October 2012 was the first time that many French people became aware of the ZAD (“zone à défendre”) in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, an agricultural region outside of Nantes in western France. There, long-term resident farmers had been joined by supporters to form an allied occupation intent on blocking the construction of the international airport dreamt of by the state since 1966. (The term “ZAD” is an ironic reappropriation of the official designation of an area as a “zone d’aménagement différé” — the bureaucratic procedure put into place in anticipation of a large infrastructural project in order to begin the expropriations and expulsions necessary to clear the area). In October 2012, when the government launched an armed evacuation of “illegal” residents of the zone, destroying structures and razing homes, fierce resistance on the part of the inhabitants forced the armed forces to withdraw. A wave of massive demonstrations in support of the ZAD, involving sometimes up to 40,000 people, began, the most recent on October 8th of this year after the government announced another imminent military evacuation of the region.
Below is a response from members of the ZAD, written for Collectif Mauvaise Troupe, and published in Le Monde earlier this month. Translated by Kristin Ross.
ZAD at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, 2012.
As we write, the noise of helicopters tries to interfere with our concentration. Every day now, for some time, they have been circling around, high up where the airplanes don’t fly, recreating the sights and sounds of war and the threat of another conquest.
Hugo Chávez, military officer turned left-wing revolutionary, was one of the most important Latin American leaders of the twenty-first century. In My First Life, Chávez narrates the story of his life in the years preceding his election as president in 1998. His interlocutor is Ignacio Ramonet, a former editor at Le Monde diplomatique who previously produced a similiar book with Fidel Castro. The post below is excerpted from Ramonet's introduction.
To celebrate the publication of My First Life, the book and many other titles on Latin America are currently on sale at a 40% discount.
At the age of forty-five, Hugo Chávez became one of the youngest presidents in Venezuelan history.
His investiture was held on 2 February 1999. And less than two months later, on 25 April, he called as promised a referendum for a Constituent Assembly. He got 88 per cent of the votes. The Bolivarian Revolution was on the march. In July, members were elected to the Assembly. The Polo Patriótico, the president’s coalition, swept the board again, with 121 of the 128 seats. The new Assembly began work on the Fifth Republic’s Constitution, the text of which had to be ratified by a national referendum on 15 December 1999.
In under two weeks time, Greece will vote on who is to lead their country after the speedy resignation of Alexis Tsipras. Below is an interview with Greece's former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis and leading academics from around the UK. This interview was first published on The Conversation website under a Creative Commons licence.
Photo: Yves Herman/Reuters