Friday, February 14, 2014

Lessons learned from the Washington state I-522... - GMO FREE Farmers & Friends

Lessons learned from the Washington state I-522... - GMO FREE Farmers & Friends:

Lessons learned from the Washington state I-522 campaign for GMO food labeling

We now have even more ammunition. Attorney Ellen Brown has written an article, “Monsanto's Global Food Dominance and the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” printed in the January 2014 Carotec Health Report.

In the article she says – “In September 2013, the National University of Rio Cuarto, Argentina, published research finding that glyphosate enhances the growth of fungi that produce aflatoxin B1, one of the most carcinogenic of substances.”

See Barberis, et al, “Influence of herbicide glyphosate on growth and aflatoxin B1 production by Aspergillus section Flavi strains ...” Journal of Environmental Science And Health, Part B (2013), vol. 48, pp. 1070-1079.

Bingo! This explains why Seralini's rats at the end of a lifetime feeding trial (“Food And Chemical Toxicology,” September 2012) on RoundUp Ready GMO corn had tumors coming out of their necks the size of golf balls. There is even more confirmation about the harm from GMO glyphosate sprayed crops in the scientific paper – “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?”, Michael Antoniou, et al, 2011,

This is the kind of factual ammunition that we need to use to win the GMO food labeling campaigns. 

But here is why the Yes Committee on I-522 in Washington state, and their political consultants Moxie Media, misinterpreted the meaning of their focus groups and surveys and went down the road to defeat with a weak “right to know only” campaign.

Standard politics in America is conducted by political consultants who use focus groups to find out what the voters already believe. Then the political consultant crafts a campaign whereby the candidate tells the voters what they want to hear. 

This is done regardless of whether the campaign message has any basis in reality and regardless of whether the candidate actually intends to follow through on the campaign rhetoric. The classic example would be Barack Obama whose administration (wars, drone assassinations, spying) is a total disconnect from his campaign rhetoric.

But standard politics does not work with a GMO food labeling initiative. 

Yes, the voters already believe that they have a right to know what is in their food. But they do not hold this belief deeply. Any potent practical argument (true or not such as, “cost more, cost more”) coming against “right to know only” will cause “right to know” to crumble. Hence the results of the I-522 campaign.

If “right to know” and “freedom of choice only” campaigns could win elections, then the Libertarian Party would be the majority party, Ron Paul would be president, and the foreign wars, drug war, police state, and income tax would be history.

A GMO food labeling campaign must be a Paul Revere campaign (“the British are coming, the British are coming!” – “the GMOs are coming, the GMOs are coming!”).

“Right to know” is a good opening, but it must be followed up with scientific facts as to why people should want to know what is in their food. Without the “why” the abstract principle fails.

The GMO food labeling campaign must be prepared to tell people what they don't already know and what they may not want, at first, to believe. Advertising researchers tell us that people have to hear a new message at least 7 times before it starts to sink in.

But this can be done. The smaller alternative media such as health newsletters, documentary movies, the American Free Press newspaper, and Jeffrey Smith's tireless campaign have already convinced a significant share of the public that GMOs are harmful and that they must be labeled.

But this is a bigger and more thought-intensive task than what Moxie Media wanted to take on. 

Moxie Media sent the pro I -522 farmer, Seth Williams, into a 3 hour radio interview on KXLY in Spokane with a hostile talk show host, Mike Fitzsimmons, with little to no preparation. Just the vague “right to know” message. This turned out very badly. Spokane, the second largest city in Washington, was a place where we very much needed to garner more votes and Moxie Media threw away a valuable opportunity by failing to prepare.

“The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: How much more do no calculation at all pave the way to defeat!
It is by attention to this point that I can see who is likely to win or lose.”
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War, chapter one


Tom Stahl, Treasurer
Farmers and Friends of I-522
PO Box 296
Waterville, WA 98858

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