On Saturday, rallies against genetically modified food were held in cities across the United States. The Millions Against Monsanto campaign, which is organized by Organic Consumers Association, is now planning on taking their effort to the next level. On World Food Day, October 16, they are calling for a million people to come out in a nationwide day of action.
While mobilizing a million people sounds like a daunting task, they have broken it down in a unique way. They are forming 435 local chapters, one for each congressional district, and are seeking to attract 2,300 supporters in each location. If they can reach this goal, they will have a million people in the streets.
I like this approach in that it reminds me of the way that military contractors influence legislators. Boeing for example manufactures the F-22 in 44 different states, which had made it next to impossible to muster the votes to cut its funding.
The Millions Against Monsanto campaign is not calling to make these genetically engineered foods illegal, but simply to make GMO labeling mandatory by law. They believe that if people knew which foods were genetically modified they would buy less of them and instead go organic. This is apparently what has happened in Europe, where there are almost no genetically modified foods in grocery stories because labeling is required.
As K-pop fans and Black organizers and artists are demonstrating, joyful, powerful movements draw more people in and reflect the kind of world we want to live in.
If soldiers train for armed combat, why wouldn’t activists train for toppling the political-economic structure that’s killing our chance for a just future? The stakes are just as high.
Uganda’s COVID-19 experience underscores the seemingly universal opportunism of authoritarians amidst crisis, as well as opportunities for resistance.