Look no further than Smithfield Foods Corporation, the world’s largest pork producer. Since US environmental laws are too severe (shocking if one goes to any US town ruined by a nearby pig factory) Smithfield set up shop in Mexico, a 3rd World capitalist country that only the Heritage Foundation could love where anything goes and it’s Profits Uber Alles.
Pan to La Gloria, a town in Veracruz, near Oaxaca, in a region where due to NAFTA Smithfield has set up shop. La Gloria is where this latest super swine flu originated. Five miles north and upwind, in Xaltepec, there are 15,000 pigs crammed into 18 warehouses. Nearby is Perote, Veracruz, where Smithfield, via its Mexican outfit Granjas Carroll (website) raises an unbelievable 950,000 pigs.
Sane people have been warning for decades that the industrial and capitalist superexploitation of pigs for the international pork market was making swine flu virus evolution go into overdrive, with unforeseen consequences.
In capitalist societies, anyone saying anything that hurts profits gets shut down or ignored, so these folks have been ignored for decades. Now the proverbial caca has hit the fan. A new virus, a combination of swine, bird and human flu viruses, is on the loose. It’s dangerous, and it kills about 6% of those infected. Worse, it spreads human to human and hits the young and healthy while sparing the elderly. Pandemics in particular have hit the young and healthy the hardest while sparing the old and less healthy.
This is a mystery. It is peculiar and makes no intuitive sense. One suggestion is that the elderly have already been exposed to many such viruses and already have immunity. Another theory is that a healthy immune system is more deadly in a flu pandemic, where it’s advantageous to have an aging and more decrepit immune system. A young and healthy immune system overreacts to the pandemic flu, producing far too many white blood cells that flood the lungs, and more or less overwhelm and drown them. Pretty much pneumonia in a word.
In La Gloria, Veracruz, where the ultracapitalist pig factory is, over half of the 3,000 population have symptoms of swine flu. Edgar Hernandez Hernandez, age 5, is Patient Zero. Two more kids are dead. Over half the population there works most of the week in Mexico City. This is how the virus could have gotten to the capital.
A perfect storm has been created with the ultracapitalist pig factories, similar to the gay bathhouses and mad promiscuity of US gay culture that spread AIDS like mad in the 1980’s. Problem is that Swine Flu is easily contagious to anyone, while HIV is mostly transmitted in the West only to IV drug users and gay males.
Under “liberal” Bill Clinton, NAFTA was shoved through Congress in 1992. Soon after, thousands of farmers were shoved off their lands in Veracruz and had their lands stolen from under them. The land was to be given to huge US corporations like Smithfield. This is the true genesis of the Swine Flu Pandemic. It was caused by neoliberal capitalism! There is no way to avoid that conclusion.
When you thought that the horrible pig manure lagoons of North Carolina could not possibly be surpassed, Smithfield’s super caca lakes in Veracruz seem to have taken the gold. These were some of the worst pig poop lakes ever created by modern capitalism. Swarms of flies, blocking the sun and the sky, hovered over these ponds, feasting on the oceans of pig manure.
It appears that from these flies came the Swine Flu, as the Black Plague came from fleas biting rats feasting on human waste tossed from second floor chamberpots all over Europe. These flies appear to be the vector for Swine Flu. So, while capitalism claims to advance us into the modern world, instead it merely transports us to Europe circa 1350.
Over half the town is sick. The residents, like villagers with pitchforks and torches, are demanding an investigation. The ultra-capitalist Mexican government has refused to even begin one.
Excellent overview of Smithfield’s corporate crime career from Rolling Stone.
From the UK Independent comments section. “Luter” below refers to Joseph W. Luter, III, owner of Smithfield Farms, a particularly repellent fellow even by US corporate standards who regularly rails against vegetarians. Luter is one of the masterminds of the modern pig superfactory.
So… once again the epitome of Western Capitalism (the US), and their “Pig Barons”, steal land, evicting those who live on and work the land. They then, through factory farming and shoddy treatment of their livestock, cause half a town, perhaps more, to contract a contagious and potentially fatal disease (I say ‘potentially’, but remembering that many people have already died).
So… of course, they are handsomely compensating these people? And they are providing and paying for the necessary medical care..? They are changing their farming methods?
It strikes me that the people who live in these places need to take back their land, by force if necessary. And we should all support them. “Legal” means will not work, since the law is designed to protect capitalism, and its conceptions of property, even in the face of clear facts demonstrating the extent of harm caused by these pig-people.
For all of you who are too caught up in the spectacle to engage in revolutionary activities: at least employ your pathetic “consumer ethics” and boycott Luter products.
Solidarity with the people of La Gloria.