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Winter is here !

Monday 19 December 2016

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The autumn is coming to an end, and the other day we were watching the news. As usual, the politicians were rambling on about nothing very interesting. As usual, the media got overexcited. And as usual, we thought "absolutely fascinating, I’m sure". In spite of it all, contrary to what they announced, it seems that they don’t plan on evicting us, nor even to start works somewhere.

We’re not going to declare victory straight away, nor start sending each other flowers. With the grumbling cops, the Christmas markets to watch over and all the other joys of the state of emergency, it does not seem very strategical to come and get bogged down in the wetlands. Especially since it is the time to look smarter than your friends in the hope of winning the presidential election.

We tried our best this autumn to encourage them not to come. It’s not been that relaxing to spend these three months surrounded by signs of imminent intervention and preparing to resist. We’ve got to admit that, when everything is all go like that, we don’t always take the time to use horizontal discussion processes or take everyone into account in our actions. But we did manage to pile on the pressure: Trainings and preparations for defence on the ground, putting in place welcome structures for if they evict, demonstrations and constructions on the 8th of October, infotours and solidarity actions all over. From all of the different towns and villages, tractor-cabins, occupied houses, or the cabins in the woods, we have all played a part in their retreat.

What now? The threat has not disappeared, we are well aware of that. But we have more head space and more time ahead of us to look further afield than the immediate defence of the ZAD. We can once again take care of the the life and struggle here. We’re putting in place ways to better accommodate people who come through here, be it for an afternoon or for a week. We’re getting together to talk collectively about how we use the land here. We’re trying to define collective boundaries and we’re learning to better deal with our conflicts and disagreements. We’re relaunching the infotours.

During those moments of collective panic, we also built loads of connections. These connections continue and get stronger be it with the healthcare workers network who come and help us out, with the locals who have offered us accommodation, with the local support committees who have put work into spaces to hot people or being part of the defence against evictions, unionised workers who have called out to use their right of withdrawal, and all the groups and people that we came across during this last period.

But in moments of panic it’s easy to fall back into stereotypes, the ’zadist’ identity in which the media are quick to trap us. As if the only thing that brought us together was living on the ZAD against an airport project, when in fact we aspire, each of us in our own way, to a lot more. As if there were on one side the ’zadists’ and on the other the ’nice people’, which only widens the gap between us. We want to take advantage of these calmer moments to live together the fight against the airport, but also against ’its world’.

We would like that there is as much energy as we find here to fight also elsewhere and against everything that we hate in this world: the borders that block the paths of migrants, the state of emergency and the prisons, the pipeline projects such as North Dakota, etc. To refuse that which is imposed from on high, to build our lives how we want them, to share stories and ways of fighting with others and build mutual solidarity.

So congratulations to all, and see you soon, here or elsewhere !

Some occupants of the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes