Cabbage-patch revolutionaries? The French ‘grocer terrorists’
December 18, 2008
The villagers of Tarnac were charmed by the self-sufficient students who set up a commune in their midst. Little did they realise that their new neighbours were anarchists bent on overthrowing capitalism. Or so the police claimed. So what is the truth?
They are brilliant ex-students from bourgeois families who live in a farm commune in the green, empty, centre of France. To the delight of local people, they have revived the defunct village shop and bar. They are also, according to the French Interior Minister, “ultra-leftist-anarchist” subversives, members of an “invisible committee” plotting the violent downfall of capitalism.
Since nine of the alleged “terrorist grocers” were arrested one month ago, severe doubts have surfaced about the French government’s allegations. Villagers at Tarnac in Corrèze in south-west France and parents of the suspects have campaigned for the investigation against the so-called “Tarnac Nine” to be dropped. The whole notion of an “ultra-left” terrorist threat is an absurdity, they say: the convenient fantasy of an “authoritarian”, centre-right government.
Benjamin Rosoux, 30, the main “shopkeeper” at Tarnac, was among the seven people arrested and later released. He has since complained to the French press about the “surreal” questioning by police investigators. He said that they asked questions such as: “Do you have orgies in your commune?” or made accusations such as: “Your heads are full of rubbish because you have read too many books.”
He confesses to left-wing “militant” views but rejects the accusation that the Tarnac commune was a kind of terrorist base camp.
By using the word “terrorist” as “a kind of badge of infamy”, he said, the government was trying to undermine “anyone who opposes its policies, anyone who has a different vision of the world”. Both investigations – the Printemps toilet bomb and the “terrorist” grocers of Corrèze – continue…
See also : Bomb is found in Parisian department store, Katrin Bennhold and Basil Katz, International Herald Tribune, December 16, 2008 | Use of French terrorism law on railroad saboteurs draws criticism, Celestine Bohlen, International Herald Tribune (Bloomberg News), December 4, 2008 | Cheese-eating surrender monkeys vs. very fast trains : Free the Tarnac Nine! (November 25, 2008) | Support the Tarnac 9 : site of the US support committee for the Tarnac 9
Biba La Revolución!
Well yes, Biba’s boutique was blown up. On May Day (1971), no less. Hell, they even wrote a communiqué to commemorate the occasion:
IF YOU’RE NOT BUSY BEING BORN, YOU’RE BUSY BUYING.
All the sales girls in the flash boutiques are made to dress the same and have the same make-up, representing the 1940s. In fashion as in everything else, capitalism can only go backwards — they’ve nowhere to go — they’re dead.
The future is ours. Life is so boring there is nothing to do except spend all our wages on the latest skirt or shirt.
Brothers and Sisters, what are your real desires? Sit in the drugstore, look distant, empty, bored, drinking some tasteless coffee? Or perhaps BLOW IT UP or BURN IT DOWN. The only thing you can do with modern slave-houses — called boutiques — is WRECK THEM. You can’t reform profit capitalism and inhumanity. Just KICK IT TILL IT BREAKS.
REVOLUTION. COMMUNIQUE 8. THE ANGRY BRIGADE.
According to Biba, the “real desires” of the “Brothers and Sisters” revolve around wardrobes, cosmetics, soft furnishings, washing powder and food — for both themselves and their pets — “all presented in the distinctive Biba packaging”. Well, that’s what some reckon:
Biba remains the most evocative name in post-War British fashion.
Born as a small boutique in 1964 just as London started to swing, its upward mobility followed a path diametrically opposed to that of the society around it…
Drawing on Art Deco, Nouveau, Victoriana and the golden age of Hollywood, it was more than just fashion: it was a whole world, a lifestyle choice. At the height of the store’s glory, the committed shopper could buy not only a new wardrobe, fully co-ordinated from head to toe, but also a complete range of cosmetics and soft furnishings, together with the washing powder to care for her clothes, and food for both herself and her pets, all presented in the distinctive Biba packaging. Alternatively she could just hang out, either lounging in the shop-windows (Biba didn’t do window-displays), or sipping cocktails upstairs amongst the flamingos that lived in the Roof Garden, or in the Rainbow Room, where on a good night there might be a live performance by the likes of the New York Dolls, Liberace or the Manhattan Transfer.
It was not so much a department store as a theme park devoted to elegantly wasted decadence.
Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch and Princess Anne may have shopped there; Mick and Marianne, Sonny and Cher, David and Angie may have been regular visitors; but the store was never the exclusive preserve of the rich and famous: prices were kept deliberately low, and anyone who could tolerate the disdainful inefficiency of the staff was encouraged to soak up the glamour of an unforgettable shopping experience.
And then it crashed and burned.
What’s happening in France concerning the Tarnac 9 is just another attempt made by the government to enforce repression and put off any kind of social protests.
The presumption of innocence has once more been totally avoided.
The media arrived in the farm of Tarnac just an hour after the police: another confirmation that they’re both working hand in hand…
Tarnac is a 5 hour drive from Paris.
The grocery in Tarnac is managed by 150 people from the village who get involved in any form since it’s not only a grocery but also a hall where concerts and plays can take place, a workers’ restaurant, a post office and a petrol station.
Here’s the New York support site where you can read, among other stuff, “how is it to be done”, “introduction to civil war”, “20 thesis on the subversion of the Metropolis” and excerpts from “the coming insurrection” written by the invisible committee: