Tom Philpott: Border Sanity Via Farm Policy

If we agree that a global economic system hinged on export and long-distance trade is energy-intensive, and that US policy (and by extension, IMF, World Bank, and WTO policy) has for decades worked to
subsidize and promote global trade, then a way forward comes into view.
An environmentalism that challenges this fundamental status quo has real potential to bolster sustainability. By developing and promoting local production for local consumption on both sides of the border, the US economy can wean itself from its schizophrenic addiction to disenfranchised Mexican labor. And the Mexican economy can begin to work for its own citizens, not for the global investor class.

To do so means forging cross-border coalitions to challenge the assumption that state power exists to promote long-distance trade. One place to start: the 2007 Farm Bill, which Congress will soon take up. The
bill will govern how the government subsidizes agriculture. Since the 1970s, the federal government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars
rewarding bulk production of environmentally ruinous commodities like corn, which also threaten rural livelihoods in Mexico.

Let’s work to rewire federal farm policy to promote organic agriculture destined for nearby consumption. Ending the commodity-corn subsidy alone will instantly provide relief to beleaguered rural Mexicans now contemplating a hazardous trip north to a nation that both relies on and scorns them.

Toward a Green Agenda on Immigration, By Tom Philpott,, Wednesday 12 April 2006 (via Truthout and Roberto Calderon’s list).

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