NI 481 - Total control - is Monsanto unstoppable? - April, 2015

NI 481 - April, 2015

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Total control - is Monsanto unstoppable?

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird

Monsanto... coming to a field near you?

As the conflict in Ukraine erupts, subsides, erupts, subsides, there seems to be one entity that cannot lose.

Biotech-giant Monsanto has an office in Ukraine. In 2013 a proposed $17-billion IMF loan to Ukraine would, as a condition, have opened up the country to genetically modified crops. But then-president Viktor Yanukovych rejected the European Union agreement linked to the loan, deciding to go with a Russian deal instead. Yanukovych didn’t last long – ousted in February 2014 – and the country descended into conflict.

A set-back for Monsanto? It seems not. The company is still pressing ahead with a $140-million non-GM corn seed factory in western Ukraine. And if the region sinks into all-out war, that is good for Monsanto too, says trader and investment analyst Brian Kelly. Conflict will constrict the wheat supply from ‘breadbasket’ Ukraine, forcing a big price hike. And when wheat prices rise, says Kelly, so does the share price of the world’s biggest supplier of seed – Monsanto. Meanwhile, influential pro-GM interests in several countries, including Britain and Australia, are pressing for a more ‘open-door’ policy towards genetically engineered crops and agri-giants like Monsanto. All the more reason for turning our attention to this most controversial and controlling of corporations – and the civil-society action against it that is spreading across the world.

Elsewhere in this month’s magazine, Bangladeshi photographer Jannatul Mawa struck upon the simple but ingenious idea of asking middle-class Dhaka dwellers to be photographed with their maids. The result is, well, revealing...

Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.

The big story

On 23 May protesters worldwide will be taking to the streets to ‘March Against Monsanto!’ They accuse the biotech giant of both poisoning and controlling the food supply. Photo: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

On 23 May protesters worldwide will be taking to the streets to ‘March Against Monsanto!’ They accuse the biotech giant of both poisoning and controlling the food supply.

Photo: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Total control

Monsanto has a mission. But where will it lead the rest of us? Vanessa Baird begins this month's investigation into one of the world's most powerful and hated corporations.

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Alamy/Custom Medical Stock

Is Monsanto on the side of science?

Claire Robinson looks at what has happened to scientists who dare to say GM foods are not safe.

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Photo: Joerg Boethling / Alamy

The farmer’s friend

Are farmers benefitting from growing GM crops, as Monsanto claims? Dionne Bunsha investigates.

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Action! What can I do?

The following organizations give advice and informa­tion, and campaign on GM, food safety and sovereignty.

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Beating the blacklisters

Phil Chamberlain reveals the secret war between big business and union activists.

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Juan and his younger brother (peeping out from behind the bricks in the photo below) occasionally snatch moments of play, but their work is never done.Fernando de Berro

Growing upside down

For thousands of Peruvian children, daily life means working to help feed the family. Fernando Del Berro meets one of them.

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The People vs Monsanto (and other GM giants)

The People vs Monsanto (and other GM giants)

Around the world people are mobilizing against biotech bullies.

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YES: Mathew Lawrence (left) is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, where he works on issues relating to political economy and democratic reform. His most recent publication was De-financialisation: a democratic reformation of finance (2014).

NO: Uri Gordon (right) is a lecturer in Political Theory at Loughborough University and co-convenor of the Anarchist Studies Network. An Israeli-born activist and academic, he authored Anarchy Alive!: Anti-authoritarian Politics from Practice to Theory (Pluto Press, 2008).

Should voting be compulsory?

Mathew Lawrence and Uri Gordon go head to head.

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Ending corporate rule

Can we find a way to loosen big business's stranglehold on the US? asks Mark Engler.

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Praise, blame and all points in between? Your feedback published in the April 2015 magazine.

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Illustration by Sarah John.

When a sanctuary is a prison

Ruby Diamonde witnesses the pain of a community that can't go home.

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Open Window - Creative Killing

Jalal Hajir from Morocco with ‘Creative Killing’.

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Country Profile: Malawi

Richard Carver's insights into a country struggling with poverty, floods and corruption.

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Cosying up to the Saudis

Our government has a charmingly cosy relationship with Saudi Arabia, writes Chris Coltrane.

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Nasima Khan (left) with her home servant Sokina.Copyright Jannatul Mawa

Southern Exposure: close distance

Photographer Jannatul Mawa closes the distance between housewives and housemaids in Bangladesh.

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A word with Saud Alsanousi

Kuwaiti journalist and novelist Saud Alsanousi talks to Graeme Green about the Gulf region’s appetite for change.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Film reviews

Film reviews

Malcolm Lewis watches The Dark Horse and Blind.

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Music Reviews

Music Reviews

Louise Gray listens to The Reason Why Vol 2 and Ba Power.

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Book reviews

Book reviews

What we thought of The Racket, The Four Books, The Spice Box Letters and The Adventure of the Busts of Eva Peron.

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