Crop 'dusting' with pesticide a few miles north of Ripley, Mississippi.
Photo: Roger Smith via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).
Monsanto on trial? Or 21st century capitalism?
13th October 2016
The organizers of tomorrow's International Monsanto Tribunal describe it as a 'moral trial', while the company dismisses it as a 'mock trial' and 'stunt'. The truth, writes Pete Dolack, is that it's about much more than this one company. On trial is the entire neoliberal system of 'free market' finance and monopoly capitalism.
This is not reducible, however, to simple greed or evilness. Grow or die is the ever-present mandate of capitalism. Just because food is a necessity does not mean it is exempt from capitalism's relentless competitive pressures.
Monsanto is going on trial! Not, alas, in an official legal proceeding but instead a 'civil society initiative' that will provide moral judgment only.
The International Monsanto Tribunal will conduct hearings in The Hague beginning tomorrow, 14th October, and continuing over the weekend.
Athough it has no legal force, its organizers believe the opinions its international panel of judges will issue will provide victims and their legal counsel with arguments and legal grounds for further lawsuits in courts of law.
The organizers also see the tribunal as raising awareness of Monsanto Company's practices and the dangers of industrial and chemical agriculture. The tribunal web site's Practical Info page summarizes:
"The aim of the Tribunal is to give a legal opinion on the environmental and health damage caused by the multinational Monsanto. This will add to the international debate to include the crime of Ecocide into international criminal law. It will also give people all over the world a well documented legal file to be used in lawsuits against Monsanto and similar chemical companies."
There certainly is much material on Monsanto, a multi-national corporation that has long sought to control the world's food and which is able to routinely bend governments to its will.