I 522

If you saw CounterPunch today, you might have noticed this piece about anti-GMO [note that, as usual, they dutifully restrain from calling themselves “anti-corporate food“] activists’ efforts in Washington State to strike a small blow against capitalist Frankenfood. Residing in Portland, Oregon, the urban core to which Washington’s fourth largest town is a [tax-dodging, Republican-leaning] suburb, I have had the displeasure of watching corporate capital’s 3-month-long response to W.S. Initiative 522, a meager little ballot measure that would, in accord with almost unanimous public desire, require grocery-store foods containing GMOs to be labeled as such.

Here’s a sample from the compendium of utter shamelessness that is the appalling and revealing “No on 522” effort:

Good ole Dan looks like a humble organic farmer, don’t he, what with the blue work shirt and the vaguely ex-hippie haircut and beard?

Dan’s ad is titled “Claims v. Facts.” That carries the usual amount of overclass chutzpah — total, all-out, complete.

Dan’s friends’ claim is that I 522 would raise food prices, and that the proposed rule is unfair, since it carries some exemptions! Of course, the threatened price hike is what? A penny? And the irony of opposing a labeling law from the right because it is too weak would slay Big Brother himself.

As to facts, turns out Dan is actually a corporate farm “operator” (think Dan does much of “his” farm labor?) in Eastern Washington, and also a scion of long-time farm-operator politics.

As for the hilarious pack of right-wing businesses Dan cites as scholars who’ve allegedly thought deeply and dispassionately about I 522, take a special look at the “science” organization Dan cites in his ad. Any group started in 1932 (in what was then known as the Soviet of Washington) that is dedicated to disseminating “credible economic research and policy analysis supporting economic vitality and private sector job creation” simply has to have a rather interesting little closetful of juicy, forgotten secrets. And how about that science? “Credible research.” ROFLMFAO.

As always, the corporate TV assault is working. 66-21 a month ago (and a month ago was already well into the corporate “No on 522” onslaught) is now 46-42.

TCT, of course, predicts defeat of I 522, while holding out some hope for a small miracle. The election ends November 5.

3 Replies to “I 522”

  1. One of the reasons I have given up on following the GMO debate is precisely the careless use of (pseudo)science by either opponents or proponents. I have seen just as much quack science by shady web operations calling themselves “research institutes” as the earnest ‘citizen’ in the video.

    Isn’t the fight against the GMOs a form of liberal practicality? An enormous energy expenditure fighting the particulars, while leaving the fundamentals (e.g. massively subsidized, corporate owned, agricultural system) untouched that is inherently set up for unsustainable exploitation of both soil and customer)?

    I see that as the key issue, than any squabbling over genetic engineering per se. I’m no biologists, but the remnants of high-school biology suggest that there is nothing inherently dangerous about genetic modification – we can’t and don’t absorb genes gastrointestinally; our bodies don’t care where the nutrients come from.

    The real dangers from genetic engineering have probably less to do with food quality, and more with indiscriminate interference with whole ecosystems and the unpredictable consequences…

  2. Marla, I strongly agree. Like “anti-pipeline,” I think “anti-NGO” is, to the extent its “activists” aren’t fake foundation implants like McKibben, being both dishonest and providing another major proof of the continuing (worsening?) sway of liberal practicality over what ought to be the left. Just as all genuine anti-Keystone people are really anti-capitalists, so are the authentic anti-GMO folks. But they won’t say it, thinking it’s too alien.

    My main reason for caring about I 522 is merely a hope to see a rare popular refusal of a corporate TV election-buy. (Not that they won’t come back stronger and smarter and earlier next time…)

  3. It’s a close competition for “most-audacious” between, on the one hand, the industry shills, and on the other, people who think that some kind of localized democratic action begged through the existing political process will do anything.

    In that light, then, I share both Michael’s small hope and Marla’s large bitterness. Its passage would be a moral victory, in the tiniest of senses–like the “get out there and do something!” denouement to a leftist documentary–but like bans on trans fats or murder, even a very plainly-written law would be regulated around so comprehensively and swiftly that it wouldn’t even matter that it had been passed.

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