Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/803/18312

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 March 2014

Genetic Modification

A contribution to the Socialist debate

Simon Robinson, Leicester NUT member

The recent article in the Socialist issue 800 on genetic modification (GM) was an excellent antidote to the plethora of reactionary anti-science nonsense which prevails in a lot of media today. I would like to add my thoughts on GM to the debate.

I am a science teacher and you'll be surprised at how many students have absorbed a lot of the misleading ideas about climate change, GM foods and even the lunar landings.

In the US, science teachers are at the forefront of the battle against creationism in the science curriculum.

Giving students the power to look at information in a critical way and to understand the science is very important.

Since the beginning of agriculture, farmers have modified their environment, allowing human societies to flourish around the world.

The problem with capitalism is that the health benefit to society is no longer the priority - the priority in agriculture is profit. Monsanto typify this.

'Traditional' selective breeding is different to GM technology - both have radically altered the genetics of agricultural crops or animals, but just on a different timescale.

I think selective breeding (or inbreeding) has been just as damaging to the genetic health of some organisms and very damaging to biodiversity around the world.

Selective breeding is responsible for the mono-crop lifeless prairies in the US and the plains of Russia and the grotesquely distorted bodies of cattle or dog breeds. It is also the reason for the loss of traditional seeds.

Many hybrid crops will not 'breed true' ie if you plant the next generation, you don't get the same characteristics.

Most grain hybrids are like this. So, there is no real benefit from saving the seeds. Of course, this does mean that the farmer has to continually return to the seed companies to buy seeds, but this is not a GM issue in itself.

The research behind much of the GM health scare has been discredited. The real threat to health is from the aggressive marketing of cheap, high sugar, saturated fats and salt foods which we are exposed to everyday.

Other health scares are linked to agrichemicals which were used well before GMOs were introduced. Monsanto's own 'Roundup' herbicide is one such example.

Many environmental campaigners have been warning against over-use and mis-use of chemicals in agriculture for decades - from Agent Orange, to DDT, to artificial fertilisers.

It is estimated that 20,000 workers are dying from exposure every year to these agrichemicals.

There are some promising advances in GM crops. For example, in Bangladesh, brinjal (aubergine) crops are routinely sprayed with very toxic pesticides (linked to many diseases).

A GM version of the crop has been introduced to provide resistance to the pests, which will greatly reduce the dependence on chemicals, and the companies like Monsanto who make them.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 19 March 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Smash the pay freeze

Tony Benn: steadfast in speaking out for socialism

After Bob Crow and Tony Benn: We fight on!

No to bosses' EU - For a socialist Europe

Unite to end racism and cuts

Osborne's more cuts budget

Oxfam report: A tale of capitalist inequality

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Crimea referendum will not deliver peace and stability

South Africa: WASP registers for the 2014 elections

Activists in the US demand $15 Now!


Socialist Party workplace news

Defend education: Solidarity with teachers' strike

Doncaster care workers determined to win

Ealing hospital workers fight miserly Medirest

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fight for real jobs for young people

Election Appeal: Put your money where the struggle is!

Get your May Day Greetings in

Pensioner jailed for non-payment

TUSC campaigning in Derby

Obituary: Stan Pearce, a Militant miner


Readers' comments and reviews

Review: Call the Midwife

Genetic Modification: A contribution to the debate


 

Home   |   The Socialist 19 March 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

GM:

triangleGenetic modification: A means of making profit

triangleIs UK car building back in Top Gear?

triangleShould socialists support GM foods?

The Socialist:

triangleKen Douglas

trianglePandemic doesn't stop Socialist Party educating organisers: northern meeting

triangleWe need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis

triangleMick Cotter

Socialist:

triangle3rd June anti-racist demonstrations across Britain

triangleBradford Socialist Party: Black lives matter - How we build a fightback

triangleNewcastle Socialist Party: Smash racism! Black lives matter

Health:

triangleFootball in the time of coronavirus - reclaim our game!

triangleHospital closed following rampant spread of Covid-19

Students:

triangleSchools... no going back until it's safe

Climate change:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: After Starmer's victory - how to continue the struggle for socialism

Environment:

triangleThe history of struggle to make the workplace safe

Agricultural:

triangleAmazon fires: Big business is destroying the environment

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

3/6/20

Football

Football in the time of coronavirus - reclaim our game!

3/6/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters

3/6/20

Labour Party

Socialism Today special issue: Lessons from the Corbyn experience

27/5/20

Letters

Going viral - Socialist comments and letters

20/5/20

Obituary

Obituary: Rob Crabb

20/5/20

Letters

Going viral: letters to the editors

20/5/20

Upton Sinclair

The Jungle: capitalism's remorseless attack on workers' safety and conditions

13/5/20

Letters

Going Viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

6/5/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

6/5/20

Review

TV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?

27/4/20

Coronavirus

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters

22/4/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters

15/4/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments on the corona crisis

8/4/20

Socialist Party

Labour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on

7/4/20

Coronavirus

Going viral

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999