Corn Crisis

The impact of U.S. food policy on Mexican farmers

By Oxfam International

Corn is the basis of our culture, our identity, adaptability and diversity. Corn created us, and we created corn.”
Exhibition Sin maí­z, no hay paí­s, or Without corn, there is no country

Mexico City, 2003

“We are only able to subsidize Mexican corn with the lives of the people that produce it. The only way we can compete with North American prices is to give up the basic necessities.”
 Ví­ctor Suí¡rez, executive director of the National Association of Rural Producers’ Enterprises (ANEC)

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Power of Place and Space

Local dimensions of imperial economic and development policy

The word “imperialism” is back on the radar of political discourse, after lying dormant for many years, thanks to the Bush administration’s willingness to throw the weight of the United States around with abandon. Imperialism is a useful word. Just as the concept of “internal colonialism” was helpful to people thinking about power and injustice in the 1960s, imperialism can be brought home to good effect for today’s activists and movement leaders. But as an analytical term, it needs to be deepened beyond sweeping statements like, “U.S. imperialism is ravaging the globe”—which are so broad as to be mere slogans—if we are to apply it to conditions of race, poverty and the environment in California and nationwide.

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From the Director's Desk

What does the topic of “imperialism” have to do with environmental and social justice?

This historical and political term is again a subject of debate in large part because of the war in Iraq. Anti-war organizers have used it to critique U.S. government administration of Iraq’s territory, and military and political systems. But as an analytical term, imperialism is also useful to examine broader issues, such as corporate-driven globalization. The “free trade” agreements being devised by wealthy nations and investors allow for foreign control of not just trade, but of environmental regulation; farming and agricultural policy; water extraction and delivery systems; health care; education; and other public services in poor and developing nations across the globe.

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