13 April & 11 May: The ZAD, France
The ZAD airport squatters in Nantes, north west France, have called for 100,000 activists to join them on 11 May for their biggest mass action ever and for growers to visit to sow seeds on 13 April. The squatted anti-capitalist and non-hierarchical protest site on the proposed zone of a new airport in Nantes saw 40,000 grassroots activists re-occupy it in November 2012. Now they’re working with local farmers to produce their own food.
There are sure to be dozens, hundreds or thousands of UK activists cycling, hitching and even grouping together in vans and trains to visit and support the ZAD. Lots of the residents of Grow Heathrow, the organic community gardeners squatting Heathrow’s proposed third runway, are hoping to visit the ZAD this summer, along with lots of Reclaim the Fields activists and more.
Check out the ZAD’s website:
- ZAD: limited updates in English
- ZAD: lots of updates in French
- ZAD: automatic translation of updates of info in French
and the action’s website:
SOW YOUR ZAD
Following more than forty years of struggle against the airport and three
years of land occupation we, the farmers in struggle, resisting local
inhabitants and rebel friends from all over the planet have saved this
land from blind pillage and barren urbanisation.
Several generations of farmers have shaped the history and the wooded
landscape surrounding Notre Dame des Landes. From the past fights of farm
workers unions to the present struggle against the airport, the spirit of
resistance has crossed generations. However under the pressure of the
state some inhabitants and farmers have been forced to give up their lands
to Vinci (the multinational construction company commissioned to build the
airport). To date this has left over 600 acres of land free.
Together we will reclaim this land and continue to cultivate it
collectively! There are many of us already organised in various forms of
collectives, but there is room for more projects. We are inviting farmers
and peasants without land from every horizon to join us on the ZAD. So
that crops can begin to grow this spring, we suggest that you already
begin to think about installing long term projects. Whilst respecting this
welcoming land, come and set up here with your desires, tools and “garden
sheds,” this really is one of the most efficient ways to struggle.
Here are a few suggestions of types of agricultural projects that could be
set up here : Reforestation, arboriculture, market gardening,
agro-ecology, permaculture, production of cereals and pulses, Bakers,
Brewers, flower and medicinal herb growing, compassionate livestock
farming, beekeeping, horse drawn agriculture, rearing rare breeds. This
autonomous zone also needs crafts(wo)men skills: wood workers,
blacksmiths, potters, weavers and those with know how in renewable energies.
Here we are fighting a polluting airport project but more widely we
struggle against the pillage of the earth and the privatisation of all
that lives. Through our ways of life and our actions, we are also
concretely struggling against productivist agriculture that has become the
toxic dependency of Europe, a practice that force feeds humans and animals
with GMO’s, fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals. We fight against the
contamination of our soils, our water, our living world and its
atmosphere. We are against climate chaos. We refuse the destruction of
subsistence agriculture everywhere, which weakens humanity and brings
famine in its wake. We are against the processed food lobbys which lead
peasants and farmers into debt, forcing them into ‘normalised’ production
for profit and making us all dependent on fossil fuels to feed ourselves.
Resistance to the cataclysm of capitalism includes becoming locally
independent in our production of food. We are many defending this land so
that it will not be devastated and we will continue to defend it from
becoming a toxic market commodity. We want water, land, healthy food and a
home to be within reach of all for free. We invite those fighting these
struggles to create cooperative autonomous agricultural collectives on la
ZAD, so that together we can progressively develop, our autonomous
subsistence and cultural diversity. It is the multitude of cultures,
backgrounds and struggles that forms the richness of la ZAD. Let’s show
the political parasites that resistance is fertile here. So that this
vital energy blossoms we will continue to grow roots here and pollinate
the rest of the earth. On the 13th of April 2013, linked with the
International day of peasant struggles, we are calling on all those who
support our movement to take part in a mass action to sow the lands of La
From the Peasants Assembly Sow Your ZAD
Background to the Callout
“When the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is
for the people and for each portion of the people the most sacred of
rights and the most indispensable of duties” Declaration of the Rights of
Man and woman of 24 June 1793 – Article 35
We did not chose to rebel for pleasure, nor hatred, but because humanity
has no choice but to change their behavior to ensure its survival. We are
at a turning point in the history of life on Earth. In less than two
centuries human hyperactivity has jeopardized 3.5 million years of
evolution of life. We are right now responsible for the sixth mass
extinction of species. This is why, on the ZAD and elsewhere, we prepare
the ground so that 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 … billion human beings can land, and
live free, equal and in harmony with the rest of life. It is urgent and we
invite those who hear us to organize locally so human activity can have a
beneficial rather than negative impact the environment.
There was a time when the human rights of women and the rights of people
to self-determination, were claims made by current politics called
socialism … It is time that those who claim that ideology wonder about
the reasons for their history of approriation and consequences of their
actions on humanity and the planet. We have long observed the world around
us, whether politically, socially, economically, environmentally … the
development model imposed on us every day demonstrates that it is in
distress. We do not expect anything that promises archaic hegemonic power.
We refuse to feed and enrich the exploiters, bosses, bosses, banks, police
who protect the interests of political and financial powers that put us in
danger by our activities and consumption … We want the abolition of
hierarchical control that they rule at all levels. The ideals they are
trying to sell us are corrupt. We no longer believe the words from those
who do not put their hands in the earth, and only know political campaigns
or advertising. We do not want their misinformation, their parody of
progress, their technolobotomy. In good conscience we want to use
technical and scientific knowledge, only to live more gently, more soberly
and to end this destructive system. We prefer to cultivate our living
energies rather than to give in to fossil fuels.
Living on the ZAD we want to fight against all forms of alienation. We
started taking our lives into our own hands and experimenting with other
ways of life. We want to know our neighbors and create links with the
surrounding towns and the struggles it leads to. We want to take the time
to do things together, without interposed screens. We love to eat and
share good food without a label, which is the result of our convictions.
We also want work to become a shared and diversified joy. We want to reach
our full potential and not be confined to a role thirty five hours a week.
We do not expect to have qualifications and authorizations to act. And if
we still have to arrive at a compromise with the sacred illusion of
ownership, we can agree that land and natural resources are valuable
assets that belong to everyone and especially that it is our
responsibility to take care of. We denounce commercial imperialism
regulates our lives and devastates the planet, irresponsible international
competition and the exploitation of nationalism. Here we create a
foundation for real international exchange, to jump borders. We want the
ZAD to continue to be a experimental multicultural area, free, open based
on the sharing of opinions, knowledge and know-how. We have dreams and we
will strive to cultivate them here and everywhere.
For all these reasons and to achieve our goals, we demand the legitimate
return of the lands that the STATE / VINCI have appropriated from humanity
and the living world.
Since the beginning of the occupation of the ZAD five years ago, abandoned
houses have thrived, cabins have flourished, gardens and community gardens
have proliferated. No austerity plan here, despite our distrust of money,
life has thrived on the ZAD. In spring 2011, at the callout of Reclaim the
Fields  thousands of us protested, tools in hand, to clear land and
install the Sabot collective. The vegetables have fueled our struggle for
a year and a half. To encourage us the Government sent its helmeted and
armed dialogue commission. The garden was repeatedly filled with tear gas
and the collective hut destroyed. Almost all the places where we lived our
lives have been razed to ground, military repression raged and gave us
even more rage; yet another exemplary demonstration of state violence.
Operation “Caesar” is a success, we are staying! We stay because we have
on our side life, creation, empowerment and responsibility for the future.
Thanks to the support of world we are more determined than ever to
continue. They can not stop us all.
In November 2012 tens of thousands of us protested and rebuilt to save the
lands of the ZAD and express our determination against the powers that be,
who would like to, as usual, “democratically” stifle our opinions.
Today we are happy to announce that saboteurs have already sprouted many
shoots! In spring 2013, although the powers that be still hope to trample
our lives no matter what, this widely spread struggle, is flourishing ever
more. In the spring we callout to all “volunteer seeders” to come with
your shovel, your seeds, your plants and your joy to seed the ZAD.
Echoing the solidarity that we encountered, we want to be able to feed
people, hold popular kitchens, and share the taste of hope with other
From the Peasants Assembly Sow Your ZAD