An eco-anarchist utopia

The recomposition of the moon
Forfatter: Serietegner Alessandro Pignocchi
Forlag: (Seuil)
ZADISTS: "We are not defending nature. We are the nature that defends itself. "


One of the most important long-standing activist battles in Western Europe over the past ten years has been the fight against the construction of an airport outside the city of Nantes, located at the mouth of the Loire River in western France. The 580 million euro expensive construction was approved in 2008 and it should have started in 2014 and finished in 2017.

But the plan has been rejected from the outset by local farmers and activists who have entrenched themselves in the 1650 hectare area. In 2012, 2000 police officers tried unsuccessfully to clear the area. During the period from 2008 onwards, the area evolved into an experimental eco-anarchist utopia. This is referred to as the ZAD de Notre-Dame-des-Landes (ZAD means "defended area"), where all sorts of different locals and travelers have tried to develop alternative ways of living beyond monetary economics and commodity. More than 100 self-managed buildings arose, including a library, a bakery, a brewery, a radio station and various livestock farms, including goats and cows.

Armed police force

In January 2018, Macron announced that the airport project was shelved, but that the various buildings that were part of the social experiment were to be removed. The scrapping of the airport was a huge victory for the occupiers. A victory in the fight against what Serge Quadruppani calls «the world of big projects», a victory over the logistical capitalism that takes the form of large infrastructure projects such as airports and high-speed trains (see review of Quadruppani's book in Ny Tid, August 2018).

An intermediary between philosophical and militant image treaty and anthropological reporting.

In April 2018, a heavily armed 2500-man police force launched an action against the various settlements. Police pulled in early in the morning with armored personnel carriages, water cannons, drones, bulldozers and helicopters, fired large quantities of tear gas and grenades, cleared a number of settlements and leveled the ground with bulldozers. The occupiers responded again and built barricades with car tires and boards and threw with paint bombs. Police advanced hard and fired more than 8000 tear gas grenades and 3000 shock grenades during the first ten days they attempted to clear the area. More than 300 herdsmen were injured and one lost hand.

Culture and nature

Then, in the spring of 2018, French anthropologist and cartoonist Alessandro Pignocchi went down to Notre-Dame-des-Landes to investigate whether the media's portrayal of the social experiment was comprehensive. Instead of overwintering violent hippies and drunken black block youths – which was the image the French media portrayed by the Zadists – he found a unique attempt to live differently. The result of the meeting is a cartoon in which Pignocchi not only shows the fight against police clearance, but also shows the alternative way of life that arose in the occupation and rejection of the airport.

We are not defending nature. We are nature defending. As for the airport, everyone now thinks we were right. This is also the case with the life we ​​live here.

Pignocchi, an anthropologist specializing in the Amazon Indians, humorously portrays his own skeptical encounter with the occupiers, who, in the course of fighting the police, take the time to move a dead four-leg over which the police have run over so that its species companions can eat it and it does not go to waste. Unlike the Indians of the Amazon, the herdsmen of the ZAD, according to Pignocchi, live beyond the distinction between culture and nature and refuse to treat animals and plants as objects to be exploited or protected. Everything living is social beings we share the earth with.

The herds develop relationships with plants and animals in the same way,
as they develop relationships with each other.

Pignocchi shows how the herds develop relationships with plants and animals in the same way they develop relationships with each other. It is a relationship based on empathy and not use (or protection) that characterizes the defended area. The Zadists live with plants and animals, they share the earth with the other life forms, human and non-human. It is thus another cosmology that Pignocchi encounters and which he ends up becoming a part of.

I will have to, not everyone knows about the course of what has happened in ZAD.
I must at least point out that in 2012, Valls sent 1200 cops to escape the zone and build his thing.
The ZADists gave them dry.
It was amazing. And all of a sudden, Hollande is afraid to return and Macron is forced to give up the airport to take the air out of the ZADists.
He does, however, take the precaution to send twice as many policemen, but they were still rejected. Such.
But what are these people doing for now? Is it just to stay home?
And then, aren't they even at home?
No then ... Otherwise it wouldn't have mattered much to me.
And the state would not have reacted so violently.

The cartoon is a middle ground between philosophical and militant image treaty and anthropological reporting, and it shows the profound difference between the late capitalist way of life and the life that the occupiers try to create outside the domination of capital and the state's image-political and (anti) terrorist control. Pignocchi tells captivating about the emergence of another world and alternates between different perspectives. He talks about his own experiences, how he is at first suspicious and wants to get out of the fighting, but ends up becoming part of the new community in Notre-Dame-des-Landes. He has a dialogue with a stressed and burned out officer about the meaning of life. On the way, he communicates with a chisel, and he leaps ahead in time, showing how a teacher in the future tells school children about how a new way of life emerged as a result of the fight against the airport. About how there will be a break with state power and people will organize themselves beyond the dictatorship of the economy and the laws and state of the state. How another world arises in opposition to the airport, a world where one is interested in other life forms and their needs, where animals and plants are neighbors with whom they share a common ground.  

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