Newman sets out to explain why a revolution occurred in France, but not England, using a multidisciplinary methodology. She investigates the origins of the French Revolution using demographic patterns, land-tenure and inheritance systems and comparative research.
Should we start indexing wages to property prices, since wages cannot keep up with property price inflation, and property is not included in the CPI? This is the subject of this logical and innovative article, republished from ABC Australia.
The meeting showed huge community concern over our deteriorating living conditions and what the future holds. There are many community groups with detailed knowledge of the mechanisms and laws around what is happening in their various specific trouble spots. These people are community-minded, dedicated, and well informed.
Ancestor worship, or the belief that your ancestors look after you and live among you, seems like a good kind of belief to me, when I consider the anonymity and general invisibility of the old and the dead in modern Australian society. Although money can sometimes buy you a big send-off, like the truly grandiose one for a big sports-mogul the other day, it may inspire resentment: "Seems kind of unfair," commented an elderly friend, "When you and I shall be forgotten, absent any fanfare."
Ancestor worship in a small endogamous and sedentary (viscous) population keeps the dead alive and recycling as the living. It makes everyone important members of the tribe, never to be forgotten. Everyone knows each other and the dead cannot have been much different, so you feel as if you know them. They are a part of you. What the lives of ancestors many generations back may lose in detail, they gain in heroic stature and magic powers. They have their own spirit realm where they may be reached for consultation, using various rituals. As they grow up, individuals look in themselves for inherited skills and heroic tendencies that they know to exist in the tribe.
In 'modern' western settler states tribes are too dispersed for people to be able to remember their ancestors properly. Their direct experience of ancestors is usually limited to a couple of generations, not necessarily complete. The problem is that people in such societies no longer live in the same place as their ancestors, experiencing the same trees, animals, and sights of the same local environment, and the food and water it produces. They now live in recently constructed houses and apartments that have obliterated all the nature around them and all trace of the people who lived there, including their burial places. Our existences seem as fragile as the photographs and documents we retrieve from family-tree searches. Deceased blood relatives seem rootless in an abstract history full of strangers. The need to search for one's ancestral tribe remains strong nonetheless, as we see from people having DNA tests to try to get a vague idea of their origins, but all they get back is links to a hotchpotch of anonymous lost souls.
You can understand why people get so upset when a tree is cut down or an old building destroyed, when the park is paved over, or the bush where they grew up is destroyed, along with its wildlife. It's because we have deep instincts for roots, relatives, and for an intimate long-term tribal relationship with our local environment, which our lives once depended on and which they may again depend on.
Conveniently for capitalism, the yearning for one's lost tribe is easily displaced onto brand names, football teams, NGOs, employers, schools, political parties, temples, aged-care, and other institutions. Many such false tribes practice conditional acceptance, based on whether you are paid-up or not. Even cemeteries now dig you up after a few decades, if you don't pay their ransom. More and more of us go up in smoke these days, contributing to climate change and robbing the earth of our nutrients.
There is an old proverb that says that you can break a stick, but a bundle of sticks if very hard to break. Just imagine for a moment if we married second and more distant cousins, and inherited our land from each other - like the Rothchilds or the Windsors. Some of us would not marry because we would run out of cousins, but we would all have a place. We would share our illustrious and villainous ancestors; the history of how they won and defended our land would inspire us. And when the developers came to build on our cemetery, we would fight them to the death. The very wealthy know this and found dynasties. By marrying their relations, they preserve land, assets and power within family and clan.
Australian society is however, increasingly disorganised by routines of lengthy commutes, and property and custody struggles following divorce. Families are geographically separated due to global employment opportunities and social drift. Suburban infill and housing insecurity resulting from large influxes into cities churn neighbourhoods so that we no longer have old neighbours and a sense of community. The cliche that "we are all migrants" has some truth to it, but in the ways mentioned, we are prevented from truly making Australia our home in the long term sense that would allow us a connection to our ancestors as fellow inhabitants of this place.
On the Rothschild strategy for consolidating wealth by staying as a tight-knit clan: https://www.academia.edu/39626199/The_House_of_Rothschild.
The below is from another fascinating article by Adam Kuper, "Incest, cousin marriage, and the origin of the human sciences in nineteenth- century England, Past and Present, 2002: https://www.academia.edu/38993793/INCEST_COUSIN_MARRIAGE_AND_THE_ORIGIN_OF_THE_HUMAN_SCIENCES_IN_NINETEENTH-CENTURY_ENGLAND.
[...] Queen Victoria, a model of propriety, married her first cousin, Albert, her mother's brother's son. This was and remains a Hanoverian tradition. George I had married his father's brother's daughter, and George IV his father's sister's daughter.
George V and Elizabeth II carried on this tradition, both marrying second cousins. The tradition may be traced back to the Stuarts.
The parents of James I were first cousins, children of a half-sister and half-brother.25)
Love and marriage between cousins became a regular topic of novels in nineteenth-century England. In Mansfield Park (1814), Fanny married Edmund, her mother's sister's son. In Persuasion (1817), Charles Hayter similarly married his mother's sister's daughter, Henrietta Musgrave. In the same novel, Elizabeth Elliot dreams of a marriage with her cousin and her father's heir, William Elliot (apparently her second cousin in the male line), and he later woos her sister Anne. Any objections to these relationships had to do with such extraneous factors as the difference in status between Fanny and Edmund or Henrietta and Charles. There were similar marriages within Jane Austen's own family. Jane's brother Henry married his widowed cousin, Eliza de Feuillide, after Eliza had rejected his brother James.27 (Another of Jane Austen's brothers, Charles, married his dead wife's sister in 1820, albeit 'to general disapproval'.)
Cousin marriages continued to feature regularly in English novels and plays to the end of the nineteenth century, without being represented as strange or problematic. As late as 1895, The Importance of Being Ernest ends with the happy discovery that Ernest and Gwendolen are cousins. His mother was not a handbag, or Miss Prism, but Lady Bracknell's sister. Since they were the children of two sisters, Lady Bracknell could have no objection to their marriage.
What the anthropologists were later to term sister exchange was also an established royal tradition. The Hanoverians were famous for it. In the nineteenth century it became a familiar practice in middle-class circles. The marriage of Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood was a case in point. Not only were they first cousins, but since Emma's elder brother, Josiah Wedgwood III, had married Charles's elder sister, Caroline, the two men were also exchanging sisters. The combination of marriage to first cousins with a propensity to sister exchange (or with the marriage of two brothers to a pair of sisters) meant that it was not uncommon in the next generation for double first cousins to marry. Darwin's father-in-law Josiah Wedgwood II and his brother John Wedgwood (themselves children of third cousins)married two sisters. In the next generation, John's daughter, Jessie, married Josiah's son, Henry Allen Wedgwood. She was his father's brother's daughter and also his mother's sister's daughter.
[...] Recent studies show that the incidence of first-cousin marriage was significantly higher in some British or British-derived population during the nineteenth century than George Darwin's statistic suggested. Men of Boston Brahmin families had a remarkably high level of close kin (mostly first-cousin) marriage from 1680 to 1859, averaging around 25 per cent, but climbing to 66.6 per cent in the middle of the eighteenth century. Sibling exchange was also common." Close-kin marriage was by no measure restricted to the elite. In the first half of the nineteenth century, 20 per cent of marriages among Protestant Northern Irish immgrants to the Midwest were with first cousins. Highland Scot migrants to New Zealand were also strikingly endogamous. What Maureen Molloy calls 'kin group endogamy' reached 70 per cent in some areas. Sibling exchanges were frequent, and 'it is quite common to find three siblings marrying two sibling cousins and a third cousin or cousin's cousin'. Molloy found genealogic evidence to show that this pattern preceded emigration, and argued that it was perhaps related to the imposition of British rule and population resettlement."
Outside the property development and population growth lobby, very few people who are worried about population growth and high immigration appreciate the effect of endogamy (marrying within your people) and exogamy (marrying outside your people) on population size and fertility. They also don’t recognize its effect on the private amassing of wealthy estates and political power. Anyone who wants to understand modern day problems with overpopulation, poverty, and loss of democracy would do well to study this article. This article is intended to stimulate debate about democracy, wealth distribution, and overpopulation. The author invites critical comments and argument.
Article based on S.M. Newman Demography, Territory and Law: Land-tenure and the origins of capitalism in Britain, Countershock Press, 2014. and S.M. Newman Demography, Territory and Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2013.
How to read the diagrams: White squares in the diagrams below indicate permitted marriages and black squares indicate forbidden marriages. White squares become black squares when someone is already married, although polygamy varies this factor. The symetrical rules for marriage to "in-laws" are indicated by mirror images, creating an overall pyramid form in the diagram of an extended family or clan.
"Endogamy" refers to marrying within one’s clan, tribe or similar social unit. "Exogamy" refers to marrying outside those units. The most extreme kinds of endogamy tend to be practiced by ancient royal clans, such as the Egyptians and the Incas, where there were sibling, father-daughter and grandfather-granddaughter marriages. Less extreme, but more common, are first and other cousin marriages, frequently practiced by nobility and other established clans and tribes. The wealthy, whether they are noble or not, tend to marry other wealthy people for similar reasons.
High Endogamy, Low Exogamy, Low Fertility
If you look at the white squares, you will see that the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt could marry their children and their grandchildren and other close relatives. The rigidity of this practice varied from pharaoh to pharaoh, and lesser relatives might also be married, however marriage within close blood relatives was encouraged.
The purpose of highly endogamous marriages is to preserve land and power within a small group of people (known as a caste). To this day, dynasties can only preserve themselves by intermarrying. Although sibling marriage and parent or grandparent marriage is widely prohibited, first cousin marriage practiced over several generations can bring about similarly close genetic inheritance.
Although this system promotes fertility, it only does so within a very limited pool of candidates. This means that dynasties are powerful but small populations, able to concentrate, conserve and control their material assets through numerous social, legal and genetic bonds.
Outside the easily recognized institutions of tribe and nobility, people in countries where tradition holds them close to the land and preserves their extended families, still tend to live near and to marry within their own class, region and culture. This is the case with most continental European countries. It has a moderating effect on fertility opportunities and a strengthening effect on local self-government and democratic organization.
Low Endogamy, High Exogamy, Low Fertility
There are very few white squares, so very few permitted marriages. With incest avoidance to the 8th degree fertility opportunities within a clan are very low. This is the opposite system to the Ancient Egyptian one.
In cultures, such as those of desert indigenous populations and South Korea, fertility is kept low by restricting marriage opportunities within the family and clan and relying on external opportunity where external opportunity is limited – for instance by distance. If you are a very small clan, with only your feet for transport and your activities take place many kilometers from the next clan’s location, your opportunities to meet suitable partners will be limited. Infertile environments - typically with low rainfall - make for low density populations and big spaces between clans. The difficulty of finding a mate in such circumstances is well shown in the film Ten Canoes. (Although admittedly there were canoes, their use in the film was local rather than inter-clan.)
High Endogamy, High Exogamy, High Fertility
High exogamy is well represented by the biblical laws of Leviticus 18, very influential on Western societies. See the diagram below.
Lots of white squares here mean that you can marry a lot of people in your clan. Brothers are encouraged to marry their deceased brother's wife and niece marriage is legal. The rules differ according to whether you are male or female. This was the system that accompanied the exhortation to "Go forth and multiply."
Western societies tend to follow the Leviticus pattern, although you do get legal restrictions on cousin marriage in some places (such as Illinois, in the United States) where first cousins are not allowed to marry until they are over 55 years old) and there are age restrictions and social restrictions on marriage between uncles/aunts and nieces and nephews.
Multiculturalism as high fertility exogamy and its effect on self-government and citizen capacity to organize
Extreme exogamy applies in the English speaking ‘settler states’ of the United States, Australia and Canada. The populations in these ‘settler states’ are in continual motion due to constant reorganization of suburbs and infrastructure to accommodate high rates of immigration. This people movement occurs at international, national, regional and inter-suburban and intercity level, rather reminiscent of the increased movement of molecules in a heated substance.
Because families and clans tend to be split and disorganized in these societies, the level of endogamy is reduced, despite lack of legal restrictions. Exogamy is strongly encouraged by policies of ‘multiculturalism’. People move far away from their parents and divorce, remarriage and serial families are frequent impoverishing factors. In continental Europe there just isn’t the same amount of structural turmoil. Although the first and second world wars in those areas did cause significant disturbance, the arrangement of clans and their geographic position in villages and towns persisted.
The most important thing to understand about endogamy and exogamy, however, is their role in promoting or limiting population growth. The diagrams in this article should help the reader to see what is meant by this.
Transport factors in creating the Post War Baby Boom
Another important factor already alluded to that affects these patterns in most cases is the introduction of new transport because it permits individuals to travel greater distances. Horses, camels and elephants will take people a lot further and afford them significantly more fertility opportunities than travel on foot will. Trains, cars, boats and planes multiply opportunity exponentially. Trains are associated with massive population growth, but they impose a geometrically restricted pattern. Those restrictions disappeared with the advent of cheap oil and the automobile. Without these there would not have been a post war baby boom without precedent in size.
In general high endogamy plus high incest prohibition means low fertility. It is difficult to find people who are not married already and who are not forbidden to you in marriage but who are also members of your tribe. A person in this situation might have to go quite a long way in search of a partner and it is likely that a fairly high proportion of the clans-people would die without marrying or having children.
High endogamy but low incest prohibition, where cousin marriage is frequent means high fertility. In these kinds of situations it is considered important to lock all the land up in the tribe but to have a large tribe with many workers and potential soldiers. Nonetheless there are strict boundaries. Marriage outside the tribe is rare, although usually some immigrants will be accepted into the tribe. Living examples of such tribes are the Karen, the Hutterites and some orthodox Jewish peoples.
High exogamy and high incest prohibition will tend to disperse a people so that they ultimately become unidentifiable as clan or tribe, so you won’t find many intact tribes like this. It is a major factor in the dispersal and disintegration of many previously discrete peoples after they become affected by colonization and lose their contact with their land. Examples include Australian aborigines and possibly the Dutch of the 16th and 17th century during the minor industrial revolution that occurred in the Netherlands and which entailed major population drift from country to city. The capturing of African slaves and their transport to the Americas and Pacific Islands like Haiti is another example where the transported survivors of peoples who probably had low fertility in their original tribes encountered significantly increased fertility opportunities.
Low incest prohibition and low endogamy mean that where a clan is not isolated, it has more fertility opportunities than one with stricter rules. Such patterns characterize the settler states of Canada, Australia, the United States and Britain. Usually even first cousin marriage is permitted, but families and clans are so dispersed and fragmented that marriage to members of unidentified and equally dispersed descendants of clans are common. With the very high immigration in these countries, this potentially results in huge population growth. These are synthetically structured societies. Such countries lack the capacity to organize from the bottom up that is possible in countries where several generations are embodied in clans and historically settled and networked in a particular locality within a larger polity. An example of this strong capacity to organize based on relatively natural distribution would be France or Japan. Some examples of this capacity to organize are the French Revolution, which was able to persist over several generations until a lasting republic was formed, and the German and Japanese manufacturing sectors.
There is good reason to think that variations in endogamy and exogamy are instinctive social responses to environmental fertility signals because these rules also occur in most other animals and plants, as The Rules of Animal and Human Populations explains in chapters 3 and 4 which are also published by themselves as The Urge to Disperse. In a globalized society these signals are diffuse, remote and confusing. Media and government interpretation of signals can influence false perceptions of real environments.
Polygamy helps to make such populations larger. An exceptional case was King Abdul Aziz, who began the current Saudi kingdom in 1932 and had 44 legitimate sons by 17 wives. The Saudi royal family had more than 4000 princes and 30,000 noble relatives in 2002 and is considered the largest royal dynasty. Without the commercial industrialization of petroleum the kingdom and dynasty could never have been so powerful. Without this kind of intermarriage the Saudi clans would not have been able to maintain control over Saudi assets. Corporations and international interference would have eroded their power, as they do among ‘common people’ by keeping them disorganised.
“Ibn Saud fathered dozens of sons and daughters by his many wives. He had at most only four wives at one time. He divorced and married many times. He made sure to marry into many of the noble clans and tribes within his territory, including the chiefs of the Bani Khalid, Ajman, and Shammar tribes, as well as the Al ash-Sheikh (descendants of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab). He also arranged for his sons and relatives to enter into similar marriages. He appointed his eldest surviving son, Saud as heir apparent, to be succeeded by the next eldest son, Faisal. The Saudi family became known as the "royal family," and each member, male and female, was accorded the title amir or amira ("prince" or "princess"), respectively.
Ibn Saud died in 1953, after having cemented an alliance with the United States in 1945. He is still celebrated officially as the "Founder," and only his direct descendents may take on the title of "his or her Royal Highness." The date of his recapture of Riyadh in 1902 was chosen to mark Saudi Arabia's centennial in 1999 (according to the Islamic lunar calendar).” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Saud (Accessed 26 February 2013.)
 "Fertility Opportunity" is a phrase borrowed from anthropologist Virginia Abernethy's theory of that name.
 Without intergenerational organization in the form of locally organized clans, the French Revolution probably would not have occurred. It had to persist over several generations.
Feed the world with Genetically Modified foods? The French Minister for Agriculture is preparing a new law to prevent GM crops in France as the European Court of Justice has questioned the health-risk basis of current French laws against GM. It probably suits GM patenters to keep the battle on this footing as a decoy because the major danger lies elsewhere - in loss of productive land tenure. In the US, meanwhile, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) has filed suit against Monsanto Company to challenge the chemical giant’s patents on genetically modified seed. The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed, something Monsanto has done to others in the past.
French Law on GM 28 November 2011
Yesterday (28 November 2011) the French Conseil d'Etat took European Court of Justice advice that France's laws against OGM have no basis because France has not provided evidence that OGM presents any especially high risk to human or environmental health.
If France want to continue to outlaw GM then it will have to make a new law. The Minister for Agriculture, Bruno Le Maire has stated that he is preparing one.
"We do not want to cultivate Monsanto 810 on our territory because the environmental doubts are too great," he said.
About 30 countries in the world produce OGM crops. At the moment four countries are major producers of OGMs, the United States, Brazil, India and Argentina. Lesser producers are Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Germany (representing about 2% of world production) and Poland, the Tchec Republic and Slovakia.
OGMs have been studied as if they were medications - with reviews to see if they are toxic or produce allergies. These results have shown no danger of medical toxicity or allergy. The problems lie in other directions.
Turbo-industrialised agriculture a threat to democracy
The major legal and social problem is contamination of non-OGM by OGM because it carries the risk of widespread loss of land and crop tenure and self-government. This is a simply enormous problem, because these seeds are privately owned. If OGM seeds are found on your property you can be forced to pay for them and there have been many instances of this where farmers have been bankrupted. (Cases cited at 11.47 minutes into the on-line film.)OGM in private hands causes dispossession and alienation from traditional food-sources, with starvation and enslavement to corporate producers in non-industrialised and industrialised countries alike. The French Revolution was all about winning the right to own land for all citizens from feudal regimes where only a small proportion of people owned the land and the means of production. The OGM Revolution is shaping up as a means to segregate land and food production again from most people, although its proponents present it as a means to 'feed the world'.
March 29, 2011 Organic Farmers and Seed Sellers sue Monsanto to protect themselves from patents on genetically modified seed:
You can purchase a dvd of the new film: "The Future of Food". Below we have republished a statement about a new class action against Monsanto's industrial patents on OGM genes.
"Preemptive Action Seeks Ruling That Would Prohibit Monsanto From Suing Organic Farmers and Seed Growers If Contaminated By Roundup Ready Seed
(Originally posted here.)
NEW YORK – March 29, 2011 – On behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed suit today (http://www.pubpat.org/assets/files/seed/OSGATA-v-Monsanto-Complaint.pdf) against Monsanto Company to challenge the chemical giant’s patents on genetically modified seed. The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed, something Monsanto has done to others in the past.
The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge Naomi Buchwald. Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad array of family farmers, small businesses and organizations from within the organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by genetically modified seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it. The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members, including thousands of certified organic family farmers.
“This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto’s transgenic seed should land on their property,” said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s Executive Director and Lecturer of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. “It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients.”
Once released into the environment, genetically modified seed contaminates and destroys organic seed for the same crop. For example, soon after Monsanto introduced genetically modified seed for canola, organic canola became virtually extinct as a result of contamination.
Organic corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets and alfalfa now face the same fate, as Monsanto has released genetically modified seed for each of those crops, too. Monsanto is developing genetically modified seed for many other crops, thus putting the future of all food, and indeed all agriculture, at stake.
In the case, PUBPAT is asking Judge Buchwald to declare that if organic farmers are ever contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed, they need not fear also being accused of patent infringement. One reason justifying this result is that Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed are invalid because they don’t meet the “usefulness” requirement of patent law, according to PUBPAT’s Ravicher, plaintiffs’ lead attorney in the case. Evidence cited by PUBPAT in its opening filing today proves that genetically modified seed has negative economic and health effects, while the promised benefits of genetically modified seed – increased production and decreased herbicide use – are false.
“Some say transgenic seed can coexist with organic seed, but history tells us that’s not possible, and it’s actually in Monsanto’s financial interest to eliminate organic seed so that they can have a total monopoly over our food supply,” said Ravicher. “Monsanto is the same chemical company that previously brought us Agent Orange, DDT, PCB’s and other toxins, which they said were safe, but we know are not. Now Monsanto says transgenic seed is safe, but evidence clearly shows it is not.”
The plaintiffs in the suit represented by PUBPAT are: Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association; Organic Crop Improvement Association International, Inc.; OCIA Research and Education Inc.; The Cornucopia Institute; Demeter Association, Inc.; Navdanya International; Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.; Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont; Rural Vermont; Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association; Southeast Iowa Organic Association; Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society; Mendocino Organic Network; Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance; Canadian Organic Growers; Family Farmer Seed Cooperative; Sustainable Living Systems; Global Organic Alliance; Food Democracy Now!; Family Farm Defenders Inc.; Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund; FEDCO Seeds Inc.; Adaptive Seeds, LLC; Sow True Seed; Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds; Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., LLC; Comstock, Ferre & Co., LLC; Seedkeepers, LLC; Siskiyou Seeds; Countryside Organics; Cuatro Puertas; Interlake Forage Seeds Ltd.; Alba Ranch; Wild Plum Farm; Gratitude Gardens; Richard Everett Farm, LLC; Philadelphia Community Farm, Inc; Genesis Farm; Chispas Farms LLC; Kirschenmann Family Farms Inc.; Midheaven Farms; Koskan Farms; California Cloverleaf Farms; North Outback Farm; Taylor Farms, Inc.; Jardin del Alma; Ron Gargasz Organic Farms; Abundant Acres; T & D Willey Farms; Quinella Ranch; Nature’s Way Farm Ltd.; Levke and Peter Eggers Farm; Frey Vineyards, Ltd.; Bryce Stephens; Chuck Noble; LaRhea Pepper; Paul Romero; and, Donald Wright Patterson, Jr.
Many of the plaintiffs made statements upon filing of the suit today.
Jim Gerritsen, a family farmer in Maine who raises organic seed and is President of lead plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association ased in Montrose, Colorado, said, “Today is Independence Day fo America. Today we are seeking protection from the Court and putting Monsanto on notice. Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers stops here. Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now. Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace – to decide what kind of food they will feed their families - and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to choose. Organic farmers have the right to raise our organic crops fo our families and our customers on our farms without the threat of invasion by Monsanto’s genetic contamination and without harassment by a eckless polluter. Beginning today, America asserts her right to justice and pure food.”
Dr. Carol Goland, Ph.D., Executive Director of plaintiff Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) said, “Consumers indicate, overwhelmingly, that they prefer foods made without genetically modified organisms. Organic farms, by regulation, may not use GMOs, while other farmers forego using them for other reasons. Yet the truth is that we are rapidly approaching the tipping point when we will be unable to avoid GMOs in our fields and on our plates. That is the inevitable consequence of releasing genetically engineered materials into the environment. To add injury to injury, Monsanto has a history of suing farmers whose fields have been contaminated by Monsanto’s GMOs. On ehalf of farmers who must live under this cloud of uncertainty and isk, we are compelled to ask the Court to put an end to this unconscionable business practice.”
Rose Marie Burroughs of plaintiff California Cloverleaf Farms said, “The devastation caused by GMO contamination is an ecological catastrophe to our world equal to the fall out of nuclear radiation. Nature, farming and health are all being affected by GMO contamination. We must protect our world by protecting our most precious, sacred resource of seed sovereignty. People must have the right to the resources of the earth for our sustenance. We must have the freedom to farm that causes no harm to the environment or to other people. We must protect the environment, farmers livelihood, public health and people’s right to non GMO food contamination.”
Ed Maltby, Executive Director of plaintiff Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) said, “It’s outrageous that we find ourselves in a situation where the financial burden of GE contamination will fall on family farmers who have not asked for or contributed to the growth of GE crops. Family farmers will face contamination of their crops by GE seed which will threaten their ability to sell crops as organically certified or into the rapidly growing ‘Buy Local’ market where consumers have overwhelmingly declared they do not want any GE crops, and then family farmers may be faced by a lawsuit by Monsanto for patent infringement. We take this action to protect family farms who once again have to bear the consequences of irresponsible actions by Monsanto.”
David L. Rogers, Policy Advisor for plaintiff NOFA Vermont said, “Vermont’s farmers have worked hard to meet consumers’ growing demand for certified organic and non-GE food. It is of great concern to them that Monsanto’s continuing and irresponsible marketing of GE crops that contaminate non-GE plantings will increasingly place their local and egional markets at risk and threaten their livelihoods.”
Dewane Morgan of plaintiff Midheaven Farms in Park Rapids, Minnesota, said, “For organic certification, farmers are required to have a buffer zone around their perimeter fields. Crops harvested from this buffer zone are not eligible for certification due to potential drift from herbicide and fungicide drift. Buffer zones are useless against pollen drift. Organic, biodynamic, and conventional farmers who grow identity-preserved soybeans, wheat and open-pollinated corn often save seed for replanting the next year. It is illogical that these farmers are liable for cross-pollination contamination.”
Jill Davies, Director of plaintiff Sustainable Living Systems in Victor, Montana, said, “The building blocks of life are sacred and should be in the public domain. If scientists want to study and manipulate them fo some supposed common good, fine. Then we must remove the profit motive.
The private profit motive corrupts pure science and increasingly precludes democratic participation.”
David Murphy, founder and Executive Director of plaintiff Food Democracy Now! said, “None of Monsanto’s original promises regarding genetically modified seeds have come true after 15 years of wide adoption by commodity farmers. Rather than increased yields or less chemical usage, farmers are facing more crop diseases, an onslaught of herbicide-resistant superweeds, and increased costs from additional herbicide application. Even more appalling is the fact that Monsanto’s patented genes can blow onto another farmer’s fields and that farmer not only loses significant revenue in the market but is frequently exposed to legal action against them by Monsanto’s team of belligerent lawyers.
Crop biotechnology has been a miserable failure economically and iologically and now threatens to undermine the basic freedoms that farmers and consumers have enjoyed in our constitutional democracy.”
Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for plaintiff The Cornucopia Institute said, “Family-scale farmers desperately need the judiciary anch of our government to balance the power Monsanto is able to wield in the marketplace and in the courts. Monsanto, and the biotechnology industry, have made great investments in our executive and legislative branches through campaign contributions and powerful lobbyists in Washington. We need to court system to offset this power and protect individual farmers from corporate tyranny. Farmers have saved seeds since the beginning of agriculture by our species. It is outrageous that one corporate entity, through the trespass of what they refer to as their ‘technology,’ can intimidate and run roughshod over family farmers in this country. It should be the responsibility of Monsanto, and farmers licensing their technology, to ensure that genetically engineered DNA does not trespass onto neighboring farmland. It is outrageous, that through no fault of their own, farmers are being intimidated into not saving seed for fear that they will be doggedly pursued through the court system and potentially bankrupted.”
The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) is a not-for-profit legal services organization affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
PUBPAT protects freedom in the patent system by representing the public interest against undeserved patents and unsound patent policy. More information about PUBPAT is available from www.pubpat.org."