Farmers' blockades in Poland

January 1999

Part I: 23-Jan-99

About three thousand farmers from the Self-Defence Committee, together with two other farmer's organisations have begun yesterday a blockade of one of the main western border crossings on the polish/german border (near Frankfurt/Oder).

Their postulate is the decrease of food import from the EU. They came armed with scythes and other farmer tools. The government has announced the use of force, but in practice they have always been afraid to do anything against the farmers, the organisers of previous blockades didn't even have to pay fines.

Other blockades are organised on the road to Kaliningrad, and in central parts of the country.

Part II: 24-Jan-99

Today one of the leaders of the farmer's organisations said that the goal of the protests is the "overthrowing of the government". The blockade was lifted yesterday afternoon, talks with the government are continued, but the farmers say they are ready to resume blockades any time.

The farmer's problems come from the fact that because of the russian crisis, the export of food to russia has fallen dramatically, and the products remained on the polish market, which made the prices fall significantly. There is also a big competition in processed foods imported from the EU. Also the farmers were making most of their profits on export of pork meat, and the prices of it in EU have fallen. (It has to be said that slaughter of animals is the main source of income for the individual farmers - we as anarchists strongly support vegetarianism, but at this point i don't know how to deal with that issue, because the farmers are anyway on the verge of subsistance).

The latest announcements are they will resume massive blockades tomorrow in 300 different points all over the country. They said they will have truckloads of shit to use against the police if they are attacked.

Is there an official opinion of the PGA concerning centralized protectionist instruments used by the national governments? (The farmers are asking for more border taxes). Our group in Poland still hasn't decided what to think about this issue.

Part III: 25-Jan-99

There were about 90 different road blockades on the roads today, all over Poland, about 4000 farmers from a confederation of three organisations have organised them.

The government suckers try to divide them, by insinuating their leaders are sponsored by post-communists, by talking about "good farmers" and "bad farmers", and by inviting some of them for talks, and threatening others. Media try their best to find differences of opinion between them, but unsuccessfully. The motherfucker Balcerowicz says it's "untolerable" and that the farmers are of course acting against their own interests, which of course the eminent liberalist would take into account. He also made a pathetic attempt to play farmers against each other.

The police was sent against several of the blockades, with armored transporters, and water canons. The farmers responded with molotov cocktails and clubs, and throwing fertilizer dung on the police. A few cops and farmers were wounded. In most cases the police was not able to break the blockades. Most of the blockades were quiet, and some of them were lifted by the farmers themselves, but can be resumed any time.

The radio has quoted one farmer saying: "If we can't achieve what we want peacefully, we'll make a bloody revolution!"