Farmers’ Market Fascism

By Staff
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It’s the last-ditch tactic of argumenteers the world over: When all else fails, equate your enemies with Nazis. <a title=”<EM>Spiked</EM>’s Neil Davenport does just that” href=”http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/4516/” target=”_blank”>
<em>Spiked</em>’s Neil Davenport does just that</a> to take on those low-down opponents of mega-chain grocery stores, alleging that these naysayers hold values closer to the Third Reich’s policy-makers than to Third World farmers. “Of course, shouting ‘fascists’ is a shrill, cheap shot in contemporary debate,” Davenport admits in a show of masterly preterition.</p>
<p>He then builds his case against proto-Nazi “supermarket-bashers.” They are nature-loving, urbanization-hating, middle-class elitists, a la the German <i>Mittelstand</i> of the 1920s and 1930s, whose support helped the German government create laws against chain-store expansions. Supermarket-bashers in the UK do not create “community cohesion,” he argues; they stress the budgets of the poor. Promoting local shops, backed by the government’s Competition Commission, will lead to bigger grocery bills and, therefore, a greater burden for the working class. (Davenport avoids discussing the nutritional value of supermarkets’ affordable fare.)</p>
<p>While campaigning against supermarkets shows support for local businesses, it is also a display of style, he writes, “creating a new dividing line between the haves and have-nots–that is, those who have <i>taste</i>, and those who do not have taste.”</p>
<p>Comparing co-op lovers to Nazis is an overstatement, and Davenport’s assertion is outlandish that chain store critics’ goal is to drive down working-class living standards. However, he does raise an important point: Proponents of local business and strong communities should consider the systemic issue of working-class incomes vis-à-vis rising food costs if they want their movement to be inclusive and truly sustainable.</p>
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<i>–<a href=”https://www.utne.com/bios/utne-reader-interns.aspx”>Lisa Gulya</a>
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<em>Image by <a title=”_e.t” href=”http://flickr.com/photos/45688285@N00/” target=”_blank”>_e.t</a>, licensed under <a title=”Creative Commons” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en” target=”_blank”>Creative Commons</a>.</em>
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