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Organic Consumers Association

OCA National Director Ronnie Cummins Speaks Out on Farms Not Arms

The War and Rural America Forum (New York City, Sept. 8, 2007)

Ronnie Cummins is the director of the Organic Consumers Association. Here he speaks on the need to link anti-war, environmental, the organic food and other movements into a united coalition. (Excerpt)

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post Dec 27 2007, 11:02 PM

Cool to actually get to see him! Important stuff. --diana

post Dec 28 2007, 01:27 PM

As Samuel Johnson observed, nothing concentrates the mind like the prospect of being hanged at dawn. During the Viet Namn war, there was the draft to do that, and now we have planetary crisis (if this new war wont suffice). Some of us see it upon us, but obviously most don't, and that's what keeps us from rising, that and lugging on our backs those well-compensated journalists, et al. All that dead weight interferes with hurling the Molotov bouquet.

Now, if the hammer I had was OCA, then every nail would be organizing, so I'm not faulting you for that, not at all. Still, OCA must needs live within its means in able to be the most powerful tool it can be. Reaching for more creates vulnerabilities that the enemy does not ignore. After all, like Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, organic consumers are prone to quibble about their religion, and the result has been that the Empire prevails. And the enemy (i hate to say it) is darn good at sabotaging our efforts, like those Brits who dressed up like Shiites and shot up civilians to justify the need for intervention. In other words, invite all the "Christians" to dinner and I gaaaaranty that the lions will sniff you out. So, "organizing" can be a trap. It's no small thing that in a generation "organic" will be the paradigm, as you say, and then OCA will be the organization you dream of.

And then there's the deeper need, the need to feed the children, and to do that in a sustainable manner. So organizing can be a trap, but that's not the ends anyways, it's just one means. Imagine another. Imagine, for example, a new kind of money that gives you a discount progressively on local water, then local food, then taxes, and finally local energy. Imagine what that would do to build autonomous communities that enjoy sustainable prosperity and so feed all their children. Suppose your community - where food and water are mostly good to go already - said it would do that with local money for its local taxes, and then, of course, it would have to spend that tax money locally, pay the teachers with it, and the police, the bus drivers, the builders.... And they'd be glad to have some of that because of the discount, everybody would, except of course the big boxes and other importers, because they're goal is not to recirculate wealth locally.

Nothing succeeds like success, and such a successful economy/community would be a seed.

Imagine if we answered disaster now - earthquake, tsunami, flood - with this kind of local money that most people would prefer instead of just bags of McWal, so that instead of replacing devastation with corporate servitude we replaced it with resilient local community, creating places where true, autonomous, and prosperous local marketplaces empowered people to resist exploitation instead of perpetrate it.

post Dec 28 2007, 07:59 PM

Thank you, Kevin, for spelling it out. I'm hoping others will discuss. --diana