Saturday, April 26, 2008

De Clarke and Stan Goff, The Politics of Food is Politics

An Alternative Agriculture is Possible
The Politics of Food is Politics

By DE CLARKE and STAN GOFF

We metropolitan Americans panic when we contemplate the possibility of becoming unable to afford our private automobiles. This is not just because of our legendary ego-attachment to the car. The primary reason we panic is because we need our cars to get to our jobs (at least one study has suggested that Americans spend 20 percent of their take-home pay on their cars, so we are working one day out of five to pay for the car so we can drive to the job). And we need our jobs.

It's a given: people need their jobs. But why? Because without the income from those jobs, we and our children don't eat. Our access to food is permitted only when it's mediated by money -- which we can only obtain by working (for the ruling class) or by becoming wards of the state (which, increasingly involves coerced labour).

Once again, gasoline and food are intimately entwined -- in the mesh of dependencies that keeps us all obedient to the bosses of the monetized economy. Most people can't eat without participating in the money economy because they have been driven off the land, and live in high-density "people storage" buildings without any access to living soil; or because, despite living in the suburbs or semi-rural areas with ample access to soil, they lack the skills and knowledge to produce their own food; or the soil they do have access to has been killed by industrial farming practises and can only "produce" by means of massive external inputs that must be purchased from the money economy (and the extractive industries).

The fossil/extractive industries and the money economy have built fences all around the food supply, from production to consumption. We play their game or we don't eat. Now their game is coming apart at the seams.

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