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“They are using peoples’ feelings to promote a false protectionism”

Fascist/nationalist discourses are taking advantage of the crisis in the European countryside to promote neoliberal policies

Andoni García, a farmer from the Basque Country and member of the Coordination Committee of La Vía Campesina Europe (ECVC) warned in an interview with Real World Radio about the use of “nationalist sentiment” in right-wing political discourses as a feature of the rising conservatism and fascism on the continent.

Contrary to other European countries, “the Spanish government does not hide the fact that they are neoliberal or that they do not support public policies, but they take advantage of the feeling of abandonment and impotence in the countryside and the lack of responses to the crisis to co-opt farmers and build xenophobic discourses against migrants that come to Europe to work,” said García.

“The fascist movement and other political right-wing movements in Europe have been evolving and started speaking about peoples’ feelings, making reference to a false protectionism: they want to make it appear as though their positions aim to protect the weakest, when this is in fact absolutely false. They speak of the “protection of borders”, but what they want is to appeal to the feelings of helplessness and abandonment felt by the people about EU policies. In fact, these are movements that want to eliminate public policies. This has nothing to do with the food sovereignty ideas raised by La Vía Campesina and the organizations that are part of it.”

He also warned about xenophobic messages, “false messages” promoted by fascist movements and parties:

“In response to the difficult reality experienced by millions of people, their alternative is migration. Many are peasants displaced by industrial agriculture and the economic power in their countries. Many times, there are European multinational corporations entering their countries and turning them into displaced people and an exploited workforce,” said García.

The ECVC also warns about the criminalization suffered by farmers (especially cattle farmers) by some animal welfare movements and announced that the conflicts between urban and rural areas will be addressed in the next assembly of LVC Europe, planned for April this year.

In order to resist the advance of fascism, García said that we must raise awareness of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and that the left wing must think about how to address peasant problems because they are not giving an adequate response:

“I say this because all (right-wing) movements are based on positions that use feelings of abandonment from policies developed by EU institutions; in theory, they aim to respond to what people are saying on the streets and mobilizations, but then we find out that these are fascist movements that attack peoples’ rights and are in favor of eliminating all public policies.”

In the case of Spain, “the far right wing openly states that they will eliminate public policies and they even use situations like the independence claims from Catalonia to take advantage of these feelings and their right to decide… Now they also want to use farmer mobilizations and their feeling of abandonment and impotence. But deep down they represent a false protectionism and the elimination of public policies. This goes against the ideas raised by food sovereignty that, among other things, defends the rights of peoples against fascist movements and against the impositions of neoliberal policies and markets dominated by big transnational and multinational corporations.”

How does building Food Sovereignty contribute to resisting the rise of conservatism?

Food Sovereignty implies an end to the fascist movement because it speaks of rights, of public policies based on the right to protect local agriculture, peasant culture, and these ways of living, without them conflicting with individual and collective rights, in solidarity, rather than in conflict.

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