hunger fuels rebellions

as turmoil spreads throughout the arabic world, there has been a tendency for all the usual suspects to trot out their pet ideologies. these attempts to validate ideology through current events are sad, but predictable.  yet again, 19th century dogma is being re-animated by the blood of people fighting for their survival. once again, the words of long-dead white men are being used to describe situations unforseen two centuries ago.

the unrest sweeping across the globe have one, readily identifiable, often-mentioned cause: people cannot afford to feed their families, or themselves.

don’t listen to economic analysts  belching their lists of reasons why food has become unobtainably expensive. they are lying.

don’t listen to anyone preaching about retribution from on high. characters in books have no effect on the real world except when insane people cannot distinguish one from the other.

what’s actually happening – here and now on this planet – is that fabulously wealthy people are investing vast sums of money in food commodities, then withdrawing the commodities from the market until people’s demand for food drives prices up. prices will continue to rise until the investors feel they have earned enough profit. by the time the food reaches store shelves, the added costs have raised the price beyond what many people can afford. plain and simple: people are rebelling because they are hungry, despite the usual abundance of food on market shelves and stalls.

and, what are people to do about this, here in  the u.s.? common, everyday people who do not have investment portfolios? what can we do? over the past three decades, we have witnessed an unfathomable consolidation of wealth. there are only 44 countries on earth that have a greater divide between the wealthiest and poorest people than in the u.s. many of the wealthiest americans have more personal wealth than entire nations.  and this does not take into consideration the wealth of corporations, which now outright own the federal government, as sanctioned by the supreme court.

those of us who still believe enough in economic systems to think their needs can be met through markets are delusional. when a can of beans gets to be over $50, and you still earn$12 per hour, then you’ll understand. of course, by that time it will be too late to do anything but beg for wage increases, or jobs for the 40 million of us currently unemployable.

jobs will not be forthcoming, and if anything, wages will continue to fall. and anyone willing to entrust their survival to government-funded assistance just hasn’t been paying attention to the shenanigans going on in the halls of power, as politicians continue to best one another in cutting social programs that assist people. after all, they have a war and military occupation to fund.

are we – those of us not among the wealthy elite – completely helpless against the entire array of forces the wealthy have to wield against us? only so long as we allow them to continue defining our lives.

as things stand now, we can only aspire to be and do what we can afford. once we realize that life has nothing to do with money, we will be free from the trap of poverty, and free from the yokes that wealthy elites wish to fasten upon us.

the class warriors have it all wrong. we cannot shake loose the control banks and rich entities have over us so long as we continue to play their game – a game in which they control every aspect; from making and enforcing the rules (rules which they can ignore), to selecting who will play which role.

we cannot and will not be free until we have stopped playing their game.

our only chance is to make a total break from economics. to do so, we must have land to utilize for our own needs. cultivable land, with clean water sources.  there is precious little of that left in the world. we are going to have to take it for our own.

right now, not many people reading this can imagine hunger so persistent that it forces one into action. right now, food is costly, but obtainable. not for long, as speculators will continue to profit off of food commodities, and our currency will begin to become worthless.

by the end of this year, if not sooner, food prices will be considerably higher than they are now.  as will be housing. and fuel. if we don’t collectively get our act together, we’re doomed, and we’ll be condemning our descendents to hellish lives we cannot even imagine.

or, we can stop analyzing everything through the eyes of corpses, set aside our differences, and build a future that will be unimaginably rewarding.

it won’t be easy. it will be dangerous, bloody and painful. giving birth is always this way.

can a society create such a change in one generation? it’s possible…see this video…

 

corporations intend to starve the entire human race into submission

how many times do we have to keep pointing this out before it sinks in? this is the greatest on-going event in human history, and it’s happening right now, all around us. tell me you haven’t noticed price increases at the grocery store.

International Speculation Culprit in Rising Food Prices by Umberto Mazzei

Henry Kissinger once said that whoever controls food controls people. In other words, everyone surrenders when they see their children starve. That is how the U.S. government subdued the American Indians defending their lands, by exterminating the bison that provided them food and instead handing out food on reservations. The British government did the same to subdue the Boer republics in South Africa by forcing the Boer civilian population into the first concentration camps ever and letting them starve.

International cartels now use their control over the global food supply to make huge profits. There are six major corporations that control the purchase and sale of agricultural products: Cargill, Kraft, Bunge & Born, ADM (Archer Daniels Midland), Nestlé and General Mills. Food prices are set at exchanges in Chicago, New York and London.

Some countries shield their population from commodity speculation on basic foods by restricting the export of their agricultural staples until domestic demand is satisfied. This has a clear and legitimate purpose: to stabilize domestic prices and ensure supply for their own people. Domestic prices are also an uncomfortable testimony of real prices and temper full international market control over pricing.

On January 22, agriculture ministers from 50 countries met in Berlin, to examine the rise of international prices of commodities during the second half of 2010. Before the assembly, World Trade Organization (WTO) director, Pascal Lamy, earned merits with the global food cartels by attacking export restrictions. No doubt hoping that the cartels will hire him when he loses his present position, Lamy attributed the record high international prices of agricultural products to the export limits that some countries apply. His claim was a classic case of sophistry—a distortion of the truth with a false arguments.

“Export restrictions are a prime cause of current and recent surges in global food prices, and countries should find other ways to secure domestic supplies,” the WTO chief said. “Export restrictions lead to panic in markets when different actors see prices rising at stellar speed,” he added. Mr. Lamy illogically ignores the fact that a sudden rise in agricultural commodity prices, as reported three weeks ago by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), cannot be attributed to controls that have always been there. Those controls, as he acknowledges, are imposed to assure supply to the population of the producing countries and, although Lamy did not say it, also to stabilize national and to an extent, international agricultural prices. This last point is very annoying to the cartels that dominate international food trade.

After attacking export restrictions, Mr. Lamy stated that exporting countries seek other ways to assure their own national supply. But here his proposals for a different approach are misleading. Lamy called for an increase in global food production, “more social safety nets, more food aid and food supplies and …humanitarian aid exempt from export restrictions.”

do you see their game? the WTO says publicly that governments should increase social services, but cuts off their funds funds if they do so. the policies of the IMF/WB demand that services be cut and/or privatised, or no more loans. the only countries that are not seeing food costs sky-rocketing are those who reject WTO and IMF/WB policies. a document released by wikileaks shows that governments are willing to starve people in order to force boitech agriculture upon people unwilling to adopt frankenfoods.

On January 11, Senators Charles Grassley and John Thune, together with the Deputy Chief of Mission, AgCouns and EconOff, met with the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade,s Secretary of State for International Trade, Pedro Mejia, and Secretary General Alfredo Bonet. Senator Grassley emphasized the importance of science-based decisions in the agricultural biotechnology context. Mejia said that Spain had a relatively “liberal” view with respect to biotechnology. However, even in Spain the technology was controversial and faced NGO opposition, albeit not as strong as in some other EU member states. Senator Thune asked what influence Spain could exercise in Brussels on this issue. Bonet noted it was very difficult to get a qualified majority for biotech approvals in the EU Environment Council so in the end the Commission was taking decisions in favor of biotechnology. Both Mejia and Bonet noted that commodity price hikes might spur greater liberalization on biotech imports. (emphasis added)

soaring food prices are creating unrest across the world:

and these are just a few examples. most news reports, and even the UN, talk about the many factors that have caused this sudden rise in food prices worldwide, but these factors are always present, and food production is at an all-time high. it’s clearly not food shortages causing hunger, but food PRICES!

World Food Price Hikes Driven by Speculation and Derivatives

The same banks, hedge funds and financiers whose speculation on the global money markets caused the 2008 world financial meltdown are thought to be causing food prices to yo-yo and inflate. The charge against them is that by taking advantage of the deregulation of global commodity markets they are making billions from speculating on food and causing misery around the world. As food prices soar again to beyond 2008 levels, it becomes clear that everyone is now being affected. Food prices are now rising by up to 10% a year in Britain and Europe. What is more, says the UN, prices can be expected to rise at least 40% in the next decade.

and who didn’t see this coming?

Biofuels – NY Times

first-generation biofuels — chiefly, ethanol made from corn or sugar cane, or biodiesel made from vegetable oil — have provoked intense backlash. They have been blamed for causing unintended environmental damage and for displacing production of food crops, which may have helped raise world food prices.

Amid these attacks, the political momentum of biofuels has slowed in the last couple of years. In principle, biofuels offer a huge advantage over fossil fuels. The source plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air as they are growing, and consequently, the carbon dioxide that is released when biofuels are burned does not represent a net addition of that greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. In practice, some fossil fuels, especially natural gas, are consumed in refining today’s biofuels, one source of controversy about them.

when biofuels were first proposed as a source of renewable energy, many people warned of the way this would affect food prices. adding billions of hungry engines to food demands was a catastrophic mistake.

finally, i have to mention that as i researched this online, some of the articles i had bookmarked as references were no longer available. many no longer turned up in searches. someone’s fucking with the internet, someone with loads of money and resources.

 

a ballad against work

Indian communist group Collective Action Note’s pamphlet about and against wage labour.

i wrote a review of this for Anarchy, in the winter of ’99.

A Ballad against Work: A Publication for Collectivities
(Majdoor Library, Autophin Jhuggi, N.I.T., Faridabad 12001, India, 1997) 62pp., Free, but send appropriate postage.

In this ambitious project, the people of Collectivities attempt to take anti-work discourse beyond theory to create a body of work which examines the actual mechanisms employers use to create the repressive conditions at our places of employment and in our lives beyond the workplace. Utilizing specific case histories, wage-slave poetry, and actual corporate propaganda, they create an epic saga about 20th century workers and the effects of factory speed-ups, spectacularized “entertainment,” efficiency studies, and control over workers-both at the site of work and away-which points out in stark detail the dehumanizing effects of modern industrial/corporate domination over the working class. To counteract the foulness of corporate labor practices, the authors have also included numerous examples of workers resisting these imposed conditions through ingenious methods of their own-and a chapter which explains the imperative for collective struggle.

Though produced in India and dependant sometimes on accounts of local labkaroshior activities, this pamphlet has examples of workplace horrors and worker’s experiences from every industrially developed continent. Without the stories of resistance and call for worker solidarity against the oppressive bosses, this would be quite a depressing piece of work. Indeed, many of the entries do not suggest that there is a way out for workers and describe how they are crushed, in spirit as well as bodily, by the conditions imposed upon them. However, the narrative nature of much of the brief entries, the occasional poem, the lists and boxed asides makes for an entertaining read, even when dealing with such topics as karoshi -a word coined by the Japanese to describe sudden death due to overwork, which caused 1500 deaths there in the ’80s. Yet, it seems that no matter what the efforts of those in charge, people cling desperately to their humanity, and for every effort made to squeeze out more productivity, workers find ways to sabotage, resist and assert themselves as human beings.

A Ballad Against Work‘s one obvious contradiction is the final chapter’s rally-cry for collective acts of resistance as the only means of effective struggle in the workplace, despite having devoted space in an earlier chapter to descriptions of how the downsizing of personnel and the resultant concentration of tasks, particularly in the transportation industry, has made it possible for very few people to disrupt-even bring to a complete halt-industrial production on a factory or national level.

sabotageUnlike Studs Terkel’s Working, or the anthology Sabotage in the American Workplace (pdf), the people who make up Collectivities are more interested in a long glance at our workplace oppression, rather than an exhaustive study. Their layout is fun to look over, with mish-mashed fonts in the subheadings and boxes of anecdotal alternatives to corporate dictates. There is even a postscript flow chart which depicts the interconnections between resistance and subversion, motivators and coercers and the actions/ forces they utilize. Although sometimes bleak and disturbing, and with little to offer in the way of theory, this pamphlet is entertaining and can inspire playful acts of subversion as well as dread and hopelessness, often on the same page. Which makes it fit quite well into our bipolar culture.

This review was first published in Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed

there is a text-only version available from the libcom library.

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