Once again, apologies for the lengthy intermission between posts here at Stuffed and Starved. I’ve been working my next book, which has taken a little more time and travel than I’d have liked. But the results will, I think, be worth it. My most recent research trip involved going to visit the Zapatistas in Chiapas, which means that your intrepid writer has recently returned from Mexico. There are many stories to share, and if you’re in New York, you can hear me talking about it on WBAI tomorrow morning, or at the Brooklyn Food Conference on Saturday.
One of the most exclusive millionaire’s clubs is causing trouble again. The US Senate has used the language of food security to write a pork-filled manifesto for genetically modified agriculture. If you’ve got one, call your Senator and demand that they strip out their support for GM crops. Full press release from Food First below the fold.
Here’s a film that’s well worth watching. It’s long, and the framing device of a woman Googling away her ignorance about one of the world’s most powerful corporations is, I think, a little crass. But perhaps because the film maker seems so naive, she has been able to get some of the most important men behind the scenes of the pesticide and genetically modified seed business to explain how they came to wield such power. I doubt that a more polished film crew would have been able to draw out some of the confessions that appear in this nearly-two-hour documentary. Highly recommended.
I’ve been doing a bit of writing on food riots or, rather, food rebellions – riot suggests that there’s no politics involved. A book entitled Food Rebellions spearheaded by Eric Holt-Gimenez, in which I had a small hand, is coming out soon. Until then, though, here’s a fine CounterPunch piece from last year, which gives some of the political low-down on why the hungry are up in arms in Haiti.
Here’s another excellent report from Grain, about the agricultural ‘aid’ to Afghanistan. In Stuffed and Starved I wrote about how, after the Korean War, the US sent large quantities of wheat to Korea. Since wheat had never been part of the Korean diet, the US had to invest in ‘education’, so that a taste for everything from pasta to bread might be planted in the barren Korean palate. And successfully too. Consumption today is four times higher, per person, than it was in 1961. And much of that wheat is now purchased from the US.
This, the first in of two human-rights-related posts today, is for policy wonks only. It’s a report that I helped Diane Elson and Radhika Balakrishnan with, and the aim is to bring together macroeconomic policy makers and human rights activists. There’s a great deal of guidance in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights about what governments should and shouldn’t be doing to promote human rights. Providing basic healthcare to everyone – yes. Place pensions into the private sector- not so much.