scot mcphee on Fri, 18 May 2001 11:05:22 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> DNA bombs against DNA


This is the sort of response I am looking for. I am not anti-science or
technology -- quite the opposite -- I was pointing at what I saw, from the
information at hand, as a serious philosophical flaw. I am much more used
to such protest movements being luddite -- especially toward controversial
technologies such as nuclear or gene engineering. As long as you think that
biotech has some usefulness then I can accept such tactics, as it was
presented in the Village Voice to me, it smacked of a organisation of
pacificists blowing up people to further the cause of non-violence.

I ask these questions sincerely. I am deeply disturbed by the behaviour of
the many institutional logics which are entrenched in our society. However
most of the protest movement as it is manifested disturbs me just as
deeply. I struggle to understand it; what it is against, what it is for,
what its program is.

So my next question specific to this topic, is to ask; if all GM is not
bad, why the opposition over transgenic crops? Biodiversity is already
threatened by widespread agriculture regardless of whether the crops are
genetically modified or not. Certain grasses are the most successful plants
on the planet -- they selected humans such that we spread them practically
everywhere we go. And of course all agricultural crops and animals are 'GM'
by virtue of selective breeding anyway.

Is it just the means of production that you protest? Is it just particular
crops? Has it to do with the gene patenting issue? Or is it on other
grounds, like the encouragement of chemical use or unknown factors in human
consumption of that genetic matter? For example, I don't like round-up
resistant crops because I think all it does is encourage more use of
round-up (of course, this is its design). However if they just made a crop
which was resistant to pest organisms in the first place, I would be more
at ease with that than using a crop just to encourage the spraying of more

Also , there are plenty of non-GM agricultural issues I see as far more
important to the environment than GM. Land clearing. Factory farming.
Antibiotics in animal feed. Cotton farming in arid areas, and other
inappropriate uses of fragile farmlands. Economics. Salination. Water use.

A question about the 'capitalist policies' if you will humour me for a just
short time more. Is the problem with the policies, the policies themselves,
or the fact that they are capitalist in and of themselves. Can any
'capitalist policy' ever be an acceptable policy? Is any policy made in
today's (Western) society not capitalist?

As to your comments about ethics, I believe you are wrong. No protest
movement is outside of ethics. Ethics as it is practiced by what you oppose
may be constrained by the limitations of capitalism but that does not mean
if you disagree with capitalism you are free of all ethics. You might be
free to say you are free of capitalist ethics but then I would say the onus
is on you to articulate what ethics you then represent. You might wish to
employ a different sort of ethics, or revise the ethics which exist; but
frankly a protest movement requires some type of ethics as its base or I
would say it's no better than the worst sort of authoritarianism.

scot mcphee

> >I find it very interesting, that some so-called eco-warriors would
> think >that it's ok to release a genetically modified organism into the
> >environment; in order to combat genetically modified organisms! I
> didn't >know the problem with GM was that it wasn't *our* GM! I mean ...
> fuck, >what hypocrits.
> As one of the "hypocrits" who releases transgenic organisms mentioned in

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