Action Directe was an armed organization which was active in France in the 1980s. AD grew out of the French autonomist scene and drew heavy inspiration from both the struggles of the Third World proletariat and the intellectual legacy of the new communist currents of the 1960s and 70s. It carried out a number of spectacular attacks, many of which were in cooperation with Germany's Red Army Faction. On February 21st, 1987, Nathalie Ménigon, Georges Cipriani, Jean-Marc Rouillan and Joëlle Aubron were apprehended by the French State, effectively putting an end to the organization.
Through their actions AD attempted to tie the struggles of the French proletariat to the international struggle against imperialism. They have paid an incredible price – nineteen years behind bars – and yet remain militant and outspoken critics of imperialism and capitalism.
What follows is an Appeal from the prisoners, that has been distributed in French by the Ne Laissons Pas Faire collective [very roughly translated: “Don’t Let Them Do This To Us” Collective]. As this February will mark the beginning of their twentieth year behind bars, they have called on people to demonstrate in front of the prisons where they are being held:
Appeal from Action Directe PrisonersPlease note that i translated the above, and that (as always) my translation style is loose and fast – my priority is keeping the meaning accurate and conveying the feeling of what is being said, not maintaining some kind of word-by-word parity. Just because i translate something does not mean that i agree with it, so i should specify in this case that i wholeheartedly endorse this call for solidarity rallies, and think that it would be great if those of us who do not live in France took this opportunity to demonstrate in front of French consulates and embassies on the 25th.
As we enter our twentieth year of incarceration, we are asking people to gather in solidarity in front of our places of detention on this coming February 25th.
Over the past year the sentencing tribunals rejected our requests for conditional release in the name of that eternal blackmail: if one wants to be free one must repent.
What this means in concrete terms is that we remain imprisoned because we have declared ourselves to be on the side of Revolution; because despite everything we still believe that the anti-imperialist struggle is key; and, finally, because we refuse to condemn the insurrectionary violence of our class and its guerillas around the world, from Palestine to Colombia.
During this second round of mobilizations in February, we call for solidarity with Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, an Arab Communist who has been imprisoned since 1984. Our support should be expressed in front of the Lannemezan Central where he is being held, and also in front of the Bapaume and Ensisheim prisons. We fought the same enemy together and we have experienced the same daily violence within the prison system. Our bond cannot be broken. Through him, we are in solidarity with all of the comrades from the revolutionary anti-imperialist left who refuse to renounce their past commitments and actions. The vengeful State violence that confronts political prisoners is the expression of the reactionary wave that has flooded the entire entire country. On this terrain too we must spread and reinforce resistance.
Solidarity is a weapon! Seguiremos adelante!
Action Directe prisoners: Nathalie Ménigon, Georges Cipriani, Jean-Marc Rouillan, Joëlle Aubron (whose sentence has been suspended)
January 6th, 2006
If anyone makes such plans please let me know and i will post them here.
NLPF, which is devoted to supporting the AD prisoners, can be contacted at email@example.com; they have a French-language bulletin you can subscribe to. One can also read more about Action Directe in French at the Action Directe International Campaign and Agence de Presse Associative websites.
Also: i have translated three texts ("Short Collective Biography of Action Directe Prisoners", "Political Prisoners and the Question of Revolutionary Violence" and "Resistance is a Duty!") by Action Directe prisoners which are available in the pamphlet Three Essays by Action Directe – email me if you would like to order a copy. I also translated an interview with Joëlle Aubron from the anarcho-punk webzine Future Noir, which you can view online.
Categories: action-directe, france, prison, translation