In the world of environmental globalization, much weight has been assigned to the discussion of food, specifically in terms of livestock and agriculture. Due to food’s nature both as a cultural signifier as well as the livelihood of many farmers, tempers tend to flare when discussing the newly global nature of food. When considering angry political figures in the world of agriculture and cuisine, it is hard to ignore Jose Bove, a French political activist.
Bove has long fought for his beliefs in France, founding multiple “green” political parties. He has promoted organic farming and long supported French farms that suffer under the added pressure of large, multinational agro-corporations. He was brought to the limelight for his involvement in the destruction of a McDonald’s franchise in Aveyron, France; Bove claims that this was in reaction to the US restrictions on Roquefort cheese, which was hurting farmers, as well as McDonald’s use of hormone-treated beef.
Due to these actions and more, Bove has been titled an “anti-globalist.” While he acknowledges that the existence of the WTO and other global organizations are necessary, he claims that they are not properly regulated and calls for an alternative type of globalization (alter-globalization). In fact, I find that Bove’s entire history and persona reflect a uniquely French perspective—his pride in his culture is unparalleled, and the French are a singularly proud culture. He fights for farmers that produce intensely French products, he regularly starts and attends strikes (“greves,” in his native French, have been called the French national sport), and he has created multiple political parties in a French system that thrives on being multi-party, rather than two-pronged. While Bove has been forced to concede that some globalization is necessary, he would surely rather isolate his native France than deal with the pressures of multi-national expansion. Though he may be shortsighted, one must respect the devotion with which Bove has fought for agricultural rights in an ever-globalized society.