On the 16th of October, the Food Justice march protested Monsanto and other makers of genetically-modified “frankenfoods” and their flunkies in the US government. The first target of the march was USTR, the offices of the United States Trade Representative. Monsanto spent a lot of time there making sure their “contributions” were included in the toxic TPP or Trans-Pacific Parthership trade deal. Next up was the EPA, an agency known for taking little action against GMO’s and dangerous pesticides such as neo-nicotinoids that can exterminate bees. Finally the march went to Monsanto’s headquarters and stayed there until well after dark. Speaking of dark, Monsanto is pushing the “dark act,” a proposed Federal law to ban states from requiring GMO “frankenfoods” to be labelled.
On the 17th of October, the Food Justice march held a rally at the US Capitol for most of the day. A couple very interesting points were made by speakers there. One explained that the fallout from the TPP “fast-track” debate was the true reason GOP House Speaker Jim Boehner had to resign. Apparently all the arm-twisting he had to do to ensure Obama’s legacy by punishing anti-TPP House Republicans triggered a rebellion against his leadership. Fast-Track was a bruising 3 year debate, and now the TPP has gotten someone fired (as House speaker) before even being ratified.
Another speaker pointed out that every time the “Occupy-Monsanto” crew comes to DC, Monsanto buys a month-long advertising blitz on public transit in the DC area. The posters have a short life expectancy, the speaker reported seeing only ads “edited” with markers each time due to widepread public revulsion against Monsanto and their engineered “frankenfoods.” Well, all that money spent on ads indicates that Monsanto fears this movement. They need the “Dark Act” or Vermont’s mandatory labelling of GMO’s goes into effect on Jan 1, before the TPP can be ratified or go into effect. At that point, all grocery manufactorers will have to label GMO’s going to Vermont or remove them. As two-track distribution is a nuisance, this will cause a lot of GMO’s to be removed in “marginal” applications. Monsanto is now laying off 12% of their workforce, and their stock has plunged 25% since the beginning of the year.
The “Dark Act” or HR 1599 is believed to be unlikely to pass the Senate, but activists fear it will be attached instead to the 2016 budget or some other “must-pass” bill. An ugly precedent for this was set by Senator McCain’s inclusion of language giving Resolution Copper the right to destroy Oak Flats (an Apache sacred site) with a copper mine in the 1015 NDAA defense spending bill. Even if the “Dark Act” is stopped, similar provisions are also included in the TPP trade deal. If state or local governments impose labelling laws anywhere in any country that ratifies the TPP, the governments involved will be exposed to NAFTA style lawsuits where the national governments get dragged before a “court” of corporate lawyers who will demand that all lost potential profits be paid back. Already the US has lost one of these lawsuits over labelling of imported meat from Mexico and Canada under WTO rules. The result was legislation forced through congress to stop country of origin labelling on meat products.
Monsanto and their supporters call HR 1599 the “the Safe and Accurate Food Labelling Act of 2015” but since it is a bill to deny consumers information, it is more widely known as Deny Americans the Right to Know Act, or DARK act for short.
Food Justice March at headquarters of “MonSatan”
The march approaches the United State’s Trade Representative’s office(USTR)
On the steps of USTR protesting Monsanto’s “contributions” to toxic trade deals like the TPP
A bee “die-in” at the EPA
The march finished at the headquarters of Monsanto and stayed until well after dark