We Are All Iron Bars

Statement of the Limoges Support Committee Concerning 11 May 2009

“We are all iron bars,” announces the banner in front. Because this is what is at issue.[1] And this insupportable slogan: the everyday routine [le train train] must not be derailed. Move along, there’s nothing to see here! As if! There are things to see. First of all, there are the nine people who, since this past 11 November [2008], have been subjected to a State that is surpassed, powerless and incapable. Repression in perspective, its indictments resemble a farce, a bad farce, a tragic farce.

So what? At the moment that soldiers fill the train stations and cops intervene at schools, can we regard with indifference the militarization of public space? Can we let this government use anti-terrorist provisions to muzzle activists with impunity? Can we let ourselves be ridiculed by their loud and populist speeches? Can we hear the disappointment of the foreigners whom they ceaselessly arrest, lock up and deport from its borders?

In this world turned upside-down, in which the rich are given what is taken from the poor, will we suspend the order of things if, somewhere, we help someone who is without proper identification papers? [Yes,] by becoming the iron bars that sabotage the vile ambiance that reigns, the grain of sand that jams the machine, the bug[2] that renders so many things possible. And also by noisily manifesting our disgust with this squalid power. This is what is at issue. When we want to create more acceptable ways of living, they become afraid and overwhelm us. And, indeed, it is youth — not as [biological] generation, but as spirit [elan], as dynamic — that they lock up. Move along, there’s nothing to see here!

Thus, it is a question of sabotaging the everyday routine. And so Monday’s march took on the aspects of an enthusiastic and joyful carnival that has not forgotten its tradition of contestation. A carnival held to vomit [out] those who govern us, scorn us, kill us. A masked carnival. Because nothing justifies the idea that the cowl is only reserved for the agents of the SDAT[3] and the disciplinarians of the ERIS[4] whose task is to beat up prisoners. A noisy carnival, because the anger displayed, the rage that inhabits us, is hardly satisfied with muffled indignation at the growing number of injustices. And so enthusiastic and joyful that we exhausted ourselves singing out our solidarity! And one must see the smiling faces that know that here is a weapon much more powerful and livable than the “Every man for himself” of this degenerated world. This past Monday evening, under the storm of a world that stinks of the billy club and poverty, it was a parade that faced the prison. The final gesture of defiance by a libidinal power — faced with several messengers from the CRS[5] and in the great revolutionary tradition — was to set off fireworks in front of the prison. This was a working-class [populaire] pyrotechnical display to recall our support for Julien [Coupat] and all prisoners. Because this festival was also theirs, and also because — wall by wall, stone by stone — it will be necessary to destroy all the prisons.

No truce, no rest! By refusing to interrupt the instruction in progress, by maintaining Julien’s detention, the judges persist in obeying only the phantasms born from sick and putrid minds. This anti-terrorist and pro-security delirium must end. Immediately.

(Written by the Support Committee of Limoges, “in response to several odious commentaries in the local media” concerning the demonstrations of Monday, 11 May 2009. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! 20 May 2009.)

[1] The iron bars that were allegedly used to sabotage the high-speed trains in France.
[2] English in original.
[3] The Anti-Terrorist Under-Directorate.
[4] The Regional Intervention and Security Teams set up by the Minister of the Interior, Dominique Perben, in February 2003.
[5] The French riot police.


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