France: Call for support to Confereration Paysanne

On the 28th October 2014, nine militants of the Confederation Paysanne will be called in at Amiens court house. Their crime? Painting a giant graffiti and stripping down a few construction vehicles and a milking parlour on site. Yet this is not the most serious. They are brought in front of the judges because they targeted the “1000 cows” future milking factory; because they refused the industrialization of agriculture; because they chose action over the resignation to disappear. The number of small farmers is in free fall. While enabling in a first place the improvement of their working conditions, modernization has led to the industrialization of agriculture, which is progressively destroying the sector.

The selection of seeds on site, at the farm, is not an option anymore. The actors of the industrial companies dictate their rules and impose their GMOs.

It became impossible for the livestock farmer to manage his herd using his empirical knowledge, as the electronic tagging of young ruminants is mandatory. In the case of produces processed on the farm, the multiplication of sanitary standards encourages the industrialization of the production of goods.

These are only salient aspects of a movement encouraged by agricultural policies. The Common Agricultural Policy keeps supporting the expansion of structures to the expense of smaller farmers. The Future Agricultural Law, voted in September 2014, does nothing to protect the farmers. The end of the milk quota scheme will lead to an explosion of the production, to which many farmers will not survive. From all sides, actors of the agriculture industry and politics push the farmers to increase their volumes of production while reducing their costs. Everyone pretends to forget what is an overproduction crisis.

The “1000 cows farm-factory” is emblematic of this madness. 9 million litres of milk produced, sold 250 per tonne while farmers barely manage to get by with 350 euros; the milk becomes a by-product of the manure, used to fuel a giant biogas plant; a project only profitable thanks to subsidized energy production. Should the farmers witness the disappearance of their own profession without doing anything? It was about time to issue an alarm call, to express the urgency to react if we want to keep seeing farmers in the rural areas.

The Confederation Paysanne therefore took responsibility by going three times on the “1000 cows” factory construction site. Naturally there was a high risk to end up in court in front of a judge. Yet what does this risk means when compared to the disappearance of their profession?

Today, this legitimate action gets criminalized. The Confederation Paysanne went against the will of our governments, who only think stock exchange and balance of trade. The disruption of the order by militants leads to the repression of the trade union. Against us, the promoter of the “1000 cows” factory, Michel Ramery, has already placed the cows in the factory with impunity, despite flagrant irregularities and methods of intimidation strongly inspired by gangster movies. One can see clearly a double standard here.

The gravedigger of farmers, France 369th richest man, gets thus far more support than a few hundred thousand farmers. And it doesn’t matter that farms disappear from the landscape, that the desertification of rural areas intensifies, that the unemployment keeps rising, that we can only get a standardized alimentation, as long as the finance markets are fattening themselves up.

In this system, there is no space for contestation. In agriculture as anywhere else, nothing is exaggerated when it is a matter of protecting certain interests. The future of agriculture concerns all of us! We are standing with the militants of the Confederation Paysanne! We demand their acquittal!

First signatories :

Didier Aubé (Solidaires), Clémentine Autain (Ensemble), Geneviève Azam (Attact), Julien Bayou (EELV), Gilles Bazin (agronome), Olivier Besancenot (NPA), Simon Besnard (MRJC), Walter Bessan (citoyen résistant), Eric Beynel (Solidaires), Martine Billard (Parti de gauche), Nathalie Bonnet (Sud rail), José Bové (ancien syndicaliste), Alain Cambi (Sud Rail), Jacques Caplat (Agir pour l’environnement), André Chassaigne (PCF), Samuel Churin (Coordination des intermittents et précaires), Karima Delli (EELV), Marc Dufumier (agronome), Julien Durand (Acipa / NDDL), Bruno Gaccio (Nouvelle Donne), Jean Gadrey (économiste), Nicolas Galepides (Sud PTT), Susan George (Attac), Cécile Gondard Lalanne (Solidaires), Bernadette Groison (Fsu), Iban Grossier (Bizi), Jean-François Julliard (Greenpeace), Michel Kfoury (Novissen), Kris (scénariste BD), Martine Laplante (Amis de la terre), Pierre Larrouturou (Nouvelle Donne), Pierre Laurent (PCF), Gilles Lemaire (Attac), Corinne Lepage (Cap 21), Françoise Martres (Syndicat de la magistrature), Xavier Mathieu (Syndicaliste Conti), Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Parti de gauche), Fabien Milin (Sud Douanes), Jean Mouzat (Modef*), Serge Muller (Amis de la Conf’), Marie-Monique Robin (journaliste), Christian Rouaud (réalisateur), Denis Sieffert (journaliste), Jacques Testart (scientifique), Aurélie Trouvé (Attac), Hanny van Geel (Coordination européenne Via Campesina)