Day 127-LIII, Bari.
Bari, March 13
One of the greatest Dutch narrators of the 20th century is Marten Toonder. His life work, the Oliver B. Bumble epic, is a monument of Dutch literature in text and drawing, a brilliant and sometimes prophetic mirror of contemporary society. Just to give an example, the ‘Big Brother’ reality show is one of Holland’s most succesful export products. But it wasn’t invented by Endemol Corporation. The idea comes from a 1960s Oliver B. Bumble story.
In another episode from those years, Toonder explains his readers the basis of economics so that everyone can understand.
“If you have little, you will lose it to someone who has a lot. If you have a lot, you will only gain more.”
On top of the pyramid there are the Bovenbazen or ‘Upper Bosses’, the ten tycoons that own Everything.
The upper bosses live together in the Golden Mountains, and they lead a sad and boring life. They don’t do anything else but exchange their possessions between themselves every day of the year.
When the hero of the story accidently becomes part of this most exclusive club, his colleagues explain him some of the basic rules of business.
“Remember. Nature is our most important enemy. Because nature reproduces itself. I hope you understand what I mean…”
Yesterday evening’s popular assembly was about food sovereignty. It was organised together with various small scale farmers from the zone. And what I heard made me think of this basic rule of business.
Today’s agricultural business has taken the shape of a global Leviathan. The seed multinationals control the greater part of the crop market and impose their seeds on local farmers. They only sell the most productive types, to the detriment of biodiversity. Often these seeds are patented and genetically modified in such a way that they become steril.
Big business has succeeded in impeding nature to reproduce. The farmers are forced to buy new seeds every year.
But the seeds are only a part of the story. In industrial agriculture the soil erodes and because of monoculture the crops are very susceptible to diseases. You won’t be able to grow them without making use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides which are supplied by the same seed company.
Things get even worse. In France there is said to be a law that forbids farmers to replant the seeds of their crops…
Very silently big business is destroying ten thousand years of human agricultural heritage, for profit. In the face of this, seed banks are being set up by governments and farmers to preserve or control the original seeds, uncontaminated by cross breeding with genetically modified ones.
The subject of food sovereignty is one of many fronts in the battle against the impending control society. Many people in organical farms are already active in this battle, trying to save local crops, trying to encourage diversity and the consumption of sustainably grown products.
The upper bosses are in control the financial markets, the production and distribution system, the pharmaceutical industry, the national banks and governments, shielding themselves with patents on all sides. They are about to control the building blocks of life, and they are taking away control over our drinking water and our food supply.
The revolution is not just a romantic’s dream. It’s a bloody necessity.