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We buy food at the supermarket; so we don't generally experience -- directly -- the association between fuel and food. The connection, however, is every bit as central in the current food production regime as the link between aircraft engines and their fuel. Industrial monocropping for global distribution is "neither tooled nor organized for oil at $120-a-barrel." It is not just the far-flung food transport network (much of it refrigerated and fuel-hungry) that creates the intimate dependency on oil; it is the whole scheme called industrial (or corporate, or "modern") agriculture.
This oil/food link -- during the onset of what some call the Peak Oil event -- has resulted almost overnight in steep food-price inflation, hitting peripheral economies like a tsunami.
Half the world's population survives on less than $2 per person per day. Even an increase of a few pennies for a kilo of rice can threaten survival on such a slender margin. That -- on the surface -- is why we are witnessing an outbreak of food riots around the globe.The unexamined assumption, however, is that it's somehow natural for human beings to be in the position of abject dependence on cash money to obtain food.
We said that we are seeing the outlines of "an historic opportunity to change the terms of theory and practice for a politics of resistance." In a real sense, however, we are suggesting a return to a perennial politics of resistance: the defense of "peasant" (smallholder, local) agriculture against imperial profit-takers. We are embarking upon an epoch that might best be called "imperial capitalist exterminism," in which billions of people may be left -- through calculated villainy or sheer stupidity -- to the tender mercies of war, pestilence, and famine as "externalities" of the so-called "free market."