viernes, marzo 29, 2013

My trip to Haiti

Small Farmers' Organizations Leading the Way

Caribbean and Latin American Integration

Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


Since its founding in 1973, the MPP has been fighting the good fight for land reform, food sovereignty, women’s rights, employment, health care and education for all, and environmental protection (2). Its many activities include the formation of cooperatives and credit unions, leadership training, reforestation, and teaching the principles of sustainable agriculture. Today the MPP engages over 60,000 people in sustainable farming techniques. In 2010 the organization made international waves when its members burned seeds that had been donated to Haiti by the Monsanto biotechnology company in the wake of the earthquake (3).
The MPP is an active member of the Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo (CLOC), a continental coalition that brings together 84 organizations of peasants, farm workers and black and indigenous communities of 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (4). The CLOC was founded at an international congress of grassroots groups that took place in Peru in 1994. That was a very exciting year for activism in Latin America. It was the year that saw the Zapatista EZLN emerge from Mexico’s Lacandon jungle. It was also the year that gave us the second indigenous uprising in Ecuador, part of stream of protest and organizing that would eventually result in the overthrow of three consecutive neoliberal presidents and the ratification of a new constitution, one that is among the most socially and environmentally progressive in the world. 1994 was also a year of protest marches by Bolivia’s indigenous coca growers, a sector that would later converge with other constituencies to battle against the corporate theft of natural resources such as water and natural gas, overthrowing two consecutive presidents and achieving the presidential election of Evo Morales, the hemisphere’s first indigenous head of state. It was also a year of major organizing and mobilizing for land reform in Brazil, Paraguay and Guatemala.
Our meeting at MPP is attended by representatives of farmers´ organizations not only from Puerto Rico and Haiti but also from Cuba and the Dominican Republic. This meeting is a modest step toward fulfilling the dream of a Confederación Antillana (Antillean Confederacy) that would unite the peoples of the greater Caribbean Antilles, an idea advocated by the 19th century pro-independence Puerto Rican revolutionary Ramón Emeterio Betances and his Cuban counterpart José Martí. Hopes for such a confederacy were dashed by the 1898 US invasion of Cuba and Puerto Rico, and since then have been furthered complicated by Washington’s constant interventionism, including its relentless hostility toward the Cuban revolution, its 1965 invasion of the Dominican Republic, and its suppression of Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination. Here in this multinational meeting in the middle of the Haitian countryside, the Antillean Confederacy is being built from the bottom up by small farmers and their organizations.
For two days, several agenda items are tackled, including the preparations for the upcoming twentieth anniversary of La Via Campesina’s founding, which will be celebrated at the organization’s congress in Indonesia next September. Strong emphasis is also given to the campaign on violence against women- no small issue, given that women do most of the world’s farm work, yet own almost none of the farm property and get close to zero remuneration for their toil. And there is also talk at the meeting about integrating CLOC/Via Campesina’s Caribbean region into the workings of the ALBA as well as CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. The CELAC, another effort at Latin American and Caribbean integration originally led by Hugo Chavez, is basically an Organization of American States, but explicitly excluding the US and Canada.

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jueves, marzo 21, 2013

The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats, by John Stauber


The self-labeled Progressive Movement that has arisen over the past decade is primarily one big propaganda campaign serving the political interests of the the Democratic Party’s richest one-percent who created it.  The funders and owners of the Progressive Movement get richer and richer off Wall Street and the corporate system.  But they happen to be Democrats, cultural and social liberals who can’t stomach Republican policies, and so after bruising electoral defeats a decade ago they decided to buy a movement, one just like the Republicans, a copy.
The Progressive Movement that exists today is their success story.  The Democratic elite created  a mirror image of the type of astroturf front groups and think tanks long ago invented, funded and promoted by the Reaganites and the Koch brothers.  The liberal elite own the Progressive Movement.  Organizing for Action, the “non-partisan” slush fund to train the new leaders of the Progressive Movement is just the latest big money ploy to consolidate their control and keep the feed flowing into the trough.
The professional Progressive Movement that we see reflected in the pages of The Nation magazine, in the online marketing and campaigning of MoveOn and in the speeches of Van Jones, is primarily a political public relations creation of America’s richest corporate elite, the so-called 1%, who happen to bleed Blue because they have some degree of social and environmental consciousness, and don’t bleed Red.  But they are just as committed as the right to the overall corporate status quo, the maintenance of the American Empire, and the monopoly of the rich over the political process that serves their economic interests.


Real movements are not the creation of and beholden to millionaires.  The Progressive Movement is astroturf beholden to the rich elite, just as the Democratic millionaires and operatives of the Democracy Alliance intended.  The “movement’s” funding is in the hands of a small number of super rich Democrats and union bureaucrats and advisors who run with them.  Its talking points, strategies, tactics and PR campaigns are all at the service of the Democratic elite.  There is no grassroots organized progressive movement with power in the United States, and none is being built.  Indeed,  if anything threatens to emerge,  the cry  “Remember Nader!” arises and the budding insurgency is marginalized or coopted, as in the case of the Occupy Wall Street events.  Meanwhile, the rich elite who fund the Progressive Movement, and their candidates such as Barack Obama, are completely wedded to maintaining the existing status quo on Wall Street and in the corporate boardroom.  Their well-kept Progressive Movement is adept at PR, propaganda, marketing and fundraising necessary in the service of the Democratic Party and the corporate elite who rule it.


Every well-funded movement needs an echo-chamber to pump up its propaganda and messages, and for the Progressive Movement the Netroots Nation bloggers, The Nation, Alternet, Mother Jones, and scores of other journalists and pundits have filled the bill.  The development of the messages and talking points of the Progressive Movement is the realm of DC think tanks and organizations such as Media Matters, and a small army of flacks is also utilized including PR maven David Fenton,  pollster Stanley Greenberg and messaging guru George Lakoff.


It was at this point in early 2007 that the truly dark and cynical agenda of the professional Progressive Movement and the Democratic Party revealed itself.  Under Pelosi the Democrats could have cut off funding for Bush’s unpopular wars and foreign policy.  Instead,  with PR cover provided by MoveOn and their lobbyist Tom Matzzie, the Democratic Congress gave George Bush all the money he wanted to continue his wars.  For the previous five years MoveOn had branded itself as the leader of the anti-war movement, building lists of millions of liberals, raising millions of dollars, and establishing itself in the eyes of the corporate media as leaders of the US peace movement.


Predictably the echo chamber of the Progressive Media  –  bloggers, columnists and editors at The Nation, Mother Jones and Alternet and elsewhere who get funding from the Democratic Elite  — defended the honor of 99% Spring.  The Nation produced a special issue promoting it.  A Mother Jones writer claimed that it was an indication that Occupy Wall Street had co-opted MoveOn.
Some of the idealistic young green activists employed by bought heavily into 99%.  That inspired Insider to take a critical look at as a tool for Obama’s re-election.

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miércoles, marzo 20, 2013

La Vía Campesina, veinte años!

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martes, marzo 19, 2013

‘Dirty War’ Questions for Pope Francis

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, in 2008. (Photo credit: Aibdescalzo)

March 13, 2013
Exclusive: The U.S. “news” networks bubbled with excitement over the selection of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to be Pope Francis I. But there was silence on the obvious question that should be asked about any senior cleric from Argentina: What was Bergoglio doing during the “dirty war,” writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry


Bergoglio, now the new Pope Francis I, has been identified publicly as an ally of Argentine’s repressive leaders during the “dirty war” when some 30,000 people were “disappeared” or killed, many stripped naked, chained together, flown out over the River Plate or the Atlantic Ocean and pushed sausage-like out of planes to drown.

The “disappeared” included women who were pregnant at the time of their arrest. In some bizarre nod to Catholic theology, they were kept alive only long enough to give birth before they were murdered and their babies were farmed out to military families, including to people directly involved in the murder of the babies’ mothers.

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lunes, marzo 18, 2013

Internet of food: Arduino-based, urban aquaponics in Oakland

domingo, marzo 17, 2013

Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

sábado, marzo 16, 2013


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viernes, marzo 15, 2013

Mercado agrícola en Aguadilla

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Food First: On the Road in Euskal Herria—the Basque Country


Basque farmers in their greenhouse
By Eric Holt-Giménez
The farmers of EHNE have us speaking throughout Euskal Herria. So far we have participated in their annual meeting, given presentations in four agricultural schools, a town hall meeting and a group of environmental organizations, held an open question and answer session with young, beginning farmers in EHNE, and given press conferences and book presentations in Bilbao, San Sebastian and Pamplona. The schedule is grueling, but the conversations are stimulating and the food is fantastic. Paul Nicholson and Paxti Gaztelumendi of EHNE accompany me in the presentations.

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New Report Exposes Devastating Impact of Monsanto Practices on U.S. Farmers

Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds Investigate Role of Seed Patents in Consolidating Corporate Control of Global Food Supply
Today, one week before the Supreme Court hears arguments in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Save our Seeds (SOS) – two legal and policy organizations dedicated to promoting safe, sustainable food and farming systems – will launch their new report, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers.
The new report investigates how the current seed patent regime has led to a radical shift to consolidation and control of global seed supply and how these patents have abetted corporations, such as Monsanto, to sue U.S. farmers for alleged seed patent infringement.
Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers also examines broader socio-economic consequences of the present patent system including links to loss of seed innovation, rising seed prices, reduction of independent scientific inquiry, and environmental issues.
Debbie Barker, Program Director for Save Our Seeds and Senior Writer for the Report, said today:  “Corporations did not create seeds and many are challenging the existing patent system that allows private companies to assert ownership over a resource that is vital to survival, and that, historically, has been in the public domain.”
Among the report’s discoveries are several alarming statistics:
  • As of January 2013, Monsanto, alleging seed patent infringement, had filed 144 lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in at least 27 different states.
  • Today, three corporations control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market.
  • Seed consolidation has led to market control resulting in dramatic increases in the price of seeds. From 1995-2011, the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325 percent; for cotton prices spiked 516 percent and corn seed prices are up by 259 percent.
The report also disputes seed industry claims that present seed patent rules are necessary for seed innovation.  As Bill Freese, senior scientist at Center for Food Safety and one of the report’s contributors notes:  “Most major new crop varieties developed throughout the 20th century owe their origin to publicly funded agricultural research and breeding.”
Additionally, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers reports a precipitous drop in seed diversity that has been cultivated for millennia. As the report notes:  86% of corn, 88% of cotton, and 93% of soybeans farmed in the U.S. are now genetically-engineered (GE) varieties, making the option of farming non-GE crops increasingly difficult.
While agrichemical corporations also claim that their patented seeds are leading to environmental improvements, the report notes that upward of 26 percent more chemicals per acre were used on GE crops than on non-GE crops, according to USDA data.
Further, in response to an epidemic of weed resistance to glyphosate, the primary herbicide used on GE crops, Dow AgroSciences is seeking USDA approval of “next generation” corn and soybeans resistant to 2,4-D, an active ingredient in Agent Orange.  Monsanto is seeking approval for GE dicamba-resistant soybeans, corn, and cotton.
At the launch of the report via teleconference today, experts from the Center for Food Safety and Save our Seeds were joined by Mr. Vernon Hugh Bowman, the 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who, next week, will come up against Monsanto in the Supreme Court Case.  When asked about the numerous comparisons being drawn between his case and the story of David and Goliath, Mr. Bowman responded, “I really don’t consider it as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong.”
In December of 2012, the Center for Food Safety, and Save Our Seeds submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of Mr. Bowman, which supports the right of farmers to re-plant saved seed. Arguments in the case are scheduled for February 19th.
More information on the CFS and SOS can be found at:

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jueves, marzo 14, 2013

The Whole Truth about Whole Foods Labeling Policy


  • By Ronnie Cummins and Katherine Paul 
    Organic Consumers Association, March 13th, 2013 
Whole Foods Market (WFM) is being praised in the media for announcing that it will become the first U.S. grocery chain to require that genetically engineered (GE) foods in its stores be labeled, by 2018. This is a victory for consumers and the GE labeling movement. And it’s a major setback for Monsanto, who for 20 years has worked hand-in-hand with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to uphold the myth that GE foods and crops are “substantially equivalent” to non-GE foods, that they are perfectly safe, and shouldn’t require labels.

But let’s take a look at what led up to the announcement, and how the plan falls short.

It is consumer pressure that has finally forced WFM’s hand. Last year, consumers hammered WFM when the company dragged its heels on supporting California’s Proposition 37, a Nov. 7 citizens’ ballot initiative that would have required labels on all GE foods. The measure was narrowly defeated by a misleading $45-million ad campaign, paid for by the biotech and food giants. After calls and emails to WFM executives, and a fair amount of bad press, the company finally printed up some posters and leaflets, and offered a lukewarm endorsement. But it refused to contribute money to the Yes on 37 campaign.

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miércoles, marzo 13, 2013



Probablemente sea un gobierno en relación con el neoliberalismo, porque efectivamente no es un gobierno neoliberal, pero esto no significa que sea un gobierno que tenga como horizonte el socialismo del siglo XXI o el Sumak Kawsay o un socialismo del buen vivir. Todo esto es discursivo, ideológico, porque encubre la esencia de lo que verdaderamente es la llamada “Revolución Ciudadana”.

¿Cómo podríamos caracterizar entonces este proceso? Como lo que es, un proyecto neo desarrollista extractivista, de reforma capitalista, si ustedes quieren de modernización, lo que no deja de ser importante. Es una reedición novedosa del desarrollismo, como una especie de versión posmoderna de los procesos de desarrollo vividos en América Latina en la década de los 60. No tiene como horizonte un cambio de relaciones sociales, ni un empoderamiento de un poder democrático de los movimientos sociales, sino mejorar la calidad de vida, es decir la matriz capitalista se mantiene, no solo que no cuestiona el capitalismo sino que se lo refuerza, su objetivo es en definitiva el desarrollo. A esto algunos han llamado pos neoliberalismo.

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Hoy, en América Latina, Marx ¿sería extractivista? por Eduardo Gudynas

Hoy, en América Latina, Marx ¿sería extractivista?

Eduardo Gudynas

ALAI AMLATINA, 07/02/2013.- En América Latina siguen avanzando las estrategias enfocadas en minería, hidrocarburos y monocultivos, a pesar que esto significa repetir el papel de proveedores de materias primas y de las resistencias ciudadanas. Este modo de ser extractivista se expresa tanto en gobiernos conservadores como progresistas. Pero como entre estos ú
 ltimos se esperaba otro tipo de desarrollo, esa insistencia se ha convertido en un nudo político de enorme complejidad.

Extractos selectos:

Para sostener el empuje extractivista se está apelando a nuevas justificaciones políticas. Una de las más llamativas es invocar a los viejos pensadores del socialismo, para sostener que no se opondrían al extractivismo del siglo XXI, y además, lo promoverían.

****** necesario verificar si realmente todos los países socialistas fueron mineros. Eso no es del todo cierto, y en aquellos sitios donde la minería escaló en importancia, ahora sabemos que el balance ambiental, social y económico, fue muy negativo. Uno de los ejemplos más impactante ocurrió en zonas mineras y siderúrgicas de la Polonia bajo la sombra soviética. Hoy se viven situaciones igualmente terribles con la minería en China.

No puede olvidarse que muchos de esos emprendimientos, dado su altísimo costo social y ambiental, sólo se vuelven viables cuando no existen controles ambientales adecuados o se silencian autoritariamente las demandas ciudadanas. Tampoco puede pasar desapercibido que aquel extractivismo, al estilo soviético, fue incapaz de generar el salto económico y productivo que esos mismos planes predecían.


Marx no rechazó la minería. La mayor parte de los movimientos sociales tampoco la rechazan, y si se escuchara con atención sus reclamos se encontrará que están enfocados en un tipo particular de emprendimientos: a gran escala, con remoción de enormes volúmenes, a cielo abierto e intensiva. En otras palabras, no debe confundirse minería con extractivismo.


Marx, en la América Latina de hoy, no sería extractivista, porque con ello abandonaría la meta de transformar los modos de producción, volviéndose un economista burgués. Al contrario, estaría promoviendo alternativas a la producción, y eso significa, en nuestro contexto presente, transitar hacia el post-extractivismo.

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martes, marzo 12, 2013

Nuevo informe ISAAA y noticias de Monsanto


"El Centro Africano para la Bioseguridad ha rechazado las conclusiones del informe anual más importante de la industria biotecnológica, publicado por la "ONG" financiada por la industria de los transgénicos, Servicio Internacional para la Adquisición de Aplicaciones Agro-biotecnológicas (ISAAA),calificándolas como maliciosas y erróneas." Además "Multinacional Monsanto triplicó ganancias por venta de transgénicos en América Latina" y "La Corporación (Monsanto)". 

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From Bhutan television: New Development Paradigm In Focus