Today I’m thinking about hungry people, farmers, ranchers, exploited contract growers, and abused food workers. I’m also reflecting on the corporate takeover of our government and nearly all major industries, including, perhaps most importantly, our food supply. Agricultural commodity prices are at disastrously low levels, a farm crisis worse than the 1980s is very likely ahead, and all the while we grow more and more dependent on foreign countries and foreign corporations for food.
How do we break this abusive monopoly power before all our family farmers and independent businesses are gone? How do we build a political force powerful enough to replace corporate puppets like Kansas Senator and Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts?
Today, serious food shortages and hunger are sparking violent protests in many places around the world, including Venezuela and Syria.
A few items follow relative to the importance of food and a nation’s ability to feed itself. It’s a national security issue!
You will learn about the fight against corporate power in Oklahoma (State Question 777) that has already inspired new awareness of the need for local self-reliance.
And you’ll meet my friend Barry Lynn, a scholar and journalist, who reminds us of the dangers of monopoly power and how to protect what is left of our food system while also rebuilding anew.
A sad memory
Three years ago, the Organization for Competitive Markets held a funeral service for competitive markets in agriculture. Today, with calf prices half of what they were just one year ago, our pronouncement has proven true. Meanwhile, retail food prices remain the same. For a look back at what we were saying in 2013 read this:
We’re not alone
The following news clip reveals a preventable human tragedy happening in Venezuela, where for too long the country has been "ordering takeout" and paying for imported food with oil money. Food giant Cargill was a major force in the industrialization of agriculture and loss of family farms, making the country vulnerable to starvation. Chavez kicked Cargill out but was unable to rebuild the lost family farm infrastructure.
The U.S. is now subject to a handful of multinational corporations controlling agriculture and food. Rather than selling oil, we run up the national debt to pay for imported food commoditized and redistributed by foreign-owned, state-sponsored food companies like JBS and Smithfield.
Syria, too, has lost its farms and farmers: Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change
What can we do?
Here’s where the battle against concentrated power could turn in our favor: Oklahoma’s so-called "Right to Farm" Constitutional Amendment SQ777, places the interests of foreign corporations like JBS and Smithfield, and other multinationals like Cargill and Tyson, over Oklahoma citizens. After the corporations won a similar measure in Missouri, it’s now imperative that Oklahoma reverse course. I hope all Oklahomans will join the campaign against abusive corporate power and vote NO on SQ777.
Support leaders who offer solutions
Former business journalist Barry Lynn is reviving a forgotten tradition.
When we lose our markets, we lose our freedom … and, we lose our democracy!