en-de  José Bové vs. McDonald's: The Making of a National Hero in the French Anti-Globalization Movement Hard
José Bové vs. McDonald's: The Making of a National Hero in the French Anti-Globalization Movement[1].

Wayne Northcutt, Niagara University, Journal of the Western Society for French History, Volume 31, 2003.

Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.0642292.0031.020.

This article is available full-text in HathiTrust.

"Lutter, c'est le plaisir!"
— José Bové[2].

"Une seule chose qui bouge en France, c'est José Bové!"
— Francis Fukuyama[3].

José Bové, ein Schafzüchter/Aktivist in Aveyron in Midi-Pyrénées, einer Region Frankreichs, ist ein moderner Asterix, ein fiktiver Gallier, der Jahrhunderte zuvor fremde Eindringlinge verprügelte. In Bovés Fall war der Eindringling McDonalds, die amerikanische Fast-Food-Kette (von Bové und seinen Unterstützern ironisch "McDo" genannt). Am 12. August 1999 "demontierten" Bové und seine Kollegen der 'Confédération paysanne', des zweitgrößten Bauernverbandes in Frankreich, einen im Bau befindlichen McDonald's in Millau, einer Kleinstadt mit ungefähr 20.000 Einwohnern auf dem windumtosten Plateau von Larzac. Vorher, im Januar 1988, vernichteten er und seine Kameraden gentechnisch veränderten Mais in einem Getreidesilo in Nérac im Département Lot-et-Garonne. Während er für den Vorfall in Nérac eine Bewährungsstrafe von acht Monaten erhielt, brachte die Aktion in Millau Bové, dem Sprecher der Confédération paysanne, einige Wochen Gefängnis ein, aber auch nationale und internationale Aufmerksamkeit. Zu seiner Gerichtsverhandlung kamen schätzungsweise 40.000 Menschen aus Frankreich und der ganzen Welt, um Bové und seinen Fall zu unterstützen [4].

Auslöser für Bovés Angriff auf McDonald's in Millau war ein Disput zwischen den Vereinigten Staaten und ihren Unterstützern bei der Welthandelsorganisation (WTO) auf der einen Seite und Europa auf der anderen. Als die WTO das Recht der Vereingten Staaten, hormonbelastetes Rindfleisch nach Europa zu exportieren, unterstützte und die Europäer Widerstand leisteten, verhängten die Vereinigten Staaten als Vergeltungsmaßnahme hohe Zölle auf bestimmte Luxusprodukte. Eines der Produkte, gegen die sich die Vereingten Staaten richteten, war Roquefortkäse - derselbe Käse, den Bové auf seinem Schafbetrieb produzierte. Der Journalistin und Aktivistin Naomi Klein zufolge, symbolisierte Bovés Aktion in Millau einen Angriff "auf ein landwirtschaftliches Modell, das Nahrungsmittel ausschließlich als industrielle Ware ansieht, anstatt als Herzstück von nationaler Kultur und Familienleben" [5]. Bovés Gegenangriff machte ihn nicht nur zu einem Helden in Frankreich, sondern auch zu einem "Prominenten" bei der riesigen Protestkundgebung im Dezember 1999 in Seattle, Washington, bei der mehr als 50.000 Menschen zu sehen waren, die gegen die WTO demonstrierten.

In dem Jahr, das der Demontage des McDonald's und dem Protest in Seattle folgte, veröffentlichte Bové einen Bestseller, "Le Monde n'est pas une marchandise" (Die Welt ist keine Ware) [6], in dem er seine altermondialistischen Ansichten beschrieb. Seit dem Zwischenfall bei dem McDonald's ist Bové zu einem Nationalhelden in Frankreich und Anführer der französischen Anti-Globalisierungsbewegung geworden, und zwar aufgrund einiger Faktoren: 1) er ist charismatisch, redegewandt und nutzt neue und kreative Strategien; 2) er macht sich mit den nationalen Sorgen über die Qualität der Lebensmittelversorgung in Frankreich vertraut; 3) er geht gegen eine Bedrohung der französischen kulturellen Identität an; 4) er spricht sich gegen von den USA aus geführten, multinationalen Konzernen und die Handelspolitik der WTO aus; 5) er ist eine interessante Persönlichkeit für die Medien, nicht nur in Frankreich, sondern weltweit, insbesondere in englischsprachigen Ländern; 6) er setzt mächtige Symbole ein; und 7) die Inhaftierung Bovés durch die Regierung im Kommandostil im Juni 2003 hat sein Ansehen als ein wichtiger Altermondalist nur gestärkt. Eine Untersuchung dieser Faktoren wird zeigen, wie ein moderner David gegen einige internationale Goliaths antrat und sich zu einem führenden Sprecher der Anti-Globalisierungsbewegung wandelte, sowohl innerhalb als auch außerhalb Frankreichs.

Bevor wir die Gründe für Bovés kometenhaften Aufstieg untersuchen, müssen wir den Begriff "Globalisierung" und seine Bedeutung betrachten. Was ist Globalisierung? Ist es eine Anspielung auf ein neues Zeitalter mit einfachem Zugang zu Informationen, ermöglicht durch Faxgeräte, Handys, Computer und das Internet, was den Weg für eine Revolution in Produktion, Kommunikation und Handel ebnet? Oder ist Globalisierung etwas mehr, eine Ausweitung kapitalistischer Verhältnisse über die Welt, ermöglicht durch die technologische Revolution, deren Zeugen wir gerade sind? Stellt Globalisierung in dieser Hinsicht eine neoliberale Wirtschaftspolitik dar und ein neues Zeitalter des Imperialismus? Für Bové bedeutet Globalisierung eine Ausweitung kapitalistischer Verhältnisse, mit sowohl positiven als auch negativen Aspekten. Bové ist eine wichtige Persönlichkeit, weil er bedeutsame Fragen über den Globalisierungsprozess aufwirft, insbesondere bezüglich der Herstellung von Lebensmitteln und der Handelspolitik der WTO.

Bovés Charisma, redegewandte Art und kreative, neue Strategie haben einen wichtigen Anteil an seiner Beliebtheit und seinem Erfolg in der Anti-Globalisierungsbewegung. Sein Charisma geht teilweise auf seinen interessanten Hintergrund und sein Erscheinungsbild zurück. Obwohl Bové 1953 in Bordeaux geboren wurde, verbrachte er die frühen Jahre seines Lebens, von 1956 bis 1959 in Berkeley, Kalifornien, wo seine Eltern als Wissenschaftler der Biochemie an der Universität von Kalifornien arbeiteten. Ironischerweise wurden seine Eltern später Forscher am Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA). Sein Vater, ursprünglich aus Luxemburg stammend, wurde sogar Regionaldirektor der INRA und ein Mitglied der Académie des Sciences. José Bové begann seine Schulzeit in Kalifornien und behauptet, er habe zuerst gelernt, Englisch zu sprechen vor Französisch. Als die Familie Bové nach Frankreich zurückkehrte, besuchte der junge José eine bilinguale Grundschule in der Avenue de la Bourdonnais in Paris. In seinem späteren Leben nahm er an Anti-Kriegs-Demonstrationen teil, aufgerufen gegen die amerikansiche Beteiligung in Vietnam. Als junger Mann schien er von pazifistischen, antimilitaristischen und anarchistischen Ideen erfüllt zu sein. Er begann sein Universitätsstudium an der Universität von Toulouse mit der Aussicht, Philosophie zu unterrichten. Er hielt das Leben an der Universität nur ein Jahr lang aus, brach ab, engagierte sich in der Ökologiebewegung und in der Politik des linken Spektrums [7].

In den frühen 1970er Jahren, nachdem er durch Zufall mit seiner Gefährtin Alice Monier Larzac besuchte und Zeuge der ersten Großdemonstration in einer Gegend wurde, die jetzt ein Symbol des Protestes und des Widerstandes geworden ist, wusste dieser angehende Aktivist, wo er leben wollte. Er zog in das Département Aveyron und begann sein Leben als Schafzüchter, indem er sich in einem Dörfchen mit nur wenigen Familien ansiedelte. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt wurde er in den Protest gegen den Plan der Regierung, ein großes Militärgelände zu errichten, einbezogen. Später, 1987, war er Mitbegründer der Confédération paysanne [8]. Bovés Aktivismus war sogar vor 1999 international, das Jahr, das ihn ins weltweite Scheinwerferlicht katapultierte. Zum Beispiel beteiligte er sich an den Bemühungen von Greenpeace die Nukleartests im Südpazifik zu stoppen, die von dem neu gewählten Präsidenten Jacques Chirac, ein Gaullist, wieder eingeführt wurden.

Diese interessante und bewegte Herkunft erklärt teilweise sein Charisma. Aber ein Teil seines Charismas erklärt sich auch durch sein Erscheinungsbild. Er zieht sich einfache Kleidung an, die Kleidung eines Bauerns und sieht aus wie die französische Version von Lech Walesa, dem Anführer der polnischen Arbeiter, der 1980 die sowjetische Regierung herausforderte. Bové hat kurzes Haar und einen lang herunterhängenden Schnurrbart ähnlich wie Walesa. Ferner deutet Bovés allgegenwärtige Pfeife darauf hin, dass er eine ruhige, nachdenkliche Person ist, eine Schlüsselzutat seines Charismas.

Der neue französische Asterix ist ebenso für seine redegewandte Art bekannt, sowohl in Französisch als auch in Englisch, die zu seinem Erfolg als Aktivist beigetragen hat. Eines der Wörter, die er geprägt hat und häufig benutzt ist "malbouffe" (Junkfood). Sein Buch, "Le Monde n'est pas une marchandise" (Die Welt ist keine Ware) und seine öffentlichen Äußerungen zeigen ebenfalls einen Mann, der sich mühelos und direkt ausdrückt [9]. Seine verbale Direktheit und seine Fähigkeit, Argumente zu kontern, die die WTO, Nahrungsmittelversorgung, genetische Veränderung und andere Themen unterstützen, halfen dabei, ihn zum Sprecher für viele in Frankreich zu machen, die sich vor der Auswirkung der Globalisierung fürchten. Kürzlich diskutierte er sogar mit Alain Madelin, der 1995 Minister für Finanzen und Wirtschaft war und jetzt Kopf der Partei Démocratie libérale ist, Teil von Chiracs Union pour la majorité présidentielle (UMP), im französischen Fernsehen [10]. Das Bild eines redegewandten Schafzüchters, der sich dem Thema Globalisierung und seinen Unterstützern stellt, half die französische Meinung auf die Seite dieses Aktivisten zu bringen.

Seine neuen und kreativen Strategien haben ihm ebenfalls viele Anhänger gewonnen. Am Tag seines Prozesses in Millau kam er zum Beispiel mit einem Ochsenkarren an, mit einem großen Käserad aus Roquefortkäse oben drauf. Er rief der Menge zu, "Wir werden siegen - rettet unseren Roquefort und nieder mit Junk Food." [11] Dann als er nach seinem Prozess aus dem Gerichtsgebäude heraustrat, in Handschellen gelegt, hob er seine Hände über den Kopf, zeigte der Menge seine Handschellen und ein strahlendes, herausforderndes Lächeln. Das war das Bild von Bové, das aus dem Umschlag seines populären Buches erschien. Andere Strategien haben seiner Sache ebenfalls geholfen. Zum Beispiel meldete er sich am 19. Juni 2002 beim Gefängnis in Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone in der Nähe von Montpellier auf ungewöhnliche Weise. Er und eine Gruppe von Mitgliedern der Confédération paysanne fuhren in einer Prozession von Traktoren von seinem Dörfchen in Aveyron zum Gefängnis, ein Sechs-Stunden-Marsch mit dem Traktor. Auf einem Schild an der Rückseite des Traktors des Arbeiterführers stand: "Chirac ins Gefängnis, Bové nach Hause." Die Fahrt zum Gefängnis war ein Medienereignis [12] und Zeitungen und elektronische Medien zeigten Bové auf seinem Traktor mit seinem Schild, ein Bild, dass die Gefühle vieler Kritiker von Chirac und der WTO einfängt. Eine andere kreative Strategie kam nach seiner Entlassung aus dem Gefängnis im August 2003, eine Inhaftierung für das Zerstören von genverändertem Mais in der Nähe von Montpellier. Als sich das Gericht aufgrund von Bewährungsauflagen weigerte, ihm die Erlaubnis zu geben, im frühen September dieses Jahres nach Cancun zu reisen, um gegen die Landwirtschaftspolitik der WTO zu protestieren, kündigte Bové an, er werde eine Demonstration in Frankreich in einer kleiner Stadt organisieren, deren Name so ähnlich klingt wie "Cancun" - Cancon im Département Lot-et-Garonne. Die "Midi Libre", eine der wichtigsten Zeitungen, die in den Regionen Midi-Pyrénées und Languedoc gelesen wird, veröffentlichte ein Foto von Bové, der am Ortseingang von Cancon neben einem Schild mit dem Namen der Stadt steht [13]. Bovés Fähigkeit medienwirksame Strategien zu entwickeln, die oft Humor wenn nicht sogar beißende Satire zum Ausdruck bringen, haben seine Präsenz innerhalb und außerhalb von Frankreich sehr gefördert.

Bezüglich seiner Strategie sieht sich Bové selbst als ein französischer Gandhi, der gewaltlosen zivilen Ungehorsam verwendet, um auf Ungerechtigkeiten aufmerksam zu machen. Wie Gandhi hat Bové verstanden, dass die Zeit, die er im Gefängnis verbringt, ihm mehr Anhänger einbringen würde. Zum Beispiel erklärte Bové der Presse in dem Jahr seiner Demontage des McDonald's, "Wenn Gefängnis die Konsequenz für Handlungen ist, wird es für diejenigen mit Finanzkraft schwieriger sein als für diejenigen, die in den Knast gehen müssen." [14] Bei seinem Prozess in Millau, bezog er sich direkt auf Gandhi und verkündete "Gandhi demontierte eine britische Anlage im Namen des friedlichen Widerstands gegen die britische Herrschaft in Indien. Unsere Aktion war gewaltfreier Widerstand von Bürgern ... . . gegen amerikanische Provokation." [15] Seine Mischung aus direktem gewaltlosem zivilen Widerstand und Humor begünstigte das Wachsen seines Ansehens. Aber anders als Gandhi hat Bové etwas zur Verfügung, das er zu seinem Vorteil genutzt hat - das Internet. Seine Organisation, die Confédération paysanne, hat ihre eigene hochentwickelte Website, die dabei hilft, Internetuser über die Organisation und vorgesehene Proteste gegen die WTO, künstliche Nahrungsmittel, genetische Veränderungen und andere relevante Themen auf dem Laufenden zu halten.

Trotz der Taktiken, die denen wie sie die Gandhi angewendet hat ähneln, behauptet Bové, er wäre ein Anarchosyndikalist. Bové erklärte einmal, "Ich bin Anarchosyndikalist." Ich stehe Bakunin [dem russischen Anarchisten] näher als Marx. Ich beziehe mich auf die Vereinigung Jaurès in der Ersten Internationalen des letzten Jahrhunderts und der spanischen CNT von 1936." [16] Obwohl er seine Bereitschaft bekundet hat, Gewalt anzuwenden, inbesondere gegen Unternehmen und Konzerne, so richtet sich diese Gewalt ausdrücklich nicht gegen Personen. Laut seines französischen Biografen, Denis Pingaud, steht Bové ideologisch Ralph Nader näher als Arlette Laguiller, Vorstandsmitglied der trotzkistischen Partei Lutte Ouvrière [17]. Auf diese Weise haben seine einzigartigen Strategien so wie sein Charisma und seine Beredsamkeit dazu beigetragen, einen Schafzüchter in einen Volkshelden Frankreichs zu verwandeln, den Daniel Cohn-Bendit des neuen Jahrtausend.

Einer der Hauptgründe für Bovés Erfolg liegt darin, dass er die tiefe Furcht um die Sicherheit der Lebensmittelversorgung in Frankreich und auf dem Kontinent antippt. Diese Furcht ist über die Jahre gewachsen und gipfelten in ernsthaften Bedenken an der Europäischen Gemeinschaft als Ergebnis von Dioxinfunden in Hühnern, dem Rückruf in Tausenden von Fällen bei Coca-Cola, BSE und Maul- und Klauenseuche [18]. Beim Angriff auf McDonald's in Millau konzentrierte Bové seine Aufmerksamkeit auf die Nahrungsmittelversorgung, brachte Bedenken gegen hormonbelastetes Fleich vor, das von McDonald's verwendet wird, künstliche Lebensmittel und genetisch verändertes Getreide wie Mais. Laut Bové gilt zum Beispiel: "Die größte Gefahr, die von genmanipuliertem Mais ausgeht, genauso wie von anderem genverändertem Getreide, besteht in der Unmöglichkeit, die Langzeitfolgen und die anschließenden Auswirkungen auf die Umwelt, auf Tiere und Menschen." [19] Bezug nehmend auf das Essen von McDonalds spricht er von Drecksfraß und er warnt die Franzosen, dass sie kontrollieren müssten, was sie essen und nicht einfach einer von Amerikanern geführten mulinationalen Firma erlauben dürften, zu bestimmen, wie und was eine Nation konsumiert.

Ein weiterer Grund für seinen Erfolg ist, dass er eine Bedrohung der französischen kutlurellen Indentität identifiziert und infrage gestellt hat. Frankreich ist eine Nation, die stolz auf ihre kulinarische Tradition ist. Yet today in France there are more than 750 McDonald's, a company that has led the fast food charge in the U.S., France, and around the world. Shockingly, in Paris, once considered the culinary capital of the world, one out of four restaurants is now a fast food establishment! Bové understood the way that McDonald's penetrated France and its consequences and realized that "McDomination" would continue unless protests emerged.

Heute hat McDonald's annähernd 28.000 Restaurants weltweit und öffnet jedes Jahr ungefähr 2.000 neue Restaurants. Der Erfolg von McDonald's ruht auf zwei Säulen - die Firma produziert preiswerte Nahrungsmittel, auch wenn sie künstlich sein mögen und sie produziert weltweit standardisierte Nahrungsmittel, was Konsumenten verleitet zu denken, dass sie unabhängig vom Ort wissen, was sie bestellen. Gleichförmigkeit beim Nahrungsmittelkonsum und billige Mahlzeiten, oftmals von Leuten gewünscht, die wenig Zeit oder keine Lust haben, zu Hause zu kochen, machen vielen in Frankreich Sorgen, die stolz auf die kulinarische Tradition ihrer Nation sind. Außerdem erschwert der Anstieg von Fast-Food-Restaurants angehenden Restaurantbesitzern, einen Betrieb zu eröffnen und zum Erfolg zu führen. Die preiswerten Burger, Pommes frites und das Spieleland bei McDonald's ziehen Kunden an, die früher ein echtes Restauranterlebnis bevorzugten. Essen ist zentral für die französische kulturelle Identität, aber was die Leute konsumieren und wie sie es konsumieren, ändert sich aufgrund von Fast-Food-Einrichtungen wie McDonald's und "Branding" (das Verkaufen von Marken statt von Produkten), das so sehr Teil der Strategie multinationaler Unternehmen in der Konsumkultur ist [21].

Bovés Erfolg ist auch auf die Tatsache zurückzuführen, dass er sich, wie David gegen Goliath, gegen ein US-amerikanisch geführtes multinationales Unternehmen gestellt hat, ganz zu schweigen von der WTO. McDonald's ist ein riesiges Unternehmen, was durch die oben genannte weltweite Anzahl der Restaurants belegt wird und auch durch die wirtschaftliche Macht in der Nation, woher es stammt, den USA. In den Vereinigten Staaten beschäftigt McDonald's eine Million Menschen, mehr als jedes andere öffentliche oder private Unternehmen. Es ist der größte Abnehmer von Rindfleisch, Schweinefleich und Kartoffeln und der zweitgrößte Abnehmer von Hähnchenfleisch. Darüber hinaus ist das Unternehmen McDonald's überraschenderweise der größte Eigentümer von Einzelhandelsimmobilien auf der Welt und verdient den Großteil seines Gewinns nicht durch den Verkauf von Essen, sondern durch Mieteinnahmen. Es gibt mehr Geld für Werbung und Marketing aus als jede andere Marke und ersetzt Coca-Cola als die bekannteste Marke der Welt [22].

According to Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, McDonald's and the fast food phenomenon launched what we now know as globalization, getting an early start on the phenomenon that is now upon us[23]. Schlosser charges that "the fast food industry has triggered the homogeneity of our [American] society. Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widening the chasm between the rich and the poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled the juggernaut of American cultural imperialism abroad"[24]. Bové expressed many of these ideas himself in leading the attack on McDonald's in France. Moreover, since the French Revolution, challenging centralized authority, whether it be national or international, has been an important part of the French political tradition.

In challenging a large U.S.-dominated multinational, Bové tapped into French fears about the consequences of corporate mergers, acquisitions, and downsizing. There is a genuine concern in France and elsewhere that the battle of the twenty-first century may not be conflict among nations, or even international terrorism, but controlling the power of corporations. According to one author, "The history of the twentieth century was dominated by the struggle against totalitarian systems of state power. The twenty-first century will no doubt be dominated by a struggle to curtail corporate power"[25]. In France over the past few decades there has been a spate of privatizations and acquisitions despite the fact that the French are accustomed to a state that owns large sectors of the economy. The former socialist government of Lionel Jospin (1997-2002) sold off more state-owned assets than the five previous governments combined. Corporate power worries the French, and Bové's attack on a key symbol of international corporate power resonated well in France because the economic landscape is quickly changing and creating economic insecurities for French citizens, including farmers[26].

In challenging McDonald's, Bové also challenged the power of the World Trade Organization and fueled the fires in France against globalization carried out under the authority of the WTO. For Bové, the WTO is simply an expression of corporate power, an organization designed to benefit corporations and not necessarily citizens of the world. According to Bové: The World Trade Organization can no longer function as before. This organization is going to be obliged to reconstruct its legitimacy, becoming a democratic institution. Democracy between countries is a must. When we look at the treatment inflicted on countries in the Southern hemisphere we can easily see that all countries are not treated equally. . . . [Also necessary] is the creation of an International Court, a permanent organization to verify if the rules of the World Trade Organization conform with all of the charters, notably the United Nations'. . . or ones on bio-diversity[27].

Interestingly enough, Ralph Nader's organization invited Bové to attend the protest against the World Trade Organization in Seattle. Bové accepted the invitation and smuggled into the U.S. a large piece of Roquefort cheese and displayed it at a rally where he spoke, in front of a McDonald's of course. At this rally, drawing on his knowledge of American history (i.e. the Boston Tea Party), he told the crowd that McDo's malbouffe must be "thrown into the sea." Subsequently, demonstrators broke the windows of the McDonald's near the site where he spoke[28]. For Bové, the WTO is a Trojan horse working on behalf of international corporate power.

In France, McDonald's is a key target for those opposed to WTO-style globalization. While polls show that a majority of French believe that globalization boosts growth, many worry that it also threatens their identity and may lead to greater inequalities. Fifteen years ago foreign ownership of French firms stood at only ten percent; today, however, more than forty percent of the shares on the French Bourse are foreign owned, nearly forty-four percent of the CAC 40 is foreign owned, and thirty-six percent of state bonds are owned by non-residents[29].

Another ingredient that explains Bové's rise as a national hero is that he is an interesting personality who caught the attention of the media. He makes for good television and good photojournalism, especially given his background and appearance. An articulate sheep farmer using Gandhi and Martin Luther King-like tactics to challenge the power of McDonald's, the WTO, and genetic modification conjured up a powerful image for the media. Moreover, his ability to speak English made him and his movement accessible to the English-language press, often a twenty-four-hour-a-day press constantly seeking news stories. During his trial in Millau he appeared on the cover of the Washington Post, and CNN even rented an apartment near the courthouse in Millau to cover his court appearance. Coverage of Bové abroad only added to the star-like quality of this experienced activist. The image of a sheep farmer taking on an American-led international corporate power and doing it with great pizzazz, followed by the publication of his book which sold more than 100,000 copies, insured Bové folk hero status, especially since he led a movement with anti-American overtones. The fear that an American corporation was dictating French tastes in food and that the World Trade Organization favored the U.S. at the expense of Europe and the rest of the world played well in the French electronic and print media.

He has caught the attention of the media, too, because he has employed powerful symbols in his protests. An obvious example already mentioned is McDonald's, the most recognized brand in the word. Utilizing McDonald's as a target provided Bové with access to a vast economic system, namely global corporate capitalism. Bové also has cultivated the symbol of the small farmer from la France profonde to promote his cause. For many, la France profonde is still an idyllic place that represents the "good old days" of a France now confronting numerous challenges on both the domestic and international fronts. This activist with a global focus knows, too, that sixty percent of the word's population works in agriculture. Thus, the symbol of the small farmer confronting agribusiness corporations became a key symbol of the resistance to globalization. He has used also the Roquefort cheese produced in his region as a symbol. As previously mentioned, he "cheesed it up," so to speak, at his Millau trial and at the protest in Seattle. Another powerful symbol he has employed is Larzac itself, a longtime symbol of protest that dates back to the early 1970s. Bové's original motivation for moving to Larzac sprang from the budding protest movement he found in southern Aveyron in the early 1970s. He has mastered the art of using symbols to communicate his message.

A last factor that explains Bové's rise in popularity is the Chirac regime itself, especially the commando-like raid of the activist's residence on 22 June 2003 at six o'clock on a Sunday morning when a helicopter swooped down on his hamlet and dozens of police surrounded his home. After the police broke through the door of his house, he was arrested without a struggle and flown by helicopter to the Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone prison near the capitol of Languedoc to serve a ten month prison term for destroying genetically modified corn. The police raid was videotaped by a neighbor and shown numerous times on French television. To many, it looked like an excessive use of force against a labor leader who had not acted violently against any individual[30]. The left, including the socialist (PS) and communist (PCF) parties, quickly condemned the Chirac government for such use of force and the Confédération paysanne called for demonstrations at the prison and throughout France. Bové himself charged in an interview with Le Monde that the government had "a will to criminalize the labor movement." Bové then told the newspaper's readers, "The message is clear, public order rather than justice"[31]. An editorial in Le Monde called Bové's arrest "a stupidity" and insisted that his incarceration would turn the labor leader into a martyr[32]. According to Le Monde, sixty percent of the French favored Bové's release[33]. Furthermore, more than forty researchers at CIRAD (Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement), INRA, and IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement) wrote an open letter to the president of the Republic, which protested Bové's arrest and which Le Monde published in part. These researchers stressed that the scientific community was divided on the question of GM crops[34]. Although Chirac would later reduce his sentence by four and a half months as part of the 2003 Bastille day clemency program, and the court in Montpellier on 2 August 2003 agreed to release Bové and let him serve out his sentence by working in the gardens of the Larzac Hospital in Millau, the military-style arrest helped to canonize this high profile activist in the eyes of many in France, especially on the left.

One measure of Bové's popularity in France was seen at "Larzac 2003," a protest rally in early August planned by the Confédération Paysanne and other organizations to prepare the French for the Cancun meeting of the WTO. Since Bové was released from jail just days before the rally, he was the main attraction. In the deadly heat of August, nearly 300,000 people showed up to participate, a number that surprised even Bové and his organization[35]. What is more amazing is that this rally was done without the full scale participation of the unions, especially the Confédération générale du travail (CGT), Force ouvrière (FO), or Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT). It was also organized outside of the political parties[36]. Of course, Bové benefited from a convergence of forces at Larzac 2003, namely WTO protesters as well as the social protest movements that began building in France in the spring due to the government's plans to harmonize public and private retirement, decentralize the education system, and change the rules for temporary workers in the entertainment industry. Larzac 2003 was a highly successful anti-government rally.

In conclusion, while most would agree that globalization is an irreversible trend, critics like Bové call attention to the problems that must be addressed. For instance, Bové and others claim that globalization reduces standards. Corporations that can operate anywhere in the world often seek places with the lowest environmental standards and weakest labor laws. Thus, governments often compete to entice investors with ever weakening standards. Consequently, globalization may have a negative impact on the environment and may impoverish workers. Globalization, too, strips governments of their sovereign powers. For the critics, all of this means that globalization paves the way for global capitalism[37]. Moreover, Bové insists that the WTO is not a democratic organization since members of this body are not elected but appointed, and the organization conducts its business in secrecy. According to Bové, the WTO favors the rich nations at the expense of the poor ones[38].

Moreover, those supporting free trade often argue that the trickle down effects from deregulation are positive, such as reductions in poverty. The experience of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Association between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, suggests that there is a poor record for the labor and environmental side of the agreement. Poverty, too, has not been reduced in a country like Mexico, where fifty-three million of the one hundred million inhabitants of the nation live in poverty. Since 1994, the beginning of NAFTA, 1.7 million Mexican workers in the agricultural sector have lost their jobs, and there has been an increased concentration of wealth, with the richest ten percent of Mexicans garnering forty-six percent of the total income[39]. It is clear that globalization needs to be monitored and the rights of citizens protected against the greed sometimes associated with global corporate power.

In France, an interesting organization has emerged that is dedicated to combating globalization and liberalization, at least the negative aspects of these trends. The organization is called ATTAC - Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens. ATTAC was inspired by Viviane Forrester's L'Horreur économique, first published in 1996, a book that became a best seller and was translated into numerous languages. ATTAC, which has several thousand members, calls for a tax on the flow of international capital, to be used to help poor countries[40]. Bové supports ATTAC as a way of restoring ethics and democracy to corporations.

While Bové is not completely opposed to globalization, he maintains that it must be policed to prevent corporations and shareholders addicted to profits from reducing life to mere commodities and the "logic" of market exchange. Although Bové began his protest by attacking McDonald's and genetic modification of food, he has inspired many critics to speak out against what he sees as an undemocratic globalization process. To some small degree he contributed to the moral victory of the G 21 (a grouping of poor nations that included Brazil and China) at the September 2003 meeting of the WTO, where poor nations and the rich northern hemisphere failed to agree on such matters as agricultural subsidies paid to farmers in developed nations, which stifle agriculture in the Third World[41]. What Bové undoubtedly hopes for is to give a human face to globalization to protect citizens' rights and national sovereignty. This sheep farmer from Aveyron has inspired an international protest movement that will surely continue to demand protection for human rights, including the right to control the supply and safety of one's food.

Bové and the phenomenon that he represents are products of factors that are internal and external to France. Like a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King, he has the charisma and the skills to lead a protest movement that has taken on international dimensions. Bové and the anti-globalization movement that he represents - perhaps a new "International" according to Le Nouvel Observateur[42] - show us that activism is still very much alive in the western world and that unbridled capitalism is not necessarily the end of ideology. Bové has not only succeeded in uniting le milieu populaire, including farmers and intellectuals; he has also raised significant questions about the functioning of multinationals, the WTO, and the safety of the food supply, especially genetically modified crops. In France, Bové represents a post-soixante-huitard phenomenon and perhaps the rise of a new, new left. Bové's next challenge will be to shift the discussion from the negativism implied by the anti-globalization movement to a specific debate about democracy in France and elsewhere, convincing others that "another world is possible," a theme now used by the Confédération paysanne. While he has helped to create what some are calling "the movement of movements," this is a fragmented group of dissidents who sometimes have different agendas. Nevertheless, his neo-humanism has raised important questions about global economic power that need to be addressed in France and abroad. The contradictions inherent in the current globalization process, such as WTO agricultural policy, will insure more protests and mass movements as concerned citizens around the globe attempt to improve the human condition and control the global economic forces that we now confront.

1-1. I would like to thank the Research Council at Niagara University for awarding me a summer grant which facilitated the completion of this manuscript. Also, I must thank Denise and Maurice Aldon for their assistance with documentation for this project. Renée, my wife, read the manuscript and made valuable suggestions for which I am most grateful.

2-Quoted in Paul Ariès and Christian Terras, José Bové: La révolte d'un paysan (Villeurbanne: Editions Golias, 2000), 90.

3-Le Figaro, 26 Feb. 2001.

4-For a who's who of the leadership of the anti-globalization movement, see Capital, Jan. 2002, 40-46. The June 2000 issue of the American magazine Business Week listed Bové as one of the fifty rising stars in Europe (see Le Nouvel Observateur, 29 June - 5 July 2000, 54).

5-Naomi Klein, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (New York: Picador, 2002), 67.

6-José Bové, Le Monde n'est pas une marchandise: Des paysans contre la malbouffe (Paris: Editions La Decouverte & Syros, 2000).

7-See Ariès and Terras, 6-7.

8-Bové announced in the summer of 2003 that he would resign from his post as spokesperson of the Confédération paysanne in the spring of 2004.

9-For example, Divergence FM 93.9 radio interview with Bové, Montpellier, France 16 June 2003.

10-Le Monde, 6 Sept. 2003.

11-The Times (London), 1 July 2000.

12-See Midi Libre, 18-20 June 2002.

13-Ibid., 10 Sept. 2003.

14-See the monthly publication of Confédération paysanne: Campagnes solidaires, no. 150 (March 2001): XVI.

15-The Times (London), 1 July 2000.

16-Ariès and Terras, 33. The CNT, Confederación national del trabajo, was an anarchist organization during the Spanish Civil War.

17-Denis Pingaud, La Longue Marche de José Bové (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2002), 21.

18-See Noël Mamère and Jean-François Narbonne, Toxiques Affaires: De la dioxine à la vache folle (Paris: Editions Ramsay, 2001); and Dominique Predali, Enquête sur les dessous de l'agroalimentaire (Paris: Editions du Dauphin, 2001.)

19-Ariès and Terras, 48.

20-See Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001), 4-6.

21. See Naomi Klein, No Logo, 2nd ed. (New York: Picador, 2002), 3-4.

22-Schlosser, 4.

23-Ibid., 22.

24-Ibid., see cover.

25-Ibid., 261.

26-According to Confédération paysanne, the number of people working in agriculture in France stood at 1,240,000 in 1980; 939,000 in 1990; and only 663,000 in 2000 (see Campagnes Solidaires, no. 173, (April 2003), III.

27-Ariès and Terras, 86-87.

28-See Pingaud, 165-69; Ariès and Terras, 83-87.

29-See, for example, Serge Cordellier and Sarah Netter, L'état de la France, 2003 (Paris: La Découverte, 2003), 241-42; also Le Monde, sélection hebdomadaire, 9 Aug. 2003.

30-This point was made, for example, by François Roux, Bové's high profile lawyer from Montpellier who has helped to keep the activist's name before the public (see Libération, 23 June 2003).

31-Le Monde, 29-30 June 2003.

32-Ibid., 24 June 2003.

33-Ibid., 29-30 June 2003. Roux told the press that 800,000 people had written to Chirac asking that the labor leader be pardoned: see Le Point, 27 June 2003, 50.

34-Le Monde, 28 June 2003.

35-Le Monde, 11-12 Aug. 2003.

36-See Le Figaro, 10 Aug. 2003.

37-See The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 17 April 2001.

38-See Pingaud, 216-27.

39-Le Monde, 5 July 2003.

40-See Viviane Forrester, L'Horreur économique (Paris: Fayard, 1996); and René Passet, Eloge du mondialisme par un «anti» présumé (Paris: Fayard, 2001).

41-The industrialized nations pay out $300 billion in subsidies to their farmers, which retards the development of agriculture in the Third World, where 70% of the population earn their livelihood from agriculture. See Le Monde, 7 Aug. 2003.

42-Le Nouvel Observateur, 29 June-5 July 2000, 55-57. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/w/wsfh/0642292.0031.020/--jose-bove-vs-mcdonalds-the-making-of-a-national-hero?rgn=main;view=fulltext.

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Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.0642292.0031.020.
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This article is available full-text in HathiTrust.
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"Lutter, c'est le plaisir!"
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— José Bové[2].
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"Une seule chose qui bouge en France, c'est José Bové!"
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— Francis Fukuyama[3].
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What is globalization?
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His charisma stems in part from his interesting background and his appearance.
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As a young man he seemed imbued with pacifist, anti-militarist, and anarchist ideas.
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He began his university studies at the University of Toulouse hoping to teach philosophy.
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Later, in 1987, he co-founded the Confédération paysanne[8].
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This interesting and varied background explains, to some extent, his charisma.
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But part of his charisma, too, is his appearance.
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Bové has short hair and a long drooping moustache, much like Walesa himself.
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One of the words which he coined and uses with great frequency is "malbouffe" (junk food).
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His novel and creative tactics also have won him many adherents.
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He shouted to the crowd, "We shall overcome - save our Roquefort and down with junk food"[11].
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This was the image of Bové that appeared on the cover of his popular book.
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Other tactics, too, have aided his cause.
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A sign on the back of the labor leader's tractor read: "Chirac en prison, Bové a la maison."
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Like Gandhi, Bové realized that time spent in jail would win him more followers.
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Our action was non-violent resistance by citizens .
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.
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.
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against American provocation"[15].
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His combination of direct non-violent civil disobedience and humor aided his rise in stature.
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Despite his Gandhi-like tactics, Bové proclaims that he is an anarcho-syndicalist.
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Bové once declared, "I am an anarcho-syndicalist.
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I am closer to Bakunin [the Russian anarchist] than Marx.
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France is a nation that is proud of its culinary tradition.
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Democracy between countries is a must.
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or ones on bio-diversity[27].
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At this rally, drawing on his knowledge of American history (i.e.
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He has mastered the art of using symbols to communicate his message.
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It was also organized outside of the political parties[36].
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3-Le Figaro, 26 Feb. 2001.
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13-Ibid., 10 Sept. 2003.
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21.
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33-Ibid., 29-30 June 2003.
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38-See Pingaud, 216-27.
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39-Le Monde, 5 July 2003.
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José Bové vs. McDonald's: The Making of a National Hero in the French Anti-Globalization Movement[1].

Wayne Northcutt, Niagara University, Journal of the Western Society for French History, Volume 31, 2003.

Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.0642292.0031.020.

This article is available full-text in HathiTrust.

"Lutter, c'est le plaisir!"
— José Bové[2].

"Une seule chose qui bouge en France, c'est José Bové!"
— Francis Fukuyama[3].

José Bové, a sheep farmer/activist in Aveyron in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France, is a modern day Astérix, a mythical Gaul who drubbed foreign intruders centuries ago. In Bové's case, the intruder was McDonald's, the American fast food chain (referred to in a satirical way by Bové and his supporters as "McDo"). On 12 August 1999 Bové and his confrères from the Confédération paysanne, the second largest farmers' union in France, "dismantled" a McDonald's under construction in Millau, a town of approximately 20,000 inhabitants on the wind swept Larzac plateau. Earlier in January 1988 he and his comrades destroyed genetically modified maize in a grain silo in Nérac in the department of Lot-et-Garonne. While he received an eight month suspended sentence for the Nérac incident, the action in Millau brought Bové, the spokesperson for the Confédération paysanne, several weeks in jail but also national and international publicity. At his trial, an estimated 40,000 people from France and around the world showed up to support Bové and his cause[4].

What triggered Bové's attack on McDonald's in Millau was a dispute between the United States and its World Trade Organization (WTO) supporters on one side and Europe on the other. When the WTO backed the right of the U.S. to export hormone induced beef to Europe and the Europeans resisted, the U.S. imposed heavy duties on certain luxury products as a retaliatory measure. One of the items targeted by the U.S. was Roquefort cheese - the same cheese that Bové produced on his sheep farm. According to the Canadian journalist and activist Naomi Klein, Bové's actions in Millau represented an attack "against an agricultural model that sees food purely as an industrial commodity rather than the centerpiece of national culture and family life"[5]. Bové's counter-attack made him not only a hero in France, but one of the "celebrities" at the massive Seattle, Washington, protest in December 1999, which saw more than 50,000 people demonstrating against the WTO.

The year following the dismantling of McDonald's and the Seattle protest, Bové published a best selling book, Le Monde n'est pas une marchandise,[6] that discussed his altermondialiste views. Since the McDonald's incident Bové has become a national hero in France and leader of the French anti-globalization movement due to several factors: 1) he is charismatic, articulate, and utilizes novel and creative tactics; 2) he taps into national concerns about the quality of the food supply in France; 3) he challenges a threat to French cultural identity; 4) he speaks out against U.S.-led multinational and WTO trade policies; 5) he is an interesting personality for the media, not just in France, but around the world and especially in English-speaking countries; 6) he employs powerful symbols; and 7) the government's commando style arrest of Bové in June 2003 only strengthened his reputation as an important altermondialiste. An examination of these factors will reveal how a contemporary David took on several international Goliaths and transformed himself into a key spokesperson for the anti-globalization movement both inside and outside of France.

Before examining the reasons for Bové's meteoric rise, we must first consider the term "globalization" and its meaning. What is globalization? Is it a reference to a new age of easy access to information, facilitated by fax machines, cell phones, computers and the Internet, paving the way for a revolution in production, communication, and trade? Or is globalization something more, an extension of capitalist relations throughout the world made possible by the technological revolution that we are now witnessing? In this regard, does globalization represent neo-liberal economic policies and a new age of imperialism? For Bové, globalization means an extension of capitalist relations, with both positive and negative aspects. Bové is an important personality because he has raised significant questions about the process of globalization, especially the production of food and WTO trade policy.

Bové's charisma, articulate manner, and creative and novel tactics are an important part of his popularity and success in the anti-globalization movement. His charisma stems in part from his interesting background and his appearance. Although Bové was born in Bordeaux in 1953, he spent the early years of his life, 1956-1959, in Berkeley, California, where his parents were researchers in biochemistry at the University of California. Ironically, his parents later went on to become researchers at the Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA). His father, originally from Luxembourg, even became regional director of INRA and a member of the Académie des Sciences. José Bové began his schooling in California and claims he learned to speak English before French. When the Bové family returned to France, the young José attended a bilingual primary school on the Avenue de la Bourdonnais in Paris. Later in life, he participated in several Parisian anti-war demonstrations aimed against American involvement in Vietnam. As a young man he seemed imbued with pacifist, anti-militarist, and anarchist ideas. He began his university studies at the University of Toulouse hoping to teach philosophy. He endured university life for only one year, dropping out and becoming involved in the ecology movement and left-wing politics[7].

In the early 1970s, after visiting Larzac by chance with his companion Alice Monier and witnessing the first large scale demonstration in an area that has now become a symbol of protest and resistance, this budding activist knew where he wanted to live. He moved to the department of Aveyron and began his life as a sheep farmer, settling in a small hamlet with just a few families. At this point he became involved in protesting the government's plan to create a large military base in Larzac. Later, in 1987, he co-founded the Confédération paysanne[8]. Bové's activism was international even before 1999, the year that catapulted him into the global spotlight. In 1995, for example, he participated in Greenpeace efforts to stop French nuclear testing in the South Pacific, testing re-launched by the newly elected Gaullist president Jacques Chirac.

This interesting and varied background explains, to some extent, his charisma. But part of his charisma, too, is his appearance. He dresses in simple clothes, the clothes of a farmer, and looks like the French version of Lech Walesa, the Polish labor leader who challenged the Soviet government in the 1980s. Bové has short hair and a long drooping moustache, much like Walesa himself. Moreover, Bové's ever-present pipe suggests that he is a calm, thoughtful person, a key ingredient of his charisma.

The new French Astérix is known also for his articulate manner, both in French and in English, which has contributed to his success as an activist. One of the words which he coined and uses with great frequency is "malbouffe" (junk food). His book, Le Monde n'est pas une marchandise and his public statements also reveal a man who expresses himself easily and directly[9]. His verbal directness and ability to counter arguments supporting the WTO, the food supply, genetic modification, and other issues helped to make him a spokesperson for many in France who worry about the impact of globalization on their country. Recently, he even debated Alain Madelin, Minister of Finance and the Economy in 1995 and now head of the Démocratie libérale party, part of Chirac's Union pour la majorité présidentielle (UMP), on French television[10]. The image of an articulate sheep farmer confronting the issue of globalization and its corporate sponsors has helped to galvanize French opinion behind this activist.

His novel and creative tactics also have won him many adherents. On the day of his trial in Millau, for instance, he arrived in an oxcart with a large wheel of Roquefort cheese aloft. He shouted to the crowd, "We shall overcome - save our Roquefort and down with junk food"[11]. Then when he emerged from the courthouse following his trial, fully handcuffed, he raised his hands above his head showing the crowd his handcuffs and beaming a large, defiant smile. This was the image of Bové that appeared on the cover of his popular book. Other tactics, too, have aided his cause. For instance, on 19 June 2002 he reported to prison at Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone near Montpellier in an unusual way. He and a group from Confédération paysanne drove a cortege of tractors from his hamlet in Aveyron to the prison, a six hour trek by tractor. A sign on the back of the labor leader's tractor read: "Chirac en prison, Bové a la maison." The drive to prison was a media event[12] and newspapers and the electronic media showed Bové on his tractor with his sign, an image that captured the sentiments of many critical of Chirac and the WTO. Another creative strategy came after his release from prison in August 2003, an incarceration for destroying GM (genetically modified) crops near Montpellier. When the court refused due to parole related conditions to give him permission to travel to Cancun in early September of this year to protest the agricultural policy of the WTO, Bové announced that he would organize a demonstration in France in a small village with a name that sounded very similar to "Cancun" - Cancon in the Lot-et-Garonne. The Midi Libre, one of the key newspapers read in the Midi-Pyrénées and the Languedoc regions, published a photograph of Bové standing before the entrance to Cancon next to the sign with the name of the village[13]. Bové's ability to devise media-catching tactics that often embody humor if not biting satire have greatly aided his visibility in and outside of France.

With respect to tactics, Bové sees himself as a French Gandhi, using non-violent civil disobedience to call attention to injustices. Like Gandhi, Bové realized that time spent in jail would win him more followers. For instance, the year of his trial for dismantling McDonald's, Bové declared to the press, "If prison must be the consequences of action, it will be more difficult for those with economic and financial power than for those who must go to jail"[14]. At his trial in Millau, he quoted Gandhi directly, proclaiming that "Gandhi dismantled a British installation in the cause of peaceful resistance to British rule in India. Our action was non-violent resistance by citizens . . . against American provocation"[15]. His combination of direct non-violent civil disobedience and humor aided his rise in stature. But unlike Gandhi, Bové has something at his disposal that he has used to his advantage - the Internet. His organization, the Confédération paysanne, has its own sophisticated web site that helps to keep Internet users informed about the organization and protests scheduled against the WTO, artificial food, genetic modification, and other relevant issues.

Despite his Gandhi-like tactics, Bové proclaims that he is an anarcho-syndicalist. Bové once declared, "I am an anarcho-syndicalist. I am closer to Bakunin [the Russian anarchist] than Marx. My references are the Federation of Jaurès in the First International in the last century and the Spanish CNT of 1936"[16]. While he has professed a willingness to use violence, especially against companies or corporations, this violence is not aimed specifically against individuals. According to his French biographer, Denis Pingaud, Bové is ideologically closer to Ralph Nader than Arlette Laguiller, the Trotskyite leader of the Lutte ouvrière party[17] .Thus, his unique tactics as well as his charisma and articulate manner have contributed to transforming a sheep farmer into a folk hero in France, the Daniel Cohn-Bendit of the new millennium.

One of the main reasons for Bové's success is that he tapped into deep fears concerning the safety of the food supply in France and on the continent. These fears have grown over the years and culminated with serious concerns in the European Community as a result of dioxin found in chicken, the recall of thousands of cases of Coca-Cola, mad cow disease, and hoof and mouth disease[18]. In attacking McDonald's in Millau, Bové focused attention on the food supply, raising concerns about hormone induced beef used by McDonald's, artificial food, and genetically modified crops like corn. For example, according to Bové: "The greatest danger that genetically modified corn represents as well as other GM crops resides in the impossibility of evaluating the long term consequences and following the effects on the environment, animals, and humans"[19]. Referring to McDonald's food as malbouffe, he warned the French that they must control what they eat and not simply permit a U.S.-led multinational corporation to dictate how or what a nation consumes.

Another reason for his success is that he identified and challenged a threat to French cultural identity. France is a nation that is proud of its culinary tradition. Yet today in France there are more than 750 McDonald's, a company that has led the fast food charge in the U.S., France, and around the world. Shockingly, in Paris, once considered the culinary capital of the world, one out of four restaurants is now a fast food establishment! Bové understood the way that McDonald's penetrated France and its consequences and realized that "McDomination" would continue unless protests emerged.

Today, McDonald's has approximately 28,000 restaurants worldwide and opens about 2,000 new restaurants each year. McDonald's success rests on two pillars - the company produces inexpensive food even though it may be artificial, and it produces standardized food around the world, leading consumers to think that they know what they order regardless of the locale[20]. Uniformity in food consumption and cheap meals often desired by people with little time or inclination to cook at home worry many in France who are proud of their nation's culinary tradition. Moreover, the rise of fast food restaurants makes it difficult for aspiring restaurateurs to open an establishment and make it successful. The cheap burger, fries, and play land at McDonald's attract customers who in earlier times preferred a true restaurant experience. Food is central to French cultural identity, yet what people consume and how they consume it are changing due to fast food establishments like McDonald's and the "branding" (the selling of brands rather than products) that is so much a part of the strategy of multinational companies in the consumer culture[21].

Bové's success, too, is due to the fact that he, like David against Goliath, stood up to a U.S.-led multinational corporation, not to mention the WTO. McDonald's is a huge corporation, as attested to by the worldwide number of establishments noted above and also by its economic clout in the nation where it originated, the U.S. In the United States McDonald's hires one million people, more than any other public or private corporation. It is the largest purchaser of beef, pork, and potatoes and the second largest purchaser of chicken. Furthermore, the McDonald's corporation is, surprisingly, the largest owner of retail property in the world, earning a majority of its profits not from selling food but from collecting rents. It spends more money on advertising and marketing than any other brand, replacing Coca-Cola as the world's most recognized brand[22].

According to Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, McDonald's and the fast food phenomenon launched what we now know as globalization, getting an early start on the phenomenon that is now upon us[23]. Schlosser charges that "the fast food industry has triggered the homogeneity of our [American] society. Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widening the chasm between the rich and the poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled the juggernaut of American cultural imperialism abroad"[24]. Bové expressed many of these ideas himself in leading the attack on McDonald's in France. Moreover, since the French Revolution, challenging centralized authority, whether it be national or international, has been an important part of the French political tradition.

In challenging a large U.S.-dominated multinational, Bové tapped into French fears about the consequences of corporate mergers, acquisitions, and downsizing. There is a genuine concern in France and elsewhere that the battle of the twenty-first century may not be conflict among nations, or even international terrorism, but controlling the power of corporations. According to one author, "The history of the twentieth century was dominated by the struggle against totalitarian systems of state power. The twenty-first century will no doubt be dominated by a struggle to curtail corporate power"[25]. In France over the past few decades there has been a spate of privatizations and acquisitions despite the fact that the French are accustomed to a state that owns large sectors of the economy. The former socialist government of Lionel Jospin (1997-2002) sold off more state-owned assets than the five previous governments combined. Corporate power worries the French, and Bové's attack on a key symbol of international corporate power resonated well in France because the economic landscape is quickly changing and creating economic insecurities for French citizens, including farmers[26].

In challenging McDonald's, Bové also challenged the power of the World Trade Organization and fueled the fires in France against globalization carried out under the authority of the WTO. For Bové, the WTO is simply an expression of corporate power, an organization designed to benefit corporations and not necessarily citizens of the world. According to Bové:

The World Trade Organization can no longer function as before. This organization is going to be obliged to reconstruct its legitimacy, becoming a democratic institution. Democracy between countries is a must. When we look at the treatment inflicted on countries in the Southern hemisphere we can easily see that all countries are not treated equally. . . . [Also necessary] is the creation of an International Court, a permanent organization to verify if the rules of the World Trade Organization conform with all of the charters, notably the United Nations'. . . or ones on bio-diversity[27].

Interestingly enough, Ralph Nader's organization invited Bové to attend the protest against the World Trade Organization in Seattle. Bové accepted the invitation and smuggled into the U.S. a large piece of Roquefort cheese and displayed it at a rally where he spoke, in front of a McDonald's of course. At this rally, drawing on his knowledge of American history (i.e. the Boston Tea Party), he told the crowd that McDo's malbouffe must be "thrown into the sea." Subsequently, demonstrators broke the windows of the McDonald's near the site where he spoke[28]. For Bové, the WTO is a Trojan horse working on behalf of international corporate power.

In France, McDonald's is a key target for those opposed to WTO-style globalization. While polls show that a majority of French believe that globalization boosts growth, many worry that it also threatens their identity and may lead to greater inequalities. Fifteen years ago foreign ownership of French firms stood at only ten percent; today, however, more than forty percent of the shares on the French Bourse are foreign owned, nearly forty-four percent of the CAC 40 is foreign owned, and thirty-six percent of state bonds are owned by non-residents[29].

Another ingredient that explains Bové's rise as a national hero is that he is an interesting personality who caught the attention of the media. He makes for good television and good photojournalism, especially given his background and appearance. An articulate sheep farmer using Gandhi and Martin Luther King-like tactics to challenge the power of McDonald's, the WTO, and genetic modification conjured up a powerful image for the media. Moreover, his ability to speak English made him and his movement accessible to the English-language press, often a twenty-four-hour-a-day press constantly seeking news stories. During his trial in Millau he appeared on the cover of the Washington Post, and CNN even rented an apartment near the courthouse in Millau to cover his court appearance. Coverage of Bové abroad only added to the star-like quality of this experienced activist. The image of a sheep farmer taking on an American-led international corporate power and doing it with great pizzazz, followed by the publication of his book which sold more than 100,000 copies, insured Bové folk hero status, especially since he led a movement with anti-American overtones. The fear that an American corporation was dictating French tastes in food and that the World Trade Organization favored the U.S. at the expense of Europe and the rest of the world played well in the French electronic and print media.

He has caught the attention of the media, too, because he has employed powerful symbols in his protests. An obvious example already mentioned is McDonald's, the most recognized brand in the word. Utilizing McDonald's as a target provided Bové with access to a vast economic system, namely global corporate capitalism. Bové also has cultivated the symbol of the small farmer from la France profonde to promote his cause. For many, la France profonde is still an idyllic place that represents the "good old days" of a France now confronting numerous challenges on both the domestic and international fronts. This activist with a global focus knows, too, that sixty percent of the word's population works in agriculture. Thus, the symbol of the small farmer confronting agribusiness corporations became a key symbol of the resistance to globalization. He has used also the Roquefort cheese produced in his region as a symbol. As previously mentioned, he "cheesed it up," so to speak, at his Millau trial and at the protest in Seattle. Another powerful symbol he has employed is Larzac itself, a longtime symbol of protest that dates back to the early 1970s. Bové's original motivation for moving to Larzac sprang from the budding protest movement he found in southern Aveyron in the early 1970s. He has mastered the art of using symbols to communicate his message.

A last factor that explains Bové's rise in popularity is the Chirac regime itself, especially the commando-like raid of the activist's residence on 22 June 2003 at six o'clock on a Sunday morning when a helicopter swooped down on his hamlet and dozens of police surrounded his home. After the police broke through the door of his house, he was arrested without a struggle and flown by helicopter to the Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone prison near the capitol of Languedoc to serve a ten month prison term for destroying genetically modified corn. The police raid was videotaped by a neighbor and shown numerous times on French television. To many, it looked like an excessive use of force against a labor leader who had not acted violently against any individual[30]. The left, including the socialist (PS) and communist (PCF) parties, quickly condemned the Chirac government for such use of force and the Confédération paysanne called for demonstrations at the prison and throughout France. Bové himself charged in an interview with Le Monde that the government had "a will to criminalize the labor movement." Bové then told the newspaper's readers, "The message is clear, public order rather than justice"[31]. An editorial in Le Monde called Bové's arrest "a stupidity" and insisted that his incarceration would turn the labor leader into a martyr[32]. According to Le Monde, sixty percent of the French favored Bové's release[33]. Furthermore, more than forty researchers at CIRAD (Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement), INRA, and IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement) wrote an open letter to the president of the Republic, which protested Bové's arrest and which Le Monde published in part. These researchers stressed that the scientific community was divided on the question of GM crops[34]. Although Chirac would later reduce his sentence by four and a half months as part of the 2003 Bastille day clemency program, and the court in Montpellier on 2 August 2003 agreed to release Bové and let him serve out his sentence by working in the gardens of the Larzac Hospital in Millau, the military-style arrest helped to canonize this high profile activist in the eyes of many in France, especially on the left.

One measure of Bové's popularity in France was seen at "Larzac 2003," a protest rally in early August planned by the Confédération Paysanne and other organizations to prepare the French for the Cancun meeting of the WTO. Since Bové was released from jail just days before the rally, he was the main attraction. In the deadly heat of August, nearly 300,000 people showed up to participate, a number that surprised even Bové and his organization[35]. What is more amazing is that this rally was done without the full scale participation of the unions, especially the Confédération générale du travail (CGT), Force ouvrière (FO), or Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT). It was also organized outside of the political parties[36]. Of course, Bové benefited from a convergence of forces at Larzac 2003, namely WTO protesters as well as the social protest movements that began building in France in the spring due to the government's plans to harmonize public and private retirement, decentralize the education system, and change the rules for temporary workers in the entertainment industry. Larzac 2003 was a highly successful anti-government rally.

In conclusion, while most would agree that globalization is an irreversible trend, critics like Bové call attention to the problems that must be addressed. For instance, Bové and others claim that globalization reduces standards. Corporations that can operate anywhere in the world often seek places with the lowest environmental standards and weakest labor laws. Thus, governments often compete to entice investors with ever weakening standards. Consequently, globalization may have a negative impact on the environment and may impoverish workers. Globalization, too, strips governments of their sovereign powers. For the critics, all of this means that globalization paves the way for global capitalism[37]. Moreover, Bové insists that the WTO is not a democratic organization since members of this body are not elected but appointed, and the organization conducts its business in secrecy. According to Bové, the WTO favors the rich nations at the expense of the poor ones[38].

Moreover, those supporting free trade often argue that the trickle down effects from deregulation are positive, such as reductions in poverty. The experience of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Association between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, suggests that there is a poor record for the labor and environmental side of the agreement. Poverty, too, has not been reduced in a country like Mexico, where fifty-three million of the one hundred million inhabitants of the nation live in poverty. Since 1994, the beginning of NAFTA, 1.7 million Mexican workers in the agricultural sector have lost their jobs, and there has been an increased concentration of wealth, with the richest ten percent of Mexicans garnering forty-six percent of the total income[39]. It is clear that globalization needs to be monitored and the rights of citizens protected against the greed sometimes associated with global corporate power.

In France, an interesting organization has emerged that is dedicated to combating globalization and liberalization, at least the negative aspects of these trends. The organization is called ATTAC - Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens. ATTAC was inspired by Viviane Forrester's L'Horreur économique, first published in 1996, a book that became a best seller and was translated into numerous languages. ATTAC, which has several thousand members, calls for a tax on the flow of international capital, to be used to help poor countries[40]. Bové supports ATTAC as a way of restoring ethics and democracy to corporations.

While Bové is not completely opposed to globalization, he maintains that it must be policed to prevent corporations and shareholders addicted to profits from reducing life to mere commodities and the "logic" of market exchange. Although Bové began his protest by attacking McDonald's and genetic modification of food, he has inspired many critics to speak out against what he sees as an undemocratic globalization process. To some small degree he contributed to the moral victory of the G 21 (a grouping of poor nations that included Brazil and China) at the September 2003 meeting of the WTO, where poor nations and the rich northern hemisphere failed to agree on such matters as agricultural subsidies paid to farmers in developed nations, which stifle agriculture in the Third World[41]. What Bové undoubtedly hopes for is to give a human face to globalization to protect citizens' rights and national sovereignty. This sheep farmer from Aveyron has inspired an international protest movement that will surely continue to demand protection for human rights, including the right to control the supply and safety of one's food.

Bové and the phenomenon that he represents are products of factors that are internal and external to France. Like a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King, he has the charisma and the skills to lead a protest movement that has taken on international dimensions. Bové and the anti-globalization movement that he represents - perhaps a new "International" according to Le Nouvel Observateur[42] - show us that activism is still very much alive in the western world and that unbridled capitalism is not necessarily the end of ideology. Bové has not only succeeded in uniting le milieu populaire, including farmers and intellectuals; he has also raised significant questions about the functioning of multinationals, the WTO, and the safety of the food supply, especially genetically modified crops. In France, Bové represents a post-soixante-huitard phenomenon and perhaps the rise of a new, new left. Bové's next challenge will be to shift the discussion from the negativism implied by the anti-globalization movement to a specific debate about democracy in France and elsewhere, convincing others that "another world is possible," a theme now used by the Confédération paysanne. While he has helped to create what some are calling "the movement of movements," this is a fragmented group of dissidents who sometimes have different agendas. Nevertheless, his neo-humanism has raised important questions about global economic power that need to be addressed in France and abroad. The contradictions inherent in the current globalization process, such as WTO agricultural policy, will insure more protests and mass movements as concerned citizens around the globe attempt to improve the human condition and control the global economic forces that we now confront.

1-1. I would like to thank the Research Council at Niagara University for awarding me a summer grant which facilitated the completion of this manuscript. Also, I must thank Denise and Maurice Aldon for their assistance with documentation for this project. Renée, my wife, read the manuscript and made valuable suggestions for which I am most grateful.

2-Quoted in Paul Ariès and Christian Terras, José Bové: La révolte d'un paysan (Villeurbanne: Editions Golias, 2000), 90.

3-Le Figaro, 26 Feb. 2001.

4-For a who's who of the leadership of the anti-globalization movement, see Capital, Jan. 2002, 40-46. The June 2000 issue of the American magazine Business Week listed Bové as one of the fifty rising stars in Europe (see Le Nouvel Observateur, 29 June - 5 July 2000, 54).

5-Naomi Klein, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (New York: Picador, 2002), 67.

6-José Bové, Le Monde n'est pas une marchandise: Des paysans contre la malbouffe (Paris: Editions La Decouverte & Syros, 2000).

7-See Ariès and Terras, 6-7.

8-Bové announced in the summer of 2003 that he would resign from his post as spokesperson of the Confédération paysanne in the spring of 2004.

9-For example, Divergence FM 93.9 radio interview with Bové, Montpellier, France 16 June 2003.

10-Le Monde, 6 Sept. 2003.

11-The Times (London), 1 July 2000.

12-See Midi Libre, 18-20 June 2002.

13-Ibid., 10 Sept. 2003.

14-See the monthly publication of Confédération paysanne: Campagnes solidaires, no. 150 (March 2001): XVI.

15-The Times (London), 1 July 2000.

16-Ariès and Terras, 33. The CNT, Confederación national del trabajo, was an anarchist organization during the Spanish Civil War.

17-Denis Pingaud, La Longue Marche de José Bové (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2002), 21.

18-See Noël Mamère and Jean-François Narbonne, Toxiques Affaires: De la dioxine à la vache folle (Paris: Editions Ramsay, 2001); and Dominique Predali, Enquête sur les dessous de l'agroalimentaire (Paris: Editions du Dauphin, 2001.)

19-Ariès and Terras, 48.

20-See Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001), 4-6.

21. See Naomi Klein, No Logo, 2nd ed. (New York: Picador, 2002), 3-4.

22-Schlosser, 4.

23-Ibid., 22.

24-Ibid., see cover.

25-Ibid., 261.

26-According to Confédération paysanne, the number of people working in agriculture in France stood at 1,240,000 in 1980; 939,000 in 1990; and only 663,000 in 2000 (see Campagnes Solidaires, no. 173, (April 2003), III.

27-Ariès and Terras, 86-87.

28-See Pingaud, 165-69; Ariès and Terras, 83-87.

29-See, for example, Serge Cordellier and Sarah Netter, L'état de la France, 2003 (Paris: La Découverte, 2003), 241-42; also Le Monde, sélection hebdomadaire, 9 Aug. 2003.

30-This point was made, for example, by François Roux, Bové's high profile lawyer from Montpellier who has helped to keep the activist's name before the public (see Libération, 23 June 2003).

31-Le Monde, 29-30 June 2003.

32-Ibid., 24 June 2003.

33-Ibid., 29-30 June 2003. Roux told the press that 800,000 people had written to Chirac asking that the labor leader be pardoned: see Le Point, 27 June 2003, 50.

34-Le Monde, 28 June 2003.

35-Le Monde, 11-12 Aug. 2003.

36-See Le Figaro, 10 Aug. 2003.

37-See The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 17 April 2001.

38-See Pingaud, 216-27.

39-Le Monde, 5 July 2003.

40-See Viviane Forrester, L'Horreur économique (Paris: Fayard, 1996); and René Passet, Eloge du mondialisme par un «anti» présumé (Paris: Fayard, 2001).

41-The industrialized nations pay out $300 billion in subsidies to their farmers, which retards the development of agriculture in the Third World, where 70% of the population earn their livelihood from agriculture. See Le Monde, 7 Aug. 2003.

42-Le Nouvel Observateur, 29 June-5 July 2000, 55-57.

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