Revolta Pagesa shakes the foundations of agrarian unionism in Catalonia | News from Catalonia | EUROtoday

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The mobilization capability of entities comparable to Revolta Pagesa in Catalonia has exceeded expectations and has left conventional agricultural unions confused. The first demonstrations by farmers and ranchers paralyzing Catalonia started 4 months in the past, but it surely was every week earlier than the European elections (June 9) when the creation of the Gremi de la Pagesia Catalana was introduced. With the brand new actor, the hegemony of historic agricultural associations comparable to Unió de Pagesos (UP), JARC (Joves Agricultors i Ramaders de Catalunya) or ASAJA (Associació Agraria de Joves Agricultors) may very well be at risk. It relies on whether or not the power of the protests finally ends up being transformed into votes for Gremi within the 2026 agricultural chamber elections.

Last January, French farmers blocked a lot of the nation for days demanding enhancements of their sector. The motion impressed Spanish farmers, who, outraged by extreme paperwork, water restrictions attributable to drought and delays in gathering subsidies, started to prepare by way of WhatsApp teams. This is how Platform 6F was born (February 6), which known as for historic demonstrations such because the one which collapsed the accesses to Barcelona with tractors. The infiltration of individuals associated to the acute proper, particularly Vox, was detected among the many organizers of those protests, however in Catalonia they quickly corrected course, expelled the ultras and renamed the motion Revolta Pagesa or Plataforma Pagesa, relying on the world. In this fashion, and as soon as purged of extremely activists, they efficiently continued their protests.

On Monday, June 3, a number of days earlier than the European elections, the camp mobilized once more, slicing off the border crossings with France and Andorra for twenty-four hours. Farmers and ranchers demanded a discount in the price of hydrocarbons and larger safety in opposition to “unfair competition” from merchandise from third international locations, which don’t cross the identical well being controls as Community merchandise. The day of protests was successful regardless of not having the help of all of the unions. Carlos Vicente, spokesman for Unió de Pagesos, disassociated his group from these mobilizations: “We do not call for protests in the middle of the electoral campaign, we do not want to create confusion about our objectives or contaminate our struggle with that of other sectors.”

Despite the criticism, Revolta Pagesa got here out stronger. The motion now seeks to institutionalize itself with the creation of the Gremi de la Pagesia Catalana. This union affiliation will determine, in an meeting method, whether or not or to not run for the 2026 agrarian chamber elections. It shouldn’t be a minor step, since if it achieved the help it has had on the roads on the polls, Revolta Pagesa might have started to crack many years of conventional agrarian unionism.

Eduard Escolà, a farmer in Montblanc (Tarragona) and spokesperson for Revolta Pagesa, already warns that the brand new agricultural motion – established in Spain because the Union of Independent Primary Sector Associations (UNASPI) – is not going to be linked to any political celebration. “At Revolta Pagesa we have announced the creation of the Gremi de la Pagesia Catalana. We will be a pressure group in which everyone will fit to achieve the greatest number of benefits for the sector,” stated Escolà. The guild has been established with eight founders, who would be the ones who, by way of their assemblies, will determine its future.

Jordi Ginabreda is a farmer affiliated with Unió de Pagesos and likewise a member of Revolta Pagesa. In addition, he’s vice mayor for Junts in a city of 800 inhabitants, Vilademuls (Girona). He is aware of that quickly those that have any type of place in UP will be unable to have it within the Pagesia Guild. Ginabreda is blunt: “Associates will decide if we present ourselves to the agrarian chambers or if we stay on the sidelines and act lobby before the political parties but also before the agricultural unions themselves.” The farmer from Vilademuls factors out: “The important thing is to explore all the paths that allow us to transform things and improve the current conditions in the world of agriculture and livestock,” he stated.

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Tractors on Balmes Street, with the Tibidabo Basilica in the background, during the protests last February.
Tractors on Balmes Street, with the Tibidabo Basilica within the background, throughout the protests final February. Gianluca Battista

In Lleida, Revolta Pagesa was renamed the Pagesa Platform of Lleida, promoted -among others- by the younger farmer and rancher from Alcarràs Joan Miret. “Right now it is very frowned upon to form an agricultural union and we want to be something else. Furthermore, we are the ones who have the power to mobilize and not the traditional organizations,” Miret clarifies, underlining that the agricultural unions “look with fear” on the new organizations as a result of “they endanger structures that have been in power for many years.”

Joan Caball, the nationwide coordinator of Unió de Pagesos – essentially the most consultant agricultural union – since 2000, defends the work of his entity: “The work to solve economic and social problems such as depopulation or democratic representation are part of the DNA of Unió de Pagesos”. Caball believes that actions like Revolta Pagesa or the Gremio are usually not a “threat” to his entity: “It is very easy to call for mobilization without delving into concrete social realities,” he explains. “If you want to play the democratic system: welcome. Convening is not the same as representing. Taking hundreds of farmers to the streets does not make you a political interlocutor, for that you have to have representation and getting it takes years of hard work.”

Pere Roqué, president of ASAJA in Lleida, doesn’t present many indicators of concern concerning the emergence of the Guild: “From Asaja we have always given support to Revolta Pagesa and, when they could not call protests because they were not constituted as an entity, we have signed the mobilizations. In the peasantry everyone adds up. This is not politics,” he warns.

The position of conventional organizations

The Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA) doesn’t have illustration within the Catalan agricultural chambers. Even so, they’ve been attempting for years and falling quick. The normal secretary of worldwide relations of UPA, José Manuel Roche, is direct: “UPA respects any type of mobilization but we also defend the work of traditional organizations, which are the only interlocutors.” Roche doesn’t imagine that Revolta Pagesa might characterize a hazard to agricultural unions: “Forming a professional agricultural organization entails a lot of effort, fatigue and disappointment, it is not something that can be done on a daily basis. We have a long journey behind us and we still have a long way to go.”

The final Catalan agricultural elections had been held in 2021. Of the 20,609 farmers registered, solely 7,274 voted. Unió de Pagesos obtained 55.82% of the votes adopted by JARC with 29.16%, ASAJA with 11.29% and UPA with 2.61%. These percentages have remained nearly fastened for many years and most of the farmers who now criticize the agricultural unions denounce that these organizations have turn into mere businesses and are typically perceived as an extension of the paperwork required by the administration.

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https://elpais.com/espana/catalunya/2024-06-17/revolta-pagesa-sacude-los-cimientos-del-sindicalismo-agrario-en-cataluna.html