One of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of the grass roots food freedom fight is social media. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and many more networks allow people to instantly connect and provide a platform for information to be passed on exponentially. Facebook and Google are the two biggest websites in the entire world, and their reach is nearly unlimited.
Last week, the Monsanto Company made it very clear that they were under the gun via social media, and they went on the defense, weakly claiming that those who object with their toxic seeds and deadly farming methods were “elitist,” thereby attempting to undermine us as snobbish people who don’t see the big picture and who don’t care about world hunger.
This week, they’ve upped their game. Mysterious things have been occurring on the social networks: posts have disappeared, some posts are hidden from the timelines of readers, and trolls abound on pages promoting this weekend’s March Against Monsanto, happening worldwide on May 25.
Like any cornered rat, the leviathan seed company can see the very large threat coming their way, and it appears that they are pulling out all the stops to fight as dirty as they can. But the movement against the company is so powerful, that despite paid-off politicians and billions of dollars in the war chest, Monsanto knows that they’ve been outmatched. What we’re seeing now are the last, desperate attempts to keep the general public from learning about the man-made global disaster that was created by Monsanto.
On my own page, I found an interesting anomaly. I posted this yesterday:
My children’s first protest march!!! Any ideas for our signs? Everything you need to know and more about the March Against Monsanto. Don’t forget to subscribe to our email updates while you’re there: http://bit.ly/106qja“
The thing that was very strange about this is that, at the bottom, you can see, it only got 67 views nearly 14 hours after I posted it. The posts that I shared above and below it all had hundreds of views. I asked some friends to check their timelines, and this particular post did not show up. They had to actually go to the page and look for it to find it tucked in near the bottom.
If I hadn’t heard from Tami Canal, the driving force behind the March Against Monsanto’s Facebook page, I would have thought it was merely a fluke. But mysterious things have been happening there as well.
“Events are disappearing, posts are being put on city event pages that say events are cancelled. In no way, shape or form, has ANY event been cancelled. I believe Monsanto is behind this. Some of the people on the page that are commenting have newly made profiles and seemingly these profiles were made strictly to cause problems and get a rise out of our participants on the page.”
Monsanto has openly carried on an internet war with anti-GMO activists for years. Back in 2002, Jay Byrne, the former director of Monsanto’s Internet outreach, had some advice for colleagues:
“…’think of the Internet as a weapon on the table. Either you pick it up or your competitor does, but somebody is going to get killed.’
While he was working for Monsanto, Byrne told the internet newsletter Wow that he “spends his time and effort participating” in web discussions about biotech. He singled out the site AgBioWorld, where he “ensures his company gets proper play”. AgBioWorld is the site on which “Andura Smetacek” launched her campaign.
The biotech companies know that they will never conquer new markets while activists are able to expose the way their operations damage food security and consumer choice. ” (source)
The Monsanto Company’s current overt tactics are to try and polish their very tarnished image by portraying themselves as do-gooders set on feeding the world, while painting anti-GMO protesters as uncaring, selfish individuals that haven’t given hungry Third World residents a passing thought. Less overt are these guerrilla internet shills, causing divisiveness in the movement by starting arguments on forums and in comment threads on social media, and outright passing on misinformation.
Unfortunately, Facebook seems to have the back of the trolls. Occupy Monsanto‘s page was actually banned for three days when the owner publicly outed an abusive PM from a troll. The person who wrote the letter faced no repercussions from Facebook. Other anti-GMO activists have announced that their posts have been hidden or otherwise censored, just like mine was.
Despite the rumors started that events for this Saturday’s March Against Monsanto have been cancelled, or that times have been changed, this is absolutely untrue. Canal reiterated, “In no way, shape or form, has ANY event been cancelled.” If you are planning to go to an event, rest assured, the events will go on as planned, despite the sneaky tactics of a desperate company.
Keep calm and don’t allow yourself to be provoked on Saturday. Anti-GMO activists are on the side of “good” in this battle, so it’s important to keep to the high road. Expect the presence of agent provocateurs, lots of law enforcement, and devious tactics to try to discredit the movement. The keys to successful resistance are unity, information, and public perception.
According to an article on Natural Society, Monsanto has allied with the notorious mercenary security group, Blackwater (now known as Academi) in the fight against anti-GMO protesters:
==Monsanto and Blackwater are indeed working together to target anti-Monsanto activists and organizations. Known as far back as 2010, it was unveiled that Blackwater’s client list included Monsanto, Chevron, Walt Disney and many more. According to documents obtained by Scahill, it was also revealed that Monsanto was willing to pay upwards of $500,000 in order for Blackwater to join anti-Monsanto activist groups and infiltrate the ranks. Furthermore, a number of internet-based tactics could be utilized as incognito PR for Monsanto, who undoubtedly knew opposition would mount against their GMO crops as more individuals became aware of the dangers.
Don’t expect Monsanto to play fair. Tami Canal doesn’t.
“I’m not really surprised by Monsanto and their tactics….their bottom line is at stake and as they have demonstrated time and again, profit is their main objective at any expense, whether it be humanity or the environment. I encourage our participants to remain peaceful on Saturday. Do not let the paid shills entice you to violence. March Against Monsanto is a peaceful campaign and our voices will resonate much more loudly if we remain calm.”
Saturday promises to be one of the biggest worldwide protests that has ever taken place, with over two million people signed up to attend marches all over the globe. My children and I will absolutely be taking part in the historic event. Make a sign and join in – there is sure to be a March near you!
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