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Frédéric Rongnon


On the occasion of the Sewagram Conference in October 2017 organized with the Institute of Gandhian Studies in Wardha, it seemed very relevant to me to publish the English translation of the original French book written by Frédéric Rognon: "Lanza del Vasto or Community Experimentation" for wide dissemination among public and more particularly the one interested in Gandhian studies. "Le Passager Clandestin" has published this book in 2013 in France and it is now published in English with the collaboration of the Institute of Gandhian Studies along with some new essays.

Can we make a link between Gandhian thinking and the collection of books published by Le Passager Clandestin entitled "the Precursors of Degrowth"? I think this link has to be made indeed, and that is the reason why Gandhi International is publishing this book on this occasion.

The economic war in which we are permanently living is far-off the Gandhian Swadeshi, which is made of harmony and care for the others, particularly for the most deprived ones.

Lanza del Vasto has dealt in his works with issues like, for example, the reappropriation by citizens of the military and civil nuclear usage, which is too serious to be left in the hands of politicians and military men: the politicians are too timorous and morally incapable, and the military are too much into ideology.

It is the same for the insane idea of agriculture in the hands of the powerful lobbies of chemistry. This industrialization of agriculture shows us disastrous signs of a food with comforting aspect but full of pesticides, insecticides and other kinds of "cides", against an organic agriculture that can provide employment and good products compatible with Gandhian principles. It is good to know that his type of agriculture has been declared indispensable to eradicate starvation on the planet by recent UN rapporteurs, Jean Ziegler and Olivier de Schutter, who condemn de facto industrial agriculture.

Community experiment is a laboratory for a civilisation based on absence of fear or threat and where profit and domination are explicitly declared as illegal. On top of livelihood agriculture, this civilisation will also develop craftsmanship accessible to all and the splendour of celebration of seasons, without artifice or excess.

The present world is not favourable to poor people since it keeps them in stress, speed and crazy urbanization, degrading and without dignity. Developing small communities where everyone is recognized and in one's proper place has become a necessity.

What are we waiting for to live this immediate and happy fraternity?