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Agribiz, Biotech & War
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Agribusiness, Biotechnology, and War
Ending destructive technologies
Virtually all of the new, technology-based industries of the past century have been products of wartime. World War I ushered in the widespread use of mechanization and the beginnings of aviation. World War II brought us nuclear power, modern rocketry, and cybernetics. The corporate giants of the automobile, chemical, and electronics industries all made massive fortunes profiting from war and helping fuel the 20th century’s unending arms race.
While some may view the growth of these industries as social benefits emerging from warfare—just as we were instructed during the 1960s and 1970s that we should be grateful for the space program because it brought us Teflon—critics of technology advance a more skeptical view. Technologies are rarely neutral “tools” that can be applied equally to socially useful or destructive ends. Technologies are embedded in their particular social matrix. The priorities that shape the design and implementation of a given technology will significantly determine what ends it may or may not be used to advance. Therefore technologies designed to advance wartime agendas may become the means by which those agendas are entrenched in other social domains.
The case is most compelling where technologies have been developed to advance very specific capitalist priorities. Since the 19th century, for example, new technologies have been introduced into manufacturing in order to minimize the need for highly skilled—and often well organized—workers. In one instance, Cyrus McCormick’s son introduced pneumatic molding machines at exorbitant cost into the plant that manufactured his father’s famous reapers, even though this innovation increased production costs and decreased the quality of iron castings. The goal was to facilitate replacing unionized iron workers with unskilled, unorganized labor.
This pattern continued throughout the 20th century. Historian David Noble has documented in detail how design choices governing new semiautomated machine tool technologies after World War II were made to both repress labor militancy and advance Cold War military agendas. This was the beginning of the “permanent war economy” in the U.S., and also the period when military norms of “command and control” became most firmly entrenched in industrial production, transforming industrial design practices for at least a generation. In agriculture, hybrid seeds were introduced to farmers on a large scale in the 1930s, and a rapid increase in crop yields soon followed. But other innovations in plant breeding and cultivation were equally available at the time that may have offered even greater benefits for farmers; the alternatives, however, were far less amenable to creating commercial monopolies in marketable seeds.
When we examine how our food is grown today, it becomes clear that most of the chemical “tools” taken for granted by modern agribusiness are products of warfare. Is this an indirect consequence of the tragic history of the 20th century or does it suggest that the currently dismal state of our soils, fresh water supplies, and rural economies is an outgrowth of agribusiness’s emergence from wartime in some important ways? Virtually all of the leading companies that brought us chemical fertilizers and pesticides made their greatest fortunes during wartime. How can this help us understand the ever-deteriorating quality of mass produced food? What does it tell us about the new technologies of genetic manipulation that every one of these companies posits as the centerpiece of the current generation of crop “improvement” technologies?
The handful of companies that over the past decade have used biotechnology in an attempt to radically reshape food production have their roots in wartime, have profited tremendously from war throughout their histories, and have long collaborated with military establishments to make the world a more dangerous place. Clearly these companies are not going to make responsible decisions about our food and our health, much less protect us from “bioterrorism.” Indeed, an examination of these companies’ histories suggests that the genetic engineering of food may be nothing less than an extension of their wartime agendas.
War By Other Means?
In 1998, as debates were heating up across Europe around the unlabeled imports of genetically engineered soybeans and corn from the United States, the editors of the Economist magazine in London published an impassioned defense of the biotech agenda in agriculture. “Agriculture,” the Economist editors wrote, “is war by other means.” Indeed, from its origins, chemical agriculture has been a form of warfare—it is a war against the soil, against our reserves of fresh water, and against all the microbes and insects that are necessary for growing healthy food. Since the earliest origins of modern industrial agriculture, agribusiness has been at war against all life on earth, including us.
The story begins with nitrogen. Since ancient times, people have been aware of the importance of nitrate salts for maintaining soil fertility. The traditional source of supplemental nitrogen was saltpeter, a form of potassium nitrate that was found in soil scrapings alongside roads and old buildings. Later, it was harvested from large deposits of seabird guano, particularly in South America. The Chinese discovered in the 12th century that saltpeter, when combined with sulfur and a carbon source, can also have tremendous explosive capability and used it to manufacture the first gunpowder.
During World War I, two German scientists named Haber and Bosch discovered an efficient means for the large-scale chemical synthesis of ammonia and its various nitrate derivatives. The BASF company—now the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of agricultural chemicals—commercialized this process in 1913, and their products played a central role in the orgy of mass destruction that soon followed. Huge excesses of nitrogenous compounds that accumulated during World War I provided the basis for the beginnings of the mass production of synthetic nitrate fertilizers.
The DuPont Chemical Company—now the sole owner of the world’s largest seed company, Pioneer HiBred—was the largest manufacturer of gunpowder in the U.S. during the early 19th century. During World War I, DuPont supplied 1.5 billion pounds of explosives to the Allied military forces, according to the company’s official history. During the same period, the German dye-maker Hoechst—which merged with the French chemical company Rhone Poulenc in 1999 to form the biotech giant Aventis—altered several of its formulas to facilitate the manufacture of explosives and mustard gas. Decades later, DuPont and Hoechst would share the distinction of being the manufacturers of most of the ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are responsible for the hole in the earth’s protective ozone layer.
World War I also saw the rise of Monsanto as a major player. Founded in 1901 to bring the production of the artificial sweetener saccharine into the United States, Monsanto increased its profits a hundred-fold from $80,000 to well over $9 million per year. Monsanto supplied the chemical precursors for many high explosives. They manufactured phenol, which is a precursor of TNT (trinitrotoluene) and was also used as a battlefield antiseptic. They made the nitric acid used to nitrify the phenol-derived toluene, as well as sulfuric acid, various precursors for the production of poison gas, and additives to strengthen rubber (and later synthetic rubber) for many military applications.
New Synthetic Pesticides
In addition to chemical fertilizer production, today’s food biotech giants have their origins in the production of chemical pesticides, perhaps the most ecologically damaging factor in today’s industrial agriculture. In the 19th century, agricultural pest control was an eclectic enterprise, utilizing a wide variety of soaps, herbal preparations, and hand-removal of insects. Late in the century, botanical herbicides such as pyrethrum and rotenone began to be imported from sources halfway around the world. Entomologists began studying the life cycles and ecological interactions of insects, seeking to develop more sophisticated biological controls.
In the 1860s, various byproducts of the chemical dye industry were found to have insecticidal properties. With exotic-sounding names like Paris green and London purple, these substances became increasingly popular. Their common ingredient was arsenic; arsenic-based compounds were popular during the Victorian era as pigments for candles and wallpaper, as cosmetics and patent medicines; only later were the lethal properties of various arsenic derivatives more widely recognized. Lead arsenate was overwhelmingly the most popular insecticide throughout the early 20th century; it often killed plants, bees, and livestock as readily as it killed insects. Still its popularity remained uncontested for several decades. There was considerable opposition in Europe to the import of food from North America that had been sprayed with lead arsenate, but these concerns were widely dismissed by the founding fathers of American agribusiness.
In the 1930s, chemists working for the German company Bayer discovered the highly poisonous properties of organophosphate compounds. By then, Bayer had already merged with BASF, Hoechst, and other companies to form the huge chemical conglomerate I.G. Farben; today Bayer is poised to become the world’s largest manufacturer of herbicides and pesticides—and a leading source of genetically engineered seed varieties—with its recent takeover of the biotech giant Aventis CropScience. (Aventis is the company responsible for the “Starlink” variety of insecticidal GE corn, which was never approved for human consumption and thus forced the recall of some 300 name-brand processed food products during 2000-2001.) As all of German industry became absorbed into the growing Nazi war machine, Bayer’s organophosphate compounds were developed simultaneously as agricultural pesticides and as nerve gases for military use.
Some 2,000 new organophosphate compounds were discovered, including such notorious chemical warfare agents as sarin, soman, and tabun gases, all of which are still manufactured today. Later organophosphate pesticides included the livestock spray phosmet, which some researchers have associated with the emergence of mad cow disease, as well as malathion, parathion, diazanon, dursban, and lorsban; the latter three of these have finally begun to be phased out during the past two years. Organophosphates still represent 40 percent of today’s insecticide market, and are associated with some 20,000 cases of acute poisoning every year. Organophosphates severely interfere with normal nervous system function, impeding the breakdown and recycling of acetylcholine, one of the main carriers of excitatory nerve impulses; its uncontrolled accumulation at the site of nerve synapses can force the nervous systems of both insects and humans into a virtually uncontrollable state of overdrive.
DDT: The “Ultimate Weapon”
Another new development in pesticide technology emerged from corporate-military collaboration during World War II. This was to have even more dramatic long-term consequences. In the 1930s, scientists at the Swiss J. R. Geigy Company were searching for new compounds to disinfect seeds and prevent moths from feeding on wool. Geigy later merged with Ciba to form Ciba-Geigy, with Sandoz to form Novartis, and then merged its agribusiness division with the British Imperial Chemical Industries’ offshoot Zeneca to form the agrochemical and biotechnology giant Syngenta in 2001. These researchers’ key discovery was that DDT, which was first synthesized by an academic scientist in 1874, could accomplish both of their desired ends and more.
Still, there was only limited interest in DDT until World War II, when the U.S. Army faced two nearly incapacitating pest problems. Soldiers in southern Europe were facing widespread outbreaks of typhus from exposure to lice and their counterparts in the south Pacific faced potential epidemics of malaria. The pyrethrum-based powders that were most often used had to be reapplied in a stringent and systematic manner every week, which was seen as far too inconvenient for battlefield conditions. Also, Japan had by then become the leading supplier of pyrethrum. So the Army looked to Geigy’s new product as the answer, and soon, two million pounds of DDT were being produced every month.
Throughout the 1940s, scientists discovered the usefulness of DDT for combating a wide variety of agricultural pests quickly and with long-lasting effect. A variety of household and public health uses were implemented as well. DDT was used against potato beetles and other crop pests, but also against flies, mosquitoes, bedbugs, scabies, dog flies, Dutch elm fungus and to combat malaria, typhus, yellow fever, dengue fever, and a wide variety of forest pests. It was the “ultimate killer,” the “atom bomb of insecticides.” Monsanto began manufacturing DDT in 1944, along with some 15 other companies. DDT became the most widely applied chemical in human history and its commercial success led to a massive increase in the production and use of chemical insecticides of all types. Revenues from insecticide production in the U.S. rose from $10 million in 1940 to $100 million in 1950 to over $1 billion today.
The commercial success of DDT led to a dramatic shift in the chemical industry’s approach to pest control, a shift in attitude that still plagues us today and was in many ways a direct outgrowth of its wartime origins. DDT was seen as an ultimate weapon, capable of permanently eliminating various pest species. Professor John H. Perkins of Evergreen State College in Washington, who has studied the history of entomology in agriculture, writes, “DDT and the other new chemicals elicited proposals for a concept of control seldom considered in prewar times: permanent control by eradication of a pest species…. The power of the new chemicals to evoke quests for final solutions became an important part of entomology that lives with it to the present day.”
The irony of Perkins’s invocation of the Nazis’ genocidal “final solution” is clearly intended here. But unlike the Nazi genocide, these cannot be dismissed as the crimes of an outlaw totalitarian regime. This quest for permanent eradication of pests became the norm in agribusiness practice and continues to this very day. With the increasing use of DDT, basic research in entomology came to a near standstill, as scientific expertise was diverted from studies of the life cycles and ecological relationships of insects toward maximizing the effectiveness of new chemicals. Farmers were informed that time-tested methods of biological and mechanical pest control, including crop rotation and other means of controlling habitat, were archaic and needed to be replaced by the new, more “scientific” chemical approach.
Of course, people soon discovered a vast array of problems with DDT. While its acute toxicity to mammals is comparatively low, especially as compared with organophosphate insecticides, DDT accumulates in fatty tissues and in milk. It contributes to the degeneration of the liver and kidneys and is a potent disrupter of the central nervous system. Researchers soon discovered that university campuses that were experimenting with DDT were losing their entire population of songbirds. DDT caused a catastrophic thinning of eggshells, and was found to be a potent carcinogen. In 1972, the U.S. Congress banned the use of DDT in domestic agriculture—it is still manufactured for export—and further bans on related organochlorine pesticides such as aldrin, dieldrin, chlordane, and heptachlor soon followed.
The tremendous public outcry around the toxic effects of DDT and other pesticides during the 1960s and early 1970s was a crucial factor in the decision by Monsanto and other agrochemical giants to begin shifting their research efforts toward the brand new technology of gene manipulation. The first successful splicing of foreign (transgenic) DNA into the chromosomes of a living cell was demonstrated in 1973. By the late 1980s, Monsanto, Ciba-Geigy (now Syngenta and Novartis), and others were heavily invested in the genetic engineering of basic food crops. While the companies insist that GE crops are a safer alternative to pesticides, most independent evidence suggests that this is far from the case. In the words of agronomist and agricultural policy consultant Charles Benbrook, “Both herbicide tolerant and Bt-transgenic varieties entail novel mechanisms to enhance the ability of farmers to more fully rely on pesticides.” Pesticide production, pesticide use, and pesticide profits continue to increase as genetically engineered varieties of soybeans, corn, canola, and cotton are planted in ever larger acreages in the United States and Canada.
Herbicides and Warfare
Of course, the agrochemical giants’ close involvement with the military continued throughout the remainder of the 20th century. Monsanto’s research director Charles Thomas, along with DuPont scientists, supervised the purification of plutonium and polonium for the development of the first atomic bomb and the two companies operated the Pentagon’s nuclear weapons laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the 1950s.
Also during the 1950s, Monsanto discovered that a byproduct of its chlorinated pesticide production was causing severe skin rashes, joint pain, and nervous disorders in its production workers. This mysterious substance turned out to be dioxin and the U.S. Army Chemical Corps immediately became interested in its potential usefulness as a chemical warfare agent. The herbicide Agent Orange, which was used by U.S. military forces to obliterate the dense jungles of Vietnam during the 1960s was a mixture of the herbicides 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. Seven different chemical companies supplied Agent Orange to the U.S. military, but Monsanto’s formulation had as much as 1,000 times the concentration of dioxin.
Dioxin’s toxic and carcinogenic effects are still experienced on a daily basis by people in Vietnam, but it was a group of U.S. Vietnam War veterans who brought suit against the companies that were responsible for their own terrifying symptoms of Agent Orange exposure. When a $180 million legal settlement was reached in 1984 between the seven chemical companies and the veterans, the judge ordered Monsanto to pay 45.5 percent of the total, more than Dow Chemical, which was by far the leading supplier of Agent Orange by volume. Dow, of course, became most notorious during the Vietnam War for its production of napalm, the gasoline-based incendiary that set vast expanses of land ablaze, along with entire villages and hundreds of thousands of innocent victims. Today, Dow is also a leading player in biotech agriculture, having purchased the early biotech innovator Mycogen, as well as Cargill’s entire U.S. seed division.
The 1980s and 1990s saw a rapid expansion in Monsanto’s herbicide production, in close parallel to its development of genetically engineered crop varieties. In the past decade, the contribution of Roundup-family herbicides to Monsanto’s operating revenue has increased from one-sixth to nearly two-thirds of the total. Roundup plays a central role in the U.S. “drug war” via its widespread use to eradicate coca and poppy plants in Colombia and other countries. Colombian agronomists have uncovered the use of a new additive that increases herbicide exposures to more than 100 times Monsanto’s recommended dosage in more typical agricultural applications. Along with coca and poppies, U.S. aerial spraying of tons of Roundup over the Colombian countryside has led to the destruction of local subsistence crops such as manioc, bananas, palms, sugarcane, and corn, as well as the poisoning of creeks, rivers, and lakes and the destruction of indigenous fish populations.
Of all of Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow’s agricultural products, genetically engineered food crops might appear to be the least tainted with immediate wartime origins. But this technology emerged from a period when the future of chemical agriculture appeared very much in doubt. With the rapid expansion of the agrochemical industry during the post-World War II era, these companies and their European counterparts established a profound degree of control over agricultural practices. Agrochemical companies set the agenda for changing farm practices, came to dominate agricultural policymaking and the information available to farmers, and later forged strategic alliances with the emerging global grain trading companies, such as Cargill, ConAgra, and Archer Daniels Midland.
As public pressure and the weight of scientific evidence curtailed the use of DDT and many other chlorinated pesticides in the 1970s, executives and corporate scientists saw the potential for limitless advances—and ever-expanding marketing potential—in the incorporation of technological advances into the genetics of seeds. During the 1990s, Monsanto alone spent nearly $8 billion acquiring leading commercial seed suppliers such as DeKalb, Asgrow, and Holden’s, along with shares in seed companies in Brazil, India, and other countries; DuPont and others quickly followed suit. Only the expanding worldwide resistance to the genetic engineering of food has curtailed these companies’ ability to continue introducing new GE crops, including herbicide-tolerant varieties of wheat and rice.
Since the historic shutdown of the WTO meetings in Seattle in 1999, activists have been aware that genetic engineering is a central means by which global capitalism is consolidating its control over our food and healthcare. Biotechnology has helped drive unprecedented corporate concentration in both the agribusiness and pharmaceutical sectors. The WTO’s “intellectual property” regimes have forced countries to alter their legal systems to allow the patenting of life forms. The U.S. government continues to use the threat of WTO sanctions to pressure European, Latin American, and Asian countries to accept GMOs, while the World Bank offers aid to promote acceptance of genetically engineered agriculture throughout the global South.
Today it is clear that opposing genetic engineering is also a key to countering the capitalist war against nature. As the world braces for a second year of the Bush administration’s interminable “war on terror” and as scientific evidence increasingly affirms the ecological hazards of genetic engineering, it is imperative that critics and activists redouble efforts to counter these inherently uncertain and destructive technologies. Z
Brian Tokar is the editor of Redesigning Life? The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic Engineering and the director of the Institute for Social Ecology’s Biotechnology Project. For up-to-date information on resistance to genetic engineering, see www.nerage.org.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.