Global food is not a nice business. It is controlled by a small cartel of unscrupulous, profit-grubbing multinationals with little or no regard for the consumer, their workers or the planet. It is an industry riddled by safety scandals, the nutritional quality of our food is in free-fall and diet related illness has now become epidemic. Intensive agriculture is steadily destroying the planet, contaminating water and air with artificial fertilisers and pesticides, degrading farmland, causing deforestation and pumping out greenhouse gases faster than the world's entire transport system. Meanwhile Big Food's rapacious appetite for profit knows no limits as it bribes its way through the 3rd world in a huge land grab, dumping untested GM seed on a new generation of farmer-slaves. But all is not lost! A new movement of real, organic and ethical food is on the brink of a renaissance. Read on to understand how Big Food really works and how to reclaim control over our own food once again.
Malcolm Coxall, the author, is the proprietor of the family's 110 acre farm in the Axarquía of southern Andalusia in Spain. The farm has been certified as organic since 1999 and produces olives, almonds and culinary herbs. Malcolm also provides business, marketing and IT consultancy to other organic food producers in the region. He has published many articles and several books on sustainable agriculture, organic food production, forest biodiversity, environmental protection and environmental economics. He is active in the European food and environmental movement, and has taken several successful legal actions in defence of European environmental standards in the European Court of Justice. Malcolm is passionate about food sovereignty and the maintenance of local food production at fair prices. He believes that culinary diversity, agricultural sustainability and traditional gastronomy have much to teach a generation that has basically forgotten how food is grown and prepared. "Truly good food is local, ethical, organic and slow. How and what we eat defines who we are as a society. Societies that knowingly eat chemically adulterated junk foods, produced in heartless factory farms, reveal an intrinsic social, political and health malaise. They reveal their lack of sustainability, an inherent insecurity and a disconnection from their natural and social context. Contrast this care-less mentality with those societies which treasure their land, their natural environment, their people, their traditional cuisine and the quality and purity of their food. Then explain to me again why we need fast food and how "factory agriculture" fits in with human and environmental well-being and sustainability. To be sustainable, what we really need to do is to start to understand food again - beginning with the basics - both on the farm and in the kitchen. We could do worse than to try to understand our own local gastronomic heritage again. Not only is this worthwhile and important, but it is also great fun to discover how to make and enjoy real food again.
Traditional democratic structures in the Western world are coming under increasing pressure. A combination of political corruption, voter apathy and attacks on the rights of the citizen are being driven by authoritarian tendencies not seen for generations. In turn, this is being stoked by an artificial climate of fear, choreographed as a narrative of external terrorist threats and war against yet another "evil empire".
Much of the decision-making of government has been bought or hijacked by big business, whilst a whole generation of citizens has become increasingly cynical about the probity and ethics of their politicians. The current extent of public distrust and antagonism for the political elite is matched only by shocking levels of voter apathy throughout the democratic world.
This situation has created an unhealthy and perilous disconnection between the electorate and the political classes. As in any evolving environment, this gap is being filled. In this case, the democratic deficit is being bypassed using various forms of civil rebellion as a substitute for a functioning parliamentary system.
Nonviolent rebellion has a long history, but since the industrial revolution the use of organised civil disobedience has become increasingly widespread and refined. With the advent of the internet, civil rebellion itself has been totally revolutionised. The rules of the game have truly changed and control of "the truth" has, to some extent, finally been democratised.
These days, the big beasts on the political landscape are no longer labour unions fighting a local cause, but global movements, representing hundreds of millions of activists across a borderless world. And their armoury is formidable. Even the smallest local protest group has been immensely empowered by recent technological change.
Here we present a practical guide to civil rebellion, defining more than 300 separate ways in which citizens may effectively deliver a protest to an authority and the public, either alone or in a group.
In comparison with the ballot box, civil disobedience seems a rough way of dealing with authority. But, in the absence of a functioning democracy, it is rapidly becoming the last resort of the citizen to defend their freedom from an increasingly reviled, dysfunctional and autocratic political establishment.
This book is a practical guide. It is designed to help in the routine planning and organisation of peaceful protest. But the book also includes a history of civil rebellion and a moral and legal discussion of how civil disobedience may be used to achieve political objectives. This practical information is supported by a description of the best techniques for use in the strategic planning of protest actions and the management of protest organisations.
Though based on a wealth of protest history, the emphasis of this book is on contemporary protest and it focuses especially on the impact of internet and communications technology on current protest campaigns.
Politically, this guide pays particular attention to the techniques used by authorities to infiltrate and undermine legitimate civil protest movements and how these efforts can be detected and managed by a protest group. The book also provides practical advice on using similar subversive techniques against unscrupulous authorities.
Above all, the objective of this guide is to facilitate responsible political activists in delivering powerful, effective, nonviolent protests to an authority and to do this in a way which positively reinforces the concepts of democracy and universal human rights.
At a time when both democracy and human rights are threatened by the constant attacks by political opportunists, civil disobedience is beginning to move centre stage. Indeed, it seems to be rapidly becoming the only show in town for the aggrieved citizen of liberal persuasions in a world drowning in political corruption, popular apathy and short-sighted, populist political culture.
An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships – and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.
As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and to realise that she had been brainwashed her entire life. Given the repression, poverty and starvation she witnessed surely her country could not be, as she had been told “the best on the planet”?
Aged seventeen, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be twelve years before she was reunited with her family.