In more than 400 cities protestors call for a ban on GMO food
OSCAR LEÓN, TRNN PRODUCER: Today an estimated quarter million people, according to AP, in as many as 436 cities in five continents around the world, marched united in resistance against Monsanto, one of the biggest and most powerful biotech corporations in the world.
Activists have used extensive social media and community outreach to raise awareness about Monsanto’s influence in an attempt to galvanize millions to demand Monsanto be stopped, sometimes using other creative ways.
What started as one mother’s call to action on a Facebook page has become a global movement. The events were organized online using an open Google document for people to organize and find a protest near them. The March Against Monsanto Facebook page has received more than 146,000 “likes”. It has reached more than 10 million people in the last week according to its website.
Critics say Monsanto’s powerful lobbying efforts have won influence of many governments, and elected officials have fallen for the lobby and promises made by the chemical giant. Monsanto’s patent genes are being inserted into roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED, CINCINNATI: You know, when I elect my politicians, I expect that they’re going to put public health and my children’s health and my grandchildren’s health first and foremost. I don’t expect them to collude with big agribusiness, who are only trying to make a profit.
LEÓN: That is why so much expectation has been building up, to see if people around the world can actually take on or at least give a little scare to the multinational chemical industrial corporation, reaping profits every quarter to amount to more money than what many countries make in a whole year. It started on May 23, Tuesday night, in Córdoba, Argentina, the home of President Cristina Kirchner herself, where thousands showed their resistance to GMOs, the lawsuits to farmers, the grab for natural patents and so called “Franken-seeds”. Precisely seeds is what Monsanto intends to process in a plant about to be built here on the town of Malvinas Argentinas.
UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Hey, citizen, come and join the march and let’s claim our rights, let’s defend life and our health, and let’s say no to any transnational corporation, even if they have been cleared by our governments. We don’t want Monsanto in Malvinas Argentinas.
LEÓN: In big cities like Tokyo; Amsterdam; Paris; Vienna; London; Porto; Madrid; Barcelona; Washington, D.C.; New York; Los Angeles; Cincinatti; Richmond; San Diego; Portland; Montreal; Toronto; Sydney; Melbourne; Mexico; and Buenos Aires, among many others, people went out and marched, but also in hundreds of small towns around the world. Groups of neighbors went out to demonstrate against this giant corporation.
HAWAIIAN FARMER: I want to certainly stand in solidarity with the people standing up. So I’m glad to see a turnout here in Hilo against GMO. You know. I’ve been a farmer for over 30 years here in Hawaii, and I’ve spoken up for the ban on kalo, GMO of kalo and the coffee. But we need more.
There’s no question that Monsanto and the others will be trying to come to the big island, which is the biggest island and the most ag land in Hawaii. So we have to stand up now and try to get a ban, a complete ban on all GMO in Hawaii.
LEÓN: Even those who would have gone to demonstrate but couldn’t make it in many cases supported the movement from their mobiles and computers, sometimes following trends on Twitter, Facebook, or watching live streams of demonstrations worldwide.
UNIDENTIFIED, DALLAS: But please keep attentive to what’s happening here, what’s happening now, and what’s happening worldwide, ’cause we can’t let this momentum stop. You’ve probably seen a lot of different movements in the last two or three years have gotten traction, and then they just lost because they fragmented and went many different ways. We are in a place and time in this country where we can consolidate that effort.
LEÓN: Some people have even invented tools, like boycott apps, so every user can challenge the giant every time he or she makes a purchase at the grocery store.
For The Real News, this is Oscar León.