[Marxism] Frankenpolitics: The Left defence of GMOs

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jan 7 16:41:21 MST 2014

On 1/7/14 6:14 PM, Leigh Phillips wrote:
> http://www.redpepper.org.uk/debate-gm-is-good-for-you/

 From the article above:

Those infamous suicides in India

But what about the campaigners’ favourite GM horror story, the infamous 
sharp rise in farmer suicides in India since the introduction in 2002 of 
varieties of cotton genetically modified to express Bacillus 
thuringiensis (Bt) genes to produce resistance to bollworms?


This is the same talking points made by Amy Harmon in the NY Times on 

I deal with Vandana Shiva and her critics in my rebuttal to Harmon:

Harmon can’t resist taking a potshot at Vandana Shiva, who is probably 
the best known critic of GM crops in the world today:

	Monsanto’s cotton, engineered with a gene from bacteria to ward off 
certain insects, had “pushed 270,000 farmers to suicide” since the 
company started selling it in India in 2002, the activist Vandana Shiva 
said in a Honolulu speech Ms. Wille attended.

	But in Nature, a leading academic journal, Mr. Ilagan [a Hawaiian 
elected politician who favors GM] found an article with the subhead “GM 
Cotton Has Driven Farmers to Suicide: False.”

You can read Shiva’s rebuttal to the Nature article here but I think it 
is far more worthwhile to consider what India’s Supreme Court has 
decided. In October 2012 they called for a 10 year ban on Monsanto’s GM 
cotton over worries that “transgenics can contaminate and adversely 
affect the biodiversity”. The last time I checked the Indian Supreme 
Court was not exactly a champion of poor peasants or environmental 
safety. Something must be going on, no?

Furthermore, the Hindustan Times reported on March 26, 2012 that a 
“Secret govt note says Bt cotton failing, leading to farmer suicides” 
had been leaked to the press. The government agency referred to in the 
article was the Ministry of Agriculture, which like the Supreme Court 
was not to be mistaken for Vandana Shiva even on its best days.


But more to the point is an utter disengagement in Leigh's article with 
the real problem, a crisis in agriculture that cannot be resolved 
through the "Green Revolution" or GM. It is what John Foster Bellamy 
called the problem of the "metabolic rift" that can only be resolved 
through the overcoming of the gap between town and country--a key demand 
of the Communist Manifesto.

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