Into the Vineyards

Leognan, August 25

Day 31 of the March on Brussels. From Le Barp, 22 km.

Dear people,

Chaos reigns. For many days now we have been planning an internal assembly to address the problems of the march. One of these is the lack of discipline. There was a time when we got up at six and started walking at seven thirty. This way we arrived in the afternoon in time to prepare actions, to communicate and to hold our assembly at the local town or village square at seven in the evening.

Nowadays people get up late, they march in small groups or alone and the last of the marchers arrive at the destination just in time for the evening assembly. They talk about the better world they want to create, they keep up appearances for the outside world and afterwards they go to sleep. There is no time to discuss among ourselves and get this march on the road again as a well oiled machine.

Yesterday evening we finished the village assembly early so that we could finally have our internal assembly. It was a complete disaster. Late at night, when most people had already gone to sleep, we hadn’t yet reached a consensus on the first point of the orden del día. And this point wasn’t even about our troubles. It was about today’s route.

This morning the internal assembly continued. At eleven o’ clock I had enough of it, and together with Jesus Christ I started marching to the place that we originally designated as today’s destination.


A dangerous wind is blowing in the various components of the group. People are whispering. The French and the Spanish don’t always get along. Here and there you can feel an air of rebellion. There are even rumours going around that some of the marchers are planning a coup d’état.

The grapes of Bordeaux

On the route we hear that the internal assembly has decided in the end to head for the initial destination, a small countryside community just outside Bordeaux. While we arrive there, Jesus and me, we finally encounter the first vineyards.


The community consists of a house, a habitable barn, a yurta tent and a trampoline. The whole place invites you to relax. And so we do. The distance wasn’t that far, we don’t have a village assembly to do, and so we finally have time to try to understand and respect each other.

Smiling Sparrow on the trampoline

And yours truly as well. Photo: Smiling Sparrow

Among us there is a comrade from Swiss, who has been with us for a couple weeks, and who has been going by car for the last few days. Some marchers have accused her of being one of the ‘tourists’. And she took that very personally. She is 21 years old, she has been addicted to heroin since she was 15, and she has been going cold turkey from the moment she joined the march. So if she is unable to walk, she has a very good reason for that.

The accusations have made her want give up an go back to Switzerland, where the state supplies junkies with pure top class heroin. Fortunately a lot of good people among us rallied around her and have been convincing her to stay. She has undoubtedly been suffering much more than any one of us on the march. I do hope she stays, and makes it to Brussels. Losing her would be an ignominous defeat for the march, and for the human values on which our movement is based.

Communications team at work in a French cottage

This evening the internal assembly has tried a different method to get our troubles out in the open. No discussions, just a brief presentation of one minute in which every person mentions three problems which according to him or her are afflicting the march. I think it worked. It was the beginning of a solution. Listening to each other without discussing has reestablished a form of mutual understanding.

We will need it. Tomorrow we enter Bordeaux. And we will have to present ourselves as a strong movement, capable of resolving any social problem with empathy and respect.

Internal assembly by the fire


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s