Defending the zad: A new little book about the struggle against an airport and its world.


“You are entering a free territory: Here the people decide” Signs set up during the tender weekend (Jan 30-31 2016) where 1000 helped build and mend things on the zad.

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.

Cover of Defending the zad by Mauvaise Troupe

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.

January 9th,2016, day of Action against expulsions of local farmers and residents, 500 tractors,1000 bikes,20,000 people occupy Nantes main Bridge.

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.

Photos: John Jordan.



3 thoughts on “Defending the zad: A new little book about the struggle against an airport and its world.

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    A book written by some of the occupants of the ZAD (Zone a Défendre) – a site in Western France which has been occupied for over 9 years – in resistance against the construction of the planned Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport. Over 5,000 acres of farmland and wetladns would be destroyed. Evictions and mass protests are documented, and the sustained solidarity which has held the ZAD together for so many years. The ZAD is a ray of hope in the resistance against destructive megaprojects.

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