Since 2009, this massive swath of ancient farmland, abandoned houses, barns, forests, and swamps in western rural France have been occupied by local farmers and environmentalists in an attempt to prevent the construction of an airport that will greatly exacerbate the release of carbon dioxide and destroy many farmers' way of life. This constellation of squatted buildings and fields has come to be known at The Zone-To-Defend or La ZAD, and has lived up to its name every step of the way. The military police have attempted to violently evict the lands several times since its inception, but every time the ZADists come back stronger, more numerous, and with more creative Permaculture techniques to re-occupy the land and rebuild their makeshift straw-bale cabins, treehouses, kitchens, theater spaces, bike workshops, pirate radio station, brewery, and bakery.
Currently the anti-airport movement has generalized to become extremely large and diverse, and has taken root even in mainstream French consciousness. The airport project is now politically in limbo, and the occupation, though dealing with heavy repression, has become a terrain for social experimentation, a place where there are no police, and the laws of the state don't apply.
On October 27th, Alex, who has lived at the ZAD and written and spoken extensively about the anti-airport struggle, will be visiting Collins Living-Learning Center at Indiana University to discuss the history of the land occupation, the present state of affairs on the ground, the role of Permaculture and local farmers in sustaining the struggle, and what to expect in the coming months. Her talk will be followed by an open discussion about the history of Midwestern resistance to destructive development projects and how these struggles are connected even across international borders.
This is a completely free, public event and we would like to specifically welcome members of the local growers and Permaculture community to join us for the evening. The talk will be held in the main courtyard of Collins LLC at 10th and Woodlawn. The weather looks like it will unseasonably warm (around 60 degrees at 8pm), but please come dressed prepared to sit outside for over an hour. Please bring a blanket to sit on/share if possible too.
Alex will also be giving another talk and showing a short film at Boxcar Books, which we are still finalizing the date of.
For more details on the current state of La ZAD: