Tens of thousands of farmers with tractors and other vehicles took to the streets in all 16 states of Germany today. With all kinds of banners and signs, they are demanding, in effect: Reinstate productive modern agriculture!
This was the impressive kick-off of a “week of action” to prepare the ground for a serious discussion about the value of farming and the need to protect farmers against greenie ideologues—that is what farmers want for the next roundtable with government officials in Berlin on Jan. 15. Attempts by the German government and the mainstream media to intimidate and discredit the broadening protest of farmers by pointing to “extremist rightwingers” as allegedly taking over the protest ferment, have failed.
As farmer activists point out, their protest is about more than just the reinstatement of state subsidies which the government wants to cut; what it is really about is the reversal of EU Commission policies against the agricultural sector in general.
Philipp Haas, 29, a horse farmer who has registered the protest march in Cologne, told Der Spiegel: “Our protest today should be a wake-up call. It would be good if politicians didn’t make their decisions alone and without consulting us. If I sit at my desk all day, I can’t tell the craftsman how to do his job. We farmers in Germany have the most regulations of anyone in Europe, for example when it comes to crop protection. We expect people to talk to us more. We don’t want something to be decided over our heads, something that in the worst case could cost us our livelihoods. The issue of agricultural diesel has only made the barrel overflow, there is more at stake today.”
That view is also the main message in leaflets with the headline, “Swords to Plowshares” which the LaRouche organization distributed at the protest rallies, calling for a retooling of military-industrial capacities to the advantage of producing goods required for economic development in peace.
The broadening of the farmers’ actions is also being watched closely in other countries, particularly in the Netherlands, where the farmers uprising over the last two years unseated the incumbent Rutte government, and made way for direct representation of “farmers” party interests with seats in both the Senate and the House. Farmers and others in France have a tradition of very forceful protests as well. Reports are that farmers across Europe have come in to join the German demonstrations, including from the Netherlands, Hungary, and Poland.