* Join the movement to protect the fabric of life *
THE CROSS-POLLINATOR #1 - Harvest, 1999
The seasonal newsletter of the U.S. Bioengineering Action Network (BAN)
POB 11703 Eugene, OR. 97440/U$A
Their Ship Is Sinking!
Amidst plummeting stocks and still reeling from a wave of resistance to agricultural biotechnology in Europe and India that just won't go away, the "Life Sciences Industry" is suddenly realizing, to their horror and dismay, that the movement against genetic engineering in the US is rapidly picking up steam.
Caving in to consumer pressure, Federal agencies are currently discussing mandatory labeling of GE foods, and legislative efforts are underway as well. Gerber foods, owned by biotech giant, Novartis, recently announced a commitment to stop using GMOs in their baby food, and industrial food distro monster Archer Daniels Midland have asked their grain suppliers to segregate GMOs from commercial crops. Potential ecological and health risks are coming under closer scrutiny, and evidence of genetic pollution and toxicity to wildlife is gaining more exposure.
An undercurrent of direct action is just what these mad scientists and their "venture capitalist" investors need to understand that our demands will not cease when labels are attached to their mutant food. BAN is committed to generating a serious critique of the biotech industry in all its varied applications- from GE livestock and"pharm"ing, to cloning, designer babies, patents on life, genetically "improved" trees, and the new "value-added" GMOs in the research pipeline, like grapes, berries, melons, trees and salmon.
We recognize that while labeling of GE foods will help the public understand how pervasive this technology is, choosing not to buy these products is a choice reserved for the privileged. Prisons and hospitals, public schools, and WIC/welfare programs are all huge shoppers in the GE marketplace, subsidizing the industry with tax monies. More alarmingly, the infestation of GE in third world "structural adjustment"-style development schemes is poised to make up for the lost profits in the privileged industrial west, where consumer choice is actually possible.
To stop the application and development of GE will require a comprehensive challenge that they can't accommodate by simply appealing to middle class moralists.
WHO and WHAT is BAN?
BAN is a North American network of activists working against genetic engineering (GE), especially focused on GE in agriculture. The BAN collective is a small group of us spread around the country, facilitating projects like the BAN web site, this newsletter, international networking, and alternative media outreach. The collective is especially focused on supporting and publicizing DIRECT ACTION (from banner hangings to crop sabotage) against the Ag Biotech industry and their government and university collaborators.
120 activists receive and share information and reports on an e-mail listserve that is open to the public, and receive between 5-15 messages a week. To subscribe, write to email@example.com, with the following message: ban-request
You can also subscribe to the BAN Alert mailing list, from which you will receive periodic Action alerts, reports, and the Cross-pollinator newsletter. Just write firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: BANalert
REGIONAL ACTION GROUPS
RAGE (Resistance Against GE) and other action groups have formed in many regions of north america- some more formally than others. A full listing of regional action groups can be found on the BAN web site at http://www.tao.ca/~ban/regional.htm. More groups are strongly encouraged to form, especially in areas where none exist already such as the Southwest/Texas, and the Northern rockies. If you want to be listed as a contact in your area, write email@example.com.
Resistance Is Growing!
Direct actionists have been busy this summer and fall, mercifully harvesting mutant crops from their corporate prisons. As of press time, there have been 12 crop actions taken in the last two months!
Some actions have targeted non-GE experimental hybrid crops, or crops that were not confirmed as GE. Sabotage of corporate property (crops, trucks, facilities) and corporate-funded University research is a strategic strike against Agribusiness and the Ag Biotech industry itself. The extreme concentration of seed ownership (see http://www.rafi.org/communique/19992.html) is resulting in a global monopoly on research, development and marketing by companies like NK and Pioneer, recently aquired by Novartis and Dupont respectively. Even politicians are feeling the pressure to restrain such consolidation of power over the world's food supply. The life-sciences industry can no longer hide behind their friendly "green", pro-farmer image- they must be exposed for the conquistadors that they are.
Chronology Of Summer 1999 Actions (see BAN website for details of each action):
- JULY 27, 1999 California Croppers strike at the University of California at Berkeley's Gil Tract. 14 rows of corn destroyed.
- JULY 28 The Lodi Loppers and Cropastistas take out 1 acre apiece of Dekalb and Seed Tech Round-up Ready corn in Lodi, Calif.
- AUG 20 Resistance spread to the East Coast! The Seeds of Resistance "weeds" 1 acre of Round-Up Ready corn at the University of Maine.
- AUG 29 An unnamed group cut a 50 foot swath into a Bt corn field in rural Vermont, leaving pictures of Monarch butterflies.
- SEP 1 MN Bolt Weevils debut in Golden Valley, Minnesota at Novartis Seeds. 1000 corn stalks are trampled at one location as other Bolt Weevils glue the locks to the company's headquarters.
- SEP 13 GenetiX Alert media office opens and starts relaying communiques from crop pullers to the press.
- SEP 15 MN Bolt Weevils strike at Pioneer Hi-Bred in Mankato, MN. 50 rows of research corn trashed, company vehicles damaged. Pioneer sign in front of the facility is changed to read "Pioneering Farmageddon."
- SEP 15 RECLAIM THE SEEDS strikes at UC-Berkeley. A "crop circle of conscience" is cut into research corn.
- early SEP RECLAIM THE SEEDS takes out 1 acre of Round-Up Ready corn at UC-Davis.
- SEP 15 RTS takes out 1 acre of Monsanto Round-Up Ready Sugar beets. The University denies that the beets were transgenic but then admits Monsanto funding. RTS provides documentation of USDA field permits.
- SEP 16 7 acres of corn sacked by RTS at UC-Davis. RTS introduces the "California Corn Cutters" as the tool of choice among night gardeners everywhere. The University continues the misinformation campaign claiming the corn was conventional despite the presence of USDA permits for the release of transgenic organisms.
- SEP 28 RTS strikes five rows of transgenic melons, sixteen rows of transgenic walnut trees, sixty rows of pesticide-ridden tomatoes as well as two pieces of research equipment at two UC-Davis GE facilities.
- SEP 29 RTS teams up with the "Future Farmers" in Woodland, CA. 50 rows of transgenic corn and 1 acre of herbicide tolerant sunflowers at Pioneer Hi-Bred (DuPont) are decontaminated, and over a hundred melons were destroyed at NK Seeds (Novartis), as well as irrigation equipment and greenhouses.
It's harvest time in Amerikkka so expect more action soon. OCTOBER 27 is a national day of direct action (see below)
Genetix Alert Press Office
The Genetix Alert press office circulates statements from underground groups to the mainstream press and alternative media/activist networks, and speaks supportively to the press. Anonymously e-mailed communiques and phone statements made to firstname.lastname@example.org; (619)584-6462, will be released to the public immediately. An extensive archive of direct action communiques and press coverage is at http://www.tao.ca/~ban/ar.htm.
GA is also looking for anti-GE activists in all regions who are willing to be contacted by the media for supportive and informed statements, when underground actions happen in your area. Potential media spokespeople are welcome to consult BAN for resources and background information on the issues. Benefit fundraisers and monetary donations to keep the GA press office running are encouraged!
How Do I Find "Them"?
Finding tagets can be as easy as locating your local supermarket or school to perform political theater and give out literature, or as difficult as locating experimental transgenic (GE) field tests at a University or corporate facility. There are extensive links to internet research avenues on the BAN website, and BAN can always be contacted for advice. A group of conservative farmers is producing a "Night-time Gardener's Guide" to serve as a "how-to" for would-be crop saboteurs. It will soon be available on the BAN web site. HOW DO I STAY INFORMED?
Staying up to date on rapid political and scientific developments can be a real task! News comes and goes quickly, and being clued in to "political moments" can be useful in choosing action strategy. The source of the news you find is of utmost importance, as the GE giants are desperate to win public acceptance of the technology. Industry has its own Public Relations engines, by way of trade associations like the Int'l Biotechnology Industry Organization http://www.www.bio.org/ and Monsanto's Farmsource http://www.farmsource.com/, as well as the corporate media itself.
The BAN listserve often gets good news stories, and the Rueters website has an entire section devoted to the subject. The best source of science and political news is often activist group web sites, such as the Campaign for Food Safety http://www.purefood.org/gelink.html#NEWS
WTO and AG BIOTECH
Genetic engineering and patents on life will be a major focus of the agenda at the upcoming World Trade Organization's 3rd Ministerial in Seattle on Nov 29-Dec 3 of this year. Agricultural Secretary Dan Glickman said agriculture was the one issue that could "make or break" the WTO negotiations. The US wants to reduce tariffs and regulatory barriers that inhibit US farm exports and ensure that 'science-based' rules govern trade in genetically engineered crops and other products of biotechnology. One only has to note the breakneck pace of agribusiness mergers and aquisitions to see the true source of the ongoing "farm crisis" that is pressuring farmers to use GE seeds and seek wider openings in world ag markets. An overview of the ag issues at WTO can be found on the BAN web site.
Educational forums, rallies and demonstrations involving anti-GE activists and radical farmers from around the continent and world are being scheduled by various non-profits and NGOs, especially on Thursday during the Ministerial. Check out http://www.iatp.org/ for background info. and a complete listing of educational forums at WTO on Ag Biotech and Trade issues.
The Direct Action Network (DAN) will be preparing political theater and technical direct actions to greet the world's trade Ministers with a strong anti-corporate message. Check out the DAN's plans at: http://www.agitprop.org/artandrevolution/
***** ACTION ALERT *****
National Day Of Direct Action - October 27
Radical gardeners of America arise! Now is the time to step up the pressure on the biotechnology industry and their beholden government regulators. With industry stocks plummeting and the USDA bowing to consumer pressure for labeling of GE foods, the stage is set for a flood of action. Banner hangs, blockades, office occupations, crop pullings (both public and covert) and otherwise strategic nonviolent acts in defense of biodiversity and cultural survival, are all in order, as well as supermarket theater and consumer education. Research your local "life sciences" company or University GE research at http://www.tao.ca/~ban/.
Contact BAN with your reports: email@example.com.
GENETIX ACTION distributes anti-GE literature for groups who want to table at events and food stores. Contact GA at: firstname.lastname@example.org; (415)789-8454 A full listing of available materials is at: http://www.artactivist.com/geneact/
RACHEL's HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT WEEKLY Amazing weekly report providing "understandable scientific information about human health and the environment." http://126.96.36.199/erf/bulletin/index.cfm?St=1.
P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD 21403
CAMPAIGN FOR FOOD SAFETY newsletter (News and Analysis on Genetic Engineering, Factory Farming & Organics):
6114 Hwy 61, Little Marais, MN 55614 / (218) 226-4164
RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation Int'l) - they have a listserve and LOTS of info. on the Terminator Gene technology: http://www.rafi.org/
RAFI-USA/P. O. Box 640/Pittsboro NC 27312/USA
FARMAGEDDON by Brewster Kneen- Possibly the best book on the subject of Ag Biotech and corporate PR. Good strategy ideas and historical context, and not too technical.
New Society Publishers/P.O. Box 189/Gabriola Island, B.C. Canada, V0R 1X0
BIOPIRACY by Vandana Shiva A brief encapsulation of the issues of patenting, intellectual property rights, the effects of GE, industrial agriculture and the "free trade" agenda in India and other southern countries, especially on women. A powerful feminist critique of "development" and a mind-blowing exploration of non-industrial societies as stewards of biodiversity. Other Shiva must-reads include "The Violence of the Green Revolution" and "Monocultures of the Mind". Check out: www.southside.org.sg/souths/twn/bio.htm
Please send this newsletter along to anyone you feel may be interested, and feel free to link BAN to your web site.
See you in Seattle, and in the fields!
LONG LIVE THE SEEDS!!
"If you care about wildlife and think the natural world is fine without mutant genes, you should resist genetic engineering. If you care about social justice and don't want to poison farm workers with pesticides and herbicides, you should resist genetic engineering. If you care about biological and cultural diversity as opposed to a global corporate monoculture, you should resist genetic engineering. If you care about laboratory animals and don't want researchers creating hybrid genetic monsters, you should resist genetic engineering. If you eat food, you should resist genetic engineering. If not you, then who? If not now, when? Resistance to genetic engineering is as transnational as capital."
óJohnna Appleseed for Reclaim the Seeds
Back to Gateway Greens homepage.