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European Farmers Take a Stand to Defend Life and Dignity: Daily Updates

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This page was last updated February 1, at 11:00 pm (ET)

Hundreds of thousands of farmers with tractors and other vehicles have initiated protests over the last month, in a process that has now spread from Germany, to France, to Belgium, to Greece, and beyond. With all kinds of banners and signs, they are demanding, in effect: Stop the Madness! We Refuse Your Policies of Death and Destruction!

As farmer activists point out, their protest is about more than just the reinstatement of state subsidies which the government wants to cut, or even about the state of agriculture more generally. These farmers are standing up for their nation, their dignity, and their future, and because of their courageous actions, this movement can play a crucial role in the creation of a new system for the benefit of peoples.

Below are ongoing updates from the situation on the ground there:

February 2 New EIR article posted on explosion of protests across Europe! "German Farmers’ Protests Spread Across Sectors and Nations"

February 1 Powerful Protests by Farmers in Several Countries of Europe

In spite of massive police deployment sealing the area off, farmers succeeded to enter for a short period the central Paris wholesale market Rungis for agricultural products, yesterday. Police arrested 79 farmers. Tractors however stayed in front of the market, continuing their protest.

A ring of blockades also formed around the city of Lyon on Wednesday. Meanwhile, in the north of the country, farmers from Belgium and France blocked several border crossings between the two countries, as reported by the newspaper “La Voix du Nord.” In Toulouse in the south-west of France, they attempted to block an organic market. The police were able to prevent this. Farmers also attempted to block important access roads to Lyon, the third largest city in France. In total, the French authorities recorded around 100 blockades.

In Germany, farmers have once again blocked roads and highway entrances with tractors. One focus of the protests is Bavaria: the registered blockades of around 80 highway ramps began this Thursday morning, according to the police. In addition to the farmers’ association, the “Landwirtschaft verbindet Bayern” association called for the rallies. According to the association, the protests were announced and coordinated with the authorities and police. The blockades were to be lifted at regular intervals to allow vehicles to pass again In the morning, highway access roads around Munich were closed. The A8, A9, A94, A95, A96, A99 and A 995 were affected.

Farmers also mobilized in other federal states. They gathered with tractors for vigils on several highway bridges and junctions in the vicinity of Neubrandenburg. In Saxony-Anhalt, tractors temporarily blocked several highway ramps.

In Schleswig-Holstein, during Wednesday night, around 100 tractors and 50 other vehicles blocked the access road to an Edeka central warehouse in Neumünster. In neighboring Nortorf (Rendsburg-Eckernförde district), tractors gathered and blocked the access road to an Aldi central warehouse. This gathering broke up at around 3 o’clock.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, in the Trier area, there were already massive restrictions and traffic jams in rush-hour traffic from the early morning, the police reported. In Mainz and Worms, farmers targeted the inland ports. According to the police, they blocked the access road to an industrial area at the industrial port in Mainz-Mombach with around 40 tractors. Farmers with around 40 tractors had also gathered at the fairground near the port in Worms. These are inland ports on the Rhine river.

The protest was called by the “Landwirtschaft verbindet Rheinland-Pfalz” association. The aim was not to demonstrate against dock workers or freight forwarders, but to “draw attention to the anti-business policies from Berlin,” the association announced. New taxes, levies and regulations were not only making life difficult for farmers, but also for small and medium-sized businesses, hauliers, tradespeople and citizens.

Inland ports in particular are a major transshipment point for market fruits from all over the world, not least from Ukraine. “We understand that agricultural exports are extremely important for Ukraine in particular and that they create added value,” explained the initiators of the protest. Nevertheless, it is important to draw attention to the fact that the environmental and social standards there cannot keep up with local German agriculture.

February 1 – 1,300 Tractors and Farmers From Several Countries Protesting in Brussels

Long columns of tractors—1,399 in total, rolled into the Belgian capital this morning to lay siege to the European Summit held there today, Farmers from Belgium, France, Germany and other EU countries took part in the protest, which against the background of powerful farmers protests in several EU countries indicated the intent to grant some concessions: Farmers can cultivate the 4 percent of their farmland that the EU had previously ordered to remain fallow, and farmers can sell their production off this land, without being exempted from the planned ag supports. The Commission is proposing measures to limit any uncontrolled increase in Ukrainian agricultural imports by offering guarantees to farmers. The EU is now dangling new “safeguards” before EU farmers, but still the EU Commission says the Ukraine (cartel) poultry, sugar, and grains must continue to come into EU countries

The concessions are however too little to convince the farmers that their protests can now be ended. Spokesmen from farmers associations in several countries made clear that they want a more profound overhaul of EU agricultural policies, and to achieve that, protests will be continued, Sea ports, like the Belgian one in Zeebrugge, will be targets of tractorcades and road blockades, as are the storages of the big food supermarkets.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini from the right-wing governing party Lega supported the farmers and blamed the EU Commission in Brussels for the protests. “The tractors that are on the roads all over Europe have problems with the current European Commission,” said the Italian transport minister, according to a report by the Ansa news agency. Salvini described the agricultural policy of the Commission under the leadership of Ursula von der Leyen as “disastrous.”

January 15 – 20,000 Farmers Rally in Berlin

Farmers, craftsman, and trucking company employers and drivers from all over Germany gathered Jan. 15 at noon at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, to protest the policies of the German government, which are killing all productive potential in the country. The green ideology in general, and also the recent cutting of subsidies for gasoline (Agrardiesel) and vehicles (tractors, harvesters etc.) were the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Throughout the night on Sunday, Jan. 14, before the rally, one could hear the approaching tractorcades, honking to announce their arrival on five different routes through the city. As has been the case throughout the week, there were people on the roadside waving, with thumbs up to show their solidarity with the farmers.

At the rally, the president of the Farmers’ Association, Deutscher Bauernverband, declared that they have the support of 70-80% of the population. He also stressed several times that the supply of affordable food is essential for the stability of the state and democracy.

The head of a transport association attacked the German government’ Green policy and also the EU’s. Since early December, truckers have had to pay €6.7 billion more for the CO₂ tax. This will drive inflation and bankruptcies.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner was at the rally and spoke, trying to sell his austerity policy with a few small adjustments—but to no avail. First, he tried to blame green activists (Klimakleber), and twice he stressed the alleged danger of Putin and Russia, which he claimed had forced the German government to spend all the money for defense.

LaRouche movement BüSo organizers distributed a special leaflet for the occasion, wearing body signs saying “Tractors Instead of Tanks” and “Butter Instead of Cannons”—and found a lot of agreement. In general, the demonstrators were more outspoken than their leadership. You could read signs such as “Enough Is Enough,” “They haven’t sown, they haven’t harvested—but they think they know better,” and even some posters attacking the war economy. In total 15-20,000 people took part in the protest.

January 15 – EIR interviews representative of Independent Farmers, Berlin

January 12 – Helga Zepp-LaRouche Releases Statement for Farmers Demonstration: "No, There Is a Limit to the Tyrant’s Power!"

Support the Brave Saviors of Germany!
by Helga Zepp-LaRouche

The following statement was issued for mass circulation at the planned demonstration of farmers and supporters in Berlin Jan. 15 which culminates the week of action that began on Jan. 8. It was written by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, EIR Editor-in-Chief, and founder and leader of the Schiller Institute.

No, there is a limit to the tyrant’s power!
When the oppressed man finds no justice,
When the burden grows unbearable,
He appeals with fearless heart to heaven,
And thence, brings down his everlasting rights,
Which there abide, inalienably his,
And indestructible as the stars themselves.

This is what it says in the Rütli Oath from Friedrich Schiller's Wilhelm Tell.German farmers are doing exactly that: They are opposing the arbitrariness and incompetence of a policy that pursues only the interests of international cartels and profit maximization by speculators, and ignores the population's right to affordable, regionally produced food. Farmers represent the interests of all of us, and that is why it is of vital importance that all parts of society support them, as craftsmen, truck drivers, haulers and others already do.

Read the rest here

January 12 – Day Five

Yet again, today German farmers continued the daily tractorcades. After yesterday's rally of 1,500 farmers in Frankfurt, Day 5 for the farmers' week of action was headlined with major events in Kiel and Hanover. The former expects 1,000 tractors, the latter 2,000.

In interviews with the media, farmers are pointing out that the slashinig of the diesel subsidy remains a front issue of the protests, but that a more in-depth discussion is urgently needed on the regulations of the EU Commission on pesticides and insecticides, as well as on fertilizer use. The experience, dedication and long hours of farmers is not noticed or understood is apparently not taken notice of by the Brussels bureaucrats, whose imposed decrees upon on agriculture are destroying any future. For example, on the claim in the media that farmers are earning a lot and even more than before, the simple fact is that an average working week of farmers has 70 hours—twice as much as in the industrial sector.

January 11 – Day Four of Protests Continue

Germany’s farmers are continuing tractorcades and other protest actions also on day 4 of the week of action—bigger events are reported from Flensburg and Lübeck, with 2,000 and 1,600 tractors, respectively. A thousand tractors rolled into Augsburg and Mainz, each, yesterday, and tractors also blocked the access to the container terminal in Wilhelmshaven. Tractors are blocking 70 access roads to highways in Brandenburg today. Another big event is scheduled in the same state in Cottbus, with 500 tractors providing the background to a meeting between farmer association officials with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is in the city later today for the inauguration of a new railway maintenance center. A big rally of several hundred tractors and 20,000 protesters was reported from Dresden yesterday. Preparations have already begun for another big national protest rally in Berlin on Jan. 15.

Pressure on Scholz is meanwhile increasing from inside the Social Democratic Party (SPD) to suspend the planned subsidy cuts and engage in an in-depth discussion with farmers on a comprehensive approach to support farming in Germany. SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert said that the idea is to discuss and define the role of food-producing in the country, involving numerous aspects. Kühnert called for a suspension of the debt brake, to make investments possible not only in agriculture, but also in general, with the government being allowed new borrowing. There is an initiative underway in the same direction from the four SPD-run state governments—Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saarland, and Mecklenburg—calling on Scholz to convene with farming representatives to find a solution with agreement of both sides. According to Kühnert, momentum for such a basic dialogue on agriculture is building also in the Bundestag group of the SPD. 

January 10 – "Thoughts Should Be Free"

January 10 – Farmers Protest Day 3

Here is a partial account of what happened on Wednesday, the third day of the German farmers’ protest:

Bremen: farmers blocked all roads to the port, which was for several hours inactive. Ships could not leave the port because they were waiting for loading. The protest ended at noon, in order not to provoke too much inconveniences, farmers said.

Sachsen: 500 tractors entered the city of Plauen.

Brandenburg: over 70 highway on-ramps were blocked. Police reported major traffic jams.

Magdeburg: all on-ramps were blocked on three highways.

Schleswig-Holstein: 2000 tractors descended on Flensburg, where all roads were blocked and the city was completely isolated. Farmers also marched on Economy Minister Robert Habeck’s electoral office, but Habeck was abroad.

Cottbus: where Chancellor Scholz was expected to inaugurate a new railway station and meet the regional head of the farmers association, farmers announced to be there with 500 tractors.

Rallies took place in many cities, including: Dresden (2000 tractors were expected), Hamburg (750), Augsburg (over 1000), Mainz, Kassel, Düsseldorf.

January 10 – The Protest Expands to Train Drivers

While German farmers are continuing their protest, which will culminate in a major rally in Berlin January 15, train drivers went on a three-day strike, blocking 80% of long-distance train traffic. It is not yet a general strike but it has the flavor of it.

To the surprise of stupid liberal politicians, a large majority of the German population is behind the farmers’ protest. The Berliner Zeitung reports that “Despite major road blockades that brought traffic to a standstill across Germany, Berliners are backing the farmers. 65% of our readers think the ongoing protests are the right thing to do—even though 28% of respondents feel that the protests are restricting their everyday lives.”

According to polls reported by popular tabloid Bild, 68% of the population mistrusts the politicians, and 45% of Germans ("a people not known for demonstrations") would go on the street against the government.

In front of the rage of the population, the government tries to criminalize the protest, "making the angry angrier," warned Bild. This is the case of stupid Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), who warned on Monday of an attempt to overthrow the government by radicals "who want to destroy our democratic state." There is "no guarantee" that in the end, "the state of law is not endangered," Habeck said.

January 9100,000 Tractors Rolling in German Farm Protest

The farmers’ nationwide week of action in Germany began powerfully yesterday, with tractorcades in about 100 cities in all 16 states, resulting in, among other things, a call by the four SPD-led state governments of Lower Saxony, Saarland, Brandenburg, and Mecklenburg, to the SPD-led Federal government to rethink policies for the agricultural sector, and to put at the center the interest of the farmers—which is also the interest of the population at large—the secured supply of food at affordable prices. All in all, more than 100,000 tractors were rolling, joined in many cases by other vehicles, such as trucks and construction machines. The farmers received support also from other sectors, including truck and bus drivers, transport workers, teachers, and physicians.

Protest events are already staged in many cities today. Probably the biggest will be in Bavaria, with 5,500 tractors rolling into the center of Munich this morning. More is to come on Jan. 10 and 11—including tractorcades driving up to several food logistics centers in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, according to the farmers’ association Ostvorpommern. The aim is to emphasize that farmers supply the raw materials for all products on the shelves of large supermarkets.

The farmers’ week of action is joined also by a nationwide warning strike of locomotive drivers, which will halt all train services on Jan. 10. In addition, there are warning strikes and short walkouts in the public sector in numerous cities. As some unblocked commentators noted: Germany is at the brink of a general strike against the government, unprecedented in the postwar republic’s history. Indeed, more is certain to come, if the government doesn’t change policies or is not replaced by a better, new government.

January 8German Farmers Demand: Stop Green Deal, Take Value of Farming Seriously

Tens of thousands of farmers with tractors and other vehicles took to the streets in all 16 states of Germany Monday to kick off a week of action across the country. 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.

The German farm protest is also being followed closely in the United States from which senior representatives of the agriculture sector have sent a message of support to the farmers in Germany, headlined: “Let the Tractors Roll!”

The support statement from the United States calls the German protest actions of January 8 a “world important event,” and says:

Farmers all over the world are facing manipulation by the agro-financial-complex, of commodity conglomerates, controlled by London, Wall Street, Chicago, Amsterdam and other commodity financial centers. It is destroying family farming, reducing food production, driving up food prices, and perpetuating hunger. This globalist mechanism creates conditions for depopulation.
The German government is knowingly ruining family farm food production by hiking the diesel price, banning certain agro-inputs, taxing farm machinery, and other moves. 
Farmers the world over are now standing up to this. We commit our support to defeat these enemies of humanity in 2024. We can work together to bring about development and peace for all.
Let the tractors roll! We are alongside you in the cabs and on the streets!”

January 8 – Reports From Monday Farm Demos

Today’s demonstrations held in all 16 states of Germany by farmers, railway workers, truck drivers, workers in all trades, business and other community sectors were universally described by participants as huge, peaceful, and in many locations, unprecedented. There were multiple thousands of demonstrators and tractors. The mood—often stated explicitly—is that there is much more at stake in the protest than even “farm” issues. The crisis is the continuation in office of the incompetent, mean and deadly government figures and policies. They have to be stopped.

All protest actions were tightly organized, with outstanding friendly collaboration among the demonstrators, police and the community. Wherever tractorcades, manure-dumping, or any other action blocked roads, provision was made for through-transit of emergency fire, medical, rescue, and other such vehicles. A police union president described today’s event as “disciplined” and conducted “responsibly.” He drew out the point that efforts to criminalize and drive farmers into a corner are wrong and have failed. The farmers’ protest is completely different from the wild “climate” protesters, who glue themselves onto street pavements and cause chaos.

All the advance disinformation spread to undercut today’s events, through mainstream media and government trying to smear farmers as “peasant mobs,” and right-wingers, etc., has flopped or even boomeranged.

Youth were predominant in the ranks of protesting farmers, most being sons and daughters of the senior farmers. And there were many reports of widespread public support for the farmers. Public broadcaster NTV published a poll which found that 91% of respondents think the farmers are justified in their action.

The following are a few of the firsthand reports from organizers with the Schiller Institute in different parts of the country.

BERLIN: Farmers began the day blocking the on-off ramps all around the national capital, allowing tractorcades to move into the city, for a rally at the Brandenburg Gate. The U.S. farm leader statement of support was distributed as a flier, along with the Schiller Institute’s “Turn Swords into Plowshares.”

MUNICH: Biggest demonstration in 40 years. Very important: The new farm protest leader group, the LSV, which has activated since 2019, and the “mainstream” farm associations are working together now, given that the whole nation is in crisis. They had previously not collaborated.

STUTTGART: 500 trucks and tractors, with 2,000 people at the rally. A speaker at the demo read out the U.S. farm leader statement.

DRESDEN: Farmers blocked ramps to highways and people accepted it. Some 400 farmers and other demonstrators. The crowd, which was expected to number around 900, swelled to 5,000, and by noon reached 13,000! There were people from bakeries, breweries, produce stands, and all manner of the food chain, and the general economy.

MAINZ: 2,000 demonstrators and tractors. Photos taken from the highway overpasses showed maximum demonstrations, but no traffic jams, because of the incredible organization. According to the police, the convoy had up to 1,000 tractors and trucks and was 20 km long. The state chairman of the LsV, the president of the Farmers and Winegrowers Association and the president of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association DeHoGa in Rhineland-Palatinate spoke at the rally.

WIESBADEN: There were 2,000 demonstrators, with truckers and business people, along with the farmers.

Signs included: “They Don’t See, They Don’t Harvest, Yet They Think They Know Better” (against the government’s green restrictions on farming, as well as fuel price hikes) “Without Farmers, No Food,” and one particularly ironic sign: “Without blood one turns white. Without air one turns blue. Without a brain one turns green.”

A farmer who spoke at the rally read a school essay by his young son, titled, “Why Are Politicians So Stupid To Bankrupt the Farmers?”

January 7US Farm Leaders Send Support to German Week of Action

A statement of support is circulating in the U.S. for the demonstrations set for the week of Jan. 8-15 by German farmers, rail workers, truck drivers and others, to defend Germany’s food production and the German economy. Initiated by Bob Baker for the Schiller Institute Agriculture Commission, this is an open message, focused on conveying support from—but not limited to—U.S. farm leaders, the full text is below, with signatures from 11 states, as of Jan. 6, 2024, and more coming in. The statement reads:

Open Message from U.S. Farmers and Ranchers to Germany, January 2024—We Back the German Farmers and Allies at their Jan. 8-15 Week of Action for the Right To Produce Food!

We U.S. farmers and ranchers send our support and admiration to German farmers and their co-demonstrators—truck drivers, railroad workers and all in the food chain—who are holding the Jan. 8-15 Week of Action in Germany. You have the guts and courage to defend the right to produce food, and demand a productive economy for all citizens. You are an inspiration and example to all farmers throughout the world, to activate and fight.

The German farmer rallies with thousands of tractors so far this Winter, from Berlin to Stuttgart, have put you on the front lines defending all humanity. The planned Jan. 15 Berlin mass rally is a world important event. We have seen tens of thousands of farmers in Europe hit the streets in recent years because of the emergency; now is the breaking point.

Farmers all over the world are facing manipulation by the agro-financial-complex, of commodity conglomerates, controlled by London, Wall Street, Chicago, Amsterdam and other commodity financial centers. It is destroying family farming, reducing food production, driving up food prices, and perpetuating hunger. This globalist mechanism creates conditions for depopulation.

The German government is knowingly ruining family farm food production by hiking the diesel price, banning certain agro-inputs, taxing farm machinery, and other moves.

Farmers the world over are now standing up to this. We commit our support to defeat these enemies of humanity in 2024. We can work together to bring about development and peace for all.