Sri Lanka Beware: Trump’s agri-marriage made in hell

The United States’ new President Donald Trump a former reality television star, appears to be getting a reality check on constitutional issues. On Thursday night a three-member US Circuit Court ruled unanimously to uphold the suspension of a travel ban imposed by Mr. Trump on visits to the US by people from seven Muslim-majority countries. During the Circuit Court hearings one of the judges quoted a famous or infamous tweet by Mr. Trump during the election campaign vowing he would ban immigrants from all Muslim countries.

The Circuit Court ruled that such religious discrimination was a violation of the hallowed US Constitution which was based on the principle of unity in diversity. Legal experts say the bluster and bluff of campaign rhetoric is now running into the time-tested checks and balances of the US Constitution where the executive, the legislature and the judiciary exercise the sovereign peoples’ power as the foundation for a free and democratic country.  

While the travel ban and other controversial moves have hit world headlines and caused concern over what most world leaders and analysts see as Mr. Trump’s uncertain and unpredictable if not chaotic policies, some moves behind the scenes maybe even more dangerous. That is probably why the widely read German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ had a cover picture showing Mr. Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty while slamming him as a pathological liar and a dangerous man.   

As most economic analysts say, today’s neo-colonialism – through which the rich countries continue to plunder the wealth of the poor — is being carried out mainly through multi-million-dollar transnational corporations which often come together for their operations.  According to a report titled, ‘Trump’s marriage made in hell’, President Trump is ready to bless a merger between chemical giants Monsanto and Bayer to create a $100 billion agribusiness beast designed to gobble our earth’s food. Analysts say it is not only bad business to allow one company to grow this huge, it is also against the law.In the US and Europe two little known regulators can stop the deal. The problem is they’re being pounded by lobbying from two of the world’s most powerful corporations and a President apparently hell-bent on seeing the deal succeed.   

Only massive peoples’ movements could counter the assault. They beat Monsanto twice last year in exactly this way, but this time they say they need unprecedented numbers to show the regulators that people everywhere want to stop a mega plan backed by President Trump. The movements say Monsanto and Bayer combined would dominate global crops and pesticides, and control our foodsystem.

These are companies that have allegedly poisoned bee populations, river water, food and created seeds that die after one generation so that small farmers remain loyal customers under crippling debt.    Bayer and Monsanto executives met Mr. Trump before he took office and he released a statement afterwards taking credit for large pieces of the merger mega plan. But the European Union’s competition commissioner still has the power to block the deal and the US antitrust chief can file a lawsuit if they decide it goes against public interest.

Both regulators are under massive pressure to waive the deal through. But people’s movements have foiled this kind of contract before. So they need to build a call so strong that these public defenders move to protect the common good. The movements already blocked the licence renewal of Monsanto’s biggest product, glyphosate, and helped ban one of Bayer’s bee-killing pesticides in Europe.   

In Sri Lanka also, President Maithripala Sirisena banned the import of glyphosate herbicide though he is known to be under heavy pressure to lift the ban. Sri Lanka needs to be cautious because agents of these two companies are carrying out secret operations here with agrochemicals, genetically modified seeds and so-called fortified rice. They have even persuaded national organizations to directly or indirectly support their schemes obviously having offered huge sponsorships and other privileges too to members.

Ultimately, Sri Lanka’s farmers, who have played a vital role inour culture and civilization for more than 2,500 years may become slaves of these neo-colonial TNCs. Therefore, we urge the people and all parties to go beyond party politics and support the Government’s move to grow the nourishing food we need in our country without imported or processed rubbish, agro-chemicals or genetically modified seeds.  

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