A review: Food, Health and Capitalism: Covid-19 and Beyond

Anarchist Communist Group – Books & Pamphlets
https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/publications/

Price: £3.50, including postage, for this 44 page pamphlet.
Order your copy via PayPal to londonacg@gmail.com

Over the last few years, we’ve had stalls at a number of vegan fairs. While we’ve met some interesting people at these fairs, overall, they don’t tend to be that political in character. Which is why we turn up to try and put some politics into the discussions at these events! The impact of the COVID-19 crisis will hopefully prompt more people to ask questions about how we get our food, leading to them looking at the politics of this.

While we’ve always had a range of literature on our stalls looking at various aspects of how our food is produced and the numerous problems there are with that, we’ve never really had anything to hand that pulls all of the arguments together. In particular, we’ve never really had anything that links capitalism to what’s wrong with how we get our food. Food, Health and Capitalism: Covid-19 and Beyond goes a long way to addressing that need.

The pamphlet starts by looking at the roots of the COVID-19 crisis, focusing on human pressure on wildlife habitats as a result of increasing intensification of agricultural practices. COVID-19 is regarded as a zoonotic disease – one that has moved from animals to humans. What the pamphlet does from the start is look at how this intensification is driven by the demands of the capitalist system for profit, regardless of the cost to the environment and human health. For us, this focus is essential because trust us when we say this, there are always a few misanthropic elements in veganism who seem only too happy to try and posit the problem as being one of human overpopulation!

Food, Health and Capitalism: Covid-19 and Beyond then takes a broader look at industrial scale agriculture. It details its addiction to pesticides, antibiotics and synthetic fertilisers and how these are a symptom of the pressure to create as much food as possible at as low a cost that can be managed in order to boost profits. It also points out that despite these levels of production, capitalist industrial agriculture fails to address the issue of hunger because there’s no profit to be gained from feeding people who can’t afford to buy food. Quite often, these people were productive subsistence farmers who could meet their needs without adversely impacting the local ecology before they were turfed off their land to make way for large scale agribusiness.

The pamphlet then moves on to the rising consumption of meat produced unethically and unsustainably, and how that ultimately impacts our health in an adverse way. All the time putting capitalism and the drive for profit regardless of the consequences under the spotlight. It has all of the arguments we need to start politicising a fair few of the people we meet at vegan fairs! Food, Health and Capitalism: Covid-19 and Beyond also looks at the way over-processed food impacts our health with a clear focus on the role the class divide plays in this.

Food, Health and Capitalism: Covid-19 and Beyond makes the point that capitalism has alienated us from having any meaningful voice or role in how our food is produced. It concludes with the Basic Principles of a Revolutionary New Food and Agriculture System. These lay out what has to be done to give us ownership over how we get our food. Some of these are things that can be done in the here and now such as community farms, gardens and kitchens. Essentially, this is building the new world we want in the shell of the failing order we currently have to endure. The more ambitious aims will ultimately, require a revolution.

This is the first of a series of pamphlets the Anarchist Communist Group will be producing on the issues of food and agriculture. The topics to be addressed in future publications will include the ecological crisis, world hunger, agribusiness, land ownership and alternatives to capitalist/industrial agriculture. When all of these pamphlets have been produced, they will be a superb resource. In the meantime, once we resume having stalls, we’ll be delighted to have the chance to promote Food, Health and Capitalism: Covid-19 and Beyond.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s