After two decades of neoliberalism, India's magnates and corporations are profiting as never before, writes Colin Todhunter. But the entire economic edifice is built on the dispossession of the poor, locked into debt servitude, and ever rising income inequality. Prime Minister Modi's latest move, 'demonetization', is yet another example of the state stealing from the poor to give to the obscenely rich.
Bayer's $66 billion takeover of Monsanto represents another big click on the ratchet of corporate power over farming and food, writes Colin Todhunter. With the 'big six' of global agribusiness now set to turn into the 'even bigger three', farmers and consumers are facing more GMOs and pesticides, less choice, and deeper price gouging. Agroecology has never looked more attractive.
India celebrates its Independence Day today, writes Colin Todhunter. But the highly visible system of British colonial dominance has been replaced by a new imperial hegemony: the invisible, systemic rule of transnational capital, enforced by global institutions like the World Bank, while US-based global agribusiness corporations have stepped into the boots of the former East India Company.
Africa is being opened up like a tin of sardines to a new wave of resource extraction, writes Colin Todhunter. Masked under the soubriquets of 'investment', 'growth' and 'free trade', a handful of vast global corporations are systematically plundering the continent's mineral wealth and leaving desolation in their wake, backed to the hilt by that ever-faithful servant of capital - the UK government.
The mainstream British media have long acted as cheerleaders for GMOs, but none quite so much as The Times and its disgraced correspondent Matt Ridley, writes Colin Todhunter. His most recent article on the topic is a strange concoction of misrepresentations, falsehoods and blunders dressed up as science, and reflects both his ignorance of the real facts and his deep ideological commitment to corporate profit and power.
With EU ministers due to decide tomorrow on the future of the glyphosate in the EU, Colin Todhunter finds evidence of collusion between regulators and the corporations whose sales of the 'probably carcinogenic' herbicide add up to many billions of dollars a year - evidence that underlies a legal action alleging fraud by the European Food Safety Authority against the EU's 508 million citizens.
The corporate war on traditional farming is nowhere fiercer than in India, writes Colin Todhunter. After decades of the 'Green Revolution' that have impoverished the nation's soils, water, biodiversity and cultivators alike, agribusiness is poised for its final strike. But now the small scale farmers who produce most of the country's food are rediscovering ancient agroecological alternatives.
The 'cancer industry', including charities with close links to chemicals corporations, is always keen to blame cancer victims for their morally deficient lifestyles, writes Colin Todhunter. But the real fault lies with the commercial interests touting bad food, nutritionally unbalanced and laced with toxic agrochemicals - like the ubiquitous glyphosate - and their residues.
Perhaps all the 'do gooders' busy forcing industrial models of agriculture onto poor but independent African farmers really do think they are helping them, writes Colin Todhunter. But if so they are deeply deluded. All they will achieve is the takeover of export-oriented agribusiness and GMOs, the destruction of agroecological farming systems, and a future of debt and landlessness.
India's food system, essentially clean just a generation ago, has been comprehensively contaminated with sugar, bad fats, synthetic additives, GMOs and pesticides under the country's neoliberal 'great leap forwards', writes Colin Todhunter. The result? a surge in obesity, diabetes and cancer incidence, but no let-up in the under-nutrition of those too poor to join in the over-consumption.
GMO enthusiasts insist that organic, agroecological farming could never feed the world, writes Colin Todhunter. But it has been feeding us all for millennia - and it's the only way to continue while enriching the soils and biodiversity on which all farming depends. As Mahatma Gandhi once observed, industrial agriculture is but a nine-day wonder. And its time will soon be up.
To understand how technology is used in the real world we must appreciate who owns and controls it, writes Colin Todhunter: whose interests it serves, and how it works in an economic system driven by profit, geopolitics and the compulsion to capture and control markets - while the monopolists proclaim a noble ideology of 'free choice' and 'democracy'.
Agroecology is key to retaking control over food, farming and land from the 'monstrous machine' of agribusiness, biotech, big finance and 'free trade', writes Colin Todhunter, as it represents a truly viable alternative to agriculture for corporate profit. But such are the powers ranged against the world's small farmers that it must be supported by a broad-based, global people's movement.
India's farmers are the targets of structural violence aimed at uprooting indigenous agriculture and replacing it with an intensive corporate model based on GMOs and agrochemicals, writes Colin Todhunter. But as Monsanto's GM cotton succumbs to insect infestations despite repeated pesticide applications, agroecological farming is an increasingly attractive option for cultivators.
The world is in the grip of a structural war against people, land, economies and ecosystems, writes Colin Todhunter. It is being waged by a quartet of organised criminal interests bent on monopolizing energy, money, food and violence across the globe. But a deep-rooted resistance against their 'neoliberal' doctrine of death and destruction is fighting back.
Global oilseed, agribusiness and biotech corporations are engaged in a long term attack on India's local cooking oil producers, writes Colin Todhunter. In just 20 years they have reduced India from self-sufficiency in cooking oil to importing half its needs. Now the government's unlawful attempts to impose GM mustard seed threaten to wipe out a crop at the root of Indian food and farming traditions.
How can progressive movements rise above merely being right, to mount effective mass opposition to corporate rule and the dictatorship of the super-wealthy? By learning from Gandhi, writes Colin Todhunter, and devising new campaigns that engage with people's everyday concerns - like access to safe, wholesome, affordable, 'open source' food.
The Gates Foundation - widely assumed to be 'doing good', is imposing a neoliberal model of development and corporate domination that's opening up Africa's agriculture to land and seed-grabbing global agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter. In the process it is foreclosing on the real solutions - enhancing food security, food sovereignty and the move to agroecological farming.
Bhaskar Save, the 'Gandhi of natural farming', died last year after a lifetime of organic growing and determined campaigning against the destruction of India's traditional, sustainable agriculture, writes Colin Todhunter. His 2006 open letter, published here, sets out a devastating critique of industrial agriculture and its impacts, and an eloquent and timely agroecological manifesto.
The world's big cities are choking with pollution and endless traffic jams, writes Colin Todhunter - except one. Copenhagen, faced with these problems half a century ago, decided to act. Now it is showing the world that cycling is not just the basis of a sustainable transport strategy, but is key to making our cities clean, green, human and livable. May the global revolution unfold ...
The more the GM industry claims to enjoy the support of 'science', the more it resorts to emotive attack and insult against its opponents, while doing its best to suppress the many scientific truths that are not to its liking, writes Colin Todhunter. In truth it is driven by profit, politics and ideology, and is based on fraud and the capture and corruption of governments and regulators.
India's Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee stands accused of Contempt of Court for evading Supreme Court orders to carry out full biosafety tests on GM crops and publish its data, writes Colin Todhunter. The immediate issue is a herbicide tolerant GM mustard now approved for large scale trials, while earlier findings remain under an impenetrable veil of official secrecy.
As protestors gather to oppose yet another illegal war in the Middle East, Colin Todhunter asks why David Cameron is so keen to bomb. Of course there's access to oil and routes for gas pipelines, but beyond that, it's about re-entrenching militarism into our national culture, and re-asserting the dominance of capital over people.