With the Rice Crisis unfolding, (hitting Haiti really hard too), it reminds me of the documentary, “Life and Debt.” 
 
A scene that sticks out was the Jamaican dairy farmer pouring out milk he couldn’t sell as a result of cheaper, subsidized US milk in the country.  It offers a glimpse of US Imperialism on food supplies.  Now, around the world in general and the Philippines in particular, we are seeing the impact of imperialism combined with semi-feudalism.  Iraq is directly feeling the impact of US militarization on their food sovereighty too.
 
Currently, as the Philippines suffers as the world’s largest importer of rice, the media “blames the victim” and does not include a thorough analysis of land conversion to golf courses, exported cash crops and low land productivity under semi-feudal conditions.  We need a sharp analysis to make sure our folks don’t fall for further imperialist “solutions” of more loans and “development” aid…  the very things which created the current crisis in the first place! 
 
It was such “loans and aid” to “boost productivity” in the past 48 years which maintained semi-feudal conditions and concentrated power in the hands of the big landlords. Interesting how the Philippine-based International Rice Research Institute have white, American men as their directors.  The IRRI was further boosted by Philippine dictator Marcos and Vietnam war-monger US President Johnson to tie the Philippines to US agricultural companies for fertilizer, seeds and equipment.  Sounds a lot like GMA and Iraq war-monger Bush who now push for similar options.
 
And what happens to Filipino farmers who want to grow food (like rice) instead of cash crops for landlords?  Ask the farmers of Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Looc, the Burgos family or the family of a peasant leader killed yesterday.
 
More loans are not the answer.  And neither is this.  Collective action to change the social structure and distribution of food and political power is the only way….
Advertisements