On 4 March 1976 at Montredon-des-Corbières, close to Narbonne, winegrower Emile Pouytès and CRS officer Commander Joel Le Goff were shot and killed, during the course of a demonstration which turned into a violent stand-off. Another 17 people were hospitalised with injuries from the disastrous fire-fight. The confluence of blood and wine drew a significant reaction from the French political mainstream, which vilified the terroristic acts of regional extremists. Amongst winegrowers, however, the fallen were martyrs of a struggle which was over a century old and part of a regional inheritance of resistance to ‘internal colonialism’.
These ideas loom large in my upcoming book Terror and Terroir: The winegrowers of the Languedoc and Modern France (Manchester University Press, 2016), and in this post I wanted to introduce the topic to a wider audience on the 40th anniversary of the gunfight.
Prelude to a Gunfight
This gunfight was not a…
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