According to Carmelo Ruiz Marrero, Western powers have been grabbing seeds from the global South for centuries in order to develop new plant breeds. His talk provided a political and historical context to the current global battle around the patenting of seeds and crops with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Carmelo Ruiz Marrero speaks at GMO Free Midwest, Sept 16 2012
It was September 16, the first day of GMO-Free Midwest, the St. Louis portion of Occupy Monsanto. On the panel with Carmelo was Dr. Ollie Fisher, whose first job after getting his Chemical Engineering degree was working at Monsanto. He left that position after becoming distressed with the way the company uses its technology to subjugate Africa and coerce it into producing food that compromises human health.
Dr. Ollie Fisher speaks at GMO Free Midwest, Sept 16 2012
Priti Gulati Cox was also on the panel “GMOs as a Weapon of Global Domination.” She described effects of GMO crops on her native India. Monsanto advertises heavily to persuade farmers to switch to its new wonder seeds. After multiple crop failures, thousands of Indian farmers have committed suicide, unable to deal with the shame that bankruptcy has brought.
Priti Gulati Cox speaks at GMO Free Midwest, Sept 16 2012
The following day, September 17, Occupy Monsanto sponsored actions across the globe. By beginning with a day of panels, the St. Louis event encouraged a dialectical interplay between thought and action. Dialectics can help understand historical processes that develop over centuries and can guide the growth of a particular struggle.