Food, Justice, Violence and Capitalism

Colin Todhunter

In 2015, India’s internal intelligence agency wrote a report that depicted various campaigners and groups as working against the national interest. The report singled out environmental activists and NGOs that had been protesting against state-corporate policies. Those largely undemocratic and unconstitutional policies were endangering rivers, forests and local ecologies, destroying and oppressing marginalised communities, entrenching the corporatisation of agriculture and usurping land rights.

These issues are not unique to India. Resistance against similar practices and injustices is happening across the world. And for their efforts, campaigners are being abused, incarcerated and murdered. Whether people are campaigning for the land rights of tribal communities in India or for the rights of peasant farmers in Latin America or are campaigning against the fracking industry in the UK or against pipelines in the US, there is a common thread: non-violent protest to help bring about a more just and environmentally sustainable world.

What is ultimately fuelling the push towards the relentless plunder of land, peoples and the environment is a strident globalised capitalism, euphemistically termed ‘globalisation’, which is underpinned by increasing state surveillance, paramilitary-type law enforcement and a US-backed push towards militarism.

The deregulation of international capital movement (financial liberalisation) effectively turned the world into a free-for-all for global capital. The ramping up of this militarism comes at the back end of a deregulating/pro-privatising neoliberal agenda that has sacked public budgets, depressed wages, expanded credit to consumers and to governments (to sustain spending and consumption) and unbridled financial speculation. In effect, spending on war is in part a desperate attempt to boost a stagnant US economy.

We may read the writings of the likes of John Perkins (economic hitmen), Michel Chossudovsky (the globalisation of poverty), Michael Hudson (treasury bond super-imperialism) or Paul Craig Roberts (the US’s descent into militarism and mass surveillance) to understand the machinations of billionaire capitalists and the economic system and massive levels of exploitation and suffering they preside over.

Food activists are very much part of the global pushback and the struggle for peace, equality and justice and in one form or another are campaigning against violence, corruption and cronyism. There is a determination to question and to hold to account those with wealth and power, namely transnational agribusiness corporations and their cronies who hold political office.

There is sufficient evidence for us to know that these companies lie and cover up truth. And we also know that their bought politicians, academics, journalists and right-wing neoliberal backers and front groups smear critics and attempt to marginalise alternative visions of food and agriculture.

They are first to man the barricades when their interests are threatened. Those interests are tied to corporate power, neoliberal capitalism and the roll out of food for profit. These companies and their cheerleaders would be the last to speak up about the human rights abuses faced by environmentalists in various places across the world. They have little to say about the injustices of a global food regime that creates and perpetuates food surpluses in rich countries and food deficits elsewhere, resulting in a billion people with insufficient food for their daily needs. Instead all they have to offer are clichés about the need for more corporate freedom and deregulation if we are to ‘feed the world’.

And they attempt to gloss over or just plain ignore the land grabs and the marginalisation of peasant farmers across the world, the agrarian crisis in India or the harm done by agrochemicals because it is all tied to the neoliberal globalisation agenda which fuels corporate profit, lavish salaries or research grants.

It is the type of globalisation that has in the UK led to deindustrialisation, massive inequalities, the erosion of the welfare state and an increasing reliance on food banks. In South America, there has been the colonisation of lands and farmers to feed richer countries’ unsustainable, environment-destroying appetite for meat. In effect what Helena Paul once described in The Ecologist as genocide and ecocide. From India to Argentina, we have witnessed (are witnessing) the destruction of indigenous practices and cultures under the guise of ‘development’.

And from various bilateral trade agreements and WTO policies to IMF and World Bank directives, we have seen the influence of transnational agricapital shaping and benefitting from ‘ease of doing business’ and ‘structural adjustment’ type strategies.

We also see the globalisation of bad food and illness and the deleterious impacts of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture on health, rivers, soils and oceans. The global food regime thrives on the degradation of health, environment, labour and communities and the narrowing of the range of crops grown resulting in increasingly monolithic, nutrient-deficient diets.

Whether it includes any or all of the above or the hollowing out of regulatory agencies and the range of human rights abuses we saw documented during The Monsanto Tribunal, what we see is the tacit acceptance of neoliberal policies and the perpetuation of structural (economic, social and political) violence by mainstream politicians and agricapital and its cheerleaders.

At the same time, however, what we are also witnessing is a loosely defined food movement becoming increasingly aware of the connection between these issues.

Of course, to insinuate that those campaigning for the labelling of GM food, the right to healthy food or access to farmers markets in the West and peasant movements involved with wider issues pertaining to food sovereignty, corporate imperialism and development in the Global South form part of a unified ‘movement’ in terms of material conditions or ideological outlook would be stretching a point.

After all, if you campaign for, say, healthy organic food in your supermarket, while overlooking the fact that the food in question derives from a cash crop which displaced traditional cropping systems and its introduction effectively destroyed largely food self-sufficient communities and turned them into food importing basket cases three thousand miles away, where is the unity?

However, despite the provisos, among an increasing number of food activists the struggle for healthy food in the West, wider issues related to the impact of geopolitical IMF-World Bank lending strategies and WTO policies and the securing of local community ownership of ‘the commons’ (land, water, seeds, research, technology, etc) are understood as being interconnected.

There is an emerging unity of purpose within the food movement and the embracing of a vision for a better, more just food system that can only deliver genuine solutions by challenging and replacing capitalism and its international relations of production and consumption.


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Antonyl
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Antonyl

Indian intelligence agencies were investigating foreign funded NGOs who were breaking existing rules of declaration. In the field of traditional religion Christian and Wahhabi NGOs receive millions since decades and use this to bride the poor to join their ideology. It is not very different with the new dark green ideologies, only their the money is used to bribe power holders like journos, activists, politicians etc. In India there is now a lucrative industry to blackmail new big projects with green protests (some real, much not): this pays off regularly so it goes on. China is on the other side… Read more »

Mulga Mumblebrain
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Mulga Mumblebrain

Zionazi racism and Orientalism is ALWAYS repulsive, and this creature adds anti-Green hatred as well. But, after all, hatred is this type’s existential fuel.

Antonyl
Reader
Antonyl

Maybe you can explain your readers here how Xi China deals with Tibetan Buddhist ,Muslim and Christian NGOs: you could start with his appointment of 7 bishops https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-45613668
This is way past dubious money transfer investigations.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

China won’t allow Western enemies or their agents inside China to ‘..bring China down’, as is plainly the USA’s intention. Of course you Zionazis (and what chutzpah it takes to feign concern for Chinese minorities when your treatment of the Palestinians is so very much worse)HATE and FEAR China because Zionazi Fifth Columns will never control China the way they do the entire West. And the Chinese dare to treat Israelis as fellow human beings, not the ‘Gods Upon the earth’, as Begin put it.

Antonyl
Reader
Antonyl

Hilarious to read your stuff about hatred, but as your are full of it it comes out kind of natural.

Mulga Mumblebrain
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Mulga Mumblebrain

The concatenation of Talmudic hatred of all the goyim, the typical European settler hatred of the indigenous inhabitants who must be exterminated or expelled so that the Herrenvolk can seize their myth-given lebensraum, and (the most understandable) the hatred that grew out of the Nazi Judeocide, makes you Zionazis simply little pustules of hatred and aggression. There are others like you, of course, but you have the power and control, gained through straight bribery, to cause more suffering than any others. And it will consume you, too, in the end. I almost pity you, and your suicidal drive.

Kathy
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Kathy

The land which supports life has been carved up Stolen, bought, sold and exploited. Way back in time the land was free and the people were free. Common land is still being stolen and taken away from the people. The notion of the land being for the people destroyed and the land or lack of it became a weapon to use against the people enclosured until the serfs had to beg and enslave themselves to their masters for survival.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

The ruling psychopaths HATE other people, one another and, often enough, themselves. Hence the coming genocide of the ‘useless eaters’ ie c.90% of humanity. Notice all the recurring ‘warnings’ of the ‘inevitability’ of a new global ‘pandemic’, and the huge, global, archipelago of bio-warfare labs set up by the Pentagon, and their concerted efforts to collect DNA, blood and tissue (including neoplasms)samples from every identifiable human group. Then draw the only conceivable conclusion, given the nature of the Evil monsters in power throughout the West, and their absolute refusal to live on a ‘multi-polar’ world.

binra
Reader

Some are more insulated from self hate than others. One thing I see though is that hate always seeks and finds targets upon which to dump its charge. Any conclusion driven by hate – and that includes ‘hating the haters’ is inherently self-destructive. You are right that hate operates a self and other-destructive agenda – depending upon whether others join in it or choose not to. I see hate is almost universally unowned and masked over in the heart – and not least by scapegoating the evil, the unworthy, the traitor or the different. From the point of the Human… Read more »

binra
Reader

I also read your picture deeper – in that the nature of shared being is lost to a private agenda of self-possession and defence, as a result of scarcity, lack and competition that may also be artificially induced. So ‘the people’ are all to a large degree operating the ‘private sense of self-possession’ by which the true nature of shared being – while Life and its worth held in common – is denied, sacrificed and fed to the Idols of fear-protected identity. The guilt that I see as inherent to a getting a ‘self’ upon the denial of the life… Read more »

Kathy
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Kathy

As without so within. The trauma of possession and being possessed. I have always felt that the ownership and exploitation of the land acted/acts as the catalyst. The enslavement of body and mind. A dependence on something that has been possessed and is now used to ensnare. . And yes the trauma that this creates with in the psyci festers ever deeper. As we are enslaved we further enslave ourselves, others and the land. As we are possessed we begin to covert things we can possess. Then we start to believe that what we have, and own ourselves liberates us.… Read more »

binra
Reader

I read this quote this morning: “Ownership is a dangerous concept, if it is left to you. The ego wants to HAVE things for salvation, for possession is its law. Possession for its OWN sake is the ego’s fundamental creed, a basic cornerstone in the churches that it builds unto itself. And at ITS altar, it demands you lay ALL of the things it bids you get, leaving you no joy in them”. EVERYTHING that the ego tells you that you need will hurt you. For, although it urges you again and again to GET, it LEAVES you nothing, for… Read more »

Tom Hunsdale
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Tom Hunsdale

Whatever they were trying to say, it was far too wordy. No necessity for that when trying to convey a message.

binra
Reader

Is it that I write too many words or that you write in a sense of offence or a need to judge as if you have to read them? You can just as well dismiss this article and every other. Too many words! There are many forums where messages of very few words are exchanged. You are also a freedom to associate or give attention to that which resonates or is relevant to where and who you are right now and I support you in your freedom not to struggle in what is not for you – at least at… Read more »

Tom Hunsdale
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Tom Hunsdale

Sorry, that was in response to the essay from Binra.

vexarb
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vexarb

“Food First” was an eye-opening book which my student daughter passed on to educate me. That was in the eighties, the era of Snatcher and her Gospel of Greed. From Todhunter’s article it seems that things today are the same, only worse because the greedy have become more powerful and more insolent. Time to reverse the eighties: there is such a thing as Society.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

It’s too late to reverse ecological collapse. Already, with two degrees Celsius of warming in one particular rain forest studied, it has been found that insect numbers, the base of life-support systems, have fallen ‘sixty-fold’, by which I assume they mean 98% plus. And at least a century of further warming is built in, let alone that which will be caused by the current crop of Evil and deranged hard Right omnicidists (and fake ‘Leftwing’ denialists).

binra
Reader

The term ‘full spectrum dominance’ is associated with the US (A) but I believe the USA is induced to chase this carrot as an asset or proxy of a hidden or dark agenda. The dark is a mind which works in secret to know not what it does, by substitution for reality under the ‘need to know’ something ELSE and defend this against disclosure. The forms that this takes in a world of secrets and lies that is now collapsing under its own ‘weight’ are across the full spectrum of such a sense of subjection, but they all share witness… Read more »

Starac
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Starac

Uhhhh. So heavy. Utter clutter.
For a while can not read you anymore. Too tiring.
Try only one short paragraph at the time. One thought.
You are not impressing anyone. Opposite.

Starac
Reader
Starac

This was addressed to Binra.

Maggie
Reader
Maggie

Wow Binra,
If I could have understood just half of what you are ‘saying’ here, I may have agreed?
But then again, I may not have?
Then you wonder why the ‘sheep’ remain ignorant?

Tom Hunsdale
Reader
Tom Hunsdale

I am pretty sure I am a bit above average in intelligence, but I had to stop reading it after one paragraph.

binra
Reader

Hi Tom Intelligence can be applied to the invention of highly complex deceits (ie banking) and to the capacity to think and act in ways that maintain the deceits. Meanwhile ‘toxic debt’ unfolds global destruction while those who ‘sell it’ as IF a currency of a just exchange, apply their intelligence to outsourcing the most part of all toxic consequence away from their private and personal sense of self experience. Unlike a rigged monopoly system, I write to the freedom to alight in and be curious. There is no undertone or framing of guilt, threat and punishment in what I… Read more »

Maggie
Reader
Maggie

I think perhaps I am in need of a little of what Binra is using to open my mind?

Jen
Reader
Jen

Erm … doesn’t Binra basically say the same thing in at least 50% of his/her commenting?

To find the truth, we need to discover our individual spiritual paths to Oneness … and know that there are forces determined to stop us from doing this work.

binra
Reader

What would ‘close’ a mind but beliefs, judgements or ‘mutually agreed reality definitions’ that effectively frame, filter or limit what CAN be accepted, conceived of or perceived? The opening of a perspective UPON our thought is different from the running of an already established thought pattern, for the latter already runs a momentum of invested identifications. It should be well known that faulty thinking brings poor results that then seek illusion to hide in and open vulnerability to organised corruption. To organise or structure communication and activity upon the protection and preservation of the lie. Hiding the error (of faulty… Read more »