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Food Sovereignty: An Essential of Independence

 

This is Part 8 of our series "Basic Principles of Patriotic Sovereignty". These principles lay out the fundamentals which underpin a national ideology. If you believe in "the nation" as an organising principle of politics, then you believe in these principles. You judge national policies on whether they accord with, or contradict, these principles.



Our 8th Principle is Food Sovereignty (also called Food Security).

 

Farming is energy intensive – even relatively small-scale farming requires cheap fuel and fertilisers. This means that a successful farming, fishing and rural economy flows from Principle 7 which is national energy independence!


WHAT IS FOOD SOVEREIGNTY?

Food sovereignty means self-sufficiency in food – or as self-sufficient as you can reasonably achieve within your circumstances.

 

The ability to feed yourself means independence, safety and survival. 

           

Food sovereignty is also a defensive imperative. No nation reliant for others on its food can expect to defend itself against physical or economic trespass.

 

No nation can consider itself to be fully sovereign if it can't supply itself with its basic food requirements.


A patriotic government should aim for national Food Sovereignty as a matter of course!


To encourage Food Sovereignty, we encourage the economic practice of Localisation. This gears production and distribution to the local and national market, and tends to ensure that international trade is used mainly for that which cannot be produced at home.

           

WHAT IS LOCALISATION?

Colin Hines, author of Localisation: A Global Manifesto (London: Earthscan, 2000) explains that Localisation means that if something can be produced locally or nationally, then it should be. Long distance trade is then used properly for exchanging that which cannot be produced locally or nationally.


"Protect the local, globally" is the rallying cry.

 

He developed a set of policies to protect the local globally and encourage Localisation, which include:


  • safeguarding national and regional economies against imports of goods and services that can be produced locally;

  • site-here-to-sell-here rules for industry and services;

  • localising money flows to rebuild the economies of communities;

  • local competition policies to ensure high quality goods and services;

  • introduction of resource and pollution taxes to pay for the transition, while protecting the environment;

  • fostering democratic involvement in the local economic and political systems;

  • a redirection of trade and aid, geared to help the rebuilding of local economies, rather than international competitiveness.

 

Within that context we can establish additional themes:

           

POLICIES to PROMOTE FOOD SOVEREIGNTY and RURAL ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY


- Ensure a source of cheap national energy as per Principle 7: National Energy Independence!

- Develop international trade rules that promote Localisation.

- Prevent imports which do not meet our standards on animal-welfare and environmental matters.

- Support small farms, rural economies, organic production, food quality, and environmental quality by ensuring subsidies are directed appropriately.

- Introduce appropriate tariffs and quotas where this is appropriate and possible to protect Food Sovereignty.

- Develop the home markets by, for example, encouraging local food procurement by local authorities, schools, universities, civil service, the military and hospitals.

- Support local marketing initiatives and co-operatives.

- Promote British food by expanding promotional events like British Food Fortnight, backed by good PR campaigns.

- Restrict the market power of the major food retailers. For example, there needs to be

a) supermarket regulation on targets for stocking local food;

b) tax penalties on the stocking of produce from overseas when the same produce is available at home;

c) tax incentives to stock locally produced food.

- Reduce 'food miles' by, for example, introducing a form of eco-taxation. Long-distance transportation of products which are available close to home, should be taxed. Prioritise shorter supply routes and regional markets with economic advantages.

- Protect and develop our Fishing Fields and the economies of our Coastal Communities.

 

By prioritising local and national production and distribution in this way, we enable as much self-sufficiency in food as we can; we help to provide the long-term markets at home which will enable the farming industry to weather its occasional crisis; we work to free the farming industry from dependence on the export trade; we curb unnecessary transportation and environmental costs; and we help to sustain the rural economy.

 

"But poor countries need to export to us."

Some people claim that a localisation policy would harm developing countries which need the income from their exports.

           

This ignores the fact that many of these developing countries only need to export in order to earn the foreign exchange necessary to pay off their massive debts.   

           

Without such a debt burden they could orientate their agricultural economies to their own needs and could work to reduce their dependence upon the export of cash crops.

           

Therefore, effective localisation could involve debt cancellation. It could also encourage these countries to raise their own debt-free money from their own national banks as per Principle 4 instead of having to borrow from international lending institutions.

           

In any case, we will continue to import goods that we cannot provide for ourselves. We will always buy from countries which have products that we cannot produce.

 

"The world's economy is so closely inter-linked now, that only changes at the international level are possible"

This approach is not particularly helpful. Nor is it particularly true.

           

On the political level, we must obviously work in association with others internationally, but we need not be bound by them if such association is restricting us from doing what needs to be done.


A good idea has to start somewhere. It could start nationally, and if it's a good idea then it's likely to catch on and spread.           

        

We start from where we are. We work with what we've got. We move the system our way. Let's not wait for the United Nations to lay down some global edict. Let's start right here, right now.

           

Let us advocate what we want, let us put it into practice, and let us consistently oppose any policies which are incompatible with our fundamental principles and aims.

 

We can reform the globe, locally, and we can reform the local, globally!

 

NEEDED: DETERMINED ADVOCACY

The reason we are putting together this set of "Basic Principles of Patriotic Sovereignty" is because once you have a set of principles, you know what you believe, and once you have a set of aims, you know what you want to achieve.

           

You know what you don't believe and what you don't want to achieve.         

           

You know what to support and what to resist.


You know what policies are compatible with those principles and aims, and therefore should be supported; and you know which policies are incompatible with those principles and aims, and therefore should be opposed.


Policies may change with time and circumstance, but the guiding principle remains true.

           

In this case, what we need throughout Britain, is determined advocacy for – and opposition to that which is incompatible with – the principle of Food Sovereignty and the practice of economic Localisation, with the aim of a sustainable and successful rural economy.

 

THINGS we CAN do as INDIVIDUALS – BUY BRITISH!

What can we do as individuals? Simple things: Buy local and British whenever possible. Buy the most animal-welfare friendly food you can afford.

 

As consumers, we have considerable power. It is empowering and satisfying to shop patriotically and ethically. As we change our attitudes, so we challenge the globalist economic system.

 

Sometimes when we look at the state of the economy, we may think we are simply snowflakes in the wind, but joined up snowflakes make avalanches!



BASIC PRINCIPLES of PATRIOTIC SOVEREIGNTY Series

Part 8: Food Sovereignty: An Essential of Independence.


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