STATEMENT OF THE “DESARMONS-LES!” COLLECTIVE AFTER THE RIOTS FOLLOWING NAHEL’S DEATH
We were present during the 2005 riots. In solidarity with the rioters.
Even back then, we shouted: “Zyed et Bouna, we don’t forget, we don’t forgive!
In the meantime, we created a collective for the disarmament of the state.
We spent ten years supporting victims of police violence wherever we could make contact with them, and doing advocacy work throughout France and abroad.
During all these years, we also shouted “No Justice, No Peace”. We didn’t trust Justice, but we played its game anyway. To learn, to understand, to try, to know. We went through all the legal procedures, we went to all the courts. We know the machine perfectly, its workings and its hidden defects. At the same time, we decoded policing, the colonial history of the police and the mechanisms of violence, but also the system of impunity enjoyed by the law enforcement officers.
In France, a policeman who kills is not tried. Sometimes accused, always exonerated.
How many police officers have been sentenced to more than 18 months suspended prison sentences and to fines of over 3,000 euros? How many police officers have been dismissed and banned from their duties? How many police officers have been banned from carrying weapons? We know the answer, which the public mostly ignores, and which even most journalists ignore. You can search, but you won’t find a single one. Impunity is total.
At this point, it’s no longer impunity, it’s immunity.
Over the last 40 years, the police have killed over 800 people. Under President Sarkozy, we were at 15 deaths a year, under Hollande at 22, and under Macron we’ve risen to 30 a year, with a peak of 52 deaths in 2021.
Since the 2017 law defining the situations in which law enforcement officers can open fire without fear of legal proceedings, the number of gunshot deaths has exploded.
Before, self-defense had only one definition, which was the same for everyone. Since then, police officers have benefited from a special regime, granting them a presumption of self-defence.
Article L.435 of the French Homeland Security Code has eased the weight of the trigger considerably. In this sense, it’s a license to kill. The death penalty has not been abolished, its application has simply been entrusted to the police officers alone. It’s as if the “village idiot” were given the freedom to decide whether or not to execute a person for the slightest offence. Without the intervention of arbitrators or judges.
Police unions are a state within the State. Their speeches incite police riots and violence, all in the name of the State and of the Republic that is republican (from Latin : “public affair”) in name only.
And the State, run by neo-liberal pyromaniacs wholly subservient to libertarian bosses, is only as strong as its police force. The State reduced to the role of “gendarme state” was the dream of ultra-liberal and minarchist theorists. Sarkozy, Hollande and Macron have made it a reality, step by step and relentlessly.
Western imperialism gave rise first to slavery and colonization, then to their by-product, Islamist terrorism. Islamist terrorism is just one of the heads of the fascist hydra, whose cradle is in the West, and in France in particular. Islamophobia and the resurgence of the most violent fascism are their direct consequence, the fruit of ignorance and essentialism, authoritarian rhetoric of a Power led by the children of the colonial bourgeoisie, both Petainist and Gaullist. An elite lulled by a chauvinist mythology whose idols are often landlords and bloody warriors, rather than philanthropists or inspiring artists.
Over 60% of policemen and gendarmes vote for fascist far-right parties. Let’s be more precise: neo-Pétainist parties.
White racist commoners gangrenes the police force, supplemented by racialized (POC) commoners who have forgotten their history or who blindly obey the racist and masculinist logics dominating their corporation. In the streets, they now receive the active support of neo-Pétainist armed gangs formed by the grandchildren of the upper middle classes, excited by the idea of reproducing the crusades and pogroms of the past.
Every week now, in Lyon, Paris, Nantes, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Angers and Annecy, fascist groups are out beating people with iron bars and sticks. Their vision of society is one of walls, barbed wires, militias and hanging people. Like the Islamic State or Wagner, no better.
And the police protect them, the justice system covers them up, right-wing political parties recruit them. Because they are the children of those who sit in the Parliament and the Government.
As for the government, it is continuing to destroy social welfare, education and everything that makes up society, while accelerating the destruction of life and environment, crushing and humiliating ever more the people who work against their will to keep this absurd machine running. Macron, with his bewildered banker’s face, is frantically destroying everything to satisfy his microcosm of libertarian super-rich and “lead climbers”, with the cretinous belief that the economy will regulate itself, bringing peace and prosperity in a world where everyone is its own master. A void of philosophical thought, a breeding ground for the most contemptuous individualism.
And when the people rise up, when young people from post-colonial immigrant families rise up, when antifascists, environmentalists and feminists resist, then the police and fascists violently repress them, like perfect stooges of a capitalist and individualist system that is heading for ruin.
France thought of itself as the beacon of civilization. It thought of itself as the land of the Enlightenment, the Revolution, of Human Rights and social democracy. It was nothing more than a colonial negation. Its megalomania and supremacism led it to colonize a third of the planet, imposing its model by force and violence, plundering the South to allow the North to benefit from a welfare state and its population to feed on illusions. As long as there was money…
But the Welfare State was a short-lived illusion.
Capitalism doesn’t bother with helping the poor to survive.
The universal values France thought it was promoting were just an illusion.
Social democracy was an illusion.
More, it was all a lie.
The reality is the authoritarianism, predation and violence of the mercenaries of the stock market.
Today, at last, the masks are coming off. After the Gilets Jaunes uprising, there weren’t many left.
And if the illusion has to fade away in the flames of the riots, then we accept it.
It’s only fair. “We smash your windows because you smash our lives”.
And if they are scum, then we’re in, always in solidarity with popular riots.
To honor Nahel and all the victims of state violence, the only thing that will bring relief is total and radical social transformation! No state, no cops, no prisons, no bosses and no fascists!
The “Désarmons-les!” collective.
To understand what we’re talking about and who we are :
To understand where our information and analyses come from:
To read our analysis of the impunity system:
…and in particular about the mechanisms of police violence :