The land we inherit – a global struggle in the perspective of Jämtland

I’m Maximilian Isendahl, and I’m here with Torgny Östling, a small-scale farmer with mountain cows and forestry He’s also the leader of NOrdbruk, the Swedish member organization of the global peasant movement La Via Campesina Can you tell us about NOrdbruk and La Via Campesina? NOrdbruk is a small organization in Sweden. It began as a network when speculation on land, forest, hydropower and minerals, was to be set free We protested, of course, we were 8 farmers who tried to get support from organizations: Organic farmers, LRF, Small-scale farmers ect. But it didn’t work So then we thought: lets try to enter Norsk Bonde og Småbrukarlag, and they agreed, which was great And in that way, we joined the european umbrella-organization of small-scale farmers, which in the year after that started to negotiate with Latin America, Southeast Asia etc to create a global organization, which was done in 1993 It was a reassurance for us, since we learned a lot about what was happening in the international politics: GATT, the rules of EU being incorporated into Swedish legislation way before the referendum on EU What does La Via Campesina look like globally? Well it’s a huge difference today. We are about 200-250 million members And that´s because this movement was actually the only one that was protesting against globalization in the beginning, against these new neoliberal principles for trade that in fact, according to me and many others, are politics of colonialization Not by violence and war, but it´s the same economical legislation which means that the biggest can grab natural resources, and in that way violate human rights. And that is currently going on Others are starting to realise this, so we are getting support from outside We have succeeded a lot more in the last ten years. Agroecology is much more accepted and many use the word “food sovereignty” and understand the meaning of it What is the structure of La Via Campesina like? Well there are many different cultures, traditions and meeting habits Some are very much for struggle and demonstrations, because they have to be Others, like us from Sweden, are more orderly and quiet But we work very well together because we have so similar experiences of globalization And we all have the same purpose originally: food supply, small-scale, organic etc

It´s not based on ideas that have come up now – it´s based on needs from generations back I´ve never experienced an organization with so few conflicts and so much consensus If we protest at a WTO meeting, people from all over the world will come and stand in the frontline and show that we are many and that we agree with each other There are different working groups in the global movement. In the European section we have working groups for migrants, for land and natural resources, for women’s rights, etc. and that reflects La Via Campesina globally We are a mirror of the global La Via Campesina There are meetings every year in the european section and the groups present their findings and propose what to give extra focus the coming years You are in the land-working group in La Via Campesina, how does that work? As I said, land- and natural resource-questions are important, but questions of human rights are also included since they are connected We meet several times each year, in different places Right now I should have been in Romania, but I cannot go for private practical reasons It´s a pity, because we would have discussed the extensive land-grabbing taking place in eastern Europe, to a large extent due to Swedish forestry companies In the Baltics, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland etc, the multinational forestry companies are buying land And they will feel they same consequences that inland Norrland did So our historical experiences are very valuable: how you colonize within a nation or union, in this case the EU What methods are used, what legislation makes it possible? I will try to write about this instead, and send to the land-working group for a later discussion, maybe in the spring And Eco Ruralis in Romania, are strong That is brilliant, because that means possibilities: they can arrange meetings and involve a lot of people, small-scale farmers in Romania It feels hopeful. It´s not easy, we know that It concerns the primary laws of EU – the treaties Land- and natural resource-questions are determined by one of the four cornerstones of EU The work on European level is very much based on the local organizations We only have a small office in Brussels that coordinates the movement That office is smaller than the office of Norsk Bonde og Småbrukarlag in Oslo A lot of work is delegated to the local national organizations And that is a strength: it gives a large plurality and a shared high expertise Non-profit work is important for the core issues to shine through Other things does not get attention We use the cheapest hotels and hostels and the cheapest travels I think that´s positive and it keeps the organization alive

that no one profits from being a representative, being active and engaged involves sacrifices You have mentioned that Norway and Romania are strong in La Via Campesina. What other regions and movements are strong? In Europe, it’s largely France – they´ve had a leading position from the beginning It´s like in Norway, they are very important in negotiations with their government But also Spain and Italy. Great Britain has gone up and down, right now it´s on it´s way up Ireland is entering the organization. The Scottish Crofting Federation is a good collaboration partner for us, because they have a similar historical experience as Sweden On a global level, it´s the MST, the landless, that have been strong from the beginning and still are They have an agricultural structure, a society they have built, with schools, commons, research, and a strong political movement But also India, they have millions of members, and Indonesia is very strong Africa has joined the last 20 years, and many of the organizations in the African countries act with great power All experiences are needed, so even a small organization can have a decisive significance, due to the development. E.g. that Sweden is the earliest and the worst in dismantling We are one of, or THE most neoliberal society in EU, in Europe, and we have the most rapid urbanization I wanted to buy a farm when I was 18-20 years old But it was´nt possible because the government had decided to try to get people, as many as possible, to the industry or to study in the large cities So we had a large depopulation of rural areas and especially here in Jämtland It was a lot of subsidies – carrot and stick to make people move, and they did. A lot of farms were abandoned when I was young I moved down to Uppsala and chose to study to be a nurse It was an unusual choice then, but I thought it was the one closest to agriculture It was a good experience to have when I became a farmer, to have worked with nursing people. I was a district nurse for almost 10 years How did you become a farmer? Well my wife, Marta, and I wanted to buy a farm, even though the politics were not in our favour, especially since we wanted to have both agriculture and forestry The laws excluded people that couldn’t prove they had experience of agriculture, I had experience since I grew up with farming. But you also had to show results, to be allowed to buy land, which was a moment 22 At last we managed to rent a farm near here The politics were changing in the late 70’s early 80’s because of external factors; there was a shortage of food, and a monetary crisis in USA And all of a sudden, we became the kind of farmers that were popular, i.e. small-scale combination farm with forest, agriculture etc So we got an offer to buy this farm 40 years ago And what happened during the 80’s? It went well actually. We thought it was difficult to get economic viability, but compared to today, it was milk and honey We were able to become dairy farmers and made small cuts in the forest each year

The forest has lasted until now because it also grows back We still have forest because we were self-acting foresters When we logged? We worked in the forest in the winter. And in the summer, we only worked with agriculture That was very gentle to the forest and very good for me, because the tractor ran on top of the snow, so there was no soil damage at all. And I could select and grade, because it was a small tractor so I didn’t damage the other trees Sometimes you could do a small clear-felling, sometimes you needed to thin, or select large pines I could select 5 different gradings, wood for windows, timber for poles, ladder poles for the English coal mines, plywood and veneer In that way, we kept the price up, and we got payed more for our timber back then than now We´re out in the pasture now. What do you think, how is the result? Well it´s nice to cut down spruce from pastureland We can see that even though these trees are young, they´re attacked by root-rot I guess they get damaged by the cows It´s common to see the reverse: that spruce is planted on agricultural and pasture-land Not the least where I come from in the north of Skåne, you see a lot of old stone fences in the forest It´s sad, because it means that food production is centralized and that it´s no longer possible to live from agriculture But it’s not against individuals who plant: it’s larger than that The agricultural board decided that there should be spruce plantations instead of agriculture, and there were subsidies to plant spruce on agricultural land 15 years ago the storm Gudrun took a lot of spruce, in Småland and the north of Skåne And now after the drought, we get a lot of spruce bark beetle So, they´re not successful politics, the way I see it How were working conditions? You mean socially, with social rights and welfare systems etc., well there was not much to speak of But we did have discussions in the late 80’s, of raising living standards for farmers to gain an income comparable to an industrial worker’s, and to have an agricultural relief worker-system so that we could get free-time like in Norway There they have one weekend off every month, and a right to vacation etc We had good discussions but they didn’t succeed, because political reforms were already on their way in the late 80’s. They ended abruptly But we had a lot of help from e.g. the Forest and Agricultural Health, which is no more And the agricultural-relief system is all but gone All those systems with the cooperation and social benefits in agriculture are almost gone Would you like to talk about the big changes in the 90’s?

We’ll take it step by step, because so much happened in 5 years From 1990 to 1995, we lost all we had fought for during decades in the 1900’s: To keep the self-sufficiency level and acceptable working conditions for farmers etc Instead, the borders were opened which meant no protection of agriculture or natural resources Everything was to be traded freely. Food was to be regarded as any other goods – but it isn’t Food is our existential necessity to survive, and such things cannot be traded for money We have to make sure that the coming generations also have food So, it was strange times and no one really understood what was happening What happened with the political and economic power? The prices just dropped, really We were to compete with the export-countries New Zeeland, Great Britain, France, Brazil, USA etc and they had a completely different orientation. They were in tough competition with each other, and we could´nt compete with that, it was completely unreasonable. So the prices dropped drastically, and farmers got both carrot and stick to quit – again Subsidies. Milk-pension, subsidies to plant spruce and broad-leaves on agricultural land It was a time when many farmers almost gave up completely Either you had to invest, all you had, and become large-scale, or you had to quit And politicians said it openly, farming should decrease How did this affect the forestry, both for you and at large? Forestry was actually affected by another legislation that came with these changes Namely that it was possible to invest in land and forest as any other investment But it isn’t. If you have sold a waterfall or a forest, then you have lost it And if the buyer is from far away, from outside the municipality or region, then both profits and taxes flow out of the municipality and region, leaving no money for the society That was what happened at large, and that has been going on since then and we get poorer and poorer because we can´t manage our forests. Other people own the forest, in this municipality, we own about 15 % of the forestland And it´s not a lot of the added value of forest products that end up in the region It goes to the large cities, or abroad. To sawmills and papermills on the coast So, there´s a social dismantling in these regions that are really rich in natural resources Especially in Norrland, but also in the south And this happened to us before, so we saw it and started to protest We noticed when we cut, that there was hardly any point in grading and working with each tree to give added value, because we had lost control over the product. These political changes gave the industry much more power What is your forestry like today? The joy and pleasure that I had in the forest before, is gone I can no longer go out and cut and try to get quality from the forest, the prices are so low that the industry have taken over completely

I hire the entrepreneurs from the industry to cut, and that means larger cuts, and more soil damage, mainly because they cut all year round And because they use heavy machines, there is a lot to repair where they have been They don´t take out different gradings, they only take saw-timber and pulpwood. That is what they want They even decide the prices, since there are no more price negotiations It is a real Klondike for the forest companies, they purchase at low prices and make huge profits And they do not make up for it in rural areas. Not in any way, no taxes, no profits, nothing goes back to the societies where the natural resources are Like the preparedness in case of a forest fire. Who pays when there is a forest fire? Well mostly the municipality, and volunteers But the forest companies own over 50 %, in some places over 60-70 % How much do they pay for fire emergency organisation in these regions? They live somewhere else and pay tax there So, we are quite upset about this situation and that we don’t discuss this impoverishment of rural areas There is a lot of nice and nostalgic talk about how countryside and cities should work together etc But no one talks about the reasons why, the political changes, what have they done? There may be a good analysis of the situation, that the health care is undercut by 1,5 billion SKR on a population of 140 000, in Jämtland But no one connects it with the causes Not even that taxes and profit are flowing out of the region, and even less why taxes and profit flows from the regions because of todays political decisions The beginning of it was a voluntary fire-department in Rissna The municipality contributed with an old fire truck that was to be scrapped If there was a wildlife-traffic accident, we got our guns and tracked the animal, and if there was a fire, we tried to bring out water And we got some health care education for traffic accidents etc, and readiness education If I remember correcly, were we 14-15 people who got education This was dismantled when the fire department of the municipality was merged with emergency service of Jämtland I have been eager to get this going again During the changes in the 90’s, the acquisition act was liberalized Didn’t that make it easier for farmers and farmers to be? Some people believed so, but it turned out the other way around, and we knew that it would because of the experience we have from past generations in these inland regions It was stopped in 1906: Forest companies were not allowed to buy private land It´s still so, but private persons are now allowed to invest in forest land, with any motive It does´nt have to be to produce forest, but e.g. hunting, or to place money, or to simply buy an agricultural estate and own forest

And all the time the price on real estate is increasing It´s no longer about what the forest can produce. No farmers buy forest land today – it´s too expensive, because prices are higher than what the forest can give back We want to manage and take care, to make it last for coming generations but politics for those purposes are completely abandoned They say there is environmental concern and good intentions in a lot of ways But by setting speculation on forest free they do the opposite La Via Campesina have supported us a lot in this, the past ten years You can’t buy land and forest as if it is an investment like any other But can’t you foresters and farmers get together and negotiate prices? No, that´s not possible with these regulations. The EU says that we farmers are a cartel No matter how many or few we are, we are not allowed to interfere While the large forest companies who control the entire market, there are no more than 5-8 of them, they don´t even have to call each other to lower the prices In addition, the politics allow methods to lower the prices since they are allowed to import raw timber, from Russia, the Baltics etc. and in that way, the prices are lowered They say: If we can’t buy at a low price from you farmers, then we´ll import more, and you can´t sell The cooperation did not believe it, when I said, and others said, that we will not be allowed to negotiate prices “I will eat my hat if that’s true” – some of them said But that is how it turned out, and today the cooperation is running on a false sense of influence They have actually lost all their influence, when the prices are falling and we have no say in the matter Down here there´s a pasture covered by brushwood. How come? Thirty years ago, the municipality thought they would save rural areas with “exclusive accommodation for exclusive people” So they formed a “project”, as it usually is called, hiring consultants and urban architects and put on press conferences and made huge propaganda to enable building close to the shore Because of this, Marta and I wondered what would happen to our farm We make noise, we have fans for the hay, manure that smells, there are flies, and machines running not only during working hours So this was a big threat to us, and we protested against them building so close to us It was an open pasture back then when they had their ideas When holiday houses have been built, and the residents have moved in, then they have the advantage in the law They can report us for disturbing, and we have to change, according to the law We HAVE TO disturb. We are no romantics with idyllic red and white houses That´s what holiday residents and those who live in “exclusive” ways expect in the countryside What happened to the project? Well as you can see, there was no project but it took 4 years of us appealing against it and protesting

One of Sweden’s foremost environmental experts helped us to defend production We applied for an environmental concession for our organic farm with 15 dairy cows plus recruitment, and forestry And this was a bit of commotion because no one had done that before It was only Arlanda airport and the Öresund bridge who applied for environmental concession It took four years until the project was cancelled, and during that time the community had been split, with people disagreeing Many people believed there would be development, with holiday houses and allowing building on the shore the settlement would grow and prosperity would come to this rural area So they thought the building would be a development. And that is not how it usually is, but that’s my opinion But would it not be nice if they did build holiday houses? Houses and holiday houses can be built on a lot of land But it is not like they are building on SCA´s land where there is no population: they want to the communities, because there the land is more valuable and the assess value increases so they can lend more money So, they strive for an urban development It´s not difficult to move this project 500 m away where there is unpopulated land and forest, and close to the shore if they want that – which I’m also against, but that is not what it is about To take away shore protection is basically about wanting to increase speculation on housing To build 100 m away from the shore, doesn´t make worse housing How did the story end? Well we had the environmental assessment, and were permitted to make noise and to have livestock and machines etc Which never had been forbidden, but now we had permission, which is strange But because of this, the interest to build so close to the farm decreased So far at least, but you never know who will own and buy etc And the municipality is still as eager, but now they have half of Sweden with them in believing that housing close to the shore is rural development In reality it is work and production that is development for places like this So, the municipality tried to work against us and argue with us. But it just became personal attacks Once, when there was a governmental politician in our town, for a conference, they asked: “How are things in the Bräcke municipality?” The local politician answered: “Well we only have one problem, and that is Torgny Östling.” Hi there, my name is Olof Salomonsson, I’m a farmer, graduated agricultural technologist at Alnarp I have beef cattle and forestry We are in southern Jämtland, the southern Storsjö-lake region, the fifth largest lake in Sweden You become a little proud, when you’re down in Alnarp and the plant cultivation teacher says that the best agricultural land is in Jämtland, around the Storsjö lake Not a lot of people know this actually, but the soils here are really great, rich in lime, and well suited for hay production, mainly And it’s the soil, the valuable soil, that I have some opinions about,

and because of my opinions, I´ve had some hardships. And now I mean exploitation of agricultural land This is an active agricultural area One does not recognise when there is talk about land being overgrown, and not being utilized. Here, practically every square meter is utilized There is no excess of land, but a hunger for land So obviously, when other society actors want to take this agricultural land, out of agricultural production to do something else like build houses, then I think it´s a problem We have to produce food somewhere, we can´t depend on other countries all the time, we can´t depend on import It´s not climate smart to transport food across the world, according to me We should be able to produce what we need here. And right here we have very good conditions What problems have you had with access to land? Well, we have one specific example that has affected us a lot And you can think what you want about it, but the point of departure for me and my family has always been that we should take care of the agricultural land that we have: you cannot move it And if we have as good conditions as we have here, we have to take care of it A couple of years ago, there was a person who wanted to build on very good agricultural land here That land is adjacent to us, and we saw that there would be trouble Partly because we will disturb with our activities, and partly because that land would be taken out of production It´s situated over here, in a good location The problem is not only the immediate area that disappears, there are so much other things connected to it, like roads etc And as said, farming smells and makes noice, that’s a problem for many The municipality, Berg, gave this person a building permit of course Even though it says in their general plan that agricultural land should not be used for building Just the same, this person got the building permit, and we as neighbours had the right to make a statement So we argued against, and put forward all the arguments: “We should take care of the land.” “What happens in the future?” “Food supply” etc But he got the building permit anyway. And we were stupid enough to appeal against So, the county administrative board did quite a thorough investigation and came out here, and made the same conclusion as we did: We have to take care of this land The building permit was rejected So, “All well” one could think. But is wasn’t. That’s when it started When I heard about the rejection, I thought: “what consequences will this have for us?” Well the next day, I was reported to the county administrative board for my animal husbandry (livestock mistreatment) Because they recently had been here to look at it, they just called and said that they knew it was ok I had also already informed them that there was irritation in the village community, and that I wouldn´t be surprised if I was reported. Which I was So they had nothing on me. But then, then I lost leases, and it cost me at least 35 ha in leases, because people get angry, and don´t understand why that person couldn´t have the building permit Maybe they didn’t understand what it all was about, and thought we held a personal grudge against that person,

but that was never the case. It was about defending agricultural land But it ended with a lot of personal attacks and things It was really unpleased for a time. You were promised beatings and so on Sometimes you wonder if it was worth it, to struggle It has affected me quite a lot and cost me quite a lot, but no, deep down I think it was worth it. I have to stand up for what I believe in, and I want to give my son the possibility to carry on here, and I want to know that coming generations also have the possibility to produce food and so on It´s interesting how these things can turn out. We had a lot of contact with the municipality, which of course always was on the side of the person who wanted to build And I understand them, they want in-migration, taxes and so on. I understand them very well, but even so you cannot abandon your principles I don’t know if it was pure ignorance or if they took a chance, but the municipality appealed against the decision of the county administrative board, and in that appeal, they lied about certain things But then both the person who wanted to build and the municipality withdrew the appeal We got to see all the papers, and I noticed that the municipality actually had lied, to the court I booked a meeting with the municipality and asked “what are you doing? You have lied!” They just blame each other and claim to not know who did what etc I say, how can I trust you? How can anyone trust the municipality when you lie to the court? They have no answer except: “We can only say we’re sorry” And one wonders, this was the building-department of this small municipality What does it look like in other departments and municipalities? Is this how it works? That frightened me quite a lot Our largest farmers organization previously agreed with me in meetings when I raised the question: How should we act if someone wants to build on agricultural land? And we all agreed to act against that We have to care for this land. Since there is such pressure on this land, so many that want to expand and buy land, we have to speak up But then the question became very infected in the community, people got very angry at us. Other farmers in this farmer organization saw this, and I don’t know if they got scared or what, but they changed their opinion All of a sudden, they were completely fine with this person wanting to build on agricultural land And that was a real stab in the back. It stung really bad To go from agreeing to the complete opposite. It is strange It is strange that people under pressure don´t stand for what they say and think I understand that they became afraid when they saw what happened to us But, I’m still glad that I stood upright, that we stood upright, stood for what we said, because that´s what we´ve done Nature actually humbles you when you stand here on the balcony to look at the view

A landscape that has been shaped by the ice sheet and such We really have to be careful of this, we have to We only have one planet and we cannot lose it. We have to use it properly So then you were happy when there wasn’t a building project? Yes, but there is no victory in these land questions Farmers are always under pressure to back away for infrastructure, mines and from shores as in this case We often live in a state of conflict with people that want to exploit for different purposes We farmers have to be more explicit in saying which interests that are lost when the lands we need for agriculture and forestry are destroyed So, when the shore building project was over in the early 90’s, new politicians came here and said “now we are going to build a golf course” It was supposed to cover the land from here all the way to the highway over there 3 to 4 km of golf courses on agricultural land because “it’s situated so nicely”, to attract tourists and people with money to spend. That is the purpose The golf project was also stopped, because the inhabitants realised the downsides of a project demanding so much land. All the way from the lake up to the road here Why is it the sector that doesn´t do anything, that is favoured? The tourist sector – recreation and so on In a way, it´s not only the cities that are urbanized, we are also being urbanized The countryside isn´t here to be like cities, it´s here for producing renewable resources, food and wood etc As usual, from above come politicians, from the municipality, that have dreams of developing tourist centres like Åre or other alpine establishments. That is the dream, they think they can save rural areas with the tourist sector Getting money by increasing prices on land, by attracting the cities to come here for recreation and golf and beaches etc. and it is like that all over the country today My name is Bertil Sievertsson, I live in Side in Oviken. I’m a dairy farmer, I have between 35-40 dairy cows on this farm. There have been dairy cows here in all times Now it is threatened a bit, because only 2 km away, they might start to mine vanadium It was uranium a couple of years ago, but that was stopped, so now it’s vanadium There are these new vanadium batteries. They are great batteries, to store energy from solar and wind power They are large containers, boxes, that cannot be moved. There´s very low energy density in these batteries, but they are great in the way that they do not age, and can handle many charges and discharges without changing. But, if they mine the vanadium here they will destroy the entire Storsjö lake

It will leach to the ground water that goes into the Storsjö lake There are heavy metals and radioactivity, because it’s the same procedure as if they had mined uranium The uranium will get out one way or the other, even if they say that they won’t deal with uranium, that it´s not what they´re mining, but it will come out during the procedure So there will be radioactive slag heaps, there will be pools of heavy metals, and that are things that that cannot exist in a culture landscape with agricultural land that is we have the best agricultural land in the world here, around the Storsjö lake It’s a lime rich, humus rich clay There are some stones in it but, that’s also good I’m stone rich, with all the stones that are or have been on this farm But the stones retain moisture and heat, so they also have a purpose actually So it’s an agricultural land that is incredibly valuable today But wouldn’t jobs and other ways in which the mine would benefit the local community be good? I don’t think that there are very many here that would get a job at the mine, there would be a working team arriving with the mine, living in barracks or other temporary housing around the mine And we wouldn´t get a lot out of it That’s how it´s been in other places they´ve exploited Then there is this with taxes, if I remember correctly, a tax of 0,5 per mille goes to the state, in this project And I, as a private business owner, pay significantly more than that I don´t understand this mineral legislation, we are giving away our resources What patterns helped you understand what was going to happen to the forestry when we joined the EU and the WTO? Well it’s a jigsaw puzzle that you have to assemble, if you are to understand the systematic questions and how structures are changing etc The forest was a blank page when it came to the EU and WTO So we had to search in the EU legislation, and compare it with Swedish legislation. And we actually looked at fishing What happens, as in a precedent case, with coast fishers when large fish factories want concessions close to Irish waters? We found that the largest, those with the most money, who could purchase and fuel the development to large-scale, those are the ones who have the power in the EU We tried to find our own historical examples, and remembered the ‘Baggböleri’ We looked at the legislation back then, and it was exactly the same as that of the EU Not approximately, it was exactly the same: a green light for speculators to buy agriculture and forests, and that was how it would be in the EU. That’s what it was all about,

to set free speculation on agriculture, forest and hydropower So that was two pieces of the puzzle, from looking at other sectors and their legislation and precedent cases etc We also made side-tracks to the 60’s, where it was the same, and the green wave was connected with it So there we´d found some framework pieces Can you describe more about the ‘Baggböleri’ that you mentioned? Yes, but it’s a long story, so this will be a long movie The ‘Baggböleri’ was something that heavily affected this region and the whole of inland Norrland From Värmland actually, to the northernmost Norrland Landowners, barons, forest buyers, came and bought forest land, for newly built sawmills on the coast, well some in the inlands also, at very low prices and cheated the farmers of their forest The consequence of that is that very little of the land is owned by the local population today Here, in a municipality as large as the county of Blekinge, SCA owns half of the land area The hydropower, the rights to the waterfalls were sold at the same time So the region doesn’t get any money from the hydropower, except for some subsidies which really are like glass pearls So, we have a weak economy and that leads to a depopulation, and then ownership also moves out of the region So it’s not much of the private ownership that remains in the region either When I started here in this municipality, there was about 25 % that was owned by the local population, and today it is probably down to 15 %. It’s not a lot left, it’s a small shard really But still it´s important for us farmers that own forest, it’s often at least half of our income So the ‘baggböleri’ is a rewriting of colonialism They try to redefine ‘baggböleriet’ as an agreement, SCA wants to say that it was a settlement between what later became SCA, and the sellers The problem is that is was pure fraud really And it’s not only the buyers, who grab the resources, that are to blame It’s also us who live here, that have let ourselves be colonialized A very large part of the population migrated. Half of my relatives live in USA today In percent, it is as much or maybe more than any other place in Europe, that people have migrated from these inlands to USA And there is a risk now that the government has, not proposed, but begun inquiry of assignment to investigate if companies once again should be allowed to buy land And then it’s not only these regions that previously have been affected, a new ‘baggböleri’ will heavily affect the whole of Sweden A country that has sold its natural resources is as poor as if they didn’t have any It’s an irreversibility that you have to count with. And we have the responsibility for coming generations so they can support themselves No one takes responsibility today. There’s a green light for speculation, like Klondike when they dug for gold in early 1900’s in the US, and everyone rushed to buy concessions in the rocky mountains and other places

And it’s happening again with minerals today: Big venture capitalists that, in a risky and brutal way, according to us in Jämtland and other places, sample drill and take concessions Is it possible to see the same patterns in other parts of the world? Yes, and it’s the first time in world history, that we farmers are affected in a similar way by the same legislation – the WTO legislation etc And it’s the same in the EU. One can compare the Nordic countries with a lot of forest, with mountainous regions with a lot of forest in EU: The Carpathians, Alps, Pyrenees etc and there they often have combination agriculture. So you ask each other: “Is it like that at your place?” “Yes precisely like that”. And there is an exchange between those in La Via Campesina So, geographically there is a lot to find and there are no boundaries. The earth is round and it’s simply to look at Chile and the example I always give about a Chilean coast fisher I met in Oslo He was there to show what Norwegian fishing vessels did in Chile These fishing vessels got concessions from the Chilean government to go to coast waters and pull their heavy trawls along the bottom and grab all there was. So the coast fishers lost their livelihood I met him and he asked how it was over here and I told him about the forest “Oh but that’s just like at home” he thought. He didn’t speak a lot of English, and I didn’t speak any Spanish so there was a lot of gesturing “It’s just like that at home” “and they do like that” “and the government allows” “just like that” “forest companies do that” “and the consequence? We lose and the prices drop” Blablabla All the time there was recognition, and that is common in Via Campesina Both from Africa, Asia etc. and not long ago I met a reindeer herder from Kamchatka And it was the same: A lot of linguistic confusion but a lot of recognition, in land questions in that case The way Russia now deals with land questions is very similar to how the EU is dealing with its green sectors So it all comes back all over the world, and that’s why we are so powerful in Via Campesina and are so many We can see that many different sectors are affected similarly all over the world And then you become many. We are about 200-250 million members today What have you concluded? Well we haven’t done that yet, but we have come a long way and we share a lot of experience E.g. our own historical experience that we can make use of Norway has a lot of good examples on alternative ways to this grabbing-mentality They’re partly a part of it, but they try to conserve a lot And personal experiences, e.g. I have a lot of stories from my grandparents, of the plunder and grabbing of forests, land and hydropower In my village, there was adjustment of the water as late as the early 60’s That had large consequences both on the village and on the nature and fishing etc Firstly, quarrel started in the village, because the exploiters benefitted from disagreement There were ugly methods everywhere, in mountainous regions and in agricultural areas And then, the specie of fish that had lived in that lake since the ice-age,

became extinct because the water was lowered too much and breeding grounds disappeared So there is a lot that has happened that isn’t written about, because it’s unpleasant for the ruling majority We say that the ‘big swede’ is ruling. But we’re a part of that ‘big swede’, so it’s not black and white and guilty and innocent. We are all a part of it So we see a pattern with the different parts Tove who is in Scotland now, can bring other parts of the puzzle, e.g. by going to Scottish Crofting Federation and ask about their history About landlords that took the lands 250 years ago, and the consequences of that Why they don’t own their land, and compare that with the ‘baggböleri’ we have here at home and with Norway who still have their land spared in rural areas, and the consequences of that So, we´re not out of pieces for the puzzle just because we´ve talked about some of them here There is much to dig into because the topic is so large What’s terrible is that no one has dug into it. That journalists haven’t dug and found out about cause and effect They haven’t found the pattern, and that makes me angry So, what pieces of the puzzle have we assembled? We had geography, different sectors, history, personal experience etc. What picture do they show? Maybe one can find the cause? “Oh, so it’s this legislation that does that, those politics that do this” Who is fuelling these politics? That’s every political party in Sweden. All support this free exploitation and speculation That fact should no longer stay clouded Especially you young people should become aware about the big mistakes of this generation We are fuelling a climate change with this legislation, when we aren’t self-sufficient, for example And there is something that is reoccurring, something you recognise when you look at how these western countries have created this legislation – because they have done it before! They did it in the 1800’s already, some in the 1700’s, 1600’s, and begun with colonialization in the 1500’s “But not us Swedes, we never had any colonies” Yes, we did, we have colonialized (not as in populating), colonialized, to grab and plunder other regions in Sweden Not nations, but regions have been plundered in the same way and are today diminished Imagine if we had gotten all that is produced by the agriculture in Skåne where you’re from Everything had gone to Jämtland: both taxes and profits to Jämtland in 150 years What would this county look like? We are 140 000 and have a 1,5 billion in debt in the welfare system, and more What would it look like today? How many million inhabitants would we be? Etc So the politics of distribution are wrong and are based on the same miserable economic colonialist politics And if you’re really, really lucky, you might see the Storsjö-monster swim past