Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer
The recent news of a Polish ban on GM Crops was celebrated by some activists and supported by Greenpeace International, but, a vocal and well-organized grass roots organization in Poland, the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, (ICPPC) has been crying foul.
Not only do these grass roots activists decry the recent ‘ban’ as political deception and a loss of sovereignty for Polish farmers, they’ve publicly claimed that the government is colluding with corporations to ‘grab’ land for the cultivation of GM crops.
Greenpeace Poland has become irritated with the efforts of the ICPPC to thwart the recently passed Seed Act of 2012 and is demanding explanations for obstructing the process to seek, as it sees it, an ‘effective’ ban.
Two groups who should be aligned in the fight against the proliferation of GMO’s are at distinct odds about what victory means in this important battle.
Greenpeace of Poland has been celebrating the recent passage of the Seed Act of 2012 as a win for anti-GMO activists:
“Past years showed that Poland, despite the ban on trade of GM seeds enacted by the Polish Parliament in 2006, was wide open for cultivation of GMOs. The estimates of MON810 maize acreage in the country oscillate around at least 3000 ha and its cultivation was possible to the absence of ban on cultivation of specific GMOs. Such bans were established in the form governments regulations in several member states of the European Union and the experience of those countries proves that they effectively stopped cultivation of GMOs.”
In an email to Waking Times, Joanna Miś, Greenpeace Poland’s coordinator of the campaign to stop GMO’s, said the ICPPC and other activists are spreading “misinformation regarding the new legal situation on GMO in Poland.”
Furthermore, regarding the ICPPC’s objections to calling the new Seed Act a win, Maciej Muskat, director of Greenpeace Poland states:
“Coalition’s [ICPPC's] declared goal was to halt the new Seed Act, passed by the Polish Parliament and signed by the President. The new act removed the ban on GM seeds trade (due to the incompatibility with the current EU law) and added a provision enabling the government to enact the ban on cultivation, without a prior consent of the EU Commission. Subsequently, on January 2nd, the government of Poland decided to use this option and established bans on cultivation of both MON810 maize and Amflora potato.”
From Greenpeace’s vantage point, the move by Polish farmers was foolishly aimed at resisting conformity to current EU regulations rather than directed at finding a way to ban GMO’s within the new political framework established by the European Union on GM crops.
Polish Activists Disagree
To the ICCP and a coalition of Polish activists, the passage of the new Seed Act defies the interests of farmers because it first agrees to a follow a framework of bureaucratic control by the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, an appointed decision making committee that has, according to activists, already proven non-responsive to the demands of members of the Polish farmer’s coalition.
Pawel Palanecki, an expert on the legal implications of GM parliamentary actions and a member of the Coalition for a GMO Free Poland, in a response to Greenpeace stated:
“The main difference between the GMO ban included in the bill versus the ministry regulation is that the minster can change his mind according to the temporary political situation while Parliamentary adopted prohibition is obligatory and can not be changed without the Chambers consent.”
Regarding the position of Greenpeace, Sir Julian Rose, President of the ICPPC, said in a communique to Waking Times that:
“The suggestion seems to be that it is first necessary to abide by the EU ruling that legalises and supports the planting of (EU) GM registered seeds in (EU) member states – in order to then ban one or another aspects of planting or trading etc.
Taking this view, which is that expressed by GP and certain others, exposes a dangerously conformist view. One which fails to question the shady political manoeuvrings that continuously operate within the European Union and which led to the inclusion of MON 810 GM maize and Amphlora GM potato on the European Union official seeds list in the first place.”
“The reality of our farmers is not something that can be judged or understood by an ( alien ) ecological organization that is led and fed centrally by a global leadership. Fortunately we know better what is good for us and for our grassroots members. We will continue our efforts towards strong, unconditional and Nation managed GMO ban on the whole territory of Poland.
Greenpeace (and others) need to remind themselves that The European Commission – which is the executive body of the EU – is an unelected technocracy with almost unlimited powers to make the rules that increasingly govern our lives. Organisations (and governments) that have a dependency upon EU institutions and affiliated organizations, do not dare to criticize their paymasters and therefore often become complicit in furthering their objectives.
The only bodies that can be trusted to take a pragmatic approach are therefore those who remain independent enough to fight for the implementation of a more radical and more meaningful state of justice.”
From this perspective, the Seed Act is much bigger than a ban on certain crops, but rather of an issue of a power struggle between growing, more centralized governments and the local interests of real people.
The EU has proven to be just as corrupt and just as susceptible to corporate influence as the highly compromised American Congress. Should Polish farmers, who have the most to lose, be forced to acquiesce to the rules of this appointed oligarchy when so much is at stake for the people of Poland?
The letter from Greenpeace and the commented version from the ICPPC are available for viewing, here.
About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com, and an avid student of Yoga and life.
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