In homage to Catalonia’s revolutionary farmers of the 1600’s, the Catalan Farmers Union has been praised by the public as “defenders of the land” and has continued to mobilize their tractors in support of Catalan independence. During the Catalan referendum of October 1st 2017, farmers barricaded roads with their tractors to protect ballot boxes from confiscation and to defend voters from police brutality. Since the referendum a group of farmers have continued to use the Catalan Farmers Union as a platform to “defend freedom and democracy in Catalonia”.
As a region without the apparatus of a nation state and one that has undergone direct rule from Spain in the wake of the referendum, the Catalan Farmers Union has taken on the symbolic role of the Republic’s army.
One of the farmers profiled in these photographs is Marc Xifra I Sala, a farmer who grew up on his father’s dairy farm in the small town of Riudellots de la Selva. As the union’s national representative of dairy farmers in Catalonia, Marc has participated in various demonstrations and served as a spokesman for independence causes within this union since the events of the Catalan referendum.