France: Notre-Dame-des-Landes - Declaration of European ATTAC Network

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For a number of years, the European Attac network have been supporting carefully, and with all the means available, the struggle of small farmers, opponents, and occupying activists of the region against the project of a pseudo-transfer of the current Nantes Atlantique airport.

We share the will of people committed to this struggle to defend farmlands, wetlands and biodiversity. We denounce the mockery that has been made of democracy ever since the beginning of the affair, oppose the destruction of farm jobs and the waste of public money that the project would imply.

The European Attac network equally carefully followed, the extraordinary blossoming of initiatives born on this occupied territory and which aim to defend it. We have understood the specificity of this area and time where struggle on the one hand and the construction of solidarity on the other hand, are inextricably linked together.

As of today, the work of a six-month mediation team has undeniably confirmed the opponents’ arguments and has acknwoledged the feasibility of a less costly solution in terms of natural resources and public money, that is, the upgrading of the current airport.

Emmanuel Macron’s decision is to be made public at the end of January. Should it not come to the conclusion of the withdrawal of the NDDL airport project, it would be very paradoxical given the president’s commitment to the fight against climate change.

However, this decision cannot mean giving the green light to an evacuation of the ZAD (Zone à défendre – Zone to Defend) that nothing could justify, and to which the population would oppose, just like it did in 2012. On the contrary, this sensible victory must be a landmark for the start of a new phase, when experiences that were elaborated and developed on the ZAD are made durable, as they invent and make possible other possible possible and desirable worlds.

The ’magic formula’ and ’tools’ available to the opponents on the ZAD are called determination, imagination and solidarity. They were obtained collectively. It has nothing to do with the fantasies made up by journalists or hateful pro-airport activists who cannot bear the fact that for many years, ways of life, forms of housing and economic activities based – not on free market rules but on the sharing of the commons and the sustaining of life – have been slowly building up. These values are shared with a wide range of other struggles against useless, forced and detrimental, mega projects and in favour of reappropriation of the commons. The European Attac network will continue actively supporting them in the new phase of struggles now opening.

The European Attac network supports the initiatives, already well thought through or in progress, which make possible the pursuit of life on the ZAD, of the experiences there, in particular the collective management of lands and common goods by a legal entity derived from the struggle.

We are calling to participate in the big national – and beyond – mobilisation which will reaffirm the wide support that this struggle has managed to stir up. One of the many instances of this support was expressed in October 2016 when tens of thousands of people gathered in NDDL and made a ’stick pledge’ (serment des bâtons), affirming they would come back if necessary to take the stick planted on the ZAD back to defend the place.