Hi all, I'm starting this forum thread to post reports and pictures from the March Against Monsanto protests. I understand some readers may have attended some of the protests, what did people see and say?
I attended the Madison protest at the Capitol Square, and when I showed up there were about 50 people in attendance. There may have been more when the protest began, but these people stuck it out halfway through the entire planned duration of the protest, and through the talks that were scheduled with the PA system they set up. The protest was on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol, and was quite removed from the people who
The woo was strong at this event. They had a speaker who was talking about industrial waste being used to poison our water supply... and by that he meant Fluoride. (Apparently he was pro-tooth-decay). Myths were abundant. Speakers could not go two sentences without uttering a myth, such as the GMOs killing off the bees, farmers committing suicide because of GMOs, and Monsanto not eating their own GMO food in their cafeteria. They also said that EVERY employee at the FDA worked for Monsanto, and complained about Clarence Thomas being on the Supreme Court, even though he worked for Monsanto more than 30 years ago. There was almost no discussion of real issues with GMOs or Monsanto itself, but a hairy mess of myths.
There weren't any crazy costumes that I could see, but there were some bad signs. GMOs are poison, Senator "Tammy Baldwin is a Monsanto Whore" (took a photo of that one), and GMO OMG WTF. The quality of their message was pretty low, and doubtless may have turned people off.
I was tempted to speak, and tell them about our GENERA project, but the negativity was strong in the group, and I didn't feel like it in this case. I also hadn't planned anything specific to say, but only had a few ideas in my head.
I had originally intended to do a DNA extraction demo, passing around a bag of bananas to mash up, but a last-minute test of the basic protocol didn't work. The venue was also not what I had expected - I thought it would be a closer group but they were really spread apart. The idea of extracting DNA as a demo for the group was a nice idea, however we may need to rethink how to do such a demo (or figure out something else) to accompany demonstrations like these. When you have a loud central PA system and a group of people that isn't crowded closely around one spot, how can you reach them and not be a distraction? Or how can you be a big enough distraction that people will want to pay attention to you instead? Hmm...
Anyway, what else has everyone seen or heard from these protests?