Occupy Monsanto Protesters Push Labeling Resolution at Annual Shareholder Meeting

Search form

Occupy Monsanto Protesters Push Labeling Resolution at Annual Shareholder Meeting

Occupy Monsanto Protesters Push Labeling Resolution at Annual Shareholder Meeting
Wed, 1/29/2014 - by Lacy MacAuley

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Protests occurred both inside and outside the Monsanto shareholder meeting in St. Louis on Tuesday as local activists, shareholders and citizens from across the country joined in 20-degree weather to demand the biotech giant label genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs.

The activists arrived accompanied by five colorful “fishy cars” representing the fishy food that has been genetically modified and consumed by Americans now for decades. Protesters hoped to make a single powerful statement: Label it.

For the first time ever, Monsanto shareholders convened to vote on a resolution to support GMO labeling – brought by shareholder and food safety activist Adam Eidinger of Occupy Monsanto, and presented by family farm advocate Dave Murphy of Food Democracy Now!

“We’re just coming to their shareholder meeting as a response to what they’ve been doing around the country," said Cesar Maxit, designer and architect of the five fish art cars. “We’re taking the fight to their home, their shareholder meeting, saying we’re sick of it.”

Last year, Maxit finished the construction of what have become nationally recognized faces in the fight for GMO labeling – half-fish, half-food sculptures mounted atop five cars. Paint jobs on the cars read “Label GMOs” and encourage passersby to tweet about the “fishy car” they’re standing near. Each sculpture has a "unique personality" representing a different GMO crop: Fishy Apple, Fishy Soybean, Fishy Tomato, Fishy Corn and Fishy Sugar Beet.

“We need to label our food," added Maxit. "The idea is that we’re not trying to scare people – we’re just trying to use humor and art" to educate people about the importance of labeling GMOs.

Food Democracy Now!'s Dave Murphy served as the proxy on Tuesday presenting the GMO labeling resolution to the Monsanto shareholders.

GMOs are organisms, such as corn or tomatoes, whose genetic makeup have been modified in a laboratory and spliced using DNA from bacteria, viruses or even fish. Many believe the “fishy food” causes health problems such as cancer. Thorough, long-term studies have yet to be completed on the health impacts of GMOs.

And until the products we consume get labeled, activists are worried it will be impossible to track the real effects of the food in our systems.

“We’re asking that Monsanto stop fighting the will of the American people, 90 percent of whom want to know if their food has been genetically engineered in a laboratory,” said Murphy, whose organization has bloomed into a grassroots movement of more than 650,000 farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming America's food system.

“If Monsanto can profit off a patent in their products and label their foods in India, China, Russia and South Africa, they can certainly agree that Americans should have this basic right as well," he added.

Yet, "In the past two years, Monsanto has spent more than $13.4 million to defeat GMO labeling efforts in California and Washington state. This is an outrageous fortune wasted.”

A second shareholder resolution that was to be voted on at the company’s annual meeting, sponsored by activist investor John Harrington, dealt with Monsanto’s potential liability to organic farmers.

In October, more than 700 activists descended on the company’s St. Louis headquarters as part of the global March Against Monsanto. Protestors flooded onto the roadway, blocking traffic and overwhelming police on the road leading to their offices.

The city had previously seen large protests for the first March – an international day of action in May of last year, when some 2 million people participated in events in nearly 500 cities.

“The thing about labeling GMOs is: what’s wrong with transparency?" said Shamal Halmat, 26, one of the activists gearing up to protest in 20-degree weather on Tuesday.

“There shouldn’t be anything wrong with transparency. That’s really what’s being asked for," added Halmat, "so hopefully if they don’t really have too much to hide, they’ll be transparent.”

 

Article Tabs

FarmDrop and Open Food Network stress the desire to create positive, systemic social change that disrupts the existing dominance of supermarket provision of food.

Republicans are arguing that Wall Street should have the constitutional right to influence politicians and the investment decisions those politicians make on behalf of pension funds and pensioners.

As the outrage in Ferguson takes on new forms and becomes less openly confrontational, the shooting of Michael Brown has started a nationwide dialogue about race, class and American law enforcement.

The vote on Independence is a moment of unprecedented possibility for Scotland to peacefully reject the U.K.'s failed neoliberal agenda.

Grassroots organizations that once made American democracy strong plummeted in the Reagan era – when political parties stopped representing the views of constituents and turned instead to money.

If we want a healthy society that follows its laws and applies them equally to everyone, we must demand a full investigation and criminal prosecutions for everyone involved in the mortgage backed securities fiasco.

Posted 4 days 18 hours ago

The vote on Independence is a moment of unprecedented possibility for Scotland to peacefully reject the U.K.'s failed neoliberal agenda.

Posted 3 days 23 hours ago

FarmDrop and Open Food Network stress the desire to create positive, systemic social change that disrupts the existing dominance of supermarket provision of food.

Posted 3 days 23 hours ago

On Sept. 7, people will host screenings of “Disruption" ahead of the People's Climate March - in living rooms and libraries, on campuses and in community centers, all across the country.

Posted 3 days 23 hours ago

Borrowers with federal student loans appear to be buckling under the weight of their debt, as more than half of Direct Loans – the most common type of federal student loan – aren't being repaid on time or as expected.

Posted 6 days 2 hours ago

For the last seven years, I’ve been studying the startling economic gulf between ordinary Americans and the people who represent them in the halls of power.

Where Do We Go From Here?

This film, shot in September and October of last year and released on the one-month anniversary of the nascent Occupy Movement, is a meditation on life in Zuccotti Park, rechristened Liberty Square

Mayor Chokwe Lumumba has focused on infrastructure investment and self-determination for the people in his city, emphasizing local empowerment to “build a base of autonomous power."

Protesters massed outside Taiwan's Parliament on Sunday to voice opposition to a trade pact with China.

The Edward Snowden affair exposes the role of using contractors in intelligent work.

Sign Up