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(en) France, UCL AL #329 - Libertarian Imaginaries, Going Green: Gardens in Freedom (ca, de, it, fr, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 4 Aug 2022 10:07:31 +0300

If agriculture, when it is associated with private property and the market, of whatever size, seems incompatible with an egalitarian society, communalist practices persist throughout the world, for lack of generalization. These agricultures, which are not exclusively productivist, often show themselves to be extremely attentive to natural processes and the dynamics of life. Since Darwin and Kropotkin, many thinkers and scholars have been interested in cooperation of all kinds, in nature. ---- Since the appearance of human beings, without however idealizing prehistoric or primitive societies in their relationship to the living, respectful and cooperative relationships have always existed, until the appearance and expansion of an extractivist agriculture, which began with the enclosure of the commons and the proletarianization of peasants stripped of their food self-sufficiency by indebtedness and forced into a forced exodus to cities and factories. Some ecological currents remain attentive to economic concerns by developing discourses that place human beings back in nature, from which progressive traditions had extracted them, defend symbiotic relationships with their environment and other living beings, and propose an alliance against a common enemy. And the most recent scientific literature takes up these eminently political questions to offer particularly insightful analyzes and deeply inspiring lines of thought or action.

In Reviver les embers du vivant, Baptiste Morizot shows how peasant agriculture strives to feed humans while invigorating the environment. He explains that none and no peasant produces wheat or meat but preserves, favors certain spontaneous proposals of the living. It strives to reverse a number of paradigms imposed by extractivist agriculture. Thus, for example, the so-called "pests" are in fact responsible for the nutritional quality of crops, in the sense that untreated fruits and vegetables, because they first had to defend themselves, are more rich in antioxidants, molecules that fight in our bodies against oxidative stress responsible for cell aging. It also offers the empirical example of a territory returned to free evolution, as a powerful "lever for ecological action", to put an end to our feeling of helplessness.

The landscaper Gilles Clément, for his part, denounces the stigmatization inflicted on so-called "invasives", denounced as "plant pests" and compares this concern with that often expressed against "the invasion of beings from elsewhere". . Each time a plant establishes itself somewhere, it would be a question, instead of trying to eradicate it, of finding a use for it, of "dealing with it", of instructing "a method to allow the environment to gradually recover the characteristics on the basis of which diversity is defined". Apart from his personal and experimental "garden-house" in Creuse, Gilles Clément has theorized and put into practice in numerous projects, his concepts of "garden in motion", "planetary garden" and "third landscape".

Refuse to put nature to work
In We Are Not Alone. Politics of land uprisings, Léna Balaud and Antoine Chopot take cooperation a little further by calling for a refusal to put nature and men to work in the service of "the devastating ecology of capital", "driving the geological disruption of planet", inviting the emergence of a new political camp between the heirs of a social and humanist tradition, and the defenders of a relationship to the living where the human being is no longer at the center, by forging alliances between species, a coalition of human and non-human living upheavals that inflict damage on the return on investment of capitalists. They propose to challenge the strategies of radical simplifications of capitalism by encouraging the "internal indiscipline of work environments", to create "a movement of popular ecological autonomy" based on an "interspecies communism".

Nature and agriculture sometimes suffer from a lack of attention in certain anti-capitalist struggles. Often reduced to the negative image of landowners, peasants are nevertheless above all responsible for food, an essential source of possible autonomy. Also the technological choices that govern their practices are the markers of decisive, incompatible and irreconcilable political divisions.

We could schematize this confrontation by the opposition between the polyculture of the garden and the monoculture of the cereal field, between agroecology and permaculture respectful of life, and industrial crops with a lot of fertilizers and insecticides that are above all beneficial. performance and profits.

A recent scientific literature, of which we have just proposed some striking references, could contribute to nourishing an imagination to allow to fully invest these territories of struggle which in History, from the Spain of collectivization to the Ukraine of Mahkno, and even today with the most vivid revolutionary experiences, from Chiapas to Rojava, have demonstrated how decisive they could be.

It is not a question here of affirming that everyone (or almost) is inspired by a libertarian thought without knowing it, but of showing that there is a real political and philosophical continuity since L'Entraide by Pierre Kropotkine, through Murray Bookchin, on these issues.

Very concretely, it seems urgent to dive into these practices, knowing that with the retirement of their operators, 50% of agricultural land will be called into play in the years to come. Are we going to leave them to industrial agriculture, while the brands of large retailers and agrifood on the lookout are rushing to acquire them? It is first a question of "taking back the land from the machines", to use the title of the manifesto of L'Atelier paysan, of making it a common good by collective land acquisition for example, then of investing it truly sustainable projects, respectful of the living, economically fair, carried by a real intention of solidarity food autonomy.

Ernest London (UCL Le Puy)
Indicative readings:

Baptiste Morizot, Reviving the embers of the living. A common front, co-edition Wildproject/Actes Sud, 2020, 210 pages.
Gilles Clément, Praise of vagabonds. Herbs, trees and flowers to conquer the world, Robert Laffont, 2012, 218 pages.
Léna Balaud and Antoine Chopot, We are not alone. Politics of land uprisings, Seuil, 2021, 436 pages.
L'Atelier Paysan, Taking back the earth from the machines. Manifesto for peasant and food autonomy, Seuil, 290 pages. (review in Alternative libertarian of November 2021).
Lucile Leclaire, Hold-up on land, Seuil, Reporterre collection, 104 pages.

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