Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Agribusiness Guys

Saw a short film last evening entitled "Global Banquet" about the harm being done by corporate agriculture. Among other things: impoverishing people in the Third World who used to be subsistence farmers at the least in two ways: 1) forcing them to produce market commodities rather than common food crops, and 2) victimizing them via free trade agreements made over their heads which allow cheaper seeds and crops into their local markets; driving small farmers out of business in the U.S.; inflicting harm on the environment (not interested in long-term productivity for the land but only short-term profit); introducing as yet unknown dangers to human life and the environment by genetic engineering (a long and scary list). It's clear after seeing this why the World Trade Organization is opposed with such vehemence--it's not about trade so much as making sure governments do not impede the free operation of multi-national corporations across the world.

All of this fits right in with a poem I wrote recently.

Agribusiness Guys

It’s not a chicken and egg question for these guys.
If you could find a fresh egg at market,
or under a chicken, they own it—the egg and the chicken.
And the tractor outside, fences, farmhouse, and barn.
They own ninety percent of the land in this county
and the next,
twenty percent of GDP, one in four American workers,
plus a wholesale contingent
of senators, legislators, judges, and governors.

They advertise on TV, these agribusiness guys,
They tell us about their sunny technology, concern for the earth,
their devotion to the family farmer.
They like Republicans,
adore crop subsidies,
and they go bat-shit nuts over ethanol.
These Archer Daniel Midlands glad-handers,
these ConAgra and Tyson smiley faces
with their high-and-tight haircuts and all-round
good looks,
tromping through state fair hay in their all-
American way,
just like proud Papa with his blue-ribbon goat,
and the bubbly matron with the ample bosom
and prize-winning muffins,
and the kid at North Dakota State,
whom they also own.

These guys own things
the way a spider does
when a fat fly hits the web.

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