The development of genetically-modified organisms (GMO) has opened up whole new possibilities for improving the nutrition of humanity.For the first time, humans are able to genetically engineer species or organisms by transferring DNA between totally different organisms, potentially allowing for food to be grown in harsher climates, for example, or for existing crops to yield more food. However, under capitalism, GMOs are being abused by large agro-corporations, such as Monsanto, to maximize shareholders’ profits at the expense of ordinary people around the world.  Instead, GMOs have reduced the safety and security of the food system for billions of people. What is a working-class approach to confronting the problems of GMOs and food security?

The Marxist analysis of history – that is, the dialectical and materialist analysis of history – explains that the main motor force in history is the need for society to develop the productive forces: to increase our knowledge of and mastery over nature; to reduce the socially necessary labour time needed to produce and reproduce the conditions of life; to improve lifestyles and raise the standards of living.

As Julian Assange and Bradley Manning have discovered, being a whistle-blower is not for the faint hearted. Now Edward Snowden has become the latest fugitive of US imperialism, his only crime being that he told embarrassing truths about the US government.

Capitalism has become an absolute fetter on the development of the productive forces. This also affects the development of science, which is geared to the profit motive. After the October 1917 Russian Revolution the arts and science experienced a short-lived period of freedom, as the Bolshevik leadership under Lenin and Trotsky understood that this was the only way of moving forward. But as the revolution, isolated in a backward country, underwent degeneration under Stalin, this also affected these recently won freedoms. The fate of Nicolai Ivanovich Vavilov, a brilliant Russian geneticist who ended up in Stalin’s gulags highlights this process.

Last week, Edward Snowden became the latest in a long line of whistleblowers. It has been revealed that the US National Security Agency has been given backdoor access to telephone exchanges and a long range of online accounts from major service providers, underlining how the state breaches users’ privacy on a massive scale in order to get intelligence.

The cat-and-mouse game between piracy supporters on the one hand and state authorities and major multinational companies on the other is heating up. The recent spate of persecution of websites and individuals involved in piracy opens up a new phase. [part 1]

The cat-and-mouse game between piracy supporters on the one hand and state authorities and major multinational companies on the other is heating up. Over the past few years there has been a marked increase in the persecution of websites and individuals involved in piracy. Democratic rights are being thrown overboard and the full force of the state applied in the media industry’s ruthless pursuit of profits.

Pharmaceutical companies bend or withhold scientific data and lie about their drugs, in ways which endanger, harm or kill sick people, to make a profit. That is the shocking reality laid bare in Ben Goldacre’s new book, ‘Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients’. This is  a prime example of the way the profit motive rewarded by Capitalism stands in front of human progress.

Every scientific theory goes through a period of consolidation, where new discoveries strengthen and extend it. At a certain point these new discoveries lead to a new and more accurate interpretation of the same data. Starting with the development of the same theory in a new form, at a certain point, it becomes a new theory. This is how scientific development evolves, trough dialectics: a quantitative approximation of reality that, at a certain point, produces a qualitative leap forward that incorporates the main discoveries of the previous theories but also denies important aspects of those same theories.

Darwin’s theory produced a complete break with previous ideas about natural life. We will touch on two points that are particularly important for the shaping of bourgeois ideology. The first is the end of teleology in science. As Marx put it: “It is here that, for the first time, ‘teleology’ in natural science is not only dealt a mortal blow but its rational meaning is empirically explained.”[1]

Every ruling class has an ideology to back up its domination. Before capitalism, the productive forces were growing so slowly that the very idea of change seemed irrelevant. The ideological justification of class power then was based on the idea of a motionless life, a universe always identical to itself that God had created that way and had given to humankind (that is to the ruling class) to rule over. Everything was identical since the Creation. Evolution was meaningless, in nature as in society. On the contrary, tradition, ipse dixit, and old habits held sway. [part 1]

On the 24th August 2012 Samsung was ordered by a court in San Jose, California to pay Apple just over $1 billion in damages for patent infringement. Apple is now seeking to ban the sale of certain Samsung products in the USA and a hearing is scheduled for 20th September for that claim. This long-running dispute between these technology giants over infringement of smart phone patents shines a spotlight on the failings of a decaying capitalist system.

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