Volume 3, Number 9                                                                             June 7, 2000

The Farmer

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“Chemicals or Slaves”

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

When will we see the enemy? Representatives from the major independent progressive parties and grassroots independent progressive organizations met at the IPPN Summit from June 1-4, 2000 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. There they shared “common” agendas produced from different geographical, ethnic, class, levels of militancy, historical backgrounds and ages. Many parties came with their own agenda, but found that much of that agenda was shared by the other parties and organizations. They came from different valleys on different sides of the mountains but wound up at the same table of collective awareness that the “enemy” must be the same since the problems were the same. Now, how to forge a common strategy? We learned a lot from each other, but one thing struck home to me as a farmer and farm advocate. Migrant labor leader, Baldemar Velasquez , confirmed a nagging suspicion that I had. Now that I have experienced farming for a few years, instead of teaching, I questioned how could food be so cheap? I knew about the mechanization and “chemicalization” of agriculture. But even after the machines had done their thing and the chemicals had done their thing, how could 2 million or less farmers still remaining on the land produce such an abundance of food and fiber at such cheap costs for over 200 million people? There is but so much strength that one man has and only 24 hours in a day. I knew that there were a large number of migrant laborers being shipped hither and thither crisscrossing America working on these farms, but...Mr. Velasquez informed us that at any given time there may be as many as 400,000 such “slaves” in North Carolina alone, where he is presently organizing workers in the cucumber fields. In the southeastern US you might have 3,000,000 under such slave like conditions. So when you bite into that ear of corn, you will be eating complements of chemicals and slaves. Now the priests of “new world order” are preaching the benefits of carrying this same brand of agriculture throughout the world. If China comes into the WTO then she must reduce the number of her small family farms so that she can import more food from the west. In other words China must substitute food produced from independent labor to food produced by slaves. However, if the new slaves decide to revolt, where will that leave China and the rest of us? We were fortunate to have at our conference Dennis Brutus, a former leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South African and now a conceptual mentor for the fighters against global bloodsuckers. He apprised us of how the new global elite have the world hostage to an intellectual concept, where the “bottom line” is all that matters, people are not important and “there is no other way” but to bow down to the global priests of Mammon. The multinational corporations have the masses in the affluent west believing that their great affluence and ease is a product of super science and benign capitalism. Instead the migrant worker issue shows that the rich are eating not only the resources of the planet up at an alarming rate, but are drinking the blood, sweat, and tears of the third world, no, first world masses. It is time to come off the sidelines and join the front line. A line has been drawn in the mental and moral wastelands of America. Step across. Step across at the protests before the Republican Convention in Philadelphia at the end of July. Step across at the People’s Convention right before the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles in August. Step across at the “Juneteenth” celebrations and Black farm rally in Washington, DC on June 19, 2000. Keep your eyes and ears open for all such opportunities step across that line and step. Here are some links: Republican Convention protests http://www.unity2000.com/ Democratic Convention alternative http://www.peoplesconvention.com/ Juneteenth Celebration htttp://www.19thofJune.com Black Farmers Rally http://www.coax.net/people/lwf/bfaa.htm