In follow-up to:
(Name) will not be the only one with the frustrations he posed. Thank-you for giving voice (name). I don’t know how old you are, nor your life experience. I can add some thoughts for skimming.
Before I do that, a note about the LeadNow Petition re Monsanto delivered on Saturday to University Chancellor Romanow.
Irony: it’s gone full circle. Romanow (then Premier) was on “The Real Board of Directors“, sub-title “The Construction of Biotechnology Policy in Canada, 1980-2002“ (Devlin Kuyek (86 pages), 2002). Copy at
There are indeed jokesters in the universe. I am imagining Romanow’s scrambling thoughts as he reads the petition. He was a big part of the Government-University partnerships with, and funding of Monsanto (matching of research costs, turning over of Ag Canada and University Agriculture Department to Monsanto, simultaneously gutting Ag Canada through funding cuts). I believe Romanow and others honestly believed the hype on biotechnology, they were doing a good thing for Canada getting in on the ground floor, a big competitive advantage.
However, they had no ability to hear, no ability to listen, no ability to cogitate. The University was handmaid, with an $11 million contribution from Monsanto to the building of the shiny new Ag College on campus early-eighties. Along with funding for research. Crop Science ceased to be science; there are no hallowed halls.
Appended, please find an excerpt from a 2005 posting re corrupted governance – – Devlin Kuyek’s publication in context.
It appears that Devlin still works at Grain. I’ll let him know about what’s happening at U of S, the Court case.
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When the ball is in your court, bit it hack hard. We are all playing to win.
Reading this depressing commentary satisfies the part of me that wants validation of my concerns; but again, I wonder “What’s the plan?” Is there a plan at all?
Yes, it’s guerilla warfare. Non-violent resistance. War that uses weapons that don’t kill. More below.
Or are we here mainly to complain to each other, and reactively try to put minor hurdles in the way of powerful forces we don’t agree with, while they regardless continue to march on?
Strategically, we get real. Start with understanding what this is all about.
Hate to have to invoke Donald Trump’s words, but we — at least I — need to see some hope of winning some victories to make this depressing talk worth our while. Is there a list of past victories somewhere that one can look at and feel optimistic about the prospects of achieving something meaningful in the future?
One example is probably sufficient. Use Monsanto. A small part of the story will do the trick.
First, understand how the usurper works.
IBT Laboratories Scandal in the U.S. in the 1980’s. The “independent science” required by the FDA (the Regulatory System) for licensing of products was fraught with corruption. Bastardized science and revolving doors. Monsanto was central. And an investigative reporter for the Regina Leader-Post. (Licensing in the U.S. automatically meant licensing in Canada.) At least one, if not more, Monsanto head haunchos went to jail.
IBT was just a setback. Monsanto did not change its stripes. The battle against has been relentless and international in scope.
Tools like the March Against Monsanto-Bayer have been critical to awareness. The Facebook pages have been wonderful for self-education, hence empowerment.
The following are related to use of the Courts. Every one of the TRIALS against Monsanto represent a huge effort by citizens, people working together. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have to be raised, for an uncertain outcome.
There is a decent list of skimmable court cases involving Monsanto, covering a range of offences: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto_legal_cases)
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The 2002 Washington Post article arising from a trial, still chills me.
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Two very good videos in this coverage.
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You may know the name Percy Schmeiser who Monsanto brought charges against (one of the tools in its kit of intimidation tactics). Percy stood firm, the case went to the Supreme Court. Hundreds of people participated in the fund-raising that enabled Percy to carry on. The legal bills were large.
Intervenors at the Supreme Court on Percy’s side included organizations from the U.S. and India. Illustrates: people are connected and organized internationally against what you at the University are currently fighting. Percy subsequently became a player on the international stage, was invited to, and did presentations in numbers of countries.
With the advent of social media, awareness was catapulted forward by a young Mother from Utah (Tami Canal, 2013). She started the twice annual March Against Monsanto. Saskatoon’s march (2013) started near the Mendel Art Gallery, went across University Bridge, onto campus, ending with addresses in front of the Admin Bldg. People were passionate; some had come from other Sask cities.
Wins? Oh yes. Monsanto is dead. Bought out by Bayer CropScience, a serious miscalculation on Bayer’s part. People are not as dumb and unaware as they thought. Bayer’s share price is in serious decline. Late last year they laid off 12,000 employees. I would not be surprised to see the CEO go; shareholders are angry.
(2018) vs Monsanto-now-Bayer, a Court in California awarded Dewayne Johnson (terminal cancer) $78 million – – the “Monsanto papers” got public airing. They knew there was nothing safe about RoundUp. A second case against Monsanto had the same outcome ($80 million award). (UPDATE: The third case, $2B awarded.) There are more than 5,000 cases (UPDATE: 13,000+) in line to be heard. Vietnam is demanding compensation from Monsanto for its people afflicted by Agent Orange. And so on.
Guerilla warfare is not so much “straight line planning”. It’s empowered people creating and using opportunities. The opportunities don’t just “fall” from above, as the Monsanto example shows. They materialize out of what’s been done and is being done. Not just here. You are far from alone. It is important to know that.
The larger view is of a dynamic and versatile organism at work to stop the poisoning of the planet.
Monsanto was a very large, very lucrative, international corporation- – big in Australia, in the U.S.. in Latin America, in Canada, in India . . .. I suggest we focus on stamping last breaths out of it. It is a shameful legacy of the U of S.
If you understand that this is a battle to take back democracy from the corporatocracy, you may view Monsanto as a first round that hones our fighting skills. The corporatocracy targeted a takeover of Universities. That’s strategic. They found collaborators / quislings in Government and in the Universities. They are infiltrated into the bureaucracy. It’s not the first time in history that it has happened. You don’t have to go back very far.
I come from a fighting tradition where there’s no shame in running away ! in the face of imminent defeat to fight another day.
In a separate conversation last week, a colleague said we need to pick our battles. That’s what I would like to do as well. These kinds of high positions are always political. Even Peter Stoicheff’s climb up to the President’s position might have seemed surprising, considering he was just a Vice Dean just two or three years before. In the weeks after his ascendance, I learned that his son was working for Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party. I don’t know how much to be concerned about that.
It is important to know. Thank-you.
We have bigger problems than who occupies the highest positions. There are issues all over the place. I am not convinced that even empowering our faculty colleagues will be enough to improve things. Too many are invested in the rot. Too many are broken from bending (to quote Leonard Cohen). The decision process is compromised at so many levels.
I agree with all these points.
My question is: what is it that we can actually do that will make a difference?
First, do you know the quote from Margaret Mead? I think it is accurate and important. Helps us understand our own power:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Second, if you’re like me, you have to keep reminding yourself to be creative and have fun. It CAN actually be a lot of fun. (Advice from a friend: drink 3 beer, get (sex), and smoke a cigarillo – wine-tipped!)
To me, we battle in luxury compared with the troops in WW’s one and two. The stakes are just as high. Blanketing the vast farmlands of the province with poisons is one of the reasons that bees (many more species of “insects”) are projected to be extinct in 2 or 3 decades. If the pollinators go, we go, too.
The group is producing tools for all of us to USE:
- Public awareness is critical. It’s guerilla warfare. Our weapon against the propaganda. All it takes, for example, is a conversation with someone who is Unaware of the court case against the University.
- Here’s the fun part: I choose to believe that the world is purposeful. If I sit down beside or encounter someone I don’t know, it’s for a reason. My job is to find the reason. Start a conversation. I usually start with a smile. And then “What are your interests?”. You won’t necessarily get into the court case, for example. Just be intent on listening and learning something about that person. You will find it rewarding. You’ll be surprised by how many people know that things are wrong and need fixing. Sometimes there’s an opening you’ll want to step into. Don’t be shy. I think people like people. The conversation makes the city a nicer place to live in.
- Do you have your own email list to which you forward things like the Petition? (UPDATE: now closed) Is there someone you could add to your list? Every single one counts. You never know how far and to whom that email will be forwarded. Trust me on that. I think you are unlikely to ever know which was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
May be this is the scientist in me speaking, but can we identify a minimum bunch of potentially fixable things, which if fixed, will result in meaningful change? Can we then target a few things at a time?
APPENDED, CONTEXT FOR “THE REAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS”
- OWNERSHIP OF SEEDS
Had we not worked on Roundup Resistant Wheat (the right of Corporations to appropriate seeds, the right of Corporations to pollute the environment with herbicide-resistant plants), I would not have understood the implications of the Federal Government’s Seed Sector Review and the proposed changes to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act. I would not have been motivated to read the paper on the Ram’s Horn web-site, “The Real Board of Directors“, sub-title “The Construction of Biotechnology Policy in Canada, 1980-2002“, by Devlin Kuyek (86 pages).
Devlin Kuyek’s work turns the light on. There is a section on Health Canada and the Health Research Foundations, which makes them comprehensible. Look at Roundup Resistant wheat. How is Corporate ownership of seed achieved?
– Gut the public research function. This was done by cutting the funding to Agriculture Canada research stations and to Universities.
– Then cry loudly, “We haven’t enough money for research”, and promote “P3’s” (public-private-partnerships) as the panacea. What we discovered is that P3’s are not “Public Private Partnerships” but rather Partnerships between Big Government and Big Corporations that abuse the public interest.
John Kenneth Galbraith confirmed the P3 experience in his book, “The Economics of Innocent Fraud, Truth for our Time“, published in 2004.
“The accepted distinction between the public and the private sectors has no meaning when seriously viewed. Rhetoric, not reality.” … “As the corporate interest moves to power in what was the public sector, it serves, predictably, the corporate interest. That is its purpose.” “One obvious result has been well-justified doubt as to the quality of much present regulatory effort. There is no question but that corporate influence extends to the regulators. …”
– legislation plays a large role. The Supreme Court decision on Monsanto versus Percy Schmeiser pointed out the inadequacy of the Patent Laws of Canada: they do not distinguish between the ownership of mechanical devices and THE OWNERSHIP OF LIFE FORMS. The Supreme Court had pointed out the inadequacy of the Legislation well before Schmeiser, in the “Harvard Mouse” decision. The Government does nothing. EXCEPT that it had passed Bills C-22 and C-91 which “put into legislation a commitment on the part of the federal government … Higher drug prices were traded off for promised increased R&D spending on pharmaceuticals, which, given trends already present at that time, would mean more R&D on biotechnology“. (p.28, “The Real Board of Directors“.)
This is where we begin to understand the role of the Health Research Foundations. The connection is not surprising, given that the chemical companies are the flip-side of the pharmaceutical companies – one owns the other. In the legislative realm, on the chemical company side (herbicide resistant seed) we have the proposed changes to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act. On the flip-side, pharmaceutical company interests will be served by the proposed changes to the Food and Drug Act. (If the changes go through, it will be up to consumers to prove if harm has been done by pharmaceuticals jointly developed by the Companies and the Government, licensed and ostensibley “Regulated” by the Government.)
– Use public money to further a privatization agenda. Bio-technology was never debated in Parliament or in the Legislatures or mainstream media. By far the majority of Canadians are opposed to foodstuffs such as wheat that has been engineered to be resistant to herbicides. In spite of that, “The Province established Innovation Place on the U of S campus in 1980, and has invested well over $700 million attracting agbiotech companies to Saskatoon“. The Federal Government has invested heavily. Huge amounts of public money and public researchers are used.
The transfer of genes between species is not restricted to agricultural crops. We discussed the documentary, “Life Running Out of Control” (German documentary maker of international repute, North American premiere in Saskatatchewan this February). Tax-payers are the enablers, or the serfs, providing the money to Government, thereby to Corporations, to make this all happen.
A major tool for accomplishing this task of “moving the economy into institutions” is through the use of what I have called “Government fronts”: Agwest Biotech, Biotech Canada, Health Research Foundations and so on. The money for biotechnology is moved from the Government to an outfit called Agwest Biotech. The citizen has no way of knowing that this is a Government organization. Agwest Biotech and Biotech Canada could intervene in the Monsanto vrs Schmeiser case on the side of Monsanto, with no public outcry because the public doesn’t know and there is no Government official that one can hold accountable. How the money is spent does not come under public scrutiny.
As you can see, it is very convenient to “move the economy into institutions”.
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From: Academic Integrity via Leadnow.ca
Sent: May 3, 2019
Subject: Just one more email…
From: Academic Integrity via Leadnow.ca
Sent: May 3, 2019
Subject: Video of CBC interviews
From: Academic Integrity via Leadnow.ca
Sent: April 29, 2019
Subject: Delivery of Petition to Romanow