On "peasants" and GMOs

Hardt and Negri's "Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire" (2004) is a work of political philosophy, and specifically a book about democracy (presented here). Some points raised in the book offer interesting food for thought, potentially of use in the classroom, or for contrasting different opinions, for example:

On the "peasant":

  • "It makes little sense to continue to use the term peasant to name the agricultural worker on a massive collective or state farm who owns no property and produces food to be distributed on a national scale. Nor does it make sense to continue to call "peasants" the populations that have left the fields to work in factories. Furthermore, subsequent processes of decollectivization of agricultural production in the post-Soviet and post-Mao eras have in various degrees reestablished private ownership of the land but they have no reconstructed the relations of exchange that define the peasantry, that is, production primarily for the family's own consumption and partial integration into larger markets." (p. 117-118)

On GMOs:

  • "This question of ownership seems to us the central issues in the current debates over genetically modified foods. Some have sounded the alarm that genetically modified Frankenfoods are endangering our health and disrupting the order of nature. They are opposed to experimenting with new plant varieties because they think that they authenticity of nature or the integrity of the seed must not be violated. To us this has the smell of a theological argument about purity. We maintain, in contrast, as we have argued at length already, that nature and life as a whole are always already artificial, and this is especially clear in the era of immaterial labor and biopolitical production. That does not mean, of course, that all changes are good. Like monsters, genetically modified crops can be beneficial or harmful to society. The best safeguard is that experimentation be conducted democratically and openly, under common control, something that private ownership prevents. What we need most today in this regard are mobilizations that give us the power to intervene democratically in the scientific process." (p. 183-184).
PhD: International Environmental Politics (2 posit...
IDRC Doctoral Research Awards

Related Posts

Powered by EasyBlog for Joomla!