INSURRECTIONARY AGRICULTURAL MILIEUX


Insurrectionary Agricultural Milieux are rhizomatic forms of agriculture that exist in local response to global conditions of biopolitics and neoliberalism. Government-supported development projects on agricultural land have compelled farmers and supporters to turn to direct action in resistance to land commodification and the excavation of its resources. As in the cases of Grow Heathrow (London), Mondeggi Bene Comune (Florence) and Ma Shi Po Village (Hong Kong), these indefinite sites of resistance become rhizomatically forming heteropias that gather people from multidisciplinary backgrounds and different communities.
        In these instances, participation creates an insurrectionary experience – a self-transforming project towards full autonomy, or what Max Stirner refers to as ‘ownness’. Stirner mentions that ‘insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves’.1 This can radicalise and politicise individuals in unpredictable ways, including empowering them with skills in self-sufficient farming.
        The Diggers (1964), Agrarian Socialism and the Guerrilla Gardening movement (made popular by Richard Reynolds) served as the fertile top soil in a pre-Occupy milieu. During Occupy, insurrectionary agricultural projects were widespread, from the planters in Zuccotti Park (Occupy Wall Street) to Farms for Democracy in Hong Kong – an agricultural platform that existed in all three occupations sites (2014– 2015).2 Contemporary Insurrectionary Agricultural Milieux can also be seen in refugee camps all across Europe and in Chiapas by the revolutionary Zapatistas.     
        Local resistances such as this year’s occupation in Ma Shi Po Village have a tendency to stay local and untranslated. When comparing emancipatory strategies on a global platform, such local resistances and their communities can meet, share tactics and learn from one another. For example, designing fortresses and blockades as architectural structures, anonymity in the form of humourous masks of oligarchs, befriending structural forces so that they are less violent during evictions, and even introducing friendly green giant-like mascots such as Spinach Man (see photograph) can all play a role in supporting agriculture in today’s world.3

Defined by 梁志剛 Michael Leung
Image: 文 Wen, Spinach Man and fortress, 2016.

1. Max Stirner, The Ego and its Own (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 279–80.

2. Admiralty Demonstration Farm Report, The HK FARMers’ Almanac 2014-2015 (Hong Kong: Spring Workshop, 2015).

3. North East New Territories, www.dungbak.tumblr.com (accessed 17 October 2016).

Mark