… back in 2000, along with Anti-Fa Forum and Antifa Info-Bulletin, Arm The Spirit translated / published a pamphlet about the Francs-Tireurs Partisans, a group in France that carried out a series of armed action, mainly against the National Front, in the 1990s … two activists, Yves and William, were arrested for these actions … what follows is the text of the pamphlet along with some other material we translated about the FTP …
ANTI-FASCIST RESISTANCE IN FRANCE:
THE ‘FRANCS-TIREURS PARTISANS
from Antifa Info-Bulletin, December 5, 1999
The “Francs-Tireurs Partisans”, who carried out active resistance, have claimed eleven actions between 1991 and 1998
“I am not interested in changing the rules of the game. I want to change the game itself.”
It is a phrase borrowed from André Breton, one that they liked to use in their communiqués. Arrested and facing charges, the Franc-Tireurs et Partisans — who since 1991 had claimed eleven actions against the National Front in Marseilles — have failed to change either the game or its rules.
It was Wednesday October 13th 1999, at seven in the morning, that inspectors from the SRPJ (a branch of the police) raided the homes of Yves, a forty year old nurse, and William, a 38 year old radio journalist/technician. These raids followed a long investigation: from what we know, the Marseilles criminal activities squad has been onto Yves for some time, thanks in large part to the Renseignement Generaux (trans: General Intelligence, France’s domestic intelligence agency, something like the FBI) which had been watching him since the beginning of the year. According to one of our sources, the police was waiting for a hypothetical attack in order to catch him in the act. But this attack never came, so the police just waited. For months. Until the arrests on October 13th.
In custody, the self-described “active member of the resistance” stayed true to the communiqués issued by the FTP, and to his political activities over the past twenty years. To the investigators Yves affirmed that he had acted as a result of “anti-fascist ideology”, this same ideology that had led him to explain, in various texts issued by the FTP, that “historically fascism has never been beaten in the voting booths. On the contrary, the fascists have often taken power thanks to elections.” He justified his acts in these words: “[the fascists] won’t come back cynically in front of the doors of the republican institutions that they hate.”
From his first statements Yves has insisted that he and he alone was responsible for the eleven actions in Marseilles.
Some of the eleven actions are:
* July 14th 1991: molotov cocktails used against the offices of the NF in
* April 3rd 1995: an unsuccessful attack on the house of the NF’s
departmental secretary — in response to the assassination of Ibrahim Ali
by the fascists — according to the FTP’s communiqué
* October 24th 1998: against the offices of an NF city councillor out of
which the association DGL worked — this association was named after
D’Ambroglio, Giglio and Lagier, the three NF posterers who were convicted
of murdering Ibrahim Ali
* October 28th 1998: against the Stadium in the town of Vitrolles (which is
in the hands of Bruno Megret who recently split from the NF to form the
Mouvement National Republicain) where a Rock Identitaire Français (another
name for nazi rock) music festival was to be held
According to the police none of the molotov cocktails or homemade bombs
used in these attacks were designed to kill.
Based on an article by David Dufresne, from Libération, Saturday Oct. 16
and Sunday Oct. 17 1999 (all parenthetic notes from AFF translator).
TWO FTP ACTIVISTS ARRESTED IN MARSEILLES
from Antifa Info-Bulletin No. 228, December 12, 1999
Two anti-fascist activists from Marseilles were arrested last October 15th, and charged with a number of attacks that have been carried out over the past few years. They were members of an anti-fascist group, the FTP (Franc Tireurs Partisans – roughly translated: Partisan Snipers), which since 1991 carried out an autonomous battle against the National Front and its allies:
* July 14th 1991: molotov cocktails are thrown against the Marseilles office of the NF.
* October 24th 1992: La Truffe Noire restaurant is blown up the night before a meeting of the NF youth section was to be held there.
* June 6th 1994: the NF’s Marseilles headquarters are blown up.
* December 16th 1994: explosives are detonated at the Italian consulate on the day that S. Berlusconi was visiting Aix-en-Provence. This was to protest against the forming of a coalition government that included neo-fascists from Italy’s National Alliance.
* April 3rd 1995: explosives are detonated at the house of Maurice Gros, the NF’s departmental secretary. This attack followed the assassination of Ibrahim Ali in February 1995.
* February 21st 1996: The NF’s offices in North Marseilles are blown up. It was from these offices that the NF activists had left one year earlier, just prior to killing Ibrahim Ali.
* March 11th 1997: A grenade is thrown at one of the NF’s Marseilles offices.
* February 21st 1998: an NF office in Bonneville is blown up.
* June 9th 1998: on the day before the opening of Ibrahim Ali’s killers’ trial, the new office that was opened to replace the one blown up on March 11th 1997 is again blown up.
* October 28th 1998: the electric generator at the Vitrolles Stadium is blown up. This was done in order to prevent a racist rock concert scheduled to take place the next day. The concert had been organized by the local city hall which is controlled by the NF.
To this list we should add the explosive attack against the DDTE of May 1st 1994, in support of workers in local enterprises and claimed by “des chomeurs en petards”. The FTP always claimed to be acting as radical anti-fascists, clearly situating themselves in an anti-capitalist and internationalist perspective. While they rejected the moralistic and
electoralist anti-fascism of groups like SOS-Racism, they did not consider themselves to be leading by example or telling people what to do. They considered their way of fighting to be one of many, not necessarily the most efficient or the most legitimate.
They were operating in a specific geographical contect, that of the PACA region. A longtime left-wing stronghold, this area’s political trajectory can be traced back thirty years to a tradition of political-criminal corruption which discredited the local parliamentary right, especially the Party led by Francois Leotard. Eventually the corruption discredited the entire political establishment.
Then two different communities arrived from Algeria, one of which (the white settlers who emigrated to France following decolonization – AFF translator) brought their anger and fantasies of revenge with them in their suitcases. This allowed the region’s old but never-quite-extinguished xenophobia to break forth once again (the region had been the site of anti-Italian campaigns earlier this century). Add to this the social crisis which was hitting this traditionally agricultural region, and you get a fertile terrain for the populist and racist right-wing incarnated by the National Front since the late 1980s.
The area has witnessed a barely concealed cooperation between the fascists and the police, the control of four municipal governments by the NF and the continuing trivialization of racist violence. Without going into all of the details it is worth mentioning the case of Ibrahim Ali, killed in 1995 by NF activists who were shamelessly defended by the Front; the violence and abuse of power by the NF city government at Vitrolles (“national preference” payments, attacks on strikers, etc.); and the police attack on the March 1998 anti-NF demonstration in Marseilles. The FTP attacked the material structures established by the NF while avoiding physical attacks against people.
For the moment, the members of the FTP do not need to be glorified or even applauded. Those who would be tempted to do so should be prepared to walk their talk. They do however need material support because this is vital to surviving in prison. Over the next few weeks more information will be made available, specifically about the conditions in which they are being held, the charges they are facing, their political position as well as the establishment of support committees.
Translated by Eric Cartman, Anti-Fascist Forum.
ANTI-FASCIST RESISTANCE IN FRANCE:
FRANCS-TIREURS PARTISANS (PARTISAN SNIPERS)
from Antifa Info-Bulletin, Special Edition, December 23, 1999
1. Introduction: Anti-Fascist Forum.
2. Introduction: ‘No Pasaran!’ December 1999.
3. ‘Friend Can You Hear…’ February 1996 FTP Communique.
4. November 1998 FTP Communique.
5. Appendix: The Partisan Snipers Take the Field.
1. INTRODUCTION FROM AFF
Franc-Tireurs Partisans (Partisan Snipers)
Drawing their inspiration from the French Resistance during World War II, between 1991 and 1998 individuals in the south of France carried out a series of attacks against the racist National Front. The attacks, generally carried out with explosives or molotov cocktails, targeted property, not people, even when the fascists were openly defending their right to murder “foreigners” who got in their way. On October 13th two individuals, William and Yves, were arrested by the police, who had been keeping them under watch for a full year. Yves has claimed that he alone carried out the FTP’s eleven actions.
In the spirit of anti-fascist solidarity we have translated two texts written by the Partisan Snipers’ prior to the arrests. We will attempt to translate and make available through AFIB news of all further developments in this case.
More information will follow in the weeks and months that come. For the time being, the main web site in solidarity with the FTP is http://altern.org/solidariteftp . Solidarité FTP can be contacted at email@example.com
A “Committee for the Liberation of William and Yves” has been set up in Marseilles, and is distributing a petition on the internet calling for the freedom of these comrades. People should be aware that the names on this petition will be made public, as it is to be published in the newspaper in Marseilles. The petition is available at the Solidarité FTP website, or by writing to :
passage Léo Ferré,
Those who can donate money to help this campaign can deposit it directly
into this bank account:
C.C.P. PARIS 198 393 1C
– Eric Cartman for AFF
2. FRANCS-TIREURS PARTISANS (Partisan Snipers)
Introduction from No Pasaran!
The Partisan Snipers, who were arrested in Marseilles in mid-October, had given their analysis and explained their actions in two texts. So that everyone can make up their own mind on this matter, we are publishing the second of these texts, which was written in late 1998. Today the extreme right seems to be falling to bits and no longer makes the headlines (though judging from the polls, this present weakness does not mean that it is disappearing). So it is understandable to question the value of this kind of action, especially if one forgets what the nineties were like in the Provence Alps-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region. The last action was carried out in October 1998, which may be a sign that the FTP had taken into account the changes in the political landscape. A police officer told the Libération newspaper that the State had been on to them for over a year… if they had not been arrested soon it may have been too late…
Megret’s fascists (Bruno Megret, who led the split from Le Pen in the National Front in late 1998 – translator), who had shamelessly defended Ibrahim Ali’s murderers, must have been overjoyed at the arrest of these terrorists. Anti-fascists, regardless of what we may or may not think about the FTP’s actions, should know how to respond to the fascist slander and should defend those who are now paying with their very freedom for their commitment to rid the world of the brown plague!
3. FRIEND, CAN YOU HEAR… (ami entends-tu)
February 1996 Communique: Franc-Tireurs Partisans (Partisan Snipers)
In her 1987 book “Au Front”, Anne Tristan quotes the following observations of a National Front activist from North Marseilles: “Look at what happens if you kill an Arab: when Le Pen has 0.5% of the vote you are in for it, everyone calls you a racist. At just 15% of the vote you can already see how people yell less. So we must continue, and you will see that at 30% people won’t yell at all.” The murders in Marseilles, Paris, and Le Havre, and the recent results of the presidential and municipal elections, have all confirmed this analysis.
The different responses that have been mounted to the NF and its programme of Moral Order, Nationalism, Racism (and so on….), have quickly showed their limits. And that is when they have not simply been recuperated by the State itself, as in the case with SOS Racism’s political maneuvers. They are a part of the Democratic/Spectacular framework; today anti-racist organizations are at the point of asking the State to pass a law to “ban
Acknowledging this impasse, we have organized to fight back in the framework of armed resistance.
First of all, we want to be crystal clear: this text is not an attempt to turn our means of struggle into an example to follow. We are also engaged in other battles: the fight for housing, against the Pasqua laws, etc. So our acts are not the only real or total forms of opposition. Their worth is determined by their contents and results, they are born of current events and circumstances. Some have been claimed, others not.
We know why people will object to our actions: they are spectacular, “terrorist”, will be recuperated, and will allow the State to violate its own laws, to reinforce its power, to heighten repression. But History has shown that the State doesn’t need us for an excuse to carry out its daily violence through its wretched laws.
Finally, we do not want people to look at us as an organization of specialists, with a hierarchy, spokespeople and emblems. We are finished with “Professional Revolutionaries”.
This text is meant to explain our acts. It is also meant to open the lines of communication and debate with those individuals, groups, movements and publications that struggle against fascism every day. In it we mean to share our analyses, our experiences, our practices, our successes and our failures.
We are not trying to lay down the umpteenth theory explaining the fascist resurgence. Yet it is clear to us that an anti-fascism that limits its aims to making the National Front disappear would be a mistake and a failure unless it can also attack the conditions that have created the Front.
The National Front did not just appear out of the blue. Its roots can be found in the misery and disorientation produced by capitalist globalization — under its new moniker Liberalism — and the repeated restructuring of the productive structures.
In France this restructuring began under Giscard d’Estaing (French president from 1974-1981, head of the right-wing RPR/UDF – translator) with the end of the “Welfare State” and the introduction of liberal management practices. Employees faced job insecurity, no longer enjoying the social protections they had “won” since 1945. Then it was the labour legislation that the system touted as an example of contractual politics, which was rapidly rendered obsolete as entire regions were sacrificed. And then, in order to avoid the risks of social explosions and to ease the passage to Ultra-Liberalism, Capitalism played its Social-Democratic card. During the Reign of Mitterand (French president from 1981-1995, head of Socialist Party – translator) we saw the Socialists exalting in the Laws of the Market, with that ideal businessman, the self-made man, that scumbag Tapie (a populist politician who liked to pose as an ardent enemy of the National Front, and who left politics following a prison term brought about by his financial misdealings – translator). Under the Socialist Party the State introduced a two-tier society, all the while crying its crocodile tears over the system’s abuses (dirty money) and using a humanist discourse to console those who modernization had rejected. This further enabled the right-wing to recuperate everyone’s complaints by its own national populist themes, all the more so seeing as those of the Stalinist left had failed. It didn’t take Mitterand very long to realize how much could be gained by the growth of the National Front: the right would be divided and the electorate would rally to the left. It was the shift from the Strong Franc policy to that of the Strong Front!
Pierre Beregovoy admitted as much, in terms whose cynicism was surpassed by their genius: “We have every interest in boosting the National Front, for it makes the right ineligible. The stronger it becomes the more invincible we become; it is the historic opportunity for Socialists”.
Cynicism and hypocrisy on one side, racism and xenophobia on the other: these mirror-image ideologies are the two jaws of the same trap.
Capitalism can no longer invoke the Communist menace which crumbled in 1989, and which was always just a variety of state capitalism. It needs a new opponent, one that is just as false: an equally capitalist protectionism which plays on people’s fears and hatreds, their repressive tendencies and dreams of exclusion. It was the Maastricht vote in France
that revealed how the real debate was being overshadowed: the solidarity of the exploited, or the cynical preservation of the Western world’s privileged. This false dichotomy between Capitalism and Nationalism is preparing us for a more and more totalitarian society. The technocratic elites will dictate their laws to the rest of humanity. A large part of humanity, including those within the industrialized countries, will survive in misery, that is to say they will be excluded and kept marginalized by force of arms. The Market will leave the authoritarian management in the hands of the State.
This is why we are attacking the National Front in the first place, because it is the instrument being used to manage this crisis in the south of France. In Toulon, Marignon and Orange it is the National Front that is in charge, and in other cities it supports or subverts different government policies.
Faced with this predictable situation we have given ourselves the means to fight.
This resistance should include cultural, social and economic dimensions, but it should also be political. It should advance a political project.
There is much to be done to build an autonomous social movement that will be able to bring about a profound break with the set of Market values. We hope that with this contribution we can provoke discussion to build such a movement incorporating different people’s practices.
“A certain dose of tenderness is necessary in order to walk when there is so much against you in order to awaken when you’re so exhausted. A certain dose of tenderness is necessary in order to see, in this darkness, a small ray of light in order to make order from shame and obligations. A certain dose of tenderness is necessary in order to get rid of all of the sons of bitches that exist. But sometimes a certain dose of tenderness is not enough and it’s necessary to add…a certain dose of bullets.”
This text was borrowed from the EZLN (the Zapatista Mexican Indians from Chiapas), and we find it particularly close to how we see our struggle.
Against all ‘nationalisms’ and fundamentalisms’
Solidarity with those who struggle here or elsewhere
4. NOVEMBER 1998 COMMUNIQUE FROM THE `FRANCS TIREURS PARTISANS’
“I do not want to change the rules of the game. I want to change the game
itself.” – André Breton
Two years ago, following a series of actions, we thought we should explain what we were doing and why we were doing it (see the text from February 1996). Unfortunately, since that time our analysis of the situation has been confirmed by a series of events such as Megret taking control of the Vitrolles mayor’s office. These past years have seen resistance melt, through a process of trivialization of the National Front’s programme, by
its presense on the streets and in the media. That which was feared ten years ago is now coming to pass, and every day the NF’s strategy is being implemented more and more. Many do not want to see this and see every fascist advance as an abomination that has come out of thin air. Nevertheless the spiders web is being sewn and the actors are slowly taking their places in a drama that we have seen before.
The conditions are there for everything to be shaken up:
* Europe, elaborated without citizens, is being rejected. The proposed model is ultraliberal and anti-democratic, with an omnipotent central bank beyond the population’s control. Its the return to a seventeenth century ideology that was already put into practice in the nineteenth century. It is like holy bread for the nationalists.
* The future is viewed with uncertainty and turning inward is encouraged by consumer society.
* There are no more collective projects, a term that capitalism has turned into an insult, a synonym of totalitarianism.
* The political class is saturated with careerism, in some cases with racketeering. To do your business is to be in business.
* Electoral abstentionism reflects this rejection, and the NF is embracing a growing section of the electorate.
There are no objective reasons why this should stop. The last regional elections showed us: the traditional right exploded. This is a very important event for the NF. It is only the beginning of recomposition around a respectable extreme right party. The exploitation of the fascist vote by the Socialists since 1983 is still going on today. Talk of changing the electoral system will not sove the problem. And yet the support won by the NF doesn’t really figure in the politicians’ calculations. A clear example of this was the election of the president of the Conseil Generale des Bouches du Rhone, a man with such a dubious past that he had to quit four months later. Head held high and clean hands (a slogan of the NF –
translator) have sunny skies ahead. The French fascists have always needed a foreign (or allegedly foreign) scapegoat. It once was the Jews, today it is the Arabs. Everyone sees the everyday racism, all around, in one’s neighbourhood, at work, in one’s family.
Even if it isn’t expressed the same way as before the war, it is no less present or ingrained in people’s minds. So everything is in place: a society where social ties are being severed by the thrusts of liberalism; the corruption of the political “elites”; a “republican” right that has lost its reference-points and its electorate; the political game of the powers that be over the past fifteen years; and finally, a latent racism just waiting for an opportunity to express itself in the open. So the fascist danger is not static, it is growing. The camps are almost in place. Nobody can still claim that “I did not know”. Those who belong to and vote for the National Front know what they are doing. Even if one uncovers all of the explanations of why they are on that path. It is a fact, clearly established.
The time to make propaganda showing how fascistic the fascists are has passed. Today they are in a dynamic of taking power nationally after a local phase.
If elections can sometimes prevent a particular fascist from attaining a particular elected position, they cannot change the causes of the FN vote. Candidates do not implement their programme – either because they don’t want to or because they don`t know how. Only the National Front tries to put its programme into practice locally in the municipalities and political bodies where they are active.
The French fascist party maintains a militia and armed members who do not hesitate to shoot and to kill. Laws will not make the NF disappear, it must be banned by citizens’ actions. The courts respond to the symptoms, but never the causes. Historically fascism has never been beaten in the voting booths. On the contrary, the fascists have often taken power thanks to elections. Active resistance is the only option we have left: in our hearts
we still remember those who fought and died fifty years ago to free this country from the fascist abomination. Like them we are acting, by virtue of our roots, with a certain conception of man (sic), where the law of the jungle should not be seen as a model. The anti-fascist resistance of the Partisan Snipers is a historic reference which we hold to be a model of human dignity.
Today our first priority is to use all means to stop the advance of the National Front. The fascists should not be able to march on conquered ground. On top of the legitimate work of all democrats, of the associations, of individuals who struggle against the extreme right, we clearly affirm that we will not let them have their way. They will not come back to cynically parade on the steps of the republican institutions that they hate.
Only a social movement with clear political goals will be able to deal with the causes of the fascist tangent. These goals should be solidarity, the sharing of wealth, sustainable development for the whole planet, a break with the market economy. The final abandonment of liberalism, which turns man (sic) into a slave of the economy, where he (sic) is nothing but a tool. Human history has never solved things thanks to the market, and the market will not guarantee our future.
The Market, controlled by the big multinationals that make up the oligopolies, does not guarantee democracy. It continually breaks the solidarity between people represented by Social Security, the Public Service or the National Education, which everyone’s freedom relies upon. Education, and not fascist drills or “training” for the capitalists. To be educated, to be cultivated, is to be able to completely exercise one’s citizenship. The Market dislikes national education which is not “profitable”. The extreme right hates popular education. It is difficult to manipulate and enslave an educated, open-minded and critical population. Similarly, culture, which is exploited by the businessmen, is reviewed and corrected by the fascists who see it as being subversive to the order they wish to impose. While some profit from and take care of the Market, others are using racism, national preference and ethnic cleansing to build the new order.
Against the extreme right, the battle of ideas is temporarily in retreat. The fascists now occupy the terrain. We can only use what we have to attack capitalism straight on. Only a progressive social dynamic will break the isolation maintained by the liberal consensus. We are acting as citizens to rebuild the ideological and philosophical basis for the liberation of humanity across all borders. Until this emancipation begins, we are fighting fascism in the here and now. The disappearance of the NF is tied to our ability to reverse the tendency towards world liberalism.
Against all nationalisms’ and fundamentalisms’.
Solidarity with those who struggle here or elsewhere.
Translated by Eric Cartman, Anti-Fascist Forum.
5. APPENDIX: The Partisan Snipers Take the Field.
* July 14th 1991: molotov cocktails thrown against the National Front’s Marseilles offices (not claimed)
* October 24th 1992: La Truffe Noire restaurant is blown up the night before a meeting of the NF youth section was to be held there (not claimed)
* May 1st 1994: explosives used to destroy the entrance to the Management of the Department of Work and Employment (DDTE) claimed by “Des chômeurs en pétard” in support of workers’ struggles in local enterprises
* June 6th 1994: explosives detonated at the National Front’s Marseilles office, claimed by “Autonomous Anti-fascist Action Nucleus – Marcel Korsec Fighting Unit” (Korsec was a member of the Resistance who was executed by firing squad on June 5th 1944)
* December 16th 1994: explosives detonated at the Italian Consulate the day that Silvio Berlusconi was in Aix en Provence to attend the Franco-Italian Summit. Claimed by the “International Brigades, Guiseppe Pinelli Section”
* April 3rd 1995: explosives detonated at the house of Maurice Gros, Departmental Secretary of the National Front. Claimed by the “Partisan Snipers, Albéric D’Alessandri Fighting Unit” (D’Alessandri was a member of the Resistance executed by firing squad) in response to the assassination of Ibrahim Ali by the fascists.
* February 24th 1996: The North Marseilles National Front offices are blown up. This is where the killers of Ibrahim Ali had left from one year earlier. Action claimed by “Missak Manouchian Partisan Snipers”
* February 21st 1996: The NF’s offices on Lyon Street are blown up. It was from these offices that the the assassins of Ibrahim Ali had left. Claimed by “Francs Tireurs Partisans, Groupe Missak Manouchian”
* March 11th 1997: a grenade attack against a National Front office on 22 Saint Cecile street, claimed by “Groupe de Partisans Marcel Bonain”
* February 21st 1998: An office on Sablier Avenue in Bonnevine is destroyed by explosives. Claimed by “Francs Tireurs Partisans; Dimitri Cotorovitch Fighting Unit”
* June 9th 1998: The NF offices on 22 Saint Cecile Street are once again destroyed by explosives, the day before the opening of Ibrahim Ali’s killers’ trial. Claimed by “Francs Tireurs Partisans; Jean Robert Fighting Unit”
ANTI-FASCISTS TO GO ON TRIAL IN FRANCE
from Anarchist Black Cross Innsbruck
On Friday, October 15, 1999, two militant anti-fascists in Marseille, France, Yves (40) and William (38), were arrested and charged with several attacks from the past few years. The two are accused of being members of the militant anti-fascist group FTP (‘Francs Tireurs Partisans’) which has been waging an autonomous struggle since 1991 against the FN (‘Front National’) and its members. From 1991 to 1998, the FTP carried out 10 bomb and arson attacks on FN offices and other symbols of the neo-fascist movement. Even police statements admit that the bombings were carried out in such a way as not to kill people, rather only to damage property. Yves has officially admitted to being solely responsible for the attacks. This resulted in William being released on bail in March 2000. Yves, however,
has been in pre-trial custody for over a year.
The FTP have consistently identified with a radical form of anti-fascism, marked by an internationalist and anti-capitalist viewpoint. Although they reject the moralistic and politically institutionalized anti-fascism of groups such as “SOS Racism”, they have not suggested that others should follow their lead. Instead, they view their struggle as one form among many, no more or less efficient or legitimate than other forms of anti- fascist struggle.
Also, they see themselves as limited to a specific, geographical context, namely the region of Provence Alpes Cote D’Azur (PACA). This area is unique in France. Once a long-time bastion of the left, from centrist groups to the far-left, a political shift began about 30 years ago. Mafia influence over politics increased, and open alliances formed between police and fascist forces. Four communities became dominated by the FN. The tragic highpoint of this development was the murder of Ibrahim Ali by FN activists in 1995.
Today, radical anti-fascism is more essential than ever before, not because any real danger exists that the FN and its cohorts could come into power, but rather because its ideas and viewpoints are being implemented by the ruling parties out of fear of losing votes to the FN and its allies. At the same time they hide behind the veneer of “state anti-fascism” and point their fingers at the FN. In reality, however, the ruling parties are fulfilling the political demands of the FN at the same time.
The trial against Yves and William is set to begin on December 19, 2000. In a letter to ABC Innsbruck, Yves himself is expecting to be given a sentence of 4 to 5 years in prison. Solidarity efforts are underway. Financial contributions to help offset legal costs would be appreciated. Also, comrades are planning a nationwide demo in Marseille, with a press conference and solidarity concert to follow in the evening.
(translated by Arm The Spirit)
November 12, 2000
LETTER FROM YVES
Translated by Eric Cartman, Anti-Fascist Forum. All notes in square parentheses [ ] indicate a translator’s note.
Translator’s Note: This letter is an extract from Franc-Tireur Bulletin No. 1, February 2000, published by the Collective for Solidarity with Yves and William (Paris) in cooperation with the Antifa Resistance-Solidarity Collective (SRA). This bulletin is a resource for the various initiatives to win the freedom of Yves and William, two anti-fascist activists who have been imprisoned since October 19th 1999. It can be ordered from the SRA c/o Reflex 21 ter, rue Voltaire, 75011 Paris. Set your own price – send what
you can to help defray the costs.
“In and of itself, my case is not what matters. What is important is the direction of the struggle we have waged. Today its form may have changed, but its essence remains the same. Through its management, the “Left” has blessed market forces as the true leader of society. The backtracking and broken promises are there to prove it: maintenace of the “Pasqua-Debré” laws, keeping the sans-papiers [undocumented immigrants] in a state of
illegality, the [Renault automobile] plant closure at Vilvorde, etc. In its business section The New York Times has just paid hommage to [French Prime Minister] Lionel Jospin for the 35-hour work week legislation, explaining that it increases labour flexibility and thus brings France and Great Britain closer together. Certain members of the Socialist Party want to go even further; J.M. Bockel, for instance, who is the mayor of Mulhouse,
recently declared that “if we could use a universal wage to cut unemployment benefits more quickly, we would certainly encourage people to go back to work…” yet another taboo to get rid of!
Here the difference between ultraliberals and social-democrats boils down to paying employees a few hundred francs more or less every month. Continuing in the same vein, Bockel added that what was needed was “legislation to guarantee essential services without allowing anyone to claim that we are ending the right to strike in the public sector.” In the end he revealed his true thoughts: “if we could say that the Socialist Party was also, but not only, the party of Law and Order, then we would be in a better position to speak of other things…”
So we can see a fractured society, with one part of the population living without work, surviving on the minimal benefits provided by the system. Another section is forced to submit to irregular work hours in order to get their hands on paltry wages, and benefits from a shrinking social safety net. Finally, a third section would have jobs which pay well and would be able to buy themselves added security, in exchange for hellish hours. This
structure goes along with the changes taking place in the social security system. The CMU for the poor, the actual system maintained in a state of insecurity for the less poor and RRSPs for the richer employees.
Finally, the State has no mandate left except to provide security for the companies. Because the neo-liberal project does not intend to make the State disappear. It simply wants the State to be weak in the economic and social arena but tough in police and penal matters. The danger comes from the fact that these repressive policies are not presented to us as being part of the neo-liberal agenda, but rather as a way to reaffirm the
strength of the State. Because the more the system excludes – a million people on welfare, six million surviving on 60 francs a day – the more it must police. As the MIB activists reminded us during the municipal congress at Vaux-en-Velin last December, thirty years of urban policies have changed nothing. All we are seeing is the establishment of a containment policy for so-called sensitive neighbourhoods as part of a strategy of “republican reconquest”, with social, economic and finally penal incarceration at the end of the line.
The prisons are overflowing with this impoverished population, living in conditions that we are just beginning to find out about: overcrowding (four people in ten square meters), sickness (tuberculosis, hepatitis, AIDS), rats for some, stool pigeons for everyone, violence on every level, be it from guards or other inmates. As its only answer to this, the Justice Minister has announced the construction of six new prisons. It is because
all of this exists and is going on every day, in France and around the world, that we must continue and develop the struggle. I hope to have been able to make my contribution, even from inside this prison cell.
Red and black greetings,
Y V E S”