Is It Time To Occupy Cargill?

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As the largest privately-owned corporation in the United States, Cargill is a classic example of too much power in the hands of too few, and a disturbing indicator of how corporate greed literally makes us sick.

[The Occupy movement] is about the corporate takeover of democracy of our lives in every way. The food movement is inherently anti-corporate and it is inherently about rebuilding a real economy… Occupy Wall Street is not just about banking legislation…  It’s all connected.” – Author and activist Naomi Klein

Cargill Inc., a multi-national corporation worth $120+ billion dollars, is privately held almost exclusively by about 100 family members. Seven of these Cargill family members are billionaires. Cargill has done business in a way that has monopolized our food supply and held global citizens and governments alike hostage as they manipulate prices for commodities upon which our very lives depend.

Four Reasons Why Cargill is on Occupy Wall Street protesters’ shit list:

1.    Cargill is the Goldman Sachs of commodities trading,” according to Mark Connelly, an analyst at Credit Agricole Securities USA in New York. “They have real-time insight into dozens of markets and use it to add value in all their businesses.”

The company reported $4.2 billion in record profits in the same fiscal year that world hunger rates, rainforest destruction rates in palm-oil producing countries, and world economic downturns all hit crisis. With a CEO like Greg Page cheerleading deregulation and weakening enforcement of international and domestic oversight agencies, this is the pillage-and-plunder free market he always wanted.

2.    They’re not part of the food chain; they are the chain, says Dan Basse, president of Chicago-based research firm AgResource Co.

Monopolization of food production, processing and distribution has allowed agribusiness giants to push developing governments around, using hoarding and speculation to manipulate prices and punish regulation attempts. Cargill was implicated in the “Tortilla Wars” in Mexico in 2007 for driving up the cost of corn on purpose. So much for “nourishing the world.”

3.    Cargill sidestepped at least $9 billion in taxes in 2010. Reuters’ Lisa Lee reported in January 2011 that the “Cargill Valuation Validates the Wall St. Rules of Thumb” in regards to their spin-off of Mosaic fertilizer company. When the a charitable trust for the late Margaret Cargill (great-granddaughter of the founder) needed cash for her namesake foundation, the company’s financial contortionists manipulated the maneuver to reach $9 billion in “tax savings.”

People before profit

OccupyMN is doing fantastic organizing, right in Cargill's backyard, to expose and stop corporate greed, along with hundreds of other occupations happening around the world.

4.    Cargill manipulates your concern about world hunger to undermine real solutions.
CEO Greg Page encourages executives to intensely lobby government officials for zero regulation on food industry in favor of “free markets” in order to promote “food security.” All the while, Cargill is weakening oversight of food supply chains that incentivizes slave labor, destroys environments, and obliterates localized food systems, endangering public health. Cargill wants to “nourish the world” by bankrupting farmers and selling the world crappy, toxic, spoiled food. The turkey recall was truly just the tip of the iceberg.

So here’s my question to you:

Given that:
a) Cargill’s corporate greed and monopolization of food markets has contributed to/exacerbated our most dire problems (hunger, environmental destruction, climate chaos, worker exploitation, etc.);
b) Cargill has facilities in nearly all 50 states in addition to 62 other countries;
c) And the Occupy/Decolonize movement is rising up to challenge corporate power and end greedy exploitation…

Is it time to Occupy Cargill?

13 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. This is an amazing compilation of all of the corporate crime against the world and it’s citizens. Cargill is not a business or corporation, rather it is a monopolization of the rights of the human species. They “own” us and it’s time to Occupy Cargill. Sat Nam!

  2. Jon says:

    If you can’t bea ‘em, join ‘em.

  3. You Lie says:

    You do not know what you are talking about. Plain and simple. Your sources are pieces of a story taken out of context. Research, research, research…

  4. Mike G says:

    Hey @You Lie,

    Hillary cited multiple sources, including Forbes and Bloomberg, hardly publications that are unfair to corporate interests, as well as Reuters. If you have some research to contradict those sources, it would be immensely more productive if you actually provided them, rather than just lobbing unsupported accusations.

    But then again, baseless accusations might have been your sole purpose. I notice you used a fake email address with your comment — so much for standing behind your statement, eh? I also notice from your IP address that you’re in Minneapolis. I’m guessing the chances you don’t work for Cargill are slim to none.

  5. Laury Bueno says:

    Someday, 50 years ahead, you’ll look back and you’ll realize how idiot you were… Nothing changes.

  6. Rub-of-Snuff says:

    Ah yes, Hillary V. Lehr…the paragon of environmental and economic virtues. It is because of economic infants such as Hillary that the United States has deliberately de-industrialized its society over the past 40 years.

    By the way – what exactly are degrees in Socio-Political Ecology and Anthropology? I’m confounded you see – Hmmmm….maybe its because I’m a real scientist.

    I guess she didn’t vote for John McCain.

  7. Staysuhhn says:

    Awesome article Hillary!

  8. inmediasres says:

    This is not the first time I’ve heard negative things about Cargill. I will definitely check the labels on all products I purchase to avoid supporting this company if it is at all possible; or at the very least, take heed to avoid palm oil in general, since it causes so many problems. Thank you for this article Hillary, please do not be discouraged by the negative comments. We as humans have the right to ask questions, rather than blindly following what we are told, and you are right in encouraging us to question the operations of such a powerful and influential company.

  9. Brad Wilson says:

    Cargill’s biggest impact is in lobbying to lower US global farm commodity prices so they can buy their raw materials at below fair trade prices and even below zero. It’s rarely been an issue of volatility, but rather has been a problem of stable lower and lower prices. In free markets, farm prices don’t self correct on either supply or demand sides. They lack price responsiveness. Therefore farmers and farming countries need price floors backed up supply reductions as needed, plus for occasional price spikes, price ceilings and reserve supplies to protect consumers and other buyers. The US export market share for key farm crops has long been much bigger than OPEC in oil, but Congress & our Presidents have lowered prices for Cargill & friends, while OPEC has raised them. These reductions (since 1952) have added up to trillions for Cargill, ADM, etc., by my calculations. Subsidy reforms blame the victims, ie. corn farmers, who got 200 billion in subsidies but had prices reduced 1.3 trillion, for a reduction of more than a trillion (adjusted for inflation, since 1942-52). Occupy must succeed where the food movement has failed, in directly confronting Cargill in the farm bill. Mere subsidy reforms (with zero price floors) support Cargill, so the food movement must change.

  10. CONSUMER 007 says:

    VERY SIMPLE: A PRIVATELY HELD GREEDY COMPANY LIKE CARGILL DOES NOT GOOD TO ECONOMICS AND NO GOOD TO OUR COUNTRY. THEY DON’T HAVE TO DISCLOSE EARNINGS INFO. IT’S TIME THEY GET PUT OUT OF BUSINESS – FOR THE SAKE OF OUR FUTURE

  11. James says:

    Article written on Cargill Website:

    “During the last few days, Cargill employees in various geographies have been receiving unsolicited email from an American NGO called the Rainforest Action Network (RAN). These emails are making false claims about our palm oil business practices and asking employees to take action.

    For context, Corporate Affairs wants to provide you with the facts about Cargill’s palm oil business and previous interactions with RAN.

    For more than four years, Cargill has tried to work with and engage RAN. We have gone to their offices to meet with their leadership, met with representatives in Asia and offered to address their concerns. We even hosted RAN staff at our Harapan Indonesia oil palm plantation. RAN refuses to have a constructive engagement with us to understand how we are operating our palm oil businesses in a sustainable fashion, helping small holder oil palm farmers be more successful and protecting important wildlife like orangutans.

    RAN’s allegations are completely unfounded and untrue. Cargill has been recognized as a leader in palm oil sustainability by many environmental NGOs like WWF, Conservation International, Wild Asia and Fauna & Flora International (FFI). We have worked constructively with these environmental NGOs to address sustainability, environmental, social, small holder and orangutan preservation issues. We actually funded a program with FFI where we found two new orangutan populations that were previously unknown to science, as part of a study to preserve orangutan habitat.

    Leading the industry forward
    Cargill is a leader in oil palm sustainability. We were one of the first companies to get an oil palm plantation and its associated small holders certified as sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). We have made a corporate commitment that we will have a certified sustainable palm oil supply chain by 2015 to the developed economies and 2020 to the rest of the world. We have a global team set up working with all of the business units that handle palm oil to make sure we are on track to meet our sustainability commitment. This includes both business units that process palm oil and those that trade it.

    A good example of Cargill’s progress is that more than 90 percent of the palm oil we originate from Indonesia comes from RSPO members. This is up from 60 percent just three years ago. In addition, we do not source from plantations that have been proven to act unsustainably. For instance, we do not and will not source from the plantation RAN mentioned in its email.

    Cargill is proud to be seen as a leader in palm oil sustainability, helping small holder farmers to be more productive sustainably and is taking actions to protect and preserve orangutans in the wild.”

    Hillary,

    Get your facts straight and stop attempting to brainwash people with non legitimate accusations. Those following the misguided words of the advocators for RAN and Occupy (enter noun) are just as uneducated as the people that allowed themselves to be exploited by the bank and credit industries. Principles rooted in the so-called American dream lead the feeble-minded on to believe they can afford things they don’t need with money they don’t have. Arguably, these same principles that allowed for the development of free market capitalism in America sprouted the industrial revolution and the alienation of the working class.

    If you’re looking for someone to blame, blame Henry Ford for the principle of the assembly line and the greedy diplomats and politicians that allowed such an economy and mindset to develop. Don’t blame the companies that are playing the brutal game of modern economics and business trade. At least Cargill, Inc donates not only time and money but actual business units for the development of local small scale farming and environmental sustainability. If you did your research you would know that most of the money Cargill earns gets put right back into the company in order to expand the idea of Food Safety to regions of the world that are not as fortunate.

    Yes, I do work for Cargill and no I don’t have a degree in Socio-Political Ecology and Anthropology rather I majored in Biochemistry and German. Your pretentious ideas will do nothing more than bring a brief period of speculation. Logic gains the trust of people but after digressing your preaching, I find little logic for the big picture. It’s ok though, I was a hippy with grandiose utopian dreams once, too.
    Maybe spend more time researching rather than toking up in Northern California and then trying to convey false pretenses.

    -Peace.Love.MoneyForEveryone

  12. @James-

    Wow, Cargill is lucky to have an employee like you. Thanks for your advice to quit smoking so much pot and ‘do some research’. You really inspired me! I did just that, and here’s what I found: http://bit.ly/X1oZDn.

    Thanks for sharing your personal beliefs and academic majors with us. It is so fascinating what you studied in school. I’m also really glad to hear that you gave up your ‘grandiose utopian hippy dreams’ to work at Cargill… seems like you made the right move. Just imagine, if you hadn’t given up on your ideals and gotten a ‘real’ job, maybe you would be spending your days leaving comments on blogs that make personal attacks on people you’ve never met. Sure wouldn’t want to set that happen to you, James.

    Also, I’ll be honest. I haven’t yet looked into blaming Henry Ford for all our problems, but I will. ;)

    Your friend from “NorCal,”

    Hillary

  13. drew hempel says:

    I remember when “Freedom” in 2000 chained herself to a car that blocked the entrance to Cargill’s corporate headquarters. It was only covered in the local “national petroleum radio” station for 2 minutes. Imagine – the world’s largest private corporation is promoted by the Strib news paper and “public” radio in Minnesota. Mind control at its best. http://www.aznlover.com/community/archive/index.php/t-63190.html

Trackbacks For This Post

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