Letters to the Editor, Progressive Populist, May 1996

Good work

Keep up the good work! In early days I was a bit concerned about the disproportionate number of articles written by men, but I see in the April issue that there are twice as many articles by women as have appeared in the early issues.
Radically yours,
Zoe Irene VanSandt
10401 N. Lamar, D108
Austin, TX 78753

Glad you found me

I've just received the March 1996 issue of the Progressive Populist, quite unsolicited.

I don't know how you learned of me, and I've never heard of you, but I'm glad we made conctact. Golly! Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson, Eugene McCarthy - all in one issue.
I hope you can keep this up. ...
Dan C. Wingren
6832 E. Northwest Highway
Dallas, TX 75231-8144

Where do farmers turn?

About thirty years ago, I was a chicken farmer in New Jersey. At the time, the New Jersey egg industry, which had been experiencing moderately stable producer prices for some years, was showing signs of impending bad times as a result of the vertical integration schemes being instituted by the major feed companies such as Ralston-Purina and General Mills. These huge corporations were setting up chicken farms, starting in the southeast, where they could create a market for their feed, hire cheap labor, and sell their eggs. As long as they made a profit on the poultry feed they produced, they had little concern about showing a profit on the eggs they sold. This, of course, was disastrous for the independent egg farmer who had to buy his feed at retail and depend on the sale of his eggs to show a profit and to support his family. In a relatively short time the egg market became overloaded with eggs produced by these large feed company financed farms, and prices plummeted to a permanent very low profit level, driving most of the small family farms out of business.

At the time that this vertical integration scheme began, a few of the leaders of the farmer cooperatives and poultry and egg producer organizations who could foresee the impending problems tried to alert other similar groups and independent farmers. I was one of those leaders and we decided to establish a national organization called the U.S. Poultry & Egg Producers Association. I began to publish a bi-weekly newspaper called The Family Farmer which was "dedicated to the preservation of the family farm," in order to print information that was just not available in the regular poultry industry press, controlled by the major feed companies through their advertising dollars. The Association hired a lobbyist to represent us in Washington and we were greatly encouraged and assisted by the late Senator Hubert Humphrey and liberal groups such as the Farmers Union. There were hearings requested and held in front of the House and Senate agriculture subcommittees. Our goal was to obtain a farm bill that would protect the family chicken and egg farmer by setting some sort of production quotas which would correct and prevent the havoc being wrought in the industry by the large feed companies and corporate farms.

From the beginning, our efforts were fought tooth and nail by the Farm Bureau and other conservative pro-agribusiness organizations who called us "commies'' and similar names and ridiculed our efforts to bring stability to the poultry industry. They asserted that all farmers should be rugged individualists and fend for themselves. Unfortunately, most of these so-called rugged individualists soon became "ragged" individualists as a result of continuing money-losing prices for eggs and chickens.

We failed to obtain the protective farm bill we wanted because the forces we were battling; large feed companies and corporations were too powerful, with too much money to hand out in campaign contributions. So, the only satisfaction we had was that we were able to foresee the coming problems and we tried to prevent the unfortunate demise of the small farmer. Of course, the Ralston-Purinas and General Millses eventually abandoned or sold their farms and went on to other ventures that might show more profit on their bottom line, but the damage had been done and the trend was set in place.

Reading through the pages of your wonderful Progressive Populist brought this experience to mind as I see the same scenario being enacted today. It seems that farmers just cannot learn to organize themselves and to attempt to obtain favorable legislation to protect their interests as the large corporations do. I think the reason may be that they are unduly influenced by outfits like the Farm Bureau, agricultural college extension people and others who are in the pay of the agribusiness groups, either directly or indirectly through grants and donations. The injurious advice given has always been to "be independent" and to scorn and fight others such as labor unions and consumer groups, who might, in fact, be natural allies. Farmers were also encouraged to be conservative and to vote Republican because the Democrats were supposed to be too closely tied to the aforementioned groups that were touted as their "natural enemies".

Where do farmers go now? Perhaps they have learned a lesson, those that are left, and they will finally join with others who have a common goal. I try to be optimistic about the future for farmers and for labor. With what I've seen over the last thirty years, I can only hope that farmers have finally changed their constricted position, becoming more accepting to change and to new ideas and new allies. I hope it is not too late because the forces opposing them have become very powerful. However, if they can work together, electing people they can trust who will work in their behalf, they can still find their way to a better, more prosperous life.
Jerome Taub
68A Yerry Hill Road
Woodstock, NY 12498

Regressing to the Past

Progressive means moving or advancing [forward] as opposed to retrograde [backwards] motion. The Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Bilderburger Groups of neorobber-barons wish to return the world to the age of serfdom or robber barons of the last century.

My grandfather, Michael, in his 90s warned me about some of these organizations. Michael Fashing learned of these people from reading three daily newspapers in the 1970s before he died at 97 and by living in Austria as a young man. Michael was a member of the King's Guard to Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary and was born a poor, many-generations farmer. He got into trouble with the land baron by poaching deer to feed his starving family in the Austrian Tyrol. He told how me how he would bury himself and the deer and smear manure on himself to avoid detection. After beating a horse to death [for breaking his arm], he was about to be court marshalled so he fled the country. Michael told how the family owned a few hectares here and there and how hard it was to make enough to just eat.

In the latter part of the 19th century, Michael left for Cleveland where he was a short order cook in a diner. After several years he moved to Chicago and started a construction company. He owned the oldest farmhouse and farm on the northwest side of Chicago. He lost over a half million dollars in the First Depression. That was when he started to distrust government. Michael did not finish 3rd grade and I helped him read English and explained science to him. In return, he warned me about the impending return of feudalism. I thought he was "nuts."

The level playing field of the new world order is a new serfdom. The level field is a Death Valley with wells and "high ground" for the rich.

There are 2 kinds of equality: positive equality of those under God with dignity and negative equality under communism, degenerate national socialism or rugged individualism eking out equally meaningless lives of squalor powerlessness and despair.

The growth of hate groups in the U.S. is traceable to a country that has emulated the communist countries' oppression of their people. The fighters against tyranny saw how easy it was for tyrants to scare the people and to get their way. Techniques of intimidation, brain washing, corruption and torture were used by dictators and they got away with it. Soon the CIA taught our friendly dictators' police how to torture, former CIA and DEA members got rich by smuggling drugs which they had once fought against. Soon the once honest and respected FBI, ATF and marshals burned and shot innocent misguided people and their children.

Soon the armed services worked on HAARP, STARWARS and other secret projects capable of massive collateral damage. Soon our Congresses passed unknown, unpublished and secret laws written by rich financial backers and lobbyists. Soon Presidents took polls before they spoke to make sure they said the most favored things and of course did what they wished with the backing of the controlled media. NAFTA and GATT [WTO] were passed against the overwhelming opposition of those informed about these agreements.

The people get more violent and explicit films and TV from once entertaining cartoon producers, and no one knows why children beget and kill children. Meanwhile the factory worker, the backbone of the country, and his brainy white-collar younger brother or son, were downsized out of decent jobs; their families now have 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs to eat and pay the bills. Multinational corporations are now more loyal to their logos than any flag or god and now control raw materials, food and manufacturing. How they will manipulate the coming depression and food shortage will be a true educational experience in power politics.

Grain farmers have a situation that should give them 2 or 3 good years. Already the Washington talk says grain farmers will make too much money. After the last 20 years of financial losses, grain farmers cannot make too much. The big agribusiness firms are green-eyed at farmers' possible profits. Let us notice the brilliance of the greedy satans as we work with Him to undo this mess and prevent further corporate welfare.

The small hog farmer is being buried in swill by the big corporate hog factories expansion. In Missouri, in just a few years, small hog farmers have lost 50% of the market to the 5 largest hog producers in Missouri. North Carolina is even in worse shape. America needs a national moratorium on factory farm and vertically integrated corporate agribusiness growth. What ever happened to antitrust law enforcement? I fear it is "Back to the Past" in the present to produce a second-rate future if America does not wake-up.

Thank you,

Edward M. Fashing, VP-Communications
Missouri American Agriculture Movement, Inc.
R.R. 1, Box 286
Sturgeon, MO 65284