The book you hold in your hands has become the principle piece of evidence in an
anti-terrorism case in France directed against nine individuals who were arrested
on November 11 2008, mostly in the village of Tarnac. They have been accused of
“criminal association for the purposes of terrorist activity” on the grounds that they
were to have participated in the sabotage of overhead electrical lines on France’s
national railways. Although only scanty circumstantial evidence has been presented
against the nine, the French Interior Minister has publically associated them with
the emergent threat of an “ultra-left” movement, taking care to single out this
book, described as a “manual for terrorism,” which they are accused of authoring.
What follows is the text of the book preceded by the first statement of the Invisible
Committee since the arrests.
In the subway, there’s no longer any trace of the screen of embarrassment that normally impedes the gestures of the passengers. Strangers make conversation without making passes. A band of comrades conferring on a street corner. Much larger assemblies on the boulevards, absorbed in discussions. Surprise attacks mounted in city after city, day after day. A new military barracks has been sacked and burned to the ground. The evicted residents of a building have stopped negotiating with the mayor’s office; they settle in. A company manager is inspired to blow away a handful of his colleagues in the middle of a meeting. There’s been a leak of files containing the personal addresses of all the cops, together with those of prison officials, causing an unprecedented wave of sudden relocations. We carry our surplus goods into the old village bar and grocery store, and take what we lack. Some of us stay long enough to discuss the general situation and figure out the hardware we need for the machine shop. The radio keeps the insurgents informed of the retreat of the government forces. A rocket has just breached a wall of the Clairvaux prison. Impossible to say if it has been months or years since the “events” began. And the prime minister seems very alone in his appeals for calm.
Everyone agrees. It’s about to explode. It is acknowledged,
with a serious and self-important look, in the corridors of the
Assembly, just as yesterday it was repeated in the cafés. There
is a certain pleasure in calculating the risks. Already, we are
presented with a detailed menu of preventive measures for
securing the territory. The New Years festivities take a decisive
turn – “next year there’ll be no oysters, enjoy them while you
can!” To prevent the celebrations from being totally eclipsed
by the traditional disorder, 36,000 cops and 16 helicopters are
rushed out by Alliot-Marie1 – the same clown who, during the
high school demonstrations in December, tremulously watched
for the slightest sign of a Greek contamination, readying the
police apparatus just in case. We can discern more clearly every
day, beneath the reassuring drone, the noise of preparations
for open war. It’s impossible to ignore its cold and pragmatic
implementation, no longer even bothering to present itself as an
operation of pacification.
for the sudden disquiet. There is the financial crisis, of course,
with its booming unemployment, its share of hopelessness and
of social plans, its Kerviel and Madoff scandals. There is the
failure of the educational system, its dwindling production of
workers and citizens, even with the children of the middle class
as its raw material. There is the existence of a youth to which no
political representation corresponds, a youth good for nothing
but destroying the free bicycles that society so conscientiously put
at their disposal.
crisis, nor a series of more or less chronic problems, of more or less anticipated disturbances, but a singular peril: that a form
- Michèle Alliot-Marie, the French Interior Minister.
The disaster is a pathology that is difficult to undo. It’s above all
a fiction that no longer knows how to carry on. Our governors
themselves increasingly consider it as a useless encumbrance
because they, at least, take the conflict for what it is – militarily.
They have no complex about sending in elite antiterrorist units
to subdue riots, or to liberate a recycling center occupied by its
workers. As the welfare state collapses, we see the emergence of
a brute conflict between those who desire order and those who
don’t. Everything that French politics has been able to deactivate
is in the process of unleashing itself. It will never be able to
process all that it has repressed. In the advanced degree of social
decomposition, we can count on the coming movement to find
the necessary breath of nihilism. Which will not mean that it
won’t be exposed to other limits.
but by resonance. Something that is constituted here resonates
with the shock wave emitted by something constituted over there.
A body that resonates does so according to its own mode. An
insurrection is not like a plague or a forest fire – a linear process
which spreads from place to place after an initial spark. It rather
takes the shape of a music, whose focal points, though dispersed
in time and space, succeed in imposing the rhythm of their own
vibrations, always taking on more density. To the point that any
return to normal is no longer desirable or even imaginable.
That was the beginning of “Insurrection.” Call it
fantastic, call it stupid. It all depends on your politics or state of mind.
Frankly, I print some of the book here for
elucidation. We here in America have never
experienced – at least since the Civil War –
complete anarchy. That is a breakdown of
civil order. Americans are an orderly and efficient species – the most efficient workers in the world. We’ve proven our hard work ethic. In that we are number one, even if our kids are not being taught what they should be in schools.
We like to imagine that the needs of children
are being taken care of during the day at our schools that are the finest in the world. That is if you’re talking in terms of only briks and mortar. In truth, American schools are not the best – yet the unions representing the teachers, administrators, and other school workers pretend to say they are world class.
If that were so we would be leading the world in
subjects like math and science. When in fact the
Chinese and South Koreans are leading the world, with the Finnish students in third. Maybe we should import Finland’s school system over here. It could be financed at roughly a third of the cost we put into American schools.
teachers paid like they are world class – and third world results. Our schools turn out some of the most ignorant students in the world. I don’t mean to be critical of the kids, not directly. But what I just wrote is true.
How long will America be able to lead the world in standard of living with schools like that? Maybe this scenario is why President Barak Obama doesn’t seem to mind seeing Wisconsin teachers not prevail over the school system and Wisconsin’s conservative governor Scott Walker.
Teacher benefits are so great – they get free health care and guaranteed retirements paid for by the taxpayers. Well, finally the taxpayers have spoken. The Tea Parties have awakened us to the hard realities of life here in the USA,.
We can’t afford expensive teachers and third-world results. We need to fire bad teachers and incent good ones. We need to see things as they are. And for teachers to tell their students to stay home so they can come with them to Madison to protest reality and picket – when the kids don’t even know why they’re there –
is a travesty of justice and a gross error on the part of these so-called teachers. If I were their parent I’d be damned mad at the teachers. I’d go after their jobs.
Yes, Governor Walker, bring in the National Guard. Not to knock the kids aside the head – leave that to cheese-head parents – but to teach the classes teachers abandoned and to scrub the floors and do other duties these striking teachers and public employees should be doing. They have been coddled too long across the broad expanse of this nation. I’m not talking about the kids, but the public employees who are represented by unions. The unions are responsible for our poor showing, our poor student performance. Down with the unions.