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Demolishing a house…

Wednesday 7 November 2012

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About the evictions at Notre-Dame-des-Landes

La ferme des Planchettes après l’opération César (photo automedia ZAD)

The Planchette farm after operation « César » (photo automedia ZAD)

It’s now been ten days that ”César”, the imperial eviction operation on the ZAD has begun. The socialist party, in a well understood interest, seems to be seeking a clean eviction, with no hiccups, that will preserve social peace and maybe what’s left of their socialist image. No surprises there then, apart from the fact that the environmentalists in government have not yet been able to warrant the HQE eviction.

Tuesday morning a “disproportionate military force” wasn’t sent to our homes but an ordinary police response, routine to those who are resisting. We knew about it, but even with hindsight it doesn’t take away the fierceness of the shock.

However, dejection is not to rule over us so long as the solidarities in action are multiplying. Links and positions are at boiling point. The boundaries are being redrawn over and over. The acts of contest and support messages seem to be coming from the world over, giving an overwhelming force to this contention at a time when it needs it the most. Some of the barriers between us are now broken making a fool out of “César” and their years of media fuelled construction of the enemy inside. In the hectic rhythm of these long days, and the many more to come, it is difficult to take the back seat with the emergency we are dealing with. Taking a step back or trying to anticipate what we’ll be faced with next seems illusive considering how quickly the situation is changing. This unique intensity offers a context of solidarity with a wide variety of experiences, desires and ideas. Many positions are being expressed, some are put over by the medias arsenal, who are overjoyed by this sort of “mini-war” on their doorstep, others are expressed by a multitude of individual means. From there emerges the will to have political positions to feed to countless discussions that the situation is generating.

Thoughts go out to all those contesting everywhere in the thick fog of these times “so rich in spectators and so poor in accomplices”, the silent evictees, the people who suffer police controls and daily beatings, those who live in fear, the fear of ID checks, public transportation controls. Those who have nowhere to be evicted from, the exploited, the oppressed, the racially discriminated, those who die from the beatings from their partners, those who live with the beatings of their partners, those who haven’t got the right skin colour to benefit from support when the opposing armies arrive, and to those who aren’t on the comfortable side of the inequalities and who never will be.

Barricade (photo automedia ZAD)

Barricade (photo automedia ZAD)

Demolishing a house, or a neighborhood, is the opposite of a “barbarian” act. Demolition, is a common term of modern civilization, which builds on top of ruins that have only just fallen. This project “Aéroport du grand oust” is not necessarily anti-environmental, useless and harmful. It is only one of the bricks amongst so many others in the logic of developing this region to make it competitive and thrive on the metropolitan market. Rebuilding the suburbs, changing the names and the functions of the areas, defining the axes of development for the areas to develop is the day to day jobs of the decision makers, the elected and the experts. Doing these projects, getting caught up in these new markets is the jobs of the investors and the profit makers.

Demolishing a house, is a lot more than a question of “housing”, this word makes us think of a place where we rest before going off to work. What it means though in this situation is an attempt to annihilate a place of life, it’s material means of autonomy but also all of its social and local well being, friendships, solidarity, aswell as it’s conflicts. Therefore everyday, everywhere, thousands of people are hunted from their homes, evicted, forced to move away, to leave their networks and day to day lives, to start from scratch elsewhere. One can believe, that it won’t be noticed as much, but the effects of isolation, and weakening are the same, and help build the foundations for the capitalist domination which needs individuals that depend on the markets and are subservient.

Demolishing a house, often means erasing the traces quickly, by “cleaning” scrupulously or by rebuilding over the top. The traces left by the act of destruction are the leftovers of the history of the defeated that need to be erased. Salvaging rubble, some old beams, telling old tales about these places, taking pictures before the desert are also acts of resistance against the violence of the rewriting of history by the dominants. Keeping traces so that anger can overcome the forgotten past. These “cleaned” places left where we used to live will echo around these “developments” that rip the roots with JCBs, whilst chewing up pathways, play areas and all free spaces.

Demolishing a house whilst burning the land, crying out for people the “stay calm” whilst pretending “all is well”, means denying the violence of such an act. These piles of rubble are open wounds, that will fuel anger. And these stones, so rare in these rebellious groves, are crying out to express it, don’t let it eat up the insides, let it all out in the most instinctive way possible. The fragments of rubble in the skips, the horns of the bulldozers and the convoys of blue lights a sirens echo in the mist, attempting to engrave the feeling of impotence. The traces of melted tar under the barriers, the few fallen trees, the cramp from running, screaming and throwing so much, the bruises from being struck, are the only scars we have to show.

But the making of nothing and forgetting are in action everywhere on the empires territory, and will conflict here, with a construction of another kind. What we have been weaving these past few years, in our contention, against the airport will see the light of day, in these hard times of crisis, a spirit of resistance and solidarity, that no number of soldiers and machines will be able to stop growing. Yes, in military terms the defeat was foreseeable, but the surprise is big, living this moment with an immense sensation of community and contention. Links are being reinforced, made, or weaved still, in the incredible rhythm of the moment, where everything moves ever so faster in this more than ever “secured” location, with a reactivity against new situations, and a whirlwind a refusal… Okay, the confusion is high, this moment is out of control for everybody, and that is as near as damn it not far from victory, is it?

Manif du 20 octobre à Nantes (photo Val K. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Manifestation 20th of October in Nantes (photo Val K. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

a group in contention with the airport and its world born in the movement of occupations