An Historic Conference Founds a New Movement
Over the Labor Day weekend of Sept. 3-4, 1988, some 400 people met in Chicago on the theme, "Food for Peace," and formed an international action group, pledged to battle world hunger, which has every sign of becoming a mass movement. Represented were 30 states and 10 nations; the largest group of participants consisted of farmers from all over the world.
"It is now urgent that we massively expand food production in this and every other country," state the founding principles of Food for Peace. "We must ensure that not one person goes hungry or needlessly dies for the lack of food, which we could easily produce with the correct policy. To accomplish this awesome but necessary task will require that we build an ever expanding movement in the United States together with our friends from other countries, whose goal will be to feed the world."
The conference was co-sponsored by the Schiller Institute, a transatlantic think tank founded in 1984 by German national Helga Zepp-LaRouche, to promote policies of economic growth and traditional cultural, scientific, and military links among allied nations. Mrs. LaRouche issued a call for action on the agricultural crisis in August of this year, which immediately follows this introduction.
Drought Disaster Sparks Action
The initiative for the conference and the new institution came about over the summer as drought devastated the U.S. and Canadian breadbaskets, which account for 58% of annual world grain exports. During the 1980s, world weather patterns have been worsening, to the point that simultaneous disasters now ring the globe: the succession of drought and floods in Sudan and Chad, in the Yangtze Valley in China, and most recently the catastrophic floods in Bangladesh, leaving 21 million people homeless.
The crisis in world agriculture is now turning into the fullscale disaster of a world food crisis. Because of 1988's bad harvest in North America, world grain reserves will he at their lowest in 30 years. The combination of destructive agricultural policies and weather calamities, such as the drought in North America, are destroying more and more of the agricultural production potential in the world.
In the developing sector, 3 billion people are living in misery. Millions are dying right now because of lack of food. Nations such as Sudan and Bangladesh are facing genocide because of lack of food provided. In the East bloc, lack of food is the driving force behind the unrest in Armenia, the Baltic States, and Poland. In Western Europe and North America, poverty is growing. In the United States, most food programs are closing because they are running 6ut of supplies.
If the current food crisis is not reversed, it will lead to war. What will happen if a desperate Soviet government tries to use the threat of military force to seize from Western Europe what it can no longer get through negotiations, because the food reserves in the West are simply not there? There are those in North America and Western Europe who still speak of the burden of surpluses. They are either fools, utterly ignorant, or immoral.
Our biggest problem in world agriculture is that with a projected harvest of less than 1.5 billion tons of grain this year, we are producing less than half the grain needed to feed the world's 5 billion people. In 12 years there will be 6.5 billion people on Earth. To reduce agricultural production even further, as many so-called experts propose, is outrightly criminal and suicidal. If current trends in world agriculture prevail, humanity will not make it into the 21st century.
Our governments in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe are refusing to see the handwriting on the wall. During the current round of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) negotiations in Montreal, they are trying to force through further dramatic cuts in agricultural producer prices. Behind the scenes, the U.S. government and the European Community Commission in Brussels have already agreed to eliminate another $30-35 billion of income from farmers in the United States and Europe in the next three years. This attack on the independent family farmer only serves the interests of the international grain and food cartel, which wants to destroy the farmer as an independent political force and create world food scarcities, to be able to use food as a political weapon. Unless resistance against this insanity is organized, the instigators of the cartel's agricultural policy will follow it to the bitter end of unforeseen and uncontrollable social, economic, and military calamities, which will threaten the very existence of humanity.
In Western Europe, thousands of farmers have rallied around the Schiller Institute Farm Commission to fight the bureaucrats in Brussels and reestablish parity prices. Delegations of those farmers together with farmers from New Zealand and Latin America came to Chicago on Sept. 3 and 4 to help found the Food for Peace organization in North America.
We now call on the farmers in the United States and Canada to join this effort to build a powerful alliance of agricultural producers from the big exporting nations of Europe, North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Latin America to battle the destructive agricultural policy of the cartel.
At the Chicago conference, the battle cry was taken up: "Food For Peace." We will be the spearhead of a movement to build a New Just World Economic Order, the delegations pledged, in which world agricultural markets are going to be reorganized on the basis of full parity prices to enable the farmers to produce enough food to once and for all eliminate starvation, hunger, and misery in the world.