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Open Letter from The OCA on the Eve of the 2006 Elections

As I write this open letter, the long-awaited November 7 elections are but hours away. Even though many of us are fearful that these elections will be stolen, just like the 2000 and 2004 elections--through a combination of disenfranchising African-American, Latino, and Native American voters, purging voter registration lists, and manipulating results through electronic "black box" manipulations, it is absolutely essential that we all turn out and vote. One can only hope and pray that the public desire for regime change tomorrow will be so strong that it will be impossible to completely rig the results. Hopefully we will wake up on Nov. 8 with a new sense of hope and determination. After the elections it is possible that a new, more ethical crop of legislators will move our troubled country toward health, justice, and sustainability, away from the self-destructive, indeed frightening, path we’ve been traveling.

In particular we hope a new Congress will finally put organics, and related life or death issues like climate change and world peace, on the table, and redirect a fair share of the USDA’s annual $100 billion budget to help U.S. family farmers make the transition to organic, develop local markets, and adopt soil conservation and renewable energy practices on their farms. If we take this enlightened path, we can satisfy the booming demand for organic products with real organic food, produced under strict standards, instead of allowing industrial farms and Big Box chains degrade organic standards. To put the brakes on the importation of cheap, but often bogus, organic food from China and other nations halfway across he globe, we are lobbying Congress to implement Country of Origin Labeling, so that consumers can vote with their pocketbooks for organic foods produced in the U.S.

And of course "going organic" is not enough. We must find the strength, compassion, and courage to move away from fomenting war and maintaining an Empire to planting peace. If we don't start redirecting some of the $500 billion annual military budget toward greening the economy, drastically reducing greenhouse gases, and stabilizing the climate, we are heading for literal disaster. Increased market share for organic and green products will mean little in the fast approaching era of oil scarcity ("Peak Oil"), constant warfare, and climate chaos.
 
As I write this, OCA is involved in a growing national boycott against two organic dairy giants, Horizon and Aurora Organic, to stop these companies and the retail chains they supply (Wal-Mart, Costco, Safeway, Wild Oats, and Publix) from labeling milk from factory farms as organic. Our goal is nothing less than to drive these companies to the negotiating table, and thereby teach the food giants a lesson: organic integrity is not for sale. While defending standards, OCA is also linking with complimentary movements for progressive change to address our common concerns: alternative health consumers, the Fair Trade movement, Buy Local networks, climate crisis activists, as well as grassroots campaigners for electoral and media reform. To stimulate this movement building, our sister lobbying organization, the Organic Consumers Fund, has been circulating an Organic Consumers Political Candidate Survey across the country. See http:www//organicconsumersfund.org

In addition OCA is stepping up our efforts against genetic engineering and industrial farms, and launching a new campaign against the use of hazardous nanotechnology particles in food, nutritional supplements, and body care products.
 
But first things first. Please get out and vote tomorrow as if your life depends upon the results. After tallying up our wins and our losses, we can plan our next move.

Regards & Solidarity,
Ronnie Cummins