"We fought the most powerful and influential chemical companies in the world and we won," said Elise Higley, a Jackson County farmer with the anti-GMO group Our Family Farms Coalition.Josephine County voters also delivered a stunning defeat to Big Biotech by a 57% majority.
Higley said her county will now be a safe haven against the pollen-creep of genetically modified crops.
The Jackson County measure and the one in Josephine County have managed to hit on some of the most hot-button issues in Oregon: property rights, local control and scarce resources for former timber-reliant counties.The controversial safety of GMO crops is only a small part of this issue. Property rights are violated when one farmer is allowed to grow GMO crops which contaminate his neighbor's crops requiring expensive testing in order to sell to an increasingly smaller market share which accepts GMO crops. Local control is lost when the permitting process and state and federal preemption laws prevent local communities from just saying no to corporate harms.
Thomas Piketty has removed any doubt about the loss of our Democratic Republic to an oligarchy. Strong corporate forces have successfully prevented our federal and state governments from representing the will of the people. The only democracy that exists in our nation is in the hands of the people. The grassroots effort of citizens in these two counties uses the people's inherent rights to self-governance in their conviction that their rights are superior to corporate rights. This right is guaranteed us in the US Declaration of Independence and most state constitutions. This is from Oregon's Constitution :
Section 1. Natural rights inherent in the people. We declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right: that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.Opponents of county and municipal bans of corporate harms visited upon communities-- from GMO cultivation to fracking--insist that regulation of these activities are best handled on a federal or state level. However, regulation will never come from above. Instead, state and local laws preempt communities to forbid any kind of local control.
We are involved in the fight of our lives in local communities across our nation. Grassroots efforts like these are directly confronting special corporate rights in the courts and the ballot box. This is civil disobedience in its finest form.
Our federal and state governments insist that local laws will result in an unworkable "patchwork" of laws. Through the Oregon Community Rights Network, we are in the process of sewing together a quilt out of those patches which will cover the state until we force the state to acknowledge the will of the people.
Note: All news quotes are from The Oregonian article Measures to ban most GMO crops passing in Jackson, Josephine counties.