France & Farmers’ Protest: Confédération Paysanne calls for national mobilization

24 January 2024 | Press Release by Confédération Paysanne

The National Committee of the Confédération Paysanne, has expressed its full solidarity with the movements of farmers in France. The observation is shared: the expressed anger is legitimate, given the profound issue of peasant labor remuneration.

Twenty-five years ago, the Confédération Paysanne already denounced the consequences of liberalism, from Larzac to Seattle. Yet, French agriculture has been going around in circles for decades behind the sacred “competitiveness” cherished by agribusiness and globalized markets. The result: a dramatic massive layoff plan that is killing our rural areas.

The Confédération Paysanne has today decided to call on all departmental structures to express their solidarity with the movement, to mobilize, and to propose sustainable solutions to overcome the crisis and the system.

Our mobilizations will take various forms, depending on the local context. The common slogan of the Confédération Paysanne is clear: “A dignified income for all farmers” and “Break with free trade.”

While several departmental Confédération paysanne 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 Confédération paysanne of Rhône, Loire-Atlantique, and Var will demonstrate, on Friday in the Pyrénées-Orientales, this weekend in Brittany and Calvados…

Collectively, we want to provide real fundamental solutions to agricultural discontent.

We urgently demand a law prohibiting any agricultural price below our production costs and the immediate end of free trade agreement negotiations.

Successive governments and the FNSEA have jointly led agriculture into the current impasse of an ultraliberal, inequitable, and destructive economic system. We will alert our colleagues to the mirage of “eliminating standards” and that of “additional income” through energy production.

Certainly, administrative simplification is necessary because many administrative procedures and hygiene standards are unsuitable for the reality of our farms. But let’s not mistake the target. The demand of the majority of farmers protesting is to live decently from their profession, not to deny health and climate issues or to further erode our meager social rights.

It is not, as the leaders of the FNSEA do, by asking to be able to destroy hedges, by instrumentalizing the fallow land issue, by evading the question of fair land and water sharing, by negotiating advantages for agrofuel production, that we will solve the deep-seated problems of our peasant profession, producing food for our fellow citizens.

We will fight on the ground against any form of cooption of our anger to fuel chaos, encourage withdrawal into oneself, and ultimately pursue the forward flight of a system that pits us against each other. We also call for peaceful mobilizations respecting individuals, public property, and free from racism, sexism, or any other form of discrimination.

What we need is to tackle the root of the problem by providing more social and economic protection to farmers. Establishment of guaranteed prices for our agricultural products, implementation of minimum entry prices for the national territory, economic support for agroecological transition commensurate with the challenges, priority for installation against enlargement, stopping the artificialization of agricultural lands: let’s unite on future solutions to positively transform this anger and break free from the stagnation that has gripped the agricultural world for too long.