In order to define the law, one must break the law. -- Emile Durkheim
You can't ask challenging, subversive questions if the topics don't arise. -- Noam ChomskyOn 27 Nov, I had written,
> I can only suggest that, individually and collectively, > we make every effort to seek out and sustain autopoietic potentials > wherever we find them; to insist that, whatever terms come into currency, > they always describe only endpoints of a full spectrum of possibility; to > demand that the 'information infrastructure' assures not merely 'access' > to 'resources,' but the opportunity to be heard....and later went on to hypothesise a 'bottom-up' form of demand which
> has to be the result of action, > not the cause: what we have at any point short of full realization is > merely embryonic, a demand *in potentio*. Nobody is going to get rewarded > for being just another toiler in the field, but let us, you and I, talk > and listen and collaborate: lo and behold! our effort 'bears fruit'; the > demand comes into being -- from the future, not the past; emergent, not > regurgitated.If the particular application of this idea to 'free speech' on the internet was not convincing, here's another 'thought experiment,' based on the appended news reports.
Following Monsanto Corp.'s patent on a genetically modified canola plant, which is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate ('Roundup'), it is seeking patents on 'terminator' seed, which produce one crop, but whose seeds are genetically triggered to 'turn off' just before maturity and are thus sterile. Seed companies under contract to Monsanto produce the seed, and sell it through farm supply businesses. To grow the seed, farmers must sign a contract with Monsanto agreeing to sell all their crop, *with none retained to seed future crops.*
Let us imagine that in 2000, Percy Schmeiser contracts to plant such seed, and delivers his crop as required -- but discovers, come 2001, that 'volunteer' seeds are, after all, sprouting Can Monsanto compel the farmer to plow them under and put in peas, say, instead? Is he liable for what the breeze and the bees may have brought in? Can his rights to his own land be separated from what he chooses to (let) grow? What if he sells the land to someone else: are they then liable if some dormant seed remain? Is agriculture going to come under EPA regulations such as pertain to toxic waste? Are farmers -- the first and last 'free spirits' -- to be indentured slaves?
Can I patent this cognitively-engineered idea so that its offspring are also my intellectual property, and you are liable if you find yourself thinking them, regardless of all other cross-fertilizing factors?
kerry, seeking the opportunity to grow
Written 5:57 AM Nov 23, 1998 by email@example.com in list.ar-news
Sask. farmer says charge bees and wind, not him
By Ed White and Rodney Desnomie
Percy Schmeiser says he's innocent and wants his name cleared. And if he ends up facing Monsanto in court, he's going to be putting the company's genetically altered crops on trial.
"It's in the ditches and the roadsides; it's in the shelterbelts; it's in the gardens; it's all over," said Schmeiser.
Monsanto is suing the Bruno, Sask., farmer for allegedly growing Roundup Ready canola without a licence.
The company claims Schmeiser bought the seed from one or more local growers and planted it in 1997. He then grew a crop, keeping some of it for seed for the 1998 crop year, Monsanto claims. No court date has been set.
Schmeiser said he did not plant any of Monsanto's seed, and if glyphosate-tolerant canola plants grew in his fields this summer, it occurred through pollination from other fields or from seed scattered by machinery and from trucks traveling the roads that run beside his land.
Schmeiser said his land is surrounded by other canola growers, and pollen could have drifted into his fields on the wind. His land also lies beside busy truck routes that lead to grain elevators.
Schmeiser spoke to reporters at his lawyer's office in downtown Saskatoon, saying he wants to clear his name of Monsanto's charges. "It's very upsetting to me to all of a sudden see your name in the paper -- that you maybe stole the seed," said Schmeiser.
He said he first noticed glyphosate-tolerant canola plants in his fields 18 months ago, when he sprayed chemical to control weeds around the power poles in his fields. Some canola plants were unharmed by the spray.
This past spring Schmeiser said he used a glyphosate pre-seeding burnoff on a field that had grown canola the year before and on which he planned to grow peas. But so many volunteer canola plants survived that he decided he couldn't afford to grow the peas there, and planted canola instead.
"We're just touching the tip of the iceberg in polluted fields, contamination of fields by this Roundup genetic canola," said Schmeiser. "It just opens up a vast area of uncertainty."
Schmeiser said he is upset by the lawsuit, but will not change his farming practices because of it.
"I plan to do exactly what I was doing this year, next year."
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 17:48:27
From: PROF. NANJUNDA SWAMY" Subject: Cremate Monsanto!!
Monsanto's field trials in Karnataka will be reduced to ashes, starting on Saturday. Two days ago the Minister of Agriculture of Karnataka gave a press conference where he was forced by the journalists to disclose the threeites where field trials with Bt cotton are being conducted (for background information about the trials, see appendix 2 at the bottom). KRRS activists have already contacted the owners of these fields, to explain them which action will be taken, and for what reasons, and to let them know that the KRRS will cover any loses they will suffer. On Saturday the 28th of November, atidday, thousands of farmers will occupy and burn down the three fields in front of the cameras, in an open, announced action of civil disobedience.
These actions will start a campaign of direct action by farmers against biotechnology, called Operation 'Cremation Monsanto', which will not stop until all the corporate killers like Monsanto, Novartis, Pioneer etc leave the country. Farmers' leaders from the states of Maharastra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh (states where Monsanto is also conducting field trials) were yesterday in Bangalore to prepare the campaign.
The campaign will run under the following slogans:
STOP GENETIC ENGINEERING
NO PATENTS ON LIFE
BURY THE WTO
along with a more specific message for all those who have invested on Monsanto: You should rather take your money out before we reduce it to ashes.
We know that stopping biotechnology in India will not be of much help to us if it continues in other countries, since the threats that it poses do not stop at the borders. We also think that the kind of actions that will be going on in India have the potential not only to kick those corporate killers out of our country: if we play our cards right at global level and coordinate our work, these actions can also pose a major challenge to the survival of these corporations in the stock markets. Who wants to invest in a mountain of ashes, in offices that are constantly being squatted (and if necessary even destroyed) by activists?
For these reasons, we are making an international call for direct action against Monsanto and the rest of the biotech gang. This call for action will hopefully inspire all the people who are already doing a brilliant work against biotech, and many others who so far have not been very active on the issue, to join hands in a quick, effective worldwide effort.
/* Written 7:04 PM Nov 23, 1998 by firstname.lastname@example.org in haz.pesticides */ Pesticide Action Network
North America Updates Service
November 23, 1998
NGO Stops Monsanto in Brazil
A lawsuit filed by the Brazilian Institute for Consumer Defense (IDEC) has temporarily halted the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture's approval of Monsanto's glyphosate-tolerant soybeans. The court has prohibited the Brazilian government from authorizing the marketing and planting of Roundup Ready soybeans until the case is resolved. IDEC's complaint is based on concerns about lack of regulations regarding food safety and labeling of genetically engineered crops in Brazil. The group also maintains that required studies of the potential environmental impacts of genetically modified soy have not been carried out. IDEC is asking individuals and organizations around the world to support their efforts by writing to the Brazilian government expressing their concerns about commercialization of genetically engineered crops and highlighting governmental and consumer opposition to these crops around the world.
Monsanto's heavy pressure on governments and farmers to adopt Roundup Ready soy poses a severe threat to sustainable agriculture and local ecosystems. The technology has been designed expressly to enable and encourage farmers to use even greater quantities of the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), which has been implicated in reproductive disorders, genetic damage, liver tumors and developmental delays in mammals. Glyphosate-containing products have been shown to affect earthworms and beneficial fungi, to inhibit nitrogen fixation and to increase susceptibility of crop plants to disease. Compounding these problems are the social and economic impacts of increasing farmers' reliance on purchased inputs such as genetically engineered seeds and pesticides -- and the lost opportunities for farmers to strengthen their knowledge and skills in safe and sustainable agricultural practices.
Brazil is the one of the world's largest producers of soy, second only to the United States. At this time, Brazilian soybean growers are benefiting from the higher prices that some buyers in the U.S. and Europe are willing to pay for non-genetically engineered crops.
Roundup Ready soy was approved two years ago in neighboring Argentina and now covers between 18% and 20% of soybean farmlands. Monsanto is anticipating controlling up to as much as 70% of Argentina's planted soy area in the upcoming 1998/1999 season.
April 99: Nestle Corp has said it will distinguish between GE and non-GE sources of its products -- something that was "impossible" two years ago.