In this week’s corporate fascism file, Energy Transfer Partners is suing Greenpeace and other environmental groups who protested ETP’s Dakota Access pipeline. ETP portrays the diverse anti-pipeline forces as an “Enterprise” that conspired to spread false information about the pipeline and incite terrorism against it:
The Complaint, which is Index number 1:17-cv-00173, alleges that this group of co-conspirators (the “Enterprise”) manufactured and disseminated materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access Pipeline (“DAPL”) for the purpose of fraudulently inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities and damaging Energy Transfer’s critical business and financial relationships. The Complaint also alleges that the Enterprise incited, funded, and facilitated crimes and acts of terrorism to further these objectives. It further alleges claims that these actions violated federal and state racketeering statutes, defamation, and constituted defamation and tortious interference under North Dakota law [Energy Transfer Partners, press release, 2017.08.22].
Resolute Forest Products filed a similar lawsuit against Greenpeace in May 2016 over logging protests. Resolute Forest Products and Energy Transfer Partners are both represented by Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, whose managing partner Marc Kasowitz has served as the personal attorney of Donald J. Trump.
The 1983 American Heritage Dictionary defined fascism as: “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”
Fascism originated in Italy, and Mussolini claims to have invented the word itself. It was actually his ghostwriter, Giovanni Gentile, who invented it and defined it in the Encyclopedia Italiana in this way: “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” [“No Actually, This Is What a Fascist Looks Like,” TruthOut, 2013.01.18].
Meanwhile in South Dakota, 155 farmers have reported damage to their crops by herbicide drift, allegedly by a Monsanto product called dicamba and sold under the grand names Engenia, FeXapan, and Xtendimax. Monsanto recently started selling dicamba-resistant soybean and cotton seed after the Obama USDA deregulated those engineered seeds in 2015. The expanded use of dicamba has led to crop damage in several states:
Estimates of dicamba’s damage, however, continue to increase. Since the Plant Board’s vote, the number of dicamba-related complaints in Arkansas has soared to 550. Reports of damage also are increasing in the neighboring states of Tennessee, Missouri and Mississippi. The total area of damaged soybean fields could reach 2 million acres.
“I’ve never seen anything even close to this,” says Larry Steckel, a weed specialist at the University of Tennessee. “We have drift issues every year in a handful of fields, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”
…The problem is, dicamba doesn’t always stay where it’s supposed to. In hot weather, dicamba turns into a gas that apparently can drift for miles. And soybeans that haven’t been specifically engineered to tolerate dicamba are extremely sensitive to it.
According to Steckel, soybean farmers in western Tennessee are in one of two camps. Perhaps 60 percent of them are spraying dicamba, because they invested in Monsanto’s new dicamba-tolerant crops. The rest, with soybeans that are vulnerable, likely have seen some fields damaged [Dan Charles, “Damage from Wayward Weedkiller Keeps Growing,” NPR: Morning Edition, 2017.07.06].
Apparently it’s not enough for Monsanto to promise products that will deliver better yields. It has to design products that kill the competition. (But let’s wait to see final yields: SDSU Extension says dicamba drift sometimes increases yields… although this seems an opportune moment to remind everyone that SDSU’s most recent former president is still on Monsanto’s board of directors.)
Arkansas has temporarily banned dicamba. Numerous farmers say Monsanto’s 4,550-word dicamba instruction label is too hard to understand; Monsanto says farmers just need to learn how to use dicamba properly. Sales of dicamba-resistant Xtend soybeans helped boost Monsanto’s profits this spring by 1%, so naturally (funny word to use here), Monsanto vows that its product is here to stay.
Also possibly related:
As we know, fascism was eventually defeated in World War 2. But just before the end of the war, with the fascists on the ropes, the Vice President of the United States at the time, Henry Wallace, penned an op-ed for the New York Times warning Americans about the creeping dangers of fascism – or corporate government.
He defined a fascist as, “those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion” [TruthOut, 2013.07.06].
Citizens organize protests against a corporation’s environmentally risky project, and the corporation sues the protestors as racketeers. Farmers suffer real economic damage from another corporation’s product because they choose not to use that corporation’s products, and that corporation says, “Tough shiskey, knuckleheads,” and keeps driving toward monopoly.