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How the Agri-Business Borg Tried to Assimilate Me at the Paris Climate Talks


#1

How the Agri-Business Borg Tried to Assimilate Me at the Paris Climate Talks

Kevin Smith

Have you seen Star Trek: First Contact? It’s the one where everyone’s favourite space-faring bald badass Jean-Luc Picard is fighting against the cybernetic Borg, who invade the Enterprise, and begin to assimilate its crew and modify the ship, planning to use it to attack and conquer Earth. Well that’s pretty much exactly what happened to me yesterday inside the UN climate talks conference centre when I came up against the forces of big agribusiness.


#2

From the letter of critique of GACSA signed by over 100 organizations

"(...) Real climate solutions are already out there in farmers’ fields – based on agroecological practices and the relocalisation of food systems to effectively fight hunger. Instead of creating one more body for business-as-usual, governments, funding agencies, and international organizations should be taking bold action: committing to shift resources away from climate-damaging practices of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture and meat production and towards investment in and commitment to agroecology, food sovereignty, and support to small-scale food producers.
The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development concluded in 2008 that business-as-usual in agriculture is not an option; instead, a thorough and radical overhaul of present international and agricultural policies is essential to meet the challenges of the future.(...)

Land rights, which have been and continue to be violently undermined by the avaricious model of agribusiness, monoculture and GDP metrics are and always have proven genocidal.


#3

When you look at the assimilated mass of the Borg it is awesome, and it is difficult to imagine it having any vulnerabilities.

However when you look more closely the Borgs are composed of hundreds and thousands of corporations, massive heaps of corporations owning and owned by other corporations. Money flows through the corporations like blood transporting human and physical resources and enabling them to be converted into other forms so as to power these behemoths in their search for more resources, wealth and power. Corporate law is the DNA that determines the much of the shapes of the corporations and how these are fit together. This DNA, the Corporate Law is where the corporations are potentially vulnerable.

In particular laws that allow corporations to own property, and in particular where that property is another corporation. This allows for some elites a considerable leveraging of ownership and power far beyond the financial investment. For example, a wealthy man owns 50.01% of company A. Company A owns 50.01% of company B. Company B owns 50.01% of company C. This wealthy man has 100% control of companies A, B, and C. However if companies A, B, and C were converted into cash he would get 12.5% of what company C was sold for, plus 25% of company B was sold for, plus 50% of what company A was sold for.

In particular laws that say that corporations are legal people. Seems to me that people have free will, which for a corporation would be the will of its investors. But in the above example companies A, B and C have no will or choice but to do what the rich man tells them to do. Company B is a slave to company A and has no free will. Company C is a slave to company A and has no free will. People have free will and rights. We need to change the laws so that Legal people must have free will if they are to have the legal rights of people. We must take away the ability of corporations to own other corporations.

A third set of laws that will need to be changed are those laws that allow corporations to exist solely to make money. In earlier times corporations needed to have a purpose other than making money if they were to become incorporated, some purpose of some benefit to society. Their charters could be revoked if they were not doing what they were incorporated for or if their existence no longer benefited society. The owners need to have some focus on providing some recognizable benefit to society in exchange for some profit.

A forth set of laws to be worked on are the laws that allow pension plans and trusts to invest in corporations. It is time to socialize the pensions. For the most part these pension funds and trusts are invested in companies like A, B, and C above. The rich man controls the corporations. This places citizens and governments in a conflict of interest when their interests conflict with those of the rich man. It is very difficult for a private pension fund to have a purpose other than making money. Pensions should have been socialized long ago.

If we can change the Corporate Laws and the laws that affect corporations we can change the shape and behavior of corporations and watch the Borgs disassemble into thousands of independent corporations. Control of the corporations would be spread out into far far more hands. We will have dismantled much of the machinery that allows a small number of the wealthy to have so much control over the world. Without the incessant roar of the Borg we will be able to hear each other once again. Without the deafening roar of the Borg it is conceivable that we will be able to communicate democratically with responsibility.


#4

I'm a little surprised that the author is identified as a press and communications guy at two organizations, because while the piece is generally well-written, and important, it contains half a dozen grammatical errors. It seems the millennials have decided spelling and grammatical errors don't matter anymore--but I think they do. They detract from the credibility of a piece and distract readers from the ideas therein. A good writer with a weak grasp of grammar, as this author apparently is, should submit a piece like this to a friendly grammar Nazi for a little red pen work before putting it out publicly.