Chemical-Food-Retail corporations are joined at the hip - with the State acting as though in control of this Three-Headed Monster |. Cartoonist Clay Bennett | Click for image.
The Big Story
Over the last 100 years, agriculture in the West has become more capital-intensive, more chemical oriented – dominated by a few buyers.
Western agriculture is now controlled by around 5% of the population. This concentration of production has been possible through State subsidies that total US$100 billion.
There is now a unholy nexus between buying corporations (like, say ConAgra) that have huge capital at their disposal – with which they buy all farm production, in say wheat. This is now sold to mega-retail chains like Walmart. Monsanto another huge chemical producer, works ‘closely’ with (say) Walmart and (say) ConAgra. Between these three, they decide what we eat, what is safe – and what we know.
Assuming that the State is on our side (a big assumption), it still means that the State depends on these same companies for ‘disclosures’. Based on what this oligopoly ‘discloses’, the State decides.
And we consume.
The plaintiffs in the suit — growers from mostly small, family-owned farms in Misiones Province, Argentina — say they were asked to use herbicides and pesticide produced by Monsanto that were proven to be poisonous. Many farmers insist that they were driven to replace native tobacco crops with a variant favored by Philip Morris which required more pesticides to harvest. From there they were pushed to use Roundup, a Monsanto-made herbicide that, while successful in killing weeds, has ghastly side effects due to its large concentration of the chemical glyphosate.
“Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants promoted the use of Roundup and other herbicides to tobacco farmers in Misiones even though they were on direct and explicit notice that at all relevant times farmers in Misiones, including the instant plaintiffs, lacked the necessary personal protective equipment and other safety knowledge and skills required to minimize harmful exposures to Roundup,” the complaint claims.
Also in the filing, attorneys argue that both Monsanto and Philip Morris “actively recommended and/or required that contracted tobacco farmers, including the instant plaintiffs, purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides” while failing to recommend protective measures necessary to combat the health risks that were not made available to the farmers.
“The plaintiff tobacco farmers’ lack of training and instruction on the safe disposal of unused Roundup and other pesticides caused further exposure,” the complaint states. “Leftover pesticides were discarded in locations where they leached into the water supply.”
The farmers insist that that exposure to Monsanto’s pesticides, which they were compelled to use after urging from both the corporation and Big Tobacco firms, caused an array of defects in area children. The legal filing is asking for financial compensation, as well as punitive damages for negligence, product liability, breach of warranty, ultra hazardous activity, aiding and abetting, willful and wanton misconduct and violations of Argentine laws, reports the Courthouse News Service. (via Monsanto sued for poisoning farmers — RT).
The price we pay for buying this industrial food system is what funds the media that feeds us with half-truths | Cartoonist Cathy Wilcox' source & courtesy - coreybradshaw.wordpress.com | Click for image.
Do we have options?
We can wait for thirty years. Wait for ‘activistas’ to take up our case. Spend millions, research for years, to build a case against this oligopoly.
And sue them.
Cases that will take years, cost hundreds of millions – with an uncertain outcome.
These same corporations are promising us Indians, low prices for consumers, and higher incomes to farmers – and better tax return to the State.
Progress, I believe, is the term used to describe this system.