Maslow and those below

There is a poster that has gone viral in the latest tractor rallies and it says: “We are neither right nor left, we are the ones below and we are going after those above.” A motto that could be taken from ‘La casa de papel’, which summarizes the germ of many revolutions that have taken place and will take place, and that should inspire us with at least respect, if not solidarity. Although unfortunately there are still many who do not want or cannot understand its scope and meaning.

And that is the basis of the problem. Because if I have learned anything in all the years that I have been practicing journalism, it is that for a news or story to reach the public and generate interest, and sometimes even reactions, they have to be able to identify with its protagonists or at least understand them. And I get the feeling that with the topic of the moment: the rural protests, there are still people who simply believe that things are not right for them.

We have been seeing tractors, farmers and ranchers for days everywhere, in Europe and Spain, in all media. And while it is true that in most cases public opinion and communication professionals support their cause, I am not so sure that it is clear that an important part of what they are defending with courage and sacrifice affects us. all, because they are literally ‘our chickpeas’.

When I was little, one of the concepts that stuck in my memory was Maslow’s pyramid, which establishes the hierarchy of human needs. At the base is physical survival (eating, sleeping, breathing), the next level is safety and security, followed by social impulses such as belonging and love. And at the top is self-realization.

We all believe, at least in theory, that the most evolved human being is the one who has all those steps ‘controlled’, but we forget, or take for granted, as spoiled citizens of the ‘first world’ that we are, that the basics It is often the essence and guarantee that allows us to aspire or face everything else. Or more simply, as my grandfather Pedro said: what we eat is what we are worth.

It is ironic because food is a trend, on social networks on television… chefs and haute cuisine generate an interest that moves millions. But little is said about the first link: the ingredients; of its production costs, always rising, of the endless phytosanitary demands, unfair competition and double standards with other countries, or of the bureaucracy, used as a yoke, whose ‘small print’ always favors the big one and crushes and extinguishes to the little one.

That’s why there are still those who criticize road closures, and call farmers ‘fags’, while incoherently complaining about oil prices. And it would be enough for them to take a look at the Price Index at Origin and Destination to realize the nonsense: the producers don’t get it right, and neither do we. How is it possible that the kilo collected in the field has not even reached two euros, and the liter is in the supermarkets for more than 12?

This ‘abyss’ that separates the two figures is as large as the chain that divides the two worlds in which producers and consumers live. In the center, there are the middlemen, who are the ones who take the ‘slice’ without bending the back. Above all, the political parties, which only remember farmers and ranchers during election times; without forgetting, of course, the agrarian unions, which consent to all of the above, while they ‘trick’ from above and below.

And in that vicious circle in which the same people always lose and win, public opinion is in ‘limbo’, with opinions that in many cases are marked by ignorance. And no wonder. According to data from the National Institute of Statistics, only 16% of the population lives in rural Spain, the rest are ‘urbanites’.

This is your chance to learn that food, which is the basis of our health and well-being, does not ‘grow’ in supermarkets. That we are all ‘those at the bottom’ in this pyramid and that our support, real and knowledgeable, can be key so that this revolution has an end in which our primary sector does not disappear.

* Journalist

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