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France-Direct action against war (english)
by happy squatters
19 Mar 2003
Some sarcastic individuals gave some hard time to various symbols of this world of money, cops and specialists in which we are living
Grenoble – France. Squatt women (and men) against War and Aaaart during March 15 planetary demonstrations against war. They had good time.
Some sarcastic individuals gave some hard time to various symbols of this world of money, cops and specialists in which we are living in this sad day for squatters and poor tenants because the winter is officialy finished and expulsions are starting again. And even with the good news of the death of Jean Luc Lagardère (1), big boss of media and military industries, we didn’t forgert that many, many capitalists are still alived.
Our great fun of the day started that way: we went happily demonstrating against the war in Irak at the demo that afternoon, there was 10 000 people. We started with distributing our own pamphlets to the crowd, before and during the march. […] It was signed by some strange “elements for a black block”. It pretends to have a content in conflict with some reformists elements who sometimes speaks about some “just wars” or who are hiding the fact that war is just a spectacular continuation of the domination systems (state, capitalism, patriarchy, racism, bosses…)
But our implication in the demo went further. Refusing to participate in a demo without being included we used a more subversive and dynamic mode of communication. Many ads and other commercials were victims of our attacks. Some business were also painted. Some ads were transformed: some characters on ads suddenly said things like: “No George, no Saddam, The bosses on fire, jacques (Chirac) in the middle”, “No George, no Saddam, the nations in the fire, France in the middle”, “No George, no Saddam, patriarchy in the fire, the State in the middle”, “Capitalism is war, patriarchy also”, “No war in Irak, no peace beetween classes” etc.
We also had a thought for Jean Luc Lagardère: “Lagardère is dead, death to the capitalists” or “If you don’t go to Lagardère, war will come to you”. Some housing business were also used as support for the Squatts: “No more private property, let’s squatt the world” “Solidarity with the squatts”.
Most of the people around us (from the demo or not) were maybe more funny than us because they seemed to appreciate this sort of “In action” litterature, expressing the support through smiles and other signs of approval. Only one person was angry, but he stopped rapidly when he saw that we totally ignored him. (…)
We attacked some commercial tracts (in front of stores) promoting aspects of this society of domination-consumption-alienation. Some newspapers selling alcoohol (drug for social peace of the poor) and gentrification-housing were removed from their boxes, destroyed with rage and put in trash.
During this demo we met some elected politicians of the French Communist Party (former leninist-stalinist and now reformist-statists-populists-racists). In the small town of (Saint)-Martin-d'Hères (2) there’s a squatt named “La Charade” with housing and community activities. These elected politicians don’t like it at all and want to expell the squatt Ironically we gave to them (the communist mayor and his collegues) our anti-war pamphlet and another pamphlet calling for a demo against Squatt eviction and police brutality on march 29. Their reaction was not directly hostile. They found the situation ironic and could not hide this smile revealing the politician hypocrisy.
The demo stopped in an empty park. Despite the fact that nobody asked them anything the small and big reformists leaders harrassed the crowd with their empty speeches.
We decided to leave the place. We went back to our bycicles and, O surprise!, we remembered that they were parked in front of a Mc Donalds. Behind the windows people were sitting and eating quietly, their faces turned to the street, in front of us. Then we started looking them deeply and happily, like these stupid peoples in museum and zoo.
In a first time they felt uncomfortable, then most of them started smiling because of this strange situation. But we didn’t want them to believe that it was just a superficial critic. So we took some papers and pens and we wrote a spontaneous slogan (something like: Boycott Mc Donalds it’s exploitation and it tastes shit”). Then we moved in front of the fast-food with our slogan. The customers saw the paper, some astonished, other smiling, even paradoxally approving. Nobody came out to harass us, not even the guard (who seemed to approve also). Nonetheless nobody came out of the Mac Donalds saying “Yeah you’re right, Mac Do stinks, let’s burn it!”.
Our bad actions of the day did not stop here. Certainly not.
We knew that on the other side of the city, there was a vernissage at the National Contemporary Art Center.
Some of us decided to spread disorder in this self-centred and bourgeois event.
Indeed we distributed to the art consumers present there some very small flyers A12 (why should we spent some much paper for artists) saying: “Do you know that art stinks? You don’t? You want to know? Contact zanzara (at) squat.net ”
We read loudly this paper during the lunch and at the same time we took all the food. Then we were outraged because there was no food without animal exploitation. Other scandalous situation: the presence of Alcohol and no fruit juices. We made it clear and loud, even if we think that selling alcohol is less serious than offering it. Even if alcohol (as all drugs) contribute to the alienation of spectacle.
We let our unconformity express itself by running and chamoizing through the museum (chamoizing is an absurd posture. The person stands in front of a wall and she can stand on a chair. During this time the person can listen to her imagination. Looking at invisible things with a stupid face or writing revolutionnary and subversive messages on the walls.)
Of course the objective was to make clear our position for de-sacralization of art. Very quickly we were approched by a technician and an employee of the museum, working as de facto angry guards. We used this opportunity to give them a flyer on private guards. Later on we discussed with the technician who at the beginning was criticizing us. We explained him why we don’t want a world of guards, cops and specialists, proposing him a vision based on principles of mutual aid and autonomy, away from constructed relationships of dominations and competition. After that, we went on walking in this sanctuary of self-centrism, saying words against art, inciting people not to look at the paintings but instead to look at each other or to look things not considered “artistic” (the empty walls, paint traces on the floor, emergency exit plan…) The aim was to show the alienating absurdity of the artistic commodities. Our vocal opinions were interrupted by escape-run periods and other funny events such as hiding to avoid a vicious artist-photograph who was there at that time. We explained him clearly that we didn’t want to be pictured by him to serve his spectacularist, commercial aims. We also distributed the remaining flyers about guards to the museum guards, some temporary workers for this special exhibit who found their job boring. When having a discussion with them we found them nice, cool persons because they declared that they didn’t care for the “artistic” value of the materials they were protecting. They even made some happy support with complicit smiles. Some even encouraged us to renew our anti-artistic determination by giving us dates of future expositions and art schools open-days. We promised them to do it again as soon as possible.
Some sarcastic individuals.
(1) Through the school edition branch of the french-european corporation “Groupe Lagardere” the kids learn in their history books how war (made with Lagardere weapons of mass destruction is good for peace. And their parents can read in Lagardere newspapers (weapons of mass distraction) how capitalism, imperialism and war are good for the planet . Of course these criminal thieves needs constantly our tax-payer money through State and military support. From their website: http://www.lagardere.com/us/groupe/eads.shtml , about EADS, military branch of Lagardere: “EADS is the world's second-largest player in the aeronautics and defense industry.” “EADS ranks right at the top in the satellite market and the market for military transport, mission and combat airplanes. EADS (the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company - EADS N.V.) is a product of the merger of Aerospatiale Matra, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (Dasa) and Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA), which took place in July 2000. The EADS Group is organized into five major divisions: Airbus, Military Transport Airplanes, Aeronautics, Civil and Defense Systems and Space.” Also: “ Hachette Filipacchi Médias is active in 34 countries worldwide. HFM publishes 165 magazines, one-third of them spin-offs of its primary brands. In the United States, Hachette Filipacchi Médias US reaches nearly 50 million readers through 20 magazines; in Spain, Hachette Filipacchi SA publishes 19 titles; in Italy, Hachette Rusconi produces 24; and in Japan, Hachette Fujingaho publishes 13.
Interdeco, France's top advertising space broker for the print media, has developed the world's most powerful international network. It manages the international advertising of 200 magazines published by HFM and other groups.” In book industry they have 40 publishing houses in many countries and they are active in children and school publishing… So the french people is happy to know that the big boss Lagardere is dead, only the journalists are unhappy but we suggest them to follow his path as soon as possible if they miss their master that much.
(2) Saint is in ( ) because we know that saints do not exist. Deeply atheist we are.