Category Archives: Activism


Brad Pitt Buys Rights to Movie About Stuebenville, Ohio Rape Case

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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March Against Monsanto 2014 Calendar

IMG_0688Portland’s March Against Monsanto Rally is on May 24 this year.

March Against Monsanto is an annual rally organized to protest against the chemical giant, Monsanto, known for making genetically modified seeds that are grown around the world. Representatives from water rights organizations also attended.

Biodiversity researcher and Seed Savers Exchange Board Member, Hope Shand, reported that in 2009, 53% of the globe’s see purchases came from genetically modified seeds purchased from three chemical companies: Monsanto (27%); DuPont (17%); and Syngenta (9%). The top ten biochemical companies supplied 73% of the annual seed purchase that year.

Biodiversity researcher and seed saver advocate, Hope Shand. (Photo hosted on Seed Savers Exchange website)

In that same year, only 21% of the purchased seeds came from farmer-saved seed.

In her report, Shand cites six crops that the largest six biochemical companies have bred for just two traits: herbicide tolerance and insect resistance.

  • soybean
  • cotton
  • maize (corn)
  • canola
  • sugar beet
  • alfalfa

In July of 2013, NPR ran a story follow up story about genetically modified wheat exports from Oregon that were rejected by Japan and other countries on the basis that the crops were found to contain genetically modified wheat.

Some protestors at last year’s rally blame the neonicotinoids in herbicides, like Monsanto’s Round Up, for declining bee populations. Bees, nature’s pollinators are critical to the success of each year’s crops. Monsanto held a “bee conference” this year to address the issue of colony collapse disorder.

This year the protest will be held concurrently at 568 sites around the globe. Last year there were just over 400.

Grassroots organizers facilitate the local events. Tiffany Ayers will be heading the project again this year in Portland, Ore. Interested parties can visit the Facebook page that Ayers and five others moderate to invite friends to the event.

Last year protestors used the Facebook page to organize carpools and sign making parties.

The following is a map to Holladay City Park, where Portland’s rally will be begin at 11 a.m.

A list of rallies that will be held concurrently around the globe is embedded below.

Google Drive

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Women Helping Rebuild Lives of War-torn Sisters

Being Fed up

Gender equality as a human right is far from established either in the United States or around the globe. According to Erin Downey, PhD, former fellow at the state department and adjunct professor at Tulane University, war and political conflict only aggravate the risk of violence and suffering for women and children in affected areas.

Zainab Salbi, knows firsthand about tyranny. Her father was a pilot for Saddam Hussein. She was eventually sent to the United States for an arranged marriage that turned out to be “another world of tyranny and abuse.” She started over and eventually founded Women for Women International with the goal of helping women in war-ravaged countries regain their lives.

Women for Women International accepts donations and sponsorships toward the goal of providing year long training programs and ongoing support for  war-torn women in the eight countries it serves. The program contains for modules:

To become part of the solution to bring peace and sustainability to our sisters around the world, please consider donating today. Since 1993, Women for Women International has helped over 384,000 women rebuild their lives.

For every women who becomes self-sustaining, she brings more peace to her children, her community, and our world. Won’t you help others make this a possibility? Click the button below to be directed to Women for Women International donation page.


“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”

                                                        - Leonardo da Vinci

Screenshot from embedded UNESCO video of a woman bound, signifies that the struggle for women to have full participating human rights remains.

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Blogger and Hacktivist Become Scapegoats in Underage Rape Case

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The People Vs. Monsanto, Modern Day David and Goliath

Josh’s sign showing the diseases linked to exposure to glyphosate, a key ingredient in the household weed killer, Round Up. Picture taken by Kaley Perkins, May 25, 2013.

The Battlefield

Josh is hard to miss in the middle of the crowd that is harder to miss. His six foot six inch frame hoists an enormous polychromatic sign high into the air. His list reads like a Who’s Who of diseases — diseases that result from exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round Up, a common household weed-killer produced by Monsanto. Josh found out about the rally on Liberty News online and hopes for an eventual ban on pesticides and GMO’s.

Josh and thousands* of others from the Pacific Northwest descended upon Halladay Park in Portland, Ore. on May 25 as part of a coordinated and global March Against Monsanto, the Missouri-based biotech and pesticide-producing agribusiness-giant who brought to market the defoliant known as Agent Orange and the insecticide, DDT. It is now under public scrutiny for, among other things, introducing genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) into the global food supply.

Golaith and His Investors

Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto. Shared from

Monsanto is the largest biotech kid on the block and sells itself as the global leader in food production and agricultural technology to feed an ever-increasing global population

In an interview with Bloomberg writer, Jack Kaskey, Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto, accuses “opponents who want to block genetically modified foods” of elitism. Eliminating genetically modified foods, Hughes believes, will eliminate more affordable food choices for people who can’t afford to buy organic produce.

Critics accuse the company of, with the passage of Section 735 of this year’s Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, subverting the democratic process; controlling mainstream media; and putting profits over long-term global food security by decreasing biodiversity.

Grant presented a strategic analysis of Monsanto at this year’s annual Sanford C. Bernstein investor’s conference in New York City, New York on May 29. According to slide #14 Business Growth is one of the key indicators of the company’s financial performance: “Global business portfolio drives gross profit expansion, with continuation of business momentum, expansion of U.S. base and international acceleration.”

That is business-speak for selling more expensive seed brands to farmers, extending biotech engineering into new crops, and planting more land both in America and abroad with GMO seeds.

According to the same slide, the company is using its profits to repurchase its own stocks, further consolidating its value to owning stakeholders. Monsanto’s unaudited quarterly earnings report for 2Q 2013 posts a net profit of $3.07 billion.

2012 Sanford C. Bernstein’s 29th Annual
Strategic Decisions Conference
financial report by
Monsanto CEO, Hugh Grant
David and His Fellow Rock-Flingers

The March Against Monsanto rally was organized by Tami Canal as a response to the passing of the “Monsanto Protection Act,” a six-month variance that allows harvesting of genetically modified crops not allowed under current legislation. Local Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and other legislators are fighting to overturn the legistlation; signatures were gathered on Merkley’s behalf at the May 25 rally.

Skyler Veek learned about the March Against Monsanto on Facebook. She and her son, Rain, traveled to the Willamette Valley from the Oregon Coast to take part in the march. “Keep your laws off my seeds!” reads Veek’s sign. She wants to raise awareness about local Oregon Senate Bill 633, legislation that acts much as the Monsanto Protection Act but for the state of Oregon.

Skyler and Rain Veek want people to fight against legislation that would take control away from localities and put it in the hands of special interests. Picture by Kaley Perkins, May 25, 2013.

People from the small Oregon town where Veek originates may have considered her activism to be alarmist until May 29 when reports surfaced that some of Oregon’s wheat exports this year have been rejected by Japan and South Korea on the grounds that they contain genetically modified wheat. Thailand has put its ports on notice.

Monsanto has issued a statement that indicates it intends to fully cooperate with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) investigation into the “GE glyphosate resistant wheat variety that Monsanto was authorized to field test in 16 states between 1998-2005.”

Annual wheat crops in Oregon range between $300-500 million, with 2011’s crop hitting $492 million. Oregon, which mixes its wheat with that of Washington and Idaho, exports 90% of its wheat. Japan and South Korea are not the only countries to reject GMO crop imports.

The Slingshot

Ronnette Steed, Julia Degraw, and Leah Maier at the main information booth after the rally. Picture by Kaley Perkins, May 25, 2013.

Julia Degraw, keynote speaker of Portland’s March Against Monsanto and Pacific Northwest organizer of Food and Water Watch, is not intimidated by the global scope and seemingly endless pockets of Monsanto.

“This is a huge warning cry (to Monsanto),” Degraw says about the day’s turnout, citing the support of over 2,000,000 people in 49 countries. “This is proof that we have a lot of power behind us.”

Earlier in the day, the articulate and undaunted Degraw encouraged the crowd to be fearless in its goal to unseat the global biotech giant. She cited multiple European countries that have successfully banned GMO’s; she cited civil protests that have had sweeping socio-economic results throughout American history:

  • Anti-trust laws during the robber baron years
  • The New Deal
  • Women’s right to vote
  • Unions and an eight hour workday
  • Civil rights legislation

“For right now all the vegetables and fruit for human consumption are generally not genetically engineered,” Degraw explains. “This is why we want GMO food labeling sooner rather than later.” According to Degraw, for now, genetically engineered food is primarily in soy and corn found in processed food and animal feed. “You’re going to want to know where your meat is coming from,” her tutorial concludes.

While Degraw proudly identifies herself as a political food activist, she offers the following advice to people who simply want to affordably avoid eating GMO’s:

  • Shop the edges of your supermarket.
  • Buy real food.
  • Avoid Processed food.
  • Cook. You have to eat real food.

Degraw refers people to Michael Pollan, a non-political food writer who educates people about the food system, as a resource for people just learning about GMO’s and wanting to know more.

Gathering More Stones

But for Degraw and others who want to take an active role in eliminating GMO’s and pesticides from our food supply, the fight is just beginning. “We need to actually have legislation that works for us,” says Degraw. Citing Oregon’s SB 633 as did Veek, she points out that current legislation, “…actually encourages Monsanto to take over the food system.”

[embedit snippet=”monsanto-slideshow-2″]


*Portland’s march was second in size only to that of New York City, New York. Estimates range between 2,000 (in an interview with Julia Degraw) to 6,000 from a local online news article. In an email, Sergeant Pete Simpson, Public Information Officer for Portland Police Bureau reports that his office is not in the habit of reporting crowd sizes.



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