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Interview with Julien Coupat
06/10/2009, 5:47 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

This is an excerpt from an interview with Julien Coupat, who the French authorities say is alleged to have written ‘the Coming Insurrection‘ deemed by them to be a manual for terrorism, and justification for his being under constant surveilance and months in prison.

“Here are the responses to the questions that we [Isabelle Mandraud and Caroline Monnot] posed in writing to Julien Coupat. Placed under investigation on 15 November 2008 for “terrorism,” along with eight other people interrogated in Tarnac (Correze) and Paris, he is suspected of having sabotaged the suspended electrical cables of the SNCF. He is the last one still incarcerated.

Q. How are you spending your time?

A. Very well, thank you. Chin-ups, jogging and reading.

Q. Can you recall the circumstances of your arrest for us?

A. A gang of youths, hooded and armed to the teeth, broke into our house. They threatened us, handcuffed us, and took us away, after having broken everything to pieces. They first took us into very fast cars capable of moving at more than 170 kilometers an hour on the highways. In their conversations, the name of a certain Mr Marion (former leader of the anti-terrorist police) came up often. His virile exploits amused them very much, such as the time he slapped one of his colleagues in the face, in good spirits and at a going-away party. They sequestered us for four days in one of their “people’s prisons,” where they stunned us with questions in which absurdity competed with obscenity.

The one who seemed to be the brains of the operation vaguely excused himself from this circus by explaining that it was the fault of the “services,” the higher-ups, all kinds of people who want [to talk to] us very much. Today, my kidnappers are still free. Certain recent and diverse facts attest to the fact that they continue to rage with total impunity.

Q. The sabotage of the SNCF cables in France was claimed [by someone] in Germany. What do you say about that?

A. At the moment of our arrest, the French police were already in possession of the communique that claimed, in addition to the acts of sabotage that they want to attribute to us, other simultaneous attacks in Germany. This communique is inconvenient to the police for a number of reasons: it was mailed from Hanover, drafted in German and sent to newspapers in the Outer Rhine area exclusively; but it is especially inconvenient because it does not fit the framework of the mediatic[1] fable about us: a small nucleus of fanatics bringing the battle to the heart of the State by hanging three iron bars on the cables. From then on, they took care to not mention this communique too much, either in court or in the public lie.

It is true that the sabotage of the train lines lost much of its mysterious aura as a result: now it would be a matter of simple protest against the transportation of ultra-radioactive nuclear wastes to Germany over railroads and denunciations (made in passing) of the great rip-off known as “the crisis.” The communique concludes with a very SNCF-like “We thank the travelers on the trains concerned for their understanding.” What tact there is among these “terrorists”!

Q. Do you recognize yourself in the phrases “anarcho-autonomous circle of influence” and “ultra-left”?

A. Let me resume what I was saying. In France, we are currently living through the end of a period of historical freezing, the founding act of which was the accord reached in 1945 by the Gaullists and the Stalinists to disarm the people under the pretext of “avoiding a civil war.” The terms of this pact can be formulated thus: while the Right will renounce its overtly fascist accents, the Left will abandon all serious revolutionary perspectives. For four years, the advantage of Sarkozy’s clique has been the fact that it unilaterally took the initiative by breaking this pact and renewing “without apologies” the classics of pure reaction concerning the insane, religion, the West, Africa, work, the history of France and national identity.

Faced with a power at war that dares to think strategically and divide the world into “friends,” “enemies” and “negligible quantities,” the Left remains frozen, as if sick with tetanus. It is too cowardly, too compromised and, more than anything else, too discredited to offer the least resistance to a power that it doesn’t dare treat as an enemy and that, one by one, snatches away the sly devils [les malins] among its ranks. As for the extreme Left (Besancenot, for example): whatever its electoral results, and even if it has emerged from the groupuscular state in which it long vegetated, it hasn’t a more desirable perspective to offer than Soviet gray that has been slightly retouched in Photoshop. Its destiny is to deceive and disappoint.

Thus, in the sphere of political representation, the established power has nothing to fear from anyone. And certainly not the union bureaucracies, which are more corrupt than ever and now importune power [for help]. They do this, they who have danced an obscene ballet with the government for the last two years! In such conditions, the only force that can put a check on the Sarkozy gang, its only real enemy in this country, is the street, the street and its old revolutionary penchants. During the riots that followed the second part of the ritualized plebiscite of May 2007, only the street knew how to rise to the occasion. In the Antilles, during the recent occupations of companies and factories, it alone knew how to make another voice heard.

This summary analysis of the theater of operations was soon to be confirmed in June 2007, when the intelligence agencies published — under the bylines of journalists working under orders (notably for Le Monde) — the first articles bringing to light the terrible peril that is placed upon all social life by the “anarcho-autonomes.” To start, one attributed to them the organization of spontaneous riots, which, in so many towns, saluted the “electoral triumph” of the new president.

With this fable of “anarcho-autonomes,” one has sketched out the profile of the menace to which the Minister of the Interior is docilely committed to give a little flesh and a few faces by organizing targeted arrests in mediatic police raids. When one can no longer contain what overflows, one can still assign it a case number and incarcerate it. Thus, the case of the “rioter,” in which the workers of Clairoix, urban youths, student blockaders and anti-summit demonstrators are dumped pell-mell — this is certainly an effective move in the current management of social pacification — permits the State to criminalize actions, not existences.[2] And it is indeed the intention of the new power to attack the enemy, as such, without waiting for him to declare himself. Such is the vocation of the new categories of repression.

Finally, it hardly matters than no one in France recognizes him or herself as “anarcho-autonomous” or that the ultra-left is a political current that had its moment of glory in the 1920s and that, subsequently, never produced anything other than inoffensive volumes of Marxology. Moreover, the recent fortunes of the term “ultra-left,” which have permitted some journalists to catalogue the Greek rioters of last December without striking a blow, speak to the fact that no one knows what the ultra-left was nor even that it ever existed.

At this point — and in the anticipation of outbursts that can only be systematized in the face of the provocations of a hard-pressed global and French oligarchy — the utility of these categories to the police must no longer be debated. Nevertheless, one cannot predict whether “anarcho-autonomous” or “ultra-left” will finally carry off the favors of the Spectacle and relegate a totally justified revolt to the inexplicable.

Q. The police consider you the leader of a group on the point of tipping over into terrorism. What do you think about that?

A. Such a pathetic allegation can only be the work of a regime that is on the point of tipping over into nothingness.”

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