From the Friends of the Tarnac Commune

1 December 2010

We do not write to you, today, to talk about the obscure maze of proceedings into which the justice system wants to bury some of us and from which we are still trying to get out.[1] We are writing to you from a clearly happier perspective: the one that we have spent several years constructing on the Plateau de Millevaches.

If we have settled in Tarnac, it is of course for the old traditions of resistance to central authority, working-class mutual assistance and rural communism that survive there. Our idea has never been for us to take refuge there, but on the contrary to regroup there so as to elaborate other social relations, to make livable relations with the world that are different than those that currently dominate, and precisely to devastate the world.

We imagine [the existence of] communes that, during memorable festivals, divide up and share the harvest according to their needs; collective garages; trucks crisscrossing the plateau to bring necessary supplies to those who can’t travel; discussions at bars more pointed than any at a college seminar; a communal dairy that furnishes milk to all at cost; -- in short a territory that little by little frees itself from recourse to money, the police and the State.

The police offensive against us aims, among other things, at the destruction of the experiment that has begun to take roots here. It seeks to cut the links that unite us and that unite us with the other inhabitants of the plateau: to isolate so as to destroy more effectively. But the operation has not encountered easy success; it has in fact had the opposite effect. The solidarity expressed here surpasses all reasonable hopes. Thanks to the support of so many unknown people from all over France and the rest of the world, indeed, thanks to your support, we have been able to get through the test that would otherwise pulverize us. This plateau, from which the State wants to clear out all dissidence, will end up attracting it magnetically. As for us, all this only further hardens our determination and makes us stick more firmly to the realization of our initial ideas. The grocery-bar is still here. The farm at Goutailloux has seen its collectively managed herds and crops grow peacefully. A popular assembly of the plateau’s inhabitants has even been convened [2] to intervene into and support the most recent movement against the pension reforms; and it has in fact intervened.[3]

At the moment, we have begun the installation of a sawmill and a workshop to help build low-cost houses for those who come to re-people the plateau. In the spring [of 2011] we would like to transform the principal building at Goutailloux into a huge space for the organization of all sorts of encounters. And, in 2012, we plan to acquire a building in the center of town and transform it into a [health] care center that is open to all.

Even if we can count on lots of energy and good will, we will still lack 35,000 Euros needed to complete the sawmill and workshop, and 55,000 Euros needed to repair the farm’s principal building. Thus, if we want to go forward, we must raise 90,000 Euros before the end of January [2011]. As for the care center, which will cost another 90,000, we have more time to work with. It is one of the paradoxes of the era that it takes money to get the means to be free from money. Thus, something tells us that it isn’t the State that, in current circumstances, will support us in this praiseworthy endeavor. This is why we have created a structure that permits all those who want to support our project by giving money and deducting two-thirds of their gift from their taxes.

This structure is called “Friends of the Tarnac Commune.” It is an endowment of funds. It receives funds and distributes them to initiatives that invigorate the plateau. We are writing to you to ask you, within your limits, to help us to keep going and make sharing laudable once more.[4]

Friends of the Tarnac Commune

Note: this is an appeal for financial aid because, in the reigning separation, giving money is very often the best that one can do to demonstrate one’s attachment to something that we don’t have the time to participate in. As a result, those who have the means – because they can or simply want to help us through their direct participation – are welcome. They will know how to find us.[5]

[1] The so-called Tarnac Ten.

[2] 24-25 October 2010.

[3] On 26 October, the “Total” depot in Brive-la-Gaillarde was blockaded.

[4] The French here, rendre au beau mot de partage un sens non dérisoire, literally means “return to the beautiful word ‘sharing’ a non-laughable meaning.”

[5] The form to be filled out and returned to Les Amis de la Commune de Tarnac, Magsin general, 12 rue du Tilleul, 19170 Tarnac.

(Translated from the French 3 January 2011 by NOT BORED!)

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