We at the Labofii just translated this beautiful little booklet about la zad into english, feel free to download the pdf and spread far and wide. Defending the zad is part voices of struggle, part historical chronology and manifesto, it works as a great update to one of our most popular blogs on this site, Rural Rebels and Useless Airports, published in 2012 during the attempted expulsion of Europe’s largest land occupation at Notre-Dame-des Landes.
Much has happened the police were kicked out of the zone in 2012 and the zad has now become a new kind of Commune for the 21st Century. On 2000 acres of forest, farm and wetlands, radicals from around the world, local farmers and villagers, trade unionist and naturalists, refugees and runaways, Climate and environmental groups from across France are working together to manage the usage of the land, putting everyday life back in common whilst resisting the construction of a new airport.
French politicians call it “a lawless territory lost to the republic” and the issue of the airport construction has become a defining topic for French politics, splitting the government and public opinion and garnering regular mass national protests against it. Even the concept, zad, meaning Zone a Défendre, a détournement of the planning term Zone d’Aménagement Différé, has become a rallying cry with zad’s popping up against destructive infrastructure projects across France.
Weeks after the end of the COP21 UN Climate Summit French prime minister Valls called for the restart of work on the zone. Soon after (end of January 2016), his environment minister Segolène Royal said that there would not be any eviction by force as she did not want a “civil war at Notre-Dames-des-Landes”. The booklet Défendre la zad was written in this moment of tension and uncertainty. The authors collective Mauvaise Troupe are inhabitants of the zad and some fellow accomplices in tune with its rebellion. It was published in fast turn around to get the story out as quickly as possible to a wider public and counter the propaganda machine of mainstream French media which tries to characterise the zone as similar to that of the ISIS enclaves of Syria and as dangerous to visit as Iraq’s Mosul! Collective Freedom, autonomy and tangible material examples of postcapitalism frightens the state more than anything ! VIVE LA COMMUNE-VIVE LA ZAD.
If you happen to be in the area on 27th of February come to the mass action.