This week’s episode of the Final Straw features a conversation with Cami, a resident of the ZAD (Zone À Défendre or Zone To Defend) speaks about experiences of living on, defending, struggling on and with the project and the people in Western France and against the police, airport expansion and fascists.
Backstory: Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL) in western France has been the target of the French government and private corporations like Vinci Construction for the building of new infrastructure. Plans have been brewing for 40 years to build a new, larger airport in the area, to expand the bus systems, build a high speed train out to the airport from the nearby city of Nantes and expand the port at Saint-Nazaire. The struggle, for many of the members of the farming communities around NDDL, has been about saving their countryside from gentrification, from preserving their generations-old ways of life, their homes, their agency in what happens to their homes so that it’s not just people in Paris and Nantes who reshape their world. For many others it’s about preserving some of the last remaining undeveloped lands in the area, resisting the expansion of the Metropolis and the way of life that it brings and even in making their own way of life with others while resisting eviction and learning new ways of struggle.
Much media coverage of the ZAD has worked to build a myth around the project that it’s hunky-dory heroism and everyday revolution. While those things exist there, the story is not so clean cut. This hour we’ll also be speaking about internal problems of sexism, racism, interpersonal violence, drug use, valorization of certain forms of struggle, homophobia… the same crap we have to deal with everywhere, sadly. Cami also talks about how people on the ZAD have tried to work through these problems. While also struggling against the occasional neo-fascist incursion from the outside.
We have hopes at the Final Straw that this will be the first of a few shows that focus on communities resisting development by Vinci (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinci_Construction), a company that destroys ecology, builds prisons and greenwashes around the world. Vinci is also the main holder of contracts with the Moscow government in relation to the development of old growth Khimki Forest (http://khimkiforest.org) to build a road and a village for the rich as well as Combe Haven in the U.K. (https://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com/). Also, in the Atlanta, GA, USA they’ve been awarded (under the sub-subsidiary Hubbard Construction) the Northwest Corridor contract, worth $600 million, which will bring 30 miles of toll highway to that city (http://www.vinci.com/vinci.nsf/en/press-releases/pages/20131218-1745.htm).
(The following note is apparently up for dispute, according to some sources…)
2 days ago Vinci was seeing red in Bristol, UK, due to an arson at some of their offices by Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI) (http://325.nostate.net/?p=9416)
The portions of the interview talking about Insurrectional theory, Radio Klaxtion (pirate radio on the ZAD), fascist attacks on the ZAD, immigrant solidarity, ability and the ZAD, films about the ZAD, and some of the music created through resistance by folks at the ZAD… don’t appear here due to lack of time. They’ll be linked on our afm blog page and eventually on thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org