José Bové

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Joseph (José) Bové (born June 11, 1953) is a French farmer and syndicalist, member of the alter-globalization movement, and spokesman for Via Campesina. He was one of the twelve official candidates in the 2007 French presidential election.[1] On 7 June 2009, he was elected to the European Parliament as a member of Europe Écologie, a coalition of French environmentalist political parties.


Early life

Bové was born in Talence, near Bordeaux, but raised in many different places, both inside and outside France, including the United States. Bové speaks English fluently, having followed his parents to Berkeley, California at the age of three, when they were invited to be researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bové attended a Jesuit secondary school near Paris (from which he was expelled for expressing non-mainstream views about drugs). While at university, he associated with anarchists and pacifists. When asked to serve in the army, he fled France.

Anti-military activist

In 1976 Bové joined a movement protesting the proposed expansion of a military camp on the Larzac plateau, which would have displaced sheep farmers. He joined a band of peasants occupying the threatened territory and illegally building a sheep barn. The protest eventually succeeded and the military plan was cancelled. As a result of that experience he became a sheep farmer, producing Roquefort cheese on the Larzac.

Agricultural unionist

Bové remained a farmer and an activist. In 1987, he formed the Confédération Paysanne, an agricultural union that places its highest political values on humans and the environment, promoting organic farming. In opposition to many companies in the profit-oriented agro-industry, Bové is a prominent opponent of genetically modified organisms. In 1995, he joined Greenpeace on their ship, the Rainbow Warrior, in opposition to nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific Ocean. He also has been part of the anarchist organization Alternative Libertaire.

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