||This article appears in the January 13, 2012 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
LaRouche: Cancel British
Imperial Food Control Laws
by Marcia Merry Baker
[PDF version of this article]
Jan. 9At the start of the New Year, the daily reports of breakdown in the world's food chainadding to already short suppliespose the urgency of forcing a fundamental policy shift, or else continuing down the short road to famine. "What you have to do to solve the food problem is very simple: You have to eliminate the British-centered control, over food production and distribution," Lyndon LaRouche said, on his year-end LPAC-TV Weekly Report (www.larouchepac.com). "If you just take those laws that are on the books now, cancel them! And you automatically will have a surge in food production."
The set of U.S. laws suppressing food production, ruining family farming, and creating shortages and conditions for famine, include a set of acts centered on the World Trade Organization (WTO), and pushed through by networks associated with City of London/Wall Street political and financial interests, best called the British Empire. In the United States, three principal acts to be nullified are:
treaty-membership in the World Trade Organization (begun in January 1995);
the 1970 Plant Variety Protection Actallowing private patenting of plant improvementsand successor amendments and acts to the same purpose; and
the 2005 Federal mandate for bio-fuels.
The impact of these three is augmented by the non-enforcement of anti-trust laws; and the sweeping funding cuts underway against NASA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and Agriculture Department activitiesall of which are responsible for programs and infrastructure to promote discoveries and enhance Earth resources for agriculture.
Anchoring these nullifications, is the requirement to cancel the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley act, which itself overthrew President Franklin Roosevelt's 1933 Glass-Steagall Act. Glass-Steagall must be reinstated as quickly as possible. It is the basis for ending the deadly debt/speculation bubble, now killing off what's left of the real economy. Once Glass-Steagall is in motion, under which useful banking is entirely segregated from gambling/banking, credit-issuance for national-interest projects, especially building up agro-industrial activity, can be launched.
Under these conditions, the principle of parity pricing for agriculturethe basis of national food securitycan be fully restored. The principle was introduced during the FDR Administration, and functioned to aid the dramatic increase in food output during World War II, despite the huge contingent of young men in military service. Under the principle, farmers are guaranteed a price for their output (hogs, tomatoes, grains, cattle, milk, and dozens of others), to cover their expenses of production, to provide a decent profit, and to thus give farmers an income on a par with decent incomes other workers are receiving throughout the economy. This, in turn, provides all citizens with food security.
Agriculture parity pricing was phased out during the 1960s in the U.S., but the mechanism remains in the background as standing law for the Agriculture Department, and can be re-activated, at the same time that the destructive WTO-associated laws are cancelled.
Look at a few snapshots of today's worsening farm chaos and food shortages, in terms of the impact of allowing these unlawful acts to remain in effect. The urgency and immediate positive impact of overturning them becomes clear.
Repudiate the WTO
The WTO anti-nation-state intent is conveyed in the 1988 slogan: "One World, One Market," from the Montreal summit of its predecessor, the UN General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), Uruguay Round of Agriculture "Reform" (1986-94), out of which process the WTO was formed. The defining principle of the WTO is that member-nations must agree to renounce sovereign responsibility over their food production and supplies, and grant borderless mega-agro cartels the right to operate freely, under the sucker-propaganda that the world "market" and so-called "free" (rigged) trade will somehow provide sufficient food to meet human needs.
This formulation serves to directly undercut the purpose of government to promote the general welfare. It furthers the intent of the British imperial system, to drastically reduce world agro-industiral potential, and create conditions for de-population. Under the "markets" principle, the "global sourcing" of food by privateer companies, works to the detriment of the populations in both the exporting and importing nations.
A glaring example is the "free"-trade situation between Mexico and the United States. In the 1960s, Mexico was a grain surplus-producing and -exporting nation, home to the great Green Revolution; and the United States was fully food self-sufficient. Now, after WTO and NAFTA (1992)which also should be nullifiedMexico has been forced into severe food import-dependency for corn, rice, beans, and other staples, with millions suffering from hunger. Meantime, the United States is ever-more import-dependent for many foods, and hunger is worsening. Mexico has been forced into warping its agricultural potential into neo-plantations run by the cartels, to produce huge flows of fruits and vegetables for export to "the markets" in the United Statestomatoes, avocadoes, melons, frozen vegetables, etc.
The entire continent of Africa has undergone a dramatic decline in per-capita food production over the past 40 years. At the same time, flows of for-export cash crops from Africa to Europe have risencut flowers, fruits, vegetables, juice, and bio-diesel feedstock. Millions in Africa are starving; in 2011, famine was declared in the Horn of Africa. But this is a "market" success story for the British Empire.
The idea that nations should ever give up their sovereign rights over domestic food production and trade of any kind was a non-starter at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference. The 1940s proposal for an International Trade Organization (ITO), which came from the British Commonwealth, was roundly defeated as ludicrous. But four decades later, the same networks succeeded in foisting the proposal on target governments.
The United States caved in explicitly in 1988, with its semi-secret position paper at the Montreal 1988 GATT Uruguay Round, saying that henceforth, the U.S. backed "access to world markets" as the grounds for its food security. The U.S. would give up attempting to commit to food self-sufficiency, and stop trying "to produce some portion of one's own food supply from domestic resources...."
The WTO rules assert that nations must eliminate food reserves, eliminate tariffs on food imports and exports, cease intervening to support their domestic farm sectorall under the imperial rationalization that such nation-serving measures would be "trade-distorting" practices, which would impede the free-market "rights" of the globalist corporations.
In the United States, for example, there are no longer any food stocks, which once were kept in reserve; these included cheese stores, milk powder, butter, grains, peanuts, and so on. The administrative system for food reserves is still on the books, under the Commodity Credit Corporation, run by the Agriculture Department, but the CCC bins are empty. A dramatic manifestation of the harm from this, is the 40% drop in recent years of donations-in-kind from the Agriculture Department to supply food relief charities across the nation, at a time when unemployment and desperation for food is soaring.
Internationally, the result of the imposition of WTO rules over the past 15 years, is that food processing, trade, and availability have come to be monopolized to an extreme degree by a tight set of cartel companies, dominating international commodity flows, and even domestic food supplies and distribution in most nations.
For example, a handful of companies dominates over 80% of grains traded worldwide: Cargill, Bunge, Louis Dreyfus, ADM, and a few others. The same degree of cartelization exists in meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seafood, and even seeds, as well as general groceries.
The last vestiges of national-interest institutions, serving farmers and/or consumers, are being taken down. In Australia, in the last two years, Cargill took over the wheat-marketing system of the Australian Wheat Board, the once nation-serving facility, set up to provide logistics to gather in and sell farmers' grain, at a price beneficial to them for ongoing reliable production. Now, Cargill can decide price levels, storage, and other logistics to suit its worldwide market monopoly. In Canada, as of Aug. 1, 2012, the Canadian Wheat Board is to be shut down on orders of the Federal government, in deference to the WTO rule that such an institution is "trade-distorting." In Canada, only four companies control 72% of all the grain elevators.
Cancel Patenting of Food Seeds
A series of new U.S. acts and court decisions over the last 40 years has imposed the unlawful practice of granting patent rights for food seeds, for the methods of genetic engineering involved in creating them, and also for patenting other life forms. The 1970 Plant Variety Protection Act started the process, by granting private "certificate"-rights over food seeds, for the first time ever. Then, in 1985, the U.S. Patent Office ruled that plants could qualify for patent-protection under the powerful concept of the industrial patent, with no exceptions for farmers or researchers. Ten years ago, the Supreme Court upheld plant and animal patenting under the Utility Patent law, no holds barred (December 2001, JEM Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred Int'l Corp.)
A handful of agro-chemical mega-corporationspart of the commodity wing of the British Empire financial webnow holds sweeping powers over crop research and seed supply. The current shortage of corn and sorghum (milo) seeds for U.S. Spring planting (see box) is no accident, but exemplary of what is considered success of the system of privateer seed monopolies.
The agriculture capacity of the United States itself is thus being controlled outside of government and public interest. Farmers must buy what is offered, at whatever price, and what is offered is determined by the cartels. Monsanto's seed police operationscalled "Field Check"are infamous, for seeking situations to file suit, and ruin farmers, on charges of violations of Monsanto's seed and trait-license privileges.
The allowance of food seed patenting goes against all U.S. tradition and law explicitly, but nevertheless, was bulled through, beginning in 1970, with the enactment of the Plant Variety Protection Act. It was then reinforced internationally under the GATT/WTO enforcement of "intellectual property rights" of mega-cartels, over national governments.
Monsanto/Cargill, BASF, Syngenta, DuPont/Pioneer, Dow, BayerCropScience now exert monopoly control over supplies of high-yielding, genetically modified corn, soy, and other seed supplies. They account for over 80% of corn and soy seeds in the United States. Monsanto alone claims to supply 40% of corn and soy seeds in Brazil, and 50% in Argentina.
The cartel controls and degrades plant-life research. For example, thanks to these cartel companiesinterlocked with British Empire financial and political powerdecades went by without the development of reserve strains of wheat, resistant to stem rust and other blights. Now, for example, the UG99 wheat rust, which first appeared in Uganda in 1999 and now has spread eastward as far as Iran, has no effective counter-strain to put in use. This dangerous occurrence is no "accident" or unexpected mistake; it is the very intent of the monopolistic seed system.
Nullify the Biofuels Mandate
In the mid-2000s, the United States, Europe, and other nations began passing insane laws to mandate the annual volume of fuel which must come from foodstocks diverted to fuelcorn-ethanol, soy-diesel, canola-diesel, wheat-ethanol, palm-diesel, etc. (Figure 1). For example, in the United States, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (PL 109-58) set compulsory levels for annual biofuels. This policy has been augmented since. The major players come from the imperial commodity cartel corporations; in the United States, Cargill and ADM were among the first, and biggest, corn-ethanol producers.
The result is that for millions of people, food is literally being taken away, all in the name of producing "alternative" fuels, as the "markets" are allowed to prevail. Cargill, ADM, and others of the London crowd are determining who eats and who doesn't.
How was this biofuels insanity "sold" in Washington, D.C.? The propaganda was fabricated and promoted through the networks of the British Imperial financial and cultural operations, from Prince Philip's Worldwide Fund for Nature on the "left," to the free-enterprise/cartels on the "right." The lines went out that nuclear power is unsafe and/or too costly, fossil fuels are natural resources that are unsafe and/or too costly and running out, and as for farmers: You go for biofuels or be ruined.
Now we are at the point of rapid breakdown. In the U.S. at present, nearly 40% of the entire corn harvest is going into ethanol. For the week ending Dec. 2, 2011, an all-time record volume of corn ethanol was produced in the U.S.40.068 million gallons a day (954,000 barrels a day). Corn ethanol now accounts for about 11.5% of U.S. gasoline usage. The largest distillers include Cargill and ADM.
For the first time ever, the volume of corn going for biofuels in 2011 in the U.S. exceeded the volume going into the livestock feed chain. This is creating havoc for meat-animal producers, both in terms of short supplies of corn for rations, and of soaring prices. Add to the situation, the bouts of extreme weather in recent months, contributing to the fall in output of corn and all major grains in the U.S. in 2011, and causing hardship for livestock producers, whose pastures and water supplies were hit by drought in the Southern High Plains, and flooding in the North. The stage is set for catastophe.
Cancel the evil laws, produce food, and enjoy eating again.