I’m not Ghanima, but as a card-carrying tree-hugger with degrees in environmental studies I’ll take a crack.
“Roundup Ready” are seeds that are designed to be resistant to Roundup, ‘a non-selective herbicide used to kill unwanted grasses and weeds.’ The idea is that you plant your RR seeds and then spray all the Roundup you want because it won’t harm your output. (It may still harm the ground, and the groundwater, and surrounding herbs, grasses and weeds.)
Hopefully this link will suggest an answer to both questions. Percy Schmeiser, a Canadian farmer, is being sued by Monsanto because they found some of their seed on his land, and he never paid for it. He insists that it blew over from someone else’s land, something that’s entirely possible. (The facts of this particular case may never be known, but I’m not comfortable with the fact that a company has the power to sue me, successfully, because of something that’s completely beyond my control.)
A lot of third-world farmers object to GMOs because they do the exact opposite: they save seeds from each year’s crop to use for next year’s. That way, even if they don’t have any money, they can still have a crop next year. If the seeds are sterile after a season, and they don’t have money, they don’t have anything at all.
Something that’s widely misunderstood about the ‘anti-globalization movement’ is that it’s utterly misnamed. I have worked extensively within this so-called movement and I have never heard anyone within the movement use the name (except as a matter of convenience when talking to someone else who used the name first).
‘Globalization’ just is, it’s an agglomeration of lots and lots and lots of processes, working interactively and sometimes conflictingly. For instance, the Seattle demo (a huge success within the ‘movement’) would never have happened without the Internet, a product of globalization.
The difficulty is that the problems they are ‘anti-’ are diverse and reflect local interests, which of course vary across the globe. There is no convenient label that they fall under. There are overarching themes that they share, but each person who attends an ‘anti-globalization’ demo is there for his/her own reasons: GMOs, SAPs, trade issues, labour issues, the list goes on. Plus, there’s nobody checking reservations at the door so anybody can go and protest anything they like. Just because I am at the same protest as Mr X in no way implies that I agree with Mr X. It’s a free country. We’re both entitled to be there.
It would be much more accurate to call it a movement of people who are against economic globalization, which is still much too broad a term to be really useful but refers approximately to the way money and profits are encouraged to flow across borders, and are given more consideration than human rights. This is the basis for objections to things like the WTO and to world economic summits and such things: the protesters are objecting to policies which privatize natural resources, putting them quite literaly in the hands of foreign investors and removing them from the hands of people who need them. There are countless cases of corporations suing governments for loss of profits, when governments tried to reclaim control of resources that their people needed to survive.
My own thoughts: I am cynical when anyone says “But this new technology will feed the starving!” People are not starving because there is not enough food. There is plenty of food. People are starving because their ability to produce their own food has been compromised (due to things like land grabs and GMOs) and they don’t have the money to buy food. I have no reason to believe that if GMOs were introduced to, say, Africa, they wouldn’t just pad the pockets of a small group of elites, with not much hunger averted.
If you’re interested in pursuing this issue, read Vandana Shiva, an Indian (‘anti-globalization’) activist who is concerned with biopiracy. This is an address she gave in Seattle in 1999 (I don’t know if it was from the big demo, tho.)