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16 septembre 2011 5 16 /09 /septembre /2011 20:13

 

 

In March on Brussels on 16 September 2011 at 20:15
Bagneux, September 16

Day 53 of the March on Brussels. From Montlhéry, 26 km

This morning

Dear people,

 

We are camping near the gates of Paris. We have reencountered comrade Waldo who has meticulously prepared our arrival in this modest black-and-white suburb of the capital.

 The walk over here was a strange experience. We didn’t cross the city and we didn’t cross the countryside. It was a hybrid. Old villages and modern flats interspersed with cornfields and vegetable gardens.

 

Street art in the suburbs

 

Half way towards the center of gravity, the urban matter thickens. We go from suburb to suburb over a bicycle lane through a green corridor of parks. The monuments we encounter tell the story of the division of general Leclerc, who received the honour to be the first to enter Paris in August 1944. While the soldiers were liberating the city, Ernest Hemingway was ‘liberating’ the wine cellars of the luxury hotels.

 

 

Since yesterday we are joined by a comrade from Barcelona, a veteran of the Mediterranean march. He confirms all the bad stories. I haven’t yet heard a single positive word about their march. Rumours had already reached us that they did at least three legs by car. It’s all true. They are a bunch of slackers.

What I didn’t know was that a French girl living in Barcelona joined the march in Montpellier, and grabbed power. The principles of horizontally were abbandoned in favour of dicatorship. She controlled everything, the assembly and the logistics. She imposed rules and punishments.

“Really?” I ask, “and did things go better after that?”

“No. The internal conflicts persisted. The only result was that people stopped participating and thinking for themselves, which are more less the two things we want to accomplish. Those who didn’t agree with the new regime packed their bags and left.”

Lady Blue Eyes, the Führer, was only once confronted with a rebellion, in Nimes. A minority of hard core marchers refused to go by car. But everything was already organised. A fait accompli. The rebels desisted. The march restarted from Lyons.

The only positive result of the coup was that the internal assemblies stopped being a lengthy waste of energy and time. They turned into informative meetings where the leader communicated her decisions to the group. The popular assemblies on the other hand were a theatrical piece that followed the exact same script every single night, interpreted by the same actors. “A farce.”

 

I recognise these tendencies. But in our march we never even got close to the extremes of the Mediterranean. And though we should all be sad about the failure of our comrades, a most human reaction to this news is one of self complacency. “We aren’t so bad after all, compared to those gilipollas of the Mediterranean.”

Unndoubtedly the most succesful march from a human and a revolutionary point of view is Toulouse. They were few and their organisation was minimal, but very functional. For the most part of the trip they didn’t have a support vehicle. They walked distances of 25 km max with their bagpacks on their shoulders and they hardly ever ate a hot meal. Only sandwiches. They didn’t have commissions, and they didn’t exhaust themselves with internal assemblies. Everything worked out naturally.

Even their communication was much better than ours. Their blog is serious, updated by one person only, and whenever they had a support vehicle at their disposal, the car went ahead to the villages on the route to distribute flyers and attach manifests announcing the popular assembly. By comparison, our Communication commission has counted up to eight people, about as much as the entire Toulouse march, and they hardly ever managed to do any difusion in the villages on the route, or to bring out the word of the march on the internet. One example says it all: the other day a member of our Communications commission came to me to ask if he could send an email to his family. They hadn’t heard from him in ten days, and he wanted to let them know that he was alive.

 

At Orléans our march has literally swallowed the Toulouse march. We treated them simply as another handful of marchers. We never did anything to integrate them, or to learn from their experiences. It’s one of our capital sins. Arrogance. ‘We are the March on Brussels, we come from Puerta del Sol, and we are going to teach the world the gospel of peaceful assemblyism.’

Some of the people from Toulouse have already left our march. The others don’t participate in the assembly, and rumour has it they are planning to secede after Paris and walk to Brussels the way they used to.

 

In the two speaches I held to the popular assemblies of Tours and Orléans I stressed the fact that there are many people who share our objectives. People who have been fighting for a better world for years. “We are conscious of this”, I said. “We also come here to learn from you. With all due humility.”

Comrade Vladimir, the only active participant from the Toulouse march summed it up in three words. For him, the movement of the indignados can only be aimed at one thing.

“Convergence of struggles.”

 

 

 

Petit assemblee, Disneyland style

Anarchism Rules!

In March on Brussels on 15 September 2011 at 23:10

Montlhéry, September 15

Day 52 of the March on Brussels. From Etampes, 29 km

 

'Minimalism'

 

Dear people,

 

This morning, instead of going walking early, we sat down in the tavern ‘le petit caporal’, to plot about actions in Paris. We were not the only ones. There are small groups within our march preparing actions and diversive manoeuvres of their own accord. Also the Mediterranean march and the indignados in Paris are busy cooking up their own plans.

Then when the time comes to coordinate things in the internal assembly, we lose hours deciding whether a journalist of a photographic magazine should be allowed or not to assist to the assembly. In the end, we don’t even get to talk about the important things.

But do not think that this is a ridiculous chaos, o no, it’s tactics. The only way for us to avoid that the police knows what we’re going to do is to make sure that we ourselves don’t have any idea of what’s going to happen.

 

So far for things in practice. These last few days I have been talking about the theoretical nature of our movement with comrade Roberto, from the Economy commission, which is now known as the commission ‘Autogestión’, to appease the anti-monetarians within the march.

Roberto is a former stock broker and bank employee. He started off as a choir boy in church. He knows the enemy, and he has a very analytical way of thinking which isn’t blurred by any kind of moral. I’m trying to convince him to be part of a secret Intelligence commission, with the objective to gather any type of information about the march.

This information is divided on various levels. One is the organisation of the march, another is a classification of its participants on the basis of their mentality, and another is a classification on the basis of their political ideas.

We made a scheme of the commissions. Route, Economy and Dinamisation are the primary ones. The Route decides where we’re going. Economy controls the secondary commissions of Logistics and Kitchen. Dinamisation is a kind of central committee which prepares the politics of the assembly. If you control these three commissions, you control the march.

But maybe the most important commission of all is Communications. Through Communications we create the public image of the march. We depend on public support. Without effective propaganda, there is no march.

As for the mentality, people can be divided into the ‘rigorosos’, or the people who want to shape order out of chaos, the ‘permisivos’, who try to keep the group together with comprehension and endless search for consensus. There are the parasites, who don’t really care as long as they don’t have to walk and receive a free meal. And finally, there are a few visionaries who don’t take themselves or the march too seriously. They watch on with amazement and joy how this incredible movement develops.

On a political level you can recognise the classical distinction between radical revolutionaries and practical reformists. The former want to change everything overnight, so that as from tomorrow we can all live together, happily ever after. The latter admit that things are a bit more complicated than that. But most people probably don’t have any clear political ideas at all. They know things are not right in society, but they wouldn’t really know where to start to make a change.

 

At midday we walk. It was a strange day today. A part of the distance I walked alone, and whenever I did, I got lost. This hardly ever happens. I arrived last, late in the evening. I missed the popular assembly on the village square, which was a shame, because I heard it had been very interesting.

There was a woman present who works in a psychiatric institution. She told that she had 23 patients in her department, ten of which had drinking problems. It seems that Sarkozy has passed a law which allows police to send people who are caught drunk on the street to a mental institution. One of the patients got caught the very first time he ever touched a bottle. After six months in the clinic he had become a true alcoholic.

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