Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.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.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


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?

triangleGeneral Motors - no to 'divide and rule' in Germany

The Socialist:

triangleCoventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party: "I started to question whether there was a better way"

triangleHighest ever ticket sales for Socialism event

Socialist:

triangleTamil Solidarity AGM & public meeting

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangleSocialist Students national conference

Health:

triangleGlenfield victory shows people power can save our NHS

triangleVictory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

Students:

triangleLiverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

Climate change:

triangleCarbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

Environment:

triangleOpposition to new academy school being built on Leeds playing fields

Agricultural:

triangleProfit-driven pesticide use now threatens life

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

6/12/17

Fire

The Socialist Inbox

6/12/17

Surrey

Comment: Socialism and truth about Zane

6/12/17

Labour Party

Blairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

30/11/17

Theatre

Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

22/11/17

Working class

Left comic's take on politics will have you in tears

22/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

15/11/17

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

15/11/17

Abortion

TV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

15/11/17

Vietnam war

Comprehensive account of bloody conflict

8/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

8/11/17

Obituary

Obituary: Paul Randall, 1959-2017

8/11/17

Theatre

Welsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict

1/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

25/10/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

25/10/17

Fidel Castro

New musical on life of Castro

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2