Evo Morales 'blames' GM food for "sexual deviations" such as homosexuality

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Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
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May 6 2010 11:56

Of course all commercially produced food is a commodity; and organic standards and regulations vary a lot in different countries and in how individual growers relate to them. But I was replying to JR's claims about nutritional comparisons between GM v organic crops - assuming he meant genuinely organic/without use of toxic fertilisers etc, otherwise the comparison is almost too meaningless to bother making. It was also in the context of a debate about the relation between technology in use now and its potential use in a classless commodityless society - where presumably descriptions of food wouldn't be so misleading, nor would safety have such a low priority.

Yorkie Bar
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May 6 2010 16:07
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Of course all commercially produced food is a commodity; and organic standards and regulations vary a lot in different countries and in how individual growers relate to them. But I was replying to JR's claims about nutritional comparisons between GM v organic crops - assuming he meant genuinely organic/without use of toxic fertilisers etc, otherwise the comparison is almost too meaningless to bother making. It was also in the context of a debate about the relation between technology in use now and its potential use in a classless commodityless society - where presumably descriptions of food wouldn't be so misleading, nor would safety have such a low priority.

There's the thing; "genuinely organic" is a purely arbitrary definition if it doesn't reflect the actual, historical movement of organic farming. This is no-true-Scotsman stuff.

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Red Marriott
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May 6 2010 21:51

Wrong, BLJ; some 'organic' farming is purely organic in the sense I've described more than once. The "historical movement" of what is called organic farming is not solely one thing or another, as I had already taken into account;

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organic standards and regulations vary a lot in different countries and in how individual growers relate to them.

It's hardly ridiculous to assume that the definition I was responding to was between GM/non-organic and genuinely organic, as already stated;

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assuming he meant genuinely organic/without use of toxic fertilisers etc, otherwise the comparison is almost too meaningless to bother making

"Genuinely organic" is also clearly not an arbitrary definition - it's what many, likely most, people understand organic to mean - therefore it is itself part of the "actual, historical movement of organic farming" - and one that you felt compelled to point out is not always accurate.

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GerryK
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May 6 2010 22:41

Got this private message from the wonderful radical JRCash:

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I have just noticed that you are french. That explains alot!

Just want to show how racist and nationalist JRCash is - but only private, of course.

Yorkie Bar
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May 7 2010 14:10
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"Genuinely organic" is also clearly not an arbitrary definition - it's what many, likely most, people understand organic to mean - therefore it is itself part of the "actual, historical movement of organic farming" - and one that you felt compelled to point out is not always accurate.

Right, so "organic" just means what most people think it means, and not what it actually is in practice? Yeah, makes sense...

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May 7 2010 15:40

No, wrong. I've made clear that what is thought to be meant by the label/definition 'organic' and the reality don't always correspond - therefore "what it actually is in practice" is not uniform. As I had already explained.

But I think your interpretation is coloured by the fact you're only looking to score points rather than explore anything interesting - so this exchange is over for me.

Yorkie Bar
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May 7 2010 17:51
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I've made clear that what is thought to be meant by the label/definition 'organic' and the reality don't always correspond - therefore "what it actually is in practice" is not uniform.

Of course, but that doesn't change the fact that organic farming is a real movement of farmers and retailers; it's not an abstract possibility. It can't just be whatever you want it to be - it is what it is.

The practice of organic farming is not based on evidence, but on ideology. It certainly isn't based on worker safety. Even if worker safety is a coincidental side effect of it, that's no reason to support organic farming as a whole.

[/point scoring]

Samotnaf
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May 7 2010 18:14

As far as I can see, Ret Marut wasn't supporting organic farming as such - he was just saying it doesn't destroy the earth like farming that uses pesticides and GMOs. Point-scoring is all you're doing - the point, however, is to change.

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Red Marriott
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May 7 2010 20:56

My comment on another thread seems, unfortunately, to be just as applicable here to some of the defenders of the herd libcom/anarcho orthodoxy;

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...one line dismissals are typical libcom banalities; a form of pseudo-debate that's anti-theoretical - it often defends the precious frozen ideologies/dogmas/received ideas of ideological authorities, organisations and cliques provided by those who think for others for those who want others to think for them. It seeks to close down the potential expansion of thought and understanding - it only takes one dismissive line to thoughtlessly invoke/reference one's ideological authority and comfort one's self that your guru's [or ideology's] eternal truth has a permanent ready-made refutation of all awkward questions. Theorising (or any attempt at understanding and useful dialogue) is the opposite of such unquestioning loyalty. No surprise then that those who use the one-line dismissal the most are the ones least able or willing to flesh out their argument. This kind of one-line dismissal is an attempt to close down consideration of views that threaten the ideological authority of the dismisser's belief system and their gurus. (It can also be used to reference the supposed unchallengeable authority of the dominant herd consensus.) Those who act like this here often have a critique of vanguard groups, so it's worth pointing out that the relationship perpetuated by such practice is as servile as the relationship of vanguard party leadership to member-follower.
http://libcom.org/forums/theory/why-are-some-communists-considered-be-left-others-06042010?page=3
Yorkie Bar
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May 8 2010 21:08

Fine, I don't get an answer and you get to walk away from the discussion feeling smug. Well, whatever.

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May 10 2010 16:01
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Cluster bombs or aerial bombardment are inherently, by definition and design, designed to kill.

Yes and crops which are genetically modified to produce powerful pesticides are, by definition and design, designed to obliterate realms of life which are necessary for the ecology to function correctly, but which are not productive for the immediate short-term demands of commodity production.

Yorkie Bar
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May 10 2010 21:03
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Yes and crops which are genetically modified to produce powerful pesticides are, by definition and design, designed to obliterate realms of life which are necessary for the ecology to function correctly

What do you mean by 'function correctly' in this context? Is the ecology of a field of corn different to the ecology of, say, the human body? Would you object to the use of technology to obliterate organisms in the latter environment? Are antibiotics, for example, also comparable to cluster bombs?

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May 11 2010 20:22

The point isn't that it's unnecessary to destroy life...I'm not a Jain.

My point is that the capitalist class in its quest to produce more commodities and accumulate more capital has created excessively potent agricultural devices which, due to their excessive potency, are beginning to wreak havoc on the entire ecosystem of Earth, the human body included.

By your argument if antibiotics are sometimes necessary than I should just swallow an entire bottle of Tetracycline tablets in one sitting and, if anyone objects to my self-destructive behavior, I'll just point out that garlic is also an anti-biotic. (Because modern GMOs are just like apple-grafting and dog-breeding)

Yorkie Bar
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May 12 2010 01:12
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By your argument if antibiotics are sometimes necessary than I should just swallow an entire bottle of Tetracycline tablets in one sitting and, if anyone objects to my self-destructive behavior, I'll just point out that garlic is also an anti-biotic.

But it's possible to misuse any technology - that doesn't make the technology bad. If I OD after swallowing a bottle of pills, it doesn't mean that the pills are bad.

Similarly, it's obviously possible to use GMOs in environmentally destructive ways. But that's true of virtually any technology - I still don't see what it is about GMOs that makes them a special case.

(I also don't really get your point about the "excessive potency" of agricultural devices. If someone found a way to produce double the yields you get from genetically modified crops organically, would you be against it?)

Baderneiro Miseravel
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May 12 2010 17:57
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But it's possible to misuse any technology - that doesn't make the technology bad. If I OD after swallowing a bottle of pills, it doesn't mean that the pills are bad.

Similarly, it's obviously possible to use GMOs in environmentally destructive ways. But that's true of virtually any technology - I still don't see what it is about GMOs that makes them a special case.

The major problem with using them in agriculture is that they don't come alone -- that is, the problem is not just their genes and that they are going to spread and that they can't be reused. The fact that they are modified makes it necessary the use of various pesticides and special manure which are very agressive to soil and the functioning of life where they are applied.

That becomes a bigger problem when those plants involuntarily breed (taken by the wind) with the "regular" plants located nearer than 10 km. They tend to destroy biodiversity that way, making it easier for diseases to spread and that can create real catastrophes (that is, it becomes much easier to disrupt the production of food)...and forcing nearly every producer around to also buy those genetically modified seeds with all the manure and pesticides.

It is a very curious case of technology that, as it currently is, cannot have an "nondestructive" role in ecology and production;

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May 12 2010 18:49

Those are all fair points, but it doesn't prove that GMOs are inherently bad. It's just the way they are designed now for the purposes of ensuring that farmers must return to Monsanto etc. on a regular basis to buy commodities from them.

radicalgraffiti
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May 12 2010 18:53
Baderneiro Miseravel wrote:
Quote:
But it's possible to misuse any technology - that doesn't make the technology bad. If I OD after swallowing a bottle of pills, it doesn't mean that the pills are bad.

Similarly, it's obviously possible to use GMOs in environmentally destructive ways. But that's true of virtually any technology - I still don't see what it is about GMOs that makes them a special case.

The major problem with using them in agriculture is that they don't come alone -- that is, the problem is not just their genes and that they are going to spread and that they can't be reused. The fact that they are modified makes it necessary the use of various pesticides and special manure which are very agressive to soil and the functioning of life where they are applied.

i think you are getting this the wrong way round, genetic modification doesn't automatically mean that special pesticides and fertilisers much be used, rather genetic modification has been used to make the use of special pesticides possible.

Jason Cortez
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May 12 2010 23:19

What they are trying to get at, i think, that once released into the enviroment gmo crops cross fertilise with native wild species which act as a stock. Once this is widespread there is no longer any wild stock left with its bio-diversity. And this is an unreversable process. This is a very grave situation as presently we culivate a very small number of cereal species and even less animal species. Should this cross fertilisation cause the loss of bio diversity, it could protentially have devastating conquences.

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May 12 2010 23:26

Jason, I think most people get that and it should be a huge cause for concern. Still, it doesn't mean that GMOs are inherently dangerous, but how they've specifically been designed. It's just yet another argument against production based on capital.

gypsy
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May 14 2010 10:09
Khawaga wrote:
Jason, I think most people get that and it should be a huge cause for concern. Still, it doesn't mean that GMOs are inherently dangerous, but how they've specifically been designed. It's just yet another argument against production based on capital.

Yeah and until we live in a libertarian communist society I don't think we should support GM crops because at the current time they are only manufactured for capitalist goals. The loss of bio diversity will be catastrophic.

Baderneiro Miseravel
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May 14 2010 17:31
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Baderneiro Miseravel wrote:
Quote:
But it's possible to misuse any technology - that doesn't make the technology bad. If I OD after swallowing a bottle of pills, it doesn't mean that the pills are bad.

Similarly, it's obviously possible to use GMOs in environmentally destructive ways. But that's true of virtually any technology - I still don't see what it is about GMOs that makes them a special case.

The major problem with using them in agriculture is that they don't come alone -- that is, the problem is not just their genes and that they are going to spread and that they can't be reused. The fact that they are modified makes it necessary the use of various pesticides and special manure which are very agressive to soil and the functioning of life where they are applied.

i think you are getting this the wrong way round, genetic modification doesn't automatically mean that special pesticides and fertilisers much be used, rather genetic modification has been used to make the use of special pesticides possible.

Nowadays it does mean what I said. GMO is not necessary to fulfill the alimentary needs of mankind, that is not the reason it was made. It makes no sense to say "GMO's are fundamental" when so much food/products is wasted and much land is concentrated in latifundarios' hands and simply not put to use (or ill used). You're speaking in abstract terms of something that is real and functions in very specific (harmful) ways.

How do you separate the uses from the means? Aren't the means designed, specially when technological development is subordinated to capital, to be used in very specific ways?

It is very silly to think in terms of "neutral technology". Technology and science are social relations and as such are mediated by capital. That is not say they are useless and always will be capitalistic, but it's not like capital takes advantage of a science/tech that is given, "innocent".

I agree with Ally Baba.

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May 17 2010 17:04
BigLittleJ wrote:
But it's possible to misuse any technology - that doesn't make the technology bad.

If you think the argument is about whether or not a certain "technology" is morally "bad" or not, than you've totally missed the point.

The argument I a making is that a specific practice is hazardous.

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Similarly, it's obviously possible to use GMOs in environmentally destructive ways. But that's true of virtually any technology - I still don't see what it is about GMOs that makes them a special case.

What you're saying is what the pro-GMO "anarchists" and "communists" have been saying throughout this entire thread. "Yes, the way GMOs are used right now fucks up the ecology, but that's only because they were designed to meet the needs of capitalism!" Which is precisely my point. If you think there is a way for modern GMO crops to exist which nullifies the real and obvious dangers than have been presented, feel free to share it with us....

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I also don't really get your point about the "excessive potency" of agricultural devices. If someone found a way to produce double the yields you get from genetically modified crops organically, would you be against it?

If there was a hypothetical way to breed unicorns to shit rocky road ice cream that would be great too...I'm trying to discuss reality here.

If I wanted to live in a society that put immediate productive output above long-term ramifications and consequences, I would fight to preserve capitalism.

Yorkie Bar
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May 17 2010 19:01
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What you're saying is what the pro-GMO "anarchists" and "communists" have been saying throughout this entire thread. "Yes, the way GMOs are used right now fucks up the ecology, but that's only because they were designed to meet the needs of capitalism!" Which is precisely my point.

Well if that's precisely your point, and that's "what the pro-GMO "anarchists" and "communists" have been saying throughout the entire thread" then why are you still arguing?

I don't think anybody who has posted here has claimed that GMOs as they are today are not problematic.

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If there was a hypothetical way to breed unicorns to shit rocky road ice cream that would be great too...I'm trying to discuss reality here.

What does this even mean? For starters, this whole discussion began with someone bringing up the question of GMOs in an imaginary socialist future - which is hardly 'reality'; in fact it's almost pure speculation. Furthermore, if you want to discuss "reality" then strictly speaking the whole point is moot since we have absolutely no chance, as things stand, of influencing the global deployment of GMOs in capitalist agriculture.

And in any case, you've clearly launched this bizarre attack against hypothetical questions in general to get around answering the substantive point I was making - which is that it's pretty bizarre to berate an agricultural practice for being too productive.

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If I wanted to live in a society that put immediate productive output above long-term ramifications and consequences, I would fight to preserve capitalism.

Does capitalist society do this? In some circumstances, certainly, but it's clearly not a general law of the current mode of production - which in actuality does not seek to maximise productive output or sustainability, but rather profitability. (Note that the capitalist environmentalist movement often openly frames the question in such terms - campaigning for a management of capitalism that protects profit-making in the long term.)

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May 18 2010 13:10
BigLittleJ wrote:
Well if that's precisely your point, and that's "what the pro-GMO "anarchists" and "communists" have been saying throughout the entire thread" then why are you still arguing?

Because they are subjectifying capitalism in a way that eases the burden placed on them of directly and practically criticizing the technical means in which capitalism sustains itself.

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I don't think anybody who has posted here has claimed that GMOs as they are today are not problematic.

There have been some who have suggested a "post-capitalist" future dependent upon GMOs, nuclear power, etc., which is to articulate a vision of capitalism under the flag of anti-capitalism. (Certainly old territory, in other words)

My point isn't that GMOs are "problematic", my point is that they only serve the purpose of enslaving us to capitalism while poisoning our bodies and contaminating the ecosystems, therefore any principled communist should stand for their total destruction as a practical blow against capitalism. Not that "organic" commodities are good, or that we can't freely research GMO science at out leisure to see what new things we can learn to better our lives, but that the GMOs that exist today have been specifically manufactured, like surveillance cameras and fingerprint databases, to meet the needs of capitalist control.

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What does this even mean? For starters, this whole discussion began with someone bringing up the question of GMOs in an imaginary socialist future - which is hardly 'reality'; in fact it's almost pure speculation.

Again, my point. A discussion of applied practical science would be far more useful and the burden of positive proof is on those who are willing to make hypothetical exceptions for the benign "socialist" use of GMOs.

To just say "oh, well, GMOs could be harmless, and indeed useful, if we abolished capitalism" is to establish nothing, other than endless rhetoric, unless you demonstrate how that is possible. A communist society still requires science.

If no practical proof can be supplied that modern GMOs are potentially benign than we must call for the destruction of GMOs as instruments of capitalist valorization and stand with our class-brethren when they attack GMO crops.

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Furthermore, if you want to discuss "reality" then strictly speaking the whole point is moot since we have absolutely no chance, as things stand, of influencing the global deployment of GMOs in capitalist agriculture.

You could say the same thing about influencing global capitalism period. If you're that much of a pessimist, I have no complaints, as long as you apply it consistently.

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is that it's pretty bizarre to berate an agricultural practice for being too productive.

I've already answered that. Assuming that capitalist modes of production were truly more productive in the immediate sense of yields, (they're actually not, but that's a separate issue) it should be pointed out that communism is a totally different society with totally different values from capitalism and thus adherents of communism look at the long-term advantages and disadvantages of a policy or practice that seems to grant immediate short-term benefits.

For example, pest-control devices which are refined to such a certain point begin to, in the long term, create more agriculture problems as they wipe holes in the food chain, indirectly killing off useful carnivorous animals, and so forth.

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Does capitalist society do this? In some circumstances, certainly, but it's clearly not a general law of the current mode of production - which in actuality does not seek to maximise productive output or sustainability, but rather profitability.

Yes which is why we have GMOs

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(Note that the capitalist environmentalist movement often openly frames the question in such terms - campaigning for a management of capitalism that protects profit-making in the long term.)

Indeed, by the way I know at least one capitalist-environmentalist who supports GMOs

Yorkie Bar
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May 18 2010 14:16
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Again, my point. A discussion of applied practical science would be far more useful and the burden of positive proof is on those who are willing to make hypothetical exceptions for the benign "socialist" use of GMOs.

To just say "oh, well, GMOs could be harmless, and indeed useful, if we abolished capitalism" is to establish nothing, other than endless rhetoric, unless you demonstrate how that is possible. A communist society still requires science.

If no practical proof can be supplied that modern GMOs are potentially benign than we must call for the destruction of GMOs as instruments of capitalist valorization and stand with our class-brethren when they attack GMO crops.

Demanding that your detractors "prove you wrong", while failing to provide a single cogent argument in favour of your position, is not only bad science, but bad manners.

I've no particular desire to discuss the finer points of how GM technology would or wouldn't be used in our Grand Socialist Future. Obviously to do so for every capitalist technology would be utterly absurd - it would require us to map out our future to an extent undreamed of even by the most blueprint-happy utopian socialists. Do you honestly believe that we have to plan the technicalities of communist production down to the last detail in order to demand a communist future? Or do you simply believe that only those technologies whose exact uses can be mapped out right now have a place in such a future? Or do you actually only apply this argument to specific technologies, such as GM tech or nuclear power, which you have an ideological antagonism for?