An Order to Bring Down

Collective Statement of the Delegates from Nearly 30 “Tarnac 9″ Support Committees Who Met in Limoges, Belgium, in March 2009

It is a failure. We haven’t feared “anarcho-autonomous” terrorists weaving international networks. This invasion — so brutal and crude — by the political police has pushed us to put our bitterness into words, to leave our isolation.

The day after the arrests, support committees sprung up like crocuses after the thaw. Without consultations or slogans, the contagion spread: concerts, debates, meetings, evening performances. . . . Everywhere the support has brought together dozens, even hundreds of people.

It is a failure. Perhaps it was too crude. No one has wanted to believe that those who one accuses of having disconnected the TGV were bloody brutes who fomented terrible attacks. The Tarnac affair has been a trigger. Because we had forgotten that this is how one treats political enemies, forgotten that some radical intentions can officially lead to your jails. We did not know that those who in your eyes represent such a great danger could be isolated in a fantastic “circle of influence.” Instead, we have felt — from many places, epidermically — that something was not right. And if these arrests revealed a will to terrorize, it does not come from those who were indicted. There was a strange resonance everywhere that one evoked the affair that concerns us here.

And we feel that this support exists — not only in the number of signatories to a petition — but also in the amused eyes of the passersby who [think they] see an altercation between the police and a group of young people (thereby secretly desiring that the latter have the upper hand); in the mischevious eyes of the one who, at the office, consults an anti-social pamphlet that is hidden in a manager’s manual; in the discreet gesture of the administrator who conceals the texts that would justify his or her expulsion from the country; in the determination of those who sequester their bosses, who practice the requisitioning of goods; and in the tension that systematically shows itself at every public demonstration. The “Tarnac Affair” is a prism in which one can read the era and the struggles that traverse it. One considers the more discreet arrests that have followed with less indifference. One sees more clearly what ends the anti-terrorist laws serve. And what ends databases [le fichage] serve, and what it costs to want to be removed from them and what it costs to accept being subjected to them. What was diffused in the air was crystallized there in such a way that it has become very difficult to not takes sides.

One better grasps a government’s need to invent the figure of an interior enemy during such an explosive era. And one divines by filigree the unavowed nightmare of a system that has lost its footing: one in which the citizens of yesterday stop playing the game, defy the established order and organize themselves accordingly. There are, finally, legends in which we have ceased to believe along the way. From now on, how can one not feel oneself close to the rebels who have taken seriously the necessity of organizing themselves collectively? In this era in which what is best distributed is bitterness and the feeling of missing out on life, how can one not feel a complicity with those who have sought to extricate themselves from the ambient sadness and to struggle against its causes?

How not to perceive in their defiance the echo of that which we all feel? Without the arrests of 11 November [2008], The Coming Insurrection perhaps would never have been read — in any case, not collectively and no doubt not in a perspective that is so obviously practical — as if all the discussions, actions and meetings had perhaps never taken place.

We feel the force and the joy that there is in sharing our doubts and anger, and we see forming the “gangs” that your recent laws have not managed to dissolve. We see how the arrests — made for more or less useless reasons — reveal the panicked reflex of a perturbed power. They no longer dissuade anyone. Other people are still in prison for reasons similar to those of the Tarnac defendants. Some have been returned to prison for not scrupulously respecting the prohibition to not see each other. The legal surveillance, the forced dispersion of all the friends who have organized themselves, increases. Your prisons and all those that you can construct will never suffice to lock up all those who leave your norms behind. And wherever we are, solidarity is woven. In this period of crisis and trouble, we are only one voice in the chorus of those who no longer accommodate themselves to piecemeal reforms [rabibochages]. In all sections of the territory, in all segments of the people, adhesion to the system is in tatters. Disaffiliation becomes a practical route everywhere. And so much the better.

In what you wanted to inflict on the “Tarnac 9,” nothing consoles us as much as ascertaining that, for you, more threats arise (and from all sides) than those threats that you have believed you have conjured away. It is no longer due to incomprehension that we feel that we must retrace the thread of this affair. But understanding the logic at work doesn’t appease us. It only makes us angrier. The indictments must be lifted, just as the anti-terrorist, anti-gang, anti-mask and anti-assembly arsenal that aims at breaking all effective solidarity must be defeated. During the entire month of May, in each town in which they exist, the support committees will multiply their initiatives. On 8 May, public meetings will be held so that the question of knowing how to react to the situation that is made for us can be posed everywhere. There aren’t nine people to save, but an order to bring down.

(Translated from the French by NOT BORED! 13 May 2009.)


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