Below, we present a translation of the first message from Serge since French police seriously injured him along with many other people during a protest in Sainte-Soline on March 25, 2023. Serge spent a month in a coma after a policeman shot a grenade at his head. We have been following his situation with anxiety and it is with great relief that we report that he has recovered enough to post this message.
We are grateful that Serge remains among the living, just as we give thanks that the Italian anarchist Alfredo Cospito miraculously survived after more than 180 days of hunger strike against the solitary confinement regime of the Italian prison system. It’s heartening to see that the margin between life and death is sometimes a little wider than it appears, especially we have recently lost so many comrades. A little good news makes it easier to keep going.
Yesterday, French police arrested 18 people accused of connection to the Soulevements de la Terre (“Earth Uprising”), one of the movements that took part in the protests in Sainte-Soline. The dissolution of the Soulevements de la Terre, declared by the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, is scheduled to take place today. As usual, the state endangers the lives of those it claims to protect, blames the victims of its attacks, and then takes steps to silence the survivors.
You can learn more about the Soulevements and how to support them in the face of state repression here. You can read more about the clashes in Sainte-Soline here. To learn more about the social movement that erupted in France over the past few months in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular efforts to force French workers to work longer hours before retiring, start here.
A Message from S., June 17, 2023
My name is Serge and I was seriously injured, like many others, at the demonstration against the Sainte-Soline mega-basin on March 25, 2023. I was hit in the head by a grenade, probably a direct shot fired by a police officer equipped with a Cougar grenade launcher. I suffered a serious head injury which put me in an absolutely critical condition, a situation made worse by the fact that emergency services were unable to care for me during the demonstration. After a month in an induced coma and six weeks spent in intensive care, I was first transferred to a neurosurgery unit, and then to a rehabilitation center. Right now, I feel that I have made enormous progress in my ability to move, eat, and simply talk and think. It’s going to be an extremely long road, but I’m determined to give it everything I have, to fight to get back what I once had, both physically and mentally. Of course, I’m doing it for myself, but also because I believe that refusing to give in, refusing to be crushed by the repressive machine, is a political necessity at a time when the states are betting on using terror and on us remaining passive.
First of all, I would like to thank all those who, in that minefield, carried me, held my hand, protected me, gave me first aid (slowing the bleeding, cardiac massage, intubation, etc.) and quite simply enabled me to stay alive. I would also like to thank the caregivers who, at every stage, took care of me and are still helping me today to regain my body and mind. I can only tell you how good I felt when I came out of my coma and saw the tremendous solidarity that people have expressed: assemblies, texts, tags, donations, shows, actions, and various messages from comrades all over the world. The echo of your voices and the roar of the streets helped me and my loved ones to keep going. For all this, I say to all of you a big thank you. You have been amazing.
All this reminds us that it is vital that no beating, no incarceration, no mutilation, no murder by the forces of capitalist social order should go unnoticed. They mutilate and murder people so often that it is no accident, it’s part of their job. Far too many stories around the world remind us that there’s no truer statement than the formula “ACAB.” All cops are indeed bastards. They are and will remain the minions of the bourgeoisie whose interests they protect and ensure along with, at least until now, their continuing survive.
The only prospect that the capitalist class offers us is the deterioration of our living conditions on a massive scale, and all proletarians here and abroad are currently experiencing this bitter reality. Confronting the struggles we are waging to thwart this disastrous destiny, they have clearly chosen to drastically increase repression, both through new repressive laws and by giving carte blanche to law enforcement, as seen in Sainte-Soline. We must take note of this, and collectively promote the idea that it is out of the question to take part in a struggle without effective protection and the capacity to resist. We are not martyrs.
Nevertheless, our strength has little to do with what happens on the battlefield. Our strength is in our numbers, in our place in society and the better world we aspire to. Against the handful of organizations of leaders and bureaucrats who would like to send us home once they have earned their place in the sun on our backs, we need a thousand ways of organizing ourselves at a grassroots level through and for concrete solidarity, for the comrades in the movement but also, and perhaps above all, for all those who will join future revolutionary movements.
Strength to comrades currently in the sights of the states!
Long live the Revolution!
See you soon in the fights.
For another inspiring story of an anarchist who narrowly escaped death and fought hard to go through the recovery process in the teeth of repression, we recommend the prison letters of Luciano “Tortuga” Pitronello; You can listen to an interview with him on our Ex-Worker podcast here.