Polish Farmers Blockade Motorways Across Country

This just in from Julian Rose and his partner Jadwiga Lopata, along with a request to voice our opinion — wherever we are — to the Polish Prime Minister. For those who don’t know this already, Julian and Jadwiga helped Poland to become the first European country to ban GMO’s. Ever since that success, the government and then the citizens have felt tremendous pressure from the EU, with all sorts of tricky back room deals and regulations, now making Poland one of the most difficult places for organic farmers to do business. Please see below for details and show some solidarity if you feel led to do so.

As early leaders in protecting their country from corporate thuggery, Polish farmers hold symbolic significance, just like toppling Greece holds symbolic significance for ending Democracy — or how the puppeteers chose Madison, Wisconsin as their Koch Bros. backed opportunity to target unions. (Your 40-hour work week with weekends off became a reality due to worker and union demands in Wisconsin.) Please keep Poland in mind and heart for her symbolic value, as well as the precedent Polish success or failure will set for the rest of the EU (and world).

Polish Farmers Blockade Motorways Across Country

This week thousands of Polish family farmers from the Solidarity trade union turned out to protest in over 50 locations across the country. Over 150 tractors have been blockading the A2 motorway into Warsaw since the 3rd February and hundreds more have closed roads and are picketing governmental offices in other regions. The farmers are vowing to continue the struggle until the government agrees to enter talks with the union and commit to addressing what they see as a crisis in Polish agriculture.

ICPPC directors, Jadwiga Lopata and Julian Rose joined more than 200 farmers at a Solidarity protest in Kielce, South East Poland.

These actions represent a dramatic escalation of protests that have been simmering across the country over the last year. Edward Kosmal, chairman of the farmers protest committee for West-Pomeranian Region said: “We are ready for dialogue. We look forward to meeting with you Prime Minister and beginning a comprehensive government commitment to solving the problems of Polish agriculture. If you do not enter into a dialogue with the Union, we would be forced to tighten our forms of protest.”

The four key demands of the farmers are:
Land rights – implement regulation to prevent land-grabs by Western companies and to protect family farmers rights to land – (NB. From 2016 foreign buyers will be legally able to buy Polish land).
Legalize direct sales of farm produce – the government must take action to improve farmers’ position in the market, including the adoption of a law to facilitate direct sales of processed and unprocessed farm products (NB. Poland has the most exclusionary policies in Europe around on-farm processing of food products and direct sales, which make it impossible for family farmers to compete with bigger food companies).
Extend inheritance laws to include land under lease as a fully legal form of land use.
Ban the cultivation and sale of Genetically Modified Organisms in Poland

Quotes from Solidarity farmers trade union press releases on the 2nd and 3rd of February:

“We demand a legal ban on GM crops in Poland. The value of Polish agriculture, unique in Europe, is the unpolluted environment and high quality food production. That’s decisive concerning our competitiveness in global markets.”

“We are entitled to conclude that the European Union blindness deprives people in our country from thinking in terms of the importance of development for Polish citizens, and thus the Polish economy”

“We demand the introduction of legislation that will protect Polish land from exploitation by foreign capital! Agricultural land can not be sold to commercial companies. It’s part of Polish territory. Once sold it will be lost.”

Please send expressions of your support for Polish farmers to Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz (with copy to us!):
kontakt@kprm.gov.pl

Kancelaria Prezesa Rady Ministrów
Al. Ujazdowskie 1/3
00-583 Warszawa

PHOTOS AND FILMS FROM PROTEST HERE:
http://landworkersalliance.org.uk/2015/02/polish-farmers-blockade-motorways-across-country/

You can donate to our activities here
http://icppc.pl/index.php/en/support-us.html

Many thanks!

Jadwiga Lopata and Julian Rose – ICPPC
Joanna Bojczewska and Adam Payne – Landworkers’ Alliance
==========================
ICPPC – International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside,
34-146 Stryszów 156, Poland tel./fax +48 33 8797114 biuro@icppc.pl
www.icppc.pl www.gmo.icppc.pl www.eko-cel.pl

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