A political proposal from the accused of Tarnac
“The Great Springtime of the Arab Peoples”; “revolution on the march”; “democratic transition”; “end of dictatorship.” The great discourse machines have been switched on, and they’ve got to be kept working full-time in order to present the overthrow of the pro-western regimes of the Maghreb as new victories for the West, as an unexpected victory for its values.
The revolutionary fervor that has recently overtaken the most prudent of editorialists first of all shows the intense immune-system reaction that the events have brought about within the dominant discourse. A violent paroxysm of pro-orientalism has popped up now, to put a kind of containment zone between us and the uprisings taking place as quickly as possible; and people marvel at these “revolutions,” so as to all the better sidestep the obvious facts they bring up so plainly – so as to all the better dissolve the unrest they stir in us.
Whatever illusions they’re trying to preserve must be pretty important to them for them to go making apologies about the insurrection as much as they have, glorifying the non-violence of a movement that burned 60% of Egypt’s police stations. What a nice surprise – the primary information channels are apparently now being run by friends of the people!
When the insurgents on the other side of the Mediterranean say: “Before, we were like the living dead; now we have awakened,” that means that we, who do not rise up in revolt ourselves are the living dead; we ourselves are asleep. When they say: “Before, we lived like animals, we lived in fear. Now we have rediscovered our confidence in ourselves, in our strength, in our intelligence,” that means that we ourselves are living like animals, we who are so obviously governed by our fears.
Those who today paint the pitiless dictatorship of the atrocious Ben Ali in such dark and gloomy colors found him to be quite pleasant company just yesterday. They were lying then and they’re lying now. Michèle Alliot-Marie’s mistake is right there: in a few sentences spoken at the National Assembly she revealed that behind all their schoolboy dissertations about the difference between their dictatorships and our democracies, is hidden the continuity of police power through all the regimes; it’s just that some are certainly more expert at it and less rough about it. The brutality of the repression imposed under Ben Ali could be detailed ad nauseam. Yet nevertheless, that anti-insurrectional doctrine – the art of crushing uprisings – is now the official doctrine of western armies, whether they apply them in the ghettos or in the city centers, in Afghanistan or at Bellecour Square in Lyon. Ms. Alliot-Marie’s weekly soap opera of little lies and miserable schemes can’t erase the true scandal: the handling of a revolutionary situation as a “security situation.” If we weren’t so busy braiding crowns of jasmine and lotus to put on the Maghrebi revolts, perhaps we wouldn’t have already forgotten that just four days before he disappeared into the trash can of history, Ben Ali spoke of the riots in Sidi Bouzid as “unpardonable terrorist acts perpetrated by hooded thugs.” Or that his successor had thought he would be able to appease the people’s rage by announcing as his first act in office the abrogation of “all anti-democratic laws” — starting with the anti-terrorism laws.
If we refuse to consider miraculous the chain of events that led from the immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi to the flight of Ben Ali, it’s only that we refuse to admit as normal, conversely, the muffled indifference that for so many years met the persecution of so many of those that opposed him. What we and a certain politicized youth have been living through these past three years certainly counts for something. In these last three years, we have seen around twenty comrades in France alone who, in a hodge podge of all the various political tendencies among them, all went into prison cells, mostly on the pretext of anti-terrorism and for pathetic reasons – caught in possession of smoke bombs, putting glue in ticket machines, failed attempts to burn cars, sticking up posters, or just kicking someone.
In January things got to the point where just having the magic word “anarcho-autonomist” in a police file got a young woman thrown in prison – just for tagging. This is happening in France, not in Russia, Saudi Arabia, or China.
With every passing month we hear about another comrade getting hauled away in the middle of the street, about some friend being asked to become a spy in exchange for impunity or for a salary, or to keep a position as a professor; that knowledge has in turn had its effect on the parallel dimension we live in now, with these seedy cells, these little judges full of vengeful hatred, bad faith, and resentment, with this insomnia, these prohibitions on our communication with each other, with these cops who become your lover so as to spy on you. And then the apathy wins you over: the apathy of those who live “normally,” and are surprised at all of this — organized apathy.
And it’s a Europe wide policy. The regular round ups of Greek anarchists made lately proves it. No regime can give up grinding at the legal action mill, when it’s a matter of doing away with everything that resists it. Guilt is a manufactured product. And that production work requires investments, finance, personnel. And if you’re prepared to put some extra effort into it, you can easily transform a series of false reports, false witness accounts, and the maneuvers of secret agents into a believable case. In the so-called Tarnac affair, the recent reconstitution of the night the sabotage took place, requested for so long by the defense, gave the finest example of this. It was one of those supreme, culminating moments where the machinations of all judicial “truths” become stunningly obvious in all their most minute detail. On that day, the judge, Fragoli, did his best to artfully conceal everything that so clearly demonstrated the impossibility of the police version. He suddenly became blind, as soon as the undeniable, restless reality beneath it all contradicted his thesis. He even managed to keep those who wrote the false reports from the stalkers following us sheltered from the contradictions, by allowing them to be absent. And in effect that was unnecessary, because almost the whole of that little world had already gone down to tamper with the place a week before, privately and quietly.
Surely if they had to counterfeit the reconstruction it proves that the report itself was counterfeit. And that’s obviously what they were trying to keep everyone from becoming aware of when they blocked off the whole area with walls of cops, supported by police dogs, helicopters, and dozens of thugs from the anti-terrorism squad.
By today it must have cost millions of euros to transform the fantasies of a few cops into such a fine case against us. It’s of little importance to know to exactly whom the acts that were the pretext for our arrest will finally be imputed. As for us, we condemn the court for trying to pass off as terrorism the placement of a few harmless little hooks when blocking the flows has now become the elementary means of action for a whole mass movement against pension reform.
The cautious silence of European governments on the events in Tunisia and Egypt clearly show the anxiety they’re seized by. Apparently power is holding on by quite the thin thread. A plane takes off, and a whole tower of abused authority comes crumbling down. The doors of the prisons are thrown open. The police vanish. And people begin to honor what just yesterday was scorned, what was the object of all honors is now the subject of all sarcastic remarks. All power is precariously seated over this yawning abyss. What to us appears to be some kind of security-obsessed dementia is just the normal police pragmatism and reasoned anti-terrorism.
From the perspective of security-situation managers, public order would never have been shaken, and Ben Ali would still be tranquilly ruling over Tunisia if they’d just managed to neutralize a certain Muhammed Bouazizi in time.
It’s obvious, in the ghettos and in the movements of revolt: the hunt is on for all potential instigators of insurrection, for the Bouazizis of the world; and it’s a race against time, since from Ben Ali to Sarkozy, those that rule by fear expose themselves to fury.
Mister President, there are ranches for sale in Texas, and your plane is waiting on the runway at Villacoublay.