God. 1,500 suicides.

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    Apr 16, 2009 11:06 PM GMT
    This news, about dire India and Australia, and how the farmers who are in debt or stricken by drought commit suicide. We don't have it so bad in the US.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/1500-farmers-commit-mass-suicide-in-india-1669018.html
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    Apr 17, 2009 12:28 AM GMT
    No you don't!

    farmers have been walking off their land, and also committing suicide for sometime.

    The recession is just really hitting Oz. Something we did not start, but are paying the price for.
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    Apr 17, 2009 12:40 AM GMT
    This has been quite commonplace in India for many years now - "coincidentally" coinciding with India's industrialization and economic rise in the world.

    As companies like Coca-Cola steal the drinking water for their bottling factories, farm land is left without irrigation. Companies like Monsanto patenting seeds and creating "terminator seeds" which self destruct after producing the crop so that no more seeds are naturally reproduced, thus ensuring continued profits for Monsanto, has devastated farmers.

    Incidentally, Monsanto has, by law, made this mandatory in Iraq, where everyone will have to continue to purchase seeds from Monsanto, and it is ILLEGAL to save seeds.

    But then again, that's "backwards" and "barbaric" because that's something humanity has been doing since settling on land, leaving our nomadic roots. It's only one of the bedrocks for our civilization's growth.

    Sadly, this situation will only get worse. Though this has been happening for some time, I believe this mass nature of the recent one is a new phenomenon.

    Sad to hear.


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    Apr 17, 2009 12:51 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidThis news, about dire India and Australia, and how the farmers who are in debt or stricken by drought commit suicide. We don't have it so bad in the US.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/1500-farmers-commit-mass-suicide-in-india-1669018.html
    Omg. what can we do?
    I hate to see someone end their life over money.
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    Apr 17, 2009 12:53 AM GMT
    While I'll certainly agree that Monsanto has not been the most brightly-polished light in the corporate universe, I hafta ask, as a journalist... where do you get your information? Is it truly illegal for such seed-saving in India? Or is that just another lie being told by those who are unhappy, for whatever reason?

    The feud over the water rights in Owens Valley, California, (which are owned by the City of Los Angeles) is a good example: the few people in the towns up there, such as Bishop, Lone Pine, and Independence, yell the loudest about how L.A. "stole" their water and raped their land, but when you dig further into the facts you learn that Los Angeles, when buying up the failing farmland up there, payed for the water rights FAIR AND SQUARE at a rate of FOUR TIMES the assessed value of any of the given farms they bought, and as such had the right to divert the water anywhere they chose, as they legally owned it and a VAST majority of the Owens Valley's land and water table. But those FACTS never mattered to the Watterson Brothers, and their friends in the KKK, who had persisted for years, backed by well-meaning but misinformed people in that valley, that L.A. was a water thief and stole all that they were using. When even President Roosevelt, and his successors, turned a blind eye to the "knockers" as those few who were complaining were called, those same knockers started bombing the Aqueduct when they didn't get their way. Evenetually, their leaders (The Wattersons) who owned the banks and the farm mortgages up there (and were financially hurt when the farm owners decided to sell early - so their motivation is pretty apparent) were convicted of embezzlement charges, along with a number of other financial misdeeds, and ended-up doing prison time.

    The point I'm making is that, while I'd not be surprised at all if Monsanto did some nasty things behind closed doors, nevertheless, when you throw out such "facts" without giving a source or reference, you make your post sound insubstantiated.

    Kinda like the "facts" being thrown around in that stupid video being presented by the National Organization For Marriage.
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    Apr 17, 2009 1:29 AM GMT
    Given their actions in the United States and Canada, I wouldn't put it past them. I mentioned their corporate lawsuits against private farmers in one of the other threads on here:

    [quote][cite]North_runner[/cite]If anyone wants a good film that introduces the background of genetically modified crops etc, I highly recommend "The Future of Food"

    It's tilted to the cautionary side of genetically modified foods, moreso because of the corporate influence on the industry.

    For example: Monsanto successfully sued a farmer for accidentally finding genetically modified plants in his canola crops. He had attempted to use a Monsanto product, and found the plants were resistant to the weed-killer. After isolating the several acres of plants, Monsanto went onto his property and obtained a sample of the crop. (illegally)

    They took him to court, and it eventually found its way up to the Canadian Supreme Court. There, the court ruled that they did have the right to police use of the plant, which it ruled was in effect their private property. They excused the farmer, Percy Schmeiser, from paying fees and damages. However, he had to effectively destroy his entire storehouse of seed to ensure that he could not be sued again. There have been an estimated 9,000 cases like this pursued by Monsanto in the US and Canada.

    That sort of corporate practice is inexcusable in my eyes. Whatever the potential benefits or drawbacks to GM foods, the regulations and laws about them are largely dependent on the revolving door in the various administrations and on K street. IMHO, this is something that needs to be fixed before it can become a truly safe industry.

    Some good links:

    The Future of Food:

    http://www.thefutureoffood.com/

    Percy Schmeiser's personal webpage, detailing the events:

    http://www.percyschmeiser.com/

    Wikipedia's page on the case and its proceedings:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto_Canada_Inc._v._Schmeiser#Origin_of_the_patented_seed_in_Schmeiser.27s_fields

    Corporate Watch's profile on Monsanto:
    http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=209
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    Apr 17, 2009 1:49 AM GMT
    Okay, this is by NO MEANS extensive. I just did 5 minutes of quick research (in the middle of researching another topic at the moment) to post some useful links:


    - GM crops and India:

    http://www.indiatogether.org/2005/aug/agr-seedbill.htm
    http://www.countercurrents.org/gl-shiva150205.htm
    http://www.africanexecutive.com/modules/magazine/articles.php?article=766
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1082559/The-GM-genocide-Thousands-Indian-farmers-committing-suicide-using-genetically-modified-crops.html

    A little look at the seed industry:
    http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=seeds_tmln&seeds_seed_industry

    Terminator Seeds:
    http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=seeds_tmln&seeds_cases_studies-other=seeds_terminatorSeeds

    Monsanto, and Saving Seeds made illegal in Iraq:
    http://www.uruknet.info/?p=47991
    http://www.organicconsumers.org/patent/iraq111704.cfm
    http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=12547
    http://www.currentconcerns.ch/archive/2005/05/20050507.php


    I highly recommend reading "Seeds of Destruction" by: F. William Engdahl
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    Apr 17, 2009 1:51 AM GMT
    Here's a great article on the challenges and responses of farmers facing the shortage in the Murray-Darling Basin:

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/04/murray-darling/draper-text/1
  • DCEric

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    Apr 17, 2009 2:17 AM GMT
    As someone who works with the developing worlds agriculture, I can tell you this is common. This is the equivilent of the stock brokers jumpng from the windows during bad crashes, or other people who kill themselves when they loose everything.
  • pandx970

    Posts: 357

    Apr 17, 2009 2:24 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidThis news, about dire India and Australia, and how the farmers who are in debt or stricken by drought commit suicide. We don't have it so bad in the US.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/1500-farmers-commit-mass-suicide-in-india-1669018.html


    yeh...i was listening to a bbc-npr report on it. it sounded like it was a story out of the bbc about indian farmers in uttar pradesh on the upper ganges plain who were committing suicide at such high rates. that was definitely one of those "driveway moments" i was listening to some agriculture official explaining that often these folk are experiencing what the americans did in the dust bowl. that essentially the green revolution of the 60s and 70s that relieved the starvation and hunger of the masses in india is the feeder for such horrible conditions now. mainly being the watertable falling from 10 feet to 200~300 feet below surface and the wells being sunk deeper and deeper.

    can't imagine what our way out is other than ourselves taking a hard look at our own consumption in the 1st world. like our poultry and livestock are fed more and better kept (even in the hoghouses and stockyards) than the *people* living in parts of india or other parts of the un-/under-developed 3rd world.
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    Apr 17, 2009 2:32 AM GMT
    Yes, I agree, unfortunately that this is very common.

    Studying the structures of international agri-business, and more generally Western capital relations with the "developing" world, with emphasis on the World Bank and IMF - can reveal much of the nature and status of the individual farmer in the global political economy.

    The World Bank and IMF, first off, are not there to help people or relieve poverty. This is undeniably and absolutely false and laughable.

    It always amazes me to see mainstream news report on the World Bank as an "aid agency" or that its mission is to "stop starvation and cure poverty" etc.

    In the discipline of Political Science, and more specifically, Global Political Economy (GPE), it is NO secret that the World Bank and IMF are engines and tools of western finance capital whose real mission is to dominate the Third World through economic imperialism, capturing their economies for the benefit of American and European corporations and banks. This is literally mainstream academic discourse.

    When studying specifically agriculture, there are dozens of examples of how World Bank and IMF Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) or conditionalities, blow out economies so that they can be completely consumed by western finance for pennies on the dollar. Former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz blew the whistle on the purposeful blowing out of the Argentine economy.

    In the case of "food aid" - we see a cruel pattern, where genocide is down to a science, quite literally.

    A country, (such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Rwanda, etc), has a bad year for crop production, and very little rain. They fear potential for a famine, or some areas are already experiencing famine. The World Bank then comes to the "aid" of said nation, dumping cheap, genetically modified grain into the economy in such excess (which is produced through heavy subsidies in the United States), that it floods the market, becoming the primary commodity in said nation.

    However, the availability and cheap price of this food "aid" makes local agriculture unable to compete. The result is that farmers have no income, farms fail - these countries, still largely rural based, lose their entire economic base, while companies like Monsanto then buy up all the agriculture within the nation. With no money, people cannot even afford the food aid - and then, actual famine erupts.

    There have been several cases where countries receiving food aid literally dump it into the ocean while there is a famine going on.

    Food aid, and aid in general is a cruel hoax.

    A truly fascinating study in how the International Financial Institutions function is with Rwanda in the lead up to the genocide. The role played by the IMF and World Bank in Rwanda was absolutely imperative to leading to the outbreak of violence, and is completely ignored from our discourse on the subject - which primarily is based in racist and neo-imperial notions of "tribal rivalries", "ethnic conflicts" and "backwards, barbarian" people who need the west to "intervene" to protect them from themselves.

    Intervention is the root of Africa's problems, not the solution.