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Jim Hightower
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Wednesday 27 February 2013
While Big Money “won” the election, the brand-name corporations lost the hearts and minds of their own customers, for they exposed themselves as greedheads going to extremes to deny people’s right to know what they’re putting into their own bodies—and into their children’s bodies.

In Battling Monsanto’s Greed, Tenacity Matters

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Remember the 1950s horror movie "The Bad Seed"? Any remake should cast Monsanto in the title role, because whenever something scary is being done to our food, you can usually find Monsanto lurking in the shadows.

During the past two decades, this biotech behemoth has used its political connections to obtain a monopolistic grip on the creation, sale and proliferation of Frankenseeds — the seeds of corn, cotton, soybeans and other crops that have had genetically modified organisms spliced into their natural DNA structure by corporate lab techs.

Why insert risky, inadequately tested genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into our food supply? To produce crops that can survive heavier doses of toxic pesticides — specifically, the Roundup brand of pesticides marketed by Monsanto. The corporation gets more profit; we get more pesticides. Plus, a new manmade health and environmental risk.

That's enough to make a truly horrific movie about bad seed, but Monsanto has added to the horror by almost sadistically exerting its monopoly muscle to squeeze another unwitting victim: farmers. Yes, Monsanto's own customers!

Having patented the GMO technology, the corporation asserts that when the plants grow in a farmer's field and subsequently produce their own seeds, those second-generation seeds do not belong to the farmer, but are Monsanto's private property. Farmers are prohibited by Monsanto contracts from gathering and later planting the seeds produced by their own land.

Thus, the seed-saving ethic that has sustained agriculture all around the world for centuries has been decreed illegal to benefit Monsanto — and the profiteering giant prowls the country to find and sue any of its own customers who dare practice the sensible art of seed saving. The bully has 75 staffers and a $10 million-a-year budget dedicated to monitoring, investigating, prosecuting and intimidating small farmers, even if some second-generation GMO seeds inadvertently crop up in their fields.

This is a case of one deep-pocketed, multibillion-dollar corporation perverting patent law in order to monopolize the sale of seeds, gouge thousands of farmers, and endanger both human health and the environment.

What a deal!

But Monsanto doesn't win them all, and sometimes it actually loses when it appears to have won.

This happened last November in the monumental food-labeling fight embodied in California's Proposition 37. This citizens' initiative would've required food marketers to tell consumers if any of their products contain ingredients with genetically manipulated DNA. Monsanto, by far the biggest manipulator, saw this simple, straightforward right-to-know proposal as a direct threat to the huge profit it reaps from selling its GMO seeds. So it revved up a campaign to kill Prop 37, not only pumping millions of its own dollars into its anti-consumer effort, but also getting a hoard of such huge processors and retailers as ConAgra, PepsiCo, Unilever and Wal-Mart to pump in many millions more.

Using their piles of political cash, deceptive advertising and outright lies, the corporate Goliaths squeaked out a narrow victory over a scrappy coalition of consumers, environmentalists, organic producers and others.

But while Big Money "won" the election, the brand-name corporations lost the hearts and minds of their own customers, for they exposed themselves as greedheads going to extremes to deny people's right to know what they're putting into their own bodies — and into their children's bodies. That's not a winning proposition over the long haul, no matter how much political money they throw at it.

Moreover, far from feeling defeated, the pro-labeling coalition was energized by having flushed out of hiding the big-name brands that are secretly putting GMO contaminants in our food supply. Having awakened public consciousness, the grass-roots coalition has since flummoxed the genetic manipulators by not going away. Instead, it has already expanded the political fight for honesty and food purity into Connecticut, Missouri, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington state and elsewhere.

In a remarkable development, the strength of the issue and tenacity of the coalition has pushed a couple of dozen major food peddlers — including PepsiCo and Wal-Mart — to rethink whose side they're on. And, to Monsanto's horror, they have begun talking to coalition members about supporting a national labeling law. To keep up and help push, go to


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ABOUT Jim Hightower
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

The hubris of Montanto's

The hubris of Montanto's grand plan to control agriculture globally is astounding...a Faustian bargain on steroids! Most of the world knows this and requires labeling on packaged foods, in some countries even on animal feed. Farmer Jackson, I weep for the deception you will experience as Round-up encourages resistant and giant weeds...more pesticides, those that now include components of Agent Orange, and more and more fertilizer to stimulate dead soils...a chemical takeover of land. And now our oceans are dying from excess nitrates...not a pretty picture. Most of we older folks won't last long enough to experience mass starvation as our scientific genius destroys our planet.

The state of the economy is

The state of the economy is terrible if we created city farms we would not have to depend on the doings of monsanto for the food we eat. People need jobs and that is one way to make it happen and giving those people working in the city farms aliving wage worth working for. Each city could have a zone for gmo free
ordinance so if some plants cross pollinate with gmo plants the gmo plant would be in violation of the city ordinance it isthe only way to fight back with
the greed of ownership of our food. We would probally still be stuck with corn sweetners and corn fed beef but at least we could grow our own food

A small point, Roundup is a

A small point, Roundup is a herbicide, a weed killer. I have lived most of my 70 years in south central Nebraska and believe me when I say that Round Ready soybeans changed the farming world. In the summer time, those rows and rows of weed free bean fields is quite a sight to see.

But nature always bats last.

But nature always bats last. The weeds and insects have adapted faster than we have to our herbicides and pesticides, because they have short reproductive cycles, so we've basically created the evolutionary pressures to create super weeds (and pests), and the same fields aren't so weed free anymore.

From Germany , wi a nuanced

From Germany , wi a nuanced response .... gm can be good, but monsanto´s buisness ways stink ... from a swiss tech-uni comes golden rice, that provides vitamen A . No-dig gardenning is better, for soil. Can seeds come out from patent nonsense, into our commons ...

I wonder how Monsatano

I wonder how Monsatano intends on repelling the hungry masses when the famine they cause hits.

In much the same way that the

In much the same way that the "organic" handle became bastardized when industrial producers jumped on board, It raises my hackles when I here they now want to rethink or get on board the labeling movement.

And if I have my way, we in California are not finished with Monsanto.

yes, riconui, beware the

yes, riconui, beware the Trojan Horse

The goal of MonSatan's GMO

The goal of MonSatan's GMO tech from the beginning was never to create super-crops but rather to monopolize and rule the food supply.

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