My Little Socialist Workers Collective

Yesterday as I was answering the phones at Fedco I got messages from two folks wanting our catalog based on something they had read on the Daily Kos.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this liberal political blog it is well established and well-respected.  Tagline:  The STATE of the NATION.  I used to follow it closely when my political life was more active (i.e. when I was helping run gubernatorial and senatorial races).  But I had lost touch with it in more recent times.  I also kind of soured on it because it is a bit of a mouthpiece for the Dems.  But when I heard it mentioned twice on the Fedco catalog request line I was intrigued.

So here is how the little Workers Cooperative that I am a part of came to be mentioned in a big time political blog.  Every year when the catalog comes out each of our division coordinators writes an essay to introduce this year’s products and usually talk a bit about our philosophy.  Last year and again this year there have been mentions of communal ideals in both the seed essay (CR Lawn) and the essay in the Organic Growers Supply section (David Shipman).  Both years we have gotten reactions from right-wing zealots  chastising us for mixing business with politics.  I  want to say to them “So it’s okay for Halliburton,  Monsanto and the Koch brothers to do that but not okay for us???”  I usually restrain myself but not always.  It leads to some interesting conversations.

This year David’s essay really hit the big time though.  It got him noticed by a blogger on the Daily Kos.  I read Lao Hong Han’s very interesting essay and most of the comments.  Hurrah for all the folks who are growing their own and who get that what you grow and what you eat is a political act.  I most appreciate the commenter that noted that even if the right-wing is trying to launch a boycott against Fedco (REALLY???? come on now folks don’t you have anything better to do with your time???)  the company is still experiencing double-digit growth even in (or perhaps because of) the present economic situation.

Check out David’s and CR’s essays in the online catalog at and consider voting with your dollars for the kind of business practices you want to see continue to thrive.

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by HushedPuppy on May 22, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    “the company is still experiencing double-digit growth even in (or perhaps because of) the present economic situation.”

    Funny…the socialists are profiting from the remains of our once capitalist system.

    “(REALLY???? come on now folks don’t you have anything better to do with your time???)”

    I can’t think of anything better to do than not buy products from people who embrace the ideology of famines and genocides.

    “I want to say to them “So it’s okay for Halliburton, Monsanto and the Koch brothers to do that but not okay for us???””

    Um, no. It’s wrong of Haliburton and Monsanta and the Koch brothers to destroy the world. It is also wrong for Fedco to the same thing.


    • Somehow, I just knew from your user name this would not be a positive comment. But here goes: how the hell do you get to the “supporting famines and genicide” idea? We sell seeds that do just the opposite. Support farming in traditional sustainable ways. If you are a believer in the “green revolution” (and I am only guessing that this is what you are referring to) you need to go back and rethink what that scheme actually did. It forced traditional peoples to give up their subsistance farming (ie the ability to feed themselves) and grow chemically dependent mono cultures with expensive inputs for export. Expensive inputs that big agribusiness was more than happy to take all their money in exchange. Read exploitation. Everyone has a right to their opinions. Your’s just happen to be wrong.


  2. Posted by HushedPuppy on May 22, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    “. But here goes: how the hell do you get to the “supporting famines and genicide” idea?”

    Marxism, socialism, statism, and all of their various incarnations cause famines, mass murder, and other terrible things. Examine the history of famines in three nations that are shining examples of Marxism and statism – China, the Soviet Union, and Zimbabwe – for more details.

    “If you are a believer in the “green revolution” ”

    I’m a critic of the green revolution. I believe it will lead to the largest famine in history as it produces an artificially inflated population that is ever more dependent on an increasingly unsustainable means of agriculture. This will take some time though – and if Marxists and their “eat the rich” mentality gain power then it will be a whole lot sooner.

    “Read exploitation. ”

    I agree. It’s short sighted small minded damned foolish exploitation too…won’t matter how many Federal Reserve Notes you have in the digital bank when everything comes crashing down.

    “Your’s just happen to be wrong.”

    I don’t think you understood what I meant. Hopefully I’ve clarified it.


    • You have clarified and I appreciate it. And agree with your logic on most things. I only ask that you look more carefully at the mission of Fedco and try to get past the word Socialist. I may have used it a bit lightly but we are workers collective made up almost entirely of small farmers who are fighting the good fight against big agribusiness and their GMO ways. If you get right down to it I think you and I probably agree on a lot of things. Letting people control their own destiny, their own paychecks, and their own food source might be some of those things. You can call it socialism or collectivism or communism whatever ism you like but it is the only way that I feel secure in the knowledge that whatever comes down the road from the powers that be I will be able to feed and house and keep warm my little corner of the world.


      • Posted by HushedPuppy on May 23, 2011 at 6:03 PM

        The problem with collectivism/statism in all it’s forms is that YOU will become the powers that be. Yeah, it’s probably more thrilling to be the guy with your boot on some poor sap’s neck rather than being the poor sap – but the end result is the same. We almost agree – if you join the collective/state then you don’t actually believe in letting people control their own destiny, or their food.

        We human beings have become domesticated by the sociopaths, those shells that superficially look like human beings. As a result our natural characters and geniuses and minds all shrivel and die as we act like our masters. What you fail to grasp is that when you embrace the collective, when you support the state, when you say it is right for you to take from another because you want to for your own reasons – then you have become your own worst enemy, you have betrayed your truest principles, you have sold out, you have sold your soul to the devil for a pipe dream that will never be reality, you have joined the crowd that is leading us all down the slippery slope that infamous path paved with your good intentions.

        It is good and right to oppose agribusiness and GMO, for they are fascists, for they are statists, for they are collectivists. It is bad and even evil and wrong to do the same damn thing in a superficially different way.

        You seem like a nice person, someone who is trying to do the right thing. I get the same impression from the others at Fedco. Nice folks like you are the scariest people I know of. Nothing frightens me more than good people who want to eat the rich, or seize the reigns of power, or make everyone equal. Outright evil people like the Bushies, Clintons, and Richard Perles of the world know what they are and they know what it is they are doing, so they are slow and cautious and patient. When naive, ignorant, well intentioned fools think they can grab the tools and means of evil and just plow right through to a good end then things don’t just go to hell, they go there very quickly.

        I hope all goes well for you and Fedco – but there is some good news and some bad news likely headed your way. The good news is that you are very likely to get your socialism/collectivism/call it what you want. The bad news is the same. Be careful what you wish for!

      • Sorry it’s taken so long to reply. This is a busy time of year on a farm. My gut reaction to your reply is: do you mean “naive, ignorant, well intentioned fools” like the Freedom Riders, Abolitionist , Suffragettes, Gandi’s followers, peace protesters, environmental activists etc etc? They may have been naive and sometimes foolish but they accomplished great things.

  3. “This is a busy time of year on a farm.”

    Indeed, no need to apologize. If I get all my gardens in I’m only doing about 1/6th of an acre and it sure is time consuming (I’m doing it all with hand tools though).

    “do you mean “naive, ignorant, well intentioned fools” like the Freedom Riders, Abolitionist , Suffragettes, Gandi’s followers, peace protesters, environmental activists etc etc? ”

    I was thinking more of the followers/supporters of FDR (amongst many other sick things he kidnapped all the Japanese people in this country and put them prison camps and sent millions of people in Europe to their deaths by handing them and their lands over to Stalin because he thought Stalin was a great guy with a great philosophy), Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Mugabe, etc etc etc. They too accomplished great things, great in the sense of really really really big. That’s what I meant – and if you get your socialist dreams to come true, then you’ll get to see first hand why I’m appalled at Fedco’s support of the politics of mass death.


    • I still think it is a BIG leap from Fedco being a Worker’s Cooperative to “the politics of mass death”. I think of Fedco as the best place I have ever worked because decisions are made collectively and I believe in the basic goodness of humanity. Lots of sociological studies show that under stressful conditions people come together and help and protect each other. Unlike the urban myth of the need for shotguns to protect yourself and your “stash” if armegeddon happens. I think that those of us who are working on building on strong egalitarian communities are going to be much more able to withstand any vagaries of the economy.


  4. Hey! I forgot to change back to my other alias! Neat. If you want when things slow down a bit check out my poor man’s farming blog at

    And while I’m not fond of your politics, I do appreciate the good work you do as a farmer and as part of Fedco, so thanks for those valuable contributions to the world.


  5. To one who is familiar with history it is a very simple deduction from endorsing socialism to endorsing mass death. If you endorse the cause then you endorse the inevitable effect, even if you don’t understand it, don’t believe in it, and deny it to no end.

    People work together when they are free. When they are coerced and forced to work together then things don’t go so well.

    Egalitarianism is a crime against nature. People aren’t equal. We aren’t equal in height, weight, skin tone, eye color, ancestry, language, preferences in food music clothing cars transportation houses or anything else, or anything else. People aren’t equal. We are all different, at least by nature before we are forced to conform.

    Monsanto and the commodity food manufacturers are egalitarian food producers – they try to make every unit exactly the same. You are surely familiar with how that works out – bland flavorless characterless soulless picture perfect produce that can’t survive in nature – yet you strive to accomplish the exact same goal for human beings? Just as hybrids can’t survive in nature, and GMO seeds are even weaker and every modification makes them even weaker – so shall the same effect be wrought upon humanity by your insane bid to accomplish the impossible goal of making everyone into an equal. There is no such thing as a strong egalitarian community and there never will be. It is only by combining a wide and varied group of strengths to cover our wide and varied group of weaknesses that we can become strong – any attempt to produce a perfectly equal and uniform group of people will create equal strengths that do not cover for the equal weaknesses.

    Unless your community has the capacity to produce all of it’s own necessities (and I mean ALL) then you won’t be able to withstand a complete economic collapse. You might make it, but if you attempt to attain your utopian ideal then it ain’t gonna happen.


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