Proposition 37 was the California initiative to label foodstuffs that contained genetically engineered (GE) products. (GE is sometimes called GMO for Genetically Modified Organisms). If you didn’t know that an estimated 70 to 80 percent of your processed food was made with these little Frankenstein babies, then you should read up on it. It’s gonna be a biggie nationwide, but that’s a post for another day. Today’s rant is about something far more insidious.
Look What the Cat Dragged In
While I’m disappointed that the labeling law was defeated, I know the movement will go forward with other labeling initiatives nationwide. The publicity did open the door for more conversation. Discussion is good. Education is good. Violent acts? Never good. The mad rash of TV and YouTube ads can be discussed, dissected and maybe even discredited with time. But an open door works both ways. What else came in?
Currently, there’s an anonymous little website dedicated to taking labeling into one’s own hands. Literally. It’s called Label It Yourself.com (and .org) is a simple, streamlined, easy-to-navigate site of just a few pages. Heck! It’s even in Spanish.
So here’s what they* suggest now that “the government has ignored our requests” (which is not the case here, it’s big business that threw $46 million worth of TV time at the people and confused many.)
1. Get the skull-and-corn logos free right from the site. Clever design!
2. Print your own labels on your printer using these templates.
3. Stick ‘em on GMO stuff in your grocery store.
Wait. Do what?!
Stick labels on stuff other people, however unwittingly, might want to purchase? To say nothing of this having to be done covertly because the store employees and overhead cameras will be watching. Nah. Not for me thanks. If it’s the covert brand of anarchy, it’s going to blow up in your face.
While I just can’t bring myself to commit the acts of vandalism encouraged by the site, I LOVE the enthusiasm, Guys. But here’s the problem. Yeah, No. Not just that legal thing. Beyond the obvious vandalism. You are hurting the Cause!
How You’re Hindering the GMO Labeling Cause
1) Sure, we’re all hyped and need to channel that disappointed energy somewhere. I research and write this post. Some people donate to legit labeling initiatives like Just Label It! Some drink heavily. Some trolls (yes, it’s an internet term for those who try to stir up others) create websites to enable others to do dastardly deeds.
2) And let’s not forget that Mainstream America loves guilt by association; the radical deeds of any group speak loudly for all in their minds. Remember the people who threw red paint on celebs wearing fur to protest cruelty to animals? I could name more, but hopefully you see the point that vandalism for a cause reflects poorly on those trying to make real change through peaceful means. (Or is this what the LIY guys want, perhaps?) I risk feeding the trolls myself by even mentioning it.
3) The scary, albeit clever, logo is well-done, but sends exactly the message Big Ag Companies have been touting; people will be fearful when they find out about GMOs. ( Again, it seems like the LIY group may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.)
4) Face it. Finding a skull sticker on your bag of oreos when you’re craving a cookie fix is just damned annoying, too. While I wouldn’t eat that crap (Country Choice Organic doesn’t use GMO corn), I defend the right of those who want to consume it, to do so.
5) Slapping stickers on stuff is also going to drive up prices. How? Well, duh! It’s like removing graffiti. It costs someone money and time to undo your misplaced defiance. Granted, those who had no idea that their Corn Pops contained corn abnormally crossed with petunias and pesticides might like to know and we may garner a few more folks for the Cause, but isn’t that best accomplished with education?
From the LIY website: “The Label It Yourself (#LIY) campaign empowers people to make educated decisions about what is in their food, without waiting for government or corporations to do it for them.” The operative word being empowered. I would argue that we are all already empowered and that the education portion is missing. Unfortunately, Prop37 suffered from propaganda replacing education. It seems to me that Big Ag is continuing their schemes by organizing groups such as #LIY to brand GMO activists as radical haters that go to prison for product tampering (yeah, it’s a law.).
Who Are These People Anyway?
I read every page of the two identical websites and, while names and affiliations are conspicuously absent, there is no admonition other than to “please be thoughtful and respectful when speaking to others about LIY.” How about being thoughtful and respectful and not defacing property with your stickers?! *There is a vague reference to a “member of the Occupy Wall Street Food Justice Working group.” I do hope this clever person is on the right side.
And another thing — What are they doing in those stores anyway?! While I like GMO labeling idea, I like the “be-responsible-for-what-you-eat” idea, first. Organic corn, soy, and wheat is non-GMO and non-irradiated; therefore more nutritious. Unfortunately, it’s non-subsidized by the government, so it’s a bit more expensive, but, again, that’s another post. Shop in health food stores, silly.
Prop 37 didn’t pass by 45-55%. Wonder who donated the mega-MILLIONs to campaign against it? The companies that own the GMO seeds and have the biggest stake in keeping the GMO debacle quiet, of course.
Maddening that the situation got to this point behind our backs, but take a deep breath. And THINK before you land yourself in jail for vandalism, if not food terrorism, and THINK about whether this type of behavior would really and truly change the minds of the powers that be. No, it won’t. The FDA is the organization that will decide it for the nation. If we can legally make our voices heard above the monetary currency of Big Ag , there is hope.
There are organizations already doing this! Please don’t allow the divide-and-conquer technique to tempt you with immediate self-gratifying results. How about putting your energies into the Just Label It campaign mentioned above? They have over 1.2 million Americans writing to the FDA. Support the Non-GMOProject. A hopeful tweet from this group: San Juan Island County in Washington State – over 60% of voters supported an initiative which bans the propagation of genetically modified organisms in San Juan Island County.
It’s working. Use the system, Luke! Don’t go all radical and hater on us.
What You Can Do With Your Stickers
Seriously. They are clever. Here are some constructive, rather than destructive, use for your stickers.
- How about some poster sized ones?
- Give people a checklist of how to picket appropriate places- a how to set up a sit-in and peaceably assemble. I know you know this.
- How about selling your stickers as bumper stickers? (Do you not need funding? Are you on the Monsanto payroll?)
- Show the masses how to set up a table in front of libraries WITH PERMISSION and offer free information on GMOs.
- Create a GMO-Free Day with the help of the legit organizations I mentioned and advertise THAT instead.
- Use that ever-so-clever brain of yours to find ways to persevere through the setbacks!
Like all radical groups that splinter from a good cause, the malcontents can give the good cause a bad name. I suspect they are somewhere laughing at the lemmings they’ve pushed over the edge – Don’t be a lemming.