Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

"My best trip has been the cottage"

  • At the age of 75, Peio Rubio, from the Txillarre farmhouse, feels that he is in his paradise, collecting the fruits of the work of the last three decades. He speaks with passion of the experience. He welcomed us one morning on Wednesday at the end of September with the sun and the blue sky shining in the Sallobente valley of Elgoibar.
Argazkia: Dani Blanco / ARGIA CC BY-SA
Argazkia: Dani Blanco / ARGIA CC BY-SA
Peio Rubio. Zumaia, 1948

Throughout his life, Peio Rubio has followed his inner strength, among other things, in Troskist political militancy, driving another model in the workshop and focusing on organic farming. He is now satisfied with what has been done. 30 years ago he was president of the Biolur association in the field of organic farming. If you want to know more about the violin, Rubio himself and the current president, Miriam Arrizabalaga, were interviewed in the podcast of ARGIA Egonarria.

If I ask him about childhood…
I remember Zumaia. I'm from Zumaia, although I've lived many more years in Elgoibar. The experiences of childhood, the roots, remain within us.

What was the environment like?
I'm 75 years old. At that time we played on the street, we didn't have mobiles, football shows on the beach of Itzurun and little ones on the mountain. Like today, but otherwise.

They were still years of Franco. How do you remember this?
In the fight. My first demonstration took place at the age of 20, when [Txabi] killed Etxebarrieta in Tolosa. From then on, always fighting. My militancy has always been the world of trotism, the people who came ETA VI.etik, an assembly of ETA, which decided in the 1970s to reject the armed struggle. We came together at European or state level with the Trozists, with what was CSF and we were a Troskist movement, on the left. In Basque, LKI, Revolutionary Communist League. We fought on the street trying to get Franco down. We couldn't, he died in bed, but at least we did everything in our hands.

When did he come to Elgoibar?
At 18. There was no work in Zumaia, he had to move around and touched Elgoibar. In Elgoibar there was a lot of work and every day we used to go and come by train.

In a workshop?
Yes, I've always worked as a machine tool. At the workshop level we have always worked in the unions. I've given my face there too. Everywhere I've been, I've always needed to move. One day the head of the workshop left and gave up the workshop in our hands. We made the cooperative, which was then called the public limited company. I took the presidency because the workers said so, but it was a very difficult time.

What happened?
I saw you can buy people. I had power, because at the time I was president, I hired the manager, I had a great relationship with him, because working anonymous companies have to work like this. I knew that people who were against me, who were on the pay or changing positions, were not going to have problems, and I got tired of that crowd. In particular, a union did it against me, but from within. My wager was not that, I believed that collectivities have to work differently, and what you are pulling out crystals buy in the workshop for four coins… That is not for me. There was a time when it did not make sense: if people do not want to take out a public limited company, it is pointless. The key is strength, people's desire, and I wasn't there. After I went, two or three years later, they closed the company and we had all the possibilities of going ahead: we had product, market, people… We had everything, but people worked with the scheme of private companies. And that is not possible, let alone in the early years: you are just economically and you have to make great efforts.

Photo: Dani Blanco / ARGIA CC BY-SA

Before leaving the workshop, you also created an association of working companies, ASLE, which brings together social economy companies. ARGIA is also a member of it. How was that?
There were more and more anonymous labor companies, and we thought it was interesting to meet. I have always worked in partnerships, both in agriculture and everywhere. And to make that partnership, we came together with some Biscayan: Left Margin companies that stayed like us, a company from Eibar, Juaristi from Azkoitia, then another from Urretxu, very famous, who went on a big strike, Irimo. We saw the need to set up an association and from there emerged ASLE. Then the association has made its way, but to me the company itself did not work.

And he went to the cottage.
I arrived when I felt a moment circling in a roundabout, and I decided to leave it. And a path emerged. The wife was here and there, married, and we bought her. But I didn't have a critic or a little dream to come to the house. It was possible to reach the farmhouse and move on. I couldn't get a lettuce!
And something else. As I said to him, in the struggle to demolish Franco, in the unions, we wanted to make the revolution of the Christ, without doing our own, personal. So, mine was also that bet. I know it's a little selfish, I also acted collectively, but the collective itself kicked me out, in quotation marks, and I went to make my personal revolution. And this has been my revolution.

"Organic farming was on the rise, but they have always been in the administration with the hand brake, always extending"

Anyway, you've also organized yourself collectively in the world of caserío.
Yes, I've built four or five partnerships. Biolur, Ekonekazaritza, GILBE too… With others, of course, I don’t think it’s God’s.

How were the first years in Chillar?
It was an old town. Throw, re-assemble, study… Hard. Well, hard. I don't know what's hard, which mountaineer is hard when he goes to Montblanc? They're willing to go. Suffering? Yes, they suffer, but also on the street. What's hard? For us it would be the rise of Everest, but not for them. It's about inner force. We are able to do those of Christ when we have that inner force. I had no idea what a farmhouse was, and I knocked down the old farmhouse, I did a new one, I did courses, I erred and I took my leg… There is no other way to learn things.

They were thrilled.
I was offered to go down the street and win more, but I already had my life here, I bet here and decided to go.

At first, agriculture began conventionally. Why then went eco-friendly?
When I first started, I felt really weird. When there were problems, I went to the agricultural technician and they told him to throw this product, then this other...

Pesticides?
Yes. And I felt like I was making screws, like I was very mechanical, and I wasn't looking for that, I had a workshop for that. I needed something else. On the other hand, and now even more, I don't understand that we throw so much poison into the things we're going to eat. If you put a flower in, well, the flower is there, you don't eat, but for the gasoline that we put inside, for the food that we put into the body, so many chemicals were used, in my head it didn't fit. So EHNE organized a first course on organic farming in Tolosa, and there I went.

Curious?
I had to see what that was, see what they said. And so I started. There I joined others, Thomas Antzuola, Koldo Igeldo, Gregorio Amasa, and from there we went. We started together.

You created the Biolur association. For what purpose?
It was an instrument. On the one hand, we wanted to help us, to support us, because we knew nothing, we were lost, we only had some references from Catalonia and Andalusia. And on the other hand, we had to socialize what organic farming was. It's now normalized, but we're going back 30 years. We were the ones who today call mushrooms.

What relations have you had with the administration?
They have never gone against it, I would have no logic, because they had all the data, the Europeans too, that organic farming was on the increase, but they have always gone with the hand brake, always long. We had meetings with both the parliamentarian and the government, and we always told them they were holding the hand brake. Two years before the creation of the Guk association, they created Eusko Label, their famous brand. And two years later, four perroflauts will create something eco-friendly, even more! That is not one thing we have talked to them, but we get that feeling.

And so we've come here, with a lot of effort. It's from Christ, because you have to put into a project what you don't have, you have to take out at least enough to live, then the work of the cottage, which is a lot of jobs, the work of the association, which is another lot. We've been at a standstill.

Did you talk about going out to live and… Did you then sell the chileno products in Elgoibar?
Yeah, I also had to study that, I've never been selling on the market. There I also had my fights, I remember that in the early years I had used it, now I would lose it, but they came to buy women in the last minute and always haggling. And I didn't accept that, nor did I think. If I have to feed the chickens, I will throw the chickens at them, but this is the price I have put and I will not go down. If you don't want to buy it, don't buy it. They always said it was customary. Habit? Why isn't it customary when you have coffee, why don't you haggle? Bad habits must be eliminated. I mean, if you want to buy it and if not, no. They were also alive, because in the last minute they were going to buy the surpluses as if they were going to buy. And I saw it right away, and I decided not to act like this.

Then I put up a little pot, I changed my place, and then my daughter picked it up, and at Elgoibar we have a store with organic products. We sell everything, our vegetables and other things.

“Otegi-Egiguren: I opened my house to speak. Two different worlds, on a table, speaking”

Txillarre is well known for something else. Here they met to speak Arnaldo Otegi and Jesús Egiguren. In life,
I like complicated things, simple things don't tell me anything, I get bored. I knew Arnaldo, also one of the PSOE, who was Paco Egea, in the workshop I mentioned earlier, we met from a very young age in Elgoibar and opened my house to speak. Two different worlds, on a table, talking. What is very complicated today, as has been seen in Catalonia, because it was done here. We started like this, and then we ended up where it's ended.

They didn't intend to start talking alone, not to convince each other, that will never happen, but to understand it in part, to empathize. And this has happened between Arnaldo and Jesús Egiguren. It has a lot to do with what people have come together. It has been very satisfactory, very enriching. Satisfied. All in all. Today is my paradise at age 75.

Photo: Dani Blanco / ARGIA CC BY-SA

What march does it take today?Sometimes
I do a little work in the garden, fix things from the outside, I like to soften, watch movies. Traveling doesn’t leave me…

But he was young. [Before starting the interview he shows us the wall of the living room, filled with masks from eleven corners of the world].
Yes, Europe did everything with the backpack and on the campsite.

Isn't it attracting you now?
No, my best trip is the farmhouse. I travel in these 30 years. Fantastic trip. I know you don't understand me, but I don't care about anything.

You've said you're in a position to die peacefully. No one
wants, but I've made a living will and all of you don't get me a tube. While I'm like that I want to keep living, what I don't want is for me to run, I don't know which one. I am now seeing benefits in one phase. Part of this work I've done, and that gives me a lot of joy and makes me enjoy without having to leave. I'm going to watch movies, I'm going to the jazz festival every year, I like to go to specific things, if not, no. I'm sorry, but I'm from a few people: a table, four good people, a good renovation and there I can be 14 hours, now where there are a lot of people… You have to go to some demonstrations and I do, but where there are so many people I'm not quiet with me. In Jazz Festibala, for example, I don't understand music, I like it or not, sometimes I'm right and great, and other times I've swallowed big brown. Life is like this. Also in the movies, you have to watch at least ten movies to watch one. Well, I see that people go to jazz or cinema and everyone with mobilization: kick, leave me the phone and enjoy the moment, which is what you have gone! I do not understand. To that extent I do not know society.

New technologies and this system has made us, on the one hand, empty inside and fill with lots of material things. On the contrary, feelings, passions, we have things empty, they do not exist, or there are very few, upset. On the contrary, we have the car, the trips here and there, the mobiles, the screen I don’t know how… We are able to computer contact someone who is on the other side of the world and not say good days to those who live above. Something doesn't work well.


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