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The rise of Corporate feudalism


In the isolation and chaos of the 9th and 10th centuries, European leaders no longer attempted to restore Roman institutions, but adopted whatever would work. The result was that Europe developed a relatively new and effective set of institutions, adapted to a moneyless economy, inadequate transportation and communication facilities, an ineffective central government, and a constant threat of armed attack by raiders such as the Vikings, Magyars, and Saracens.

The most well-known of the institutions were manorialism (the organization of the peasants), monasticism (the organization of the churchmen), and feudalism (the institution of the aristocracy).

Feudalism is a term invented in the sixteenth century by royal lawyers - primarily in England - to describe the decentralized and complex social, political, and economic society out of which the modern state was emerging. The term "feudalism" came from the German vieh, or "cow," the measure of wealth among the early Germans, a term that gave rise to the medieval word fief. "Fief" simply meant "something of value." In the agricultural world of the time, "something of value" was usually land. But the sixteenth-century lawyers pictured this land as having been under the control of a powerful king who distributed much of it to his followers, men of distinction whose breeding and upbringing particularly fitted them for governing and giving battle. source

Feudalism can be simply defined as

l) fragmentation of political power;

2) public power in private hands; and

3) armed forces secured through private contracts.

Feudalism is a method of government, and a way of securing the forces necessary to preserve that method of government. source

Feudalism is the name given to the system of government William I introduced to England after he defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Feudalism became a way of life in Medieval England and remained so for many centuries.

William I is better known as William the Conqueror. He had defeated the English army lead by Harold but he had to gain control of all of England before he could be truly called king of England. He was a foreigner who had forced his way to London. He was not popular with the people of England and he had to use force to maintain his control on England.

William could not rule every part of the country himself - this was physically impossible. Not only was travel difficult and slow in the eleventh century, he was also still Duke of Normandy and he had to return to Normandy to maintain his control of this land in France. Therefore, he had to leave the country for weeks at a time. He needed a way of controlling England so that the people remained loyal.

William spent much of his time in London. He built his own castle - the Tower of London - so that it dominated the city. It was also his home while in London. He did not trust the builders of London - or English stone - so he used Norman craftsmen to do the skilled work while the English acted as labourers and he brought in from Caen (in France) the stone needed for what we now call the White Tower. He also built the first castle at Windsor. The motte is still visible. Castles represented a visible threat to the people of England. Soldiers were kept in them and they could be used against the English should they cause trouble.

However, he needed a way of actually governing the country. This was the Feudal System.

William divided up England into very large plots of land - similar to our counties today. These were 'given' to those noblemen who had fought bravely for him in battle. William argued that those noblemen who were willing to die in battle for him, would also be loyal to him. The land was not simply given to these nobles. They had to swear an oath of loyalty to William, they had to collect taxes in their area for him and they had to provide the king with soldiers if they were told to do so. In the eleventh century, a sworn oath on the Bible was a very important thing and one which few men would dare to break as it would condemn them to Hell. The men who got these parcels of land would have been barons, earls and dukes Within their own area, they were the most important person there. In the terms of the Feudal System, these men, the barons etc., were known as tenants-in-chief.

Even these pieces of land were large and difficult to govern.

The barons etc. had to further divide up their land and these were 'given' to trusted Norman knights who had also fought well in battle. Each knight was given a segment of land to govern. He had to swear an oath to the baron, duke or earl, collect taxes when told to do so and provide soldiers from his land when they were needed.

It was argued, that because they had sworn an oath to their baron, they had really sworn an oath to the king. These lords worked to maintain law and order. The people in their land - or manors - were treated harshly and there was always the constant threat of Norman soldiers being used against the English people where ever they lived. The lords had to do their job well as unsuccessful ones could be removed from their position. Their job was simple - keep the English people in their place......under the control of the Normans. Under the Feudal System, these men, the knights, were called sub-tenants. Note that both groups were officially tenants - a word we associate with land that does not belong to you. Both all but rented out their land in that they had to provide money or services to the real owner of all land - William the Conqueror.

At the bottom of the ladder were the conquered English who had to do what they were told or pay the price for their disobedience.

There is no doubt that William's rule was harsh. But he was a man who had conquered the country. He was not in England through the popular choice of the people and he had to ensure that he had full control over them at all times. He ensured that there were obvious signs of his power - the country saw the building of many Norman castles. He also knew what was owed to him because he ordered a survey of the whole country - the Domesday Book.


"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

"Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of these corporations." --President Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837 (2).

"A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime. . . Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there." -- William E. Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, 1937. See: Shadow of the Swastika. source and source

"These companies, not the lunatic Nazi fanatics, are the main war criminals. If the guilt of these criminals is not brought to daylight and if they are not punished, they will pose a much greater threat to the future peace of the world than Hitler if he were still alive." -- Telford Taylor, US-Chief Prosecutor, 1947 Nuremberg War Trial against the managers of IG Farben.

"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains." -- Thomas Jefferson to Horatio Gates Spafford, 17 Mar. 1817, cited in Papers 14:221 (1).

"Behind the visible government there is an invisible government upon the throne that owes the people no loyalty and recognizes no responsibility. To destroy this invisible government, to undo the ungodly union between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the task of a statesman." -Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, during his 1912 election campaign (104).

"We must face the appalling fact that we have been betrayed by both the Democratic and Republican Parties." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The only difference between Bush and Gore is the velocity with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock at the door." -- Ralph Nader, 2000 election.

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." -- George Washington.

"Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea. Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower. source

more quotes

charters of incorporations

James Kent, in his Commentaries on American Law, published early in the 19th century, observed that "the number of charters of incorporations" was increasing in the United States with disturbing rapidity. "We are multiplying in this country to an unparalleled extent the institution of corporations," he wrote, "and giving them a flexibility and variety of purpose unknown to the Roman or to the English law."

Kent's warning has gone unheeded and the drive to incorporation runs beyond the point he feared.

The corporation is in America today not only the principal instrument for conducting business and finance, but also is a major instrument for influencing and managing education, religion, communications, sports, and politics.

About 80% of the measurable economic activities of the United States is directed through corporate organizations, operating under state charters.

Corporate power is a growing force in determining United States foreign policy and military policy and strategy. Multi-national and international corporations are intimately involved in foreign policy, both in decisions and in execution. This influence is more subtle and more integrated than that of the early decades of the [20th] century. Corporations did exercise influence over foreign policy, but that influence could usually be identified, and usually was in some large degree subject to government direction, or at least coincided with government policy. Corporations were to a degree agents of the government, although in some cases, in a kind of reciprocal arrangement, with the government becoming agent of the corporation.


The involvement of private industry in providing equipment and material for World War II established a relationship between the military and the private suppliers, which in the Post War period became the military-industrial complex which we were warned of by President Eisenhower in his farewell address


Weapons plans conceived in corporate engineering, research and development departments can become the basis for both military tactics and for strategic changes and weapons systems and strategic projections by the military, dependent on corporate potential to manufacture.

The influence of corporations on culture and education too is growing. Dow Chemical cut off its support of a Michigan university because of student protests against the use of napalm. In Minnesota a number of corporations have organized a special committee that meets with governors, archbishops, heads of universities and colleges, etc. to determine who will receive grants and for what purpose. Corporate heads act much like the nobles of England, sitting down with the king or the archbishop.

What we have allowed to develop is a kind of corporate feudalism, one that fits the schoolboy definition of feudalism as a system in which everybody belongs to someone and everyone else belongs to the king. In its modern form, nearly every worker belongs to some corporation. Everyone else - in civil service, on welfare, on workmen's compensation or social security - belongs to the government.

A great corporation might be viewed as a self-contained feudal manor or barony. General Motors, for example, has its own financial institutions, its own distribution system, its own labor policy and social welfare program, its own security system and special investigators, even its own foreign policy. And the foreign policy of ITT in the case of Chile included an effort to have the United States government prevent the election of a certain presidential candidate in that country. Other multinational corporations run their own foreign policies. source

Neoconservatism is a very small movement of highly educated people.

It began in reaction to the Great Society projects of Lyndon Johnson's Presidency.

In the 1960's and 1970's, several think-tanks were set up inside Washington's beltway: the Heritage Foundation, the Free Congress Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the American Enterprise Institute. These organizations began to focus on influencing the Federal government.

The "godfather" of neoconservatism is Irving Kristol, who had been a youthful Trotskyite. He defined a neoconservative as "a liberal who was mugged by reality."

Today, the neoconservatives are in the spotlight because of the influence of William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and others associated with The Weekly Standard. Their influence is primarily in the area of foreign policy and military affairs.

Kristol: "We in America fought a culture war, and we (conservatives) lost, but not completely," "One area we didn't lose, and that's religion."

Kristol is intellectually indebted to Leo Strauss - "Leo Strauss became a significant factor in the culture war," "And neoconservatives brought Strauss in" to that war. Strauss' contribution was to help neoconservatives to understand the importance of religion in the political life of a nation.

"Religion was not part of elite culture found at places like Harvard, It was not thought appropriate for highly educated people to learn too much about religion."

Straussians, who were not well regarded in the academy, took religion seriously. "They played a very important role in the culture war by keeping neoconservative intellectuals pro-religion," says Kristol. This pro-religion stance gave neoconservative intellectuals a way to influence the wider American culture. Liberal and left intellectuals who disdained religious belief were distrusted by most Americans and this distrust helped check liberal influence and policies.

However, Kristol pointed out that Straussians were not generally themselves committed to religion. Kristol added that Americans "don't bother with theology. The fact is that the moral dimension of religion is what counts for Americans."

Kristol noted that many of Strauss' students couldn't find work in the universities so they made their way to D.C., where they joined the political establishment. Then, practically endorsing the old leftist slogan "the personal is political," Kristol noted that he knew "dozens of families in Washington shaped and influenced by Strauss unto the third generation."

Because of Strauss' teachings, Kristol continued, "There are in Washington today dozens of people who are married with children and religiously observant. Do they have faith? Who knows? They just believe that it is good to go to church or synagogue. Whether you believe or not is not the issue -- that's between you and God -- whether you are a member of a community that holds certain truths sacred, that is the issue." Neoconservatives are "pro-religion even though they themselves may not be believers." source

neoconservative agenda

The Founders of America knew that for 6000 years "civilized" humans had always been ruled by one of three groups: kings, theocrats, or feudal lords. Kings held power by threat of violence and continual warfare; theocrats and popes held power by the people's fear of a god or gods; and feudal lords held power by wealth and the power that comes from throwing average people into poverty.

The "new" idea of our Founders in 1776 was to throw off all three of these historic tyrannies and replace them with a fourth way - people being ruled by themselves. A government that derived its legitimacy and continuing existence solely from the approval of its citizens. Government of, by, and for "We, The People." They called it a republican democracy.

What we are seeing now in the neoconservative agenda is nothing less than an attempt to overthrow republican democracy and replace it with a worldwide feudal state.

The last time this happened, the feudalists took over a monarchy and then North America. In December 1600, Queen Elizabeth I chartered the East India company, ultimately leading to a corporate takeover of the Americas that the colonists ended with the Boston Tea Party and, three years later, the American Revolution. This corporate-state partnership went on to conquer India, but eventually faded out as the British Empire faded, and the British government, along with most of Western Europe, embraced Jeffersonian forms of democracy.

But it raised its head again in the 20th Century, revived by Franco, Hitler, and Mussolini. The Italian dictator even used the word "corporatism" to describe it, and then later renamed it as "fascism" - a word that was defined in American dictionaries such as The American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin Company) in 1983 as "fas-cism (fash'iz'em) n. A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."

Since the "Reagan Revolution," two centuries after we rose up and rebelled against King George III's support of corporate feudalism in Boston Harbor, this ancient enemy of democracy is again trying to seize America. Reagan ignored the Sherman Act and other restraints on corporations, and sold at fire-sale prices the airwaves once held in common by We, The People. The result was predictable: a merger and acquisitions frenzy, and the takeover of American media by a handful of mega-corporations. Bill Clinton then helped export corporatism to the industrialized world when he pushed GATT/WTO through Congress. source

About the Players

William Lind serves on the staff of the Free Congress Foundation as Director Center for Fiscal Responsibility Center for Transportation & Urban Studies. Paul Weyrich founded the Free Congress Foundation in 1974 as the political arm of the Heritage Foundation which he had established one year earlier.

On the Heritage web site is posted a tribute to Weyrich's foresight 25 years ago in realizing the need for a "conservative alternative" to the liberal Rockefeller-funded Brookings Institution, "the catalyst for many of the legislative successes of the liberals during the 1960s and early 1970s...":

The Power of Ideas: The Heritage Foundation at 25 Years

"As the future head of The Heritage Foundation described the state of legislative affairs in the early 1970s, 'The Left had a finely tuned policy-making machine, and the Right had nothing to match it...

"Pointing to the 'disproportionate influence' of the Ford Foundation and 'the Brookings Institute' [sic] on public policy, the foundation promised to provide in-depth research based on 'traditional American economic and social values' and the Constitution. Its audience would be 'the public at large' and members of Congress 'who struggle to cope with the initiatives of the liberal-socialist 'think tanks.'" The "conservative" image that is presented by the Heritage Foundation is contradicted by solid evidence that Heritage and its vast network are working with and are, in fact, ideologically compatible with the liberal establishment. For example, the recent report on Hudson Institute documented that "conservative" scholars of Hudson Institute and the Heritage Foundation were key players in the federal government's GOALS 2000 plan to radically restructure American society through education reform:

Hudson Institute's Workforce 2020 Conference also links to the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. The John F. Kennedy Library Centers for Research and Policy Development includes the following mix of liberal (L) and (pseudo-) conservative (C) think tanks:

Brookings Institution (L), CATO Institute (C), Urban Institute, Cascade Policy Institute [Oregon affiliate of Heritage Foundation], Aspen Institute (L), Hudson Institute (C), Heritage Foundation (C), National Commission on Civic Renewal [William Bennett], the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government (L), RAND Corporation (L), Reason Foundation (L).

The liberal Brookings Institution list of Scholars includes Diane Ravitch who, with Chester Finn, directs the conservative Hudson/Fordham Foundation Education Excellence Network (EEN) and the Education Policy Institute (EPI), a subsidiary of Heritage Foundation's Center for Education Reform. Hudson Institute reciprocates with a link to Brookings Institution.

The Kuyper Institute (C), which is affiliated with David Hall's Center for the Advancement of Paleo Orthodoxy (C) is also linked with Brookings Institution (L), Hoover Institution (Stanford University), Hudson Institute (C), the John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University) and the Acton Institute:

The Heritage Foundation and Hudson Institute links also include the Acton Institute.

Lord Acton was a 19th century Roman Catholic appointed by British Prime Minister Gladstone to the position of Professor of History at Cambridge - an appointment which caused no small controversy in the Anglican Church which sponsored the university. Acton was distinguished for his vision of the ultimate "Universal History," a mystical belief in a universal conscience of the human race which enables mankind to gradually evolve morally, and so progress in civilization to overcome the world. Author of The Occult Underground, James Webb, correlated Lord Acton's Universalism with the vision of religious unity undertaken by the Parliament of the World's Religions at its opening conference in 1893. 2.

The unpleasant fact is that the massive network of non-governmental organizations represent constituencies which are unwittingly collaborating with their ideological adversaries. The success of this Third Way endeavor gives testimony to the genius of using NGOs as instruments of consensus building, as noted in the Nov. 7 Tampa Bay Online:

"'Nonprofits are a way to avoid overreliance either on the state or the market. They have this wonderful way of tapping individual initiative, but they do it for public purpose,' said Lester M. Salamon, co-author of a new report for Johns Hopkins University that details the NGO movement's rapid growth.

"Once viewed primarily as 'do-gooders' and religious groups trying to 'save the world,'' NGOs have evolved into a movement of liberals and conservatives. British Prime Minister Tony Blair calls it the 'third way' in world affairs. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder dubs it the 'new middle.' To academics it's an emerging 'civil society.''' source

a list of key points in neoliberalism:

transaction maximalisation

maximalisation of volume of transactions ('global flows')

contract maximalisation

supplier/contractor maximalisation

conversion of most social acts into market transactions

artificial maximalisation of competition and stress

creation of quasi-markets

reduction of inter-transaction interval

maximalisation of parties to each transaction

maximalisation of reach and effect of each transaction

maximalisation of hire/fire transactions in the labour market (nominal turnover)

maximalisation of assessment factors, by which compliance with a contract is measured reduction of the inter-assessment interval

creation of exaggerated or artificial assessment norms ('audit society')

Paul Treanor


"Neo-liberalism" is a set of economic policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years or so. Although the word is rarely heard in the United States, you can clearly see the effects of neo-liberalism here as the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer.

"Liberalism" can refer to political, economic, or even religious ideas. In the U.S. political liberalism has been a strategy to prevent social conflict. It is presented to poor and working people as progressive compared to conservative or Right-wing. Economic liberalism is different. Conservative politicians who say they hate "liberals" -- meaning the political type -- have no real problem with economic liberalism, including neo-liberalism.

"Neo" means we are talking about a new kind of liberalism. So what was the old kind? The liberal school of economics became famous in Europe when Adam Smith, a Scottish economist, published a book in 1776 called The Wealth of Nations. He and others advocated the abolition of government intervention in economic matters. No restrictions on manufacturing, no barriers to commerce, no tariffs, he said; free trade was the best way for a nation's economy to develop. Such ideas were "liberal" in the sense of no controls. This application of individualism encouraged "free" enterprise," "free" competition -- which came to mean, free for the capitalists to make huge profits as they wished.

The main points of neo-liberalism include:

THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating "free" enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers' rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say "an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone." It's like Reagan's "supply-side" and "trickle-down" economics -- but somehow the wealth didn't trickle down very much.

CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply -- again in the name of reducing government's role. Of course, they don't oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.

DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminish profits, including protecting the environment and safety on the job.

PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.

ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF "THE PUBLIC GOOD" or "COMMUNITY" and replacing it with "individual responsibility." Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves -- then blaming them, if they fail, as "lazy."

Around the world, neo-liberalism has been imposed by powerful financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. It is raging all over Latin America. The first clear example of neo-liberalism at work came in Chile (with thanks to University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman), after the CIA-supported coup against the popularly elected Allende regime in 1973. Other countries followed, with some of the worst effects in Mexico where wages declined 40 to 50% in the first year of NAFTA while the cost of living rose by 80%. Over 20,000 small and medium businesses have failed and more than 1,000 state-owned enterprises have been privatized in Mexico. As one scholar said, "Neo-liberalism means the neo-colonization of Latin America."

In the United States neo-liberalism is destroying welfare programs; attacking the rights of labor (including all immigrant workers); and cutting back social programs. The Republican "Contract" on America is pure neo-liberalism. Its supporters are working hard to deny protection to children, youth, women, the planet itself -- and trying to trick us into acceptance by saying this will "get government off my back." The beneficiaries of neo-liberalism are a minority of the world's people. For the vast majority it brings even more suffering than before: suffering without the small, hard-won gains of the last 60 years, suffering without end. source

Corporate Feudaliam in action

Today, American farmers are fighting for both democracy and their livelihood against the corporate overlords. Feudalism has returned to farming in the US and Canada, according to a report published by the Center for Food Safety.

Farmers buying GM seeds are required to sign technology agreements that relinquish to Monsanto their right to plant, harvest and sell the GM seeds and also leave them vulnerable to harassment from the company, such as having their property investigated, litigations and out of court settlements.

Farmers not buying GM seeds are not spared, as Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser learned when he found his fields contaminated by Monsanto's GM canola, and has had to spend years locked in a harrowing battle with the company accusing him of infringing its patent rights in a legal system that's on the side of the corporation. He was not alone in being persecuted by Monsanto, although he was unique in not giving up the fight to the very end.

To-date, Monsanto has filed 90 lawsuits against American farmers involving 147 farmers and 39 small businesses, with an estimated $15m gained from judgments granted in its favour. Since 1999, some 500 farmers have been investigated and harassed by Monsanto every year. The Center for Food Safety has set up a hotline for farmers (p.48).

The fight against corporate feudalism is not restricted to North America. Farmers across the globe have been battling for their livelihood and their traditional democratic right to plant, harvest, and sell the seeds of their choice against Monsanto and its subsidiaries pushing GM crops through hype, half-truths, lies, and even bribery, uncovered recently in Indonesia (see SiS25).

Indian farmers have been driven into debt and suicide after three successive years of failed harvests from planting GM cotton since three varieties were approved for commercial growing in 2002. Independent researchers and film-makers have documented the failures, and exposed Monsanto's trail of propaganda, including a doctored report attempting to exaggerate the yields of its GM cotton, thereby substantially reducing the compensation it owes to farmers for crop failures in Andhra Pradesh. A coalition of ngos called on the Indian Prime Minister to withdraw Bt cotton, referring to its imposition on farmers as a "scientific fraud".

Since March 2005, however, the country's Genetic Engineering Advisory Committee (GEAC) has approved 22 new varieties of Monsanto-derived Bt cotton seed for commercial growing, twelve in the central states, four in the south, six for the first time in the fertile northern state; and eleven new varieties for large-scale trials in the fertile northern states.

In May 2005, the ngos and farmers' organisations in Andhra Pradesh claimed a significant victory. The GEAC discontinued the commercial cultivation of all three Monsanto varieties approved in 2002 in the state. This victory in Andhra Pradesh may spur opposition in other parts of India where the GM cotton has still to be withdrawn.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, the United States has put in place a new legislation under "Order 81", which gives protection to "new and improved plant varieties", paving the way for patenting plant varieties, and for introducing GM crops into the country. It will effectively bring the country's agricultural sector under the control of corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta; and at a time when Iraq is experiencing a food crisis. Iraq, once self-sufficient in agriculture, has seen its food production collapse since the first Gulf War; and more than half of the population is now affected by food insecurity. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is ostensibly helping rebuild Iraq's farming sector under the Agriculture Reconstruction and Development Program for Iraq, but critics say it is really to help corporations capitalize on market opportunities. source

* Human Resources is a despicable phrase. I know it was probably introduced to replace the good old fashioned personnel with the best of intentions, but its effect has been insidious and evil. After all, it does express a useful idea, in that it calls attention to the fact that a company's most important resource is its people, and it also throws in that nice word human to remind us what we're dealing with: fellow humans.

The trouble is, it's not the human part that's caught on. Managers and entrepreneurs see what they're interested in, and when they see the phrase human resources, they don't get all warm and compassionate at the first word; their eyes light up with glee at the idea of another resource they can use to make money. (And what's the word we usually use in conjunction with resources? Yep, we exploit them.) So rather than humanising resources, we've further commodified humans. source

Captain Wardrobes

Down with Murder inc.