The literal enslavement of the American farmer

Uncle Sam NAISBy Linn Cohen-Cole
February 26, 2009

The “food safety” bills now being contemplated by Congress enslave farmers to an industrial system (having to do its bidding or face penalties and prison so severe they function as whips). The bills will demand purchase and application of petrochemicals and drugs, rendering the farmers not only slaves but paying slaves (or else giving up), with the land and animals poisoned and/or genetically engineered.

NAIS – the National Animal Identification System.  View the videos.  

What is apparent is the depth of farmers’ desperation about it.  Repeatedly, I hear them talk about loss of freedom. I’ve taken “loss of freedom” as an expression of outrage at the bureaucratizing of farming, or a way of talking about huge governmental overreach, or as use of conservative or libertarian language to describe loss of personal or democratic or constitutional rights.  Symbolic speech, poetic speech.  But somewhere in the midst of trying to explain to someone how much was at stake and why farmers refuse to compromise because it would be acceding to something that can’t in any way be acceded to, something clicked.  

I was in the midst of trying to convey why the effort to stop the bills in Congress now (and still coming) must be centrally focused on farmers themselves and not on other people’s food, when I found myself saying (in essence)

In the simplest terms, the bills enslave farmers to an industrial system (having to do its bidding or face penalties and prison so severe they function as whips) that will demand purchase and application of petrochemicals and drugs, rendering the farmers not only slaves but paying slaves (or else giving up) and the land and animals poisoned and/or genetically engineered.

Given that a hidden form of enslavement is at stake, it’s reasonable for farmers to look for reassurance that no accidental acceptance of any portion of those bills will happen.  

It was only after writing it that I was jerked up by my own words and suddenly experienced them as neither symbolic nor hyperbole.  It struck me then that we are in fact looking at a new form of slavery.  

I have always assumed that slavery was an historic event which we have rejected now morally and have made changes in law to codify.  I see our cultural repulsion at continuing forms of slavery as a sign of civilization having learned lessons about slavery and being committed now to stopping it wherever it still exists (even if it is hard to do). 

So, it was not easy to recognize that bills being introduced are an actual form of enslavement of a whole class of people.  A new form.

What other word would people use to describe controls imposed on people that define work they must perform, down to the most extreme detail, or suffer penalties as high as $500,000 and ten years in prison for mere infractions?  

I’ve been writing variations on those words for sometime.  Why did it take so long for the light to dawn?  NAIS is more than bad, it is more than terrible, it is more than insane – it is astoundingly immoral.  It is slavery. 

And along with NAIS come “best farming practices” which would force a person on their own land (though it is not clear that the land is not being stolen away, too ) to feed their own animals what the government determined, to treat them medically as the government determines, to spray the land as and when and with what the government determines.  And animals are not supposed to be on the same farm as crops.

For anyone who knows the least thing about farming and the wholeness of it and the value of manure and the help chickens give in eating bugs in a vegetable garden, or goats give as they eat back ivy, or pigs naturally give as turn over soil that can used for planting, the wrench of such utter nonsense is extreme.  But for a farmer to be commanded to do the very things that would destroy his farm – a place he knows intimately, the workings of which he lives moment to moment in sensitivity to his animals and crops, the lifetime of learning from those who know and from his own experience of each particular – is why this is slavery.  

Perhaps if it were only applied to one aspect of someone’s life, it might be called tyranny, but because what is being proposed comes down on farmers where they live and on what they do and on all they own and on what defines them as people, it is deeper than “mere” tyranny.  It is theft of all meaning and reduction to operating against one’s will, against one’s knowledge, against one’s land, against one’s animals, against one’s needs, against one’s being.

And within this enslavement by which the farmer is mandated to perform tasks that undo all animal husbandry and all needs of the soil and plants, he is also required to purchase inputs (feed, drugs, sprays … and likely GMO seeds will be chosen as well) so he is not only a slave but forced to pay the ones who enslaved him, for products he specifically would avoid.

We are used to seeing things in a familiar shape – slavery as a black man in chains, imperialism as foreigners on someone else’s soil and ruling by guns and fiat.  So, it is easy to be fooled that what is happening in agriculture is no relation to this but even progress.  But today, globalization is a new kind of master with immense power.  Its “plantations” are decentralized small farms scattered around the world and its involuntary “taxes” are levied through forced repurchase of seeds and biotech contract agreements and its plantation managers are lawyers with briefcases and its agents are thugs who spy on farmers and rough them up or the state itself which keeps them in line not through whips but through demanding they record their every move on computers and punishes and breaks and even kills them with prison or debt.

Shall we strip away our familiar templates and recognize that there “food safety” bills are the strangest lies because we are looking at multinational corporations as true totalitarian masters actually setting up to take over the land from farmers and control them as thoroughly as slaves were ever controlled, threatening their lives and all they hold dear if they do not obey.  But it has been such a slick thing how these masters present themselves – in boardrooms, with our politicians, running our agencies, in our courts, in science laboratories – that we miss the brutal, ugly, cruel, immoral reality.  

Take action — click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Stop HR 875, Hr 814, SR 425 and, soon, HR 759.

24 responses to “The literal enslavement of the American farmer

  1. Pingback: Strange Martial Law via Food Control: HR 2749 | Farm Wars

  2. Pingback: The literal enslavement of the American farmer « The Truth Or The Fight

  3. Pingback: HR 2749: “Food Safety” Bill Has Martial Law Provisions « Ancavge

  4. How about “best Liberty practices”? Liberty or Death! Live Free or Die! Don’t Tread on Me!
    Liberty Operations –

  5. Pingback: HR 2749: “Food Safety” Bill Has Martial Law Provisions « DC: Freedom & Linux

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  8. Pingback: HR 2749: “Food Safety” Bill Has Martial Law Provisions « Truth11

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  10. Mandatory NAIS called NLIS in aus has cost farmers a fortune done exactly nothing! to assist a damn thing, we have no disease issues as we are isolated and import very few animals, and have pretty good quarantine, oh except for a Racehorse!! spreading horse flu and screwing up the racing industry, sorta like a trial swine job now I consider that too. panic vaccinate.
    Our horses are chipped BTW- DNA isnt enough??
    LIVE export to and from other countries is the best way to contaminate, yet USDA and FDA ok importing from Canada and Mexico.
    and DO NOT make testing and certification standard,
    tagging a sick cow , makes it no less ill!!
    I am seeking verification on a report I heard of a NSW Farmer here, planting an out of season crop, he was eye in the sky’ed and stopped from ploughing, and fined 200K, Slavery and Corruption, yup, it appears it is here too, and we missed it!

    • yeah, Oz! if you can verify that farmer story, and maybe even see if you can interview him, I’d help you write up a piece to post here.

      That would be very interesting – let the USAns know how this is working in Australia.

  11. Pingback: Patriot Act of Food Supply passes House « The COTO Report

  12. Hi

    I am horrified about this food safety crap. Is this really going to pass or is there enough of an uprising in poeple and farmers? I have heard that if you want to buy straight from the farmer then he does not have to stick with the rediculous rules. Is this correct?

    • the story is developing… we have some success (Schmidt in Canada) and then we have setbacks.

      In the US, things don’t look good, especially in light of the recent SCOTUS decision granting corporations 1st Amendment rights (how insane is that? Does anyone honestly believe corporations are people?)

      Now Monsanto, et al. can buy their politicians outright, who will then enact the laws that multinational corporations want. Of course this is the way it already is, but now it’ll all be out in the open.

      How’s that for criminality?

      Class war… that’s what all this is about. The rich psychopaths want more and more and more… totally insane.

      They give us no choice but to eat the rich.

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  15. This is a great web site for all the truth on foods and environment. Is there anyone or anywhere I could post the Ecologist issue that monsanto stopped in 1999?

  16. Hi Rady

    I was looking to upload the file somewhere.

  17. This is a No-Brainer. Non-GMO genetics are designed for yield, with no compromise for standability or drydown. Products are always carefully chosen to match trait rotation systems, IRM refuge areas, and premium markets. Thanks for your blog! Let the world know!

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