Next Saturday, the 21st of May, in cities across the world, millions will march against one company, Monsanto. Their objective is to raise awareness of what many activist organisations consider to be the source of all evil, the corruption of capitalism and the dark side of man willing to poison his fellow man. Monsanto has polarised society into two camps the way no other company has.
What will happen is a group of activists will reinforce their emotional hold on a tribe of concerned, vulnerable and scared individuals who keep reading and sharing how pesticides and GMOs (two sides of the same vicious coin) are by themselves wholly responsible for the rise of the dreaded CADs (cancer, autism and diabetes).
The tribe is strong, unified and ready to march. Over the last month, activist communications campaigns have increased the temperature, reminding people of unknown threats from totally unnecessary pesticides like glyphosate, the actions of industry to resist labelling of GMOs (which somehow manufacturers are being convinced is an ingredient) and the coming trial in The Hague against Monsanto for crimes against humanity (in a hitherto unknown legal sounding organisation located in the same city as the International Criminal Court).
No doubt by this Saturday, the venom and rage will be ripe for campaign filming, photoshopped images and membership drives. Hazmat suits will be dusted off from last year’s march, and, for good measure, some fencing masks will be brought in for the
pretend beekeepers. People attending, including well-chosen celebrities, articulate child speakers and opportunistic politicians, will share in a communal outpouring of anxiety lightly glazed with the hope that humanity will conquer this vile scourge (provided you sign a petition and donate a few bob).
So why in the name of our tragically poisoned earth would the Risk-Monger, a regularly-accused Monsanto shill, attend the March Against Monsanto?
Somebody needs to give them a hug!
As tribalism increasingly closes people’s minds to other views, the anti-Monsanto, anti-GMO, anti-pesticide, anti-chemical, anti-free-trade, anti-industry, anti-vaccine, anti-chemtrail crowd (let’s just call them “antis”) will not have a chance to hear other views. No legitimate scientists will attend or speak about the need to be reasonable. There will be no public debates in universities where the undecided can listen to the different views and decide for themselves.
The organisers will gather like-minded, fearful and angry individuals to confirm the bias that all that is worrying them is caused by one single, quite diabolical company. A simple answer with a simple solution – get rid of Monsanto and all of the troubles will go away. No more cancer, no more autism, no more obesity, diabetes, leaky gut, celiac disease, and of course, no more chemtrails!
What the March Against Monsanto has achieved is a channelling of fear, anxiety, outrage and despair into a communal vulnerability seeking something or someone to trust. This cocktail of emotions, shared and enhanced with jingoistic chants and slogans, will leave the marchers in need of a hug and some reassurance that things are going to be OK. That they are not being poisoned! That there is no conspiracy of companies and governments trying to give them cancer! That they are not being used as a science experiment! The Risk-Monger is going to attend to support these worried, vulnerable individuals by simply offering them a hug.
I encourage others to do the same because the level of anxiety they are suffering is really not healthy for them!
The March Against Monsanto represents perfectly what I call commonality – the manufactured perception via clever communication tools that we all agree on something, no longer need to discuss the issues and simply must act according to a predetermined activist strategy. Using social media to constantly reinforce simple messages (which do not need, in any way to be true, sourced or evidence-based), people are made to believe some pretty strange things. Through proper fear channelling, they articulate a dogma of desperation with solutions that, when considered outside of the narrative of a crisis for the human race, the planet or for you yourself, are quite unreasonable. For example:
- We can feed the world and its growing population simply with organic, locally grown agriculture, mostly from our roof-gardens and window-boxes;
- That organic farmers do not also use pesticides, or that these pesticides somehow are not toxic, so they do not need to be tested or regulated;
- That conventional farmers have to change or be put out of business. They have a pact with Monsanto to poison their fields and spread cancer – thus we need to better train these simple farmers who obviously don’t know any better;
- That all scientists and regulators have been bought by these evil chemical industry lobbyists lurking in dark passageways of a faceless, bureaucratic Brussels or Washington – thus we need to radically reshape government;
All of this seems to have been created by one pissed-off woman in Utah. Impressive!
As an activist tool, commonality is very effective. In these emotional campaigns, facts don’t matter, fears motivate people to act, the need for further discussion or research is well and truly over, and the shared communal rage allows for irrational conclusions (like witch-hunts, destructive alternatives and acts of vandalism) to seem perfectly OK. The March Against Monsanto takes this dark underbelly of commonality and turns it into a family picnic atmosphere.
That Chemtrail Petition
So what will the Risk-Monger achieve by attending the March Against Monsanto to offer hugs to the frightened, angry and vulnerable?
- I do not plan to engage in any debate on the issues – it is clearly not the venue for such a situation.
- I do not plan to get an army of pro-science marchers to out-shout them – they have a passion I could never match.
- I do not plan to make the participants feel worse or more confused – I’d prefer not to get beaten up.
I merely hope to be present to let them know that not everyone is terrified by science. There needs to be some reassurance that, in all of human history, we have never been so healthy, lived so long or enjoyed such a fine quality of life … thanks to science!
Oh and I also would like to sign that chemtrail petition … because voluntarily spraying a fine mist of chemicals on unsuspecting innocents from airplanes is just wrong … on so many counts!
Postscript: Today it was announced that Bayer has offered to buy Monsanto. This is terrible news for the March organisers. How will they be able to focus the rage next year?
Cover image rights: Facebook
See Brussels March Press Release below (highlighted that the March will also be against chemtrails).
8 Comments Add yours
To these marchers who believe ag companies are out to poison the earth, I would suggest that that’s a very badm very short-sighted business model. “Let’s kill our customers!” seems to be a strange way to attract shareholders.
Thanks Jack – but it is a very good business model for the NGOs – keep the fear and rage tap fully open and those donations will come in. But is it ethical to continually terrify your clients?
This is what I put on the RM Facebook page today: “Nobody should be made so scared by manipulative organisations as to feel the need for witch hunts! A democracy should allow space for dialogue – the NGOs are leading us down a path paved with pitch-forks.”
Things happen simply because it is profitable. Predicting catastrophes is a very successfull business model. I regard alarmism as an auto-immune-disease: absence of real threats makes us invent them. Our immune system needs a few updates to save us from a new brand of parasites (“mother earth”, moral superiority, green lies)
Thanks David – I think we have an Armageddon complex – if we don’t fear the end of the world in some form (climate change, nuclear war, a poisoned well, mass sterility from chemicals, the loss of the bees …) we are not motivated to act. The problem is that those peddling these fears are profiting rather nicely (through book sales, donations …) – I find that unethical!
The problem is that they also divert resources from being used for causes which deserve them: either through their funding (EU grants and travel fees reimbursements – as a citizen I’d rather see those monies used for education and healthcare, here and in developing countries); donators that are made to believe that their contribution will _actually_ be used to improve the world or the environment and chose to give to such organisations instead of helping more responsible charities) or through their actions (prevent Africa’s agriculture to increase its productivity by banning GMO’s and pesticides).