Democratic Terrorization

Introduction by Claude Guillon

After the arrests in the so-called "Tarnac Affair,"[1] which took place on 11 November 2008, thirty-two [media] personalities asked themselves the following question, in the pages of Le Monde: "Are the laws of exception adopted under the pretext of [fighting] terrorism and [enhancing] security compatible with democracy?"[2]

But this was a badly formulated question and posed rather late in the game. Indeed, to even consider "democracy" as a moral abstraction, and not as what it is (a political method of regulating capitalism), shows that it is nourished by an "anti-terrorist" legislative arsenal that has been ceaselessly increased, especially since 1986. In 2008, when the responders to Le Monde seemed to have finally discovered this arsenal, it was already 22 years old and had confused itself with the democratic system that had created it in a political consensus that, over time, approached the perfection of the Holy Union.

In 1982, after a series of attacks, Joseph Franceschi, the Secretary of State for Public Security, proposed to make "terrorism" a metaphor for a social life in which each human being must fear his fellow men and women as predators, but in which class violence has miraculously disappeared. "The attacks upon the elderly and single women, diverse thefts, burglaries -- in short, all the attacks upon people and property [are part of] everyday terrorism."[3] We know how to read between the lines: qualifying such activities as pick-pocketing, graffiti, and night-time fights as "terrorism" associates them in the public mind with bombers, foreigners and youths. These three "dangerous figures" -- in the sense that the historian Louis Chevalier spoke of the "dangerous classes" -- remain closely tied in the following decades. The hardening of the "anti-terrorist" arsenal would be accompanied by a growing repression of [clandestine] immigrants and juvenile delinquents. This wasn't simply a question of concomitant phenomena that led to an authoritarian tightening of society, but a coherent social strategy that, as one can see in many examples, announces itself as what it is, which we can call terrorization.

The various governments haven't been content with "terrorizing the terrorists," to cite a remark attributed to Charles Pasqua, the French Minister of the Interior, in 1986.[4] But he wasn't the first to make it: it was first penned by the Christian Democrat Georges Bidault in 1937, after a series of bombings carried out by fascists or extreme Leftists.[5] Thus it is an old boast that, ever since the second half of the 1930s, has inspired measures against clandestine immigration.

One knows well that the modern bourgeoisie has drowned the traditional values of compassion and mutual assistance in the icy water of egotistical calculation, but the objective that it assigns itself is to make all of life an object of economic management. Alas, the "politics of numbers" is sometimes too clear. The government having fixed for 2011 its objective to arrest "more than 5,000"[6] people who assist illegal immigrants, Minister Eric Besson -- to obscure such clarity -- had to quickly come up with up lies that were self-contradictory. The State has never seized smugglers! Before returning to the subject of the terrorization of immigrants, we note that the objective of having more than 5,500 arrestees coexists with the objective of expelling approximately 30,000 people by that same year. That would be at least one smuggler for every six clandestine immigrants, a proportion that will make the personnel at the Ministry of National Education turn white with envy. Were it not for the very serious implications of these deliria (half-police, half-accounting) for flesh-and-blood beings, one would be tempted to laugh. But, as a Prime Minister says in Hamlet, "Though this be madness, yet there is method in't."[7]

In the pages that follow, we try to analyze this madness, its method and the consequences.

[1] Nine people were arrested, the majority of them in Tarnac, and they were indicted for their supposed responsibility for weakening the power lines of French high-speed trains.

[2] [Eric Hazan] "Non a l'ordre nouveau," Le Monde, 28 November 2008. With the same logic, a committee lobbied for the abrogation of the anti-terrorist laws and for respect for the European Convention on Human Rights (Liberation, 29 May 2009).

[3] Quoted in Liberation, 11-12 December 1982. Our emphasis.

[4] "We must terrorize the terrorists" is the title of an interview between Pasqua and the journalist Philippe Bouvard, Paris-Match, No. 1925, 18 April 1986.

[5] G. Bidault (1899-1983), in the Catholic daily L'Aube, 24 September 1937. He succeeded Jean Moulin at the National Council for the Resistance. In 1962, he belonged to the Secret Armed Organization (OAS), which was a pro-French-Algeria terrorist group. Quoted in Ralph Schor, L'Opinion francaise et les etrangers en France, Publications de la Sorbonne, 1985, p. 665.

[6] Annual performance projects; Annex to the projected finance law of 2009, "Immigration, Asylum and Integration," p. 35.

[7] Polonius, in Hamlet, II, 2, 203.

Claude Guillon, introduction to Democratic Terrorization, Editions Libertalia, September 2009. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! November 2009. All footnotes by the author.

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