It has not been easy reaching the progressive community about what is happening to farming. Eyes glaze over. It's "only" farming, good for dinner or discussion of organic food through one's CSA, but otherwise all that subsidy stuff or farm bills or imports and exports is just ... boring. Bigger fish to fry like wars and NSA-spying and torture.
But do progressives really think that the corporations which are control so our other agencies, have somehow left the USDA and the FDA, untouched? Do they really think the bills coming out of the administration for food safety, are safe for any of us, let alone the farmers who are on the line, competing against corporations in a rigged market already?
Do liberals know that corn and soy, the basis of most of our food and now of our fuel, are almost entirely "owned" by Monsanto, via Clarence Thomas, a Monsanto employee, being put on the Supreme court just in time to rule genetically engineered organisms were the same as normal and for a vast extension of the intellectual property laws which locked in ownership of biology itself? Are progressives watching? Are they aware of NAIS click here
an animal (and animal owner) tracking system that makes NSA-spying look like a picnic by comparison. Have they thought about the impact NAIS will have on sustainable agriculture, to say nothing of freedom itself and safety from the government?
The answer is no. The left doesn't really know what is going on yet it must because our farmers are in serious trouble, which means we all are. Corporations are doing what they can to take complete control of food, here and worldwide.
I have a fantasy of bringing right and left together, around farming issues - around our American table. I have been pushing the farmers and ranchers I know to call the ACLU for help since there are profound civil rights issues involved in NAIS and control of seeds and with the banning of raw milk click here
Most farmers are conservatives who dislike the ACLU for its defense of gay rights or abortion rights, but still, they would take the help but it's not there. And they say themselves, they try to tell people but are told "it's JUST farming" (that is, irrelevant).
Where is the ACLU? Why hasn't it been leading the fight on behalf of farmers' rights against Monsanto's Orwellian control over seeds, over its take-over of our land grant colleges, over its dangerous displacement of indigenous seeds, over its pushing to block labeling of rBGH milk (associated with increased risk of breast cancer, prostate and colon cancer), over its suing farmers for honest labeling of non-rBGH milk, over .... ? They should see how large these issues are.
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So, I wrote the ACLU in my - and after months, still have not heard back. I have written (by email) every ACLU in the US that had an email, and written many times to the ACLU in Pennsylvania. They say I have be from Pennsylvania and one can get help in one's own state. But my state ACLU is mute. So, what do I tell farmers? They are right, the ACLU only cares about gays and abortion and not about their David and Goliath struggle to survive at all against huge undemocratic forces?
I tell friends who are farmers that these are constitutional issues so the ACLU will care and help them, too, but the ACLU is silent as a stone. Yet, if the ACLU would show up as a white knight against NAIS or the seed monopoly or the banning of raw milk, that would go a HUGE piece toward bringing together conservative farmers and progressives around the country who do care about injustice (once they look up from the familiar set of issues they focus on and see their own countrymen are in trouble and that trouble is life and death for all of us). That coming together is what has to happen. It is critical to deal with saving our farmers and our food - and coming together is needed to fight so much else, too.
But our farmers first.
The ACLU needs to see past most people's blinders about "agriculture as non-political" to the immensity of what is happening on the land and to control the land, animals, plants and people. Our country and food itself is being taken over and to do that, the government and those corporations which have bought their control of it, are undermining the most basic principles of freedom, including working to pre-empt farmer and/or community control of what is planted. When a horse and buggy Mennonite farmer is arrested in Pennsylvania for merely selling real milk and real cheese, and his property stolen by state troopers and he faces prison for doing what his family has done for generations, we are looking at THE civil rights movement of our time - against our own government which has become a front for corporations.
Does anyone know people with the ACLU I could speak to?