petition: Free the Tarnac 9

The following petition was published under the title “No to the New Order” in the November 27th edition of Le Monde.

A recent operation by the French police, intensively covered by the media, ended in the arrest and indictment of nine people under anti-terrorist laws. The nature of this operation has already undergone a change: after the revelation of inconsistency in the accusation of sabotaging French railway lines, the affair took a manifestly political turn. According to the public prosecutor: “the goal of their activity is to attack the institutions of the state, and to upset by violence – I emphasize violence, and not contestation which is permitted – the political, economic and social order.”

The target of this operation is larger than the group of people who have been charged, against which there exists no material evidence, nor anything precise which they can be accused of. The charge of “criminal association for the purposes of terrorist activity” is exceptionally vague: what exactly is an association, and how are we to understand the reference to “purposes” other than as a criminalization of intention? As for the qualification “terrorist”, the definition in force is so broad that it could apply to practically anything – and to possess such and such a text or to go to such and such demonstration is enough to fall under this exceptional legislation.

The individuals who have been charged were not chosen at random, but because they lead a political existence. They have participated in demonstrations, most recently against the less than honorable European summit on immigration in Vichy. They think, they read books, they live together in a remote village. There has been talk of clandestinity: they have opened a grocery store, everyone knows them in the region, where a support committee has been organized against their arrest. What they are looking for is neither anonymity nor refuge, but rather the contrary: another relation than the anonymous one of the metropolis. In the end, the absence of evidence itself becomes evidence against them: the refusal of those who have been charged to give evidence against one another during their detention is presented as a new indication of their terrorism

In reality, this whole affair is a test for us. To what degree are we going to accept that anti-terrorism permits anyone to be arrested at any time? Where are we to place the limit of freedom of expression? Are emergency laws adopted under the pretext of terrorism and security compatible with democracy in the long term? Are we ready to let the police and the courts negotiate this turn to a new order? It is for us to respond to these questions, and first by demanding the end of these investigations and the immediate release of these nine people whose indictment is meant as an example for us all.

Giorgio Agamben, philosopher ;
Alain Badiou, philosopher ;
Jean-Christophe Bailly, writer ;
Anne-Sophie Barthez, professor of law ;
Miguel Benasayag, writer ;
Daniel Bensaïd, philosopher ;
Luc Boltanski, sociologist ;
Judith Butler, philosopher ;
Pascale Casanova, literary critic ;
François Cusset, philosopher ;
Christine Delphy, sociologist ;
Isabelle Garo, philosopher ;
François Gèze, La Découverte publishers ;
Jean-Marie Gleize, professor of literature ;
Eric Hazan, La Fabrique publishers ;
Rémy Hernu, professor of law ;
Hugues Jallon, La Découverte publishers ;
Stathis Kouvelakis, philosopher ;
Nicolas Klotz, film director ;
Frédéric Lordon, economist ;
Jean-Luc Nancy, philosopher ;
Bernard Noël, poet ;
Dominique Noguez, writer ;
Yves Pagès, Verticales publishers ;
Karine Parrot, professor of law ;
Jacques Rancière, philosopher ;
Jean-Jacques Rosat, philosopher ;
Carlo Santulli, professor of law ;
Rémy Toulouse, Les Prairies ordinaires publishers ;
Enzo Traverso, historian ;
Jérôme Vidal, Amsterdam publishers ;
Slavoj Zizek, philosopher.


To add your name to the petition go to this site (in french).

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