Farmers' Movement in Europe

Submitted by westartfromhere on January 30, 2024

Farmers' slogans:

Geld für die Welt aus unserer aller Tasche! Für's eigene Volk bleiben nur Schutt und Asche.
Money for the World from all our pockets! All that remains for our own people is rubble and ashes.

L'agriculture enfant on en reve, adulte on en creve.
Farming as a child is a dream; as an adult it's a death wish.

Do readers have any thoughts on the ongoing struggle of working farmers across Belgium, France, Germany, Romania, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, Wales... against the European states? Particularly, the strategy of blocking the political economy by means of road blocks.


1 month ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on January 30, 2024

On the autonomy of the farmers' movement from the arbitrators between capital and labour:

Significantly, farmers’ protests are escalating outside the control of the farmers’ associations that hold talks with the capitalist state: the National Federation of Unions of Agricultural Owners (FNSEA), the Rural Coordination and the Peasant Confederation. These organizations did not give an order either for the initial blockade of the Toulouse-Bayonne highway that started the protests, nor for the blockades of key A6 and A7 highways, cutting off traffic between France’s three largest cities, Paris, Lyon and Marseille.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, leaders of the farmers’ associations met with newly-installed French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and promised their membership that they would find “hundreds of millions of euros” to deal with the problems facing farmers.

Anger continued to mount, however, and farmers’ protests spread and received support from taxi drivers who mounted go-slow operations in Toulouse and Bordeaux. Farmers protesting yesterday outside the police prefecture in Agen covered it in manure and torched the façade of the building.

Today, protests are expected in 85 of France’s 100 departments and also in cities, including Lyon, Bordeaux, Amiens, Orange, Bourges, Bayonne, Agen, Périgueux and Angoulême.

There are also indications that, as in Germany, farmers could soon blockade the national capital. FNSEA President Arnaud Rousseau went on France2 television yesterday to warn of a “historically unprecedented explosion of the agricultural community,” attacked “violence, because sometimes it is not very far away,” and added that blockading Paris was “not an option” he was considering. However, convoys of dozens of tractors are reportedly converging on Paris, both from Picardy to the north and from the Essonne department to the south.


1 month ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on January 30, 2024

Interviews with strikers today:


1 month ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on January 30, 2024

On the French state's reaction to the movement:

As it became clear the farmers planned to encircle the city, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, held a crisis meeting with key cabinet ministers on what was being called “Operation Paris Siege”. Prisca Thevenot, a government spokesperson, said announcements would be made on Tuesday. “The whole government and the president are mobilised,” she said.

The interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, said 15,000 police and gendarmes had been mobilised to prevent the tractors from entering Paris and other cities where protests were happening...


1 month ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on January 30, 2024

We should recall that the farmers' movement in India led to the repeal by the Indian State of the cynically titled, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, that removed the minimum support price guaranteed to farmers for the product of their labour.

Submitted by westartfromhere on January 31, 2024

westartfromhere wrote: Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020

The cynical wording of this law enacted and repealed by the Indian State brings to mind the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, 1933.


1 month ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on February 2, 2024

Workers block seat of European Parliament, Strasbourg, and major centre of commodity distribution, Rungis, 1/2/2024.


1 month ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on February 3, 2024

A preliminary counsel of struggle was held yesterday (2/2/2024) at Welshpool Livestock market. 1100 attended the meeting to discuss the proposed exactions on farmers by the Welsh Parliament/Senedd, which aim to facilitate global trade and that will devastate domestic production of foodstuff if implemented.

Guerre de Classe

1 month ago

Submitted by Guerre de Classe on February 3, 2024

Caught between the agro-industrial mafia and state-capitalist diktats, many farmers can't take it anymore

Ecology and the peasantry or capitalism and agribusiness ?

Friday, January 26, 2024

Machine translation from

Here is a selected press review on the strong protest movement of farmers underway, after these few remarks.

- For the agricultural sector, as everywhere, all states regulate the "free " capitalist market in various ways, which would otherwise be even more chaotic and destructive. The level of protection depends on the balance of power with the sectors concerned and their importance to the state.
In the long term and on a planetary scale, the regulation of capitalism can only be very limited because this economic model must produce more and more money, necessarily to the detriment of humans, workers and nature.
As long as we remain in this state/capitalist model, farmers are bound to be harmed.

- Farmers have to work far too much, and on top of that, often with very low incomes, or none at all !
What multinational executive would agree to work without an income at the end of the day? ?

In capitalism there can be no fair competition

- Farmers often complain about unfair competition from other countries where standards are looser and wages are lower.
True, but in fact in capitalism there can be no fair competition, because every situation is different. And even if fair competition existed, that doesn't mean that competition is a problem, a piece of rubbish.
The principles of capitalism, including competition, lead to specialization by region. One region produces a product competitively in monocultures and irrigates the whole country, or even the entire planet, with this product. This means that each region is dependent on imports (by truck, boat, plane, etc.) of everything that it does not produce for reasons of competition, but that it could otherwise produce (outside of capitalism and industrial civilization) locally in a fair and ecological way, respecting farmers, soils, biodiversity, water cycles, etc. public health, etc. (The example cited in the media of imports from New Zealand of agricultural products that can be produced in France is telling).

The free market backed by statism is a lose-lose situation

- The media and farmers often talk about free trade to complain about it (and rightly so), but let's not forget that the social model that underpins and manufactures this free trade is capitalism. Free trade, price deregulation, competition, reduction of workers' incomes, concentration, speculation, margins of intermediaries and traders... are indispensable for the survival of capitalism. It is inconsistent to dismiss these evils, some of the consequences of capitalism, while continuing to accept capitalism. With capitalism, you can't have your cake and eat it too, except for billionaires and multinationals.
With capitalism, even with strong regulations/corrections, we will always lose globally in the long run, even if some seem to be temporarily " winning ".
With capitalism, what you gain here is lost or destroyed elsewhere. Only the richest and wealthiest are "winners" (at least as long as disasters such as global warming or insurrections have not caught up with them). The free market backed by statism (and vice versa) is rather a lose-lose situation if we look at the global scale and over time.

- The peasantry, like ecology, has no livable future in this state-capitalist system.
Peasantry and ecology are actually closely linked. The ways in which we produce and distribute our food are totally linked to ecological issues. It is impossible to neglect one of these two poles.
The (pseudo) ecology of the market and the state is the enemy of ecology... and peasants. Productivist industrial agriculture is the enemy of the peasants... and ecology.
So the choice is: sustainable/just ecology and peasantry or unsustainable/unjust capitalism, technocracy and agribusiness ?
It is a vital choice of society, which concerns peasants, farmers, and everyone.

- Major blockades of highways and roads, slurry and waste in prefectures and others, the premises of a state agency destroyed by explosives, goods stolen from trucks destroyed on the highway, fires in front of various buildings, threats... These include actions by farmers in recent days. And here, miraculously, the right-wing government and the other right-wing, the extreme right-wing media of the billionaires do not talk 24 hours a day about rioters, violence, " hostage-taking ", terrorism, attacks on the republic, radicalized ultra-agri-people, etc. Cops are not sent en masse to bludgeon, mutilate, gasse, arrest, file, put on trial... And the government seems very quickly to listen, ready to give in on many points.
Let us hope, as a matter of equality, that this fortunate impromptu and radical change of doctrine will apply in the same way to the next social and ecological protests that are frankly marked on the left.
Because in the past, during the struggle for pensions or when environmental protests practiced a tenth of what farmers are doing now, they were very harshly repressed and decried.

Caught between the agro-industrial mafia and state-capitalist diktats, many farmers can't take it anymore

The Peasant Confederation enters the struggle, in Drôme and elsewhere

- In the Drôme:

Press release from the Conf of 24 January: Agricultural malaise: This is the way out of the crisis ! - While agricultural anger has spread to our department, the Confédération paysanne de la Drôme is in solidarity with the movement and wants to make its proposals.
Press conference at 2 p.m. Friday, January 26: MEETING - Press conference / Agricultural malaise - The Confédération paysanne de la Drôme is in solidarity with the movement and wants to make its proposals. There is no country without peasants, who are numerous and paid ! (...) The anger expressed is legitimate, as the problem of the remuneration of peasant labour is so deep.
Successive governments and the FNSEA have jointly led agriculture into the current impasse of an ultra-liberal, inequitable and destructive economic system.
The Farmers' Confederation wishes to provide real fundamental solutions to the agricultural malaise, sustainable solutions to the crisis and the system. We are therefore urgently calling for a law prohibiting any agricultural price below our cost prices and for an immediate end to the free trade agreement negotiations. (...)

Caught between the agro-industrial mafia and state-capitalist diktats, many farmers can't take it anymore

- In Drôme, this Friday 26 January, the blocking points should be in Tain-Tournon, on the A7 towards Montélimar, on the motorway near Romans... be continued
Press release from the Conf:

📢The Farmers' Confederation calls for mobilization for large numbers of paid peasants !
👉The National Committee of the Confédération paysanne meeting today affirms its full solidarity with the farmers' movements in France. The observation is shared: the anger expressed is legitimate, as the problem of the remuneration of peasant work is so deep. Twenty-five years ago, the Confédération paysanne was already denouncing the consequences of liberalism, from Larzac to Seattle.
👉On the other hand, when it comes to the solutions proposed, French agriculture has been going around in circles for decades behind the sacrosanct "competitiveness " dear to agribusiness and globalized markets. The result: a dramatic mass layoff plan that is killing our countryside.
👉The National Peasant Confederation has today taken the decision to call on all departmental structures to express their solidarity with the movement, to mobilize and to bring sustainable solutions to the crisis and the system.
👨 🌾👩 🌾🚜🚜 Our mobilizations will take various forms, depending on the local context. The common slogan of the Peasant Confederation is clear: "A dignified income for all peasants" and "Break with free trade " ».
While several departmental peasant confederations were already mobilized on the ground, the decision of our National Committee will amplify this mobilization. Several dozen departments have already planned to mobilize to obtain concrete solutions for all farmers. Tomorrow, the Peasant Confederation of the Rhône, Loire-Atlantique and Var will demonstrate, on Friday in the Eastern Pyrenees, this weekend in Brittany and Calvados...
👉We collectively want to provide real fundamental solutions to the agricultural malaise. We are therefore urgently calling for a law prohibiting any agricultural price below our cost prices and for an immediate end to the free trade agreement negotiations.

Successive governments and the FNSEA have jointly led agriculture into the current impasse of an ultra-liberal, inequitable and destructive economic system. We will alert our colleagues to the mirage of "abolishing standards " and that of "supplementing income " through energy production.
Of course, administrative simplification is necessary because many administrative procedures and health standards are not adapted to the reality of our farms. But let's not get the target wrong. The demand of the majority of the farmers who are demonstrating is to live with dignity from their profession, not to deny the health and climate issues or to cut even more on our meagre social rights.

It is not, as the leaders of the FNSEA are doing, by asking to be able to destroy hedgerows, by instrumentalizing the subject of fallows, by evading the question of the equitable sharing of land and water, by negotiating advantages for the production of agrofuels, that we will solve in depth the problems of our profession as farmers, producer of food for our fellow citizens.

We will fight on the ground against any form of recuperation of our anger in order to stir up chaos, encourage withdrawal into oneself and ultimately continue the headlong rush of a system that puts us in competition with each other. We also call for peaceful mobilizations that respect people, public property and free of racism, sexism or any other form of discrimination.
What we need is to address the root causes of the problem by providing more social and economic protection for farmers.

✅The introduction of guaranteed prices for our agricultural products, the introduction of minimum entry prices into the national territory, economic support for the agroecological transition that is commensurate with the challenges, priority to installation in the face of expansion, an end to the artificialization of agricultural land: let's come together on solutions for the future to positively transform this anger and get out of the doldrums in which the agricultural world has been plunged for too long.

(see also below in Nantes on 25 January)

Caught between the agro-industrial mafia and state-capitalist diktats, many farmers can't take it anymore

Why We Are All Angry Peasants

- Why We Are All Angry Peasants
For several months now, the peasant world has been in turmoil: at first confined to several days of action organized by the powerful employers' unions FNSEA and Young Farmers, it has turned into a slightly more spontaneous movement of anger that is implementing shocking actions to block traffic flows, particularly in the south-west of the country. In the rest of the population, the attitude of the local and national authorities is rightly pointed out, which would have been much more repressive if this kind of action had been carried out by trade unionists, environmentalists and yellow vests. Others, on the left, are worried about the contradictions of the movement: demands for a decent standard of living are mixed with an anti-ecological discourse, international competition is criticised but the official representatives of the peasant world – such as the president of the FNSEA Arnaud Rousseau – are close to the large groups that benefit from it... And yet, by showing farmers that we are with them, we can counter the harm that governments and industrialists are doing to all of us.
As for the media's treatment of the difficulties of the peasant world, it often leaves something to be desired, as we explained in this article. Everything seems to be done not to address the subjects that are annoying, and which risk exposing the food industry, the successive governments and the entire French and European agricultural model, which is messing around at the top of its lungs. The infallible proof of the unhealthy nature of the system is the suicide rate of farmers, which is significantly higher than the rest of the population (the risk of death by suicide is 43.2% higher than that of other workers, according to the Mutualité Sociale Agricole). This means that the organisation of an entire sector leads producers to end their lives because they feel so squeezed and without a prospect for the future. The poverty rate among farmers is 18 percent (14.5 percent in the general population) and their incomes have fallen by an average of 40 percent in 30 years, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Finally, free trade agreements are always unfair, since production standards are not the same from one country to another and it is the least socially and environmentally friendly country that will be the most competitive... Not to mention the ecological aberration of importing meat and dairy products from the other side of the world when the same thing can be produced locally.
French farmers generally feel that they are not paid enough for their work. Indeed, most of them are caught up in a system wherethey are not in control of the selling price of their products and are forced to sell their products at knock-down prices to industrialists who are much stronger than themselves.
Great fortunes have been built up on this fortification of the agri-food industry and mass distribution: the Leclercs, Mulliez (Auchan), Besnier (Lactalis) have fattened up... while a whole part of the agricultural world remained made up of small farmers who are no longer a match for such giants. According to the French Observatory of Prices and Margins, only 10%, on average, of the selling price of an agricultural product goes to producers.
In 2022, the price of inputs used by farmers for their agricultural activity increased by 25.9 %, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. By "inputs" we mean fertilizers and soil improvers (the prices of which increased in 2022 by ... 74.8 % !), energy and lubricants (+41.6 %), and animal feed (+24.9 %). How can we not understand that farmers feel strangled ? Inevitably, when Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced the end of the tax advantage for farmers on non-road diesel (RNG), anger reached a new level. As at the beginning of the yellow vest movement, farmers are mobilizing against a tax that has ecological motives (disincentivizing the use of fossil fuels) but which will first weigh on people who are already on the edge of the abyss.
To live on aid or to live off work ? The cumbersome administrative procedures that weigh on French farmers are due in particular to the fact that a very significant part of their income is closely linked to obtaining aid, starting with the famous CAP, for "Common Agricultural Policy".
Dependence on CAP aid undermines the morale of farmers, who feel that they do not really make a living from their work and that they are dependent on changing regulations. In addition, the low level of their income makes 10% of them dependent on social benefits such as the RSA and the activity bonus. when they use it, since, according to our colleagues at Reporterre, 50 to 60% of them do not apply for the aid to which they are entitled
The government is linked to the agri-food industry, as it is to all large companies: the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, has appointed a lobbyist from the ANIA (National Association of Food Industries, the leading agri-food lobby) to the position of communications advisor.
It is understandable that for the agro-industry, which benefits from the lowest possible agricultural production costs, the reduction of environmental standards is a potential positive effect of free trade... But how would this be favourable to French farmers who, as many say about the blockades, as our colleagues from Reporterre point out, to whom farmers blocking the A64 motorway have declared: "we would like to set up ecological standards on our farms, it's just that there is no support or too little funding for this".
In short, agricultural ecology is not in power, far from it, and to claim that farmers are first and foremost victims of environmental standards is a pure lie.
But why is the FNSEA agitating this lie, when it is at the service of farmers ? While it is supposed to represent all farmers, in their diversity, the FNSEA is led by industrialists. Its current chairman, Arnaud Rousseau, also heads the board of directors of the Avril Group, an international agro-industrial group of French origin specialising in human food, animal feed, energy and renewable chemistry. He owns subsidiaries such as Puget (olive oil), Lesieur or Matines (eggs). The conflict of interest is clear: this man is in charge of defending peasants whom his own group has an interest in not overpaying, in leading and keeping under his thumb. Under these conditions, it is not surprising that the FNSEA is directing the anger of farmers to obtain a reduction in environmental standards and an alignment with a more productivist international competition.
For example, in the past, wages were indexed to inflation. In France, it's over since Mitterrand. Since then, inflation and the increasingly low balance of power at work have reduced our wages. So much so that from now on, a whole part of the population, salaried and self-employed, can no longer make a living from their work. Like farmers, more and more of us are forced to resort to the activity bonus, a scheme created under François Hollande so that the taxpayer can compensate for the low wages of employees and the low prices of farmers.
The more of us who reach out to farmers and support them, sharing common demands – making a good living from one's work is the first one, stopping being subjected to forced globalisation is another – the more we will be able to bring them towards what binds us all together. By focusing the mobilization on the ecological issue, which is necessarily divisive because it opposes the desire of farmers to produce more and that of citizens to live in a healthier and more sustainable environment, the FNSEA, the right, the RN and its satellites want to kill what could lead to the great social revolt of the year 2024. As at the time of the Yellow Vests, it is up to the left and the unions, as well as all the other professional categories that are suffering from Macronism and capitalism, to take advantage of this window of opportunity and to rush into the fight, alongside farmers.
This is a big step forward compared to previous social movements. Because if this great social revolt happens, we will have much more than a forklift truck by our side.

Caught between the agro-industrial mafia and state-capitalist diktats, many farmers can't take it anymore


– A very real suffering co-opted by the agribusiness lobby –

On Friday 19 January, an explosion blew through the ground floor of the DREAL de l'Aude – the Regional Directorate for the Environment, Planning and Housing. A government building is destroyed by a bomb. The action was claimed by the CAV or Comité d'Action Viticole, an underground group of wine producers.

🔴 Breakage allowed
This action is part of a strong movement in the agricultural world. In addition to this explosion, there have been numerous acts of sabotage for several weeks, very powerful blockades of highways by tractors, ransacked prefectures... On 22 January, a high-speed train line near Sète was even blocked by tractors, moving tyres and waste onto the rails.
All of these actions are impressive. We remember that an anti-terrorist procedure was opened against the "ultra-left " in 2008 for having disrupted a TGV line: the lamentable Tarnac affair. We also remember the mass arrests and mutilations during demonstrations for minimal damage compared to the actions carried out by farmers. We remember the accusations of "eco-terrorism " about the demonstrations for water resources in Sainte-Soline. As for the explosion of a public building, we prefer not to even imagine the repressive and media consequences if it came from an anti-capitalist group.
Here, none of that. Emmanuel Macron calls on prefects to listen to the "problems " of angry farmers. Gabriel Attal received their representatives directly at Matignon. The far-right channel Cnews, which usually worries about "savagery " and " violence ", supports the movement and puts its logo upside down in solidarity, like farmers knocking down road signs. When a protest movement is so covered by the billionaires' media and the government, there is something wrong with it.

🔴 A real malaise
Let's be clear: the agricultural world has every reason to revolt. France is a large agrarian country and in 1945 had 10 million peasants, more than a quarter of the population. There were only 400,000 farmers in 2019, a division by 20.
It's a whole world that's gone. Know-how, sociability, living countryside that has been killed. Productivism has destroyed everything, the land consolidation of the 1960s has created large plots of land concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, agribusiness has transformed peasants into entrepreneurs forced to produce more and more in order to be profitable and obtain subsidies, all sprayed with pesticides.
Today, farmers are hard hit by suicides, which are very common in the profession, but also by accidents, illnesses, loneliness and the pressures of mass distribution. There is no doubt that the agricultural labour force is suffering.
In the coming years, a large proportion of farmers will retire, and there is a great risk that the land will be bought up by large groups that will accumulate hectares, further reinforcing the productivist logic at the expense of small producers.

🔴 A co-optation by the government-linked agribusiness lobby
What is even more tragic is that this agricultural world in distress is throwing itself into the arms of those who are responsible for its misfortunes.
The man we currently see parading on TV sets and in government offices is called Arnaud Rousseau. He can be heard on the radio saying " what farmers want is to restore some dignity to their profession ».
However, Arnaud Rousseau is one of those who destroy the dignity of this profession. He heads the FNSEA, a powerful agribusiness lobby linked to the government. It is the FNSEA that encourages productivism, neoliberal agriculture and deregulation. It is the FNSEA that allows the big farmers to eat the small ones. It was the FNSEA that destroyed the peasantry. It is therefore disconcerting to see that the organization responsible for the peasants' malaise has become its mouthpiece.
But it gets worse. In addition to running the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau is the head of a huge 700-hectare farm and president of the Avril Group, a multinational agribusiness company specialising in oil, which made more than €9 billion in revenue in 2022. Yes, 9 billion.
The reasons for these record numbers? Inflation. His group increased its turnover by 32% compared to 2021, and above all made 218 million euros in profits, an increase of 45% over one year. Rousseau enriched himself on the working classes who paid more. He is also Managing Director of Biogaz du Multien, a company specialising in anaerobic digestion.
Arnaud Rousseau is not a peasant attached to his land. He is an entrepreneur, a big boss who rules over his acres like a manager would rule over a factory. He is a graduate of the European Business School in Paris, and brokers agricultural commodities on the financial markets. What do Arnaud Rousseau have in common with the small farmer in Brittany who struggles to make ends meet ? None. Except that the former lives on the misery of the latter.

🔴 The peasant world is a class struggle
Let's go back to the explosion in the South of France. Last November, nearly 6000 winegrowers gathered in Narbonne at the call of the FNSEA, and denounced the catastrophic situation of winegrowers in 2023. Among those responsible: "extremist environmentalists" who, according to them, impose " untenable" standards ».
At the time, the FNSEA was calling on the government to provide emergency aid and limit competition with foreign wines, while many French winegrowers themselves benefit from the export of their wines. The main demand was therefore a form of Trump-style protectionism, from which everyone loses (except the bosses).
The fact remains that the Comité d'Action Viticole has the right to plant bombs even though any social protest is crushed with an iron fist. The CAV has committed numerous attacks since the 1960s, including killing a policeman or blowing up a PS office near a school, without its members being really worried.
Is the farmers' anger doomed to be co-opted by agribusiness lobbies, much to the satisfaction of the neoliberals in power ? No. There is also the Confédération Paysanne, a left-wing trade union, opposed to productivist agriculture and rather alter-globalisation, which denounces the solutions put forward by the FNSEA.
Opposed to land grabbing and intensive agriculture, the Confédération Paysanne really fights for the dignity of the profession, for the end of monopolies in the countryside and the return to the land.
In the case of winegrowers, the Confederation highlighted the hypocrisy of intensive agriculture that survives thanks to subsidies, and explained that "deploring poor harvests linked to drought in a general context of overproduction " made no sense " when we must consider regulatory and solidarity measures to limit the flagrant distortion between irrigated and non-irrigated sectorsor the proposal to destroy the most isolated plots.

🔴 For an agriculture that respects people and the land
And guess what ? The Confédération Paysanne was repressed. When she defends the bocage of Notre-Dame-des-Landes against an airport project. When she protests against GMOs or pesticides. When it fights against land grabbing by agribusiness or megabasins. The members of this union are then gassed, arrested, portrayed as dangerous protesters in the media, and no longer as sympathetic angry farmers.

For those in power, there are the "good " agricultural revolts and the bad ones. Given the media coverage of the current protest, it is easy to guess what interests are being defended.

But make no mistake: no solution will come from proposals to support industrial and polluting agriculture. It is the agricultural model that needs to be changed, not just the size of allocations or ecological rules. If the anger of the peasants is just, the targets it aims at are not: there is indeed a class struggle between large farmers and small producers, and it is this that must be revived. Beyond the Confédération Paysanne, experiments are taking place everywhere for a different kind of agriculture, respectful of the earth, diversity and living things.

(post by Counterattack)

Caught between the agro-industrial mafia and state-capitalist diktats, many farmers can't take it anymore

The mobilizations of the agricultural world are multifaceted

Blockades of highways, but also actions in front of banks, in front of large retail chains, or even in front of agribusiness behemoths such as Lactalis. The mobilizations of the agricultural world are indeed multifaceted.
This diversity of targets and modes of action is a good illustration of the currents that are currently running through the peasant world, with on the one hand, an FNSEA that tries to put on a good face, by giving the impression that it controls the movement and seeks to blame environmental policies, and on the other, farmers who denounce in particular the practices of mass distribution, of certain agribusiness leaders, or the unfair competition allowed by free trade agreements. And then in between, a whole bunch of people who want to express their anger, sometimes their distress.
There is everything in this movement, some good, and some bad, sometimes very bad, it must be admitted. Nevertheless, if we do not talk to each other, the FNSEA will be able to continue to antagonize us and prevent any dialogue with a large part of the peasant world, which is nevertheless also a victim of the horrors of capitalism and productivism.

- Video:

(post by CND)

Caught between the agro-industrial mafia and state-capitalist diktats, many farmers can't take it anymore


The statements of the Minister of the Interior are often appalling or depressing, but this time, Gérald Darmanin announces excellent news for all the revolted people of this country.

All this does not constitute "damage " for the Minister of the Interior. So much the better, until now the government's discourse has been the complete opposite

➡️ First piece of good news. Regarding the farmers' anger, he said: "There are no plans for evacuation by the security forces" because " there is no degradation ". For weeks, farmers have been ransacking the entrances to many prefectures, blocking highways by lighting huge fires and placing barricades, putting tires on TGV lines... A state building was even blown up by a bomb in the Aude, an action claimed by winegrowers. All this does not constitute "damage " for the Minister of the Interior. So much the better, until now the government's discourse was totally the opposite: the slightest damage to property was criminalized to the maximum and exposed to imprisonment or mutilation. Darmanin's remarks are therefore an argument to be used in all trials for simple tags or other actions in demonstrations.

➡️ The second piece of good news is. He also said: " We don't send the CRS to people who are suffering. This is another excellent statement, because tens of millions of people are suffering in France: young people who can no longer find housing and food normally, suburban residents who suffer social and racial discrimination, healthcare workers, precarious workers, the unemployed, the undocumented, the millions of people who demonstrated for pensions... All these people are suffering. Darmanin promised them that there would be no more CRS. If he is telling the truth, all these "suffering " people will finally be able to take the Élysée, the places of power, and bring down this unjust and illegitimate regime!

Unless... Darmanin still doesn't give a damn about the world, and that his remarks only concern the farmers of the FNSEA ?

(post by Counterattack)

Indeed, Darmanin persists in Le Monde:
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on Wednesday evening gave instructions of "great moderation" to prefects, asking them to only call in the police as a " last resort ", while farmers' actions are multiplying. " I would like to remind you of the instruction of great moderation expected from the forces of law and order under your authority ," the minister wrote in the instruction.
The police deployed "in the vicinity of public buildings" will only " be authorized to intervene " " as a last resort ", the minister added, and " only in the case where the integrity of people is threatened or the buildings exposed to serious damage »
Ecology, scapegoat for agricultural anger

- Ecology, scapegoat for agricultural anger
Among the angry farmers' grievances, "environmental constraints " are singled out. What if ecology was just a scapegoat, so as not to tackle the real causes of agricultural distress ?
For all the environmental and peasant activists we interviewed, there is no need to go around the watering trough: the main cause of agricultural distress is not the ecological transition, but the lack of income. " We're not surprised by what's happening," said Laurence Marandola, spokesperson for the Confédération paysanne. The common denominator in all these mobilizations, the demand that comes up all the time, is that of remuneration. If we had selling prices that allowed us to live, we would be more comfortable to deal with the vagaries of the weather and the various health crises. »
« It's not so much the environmental or health standards that are being denounced, but the feeling that there are more and more standards even though farmers are unable to make a living from their work ," adds Aurélie Trouvé. In other words, says the deputy, " we ask them to make more efforts but we do not protect them from imports of products that do not comply with these standards, we do not guarantee them prices that allow them to live properly and to engage in ecological bifurcation". Last autumn, the government refused to fund agroecology and swept away the €600 million in additional aid requested to support organic farming.
In other words, environmentalists and angry farmers are making the same observation of social and economic malaise... but do not draw the same analysis from it. " I share their distress and I consider their demands to be legitimate, but they do not identify the right culprits," he said. Accusing environmentalists when we are not in power... We Greens did not vote for this CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] which only benefits a few, we did not vote for free trade agreements that deregulate prices. »

He also points to a growing gap between the mobilised farmers and the national leaderships of the majority agricultural unions: " What farmers are denouncing are the consequences of the policies of successive governments, with which the FNSEA has always been associated. Véronique Marchesseau, secretary general of the Confédération paysanne, agrees: " There is a misappropriation by the trade union leaders of the FNSEA, the JA and the Rural Coordination of the real reasons for our difficulties," she stresses. In order not to call into question the productivist and ultra-liberal economic system defended by these unions, they looked for other culprits. Ecology has thus been the perfect scapegoat.
The Farmers' Confederation is pushing for the executive to tackle " the real causes of the problem: the pittance of farmers against each other ».
To appease the anger of the agricultural world, the minority union has its solutions. " The government must stop negotiations on free trade agreements and go back on those previously signed," says Laurence Marandola. We must also prohibit the sale of our products below their cost price. The same is true of the Nourrir collective: " Improving minimum social benefits, pensions, facilitating holidays and access to housing... all this may seem far from ecology, says Clotilde Bato, co-president of the network. Yet, social well-being must be guaranteed so that farmers can then take care of the climate and the land. »
More regulation, better pay, even a "guaranteed minimum wage " ... These are all measures defended by the left-wing environmental parties. " The left must stand with farmers, in the face of neoliberal Europe, Macronism and the agri-food industries," Aurélie Trouvé also stressed, drawing a parallel with the Yellow Vests. All this is compatible with our ecological claims. »
« It wiped us out": Free trade is killing French agriculture

- ' It wiped us out': Free trade kills French agriculture - Trade liberalisation treaties ratified by Europe with the endorsement of France are a scourge for French farmers. Their lower standards give an advantage to exporting countries.
(...) « Abolishing these standards is just a mirage ," warns Sylvie Colas, national secretary of the Confédération paysanne. For her, the absolute urgency is quite different: to break with free trade. " The trade liberalisation treaties signed between the European Union and various foreign countries create real unfair competition for us," explains the market gardener and poultry farmer in the Gers. As they are not subject to the same standards, imported products have low prices... thus dragging ours down. (...) " With Emmanuel Macron's approval, Europe continues to negotiate and ratify such agreements. Each time, they increase the quotas for duty-free imports of agricultural products from the other side of the planet. The latest is the agreement with New Zealand, supported by 83 % of MEPs in November 2023. It plans to eventually eliminate all customs duties on kiwis, apples, onions, honey, etc. as well as 10,000 tonnes of beef per year, 15,000 tonnes of butter, 25,000 tonnes of cheese and 15,000 tonnes of powdered milk. " It's not cane sugar or mangoes, it's food that we know how to produce in Europe ," continues the employee of the Observatory of Multinationals. (...) As necessary as environmental standards are, she denounces a battle on unequal terms: " We waste time and money ensuring the traceability of meat, where that of imported products is not required. Some veterinary products that are banned here for human health and animal welfare are allowed there. »
So what's the point of being stubborn like this ? For Maxime Combes, Europe is rushing to sign new agreements to get its hands on resources considered essential in the greening of the economy. Namely, lithium, copper or hydrogen: " To help European multinationals open markets in countries like Chile or Kenya, you have to buy something from them in exchange. Here, agricultural products. As for New Zealand, Michèle Boudoin describes similar geopolitical manoeuvres. " In the corridors of Brussels, the message is clear: we need an ally in the Pacific, even if it means making our local farmers toast. »
One thing is certain, in the eyes of Sylvie Colas: pointing the finger at environmental standards is the wrong target. " Deforestation in the Amazon and the carbon emissions induced by the transport of products are accelerating the climate crisis. And it has no borders ," insists the national secretary of the Farmers' Confederation. In his department of Gers, this autumn, soaring temperatures would have facilitated the spread of a disease in cattle farms.

- About the World :
(...) The Confédération paysanne, the third largest agricultural union in France, classified on the left, called Wednesday all its members "to mobilize " with farmers already on the ground, while stressing to disagree with the "solutions proposed " by the majority unions.
« While several departmental peasant confederations were already mobilized on the ground, the decision of our national committee will amplify this mobilization ," the organization said in a statement, stressing that it would fight "against any form of recuperation of [these] anger" of farmers " to stir up chaos ».
For the Peasant Confederation, " the observation is shared: the anger expressed is legitimate, as the problem of the remuneration of peasant work is so deep ." On the other hand, " on the proposed solutions, French agriculture has been going around in circles for decades behind the sacrosanct 'competitiveness' dear to agribusiness and globalised markets," the organisation added in an allusion to the FNSEA-Young Farmers trade union duo. (...)
Miscellaneous Articles:

In Brussels, the far right is flirting with farmers - Around 50 farmers gathered on 24 January in front of the European Parliament in Brussels. The far right has tried to become a mouthpiece for their anger. (...) What does this rally, admittedly organized by right-wing forces, reveal? Could the turmoil in the countryside massively benefit far-right parties in the next European elections? Met at the European Parliament on the sidelines of the demonstration, Green MEP David Cormand said he was not worried: " The far right knows nothing about agriculture and, thanks to this movement, the masks will come off. »
« The problem is not Europe or environmental standards, he continues. It is free trade and a common agricultural policy that benefits only a few, and which has been voted for by the right and the far right. The problem is also this triangle of hell, which we are the only ones to fight: agribusiness with extremely intensive methods, the agri-food giants and the large retailers who make their margins. This debate is timely. »
Double standards: Two spokespersons for the Earth Uprisings still targeted by the justice system (...) " His conclusions were a foregone conclusion ," according to Léna Lazare, contacted by Reporterre. " This report will be used to create an anti-riot bill. They want to introduce the notion of implicit incitement to violence. In it, we can put anything and everything to dissolve organizations that disrupt," she continues. At his side, Vincent Gay, the secretary general of Attac, confirms: " We were summoned by this commission of inquiry and we quickly understood that the challenge was to develop a logic of the internal enemy to see in the demonstrations only barbarism in order to frighten the population. (...) A double standard denounced by the rebellious MP Éric Coquerel. " I searched in vain for a tweet from Gérald Darmanin about the explosion of the Dreal building. Nothing. It's astonishing to see that the minister criminalises the environmental movement but doesn't say a word about the actions of some agricultural unions," said the politician who was present at the rally of support. He refers to the term "eco-terrorist " used by the Minister of the Interior just after Sainte-Soline as an insult to environmental activists.
Today, no politician has yet dared to call angry farmers " agroterrorists ". However, the list of violent actions perpetrated by members of the majority agricultural union FNSEA over the past sixty years is out of all proportion to the environmental mobilizations, as documented by Basta journalists. In the face of this, the government prefers to remain silent.
Gérald Darmanin even gave instructions to the prefects on Wednesday evening for " great moderation ", according to Le Monde. Law enforcement should only intervene as a last resort.
Land or nothing ! - The sources of anger behind the current farmers' blockades are diverse. The land issue is outsourced, even though it is central. What if we started from the use and ownership of the land to reverse the cycle of destruction of the soil, the living and the savage ? This text from November 2022 has lost none of its relevance.
Land reclamation
Émilie and Jérôme, cattle farmers: "We can't get by anymore " - Lack of aid, anxiety at the end of the month... Jérôme and Émilie, breeders near Toulouse, do not earn any income from their work. They have joined the growing protest movement in the region. (...) Like many other demonstrators, Jérôme and his partner were seduced by " the independence of the movement. Far from the unions, which do not represent us, as does the Minister of Agriculture. These are people who don't know the agricultural world and the situations we live in

Ecology can save agriculture: here's how - Floor prices, audit on agricultural debts, moratorium on free trade, social security for food... Environmentalists are teeming with ideas to respond to the agricultural crisis. Will they be heard? ?

Caught between the agro-industrial mafia and state-capitalist diktats, many farmers can't take it anymore


– Nantes leads the way: while the FNSEA spreads its agribusiness, the Conf' ploughs the capital –

Don't get us wrong, on Thursday, January 25 in Nantes there were not one, but two farmers' gatherings. One in front of the prefecture, the other roundabout of Armor, two distinct symbols. The first involved the FNSEA and refused any other union to its side in order to defend only neo-liberal objectives. The other is on a nerve centre of the ring road, the roundabout in front of the " Atlantis" shopping malls often blocked by the Yellow Vests, where the Confédération Paysanne filtered the traffic for a little more than 2 hours in order to distribute the leaflet of their demands .

The Conf', unlike the FNSEA, has chosen to directly target the consumer empire because this is what is at stake in the world of tomorrow. The problems faced today at the agricultural level are particularly complex and will not be solved without everyone's involvement. Successive governments have only widened the gap of precariousness, and the class war they are waging has a consequence: the majority of the population must feed themselves " at the cheapest, most economical ".

Behind this private label or discounter market lies a problem that has a direct impact on the remuneration of agricultural products, and therefore of farmers. In order to be ever more profitable and competitive, supermarkets will seek the cheapest offer that only other countries can offer, where the economic and environmental constraints are less. In summary, it is much cheaper to produce certain equivalent foodstuffs in other countries that are very far away than in France. The first demand of the farmers of the Armor roundabout is to stop this mechanism: STOP free trade in order to stop the extinction of the French peasantry. This demand goes hand in hand with another: to prohibit the purchase of agricultural products below their cost price, which seems quite logical and which is nevertheless the exception in certain sectors.

Unlike the majority union, the Confédération Paysanne, its sympathizers and members aim to offer solutions to the problems known to all today: the sharing of resources and a reflection on the evolution of production systems according to tomorrow's constraints. Climate change, soil impoverishment, the maintenance of small farms and their transmission are all subjects on which we must not skimp in order to build a sustainable future for all, and for our children. The FNSEA would obviously like to abolish environmental constraints in order to continue to lead the profession into the wall. By defending agribusiness, the FNSEA is only preserving the cause of the problem, it is the capitalist and liberal model that must be rejected, not environmental standards ! Let's support a peasant model, both virtuous and fair for everyone !

In conclusion, although some demands may be common with the FNSEA, the Conf' has just opened the ball in the 44 and it is only the first manifestation of a movement that is likely to grow if the government remains deaf to the demands. In order to continue to feed the population healthily, farmers need a fair income and long-term security for the profession. Hear me out !

- What to do ? -
In the face of this hated and detestable regime, everyone is just waiting for the spark. What if it came from farmers ? But how do we react to this ambiguous revolt full of contradictions? ?

➡️ On the one hand, the FNSEA and the Young Farmers who are working with the Macron government. They are businessmen disguised as peasants, like the head of the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau, who comes from a business school, who speculates on agricultural products and owns 700 hectares of land, or Jérémy Decercle, the former president of the Young Farmers, now elected En Marche. The mainstream media and the government fully validate their actions, even when they attack the prefectures and symbols of the state.
➡️ On the other hand, smallholders, strangled by European rules, threatened by climate change, stifled by the trap of agribusiness that forces them to produce more and more, to be ever more isolated, poorly paid, suffering. These two worlds are, in principle, incompatible and even enemies. At the same time, however, they find themselves on the roads. The result is a paradoxical situation.
➡️ In the Lot-et-Garonne, the leader of the movement is Serge Bousquet-Cassagne, a millionaire agro-industrialist who enjoys total impunity, and who spits on the Yellow Vests on the air of Cnews. He is the father of an RN elected official, he is the one who organizes the rallies in front of the prefecture of Agen. Last year, the Green politician Marine Tondelier was physically threatened.
➡️ In the Tarn, farmers who demand gainful work are at the same time opposing the A69 motorway project alongside environmentalists.
➡️ In Nantes, the Armor roundabout, the one of the Yellow Vests of 2018, will be blocked by the Confédération Paysanne this Thursday.
➡️ Everywhere, attacks by McDonald's, banks, blockades... with which one can only feel sympathy.
➡️ So what to do ? Why not join the blockades, participate in them, support the small farmers in struggle and their anger towards their class enemies and not against ecology.

- Video:
« We don't respond to suffering by sending riot police ," dares Gérald Darmanin.

Except for:

Young people from working-class neighbourhoods
The Yellow Vests
The Exiles
The Fire Brigade
Protesters for pensions
Football spectators...

Such a statement by the most repressive government in decades, hitting ever-wider sections of the population, can only be a perverse and deliberate provocation.

(posts from Counter-Attack)
Far from the ultra-liberal demands of the FNSEA

In Draguignan in the Var, the Peasant Conference is mobilizing 600 sheep and tractors to demand remunerative prices and an end to free trade agreements.
Far from the ultra-liberal demands of the FNSEA and close to those who are suffering the full force of the hyper-industrialization of agriculture.
- Video:

(post by CND)
A few useful reminders: Peasants: The Story of a Mass Extinction... state-planned agriculture, a powerful agricultural elite, and capitalist imperatives

- Peasants: The Story of a Mass Extinction...
While they represented a third of French workers in 1946, peasants are now an endangered species. From the modernisation of the "Thirty Glorious Years " to the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy in the 1990s, their spectacular disappearance is not a historical accident. It is the story of a dispossession, desired by the state and a powerful agricultural elite, in favor of an industrial agriculture concentrating land and machinery.


4 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on February 4, 2024

- Major blockades of highways and roads, slurry and waste in prefectures and others, the premises of a state agency destroyed by explosives, goods stolen from trucks destroyed on the highway, fires in front of various buildings, threats... These include actions by farmers in recent days. And here, miraculously... Cops are not sent en masse to bludgeon, mutilate, gas, arrest, file, put on trial...

Logistically, the forces of order are not capable of using the same tactics on the rural proletariat as on the proletariat concentrated en masse in the city. Once the rural proletariat converges on centres of capital—Rugis, Brussels, London, for example—"15,000 police and gendarmes had been mobilised to prevent the tractors from entering Paris and other cities", mass arrests have taken place, as well as gas and bludgeoning (Parliament Square, 15/9/2004, witnessed a particularly ferocious attack on workers from the countryside by the Police in revenge for an earlier mass march to Hyde Park), and we are not privvy to state files.

Faced with this, we can fear that the revolutionaries will remain in their usual posture, aligning the empty formulas of ideology, without trying to understand how to take advantage of the situation. Despite some positive developments since 2018 [?], it is clear that we remain generally incapable of changing our operating methods, and even more so, our way of understanding society and its uprisings.

Some babble, Groupe Révolutionnaire Charlatan, The Left, progress and the countryman


4 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on February 5, 2024

Les routiers join the party pour l'anarchie.


2 weeks 6 days ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on February 13, 2024

Parallel movement on the Indian sub-continent reemerges:

Police in northern India have fired tear gas to prevent thousands of protesting farmers demanding minimum crop prices from marching on Delhi.

The capital is ringed by razor wire, cement blocks and fencing on three sides to keep protests at bay.

The government fears a repeat of 2020

British state broadcaster, 13/2/2024


2 weeks 6 days ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on February 13, 2024

The forces of bourgeois order now have a new weapon—utilised against farmers' protest in India—in their arsenal against the insurgent proletariat: dropping tear gas canisters from drones.


1 week 2 days ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on February 24, 2024

Tensions and standoff between farmers and the forces de l'ordre at Paris International Agricultural Show, Sat, 24 Feb 2024. The normal cycle of commerce at the Show is disrupted and subverted.


1 week ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on February 26, 2024

Forces of order expel tear gas and water cannon at the gathering of the proletariat of the countryside; incendiary devices and projectiles in return fire, fire and physical barriers set up as barricades; Bruxelles, 26/2/2024.

Submitted by westartfromhere on February 26, 2024

Guerre de Classe, 3 weeks 1 day ago, wrote: Caught between the agro-industrial mafia and state-capitalist diktats, many farmers can't take it anymore: Ecology and the peasantry or capitalism and agribusiness?

Comrade, please note that in English "the peasantry" has a specific meaning historically, which refers to past feudal relations of production between feudal peasants and landed gentry. The class war at present is between agricultural labour and the bourgeois state, acting on behalf of bourgeois landowners and industrialists.

"Mafia" means specifically criminal business conglomerates.


3 days 23 hours ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on February 29, 2024

"GNOJOWICA NA ULICACH BRUKSELI". Shit against shit: Belgium riot Police retreat faced by faeces. 26/2/2024