Biography of Action Directe prisoners : an example of the counter-guerilla's capacity
to rescue a threatening time for imperialism
Action Directe is a guerilla movement that evolved from 1979 to 1987 in France and that is situated around the time of reorganization of imperialist structures in the world. This "active " period for imper- ialism launched by the US through the war in Vietnam was marked by the rise of revolutionary violence in the West as well as in the Third World to face the offensives of capital. Indeed, the deployment of military forces by imperialist powers in numerous southern states like in Colombia, Tchad or Tunisia had aroused the emergence of independentist/ revolutionary movements there. Started in the late 60's, this momentum of radical opposition to imperialist oppression gave birth to political-military organizations within dominating countries. The basic goal of these various guerilla groups, as particular as they could be, remained to integrate themselves into a global policy of resistance to imperialism whose elementary components were based on anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism and anti-revisionism. This link with South- ern countries' struggles started to exist when guerilla organizations such as the Rote Armee Fraction (RAF), the Cellules Communist Combattantes (CCC), the Angry Brigades, the Red Brigades (RB), Action Directe (AD), the Revolutionar Zellen (RZ), the Black Panthers or Anti-State Struggle took the initiative to develop revolutionary violence in the perspective of liberation of the international proletariat. Most of these groups -that for many never became a movement- considered themselves as vanguard parties of revolution aiming to lead (working) masses against structures of domination. Through the development of guerilla and its persecution, their target was to unveil the reality of imperialism, the New Fascism, and launch "popular violence".
"For us, connecting the strategic line of the anti-imperialist Front with the capitalist domination in Western Europe and the mutations of its power relations, meant to establish -while actualising it- the unity of the revolutionary class struggle with internationalism, as a living politics". Joelle Aubron, AD.
And it's into this perspective of unity of the international proletarian class -still more or less existing at
that time- that Action Directe launched its first campaign of armed propaganda in Autumn 1979. After booby-trapping the head office of French "employers" with artisanal bombs on May 1st, AD attacked infrastructures where the most important decisions of state policies are elaborated, decided and applica- ted. It determines its target according to the most decisive axes of these policies in the phase and thus tries to intervene the most directly possible into their development at the same time as it makes a link with oppressed people. For example, AD attacked organisms managing the exploitation of immigrant workers, the living conditions imposed on them and against which they struggle.
After a first arrest in September 1980 of two of the four militants actively operating in AD, the organi-zation takes the initiative again and targets as a common assault with other Western-European guerilla organizations : strucutres of the NATO, arm factories -Renault-, nervous centers of the economical and military power, assassinaiton of Rene Audran -president of International Affairs for the Department of Defence and responsible for the selling of French weapons in foreign countries. In the end of November 1986, the "Pierre Overney" commando puts an end to the career of Georges Besse, president of Renault industry. Two months later in February 1987, the four militants are arrested all together. From this arrest and the manhunt that led it to it, the French government is gonna make a demonstration of its capacities to wipe out revolutionaries. Going through a threatening time for imperialism as it's hit by numerous gue- rillas and has to face students and workers movements, the presence of a vanguard party on the territory cannot be suffered longer. But far over stopping the political-military activity of AD, french repressive forces have set themselves fiercely against its militants because they carry with themselves the experien- ce of revolutionary struggle and that in spite of all the means used against them to silence their existance, they haven't stopped claiming their status of class war prisoners. To express their determination to exist as communist militants and as free-thinking human beings and their will to resist the process of isolation-destruction, we propose you to read a declaration by Joelle Aubron, militant of AD, in July 1996 :
"We, militants of Action Directe, are incarcerated since February 1987. Since our arrest, all 4 together,
the french government has made of us the symbol of anti-guerilla repression on its territory. Concentra- ting on us its propaganda and counter-revolutionary methods, it submitted us to the most strict isolation, recognizing, for example, a division of the women's house of arrest at Fleuris-Merogis prison. The first trials had to set the stage for the spectacle of supreme power of the bourgeois justice. It was for them the achievement in the sense that certain features , for which other comrades were incarcerated for many years, were closed in the euphoria of our "participation" in this set up.
The first of December 1987, we started our first hunger strike against isolation and for our proper ga- thering. It was going to continue till the 15th of April 1988. During this lapse of time, 5 trials took place where two of us appeared after more than 2 months hungerstriking. Feeling sick,half-operative conscious- ness, blood perfusions in the back stage,...nothing could do anything about it, the show of the Special Sections (1) had to go on.
A representative trial was the force demonstration exposed on the trial in January 1989 regarding the action of the "Pierre Overney" commando against Georges Besse (...). That was our first sentence to per- petuity with 18 years of "safety" delay-time, a crowning achievement in the strategy of annihilation of the left revolutionary struggle.
When ending our first hungerstrike, we had not advanced much with our claims. The little ameliora- tion we had gained in our isolation treatment wouldn't stay for long. Two months later, we were again all four submitted to the white torture of isolation. However in April 1989, we started again the struggle for the abolition of isolation and political gathering. In July 1989 came officially the end to our special det-ention in the isolation quarters, we were partially reunited, in the sense of an engagement to settle talking rooms so that we could talk to each other (a promise that was never held).
Obviously we couldn't expect such an application in practice and right from the autumn, we were confrontated again with partial isolation in quarters specifically concieved for us. Certainly the acquisi- tion of being grouped together per sex -two women, two men- was not altered in those quarters. But the strategy of destruction of the revolutionary antagonism on this territory that the power wanted to express through all four of us was not altered either.
In January 1991, we started a new hungerstrike movement. If this time our demands were again ag- ainst isolation treatment and for gathering, we tried on parallel to build a Front of resistance against class justice and prison. So during more than two years, till April 1993, we relayed, holding each one on turn, hungerstrikes of one week. In May 1994, were sentenced for the second time to perpetuity. Before the trial even took place, it was clear that a world-wide cyclus of revolutionary struggle had ended. On this territory whatever might be its mistakes, AD has been without a doubt the most advanced expression of this cyclus.This explains the extreme symbolisation around us.
The future will tell us what has been our contribution to the long march of the proletarian class, the only really revolutionay class, towards its political autonomy. Like many in history and in our genera- tion, we have made choices that engaged our lives entirely. We do not have any regrets about that. Our individual roads are intertwined with a moment of important experiences for the class movement on this continent in a perspective of growing interconnection of the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggles (...)".
(1)The special characteristics of these procedures consist in 2 phases. First, whatever might be the place where actions have been committed, the features for the trial are prepared by judges working with a spe- cial section of the Court of Paris, the XIVth section specialized in State safety affairs. Secondly, the jury of the Court d' Assises (highest court in France) is composed of "professional judges"; it is thus not a "po- pular" jury but magistrates (public officers) selected by the power who judge according to their "intimate conviction".
On last November 27th, about a hundred of people gathered to coordinate a support campaign for the AD prisoners incarcerated for 13 years. The collective "Ne laissons pas faire!" which took the initiative of this campaign demanded basically the immediate release of Georges Cipriani. His condition is as well denounced by the penitentiary administration. Indeed, he suffers from heavy psychological and physical troubles following 13 years of total and partial isolation and who cannot get the care he definitely needs not to worsen his condition (he cannot recognize his parents any more and cannot have any kind of correspondance). Furthermore, this campaign already reached a goal : Nathalie Menigon and Joelle Aubron were transfered from the MAF Fleuris-Merogis normally existing for short sentences to the detention center of Bapaume. They had to wait incredibly 13 years to integrate some more normal conditions of detention but the way remains very long to put an end to the persecutions they and the rest of the militants of AD suffer daily. Their support collective also plans an action at the chancellerie to require again the immediate release of Georges Cipriani for who it declares being scared for his life.
You can pressure the french Minister of Justice to urge this procedure and require without condition the transfer of all the militants of AD to a normal detention : Elizabeth Guigou, minister of Justice, 13 place Vendome, 75 001 Paris, France.
You can also write to the militants of AD but Georges Cipriani. Don't forget that your mail can be stopped:
-Jean-Marc Rouillan : #969 B 204, BP 166, rue des Saligues, 65300 Lannemezan, France.
-Regis Schleicher : #7367, BP 41, 03402 Yzeure cedex, France.
-Joelle Aubron and Nathalie Menigon : #2174K N108, C.D. Bapaume, Chemin des Anzacs, 62451 Bapaume cedex, France.
A call for the release of Georges Cipriani is circulating. You can contact the ABC-Utrecht to recieve the formalities of this call and add your signature to the petitions that will be delivered to the Chancellerie when the protest will take place.
We enjoy our return in Utrecht to tell you that Pascale Vandegeerde, militant of the Cellules Communi- stes Combattantes and longest female prisoner of Belgium, was released on February 4th 2000 after more than 14 years of exceptional detention. The 2 other members of the organization, Bertrand Sassoye and Pierre Carette, are still detained and become now the 2 longest prisoners of the country. The penitentiary administration as well as the commission for probation release (that they officially can obtain since 1995) are not planning to anything about their case and aim even more at maintaining their persecution in detention because they funded the CCC and keep claiming their political identity.The release of one is far from being the release of the organization !!!
Regarding the polish anti-fascists, the benefit gig from last February 6th was not successful. For one of them, he cannot think of the eventuality to be released before 2012 as long as he won't have collected the
necessary money to set up a new trial !! So we call again for donations and for the support of numerous anti-fascists !!! By the way, the address of the prisoners was badly printed in the bulletin #1 and thus in
the Springstof #934 so we write it over : Jaroslaw "Scruba" Irykowski, Andrzej "Siekan" Siekanowicz,
Andrzej Porucznik- c/o Areszt Sledczy, ul. Swiebodka, Wroclaw, Poland.
om de dwee weeken http://www.antenna.nl/springstof/abc.html