigenous wisdom, which is now sought after by the whole world. Humanity as a whole has realized that destroying nature means destroying life on our globe.”

Activist, and an analyst of the impact of the global economy on cultures and agriculture worldwide, Helena Norberg Hodge describes the changes she witnessed in Ladkhi people in India from 1970 to present day. Ladakh is a present day example of  what happens when you push -industrial consumerism on top of natural conservation. A similar situation plays out in all native, indigenous, pantheistic, subsistence, first peoples nations globally.

“When I first arrived in Leh, the capital of 5,000 inhabitants, cows were the most likely cause of congestion and the air was crystal clear. Within five minutes’ walk in any direction from the town centre were barley fields, dotted with large farmhouses. For the next twenty years I watched Leh turn into an urban sprawl. The streets became choked with traffic, and the air tasted of diesel fumes. ‘Housing colonies’ of soulless, cement boxes spread into the dusty desert. The once pristine streams became polluted, the water undrinkable. For the first time, there were homeless people. The increased economic pressures led to unemployment and competition. Within a few years, friction between different communities appeared. All of these things had not existed for the previous 500 years.”

If we are willing to apply the ideology that India can’t feed her people without the help of GMO and chemical agriculture, perhaps to be objective we should also  look at the consequences of what has happened since the implementation of that ideology. On a state by state macro level, these changes range from lowering yeilds after the initial peak, fallow lands, polluted water ways, loss of biodiversity, displacement of the small farm from the center of the community, loss of holistic nutrition, escalating debt, privatization of resources and the list continues.  If we rely on observation, we have only to look at examples like Ladakh to see that India has been able to feed her people.

The changes in Ladakh pre 1970s to now gives us an excellent example of how the problem of feeding India is not actually an issue of adopting new technologies, rather, it is an example of the negative side effects of industrial development in relationship to agricultural self-sufficiency and a political failure to respond to the negatives. Who gets the profit and who is exploited? In the case of Leh, self-sufficiency was replaced with Tata transports carrying branded and packaged foods, Coca Cola and cigarettes, denatured wheat, and a slew of consumerables, soon to be followed by tourists.

One can argue that Ladakh has a very sparse population in relationship to Mumbai, so therefore another system will have to be put in place to meet this challenge. As it is true that 21,000 people per square kilometer such as the case in Mumbai presents extreme challenges, the principles remain the same.  If urbanization is failing, encouraging the agricultural sector on the outsides to be vibrant, self-sustaining, environmentally friendly and productive for the long term makes more sense than increasing the urban population, displacing the farmers, and ignoring the fact that the population is going to grow.  Urban gardening initiatives, roof top gardening, school and kitchen gardens, natueco methods, seed saving, community supported agriculture, city planning that includes arable land for farming at its center,  hydroponics, public community gardens instead of another high rise for foreign investors, the introduction of microlivestock, verticle gardening, and the list goes on and on are all apossiblity if the blockage created by the story of how India can’t feed her people without chemicals and gmo, is removed.

The story  and those believing it,  is the only thing keeping the patriarchial Manifest Destiny domination paradigm in power. We, you and me, are the ones we’ve been waiting for. There is more power in our choices than you could ever imagine. There is more intelligence in a seed, and more energy  in the free gift of the sun than ever can be replicated in a laboratory. All that is nature, was given to us for FREE, as a natural right. Believing otherwise makes nature and ourselves exploitable.

If   a community is confused and lacking a far reaching vision,  look to success stories like Auroville, Kodaikanal farm in Tamil Nadu, the Khet Virasat Mission in Fardikot,  Navdanya,  Timbuktu Organics,  Shri S.A. Dabholkar,  the Biogas plant at Srirangapatna in Karnataka, and thousands more.  The answers to can India feed her people are there, and repeatable.

“John Maynard Keynes cautioned that we live our lives under the illusion of freedom, but likely to be slaves to some defunct economist. Even that description understates the problem. The world may be caged by a defect of the entire economic profession, namely the idea that we can asses value in banknotes, or that we can understand our relationship to the material world using an abstract metric rather than a biological one. The extraordinary advances made by Western societies will , in the end, be subservient to the land and what it can provide and teach. There are no economies of scale; there is only natures economy. We cannot turn back the clock, or return to any prior state on the planet, but we will never know ourselves until we know where we are on this land. There is no reason that we cannot build an exquisitely designed economy that matches biology in its diversity and integrates complexity rather than extinguishing it. In accomplishing this, there is much to be gained from those who have not forgotten the land. ” (Paul Hawken,  Blessed Unrest pg. 100)

None of these changes can occur under the amensia of the present myth. A new story must be told, one that includes a future, – a future free of any style of Manifest Destiny, where a priveldged few rule an overpowering mass of people

Indian rural reporter P. Sainath wrote,

“Every freedom fighter of repute doubled as a journalist, informing the public. Speaking for myself, I will not cede this high ground; it is extremely important that mainstream journalism include the true stories of India.”

Inshallah,
Act Naturally

Manufactured Consent – India’s Block to an Organic Future

By Kamala Das
John Maynard Keynes cautioned that we live our lives under the illusion of freedom, but likely to be slaves to some defunct economist. Even that description understates the problem. The world may be caged by a defect of the entire economic profession, namely the idea that we can asses value in banknotes, or that we can understand our relationship to the material world using an abstract metric rather than a biological one. The extraordinary advances made by Western societies will , in the end, be subservient to the land and what it can provide and teach.

Admittedly, this started off as a Facebook rant serving the dual purpose of allowing me to write out my ideas for Act Naturally’s documentary project synopsis. I had quoted Paul Hawken’s book Blessed Unrest, and edited it for status update size:

“To calculate the geometrical quickening of our footprint on the planet, consider that the population is 1,000 x greater today than it was 7000 years ago. People use 100 to 100,000 x more resources and energy than their ancestors did. The earth today withstands at least 100,000 x the impact than did in 5000 b.c.e… We have the same impact in 5 minutes than our ancestors had in a year. It is not merely a question of overdrawing our natural capital account; it is also a matter of destroying the currency.”

I like to coin the phenomena he’s talking about as Industrial Catabolism. The worldwide mantra for business is “growth” stated in so many mindless ways as we need to grow the economy”, or “economic growth”, “unprecedented growth” etc. But this concept unchecked is self defeating on a finite planet. Nothing in life grows and grows in a linear fashion without some kind of recycling. A tumor that grows beyond carrying capacity destroys its host. Nature shows us, there are limits, which is not a popular concept among those in speculative industries.

I found it interesting to read the Wikipedia definition of economic growth. It is “defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of its members.”

To satisfy the wants of its members is the key phrase. This is actually quite an empowering definition to read considering unchecked growth in the economy is a driving factor for ecological and social devastation. It means that it is not inevitable, and that we- as in you, me, and everyone, casts our votes with our participation in the system. Wants are tenable, not fixed, and not absolute. Wants can change to slow down the industrial catabolism if we can take personal responsibility over what we want. But we have to know what to take responsibility for, and advertising and public relations campaigns, “experts” and daily editorializing and gossiping, has made this task very confusing.

TRANSMITTERS

Alot of energy is spent to manufacture, manipulate and engineer these wants for us. Wants are like chains on our freedom, chains on our planet and polarizing chains to each other. A long time ago, before we were born, the fabric of our descent as a people was sown by those who understood that wants were manipulatable. Consider master public relations/propagandist Edward Bernays. If you’ve never heard of him you should watch the Century of the Self.

In his book History as a Weapon (1928) he writes, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

Again, alot of energy is spent to socially engineer these wants for us.

Can any who reads this prove this man wrong through your own experience? From my experience, habits and opinions have their root in ignorance. Liberation from the control of the senses requires discipline. Yoga, or some internalized practice, where one begins to investigate “who/what” operates the body/mind/sense complex is a way to distance oneself from this manipulation.

We must take personal responsibility for our perceptions which bind us to systems of control that are hiding in the minds shadows. These subconscious desires and fears as Bernays would put them, are easily preyed upon through advertising; the shape and color of a logo, the language spin of an article, the fast flickering visuals of the television. Then we repeat this blather to others, in idle chit-chat, in our educational institutions, gossip and self righteous proselytizing; repeating and amplifying the stories which become teachings for the next generation.

Let’s consider something. People in “developed and developing” countries, which actually means, countries who promote consumerism as the driving social value, commonly have a television in their home or business. In the United States, television has been commercially available since the 1920s! As Wikipedia states, “a television set has become commonplace in homes, businesses and institutions, particularly as a vehicle for advertising, a source of entertainment, and news.”

“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'” — George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3

Advertising funds the programs you watch, the radio you listen to and the articles you read. What social values do you think get passed forward from the advertisers, and how do you think they control the content of what you are watching? This goes beyond the scope of this article so it’s up to you to research now.

THE METHOD OF TRANSMISSION

In Journal of Cognitive Liberties, Vol.2. Issue No.2 Pages 59-66, Wes More, describes in his article Opiate for the Masses,

“When you watch TV, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. In fact, experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that while viewers are watching television, the right hemisphere is twice as active as the left, a neurological anomaly.1 The crossover from left to right releases a surge of the body’s natural opiates: endorphins, which include beta-endorphins and enkephalins. Endorphins are structurally identical to opium and its derivatives (morphine, codeine, heroin, etc.). Activities that release endorphins (also called opioid peptides) are usually habit-forming (we rarely call them addictive). These include cracking knuckles, strenuous exercise, and orgasm. External opiates act on the same receptor sites (opioid receptors) as endorphins, so there is little difference between the two………..

First of all, when you’re watching television the higher brain regions (like the midbrain and the neo-cortex) are shut down, and most activity shifts to the lower brain regions (like the limbic system). The neurological processes that take place in these regions cannot accurately be called “cognitive.” The lower or reptile brain simply stands poised to react to the environment using deeply embedded “fight or flight” response programs. Moreover, these lower brain regions cannot distinguish reality from fabricated images (a job performed by the neo-cortex), so they react to television content as though it were real, releasing appropriate hormones and so on. Studies have proven that, in the long run, too much activity in the lower brain leads to atrophy in the higher brain regions………….

It is interesting to note that the lower/reptile/limbic brain correlates to the bio-survival circuit of the Leary/Wilson 8 Circuit Model of Consciousness. This is our primal circuit, the base “presence” that we normally associate with consciousness. This is the circuit where we receive our first neurological imprint (the oral imprint), which conditions us to advance toward anything warm, pleasurable and/or protective in the environment. The bio-survival circuit is our most infantile, our most primal way of dealing with reality…………..

Levels of brain activity are measured by an electroencenograph (EEG) machine. While watching television, the brain appears to slow to a halt, registering low alpha wave readings on the EEG. This is caused by the radiant light produced by cathode ray technology within the television set. Even if you’re reading text on a television screen the brain registers low levels of activity. Once again, regardless of the content being presented, television essentially turns off your nervous system.

In other words we are activated on a subconsious and emotional level, generally beyond the control of our neo cortex that judges real from unreal, meanwhile are bathed in pleasure/reward habit forming endorphins to keep us watching.

Psychophysiologist Thomas Mulholland found that after just 30 seconds of watching television the brain begins to produce alpha waves, which indicates torpid (almost comatose) rates of activity. Alpha brain waves are associated with unfocused, overly receptive states of consciousness. A high frequency alpha waves does not occur normally when the eyes are open. In fact, Mulholland’s research implies that watching television is neurologically analogous to staring at a blank wall.

I should note that the goal of hypnotists is to induce slow brain wave states. Alpha waves are present during the “light hypnotic” state used by hypno-therapists for suggestion therapy.

When Mulholland’s research was published it greatly impacted the television industry, at least in the marketing and advertising sector. Realizing viewers automatically enter a trance state while watching television, marketers began designing commercials that produce unconscious emotional states or moods within the viewer. The aim of commercials is not to appeal to the rational or conscious mind (which usually dismisses advertisements) but rather to implant moods that the consumer will associate with the product when it is encountered in real life. 

When we see product displays at a store, for instance, those positive emotions are triggered. Endorsements from beloved athletes and other celebrities evoke the same associations. If you’ve ever doubted the power of television advertising, bear this in mind: commercials work better if you’re not paying attention to them!

Edward Bernays was in the business of “manufacturing consent”. He was highly successful because he understood a few things about the human condition; in general humans trust organized systems of information (media), they are conditioned to submit their consciousness to authority and hierarchal structures, they are social creatures, and are emotionally manipulatable. In this regard, the age old debate whether human nature is good or bad, doesn’t matter. Human nature is malleable and the more unaware an individual is of his/her own thoughts and desires , the more manipulatable he/she is.

Being unaware is profitable and being profitable in the current free market economic growth paradigm is exploiting something from a distance. Here, we do the work of the man for the man through the power of an unquestioned thought, and never see the consequences in the rainforest, in a village far far away, or with a family we will never meet.

Belief systems/politically motivated stories, have an origination agenda, and are maintained through social engineering and replication of values and assumptions.

THE STORY BEGINS

For example, in the 19th century the United States, people and politicians had a mainstream attitude of expansionism and nationalism. This belief was labeled “Manifest Destiny”.  Manifest Destiny was an accepted “general notion” rather than an official policy. This allowed America to expand its borders, adding Oregon, California, and Texas, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, through military and diplomatic maneuvers aimed at continental expansion.

Historian, William E. Weeks has noted that three key themes were usually touched upon by advocates of Manifest Destiny, 1. virtue of the American people and their institutions. The belief that the American way is superior. 2. The mission to spread these institutions thereby redeeming and making the world in the image of the U.S; and 3. a mandate from God to do this work. In other words, the killing and relocation of the native population is justified because the American way was mandated by God to reform those perceived as needing an image upgrade.

The voting public, military men, housewives, etc. upheld these values in their social interactions, from the pulpit, in the street and through laws that were passed. The inhabitants of America, there long before the  Manifest Destiny or Columbus infact, suffered a ruthless genocide and uprooting because of the “power of ideas” – the power of a social story. What followed was forcible resettling of Native Americans as the citizenry of the United States forged westward.

In 1830, the Indian Removal Act was passed by then president Andrew Jackson, to expand the Presidents power to conduct treaties, to exchange Native American land east of Mississippi river for lands west of the river. It took until 1924, when Native Americas were finally recognized by the U.S government as “citizens.”

Many Native cultures were matrilineal. This meant people occupied lands for use by the entire community, for growing food and hunting. The Manifest Destiny was inherently patriarchal, stemming from ideas of European patriarchy that used ideas of individual property rights, and ownership over nature. The flag of Manifest Destiny did not recognize native lands as “legal”, nor the stewardship of these lands by the inhabitants. The inhabitants were unquestionably externalities to the physical expression of ideas.

AND ONE STORY CREATES ANOTHER

Another politically motivated story, or what I like to call “engineered myth” is that India can’t feed her people without foreign intervention and philanthropy that purport the use of subsidized wheat and rice, GM seeds and chemicals. This myth takes hold in times of crisis such as during a drought or famine, as it relies on the fear of starvation and death to work the minds of the public. This myth has three parts,:

1. Those promoting the myth do so because they stand to profit from the GM seeds and chemicals. In other words, market access is guaranteed if the general population plays along with the story- thus ensuring the idea will not be met with resistance. Politicians are also rewarded by enforcing the myth through responsive legislation;

2. The second part is that the myth plays on emotion, particularly the primal fear of starvation rooted in cultural imprints of past famines, food shortages, etc.;

3. The third part is that the myth must be seeded, until it saturates the media, which saturates the commons, and replicates on its own. Once this occurs it is detached from its original creators. A meme, which represent a thoughtform or belief, acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices. Memes self-replicate through various modes of transmission, from one person to the next, through gesture, writing. etc.

The second part of the myth, the primal fear of starvation is maintained by the first (laws and legislation) and second (advertising) parts. Brilliant.

Edward Bernays in History as a Weapon writes,

“The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and cliches and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.

Fortunately, the sincere and gifted politician is able, by the instrument of propaganda, to mold and form the will of the people. “

Mr. Bernays is talking about meme transmission.

PHIILANTHROCAPITALISM AND THE STORY TELLERS 

The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations entered the market of philanthropy in India, to lay the groundwork for an agricultural shift that would use chemical inputs, special seeds, and western agricultural techniques to improve food production, inspired still byManifest Destiny style nationalism. To do this they had to convince the country of India that it couldn’t feed it’s people, and thus needed assistance. In other words, to access the Indian market, there would have to be a reason why Indians would widely adopt American agricultural techniques. The perfect sales pitch was hunger and famine, starvation and drought. The assumption is that rural peasants aren’t smart enough to manage their problem, and the elite class must intervene. India, simply couldn’t feed her people without their help.

Fredrick Gates, a wealthy baptist minister, became Rockefeller’s key philanthropic and business adviser. He helped him set up well-funded foundations that were run by experts who decided what topics of reform were relevant and profitable, actualizing Rockefellers idea that for every dollar given away in philanthropy you ought to be able to make at least a hundred back. The foundation operating as a tax free entity, would identify problems, (or create them), then provide the solution. When there was no problem, they would find one to solve. This is the beginning of  philanthrocapitalism.

The Rockefeller and Ford foundation come requisite with a mindset that the rich are the best qualified to determine what the poor needs, eats, lives and what kind of work they can do. Read on.

In 1902 John. D Rockefeller met with a group of southern educators to establish The General Education Board for educating other “races”, starting with “negros” but not limited only to them. To get a peak inside the motivation behind the boards outreach we have only to read a letter from one of its founders. In the Board’s Occasional Letter No. 1, Fredrick Gates  writes,

In our dreams, we have limitless resources and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions fade from our minds, and unhampered by traditions, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk!

We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into Philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, editors, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply.”

There is a inherent belief encapsulated in his writings and that is, that the general public should yield to the agendas of those who “know better.” This is not all together different than the mindset of the Manifest Destiny.

In 1925 public relations specialist, Edward Bernays was hired to make Standard Oil, founder and tycon family the Rockefellers to improve their public image. Standard Oil was widely criticized as a monopoly, and polluter, though it made John D. Rockefeller the richest man in modern history. After Ida Tarbell’s muckraking book, The History of the Standard Oil Company, came out, Bernays stepped in to spin the Rockefeller “image”. Bernays was quoted as saying, “it is possible to regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies.”

He said these” new techniques of regmintation of minds, had to be used by the intelligent miniorities in order to make sure that the Slobs stay on the right course.”(From Chomsky’s “What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream”: A talk at Z Media Institute, June 1997). The slobs he is referring to is the general public, me and you, because we are not smart enough, empowered enough or strong enough to rule ourselves. How does that make you feel?

As a side note, Bernays was not the main PR representative to the Rockefellers. A contemporary and competitor of Edward Bernays, was Ivy Lee. He was retained by John D. Rockefeller to manage the public image of his family and Standard Oil. Shortly before his death, the U.S. Congress had been investigating Lee’s work for the controversial IG Farben company in Nazi Germany.

The Ford Foundation focused originally on setting up educational television and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Like the Rockefeller Foundation, public relations was a major part of their outreach to the American people, though that will be covered in a later article.

“In 1935, the Rockefeller Foundation set up an office in New Delhi to oversee all of its activities in India. This center was in operation for more than 30 years. It was the headquarters from which the foundation implemented its expanded activities in medicine, agriculture, and the humanities in the golden age of American involvement during the 1950s and 1960s.”

“During the golden age of the foundation’s work in India, roughly 1948 to 1973, it expanded its operations in India. By 1966, it had 15 of its personnel in India helping to oversee numerous proposals and grants in medicine, agriculture, the social sciences, and the humanities.” (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)………

“The first president of this new Ford Foundation, who eventually detached from the Ford Motor Company, was Paul Hoffman. He decided that India, one of the two Asian giants, and the non-Communist one, was to be a focus of serious investment by the Ford Foundation for the good of the future of India and the good of the free worldAssistance to India would demonstrate what free men with wealth and wisdom could do to help other men to follow them down the same or a similar path of development.”

“Although Hoffman’s vision cannot be explored here, he seemed to think that alleviating poverty in India would put Indians firmly in the Western camp and further democratic rights.” (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Hoffman recruited an agricultural sociologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Douglas Ensminger, to be the foundation’s representative in India. The latter visited India in 1951 and took up his job in 1952. He became, in time,the most powerful and longest-lasting representative of the foundation abroad. Not only did Ensminger develop a unique tie to the government of India through Nehru and other top officials, but he formed unusual ties to the trustees of the foundation in the United States that allowed him occasionally to go around administrators including the foundation’s presidents in New York, who were supposedly supervising him.”

“Ensminger, in his lengthy topical [*112] and repetitious memoir of his India days, described himself as a “change agent” loosed in a society tied up in tradition, static, going nowhere, but desperately needing changes. He was going to help to show them the way and he had considerable resources to utilize. n17″ (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Ensminger and the Ford Foundation more generally stressed the importance of American technical assistance to so-called developing, or Third World, areas during the 1950s and 1960s. Technical assistance in practice meant that a substantial part of the grants was spent on bringing foreign experts to show the Indians the way. These were most often Americans but included a smattering of Europeans, Canadians, and others as well. Although elaborate orientation programs were worked out for these visiting foreigners who were to teach Indians about a variety of subjects….”(Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Technical assistance in practice meant that a substantial part of the grants was spent on bringing foreign experts to show the Indians the way.”

“However, this was the heyday of American overseas aid and institution building in the new nations of South Asia and confidence started high–both as to what the foreigners could give and how India and also Pakistan could progress rapidly.”

“In the period from 1951 to 1995, the Ford Foundation made about 2500 grants to India; it expended $ 128 million by one account and $ 275 million by another. In any case, the number of grants and diverse projects to which they have been applied is staggering. Much early attention was given to the community development area, a special interest of Nehru and one which appealed to Ensminger and the foundation as well. ….in the Ensminger period, technical aid to agriculture was stressed rather than holistic community development.”(Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Ensminger recruited F. Champion Ward from the University of Chicago to serve as educational specialist for the foundation in India. Inter alia, Ward hoped that [*113] by giving grants for general education to a number of Indian universities, he would help them to provide the kind of wide view that he thought students at America’s best universities were getting.” ‘ (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

It is important to understand that what was taught in the agricultural and medical universities in India during those times were technologies that had already existed in industrialized nations. Those technologies were largely based on oil based solutions – from synthetic fertilizers, to motorized pumps and tractors, to pesticides, because those technologies were introduced by a few select billionaire families, notably Standard Oil and its offshoots (Exxon, Mobil, Amaco, Chevron). I think one can assume without it being fallacious that when a oil tycoon and not a farmer creates the solution of how India will feed her people, that solution will include oil. Certainly history has prooved this to be true.

The energy for increasing production “did not come from an increase in incipient sunlight, nor did it result from introducing agriculture to new vistas of land. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation. ” Since fertilizers are largely what made the Green Revolution possible, they forever changed agricultural practices because the high yield varieties developed during this time cannot grow successfully without the help of fertilizers. “(About.com)

What was taught in the Rockefeller/Ford sponsored curriculum in India’s universities were new techniques in mono cropping, irrigation, use of pesticides, and synthetic nitrogen based fertilizer as well as using two high yielding crop varieties that worked well with industrial techniques.

Prior to the Green Revolution,  India was growing food and did feed her people, and when she didn’t it wasn’t the farming techniques that were at fault. India, including now Pakistan and Bangledesh, has had 90 famines in the last 2500 years. It is difficult to estimate the total number of deaths, a conservative estimate puts it near 60 million. I challenge my readers to find me an example where subsequent starvation wasn’t because of one of the following:

Government inaction, devaluation of farming, inadequate transportation of food, routing of food to specialized projects -such as to the military, export of food is not rerouted back into the country, lowered feasibility of migrate do to cultural tensions,  failure in Colonial leadership to respond quickly to food shortages, lack of reduction in the price of food, and finally, the loss of employment of agricultural labors and artisans.

Dying from malnutrition, happens regardless of natural catastrophe, even though the likelihood is expanded.  If we are foolish enough to believe, however that subsidized wheat and rice given to the poor will meet the nutritional challenges of a hard working life, we are fooling ourselves and not comprehending the actual intent of foreign aid programs in time of “need”.  The United States never gives away something for nothing.  (This too is another article I will attempt to write in the coming months)

 Before the Green Revolution India grew polycultures of native and sometimes hybridized seed, planting in relation to the monsoon. People and land were at the mercy of natural boundaries. Population could not grow beyond the capacity of the land and weather patterns to support food production. It was  common that India was subject to famine and flood just like she is today, and nowhere in the world, not even in the mighty west, can people stave off natural disasters.

India had adapted her agriculture to meet climactic challenges the best she could.  India has a wealth of  time honored techniques, the were not barcodable. Take for instance the commentary by Zero Budget Natural Farming. This was written by Subhash Palekar, a farmer who grew up using traditional methods, then was educated in an agricultural university to use chemicals and after observing their destruction, returned to traditional agriculture. He writes,

“Since thousands of years, our farmers were treating their seeds by local cow urine, cow dung and little soil from the bund of the farm or land of the farm. This was the traditional method and also a totally scientific method. But, after the arrival of Agricultural Universities, all good things in Agricultural sector were destroyed and all unnatural and so unscientific techniques were imposed on the farmers and indirectly on the urban consumers. Agricultural Universities propose you now all dangerous poisons for seed treatment. When you apply any poisonous fungicides or medicines to the seed, all useful effective (our friends) microorganisms are destroyed in the soil. When these poisonous chemicals treated seeds germinate and grow, these poisons are also sucked by the roots with the soil water solution and are deposited in the body organs of the plant i.e. vegetables, grains, fruits, tubers etc. When we eat these produce, these poisons are transmitted to our body and causes T. B., Diabetes, Cancer, Heart problems to the eater consumers. As well as, when farmers purchase these fungicides & medicines for seed treatment, a big exploitation of the farmers occurs.”

 It is true that after the Green Revolution, the production of wheat and rice soared. To credit the numeric rise to the miracle seeds and pesticides is to fail at the exercise of critical thinking. Poly means many. So simply put farmers were growing many things on one piece  of land or in cooperation with other farmers to meet their nutritional needs.  If you replace every varied crop they were growing with just one, the numbers of that one crop is going to rise. If you give that one thing a veritable “growth hormone booster” a synthetic fertilizer, it will yield higher results but for how long? Every short cut comes with a cost.

 The charts and graphs used for proof of the Green Revolutions success are smoke and mirrors to make us believe that somehow the Green Revolution was a miracle that fed the world. Meanwhile the charts and graphs, by their very nature, distance us from the socio-ecological impact of what was thought up by foundations started by an oil tycoon and automobile manufacturer…not a farmer.

What is interesting about the drift away from traditional agriculture is that it the profit, monetarily and nutritionally drifted into the pockets of the philanthropists. Take a look:

Oxen drawn plows /REPLACED WITH / Oil/gas powered tractors and machinery (ideology set up by Standard Oil/Ford Motor Company founders, profits guaranteed by Rockefeller/Ford global enterprises, industry offshoots)

Fertilizer from cows, preparations from cow urine/dung and other plants /REPLACED WITH/Nitrogen based synthetic fertilizer which are typically synthesized using fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. Profits guaranteed by Rockefeller/Ford global enterprises, industry offshoots.)

Natural pesticides, using ferments of cow urine/dung/ and other plants, ash, safe pest levels maintained through companion planting and polyculture, and other biological solutions /REPLACED WITH/ Methyl iodide, glycosphosphate (Monsanto), endosulphan (originator Bayer Crop Science), organophosphate pesticides, Malathion (originated in America now manufactured in India Atrazine (Sygenta -GM Seeds, Monsanto competitor) Sandoz ( Ciba Geigy (chemicals, gm,) Sandoz, and Geigy now called Novaris (pharmaceutical) )Diazinon, Chloropyrifos, Chlordane, Lindane, Pemethrin, Cypermethrin. These are regulated by government control agencies, made of fossil fuels and higher chemisty and owned by pharmaceutical, biotech and agrobusiness giants. (list names a few only)

Seed Saving. Farmers saved seeds year by year, created their own farm level characteration of traits /REPLACED WITH/ Genetically modified and hybrid seeds patented as intellectual property and sold through Monsanto, Sygenta, Bayer, Dow, Dupont (see seed industry structure)

This structure moved the control of India’s food supply out of farmers hands and into corporate interest, nationally and abroad.

You might be scratching your head and thinking I thought you were talking about the Rockefeller and Ford Foundation and a socially engineered myth? True, and every story has its initial motivation, in this case, it’s a world view , much like the Manifest Destiny, that promotes the rich and powerful solving problems for the “underprivledged”. In other words, problems they attempt to solve are ultimately spun by foundations who lay the framework of the problems the Corporations must solve through their world view. 

Knowingly or unknowingly, they also create the problem, or an axillary problem from the solutions. In the meantime, foundations, corporations, and governments all share members, and missions. Because of the reach and power of a few, the “myth” permeates government and universities, then the general population follow in-step via massive public relations campaigns.

Take for instance this speach given by Gordon Conway, from the Rockefeller Foundation on June 24, 1999.

“The Rockefeller Foundation has funded over $100 million dollars of plant biotechnology research and trained over four hundred scientists from Asia, Africa and Latin America. While this may not sound like much by Monsanto standards, our grantees have made significant progress. At several locations in Asia there is now a critical mass of talent applying the new tools of biotechnology to rice improvement.”

…”Trying to ensure a future that includes the poor and excluded is not only a huge job, it is, you may say, not Monsanto’s job. Monsanto’s job is to provide a decent return to your shareholders by running a sustainable, innovative and responsible enterprise.”

The intention is so blatant it’s astounding.

This article is admittedly focused on the myth and story. Presenting the scientific evidence against or for genetically modified foods is another article. Outside of the lab result slinging, expert testimony, and political endorsements, is the broader issue – who profits from our basic necessity to eat? When  investigation turns up that it’s not the farmers but chemical companies with appalling environmental records, oil empires that have drug the world into war, and pharmaceutical companies whose profits increase when a population gets sicker and sicker, one has to question if the creator of such technology has our best interest in mind or is deluded by their own ideology. When we do consider the adoption of such technology on a global scale, as Monsanto advises, we must consider the implications. Long -term testing would seem like the only ethical solution, to appease both sides of the debate.  However, as we have seen through the manipulation of government, including the United States F.D.A, and India through the recent push for the BRAI bill,  the exact opposite is happening.  Technology with no long term broad spectrum world wide studies is being pushed on all of us, without labeling or conscious.  

The conscious choice of a few genes for mobilization and widespread replication substitutes human judgement for natural selection. From a theological viewpoint it is questionable that the agribusiness scientific staff have the collective wisdom to determine what constitutes the good when it comes to desirable genes. The fact that their choice could be self-sustaining (e.g., if the gene escaped into the wild) is cause for further concern. Initially, this and other adverse impacts potentially resulting from mass scale transgenic operations are likely to be invisible.” (Marc Lappe and Britt Baily, Against the Grain: Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food [Monroe, Me.:Common Courage, 1998], 114 )

“Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?” 

THE NEW FOUNDATION OF THE PUSH FOR A 2nd GREEN REVOLUTION – THE STORY REPEATS

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, is now partnering with The Rockefeller Foundation to launch a Green Revolution in sub-Saharan Africa to “revolutionize food production and reduce hunger and poverty and to enhance agricultural science.”

That sounds great, but who gets to participate. Let’s look at the foundation’s connections. The Gates Foundation has holdings in

  • Walmart (9.2 million shares)
  • McDonald’s (9.4 million shares)
  • ExxonMobil (6.3 million shares) : Exxon Mobil Corporation was formed in 1999 by the merger of two major oil companies, Exxon and Mobil. Both Exxon and Mobil were descendants of Standard Oil started by John D. Rockefeller which was established in 1870. Sound familiar?
  • Berkshire Hathaway (76.4 million Class B shares)
  • Monsanto (500,000 shares)

On the board of the foundation is also pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, banks and Dupont Pioneer Hybrid. The Rockefeller foundation has contributed $50 million. Critics, including myself think that the foundation has a preference to make grants which benefit who the foundation holds stocks with, such as Monsanto. As a side note, recently Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet both visited India to encourage the billionaires to invest in social programs, like the Gates Foundation. All of this is a matter of public record, available for any of my readers to find

Something less obvious is happening here. The word Corporation and Multinational is getting linked as culpable co-creators in the ecological and social devastation on the earth.   The Gates Foundation, can now hide behind its billions while making billions by using the powerful public relations spin and oxymoron of philanthrocapitalism. Meanwhile, all those attached to the Gates Foundation can declare to the public that they are supporting a good cause!

“The term was coined by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green, the British authors of Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World, which identified an emerging trend towards blending charitable giving with market disciplines. The great benefactors of the past tended to operate through cumbersome, if well-meaning, foundations over which they retained relatively little control, beyond an insistence on having their names slapped upon municipal parks, museums and hospitals. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businesslatestnews/7932127/The-billionaire-boys-Beware-of-geeks-bearing-gifts.html)

But all that has changed:

“In other words, as a long critique in the American magazine Foreign Affairs puts it, the foundation gives with one hand and takes away with the other. In his book Small Change: Why Business Won’t Change the World, Michael Edwards, a former World Bank adviser, asks: “Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?” In this sense, say opponents of the new philanthropy, the needy are being written out of their own story, with the world’s attention focused instead on the people doing the giving. “

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businesslatestnews/7932127/The-billionaire-boys-Beware-of-geeks-bearing-gifts.html)

This is a question India needs to ask her self? “Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?”

How much foreign involvement, nepotism, corruption and farmer cleansing will the Indian population take before it revolts against the silly myth of the market place?

THE STORY BEGINS TO UNRAVEL

A critical eye will easily find that the bylines of successes presented in ad campaigns, official company reports, and the nightly news, are contradictory. The  World Health Organization, (WHO) which is by no means a neutral or anti-globalization organization states that in India:

“At the other end of the malnutrition scale, obesity is one of today’s most blatantly visible – yet most neglected – public health problems. Paradoxically coexisting with undernutrition, an escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity – “globesity” – is taking over many parts of the world”

But wait wasn’t the wheat and rice of the Green Revolution a success?

The WHO shows a chart that says that 37% of India’s lower middle class suffer from nutritional, communicable, and perinatal deaths, and the likelihood of cancer is 6%. Systolic blood pressure and glucose is also rising. They go on to say that,

“Over the last few decades, traditional societies in many developing countries have experienced rapid and unplanned urbanization, which has led to lifestyles characterized by unhealthy nutrition, reduced physical activity and tobacco consumption.1 These unhealthy lifestyles are associated with common modifiable risk factors for chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia and obesity.2

So the World Health Organization admits that in India,  urbanization – which is the forcing of  peasants and farmers off their land due to market forces, such as debt and unemployment, is causing health problems. But urbanization is caused by trade liberalization, and a devaluing of the agricultural sector. Urbanization has happened because high agricultural input costs for pesticides, fertilizers, tractors, patented seeds, etc. have creating spiraling indebtedness and land has been reprocessed -water tables have lowered, or water is unavailable -once fertile land is now ruined – soaked in chemicals and stripped of life and finally billboards blasting the youth with images of urban sexy-sleek living is luring able bodies from the fields. And, why would they want to stay? The government has cut back subsidies and support to the agriculture sector, and international competition has lowered the price the farmer can get for their food to demeaning levels.

Ultimately, this means there is a problem with the glowing promises of the foundations who state they are solving the  problem of an imagined future of starvation, but in truth the solution is creating more problems, so the corporations still have to solve the problem. There appears to be an endless supply of future profit!  Yet, to a lay person, their also appears to be crack in the facade!

The World Health Organization continues:

“It is expected that by 2020 in developing countries, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) will account for 69% of all deaths, with cardiovascular diseases in the lead.3 The prevalence of diabetes mellitus will almost double in the next 25 years and at least 75% of those affected will be in developing countries. The burden of disease will be worse in these countries, as the majority of sufferers are expected to be relatively young, of lower socioeconomic status and to suffer from severe disease of premature onset.4

OBSERVATION REVEALS A STORY IS A STORY

If one observes the last 45 years since the Green Revolution began, and drops the ideology taught through the media, and through biotechnology and agricultural university curriculum, one can piece together the truth of what has happened.  Observe and remember.

In the book Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken’s explains the differences between observation and ideology. He explains it in the context of a new movement that has sprung up in response to what its observed. This movement includes millions of N.G.Os and non-profits springing up around the globe to combat the ravages of globalization, human rights atrocities, environmental destruction etc.  Included in this movement is the organic, sustainable, non-gmo, natural farming groups.

“One of the differences between the bottom-up movement now erupting around the world and established ideologies is that the movement develops its ideas based on observation, where as ideologies act on the basis of belief or theory, the same distinction that separated evolution from creationism.”

“The movement doesn’t attempt to disprove capitalism, globalization or religion fundamentalism, but tries to make sense of what it discovers in forest, favalas, farms rivers, and cities. Are ideologues in the movement? To be sure, but fundamentally the movement is from the part of humanity which has assumed the task of protecting and saving itself. If we accept that the metaphor of an organism can be applied to humankind, we can image in a collective movement that would protect repair and restore that organisms capacity to endure when threatened. If so, that capacity to respond would function like an immune system, which operates independently of an individual persons intent.”

“Specifically the shared activity of hundreds of thousands of nonprofit organizations can be seen as humanities immune response to toxins like political corruption, economic disease and ecological degradation.”

 Try some observation yourself.  Ask yourself   the following: Am I healthier now than I was ten years ago? Is any member of my family on prescriptions or overweight? How many people do I know who have cancer or have died from a heart attack? Is there more environmental pollution? Are there more homeless in the cities? Am I fulfilled with the work that I do? Is my water safe to drink? Does my food have chemicals? preservatives? What are the brands of food I eat? Where does my food come from? Does anyone I know smoke? Is someone in my family addicted to drugs or alcohol?   Are there more birds? Is there more trash in the streets?

As mentioned before, the selling of a social myth, on a wide-scale is possible through the advent of the television. Television does not make for watchful observers! Why does pharmaceutical companies advertise on television when its your doctor who can decide your access to such medicine? Simple, it’s auto suggesting a disease, that you might think you have. Repeat the story long enough and you will manifest it.  Are you depressed? having trouble sleeping? Stressed out? Television repeats ideologies, with no room for us to insert our experience or opinion. The felt sense of immediate experience, our experience – our direct observation, is the only way to really know, is it true? If we operated from this informing our choices, how would the world look?

Dr. Vinod Verma,  who has written eighteen books on Ayurveda, Yoga and is a neurobiologist from Paris University. She  has also worked in a pharmaceutical company in Germany.  She writes regarding the western influence of Indian agriculture,

“Until about fifteen yeas after the independence of India, the above-described wisdom (cyclical crops, natural pesticides, planting with astrological cycles) was part of the school curriculum. However the policy makers of independent India ignored the indigenous wisdom and followed the West blindly. Many centuries of foreign rule was enough to make the English speaking Indian elite slavish in their mentality.  However, the Indian farmer was very wise and it is well known that the farmers always kept a piece of land for themselves where they did not use urea or chemical pesticides.  They used the traditional Indian methods to grow food for themselves. Not that they knew the destructive effects of the chemicals they were cajoled into using, it was simple a question of taste and flavor for them.”

“Gradually, we lost the great tradition of our natural way of farming an took to the unnatural and harsh ways from the West. Of course it was the vested interest of the West to find a market for their products in our big and highly populated country. we cannot blame the est but our own foolishness to ignore our indigenous wisdom, which is now sought after by the whole world. Humanity as a whole has realized that destroying nature means destroying life on our globe.”

Activist, and an analyst of the impact of the global economy on cultures and agriculture worldwide, Helena Norberg Hodge describes the changes she witnessed in Ladkhi people in India from 1970 to present day. Ladakh is a present day example of  what happens when you push -industrial consumerism on top of natural conservation. A similar situation plays out in all native, indigenous, pantheistic, subsistence, first peoples nations globally.

“When I first arrived in Leh, the capital of 5,000 inhabitants, cows were the most likely cause of congestion and the air was crystal clear. Within five minutes’ walk in any direction from the town centre were barley fields, dotted with large farmhouses. For the next twenty years I watched Leh turn into an urban sprawl. The streets became choked with traffic, and the air tasted of diesel fumes. ‘Housing colonies’ of soulless, cement boxes spread into the dusty desert. The once pristine streams became polluted, the water undrinkable. For the first time, there were homeless people. The increased economic pressures led to unemployment and competition. Within a few years, friction between different communities appeared. All of these things had not existed for the previous 500 years.”

If we are willing to apply the ideology that India can’t feed her people without the help of GMO and chemical agriculture, perhaps to be objective we should also  look at the consequences of what has happened since the implementation of that ideology. On a state by state macro level, these changes range from lowering yeilds after the initial peak, fallow lands, polluted water ways, loss of biodiversity, displacement of the small farm from the center of the community, loss of holistic nutrition, escalating debt, privatization of resources and the list continues.  If we rely on observation, we have only to look at examples like Ladakh to see that India has been able to feed her people.

The changes in Ladakh pre 1970s to now gives us an excellent example of how the problem of feeding India is not actually an issue of adopting new technologies, rather, it is an example of the negative side effects of industrial development in relationship to agricultural self-sufficiency and a political failure to respond to the negatives. Who gets the profit and who is exploited? In the case of Leh, self-sufficiency was replaced with Tata transports carrying branded and packaged foods, Coca Cola and cigarettes, denatured wheat, and a slew of consumerables, soon to be followed by tourists.

One can argue that Ladakh has a very sparse population in relationship to Mumbai, so therefore another system will have to be put in place to meet this challenge. As it is true that 21,000 people per square kilometer such as the case in Mumbai presents extreme challenges, the principles remain the same.  If urbanization is failing, encouraging the agricultural sector on the outsides to be vibrant, self-sustaining, environmentally friendly and productive for the long term makes more sense than increasing the urban population, displacing the farmers, and ignoring the fact that the population is going to grow.  Urban gardening initiatives, roof top gardening, school and kitchen gardens, natueco methods, seed saving, community supported agriculture, city planning that includes arable land for farming at its center,  hydroponics, public community gardens instead of another high rise for foreign investors, the introduction of microlivestock, verticle gardening, and the list goes on and on are all a possiblity if the blockage created by the story of how India can’t feed her people without chemicals and gmo, is removed.

The story  and those believing it,  is the only thing keeping the patriarchial Manifest Destiny domination paradigm in power. We, you and me, are the ones we’ve been waiting for. There is more power in our choices than you could ever imagine. There is more intelligence in a seed, and more energy  in the free gift of the sun than ever can be replicated in a laboratory. All that is nature, was given to us for FREE, as a natural right. Believing otherwise makes nature and ourselves exploitable. 

If   a community is confused and lacking a far reaching vision,  look to success stories like Auroville, Kodaikanal farm in Tamil Nadu, the Khet Virasat Mission in Fardikot,  Navdanya,  Timbuktu Organics,  Shri S.A. Dabholkar,  the Biogas plant at Srirangapatna in Karnataka, and thousands more.  The answers to can India feed her people are there, and repeatable. 

“John Maynard Keynes cautioned that we live our lives under the illusion of freedom, but likely to be slaves to some defunct economist. Even that description understates the problem. The world may be caged by a defect of the entire economic profession, namely the idea that we can asses value in banknotes, or that we can understand our relationship to the material world using an abstract metric rather than a biological one. The extraordinary advances made by Western societies will , in the end, be subservient to the land and what it can provide and teach. There are no economies of scale; there is only natures economy. We cannot turn back the clock, or return to any prior state on the planet, but we will never know ourselves until we know where we are on this land. There is no reason that we cannot build an exquisitely designed economy that matches biology in its diversity and integrates complexity rather than extinguishing it. In accomplishing this, there is much to be gained from those who have not forgotten the land. ” (Paul Hawken,  Blessed Unrest pg. 100)

None of these changes can occur under the amensia of the present myth. A new story must be told, one that includes a future, – a future free of any style of Manifest Destiny, where a priveldged few rule an overpowering mass of people

Indian rural reporter P. Sainath wrote,

“Every freedom fighter of repute doubled as a journalist, informing the public. Speaking for myself, I will not cede this high ground; it is extremely important that mainstream journalism include the true stories of India.”

Inshallah,
Act Naturally

Decline of farmers’ movement Report from The Hindu, Business Line by HARISH DAMODARAN

Agrarian activism has lost its bite despite India’s farm sector being in crisis mode. With agriculture no longer viewed as a conduit for upward mobility, the nature of farmers’ demands has changed to seeking options outside of agriculture.

 On October 25, 1988, Rajpath in Lutyens’ Delhi was turned into a virtual Janpath, as half-a-million farmers from western Uttar Pradesh (UP) descended upon the Boat Club lawns in the ceremonial boulevard of the Republic of India. What followed was an unprecedented week-long siege. Never before had the country’s power elite been forced into this kind of arm’s length engagement — literally — with people filling the entire stretch from Vijay Chowk to India Gate, with their tractors, trolleys, carts, charpoys, hookahs and cooking angithis.

October 1988 marked the pinnacle of Mahendra Singh Tikait’s journey as a farmer leader, which began with a four-day dharna at the Karmukheri power station in January 1987, against the UP Government’s move to hike electricity tariffs by a third. A year later came the 24-day gherao of the Meerut Commissionerate (for an increase in sugarcane prices to Rs 35/quintal and waiver of six months’ power bills) and, then, the 110-day Rajabpur Satyagraha in March-June (over police firing on ryots during the Meerut agitation).

KISANS AND NETAS

The Boat Club Panchayat, in a sense, was the high noon for not just Tikait, but also for farmers’ movements in India. The 1980s saw a host of them emerge — from Tikait’s Bharatiya Kisan Union to Sharad Joshi’s Shetkari Sanghatana and M.D. Nanjundaswamy’s Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.

But over the subsequent decade, they had all fizzled out or become pale shadows of their past. Tikait was reduced to a political non-entity much before he passed away last Sunday. His son, Rakesh, fought the 2007 UP assembly elections from Khatauli with Congress support — only to finish a distant sixth.

The farmer leaders of recent years have not been half as successful in mobilising the constituents they claim to represent. Some — very often not serious farmers themselves — have found it expedient to even cultivate European aid agencies or, alternatively, agri-business MNCs. Not surprisingly, they have tended to espouse causes — either extreme aversion or uncritical support for GM and other new technologies — far removed from the farmers’ day-to-day concerns of erratic power, timely availability of fertiliser and credit, and marketability of produce. The result is that autonomous, grassroots farmers’ movements of the sort Tikait led in the 1980s have practically ceased to exist.

There is a certain irony to the above decline. The 1980s were a time when Indian agriculture wasn’t faring too badly. During 1980-81 to 1990-91, overall crop production grew annually by 3.2 per cent, as against the average 2.2 per cent for the early Green Revolution period from 1967-68 to 1980-81. Moreover, yields were on the rise: The national average for wheat almost doubled from 1.2 tonnes to 2.2 tonnes a hectare between the early 1970s to the late 1980s, while going up from 1.6 to 2.6 tonnes in paddy.

All these meant a peasantry that was “very sure of its future in agriculture”, as the Oxford scholar, Judith Heyer, discovered from a survey of farmers with open well-irrigated plots, or thottams, near Coimbatore in 1981-82. The prestige attached to farming was also noted by the sociologist, Ravinder Kaur, in a Punjab village study done around the same period: “The Jat might be employed as a school teacher or serve in the military, but he saw his primary role as that of an agriculturalist; his connection with land was what he held most dear.”

The optimism surrounding agriculture had, however, dried up by the turn of the century. Revisiting the same thottam farming families in 1996, Heyer encountered a community less confident and “investing in ways that would make it possible for their sons to move out of agriculture in future”. This was also confirmed by the National Sample Survey Organisation, which, in a special 2003 Situation Assessment study, reported that 40 per cent of Indian farmers, given a choice, would “take up some other career”.

FARMING NO FUN

The underlying cause of disenchantment was obviously yields. These had plateaued to 2.6-2.7 tonnes in wheat and 3-3.1 tonnes for paddy, alongside soaring cultivation costs, declining water tables and diminishing response to fertiliser application. During 1990-91 to 2000-01, total crop output growth fell to less than 2 per cent a year. While there has been some revival since 2005-06, it has not reversed the ‘crisis’ discourse that now dominates discussions on Indian agriculture.

But that still begs the question: Why has the present agricultural crisis not provided fertile ground for farmers’ movements? Correspondingly, what explains their success in the 1980s, when the outlook for farming was far from bleak? The answer is simple. Movements thrive when those participating have a stake in the cause they feel is worth fighting for. During the 1970s and 1980s, farmers, especially in the Green Revolution areas, saw their crop yields and disposable incomes go up significantly. Having experienced first-hand upward mobility through modern intensive agriculture, they developed a collective consciousness to defend these gains. Tikait’s diatribes against city-dwellers and urban-centric policymakers appealed to farmers, just the way a newly empowered, self-righteous Indian middle-class took a shine to Anna Hazare’s recent movement deriding all politicians as corrupt.

BEYOND THE FIELDS

The situation today is different, with agriculture no longer viewed as a conduit for upward mobility by most farmers. The nature of demands has, accordingly, changed to seeking options outside of agriculture.

Take the ongoing farmers’ stir in Greater Noida, where the basic issue is not about remunerative prices for crops, but for land acquired by the UP Government. Or the Jat protests that disrupted rail traffic across North India in March — which was, again, about reservations in Central Government jobs.

The non-farm character of these so-called farmers’ movements can be seen from the profile of their leaders. The Jat quota agitation’s spearhead, Yashpal Malik, is a realtor who has developed the Vasundhara Plaza in Ghaziabad. His counterpart at Greater Noida, Manveer Singh Tewatia, owns a unit that fabricates iron doors, grills and shutters. A far cry from Tikait — who, right till the end, kept track of the sugarcane in his 160-bigha (32 acres) field at Sisauli in Muzaffarnagar.

(blfeedback@thehindu.co.in)

(This article was published on May 21, 2011)

Business Line : Columns / Harish Damodaran : Decline of farmers’ movement

Business Line : Columns / Harish Damodaran : Decline of farmers’ movement.

NPR covers the Green Revolution, “Green Revolution’ Trapping India’s Farmers In Debt” Part 2

Listen to NRP radio coverage here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102944731

‘Green Revolution’ Trapping India’s Farmers In Debt

As the world’s population surges, the international community faces a pressing problem: How will it feed everybody?

Until recently, people thought India had an answer.

Farmers in the state of Punjab abandoned traditional farming methods in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the national program called the “Green Revolution,” backed by advisers from the U.S. and other countries.

Indian farmers started growing crops the American way — with chemicals, high-yield seeds and irrigation.

Since then, India has gone from importing grain like a beggar, to often exporting it.

But studies show the Green Revolution is heading for collapse.

A Thirst For Water

On a recent morning, a drilling rig is pounding away in the middle of a wheat field near the village of Chotia Khurd. The sound, part jackhammer and part pile driver, is becoming increasingly common in the farm fields of northern India’s Punjab region.

The farmer, Sandeep Singh, is supervising and looking unhappy as the rig hammers away, driving deeper and deeper under his field in search of water.

When India’s government launched the Green Revolution more than 40 years ago, it pressured farmers to grow only high-yield wheat, rice and cotton instead of their traditional mix of crops.

The new miracle seeds could produce far bigger yields than farmers had ever seen, but they came with a catch: The thirsty crops needed much more water than natural rainfall could provide, so farmers had to dig wells and irrigate with groundwater.

The system worked well for years, but government studies show that farmers have pumped so much groundwater to irrigate their crops that the water table is dropping dramatically, as much as 3 feet every year.

So farmers like Sandeep keep hiring the drilling company to come back to their fields, to bore the wells ever deeper — on this day, to more than 200 feet.

Farmers In Debt

The groundwater problem has touched off an economic chain reaction. As the farmers dig deeper to find groundwater, they have to install ever more powerful and more expensive pumps to send it gushing up to their fields.

Sandeep says his new pump costs more than $4,000. He and most other farmers have to borrow that kind of cash, but they are already so deep in debt that conventional banks often turn them away.

So Sandeep and his neighbors have turned to “unofficial” lenders — local businessmen who charge at least double the banks’ interest rate. The district agriculture director, Palwinder Singh, says farmers can end up paying a whopping 24 percent.

Another side effect of the groundwater crisis is evident at the edge of the fields — thin straggly rows of wheat and a whitish powder scattered across the soil.

The white substance is salt residue. Drilling deep wells to find fresh water often taps brackish underground pools, and the salty water poisons the crops.

“The salt causes root injuries,” Palwinder says. “The root cannot take the nutrients from the soil.”

Destroying The Soil

In the village of Chotia Khurd, farmers agree that the Green Revolution used to work miracles for many of them. But now, it’s like financial quicksand.

Studies show that their intensive farming methods, which government policies subsidize, are destroying the soil. The high-yield crops gobble up nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, iron and manganese, making the soil anemic.

The farmers say they must use three times as much fertilizer as they used to, to produce the same amount of crops — yet another drain on their finances.

A farmer named Suba Singh has seen the good and bad effects of the Green Revolution.

Clad in a bright blue turban and his face furrowed like a field, he opens a squeaky wooden gate to his compound. He points to a small building made of mud and straw, with faded green doors.

“That’s where my family used to live,” he says.

During the profitable years of the Green Revolution, he saw that everyone else in the village was building brick houses.

“So I took out a loan,” he says, “and built a brick house for my family, too.”

He turned the old mud house into his cattle shed. But now he is in debt.

A study by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology calls it a “vicious cycle of debt.”

Suba and the other farmers say they’ve had to borrow money to buy just about everything that makes them look prosperous — their brick homes, tractors, cattle, even their plastic chairs.

The farmers have also built their Green Revolution farms and lifestyle on another unstable source of money: Family members have moved overseas to find jobs, because they couldn’t make a living farming, and now they send part of their income back to Chotia Khurd to support their relatives.

“It’s like a disease that is catching on in the world,” says Suba, “building a life that is like a house of cards.”

A System About To Collapse?

Some leading officials in the farming industry wonder when this house of cards might collapse.

“The state and farmers are now faced with a crisis,” warns a report by the Punjab State Farmers Commission.

India’s population is growing faster than any country on Earth, and domestic food production is vital.

But the commission’s director, G.S. Kalkat, says Punjab’s farmers are committing ecological and economic “suicide.”

If he is correct, suicide is coming through national policies that reward farmers for the very practices that destroy the environment and trap them in debt.

Kalkat says only one thing can save Punjab: India has to launch a brand new Green Revolution. But he says this one has to be sustainable.

The problem is, nobody has yet perfected a farming system that produces high yields, makes a good living for farm families, protects and enhances the environment — and still produces good, affordable food.

NPR covers the Green Revolution, “India’s Farming ‘Revolution’ Heading For Collapse” Part 1

Listen to the NRP radio coverage here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102893816&ps=rs

India’s Farming ‘Revolution’ Heading For Collapse

by Daniel Zwerdling

Farmers in the village of Chotia Khurd in northern India don’t realize it, but they symbolize a growing problem that could become a global crisis.

They gathered on a recent morning in a stone-paved courtyard — a circle of Sikhs with brightly colored turbans and big, bushy beards — to explain why the famed “bread basket” of India is heading toward collapse.

Their comparatively small region, Punjab, grows far more wheat and rice for India than any other region. But now these farmers are running out of groundwater.

They have to buy three times as much fertilizer as they did 30 years ago to grow the same amount of crops. They blitz their crops with pesticides, but insects have become so resistant that they still often destroy large portions of crops.

The state’s agriculture “has become unsustainable and nonprofitable,” according to a recent report by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology. Some experts say the decline could happen rapidly, over the next decade or so.

One of the best-known names in India’s farming industry puts it in even starker terms. If farmers in Punjab don’t dramatically change the way they grow India’s food, says G.S. Kalkat, chairman of the Punjab State Farmers Commission, they could trigger a modern Dust Bowl. That American disaster in the 1930s laid waste to millions of acres of farmland and forced hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes.

The story of Chotia Khurd is a cautionary tale: Political leaders and scientists can’t necessarily transplant a technology from one country and culture to a vastly different one and expect it to flourish without serious side effects.

The ‘Green Revolution’

The story begins in the 1960s, when parents in America’s well-fed suburbs would admonish ungrateful children to “think about the starving people in India.” Occasional news reports told wrenching stories about Indians subsisting on grass and leaves. The country survived on imports, like a beggar.

The public concern prompted a loose coalition of scientists, government officials and philanthropists — spurred and funded, in part, by the Rockefeller Foundation —to launch a “Green Revolution.”

In the context of the times, “green” did not refer to what it means today — organic, pesticide-free farming methods. To the contrary, India’s farmers were persuaded to abandon their traditional methods and grow crops the modern, American way.

For example, the advisers told farmers to stop growing old-fashioned grains, beans and vegetables and switch to new, high-yield varieties of wheat, rice and cotton. Farmers began using chemical fertilizers instead of cow dung. They plowed with tractors instead of bulls.

The “Green Revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s meant that if farmers embraced chemicals and high-yield seeds, their fields would turn lush green with crops. (An official at the U.S. State Department, William Gaud, apparently coined the term in 1968.)

During the Cold War, the term also implied that if countries like India could stamp out hunger, the population would be less likely to foment a violent revolution and go communist.

A Temporary Fix

In India, ground zero for the Green Revolution was the state of Punjab, which borders Pakistan and the foothills of the Himalayas. And the system seemed to work miracles — for a while.

The United States sent money and technical support, including advisers from one of America’s most prestigious agriculture universities. India’s government showered Punjab with low-cost chemicals and seeds — and they paid the farmers, in effect, to use them by guaranteeing minimum prices for Green Revolution crops.

It helped India transform itself from a nation that depends on imports and food aid to a budding superpower that often exports grains.

Villages like Chotia Khurd were harvesting three to four times as much grain per acre as they did before.

Many of the farmers and the local government were flush with money. They paved their dirt roads. The farmers replaced their mud houses with bricks and cement. They bought American tractors for a small fortune.

Just about everybody in Chotia Khurd bought cell phones, with a wide variety of ring tones — so it’s hard to chat with a farmer without getting interrupted by electronic versions of Sikh chants or theme songs from Bollywood hits.

But government reports and farmers themselves say that era is over — and today, the Green Revolution system of farming is heading toward collapse.

‘Farmers Are Committing A Kind Of Suicide’

To show why, the district director of the Punjab Agriculture Department, Palwinder Singh, leads the way up a narrow dirt road into wheat fields that encircle the village.

On the surface, they look robust. The countryside is electric green in every direction.

But Singh points to a large contraption rising above the crop, like a steel praying mantis. The machine is blanketing the countryside with a percussive, deafening roar.

“That’s part of our most serious problem,” he says. It’s a drilling rig. A young farmer in a purple turban, Sandeep Singh, is standing next to the rig, looking unhappy. (The two men are not related — according to tradition, all Sikh men share the last name “Singh,” which means “lion.”)

When farmers switched from growing a variety of traditional crops to high-yield wheat and rice, they also had to make other changes. There wasn’t enough rainwater to grow thirsty “miracle” seeds, so farmers had to start irrigating with groundwater. They hired drilling companies to dig wells, and they started pumping groundwater onto the fields.

But Sandeep says he has been forced to hire the drilling company again, because the groundwater under his fields has been sinking as much as 3 feet every year.

Government surveys confirm it. In fact, his family and other farmers have had to deepen their wells every few years — from 10 feet to 20 feet to 40 feet, and now to more than 200 feet — because the precious water table keeps dropping below their reach.

Nobody was surprised when environmental activists started warning years ago that the Green Revolution was heading toward disaster. But they were astonished as government officials started to agree.

“Farmers are committing a kind of suicide,” warns Kalkat, the director of the Punjab State Farmers Commission. “It’s like a suicide, en masse.”

Kalkat offers an unsettling prediction in a nation whose population is growing faster than any other on Earth: If farmers don’t drastically revamp the system of farming, the heartland of India’s agriculture could be barren in 10 to 15 years.

Part 2 is posted next.

India’s Green Revolution of Control

Imagine, one day you are walking, and see a single Dandelion in a grassy field and wonder, “how did it get there?” One scenerio is that the wind scattered it’s seed. Then moisture activated endogenous enzymes to start respiration and ATP growth production and when the first little sprout uncoiled itself to the sun, chances are, this wasn’t noticed by you, or anyone. Yet this marvel happens a trillion by a trillion times a day, silently, (humbly). And though modern life has disassociated many of us from such inquiries into nature, we rely on its success no less now than before.

For a farmer in the Nirmar region of Madhya Pradesh India, planting cotton year after year, these inconspicuous moments begin a process of tending, hardwork, survival and hope. Rajesh and his family farm a piece of family land that lies 2 km east of the Narmada river in the Narmada Belt. Here the soil is rich black cotton soil (Regur). His father and his father before him, had success with cotton in this semi arid region. So before the onset of the kharif monsoon, they plant, and then harvest their bolls in October.

Until the Green Revolution, where bureaucratic policy and agribusiness pushed solutions on farmers that we untested with disastrous longterm results for soil health and biodiversity, the word “organic” was something akin to saying “small aunt”. Of course ants are small therefore you don’t need an adjective. Cotton farming had always been “organic”, using fertilizers from composts, and animal wastes, and ploughing fields with oxen, so no need for the adjective “Organic.”

Farmers, like Rajesh, recognize a delicate balance of all the elements, and recognize an ebb and flow of uncertainty from year to year. They don’t perform a chart analysis of each year. There are no lofty theories spinning around in their heads as to why the clouds didn’t come until late June. They just plant, perhaps pray and have to accept what comes. He did not waste time in a school learning curriculum sponsored in part by initiatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, or a multinational agribusiness corporation. He and his family learned by doing. And what they learned is this:

The earth takes some back for itself. Sometimes the mole gets the potato and the aphid the leaf. There are things that are uncertain. In the past and in still some present cases , farmers lives were scaled to fit the conditions around them. Scale is an important concept in balance. One side of the teeter totter in other words can not have more weight than the other, or one side sinks. If a farmer who relies on the sale of his crop to survive wants a new Maruthi car and finances it against his farm, betting that future sequential years will give him good yields to pay off the loan, then he is ignoring previous intelligent observation. Such as, in 1999-2002 the rainfall was almost half of that of other years and his yield was lower in those years. The example farmer is now stuck with a car, whose gas he can’t afford and a loan whose originators are pressing him for money. Remember this scenario when I address farmer suicides in rural India. Or click here or here.

In post modern urban life everything is outsourced; Want food? Go to a resteraunt. Feel sick? Go to a doctor. Trouble walking? Glide on moving floor panels, Segways or have an able bodied bike rickshaw driver take you there. Then afterwards walk on a treadmill at the gym. Compare this lifestyle to Rajesh and his family in Madhya Pradesh and you see that in their case, many things negotiate with other things directly for survival. The human feeds the family cow to benefit from the cows milk the same day. The cows dung is used for the fuel and fertilizer. The cows urine is used to make special fermented compost tea to feed soil organisms that will help grow the cotton. The cows milk is heated, the cream separated and collected and eventually made into ghee. The bull is used to plow the field. The bull eats fodder collected by women in the forest. The women pound freshly harvested wheat and make paranthas later that day. The family eats dal and paranthas and work at the harvest with Rajesh. The littlest ones are left behind with Rajesh wife who watches them and pounds laundry made of cotton against some stones at the river. Everyone and everything has a role that is directly linked to the other. Everyone and everything is in a relational order, being once an eater to one day becoming the eaten.

While harvesting, noone will notice the complex organic processes that make up soil ecology, but they have no doubt benefited from it. Beneath their feet, deep in the soil are the sturdy roots of the cotton plant and in-between these are beneficial fungi called mycorrhiza. These mycorrhiza feed off the carbohydrates that are in the root tissues of the cotton plant. In exchange, the tiny fungi assist the plant in uptaking minerals and moisture. They ensure the cotton plant gets its “recommended daily allowance” of potassium and zinc. When the soil is fallow, there are no mycorrhiza and the cotton plant will not yield.

There are countless things not directly observable, or even measurable with instruments. Take for example that a, “Sick plant actually sends for a beacon, carried in the infrared, attracting insects. It is then the insect’s role to dispose of this plant deemed unfit for life by nature.

By learning how to “tune into nature,” may you learn to better understand God’s beautiful design and come to work with nature by enhancing her energies rather than attempting to overpower and rule over her” (“Tuning into Nature” by Phillips S. Callahan, PH.D, reprinted in Annam Braham: Organic Food in India pg. 220)

Like sitting at a magic show, we see the effects but not the mechanics of the trick. If we send in our best scientists to explain the trick, we no longer are captivated by the magic. It is sometimes in our not knowing what the purpose is or how it got there that we find our greatest worth. We can observed directly that healthy plants attract less pests, and sick plants, as demonstrated above, beacon natures recyclers without knowing the “reasons”. And if we change one thing, the results are unpredictable over time.

We have in our environment today many things that were there before we were born – gifts that more often than not we seldom take the time to notice or appreciate. One of these gifts is top soil which can take up to 500 years to form naturally. The delicate balance of erosion, composting, micoorganisms such as bacterial, algae, anthropods, fungi and their complex habitats all interact in mutually beneficial relationships, unseen or often overlooked. Another gift is the manifestation of adaptive intelligence that is visible all around us.

Just like we have taken our lives to present day to know what we know, all of nature undergoes the same process. The cotton plants seed has such intelligence. Through successive generations of natural selection it has developed changes in its physical morphology to enable it to survive shifts in environmental conditions, on a micro and macro scale. We cannot know to what the extent of this intelligence is, nor do we know the length of which the seed has been incarnating in order to develop its present day response to a late monsoon. One simple reason for this is that in general humans, especially those in the scientific community, address themselves as a separate entity from the environment, therefore they know only what they can test. Flat world continues. A myopic way of looking at things would be to only acknowledge the changes the plant responds to that we can observe with our five senses during our lifetime. But this precludes the chance that there are things the plant has by way of intelligence that came before us, and that our observation isn’t in some way limiting the outcome by our narrow bandwidth of perception. In physics this is called the Heisenberg Principle of Observation.

We as humans have an exacting relationship with nature. Every cell has evolved in relation to the environment around it to present day, and when the internal and external environment becomes pathological, then too evolution sorts things out – Cancer, diabetes, auto immune disorders, infertility, autism, weakened constitutions etc. When we consider the concept of “genetically modifying” any living thing, be it a seed, or a goat, it becomes a rather “big” assumption that we can modify nature to suit our needs without considering its observable interrelational complexities, let alone it’s non-observable complexities without a backlash of generational proportions.

“Rajeshji, App tikh hai?” Are you ok? “Nahi.” Rajesh is worried. He sits looking at his field which is spotted with bronze colored wilting plants. Four years ago he heard news about the boll worm being a problem and destroying crops on the other side of the river. A poster plastered on the wall of a tea stall showed a picture of a nearby farmer having obtained, “20 quintals of yield per acre of BT Cotton!” Rajesh asked the other farmers what they thought, and by then, all of them were simply repeating poster bylines. Now he’s in trouble. He spent nearly all his family savings to buy miracle seeds that costs 300% more than those typically sold in town, not to mention he usually saved his seed from season to season.

For the first two years using the new seed  his crop grew stunted, and the yield was average. The last two years some plants have died of root rot. Others had a strong vegetative growth and a flowering but then the leaves dry, wilt and turn bronze. This year the boll worms are back in force. The plants are sick and beaconing to nature to recycle me. Rajesh did not understand that Bt Cotton seeds were not like other seeds. A seed looks like a seed. He knows nothing about genetic engineering. The technology, nor the consequences are understood by the common farmer in India. And this is something Mayhco, Monsanto’s Indian subsidiary, depends on, ignorance.

BT Cotton requires three foreign genes to be inserted through genetic engineering: The Cry1AC gene which encodes for an insecticidal protein which is derived from Bacillus Thuringiensis, and two other genes are inserted by force into the cotton genome.

“The conscious choice of a few genes for mobilization and widespread replication substitutes human judgement for natural selection. From a theological viewpoint it is questionable that the agribusiness scientific staff have the collective wisdom to determine what constitutes the good when it comes to desirable genes. The fact that their choice could be self-sustaining (e.g., if the gene escaped into the wild) is cause for further concern. Initially, this and other adverse impacts potentially resulting from mass scale transgenic operations are likely to be invisible.” (Marc Lappe and Britt Baily, Against the Grain: Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food [Monroe, Me.:Common Courage, 1998], 114 )

Rajesh neighbor’s crop is ok. He used native seeds for the last four years, though his yield has been slightly below standard. In between his bobs of cotton tops are thick rows of bright marigolds. He tells Rajesh that they will trap the boll worms before they can harm the cotton plant. Rajesh decides to use the marigolds in the future. Nature has an ironic way of showing us her wisdom is best. The antidote always grows nearby.

Later that week Rajesh reads that other farmers are having a similar problems through Madhya Pradesh. Despite the realities on the ground, Mahyco managing director is quoted saying, “Using our seeds cut the pesticide use in half…..if there are any failures do to the farmers not using proper refugia standards and cross pollination between BT and Non-BT varieties…”

When Rajesh took out his savings to buy the seeds he did not know the company he was buying his seeds from. He was in a marginal situation, and taken in by aggressive dishonest advertising and ignorance of the biotech industry. Had he known the history of Monsanto, he would have been understandably cautious if not appalled that the government of his India would allow such a monolithic influence to operate within its borders. Many bribes exchanged hands before Rajesh saw the advertising.

To understand how and why the government of India would allow Mahyco, a subsidiary of Monsanto,with its gruesome track record to operate in India, we must look into India’s past, starting with the famines that laid waste to the nation shortly after partition, then study the Green Revolution, and then the slow erosion of land rights through The Land acquisition Act, and the co-opting of farmers seed rights through Indian Seed Patent Act and Seed Bill of 2004.

This is the subject of other articles on this blog. You can research the legislation through the links on the sidebar entitled Acts and Legislation. This subject will be covered more in depth in subsequent posts. However, there is a need to go over the basic world history and political beginnings of what has been called the “Green Revolution,” in order to put Rajeshs’ situation into context.

“A funny thing happens when corporations assist in shaping the farming policy of a nation, the policy benefits the corporation and not the farmers. Afterall, the corporation must grow in order to make a profit for its shareholders and not those who grow the food to feed its shareholders.” – Kamla Vishvas

With product development, there is a concept called “planned obsolescence.” This is an approximate end of life date created somewhere in the design or manufacturing process of a certain product.

“A policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design, termination of the supply of spare parts, and the use of nondurable materials.”

It ensures that a car for example, won’t run trouble-free for 40 years, or that a AA battery has to be replaced in your tv remote. In this case, you have to buy new parts, have regular service, and change the batteries. At each node, more money is exchanged for goods and services. Over successive generations of consumers exposed to this model, they come to accept that things have to be replaced. Therefore the possibility that technology exists that could replace inferior products that wear out, with ones that won’t, is sealed from their imaginations. The consumers demand less because they don’t know they can demand more.

Things that last rarely go into mass production, because, it is..not…profitable. At present, few industries including the agricultural “industry” deviate from this model. In agriculture however, the disposable product, food, has one problem. With seed saving from year to year, and using bio-wastes produced from beasts of burden that assist in fertilizing food, and growing food in season and in accordance to rainfall patterns, the farmer and his/her laborers have a closed system whose profits benefit himself and the supporting community only. In order to introduce planned obsolescence, and profiteering, the product had to become dependent on external goods and services. Thus soil fertility was put on the marketplace and destroyed, plants became weakened, less nutritious, and susceptible to pests, seeds were bought instead of saved and the human body thus became an object, dependent on the pharmaceutical industry. At each stage of “industrialized, planned obsolescent” agriculture, there is a produce to solve the problem.

By the way, the pharmaceutical industry  coincidentally enough has many conflict of interest high-profile positions in the agrichemicals industry. (Be patient, this is a future blog entry).

Introduction:


In 1961 India was teetering near the edge of mass famine. On the other side of the world the U.S.  Kennedy Administration approved the use of chemicals, those we now know included dioxin, to destroy vegetation in Vietnam. The chief producers of this chemical was Monsanto and Dow Chemical.

In Mexico, a high yielding wheat variety was growing with the aid of mechanized agriculture technologies and fertilizers. This wheat was part of a political manuever to control the worlds foods supply under the auspices of “feeding the poor of the world,” and it’s success was about to change the future of India’s food sovereignty to present day.

1961 was the beginning of the “Green Revolution” in India. The Green Revolution opened the doors for the market transition of war chemicals into agricultural chemicals, such as Round Up(Glyphosate) and then thirty years later to genetically engineered crops.

Prior to the 1960s, The U.S. had begun funding “re-education” campaigns for shifting India’s native seed varieties to those same varieties  being tested in Mexico under sponsorship of U.S. special interest groups.

The Rockefeller Foundation and five U.S. land grant universities provided monetary and infrastructural assistance to Indian agricultural universities and research institutions and suggested a curricula appropriate to educating scholars and farmers to meet the challenge of introducing High Yielding Varieties of rice and wheat. Thus the donor country is and was responsible for the philosophical and value system transition of India’s traditional farming practices.

Present Day, Monsanto, Carghil, ADM, and Dupont among others  are following the the  successes of the “reorientation” campaigns funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to launch new products.

Monsanto India’s website reads verbatim: “MIL collaborates with thousands of channel partners to ensure farmers access its superior quality products in thousands of villages across the country. The Company also partners with State Governments, State Agriculture University and other leading Agricultural Institutions on developmental and agronomic testing. Additionally, it works with rural youth in thousands of villages to ensure that the right expertise and knowledge reaches lacs of farmers through year  farmer awareness and education programs.”

There are more than 20,000 documented varieties of rice on the Indian subcontinent. There are about 3000 varieties of rice in Uttarakhand itself. There are countless varieties of desi wheat. The Green Revolution narrowed down these varieties to 8. The interdependent network, from microorganisms, to beetles to birds, that thrived with the cultivation of 20,000 various rice varieties, in a few years entered into what activist and writer Rachel Carson, coined as “Silent Spring.” The tragic byproduct of the Green Revolution, was loss of biodiversity, because of either ignorance of malice of a few powerful organizations.

His Story:

“In 1940, the Avila Camacho administration took office in Mexico. The administration’s primary goal for Mexican U.S. Vice President-Elect Henry Wallace, who was instrumental in persuading the Rockefeller Foundation to work with the Mexican government in agricultural development, saw Avila Camacho’s ambitions as beneficial to U.S. economic and military interests.[12]

The Rockefeller Foundation contacted E.C. Stakman and two other leading agronomists. They developed a proposal for a new organization, the Office of Special Studies, as part of the Mexican Government, but directed by the Rockefeller Foundation. It was to be staffed with both U.S. and Mexican scientists, focusing on soil development, maize and wheat production, and plant pathology.” (Wikipedia).

The Office of Special Studies in Mexico became an informal international research institution in 1959, and in 1963 it formally became the The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center also referred to as the CIMMYT. The agronomist responsible for Mexico’s wheat variety, and later the Indian rice and wheat varieties, Norman Borlaug.

“ NEW DELHI: Long before Mr Bush and Dr Rice came by to leapfrog US-India ties to a new level, it was Prof. Wheat who jump-started and nourished the relationship. Norman Borlaug, the genial scientist-pacifist who died of cancer in Dallas on Saturday, was as much India’s ‘annadaata’ as he was the Father of the Green Revolution. Around the time Dr Borlaug arrived on the scene in the mid-1960s, the specter of famine, shortages, and starvation hung over the sub-continent. India was importing huge quantities of food grains from the US – much of it dole – to feed its growing millions in a manner that was famously described as “ship-to-mouth” sustenance.

Enter Norman Borlaug, a strapping, self-made, sun-burnt American from the farmland of Iowa, who had spent more a decade by then in Mexico after hard-earned doctorate in Depression-era US. What he had pulled off in experiments in Mexico was a miracle, that if successfully applied in India, would fill its granaries to overflow – as it eventually did.

By cranking up a wheat strain containing an unusual gene, Borlaug created the so-called ”semi-dwarf” plant variety — a shorter, stubbier, compact stalk that supported an enormous head of grain without falling over from the weight. This curious principle of shrinking the plant to increase the output on the plant from the same acreage resulted in Indian farmers eventually quadrupling their wheat — and later, rice — production.” (The Times of India, Norman Borlaug, India’s ‘annadaata’, dies at 95: Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN, Sep 13, 2009, 08.04pm IST)

“Norman Borlaug was invited to India by the adviser to the Indian minister of agriculture M. S. Swaminathan. Despite bureaucratic hurdles imposed by India’s grain monopolies, the Ford Foundation and Indian government collaborated to import wheat seed from CIMMYT. Punjab was selected by the Indian government to be the first site to try the new crops because of it s reliable water supply and a history of agricultural success. India began its own Green Revolution program of plant breeding, irrigation development, and financing of agrichemicals.” (Wikipedia)

A new variety of rice, labeled IR8 that produced more grain per plant when grown with irrigation and fertilizers was developed during this time, and is till in use in fields throughout Asia. Both this rice variety and the wheat “designed” during this time are considered a HYV, a high-yield-variety that is dependent on fertilizers.

“High yielding crops are bred specifically to respond to fertilizers and produced and increased amount of ground weight. “The terms often used with these plants that make them successful are harvest index, photosynthate allocation, and insensitivity to day length. The harvest index refers to the above ground weight of the plant.

During the Green Revolution, plants that had the largest seeds were selected to create the most production possible. After selectively breeding these plants, they evolved to all have the characteristic of larger seeds. These larger seeds then created more grain yield and a heavier above ground weight. This larger above ground weight then led to an increased photosynthate allocation. By maximizing the seed or food portion of the plant, it was able to use photosynthesis more efficiently because the energy produced during this process went directly to the food portion of the plant.” (About.com)

Primary Productivity is measured in terms of output efficiency or dry ass/hectare/kiloliter of water consumed) while Visible Productivity is measured in terms of gross output or dry mass/hectare. Hence it is very likely that while Visible Productivity seems to be going up, the underlying Primary Productivity is going down sharply.

“ So far all of our efforts have been to increase the: Visible Productivity by enhancing the Secondary Productivity which in itself is a perfectly sensible thing to do. The so called Green Revolution has been all about increasing our Visible Productivity through enhancing Secondary Productivity. The enhanced Secondary productivity has given us a false sense of pride that Visible productivity is up.

However, the reality is that Primary Productivity has been steadily declining over the years and we are unaware because our entire focus was just measuring the Visible Productivity. In the Punjab for instance, efforts to increase the Secondary Productivity of farmers through external inputs has severely impaired the Primary Productivity of the land and farmers are now facing a decline in the Visible Productivity even though external inputs are the same.” (Annam Brahman: Organic Food in India p. 184 submitted by Natueco farmer Krishi Tirth, in the District Dewas of Madhya Pradesh)

The chemical fertilizers commonly used for these types of varieties are called “NPK”, or Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. This mix of nutrients, focuses on energy and protein production necessary for cell growth. All plants take what they need, only when they need it. The leftovers of excess nutrients and additives from the fertilizers, create salt, arsenic, and nitrates all of which leech into the ground water. Consequently, the Punjab-Harayana area has high levels of contamination in lower and lower levels of groundwater.

Plants convert nitrogen to make proteins essential to new cell growth. An abundance of nitrogen, however, will make the plant weak and soft. Potassium, which is responsible for the manufacture and movement of sugars and starches, as well as cell division is locked out by high salinity is the soil which is a by-product of using chemical fertilizers.

Consider that plants are “accumulators”, and “hyperaccumulators”. The root system pulls nutrients from water into its stem, leaves, and flowers.  Some nutrients  are used to convert some things to other things, and no longer remain, but there are micronutrients that remain in the over all cellular “skeletal” structure and fluid of the plant. Plants, like the human body also require, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron and a few other trace minerals to be healthy.

In nature they receive these elements from soil that is built from decomposition of things that have these minerals inside of them. Nothing is wasted. If these minerals are not there, in the case of monocropped soils, not only will the plant be lacking in vital nutritional content containing minerals, it will also like vitality, ojas.  When groundwater is contaminated with heavy metals, by-products of the petrochemical and agrichemical industry, the contamination also ends up in the body of the vegetable.

It will therefore not only have less taste (rasa), but less nutrition, and be susceptible to infestation, thereby requiring pesticides to protect the weak plants. It is not only the weak plants that attract pests, but the lack of competition. By having this increased crop homogeneity there are less predators to fight off pests. Thus one giant field, stripped of its biodiverse checks and balances, is a living target, and pesticides are used where before none, or only those organic in nature, were used.

One bad idea picks up more bad ideas

Because of the Green Revolution, the infrastructure around farms changed. Irrigation channels now brought water into fields that traditionally relied only on monsoon rains. Then to avoid the complication of nutrients spilling into these monocropped fields from overflow of rivers during the monsoon season, large embankments were constructed! One thing to note about irrigation channels in fields that are normally fallow do to heat and dry conditions, is that there is alot of evaporation before the water even reaches the field, and once there, because of continuous heat, only a small percentage of the water, makes it to the roots. The water that does soak back into the ground is full of fertilizer wastes. Because of an increased demand for water, large dams were built. The reservoirs of the dams displaced village farmland, and in certain areas, the downriver side of the dam changed the entire survival pattern, subsistence lifestyles, and habitat of both people, and animals.

The pairing of seed and fertilizer since the Green Revolution has shifted the agricultural practices in India dramatically from independent to dependent, as  new seeds and denatured soil requires fertilizers to grow crops, and the weakened plants require pesticides to protect them.

“The pseudo revolution affected the hills (in India) too and production declined. Although production increased in the plains with the coming of the Green Revolution, this increase was a flash in the pan, as result of magical hybrid seeds and chemical fertilizers introduced. Chemical fertilizers squeezed the natural fertility of the Indian soils like a lemon, snatched the traditionally developed and saved seeds from the farmers, and also dealt the traditional knowledge system of Indian farmers a deathly blow.

In the 1960s and 1970s, farmers were given free mini kits of hybrid seeds and chemical fertilizers by agriculture extension officials. Soon enough, many switched over to these and abandoned their old traditional seeds and organic manures. Chemical fertilizers did increase production initially. With government support and subsidy even the farmers of Uttarakhand took to these new ways. However, most farmers did not realize the hidden catch in the chemical farming in the beginning. Many sowed these hybrid seeds without manuring their fields, thinking that they would perform miracles year after year. But they were in for a rude shock when production plummeted immediately and their crops were attacked by diseases and pests.

How shrewed were the instigators of the Green Revolution! In the twinkling of an eye the farmers lost their traditional seeds which ensured biodiversity, to monocultures and big corporations. The farmer became dependent upon purchased inputs. It would be a hyperbole to call the Green Revolution a conspiracy which came in the guise of development. Today the Indian farmer is a slave to this revolution and to the multinational corporations that manufacture the hybrid seeds and chemical fertilizers.” (Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India. Barahanaja Mixed Organic Farming in Uttarakhand. pg. 253)

So why how did generations of subsisteance farmers fall into this trap? It is by  design.

The story starts long ago and centers around  re-orientation  programs sponsored by generous donations from powerful foundations.

It goes something like this.

A man named  Rockefeller and a man named Carnegie were very good friends and the most powerful men in America around the turn of the 20th century. They set up a tax exempt foundation called the Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Fund. These two organizations began pumping money into universities, insisting they do drug research.

Rockefeller and Carnegie together financed the famous Flexner Report of 1910 written by Abraham Flexner, hired by Rockefeller and Carnegie.  Flexner traveled all over the country and made a very scholarly analysis of how bad the level of medical education was in America. The medical schools at the time ranged in quality, and some were very bad. It was an emerging science with many opinions on how to emerge.  Many schools relied on a combination of medicines,  from traditional herbalists called ecclectists,  to those who capitalized on opiate and cocaine based remedies, to  regular medicine which used methods such as bloodletting.

“Eclectic Medicine appeared as an extension of early American herbal medicine traditions, such as “Thomsonian medicine” in the early 19th century, and Native American medicine. Regular medicine at the time made extensive use of purges with calomel and other mercury-based remedies, as well as extensive bloodletting and Eclectic medicine was a direct reaction to those practices as well as the need to professionalize the Thomsonian medicine innovations.

Therefore, “Eclectics” were doctors who practiced with a philosophy of “alignment with nature,” learning from and using concepts from other schools of medical thought. They opposed the techniques of bleeding, chemical purging and the use of mercury compounds common among the “conventional” doctors of that time. The majority of eclectic medicine was botanical remedies.”

By the 1850s, several “regular” American doctors, especially from the New York Academy of Medicine, had begun using herbal salvesand other preparations. By the 1880 and 90s however, those medical facilities that did not pass the criteria of Rockefeller and Carnegie’s Flexner report, lost accreditation.

Besides the “regulars” or allopaths, there were botanics, eclectics, and homeopaths, all of which were instructed at small medical schools. Statistics for the year 1900 show that, in the U.S., allopaths numbered about 70,000, Eclectic doctors numbered 10,000, Homeopaths numbered 8,500, and physio-medicalists (followers of the botanic Samuel Thomson) numbered 1,500. Somewhere between 20% and 25% of all Americans received treatment from doctors of one of these sectarian schools of medicine. One of the most significant results of the Flexner Report was to destroy accreditation of the institutions which taught non-allopathic medical philosophies.” (Wikipedia)

Many schools closed, and other were consalidated. Those who were allopatic were offered tax-free grants.  Millions and millions of dollars  thus went to those medical schools that were cooperative and that were willing to go along with the recommendations made by Rockefeller and Carnegie.  The money paid for new buildings and equipment, and those same schools are the in prominence in America today.

A co-conspirator named Fred Gates and Flexner, and  all those whom they appointed, became Board members and consultants for all of these schools.  They helped shape the curriculum, climate and goals from then to present day allopathic medicine.

Fred Gates changed Rockefellers mode of philanthropy. He helped him set up  well-funded foundations that were run by experts who decided what topics of reform were relevant and profitable, actualizing Rockefellers idea that for every dollar given away in philanthropy you ought to be able to make at least a hundred back. The foundations operating as tax free entities would identify problems, (or create them) such as in the case of the medical schools,  then provide the solution. When there was no problem, they would find one to solve.

So an oil industrialist, Rockefeller, Gates a business person and Baptist minister, Carnegie, a steel industrialist and Abhraham Flexnor and author and educator who before writing the Flexner report had never stopped foot in a medical school, steered the American population away from looking to the natural world to solve their ailments  into drug dependent modern-day pharmaceutical profiteering. What qualified them to do this?

Profits cannot be strained from a unexploited people  who know how to  heal themselves. Just like there is a limit to profits when people and communities provide for their own food requirements. To change this situation, the above mentioned industrialists had to create a climate of dependence, and that now exists between India’s farmers and the same multinationals who created a false problem to be solved.

The shift to dependence:

“In an earlier generation, the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations spent millions on putting Third World agronomists in training programs at American universities where they would become converts to the Green Revolution. They certainly understood that becoming converts for corporate farming was almost a guarantee for continued success in an academic world that was awash in money from the Monsantos of the world.

In an article titled “The United States Intervention in Third World Policies” that appeared in the April 1986 Social Scientist, Jagannath Pathy drew attention to the massive seduction of academics by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. This involved sending our “experts” overseas to help the benighted peasants as well as recruiting theirs for special training at places like Cornell and MIT. Indo-U.S. co-operation in agricultural research dates back to the efforts of the U.S. government to help India increase food production.

In 1953, F.W. Parker of the Technical Co-operative Mission arranged a number of studies determining the fertility status of soils. This laid the basis for the establishment of a chain of soil testing laboratories aided by USAID which subsequently paved the way for the introduction of chemical fertilisers in India.

In 1955, Rockefeller Foundation and five U.S. land grant universities assisted Indian agricultural universities and research institutions and suggested a curricula appropriate to reorienting scholars to meet the challenge of introducing HYVs of maize, sorghum and millets.

The U.S. gave $ 35 million for laboratory equipment and libraries. Every year 35 fellowships were instituted for training Indian students at U.S. institutions. Rockefellers provided $ 21.3 million up to 1973 and arranged for several visiting professors to visit India. It also provided travel grants for Indian government officials and university administrators to go to the U.S.

In 1982, Ralph W. Cummings, the Director of Rockefeller Foundation’s Indian agricultural research programme laid down guidelines for the establishment and development of agricultural universities. These guidelines focussed on higher agricultural productivity through diffusion of fertiliser responsive varieties.

The narrow genetic base of HYVs, disease and pest susceptibility of some of the parent varieties and the existence of vast monoculture soon exposed the crops to attacks by pests and diseases. As noted earlier, in the mid-1960s, USAID provided large loans to import much needed fertilisers. The U.S. and World Bank put pressure on the Indian government to encourage MNCs investment in local fertiliser production. Such a strategy could not have been pursued smoothly without the support of Indian agricultural scientists trained in the service of American interests (Abrol, 1983).

From 1952-72, the Ford Foundation spent $ 16 million providing generous grants to persons, institutions and government on a wide variety of nation building activities. It established and/or funded the Institute of Economic Growth, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, National Council of Applied Economic Research, Indian Statistical Institute and Institutes of Management at Calcutta and Ahmedabad. The Foundation trained about 50,000 extension workers. The National Institute of Community Development was established with the help of USAID and Michigan State University.

The whole pattern of education and research was thus modelled on the philosophy and value system of the donor country. U.S. experts provided advice on how to organise and develop science and technology, decided the priorities of research, recommended developmental models. Performance of major research and educational institutes like UGC. CSIR, ICAR, etc. is reviewed by experts from the U.S. and Western Europe. This delinking of science and technology from the concrete socio-political contexts has proved to be stultifying. “

ttp://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/food-imperialism-norman-borlaug-and-the-green-revolution/

“Because farming methods that depend heavily on chemical fertilizers do not maintain the soil’s natural fertility and because pesticides generate resistant pests, farmers need ever more fertilizers and pesticides just to achieve the same results. At the same time, those who profit from the increased use of fertilizers and pesticides fear labor organizing and use their new wealth to buy tractors and other machines, even though they are not required by the new seeds.

This incremental shift leads to the industrialization of farming. Once on the path of industrial agriculture, farming costs more. It can be more profitable, of course, but only if the prices farmers get for their crops stay ahead of the costs of petrochemicals and machinery. Green Revolution proponents claim increases in net incomes from farms of all sizes once farmers adopt the more responsive seeds.

But recent studies also show another trend: outlays for fertilizers and pesticides may be going up faster than yields, suggesting that Green Revolution farmers are now facing what U.S. farmers have experienced for decades-a cost-price squeeze.

But if increased food production has been the principal thrust of the new strategy it has not been the only one. Closely tied to the effort to increase output has been the transformation of agrarian social and economic relations by integrating once isolated areas or farmers into the capitalist market system. This “modernization” of the countryside, which has been an important part of so-called nation-building throughout the postwar period, has been facilitated by the dependency of the new technology on manufactured inputs.

The peasant who adopts the new seeds must buy the necessary complementary inputs on the market. In order to buy these inputs he must sell part of his crop for cash. Thus the international team widens the proportion of peasant producers tied into the national (and sometimes international) market as it succeeds in pushing the new technology into the hands of subsistence farmers. Obviously in the case of commercial producers, adoption only reinforces existing ties to the market. (Harry Cleaver’s “The Contradictions of the Green Revolution“,)

These development experts, however, apparently feel that widening the market by pushing new inputs is not always enough. Along with their recent admiration for the “progressive” peasant who jumps at any opportunity to grow more, they have been making an effort to teach personal gain and consumerism. In his widely read handbook, Getting Agriculture Moving, ADC president Arthur T. Mosher insists on the theme of teaching peasants to want more for themselves, to abandon collective habits, and to get on with the “business” of farming. Mosher goes so far as to advocate extension educational programs for women and youth clubs to create more demand for store-bought goods. The “affection of husbands and fathers for their families” will make them responsive to these desires and drive them to work harder.

A new study by another elite group, Resources for the Future (RFF), done for the World Bank on agricultural development in the Mekong Basin, also recommends substantial efforts to change the rural social structure and personal attitudes of peasants in such a way that new capitalist institutions can function more efficiently. The RFF, like others before it, suggests massive doses of international capital and more Western social scientists to help bring about the necessary changes. These tactics of the ADC and RFF are more than efforts to bring development to rural areas. They are attempts to replace traditional social systems by capitalism, complete with all its business-based social relations.” (source: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/food-imperialism-norman-borlaug-and-the-green-revolution/)

The planned obsolescence of the Green Revolution has created a false crisis point just like before. In this global play, including all the prior actors, using the same script  that says   India is once again in trouble and cannot produce enough food to feed her people.  Now a new industry, the biotehcnology industry, has emerged with the solution to declining Visible Production.

Scores of young Indians are sent to schools to become doctors, and engineers, those of which are sent to schools with funding and assistance by the largest biotech and western pharmaceutical industry players in America. Sounds familiar? History repeats itself.

This time however, there is a third input for Indian farmers to buy: Patented-genetically modified seeds.

Fertilizer – produced by Monsanto

Pesticide – produced by Monsanto

GM Seed – produced by Monsanto

The May 27, 1998 The Wall Street Journal declared: “Monsanto Co. and DuPont Co. are betting the farm in bids to transform themselves into the Coke and Pepsi of genetically engineered crops. In the three years since the first transgenic seeds were introduced, crop biotechnology has grown from a young science to a hot business: About half of U.S. cotton fields, forty percent of soybean fields, and twenty percent of corn fields this year are genetically altered. Now, in a stunningly swift concentration of power, much of the design, harvest, and processing of genetically engineered crops is coming under these two companies.”

How do they position themselves for such rapid growth? They exert control over State Governments, Agriculture Universities and Institutions, and rural youth, farmers and villagers. They use the “problems” created and identified by tax extempt foundations, then step in as  the 21st century saviors from starvation. They use their influence, having ex board members in top political positions in the U.S. government, to change policy. (This is a whole separate other post). The Indian government readily colonizes itself under foreign interest who push their interests through bribes and investment.

To the informed and critical thinkers, the language of Monsanto’s intension in the country of India is not even hidden. This from their Indian website: “ MIL collaborates with thousands of channel partners to ensure farmers access its superior quality products in thousands of villages across the country. The Company also partners with State Governments, State Agriculture University and other leading Agricultural Institutions on developmental and agronomic testing. Additionally, it works with rural youth in thousands of villages to ensure that the right expertise and knowledge reaches lacs of farmers through year-round farmer awareness and education programs.”

Dr. Vandana Shiva is an activist, writer, seed saver  and founder of Navdanya in Dehradun India.  Navdanya is a network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 16 states in India. It has its 54 seed banks.

Dr. Shiva says,

“We are at this watershed of human evolution. We will either continue to walk on the path of resource waste, resource monopoly and therefore resource conflict and have no workable societies or we will make a transition to resource prudence, conservation, equity sharing and peace.

If we don’t change the path there is no survival for the human species. The root causes of the current food prices are two fold: The first is the model of industrial farming which pretends to produce more while in reality it produces less. And the reality is eclipsed by not seeing what a piece of land can produce in terms of biodiversity, nutrition, local food sustainability and focusing only on the commodity tradee….So yes we have more corn and soy in the world….but the more corn and soya in the world the more hunger.

It is not solving the food problem. We have more commodity but not more food. We have a farming system that leaves rural communities indebted. They are growing food by spending more money. And in the process not eating what they grow because they have to pay back the credit for the seeds and chemicals. Add to this, the globalization model, the free trade model which in effect has moved control over food and agriculture into the hands of 5 agribusiness giants. (Monsanto  being one of them.)

They (the agribusiness giants) have created a system where they buy cheap from farmers because they create a situation where they are the only buyers. When when they have the control, they speculate and play on commodity futures. Food has literally become part of the global economic casino..and that is why the prices of food are rising. (Look at the housing industry and how fast housing prices went up.)

The first Green Revolution didn’t solve food problems it created. It left impoverished farmers…it reduced our ability to produce proteins and pulses by promoting monocultures of rice and wheat and in India and corn in Mexico. The beans disappeared the pulses disappeared the nutrition disappeared out of the food system. The chemicals appeared but the nutrition disappeared.

The second Green Revolution is based on genetic engineering, which introduces two kinds of crops herbicide resistant crops which means more herbicide gets sprayed and BT toxin crops which means more BT toxin is now in the plants and food were are eating. “Cows grazing on bt is killing the cows. …

It s also wrong to claim that genetic engineering will solve the food crisis “introducing more toxin in the plant does not increase the yield of food, it increases yield of toxins. The technology itself is not capable of increasing yield at this point because yield is a multi genetic trait. Many genes have to interact together to increase the yield. And that is why only toxins are being moved around.

Genetic engineering is based on a false reductionist science. Navdanya biodiverse small farms produce 5 times more than the monocultures. Seed has been a farmers resource. It has been a common property. They have been freely saved and exchanged.

When a company like Monsanto enters the seed supply system it does three things. It makes sure that all seeds of the farmer are destroyed either by giving incentives to farmer to give them the old seed or by basically making the farmer believe the new seeds will bring miracles. The second thing the company does when it enters any country or region is in face erode the public supply, and undermine public research. The third thing the company does is do aggressive advertising as if it is bombing a zone and if you go to “parts of India where farmers are committing suicide you watch the billboards you watch the an videos they use gods as seeds. I have seen (ads with the) god Hanuman bringing Monsanto seeds. Guru Nanak the founder of the Sikh religion selling Roundup. When a peasant in a simple society who has never had any sense of how these corporations function is brought a god around who his entire faith is organized, he tries first that faith to these new seeds and gets into the dependence without knowing its about the corporation (and their intent.

The model for economic life is for a bigger or bigger grab for diminishing resources. All conflicts are resource conflicts, but they just look different because we are so diverse…and it is so easy to cover up the basic issue with these cultural things.” Culture of Resistance PodCast  5/7/2010

Folk please excuse any spelling and grammar errors in this post.  I will revise. If you have any suggestions please contact me @ actnaturallyworldwide@gmail.com This is the end of  this post of the Green Revolution.  Next Post, Who EXACTLY is Monsanto?  I wanted to include an article from 2008 which speaks to the farmer suicides mentioned at the beginning of this post.

The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops

By Andrew Malone
Last updated at 12:48 AM on 3rd November 2008

When Prince Charles claimed thousands of Indian farmers were killing themselves after using GM crops, he was branded a scaremonger. In fact, as this chilling dispatch reveals, it’s even WORSE than he feared.

The children were inconsolable. Mute with shock and fighting back tears, they huddled beside their mother as friends and neighbours prepared their father’s body for cremation on a blazing bonfire built on the cracked, barren fields near their home.

As flames consumed the corpse, Ganjanan, 12, and Kalpana, 14, faced a grim future. While Shankara Mandaukar had hoped his son and daughter would have a better life under India’s economic boom, they now face working as slave labour for a few pence a day. Landless and homeless, they will be the lowest of the low.

Indian farmer

Human tragedy: A farmer and child in India’s ‘suicide belt’

Shankara, respected farmer, loving husband and father, had taken his own life. Less than 24 hours earlier, facing the loss of his land due to debt, he drank a cupful of chemical insecticide.

Unable to pay back the equivalent of two years’ earnings, he was in despair. He could see no way out.

There were still marks in the dust where he had writhed in agony. Other villagers looked on – they knew from experience that any intervention was pointless – as he lay doubled up on the ground, crying out in pain and vomiting.

Moaning, he crawled on to a bench outside his simple home 100 miles from Nagpur in central India. An hour later, he stopped making any noise. Then he stopped breathing. At 5pm on Sunday, the life of Shankara Mandaukar came to an end.

As neighbours gathered to pray outside the family home, Nirmala Mandaukar, 50, told how she rushed back from the fields to find her husband dead. ‘He was a loving and caring man,’ she said, weeping quietly.

‘But he couldn’t take any more. The mental anguish was too much. We have lost everything.’

Shankara’s crop had failed – twice. Of course, famine and pestilence are part of India’s ancient story.

But the death of this respected farmer has been blamed on something far more modern and sinister: genetically modified crops.

Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.

Prince CharlesDistressed: Prince Charles has set up charity Bhumi Vardaan Foundation to address the plight of suicide farmers

Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts – and no income.

So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.

The crisis, branded the ‘GM Genocide’ by campaigners, was highlighted recently when Prince Charles claimed that the issue of GM had become a ‘global moral question’ – and the time had come to end its unstoppable march.

Speaking by video link to a conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, he infuriated bio-tech leaders and some politicians by condemning ‘the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming… from the failure of many GM crop varieties’.

Ranged against the Prince are powerful GM lobbyists and prominent politicians, who claim that genetically modified crops have transformed Indian agriculture, providing greater yields than ever before.

The rest of the world, they insist, should embrace ‘the future’ and follow suit.

So who is telling the truth? To find out, I travelled to the ‘suicide belt’ in Maharashtra state.

What I found was deeply disturbing – and has profound implications for countries, including Britain, debating whether to allow the planting of seeds manipulated by scientists to circumvent the laws of nature.

For official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month.

Simple, rural people, they are dying slow, agonising deaths. Most swallow insecticide – a pricey substance they were promised they would not need when they were coerced into growing expensive GM crops.

It seems that many are massively in debt to local money-lenders, having over-borrowed to purchase GM seed.

Pro-GM experts claim that it is rural poverty, alcoholism, drought and ‘agrarian distress’ that is the real reason for the horrific toll.

But, as I discovered during a four-day journey through the epicentre of the disaster, that is not the full story.

Monsanto

Death seeds: A Greenpeace protester sprays milk-based paint on a Monsanto research soybean field near Atlantic, Iowa

In one small village I visited, 18 farmers had committed suicide after being sucked into GM debts. In some cases, women have taken over farms from their dead husbands – only to kill themselves as well.

Latta Ramesh, 38, drank insecticide after her crops failed – two years after her husband disappeared when the GM debts became too much.

She left her ten-year-old son, Rashan, in the care of relatives. ‘He cries when he thinks of his mother,’ said the dead woman’s aunt, sitting listlessly in shade near the fields.

Village after village, families told how they had fallen into debt after being persuaded to buy GM seeds instead of traditional cotton seeds.

The price difference is staggering: £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than £10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds.

But GM salesmen and government officials had promised farmers that these were ‘magic seeds’ – with better crops that would be free from parasites and insects.

Indeed, in a bid to promote the uptake of GM seeds, traditional varieties were banned from many government seed banks.

The authorities had a vested interest in promoting this new biotechnology. Desperate to escape the grinding poverty of the post-independence years, the Indian government had agreed to allow new bio-tech giants, such as the U.S. market-leader Monsanto, to sell their new seed creations.

In return for allowing western companies access to the second most populated country in the world, with more than one billion people, India was granted International Monetary Fund loans in the Eighties and Nineties, helping to launch an economic revolution.

But while cities such as Mumbai and Delhi have boomed, the farmers’ lives have slid back into the dark ages.

Though areas of India planted with GM seeds have doubled in two years – up to 17 million acres – many famers have found there is a terrible price to be paid.

Far from being ‘magic seeds’, GM pest-proof ‘breeds’ of cotton have been devastated by bollworms, a voracious parasite.

Nor were the farmers told that these seeds require double the amount of water. This has proved a matter of life and death.

With rains failing for the past two years, many GM crops have simply withered and died, leaving the farmers with crippling debts and no means of paying them off.

Having taken loans from traditional money lenders at extortionate rates, hundreds of thousands of small farmers have faced losing their land as the expensive seeds fail, while those who could struggle on faced a fresh crisis.

When crops failed in the past, farmers could still save seeds and replant them the following year.

But with GM seeds they cannot do this. That’s because GM seeds contain so- called ‘terminator technology’, meaning that they have been genetically modified so that the resulting crops do not produce viable seeds of their own.

As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds each year at the same punitive prices. For some, that means the difference between life and death.

Take the case of Suresh Bhalasa, another farmer who was cremated this week, leaving a wife and two children.

As night fell after the ceremony, and neighbours squatted outside while sacred cows were brought in from the fields, his family had no doubt that their troubles stemmed from the moment they were encouraged to buy BT Cotton, a geneticallymodified plant created by Monsanto.

‘We are ruined now,’ said the dead man’s 38-year-old wife. ‘We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide.’

Villagers bundled him into a rickshaw and headed to hospital along rutted farm roads. ‘He cried out that he had taken the insecticide and he was sorry,’ she said, as her family and neighbours crowded into her home to pay their respects. ‘He was dead by the time they got to hospital.’

Asked if the dead man was a ‘drunkard’ or suffered from other ‘social problems’, as alleged by pro-GM officials, the quiet, dignified gathering erupted in anger. ‘No! No!’ one of the dead man’s brothers exclaimed. ‘Suresh was a good man. He sent his children to school and paid his taxes.

‘He was strangled by these magic seeds. They sell us the seeds, saying they will not need expensive pesticides but they do. We have to buy the same seeds from the same company every year. It is killing us. Please tell the world what is happening here.’

Monsanto has admitted that soaring debt was a ‘factor in this tragedy’. But pointing out that cotton production had doubled in the past seven years, a spokesman added that there are other reasons for the recent crisis, such as ‘untimely rain’ or drought, and pointed out that suicides have always been part of rural Indian life.

Officials also point to surveys saying the majority of Indian farmers want GM seeds  –  no doubt encouraged to do so by aggressive marketing tactics.

During the course of my inquiries in Maharastra, I encountered three ‘independent’ surveyors scouring villages for information about suicides. They insisted that GM seeds were only 50 per cent more expensive – and then later admitted the difference was 1,000 per cent.

(A Monsanto spokesman later insisted their seed is ‘only double’ the price of ‘official’ non-GM seed – but admitted that the difference can be vast if cheaper traditional seeds are sold by ‘unscrupulous’ merchants, who often also sell ‘fake’ GM seeds which are prone to disease.)

With rumours of imminent government compensation to stem the wave of deaths, many farmers said they were desperate for any form of assistance. ‘We just want to escape from our problems,’ one said. ‘We just want help to stop any more of us dying.’

Prince Charles is so distressed by the plight of the suicide farmers that he is setting up a charity, the Bhumi Vardaan Foundation, to help those affected and promote organic Indian crops instead of GM.

India’s farmers are also starting to fight back. As well as taking GM seed distributors hostage and staging mass protests, one state government is taking legal action against Monsanto for the exorbitant costs of GM seeds.

This came too late for Shankara Mandauker, who was 80,000 rupees (about £1,000) in debt when he took his own life. ‘I told him that we can survive,’ his widow said, her children still by her side as darkness fell. ‘I told him we could find a way out. He just said it was better to die.’

But the debt does not die with her husband: unless she can find a way of paying it off, she will not be able to afford the children’s schooling. They will lose their land, joining the hordes seen begging in their thousands by the roadside throughout this vast, chaotic country.

Cruelly, it’s the young who are suffering most from the ‘GM Genocide’  –  the very generation supposed to be lifted out of a life of hardship and misery by these ‘magic seeds’.

Here in the suicide belt of India, the cost of the genetically modified future is murderously high.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1082559/The-GM-genocide-Thousands-Indian-farmers-committing-suicide-using-genetically-modified-crops.html#ixzz1LAU9IzvX


Gallery

Part 1. The effects of privatization, from poverty to the psychology of reliance. Part 2. Looking to freedom fighters like Professor MD Nanjundaswamy to inspire resistance.

by Kamala Das The privatization and development of once public resources and always earths resources, is no longer a political or economic issue, it is an issue of our natural right to life and free-survival.  To understand this viewpoint, let me first … Continue reading