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Dutch farmers protest against the government.Shutterstock

(LifeSiteNews) — The story of the Dutch farmers’ protest is an inspiration to us all. It is a tale of success and of the rise of common-sense community politics to the national level, and one in which strong social bonds are winning against the forces of an inhuman bureaucracy.

In October 2021, Dutch farmers began protesting against their government. The reason was the government’s environmental policy. In its aim of reducing nitrogen emissions, it announced its intention to forcibly close 3000 farms and halve meat production by 2030.

The Netherlands is Europe’s largest exporter of meat and the second largest food exporter in the world. Such a move would have ramifications for the cost and availability of food worldwide. It was one which was met with determined resistance by the farmers, in a campaign of civil disobedience which saw shots fired by police and the army on the streets. The farmers have shut down motorways with tractor convoys, sprayed the police with manure, and camped outside a minister’s house. The attempts to preserve their livelihood, which provides much of the world’s food amid a global crisis in food supply, have been characterized as terrorism.

Yet the farmers are winning. They have won concessions from the government, regionally and nationally. The agriculture minister has resigned as a result. Now they have created a political party, which now looks likely to shape or even lead the next government.

The BBB, or Farmer Citizen Movement, was founded in 2019 by a half-Irish woman named Caroline van der Plas. She sees the neighborly bond as the core value of the party, a concept which is dear to the hearts of Dutch farmers, who rely on those near to them to help out in times of need. It is an idea which extends through the nation, but is especially strong in rural areas where bureaucracies have not replaced the support networks of community. This emphasis on strong human ties, individual and not mass scale ownership, with independence from large scale bureaucracies, self reliance, and cooperation, is more reminiscent of the Catholic economic model of Distributism. Perhaps this explains its demonization in the media.

The Dutch farm intensively, being the second largest exporter of food worldwide (after the USA). Yet their agribusiness is not owned solely by big business. In the USA, four companies dominate the meat industry. In 2022, by contrast, most Dutch meat companies had one employee, 60 had two, and only 35 have more than 100. Dutch farming is not in the hands of massive corporations but still owned and operated by small scale local farmers who rely on each other.

RELATED: World’s food supply at risk as Dutch farmers urged to sell farms to the gov’t

Socialism promises freedom through regulation, leaving the mass scale structures of society in place. It prefers to consolidate industry in vast operations which lead to dairy farmers committing suicide, as they are unable to compete with the huge buying power of the supermarkets. It is a power which drives down prices for the consumer, but to a level at which small scale producers cannot survive. Farmers in the USA are six times more likely to kill themselves than the average American. The same tragedy afflicts farmers in the UK and Australia.

Writing about the epidemic of farmer suicides in the USA, Mike Rosmann, former seminarian and clinical psychologist said:

I think the behavioral health of farm people can be viewed as the canary of their economic well-being, because it’s affected by agricultural prices that farmers can’t control. Besides weather, the entities that control farm prices largely have to do with business interests that lobby heavily at the state and federal levels. If the behavioral health state of farmers is poor, you can bet those lobbies are winning.

The owner-operated intensive farms of the Netherlands rely on the high trust community their strong neighborly bonds confer. Their entry into politics is the promotion of a way of life based on cooperation in long-established, stable, and familiar communities. Basing a political platform on this social kinship has been a tremendous success with voters, and has seen their party rise in the polls to up to fifteen percent. On this trajectory, they are likely to be the second or third largest party in the Netherlands. Some say they may yet rise to  first.

RELATED: What’s really driving Netherlands’ plan to shut down 3,000 farms?

To the media, a party based on the values of kinship and stable community is toxic. These values are ‘far right’, of course, under an ideology which sees meat, family values, and neighborly cooperation as extremist. Moreoever, the protests over the stated aim of the Dutch government to close 3000 farms have been derided as “conspiracy theories about an assault on Western civilization itself.” Elsewhere, the farmers are framed as “peak polluters,” further legitimizing hatred for ordinary people whose community life has not yet been ruined by global scale actors.

Happily, the Dutch seem to be immune to the attempts to marginalize their normal life as some form of hateful ideology. The Farmers and Citizens Movement have risen in the polls and are expected to gain over ten percent of the vote in the coming provincial elections in March.

This is not just a story of hope, but one which promises success in elections whilst offering a model of plentiful production that preserves in farming—and in wider social organization—a way of life worth living.