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Monsanto threatens farmer blog / Global Seed Industry Concentration / Indifference - Bush's WMD in New Orleans (8/9/2005)

1.Monsanto threatens farmer blog
2.Global Seed Industry Concentration - 2005
ETC Group
3.Hurricane Katrina: An Unacceptable Failure to Value Human Life

Excellent links to articles and resources with item 3.
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1.Monsanto threatens farmer blog

I help run a small farm and sustainable-farming non-profit in North Carolina called Maverick Farms (www.maverickfarms.org.) I also run a polemical, watch-dog Web log on industrial agriculture called Bitter Greens Journal (www.bittergreensgazette.blogspot.com). I think you might be interested in the e-mail I recently received from Monsanto, which has been the target of several critical pieces.

Cheers,
Tom Philpott
Find it and Tom's response and his blog here
http://bittergreensgazette.blogspot.com/
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2.Global Seed Industry Concentration - 2005
ETC Group

The ETC Group today releases a new Communique on seed industry consolidation that shows a recent upsurge in seed industry takeovers and a shake-up in rankings.

According to ETC Group, the top 10 multinational seed firms control half of the world's commercial seed sales. With a total worldwide market of approximately US$21,000 million per annum, the commercial seed industry is relatively small compared to the global pesticide market ($35,400 million), and it's puny compared to pharmaceutical sales ($466,000 million). But corporate control and ownership of seeds - the first link in the food chain - has far-reaching implications for global food security. A single firm, Monsanto, now controls 41% of the global market share in commercial maize seed, and one-fourth of the world market in soybean seeds. The same company's seeds and biotech traits accounted for 88% of the total area planted in genetically modified seeds worldwide in 2004.

Monsanto Purchases Five More Seed Companies!

ETC Group's report includes a table (click read more - below) listing many of the world's top 20 seed companies and their acquisitions and/or subsidiaries.

Download the Full Report
http://www.etcgroup.org/documents/Comm90GlobalSeed.pdf

IMPACT: With control of seeds and agricultural research held in fewer hands, the world's food supply is increasingly vulnerable to the whims of market maneuvers. Corporations make decisions to support the bottom line and increase shareholder returns - not to insure food security. Ultimately, seed industry oligopoly also means fewer choices for farmers. A new study by the US Department of Agriculture examines the impact of seed industry concentration on agbiotech research. The study concludes that reduced competition is associated with reduced R&D. Despite seed industry claims to the contrary, concentration in the seed industry is resulting in less innovation - not more.

Read more: http://www.gefreemaine.org/article.php?story=20050906195811979
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3.Hurricane Katrina: An Unacceptable Failure to Value Human Life

Food First staff and board extend the survivors of Hurricane Katrina our deepest sympathies. We can only imagine the pain and suffering Gulf Coast residents are facing. As you rebuild your homes and communities, please know that you have the support of all of us at Food First.

Many lives have been devastated by this natural disaster. Food First will continue to explore the devastation of the man-made disaster that made the hurricane worse: Poverty.

Both disasters affect us all. The magnitude of the loss and suffering on the Gulf Coast demonstrates the systemic failure on the part of US policy makers to address issues of poverty.

The impact of the hurricane showed us quite literally how US policies support racism, sexism, and classism. Those policies were clearly seen in the faces of those who were left behind in New Orleans: poor people, the sick and elderly, and people of color, especially women and children.

The aftermath of the hurricane has revealed a level of indifference so deep that our public officials have had to be shamed into a belated, inadequate response.

The underlying social and environmental policies that set up the people of the Gulf Coast to be killed in the thousands are matters for profound anger and concerted action.

As a nation, we must help those who have lost everything. We must also support policies that put people ahead of property and profit. We must vigorously address the vast class, gender, and race-based inequalities and structural injustices that caused the most vulnerable residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to suffer and die in the wake of Katrina.

Food First will offer analysis and tools for understanding how US policies further exacerbated the impact of a natural disaster. Our analysis will explore how US public policies support economic disenfranchisement and environmental degradation. Food First will also develop resources that will highlight the most effective ways to assist those who have survived Hurricane Katrina. The first of these are listed below; these links are provided to give insight into the issues and provide opportunities to act.

With renewed determination
The board and staff of Food First
Full Coverage
http://www.truthout.org

Take Action / Relief Efforts

Read the statement: The New Orleans Community Demands Action, Accountability and Initiates a People's Hurricane Fund

To open your home to hurricane victims:
http://www.hurricanehousing.org/

Help for displaced farmers and rural poor people:
http://www.federationsoutherncoop.com/relief05.htm
http://www.farmaid.org/site/PageServer?pagename=disasterfund

Information about: ANSWER Coalition's National Day of Emergency Action

For more grassroots organizations organizing relief efforts, see below.

Poverty and Race Factors

Twenty-eight percent of New Orleans residents live below the poverty line. Of these, eighty-six percent are African-American. The poorest parishes in the city were those known to be in danger of the worst flooding and damage. There was no plan in place to evacuate people who could not afford to evacuate themselves.

Amid Stench of Death, Poor Bear the Brunt, by Gary Younge
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0902-02.htm

Flushing Out the Ugly Truth, by Joan Walsh
Salon.com (to view, you need to watch an ad)
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2005/09/01/katrina_race/index.html

Hurricane Katrina: The People Did Not and Do Not Have to Die
Statement by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
http://rwor.org/a/014/hurricane_e.htm

Floor statement of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH): "Indifference Is a Weapon of Mass Destruction"
http://www.commondreams.org/news2005/0902-10.htm

The Government Response

Online action: Congress: Hold Bush Accountable on Failed Katrina Response
http://www.workingforchange.com/activism/action.cfm?itemid=19560

Interview with Ray Nagin, Mayor of NO: "Feds Get Off Your Asses"
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/nagin.transcript/index.html

Landrieu Blasts Bush on Katrina Response, by Mike Liddell
http://www.fromtheroots.org/story/2005/9/3/19542/97952

Killed by Contempt, by Paul Krugman
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/05/opinion/05krugman.html

On the Ground Reporting

Notes from Inside New Orleans, by Jordan Flaherty
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/090205R.shtml

Lack of Preparedness / Global Warming

Drowning New Orleans
Scientific American
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=00060286-CB58-1315-8B5883414B7F0000

Katrina’s Real Name, by Ross Gelbspan
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/08/30/katrinas_real_name?mode=PF

Decades of Denial, by Jerry Lanson
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0901-32.htm

Opinion Pieces / Essays

Two Americas: Sink or Swim, by Laura Flanders
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0902-30.htm

Why Thousands May Die, by Cynthia Bogard
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0901-31.htm

How the Free Market Killed New Orleans, by Michael Parenti
http://info.interactivist.net/article.pl?sid=05/09/03/1346217

Additional Relief Resources

NAACP

The NAACP is setting up command centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as part of its disaster relief efforts. To read more and donate, go to:
http://www.naacp.org/

Louisiana Environmental Action Network

A grassroots coalition now working to provide relief on the ground in Louisiana. "Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) is working closely with the Office of Representative Brasso of St. Bernard Parish. Our contributions are being immediately given to the residents of St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes, two of the most inundated areas. LEAN feels that by working directly with the parish representatives we are best able to assist in meeting the critical needs of these victims and addressing the crisis in our communities."
Contact [email protected]

ACORN

Get a New Orleans based community organizing organization back up so it can help out locally:
http://www.acorn.org/index.php?id=9673

Relief Organizations Suggested by the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation:

Highlights of Alabama S.O.S.(Saving Our Selves) Efforts Alabama Coalition on Black Civic Participation: This is a chapter affiliate of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation that served as the coordinating body for the statewide efforts in Alabama. Also this organization helped with fundraising and collecting donated items for the effort.

Contact Natasha Jennings at 1-866-922-VOTE.

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement: The Selma chapter has organized 200 units of temporary and long-term housing for Hurricane victims. They also organized a service system of community groups to provide educational services for the children, legal aid, food, clothing and transportation from the disaster sites to Selma, AL. They are coordinating alot of work with the groups in Mississippi.
Contact Cliff Albright at 334- 872-7517.

One for Life: This organization was founded and led by formerly incarcerated people who have dedicated their lives to restoring, empowering and building communities. The organizers coordinated an effort in which food, water, pampers, instant milk, and hygiene items were distributed to the residents of the Orange Grove Housing community and the bay area neighborhoods in Mobile. Over 300 people were served.
Contact Paul Robinson at 251-604-1837.

T.O.P.S.: This is a prison ministry located in Dothan, AL that is also led by formerly incarcerated people that were able to collected five van loads of food, clothing, water, and personal items. They also organized and coordinated the transporting and assisted with the distributing of the items from Dothan, Al to Mobile.
Contact Kenny Glasglow at 334-791- 2433

Ellwood Community Development Center: This non-denominational Christian community based in Selma has organized resources, housing and transportation for the victims.
Contact Pastor Crum at 334-872- 6000.

Community Empowerment Project: This is a group of young Alabama natives that have formed a think tank to help with training, logistics, and developing a community based plan and strategy to address some of the long-term issues.
Contact Vivian Felts at 251-377-9691.

Black Youth Vote: This is a student led organization that is coordinating volunteer efforts of college students at several junior and community colleges.
Contact Natasha Jennings at 866-922- VOTE.

Beneath My Wings Ministry: This grassroots organization that was recently donated an abandoned Wal-Mart building and shopping center is working to transform the building into a temporary crisis center and shelter.
Contact Rev. Joyce Peeples at 334-872-2929

21st Century Youth Leadership Movement and the National Voting Rights Movement: These organizations have coordinated the 21st Century dormitory and camp site based in Perry County into as a shelter for over 65 hurricane victims. They are making arrangements to accommodate at least 50 more people. They are also establishing a school for the children at the site as well as support programs.
Contact Joanne Bland at 334-418-0800.

*The opinions and positions expressed in these linked articles belong to their authors and are not necessarily shared by Food First.

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