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Rules for Revolutionaries book

Radical Rules

“This is how we win.” That was the subject line of the first email I wrote back in the fall of 2015 to the rapidly growing list of Bernie Sanders supporters. It was 6:00 a.m., and Zack and I were occupying the lobby of a Comfort Inn in Little Rock, Arkansas.

– Becky Bond, from the preface of “Rules for Revolutionaries,” co-authored with Zack Exley

The word “revolution” is popping up everywhere these days—including in our own blueprint for the next four years. But how do we make it happen?

By thinking BIG. By getting creative. By being flexible. By fighting the “tyranny of the annoying. Because organizing loses when we retreat solely into tactics that protect us from being annoyed.”

This past Christmas, each of us on the OCA staff received a copy of “Rules for Revolutionaries.” We were asked to read it (as opposed to shoving it onto a bookshelf). We did. 

We hope you’ll pick up a copy and read it, too. Because now, more than ever, we need a revolution. And we need a plan for making it happen. Because this is how we win.

Buy ‘Rules for Revolutionaries’ 

Mexican flag against the sky

Mexico First!

A wall between Mexico and the U.S? Mass-scale deportations? Trade agreements renegotiated to give the U.S. the upper hand? Stigmatization of Latinos and the Spanish language? 

This is the new reality under Trump. But Mexico’s people are fighting back—and asking their government to do the same.

On January 18, Mexico’s Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria (Food Safety Alliance) held a press conference to call on consumers, government and the industry to protect the national economy against the threats coming out of the Trump administration. 

OCA’s Mexico-based consumer organization, La Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos (ACO) helped organize the conference and contributed to a statement outlining actions that consumers, government officials and Mexican businesses should take to strengthen their own economy and protect their citizens.

In their statement, the groups urged a collective and rational response to Trump’s threats in order to bring about a radical change to the national economic development model and to restore food sovereignty and food health. Mexico must take a leading role in the movement to fight back against Trump’s rage and hate toward the Mexican people, and to build support for Latin American solidarity, the groups said.

What do the Food Safety Alliance and ACO recommend consumers do? Buy local products to strengthen the local economy. Boycott U.S. companies that support the Trump platform. Organize more CSAs and food coops.  

Read the statement by Mexico’s Food Safety Alliance

More about OCA in Mexico 

Support OCA’s work in Mexico

Toy person in a vice grip being squeezed

Squeezing Farmers

The next time you hear Trump, or Sonny Perdue (the multi-millionaire agribusiness tycoon he’s tapped to be his secretary of agriculture) rave about how they will “protect rural farmers and American agriculture,” remember these two stories.

Arkansas farmers Mitchel and Karen Crutchfield were driven into bankruptcy by a multi-national chicken producer. 

West Virginia farmer Eric Hedrick is losing tens of thousands of dollars a month—and faces losing his family’s 400-acre farm—because of a Catch-22 contract he signed with a multi-national chicken producer.

“They will not pay you enough to pay your bills and raise your chickens. The biggest thing that’s let us down is the government.” – Eric Hedrick

In December, the Obama Administration finally passed legislation to protect farmers like the Crutchfields and Hedrick—but it was an uphill battle, thanks to the lobbying efforts of companies like Tyson.

Now, we have “let’s roll back regulations” Sonny Perdue (not related to the founders of Perdue Farms) headed to the USDA. As the former governor of the country’s largest chicken-producing state, it’s a sure bet he’s already set his site on rolling back protections for chicken farmers—so he can protect the record-breaking profits of companies like Tyson.

What can you do? Boycott the chicken producers who are bankrupting the farmers. The top four brands in the U.S. are Tyson, Pilgrim’s, Sanderson and Perdue. You can find the names of other big producers here. Instead, buy your chicken from your local farmers. Or check out more responsibly produced alternatives here

Meanwhile, please listen to the stories of these farmers who explain how their lives and livelihoods are threatened by corporate-controlled government policies.

Watch ‘Under Contract’: The Crutchfields 

Watch ‘Under Contract’: Eric Hedrick 

Learn more 

Congressional bill skewered on a fork

It’s Political

Those of you who worked so hard with us to try to force food corporations to label GMOs know that like it or not, policy decisions directly impact the quality of your food, and by extension, your health. And politicians, at least at the federal level, more often than not come down on the side of corporate profits over public health.

And it’s not just your food. Politicians set the rules for how much poison corporations are allowed to unleash into our water, air and soils—and whether or not those corporations are required to inform the public about their poisoning ways.

We wish it weren’t so. We wish politicians, most of whom are owned by corporations, weren’t allowed to play games with something so basic to human survival. But they do.

Whether we’re talking about GMOs, or pesticides (what food crops they can be sprayed on, and how much residue is allowed to remain on the food we eat), or antibiotics and growth hormones (fed to animals on factory farms), or what artificial colors or flavors corporations can slip into food products without proper premarket safety testing—the rules and regulations determining these decisions are made by politicians. 

And our right to know? About what’s in our food? What’s in our water? And even, as we learned this week, the right to know about what our government scientists uncover in the research they conduct, paid for by taxpayers? That, too, is determined by politicians.

As we face what is shaping up to be the most corporate-friendly federal government in history, we must look ahead to how we clean up Washington D.C. We believe that clean-up must happen from the bottom up, beginning in our own backyards.

Part of our work in the next four years will focus on collaborating with other national organizations on a massive effort to identify and elect local and state politicians who will defend our health, our environment, and our right to know. That work must be conducted through our 501(c)(4) lobbying arm, which is funded by non-tax-deductible donations.

This week we ask that if you support our effort to overhaul a political system that writes the rules that directly impact your food and health, that you please make a donation to the Organic Consumers Fund. Thank you.

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our GMO labeling legislative efforts)

Boy holding a pair of binoculars up to his eyes

We’re Watching

Let’s be clear right up front. If pro-torture Mike Pompeo can make it through Senate hearings to become head of the CIA, and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson can seriously be considered for secretary of state, we aren’t optimistic about torpedoing Trump’s nominations for secretary of agriculture (Sonny Perdue) or EPA administrator (Scott Pruitt). 

But we still have to let our Senators know that we oppose these nominations. Here’s why. First, it’s all part of the new #ConsumerRevolution and #PoliticalRevolution that we all need to actively engage in. Ring the phones off the hook. Resist!

And second, we need to watch very closely which Senators take a stand against Trump's #SwampCabinet and which Senators don’t. So that when election time rolls around again, we can actively campaign against the lawmakers who voted against everything we stand for—and replace them with the kind of revolutionary candidates we’ll need to climb our way back out of Trump’s swamp.

If Perdue becomes our next secretary of agriculture, we can look for the USDA to rubber stamp every GMO and pesticide Monsanto comes up with. Ditto for Pruitt, the self-professed climate-denying defender of pesticides.

Please read the articles below and identify the issues you care most about. Then call your Senators and explain, in personal terms, why you oppose the nominations of Perdue and Pruitt.

TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators. Tell them you expect them to vote NO on Sonny Perdue for secretary of agriculture, and NO on Scott Pruitt for EPA administrator. Tell them that you’ll be watching their vote and if they vote YES you’ll work to boot them out of Congress in the next election.

More on Perdue 

More on Pruitt 

Dial 888-907-9957 to be connected to your U.S Senators or text SWAMP to 97779

Or you can look up your Senator’s phone number here 

Find your Senator’s twitter handle and send them a tweet! 

Sonny Perdue

Sartorial Silliness

In announcing his pick last week for Secretary of Agriculture, Trump heaped predictable praise on Sonny Perdue, promising that the former governor of Georgia will “deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land."

We predict that Perdue will indeed deliver “big” results—but he’ll deliver them to his friends in Big Food and Big Ag, not to America’s rural farmers, and surely not to America’s consumers.

For all the talk about sticking up for rural farmers and rural America, the plain fact is this: Perdue’s track record consistently reveals his support for corporate agribusiness—not small farmers or rural Americans. There are his aforementioned corporate campaign donations. And this—in 2009, Perdue signed a bill that blocked local communities in Georgia from regulating animal cruelty, worker safety and pollution related to factory farms. That’s hardly “looking out” for the little guy.

Perdue may have impressed Trump by showing up for his job interview wearing a backpack and a tie with little tractors on it. But most farmers are smart enough to see through Perdue's phony concern for rural farmers, no matter how he dresses it up. 

Read ‘Trump’s Pick for Ag Secretary Has ‘Bigly’ Ties to Big Ag and Big Food’