[Ppnews] Former political prisoner, Joelle Aubron dies

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 2 14:32:45 EST 2006


From: kersplebedeb <info at kersplebedeb.com>

"Joelle Aubron Is Dead
"This March 1st, 2006, Joelle left this horrible world.
"Since her release from Bapaume prison in June 
2004, she has devoted herself to battling cancer 
and fighting for the liberation of hum comrades 
Nathalie Menigon, Georges Cipriani, Jean-Marc Rouillan and Regis Schleicher.
"Tomorrow, she will be there with us, 
demonstrating against the offices of the 
penitentiary administration to demand their 
liberation, as intensely as she ever did. As 
intensely as her commitment for the social 
liberation of the human majority, everywhere in the world.
"Collectif Nlpf !"


I just received the above from the Ne Laissons 
Pas Faire Collective, which has been struggling 
for freedom for Action Directe’s political 
prisoners. It is very sad news ­ Aubron died at 
the age of only 46, after dedicating her life to 
the struggle for a better world. Her commitment 
moved her to join the communist guerilla 
organization Action Directe, which was active in France in the 1980s.

AD grew out of the French autonomist scene, drew 
heavy inspiration from both the struggles of the 
Third World proletariat and the intellectual 
legacy of the new communist currents of the 1960s 
and 70s. It carried out a number of spectacular 
attacks, many of which were in cooperation with 
Germany's Red Army Faction. Aubron was arrested 
in February 1987, along with fellow Action 
Directe members Jean-Marc Rouillan and Natalie 
Menignon. She was subsequently sentenced to life 
in prison for participating in the assassination 
of General Rene Audran and Renault president Georges Besse.

On June 16th 2004, at the age of 44, Aubron was 
released from prison on health grounds - she was 
suffering from lung cancer. (According to French 
law, those suffering terminal illnesses can be 
released to die at home.) “The liberation of my 
comrades is a battle still being waged,” she said, as she left the prison.

Yesterday Aubron died. She will be sorely missed.

Nearly 2 000 people, including politicians from 
the left and Greens, recently signed a petition 
calling with the release of the remaining three 
Action Directe prisoners, who on Februrary 26th 
began their twentieth year behind bars. For ten 
years they were held in severe isolation, 
conditions calculated to break their spirit. As a 
result, Nathalie Menignon now suffers from 
extreme depression, and is partially hemiplegic 
following several cerebral vascular incidents.

Below is an excerpt from Short Biography of 
Action Directe Prisoners, written by Aubron in 1996:

"I was born in 1959. My family came from the 
traditional French bourgeoisie, but lived in a 
working class neighbourhood in Paris. I learned 
quickly that social equality was just a word 
engraved over my public school doorways.

"The other even more important factor was the 
renewal of the revolutionary movement that took 
place in the sixties. Its anti-capitalism, 
anti-imperialism and anti-revisionism infused the atmosphere of that period.

"By the late seventies very radical levels of 
confrontation had already been tried out and were 
still taking place, the Black Panther Party in 
the United States, the guerilla movement in Latin 
America, the Palestinian struggle
 Closer to 
home, in Italy and Germany other guerillas were 
hitting the system at the heart of its cities. 
While there were many different struggles with 
specific demands, they all existed within a 
common dynamic against the system. So I lived in 
squats, in working class neighbourhoods in Paris 
that were facing real estate development. There 
was the anti-nuclear demonstration in Malville in 
the summer of 1977, where a demonstrater was was 
killed by a cop’s grenade. In October, at the 
same time in France was getting ready to 
extradite the lawyer Klaus Croissant to Germany, 
the RAF prisoners were executed at Stammheim. I 
was not a member in any group, but at these times 
I was going to demonstrations armed with molotov 
cocktails and took part in minor actions (against 
Ecuador’s embassy after the bloody repression of 
sugar workers in Guyagil; the truck that was 
rigged to look like it was booby-trapped and left 
in front of the Minister of Justice following the 
sentencing of revolutionary activists
.) 
Revolutionary violence was integrated into the 
everyday praxis of activists, guerilla attacks 
showed us that we too would have to engage in 
armed struggle in our class warfare, it was a 
period full of discussion about the armed 
experiment, specifically the Italian situation.

"To give a very short summary, one of the things 
we discussed was whether or not it was necessary 
to have a political-military organization. In 
1980, even though the autonomist group that I was 
a part of participated in AD actions and lent our 
logistical support, its members were not members of Action Directe.

"I was arrested with a comrade from AD in 1982 
while leaving a place where there were arms. I 
did not declare myself to be a member of AD. I 
continued to think about things while in prison. 
It was a period marked by the cowardice of the 
French extreme left in general and the inanity of 
the French autonomist movement in particular. 
Imperialism advanced in all its splendor: the 
Israeli intervention in Lebanon, Thatcher in the 
Malvines, the French bombing of Beeka in Lebanon, 
Reagan’s attack on Grenada, the mining of 
Nicaragua’s harbours
 The supposedly left-wing 
French government’s policies revealed the 
social-democrats’ submission to the neoliberal 
line that was dominant around the world. At the 
same time the former revolutionary movement was 
going to pieces. On the one hand were those who 
would jump at any chance of acquiring power, on 
the other those whose who did nothing but recite 
the old formulas that left the proletariat just 
as defenseless against the attacks of the 
bourgeoisie. I now saw not only the usefulness of 
armed struggle, but also the necessity of the 
strategy of having a guerilla organization. 
Despite this, when I was released from prison in 
1984, at first I only engaged in legal activities 
: support for the organization’s prisoners, book 
distribution, newspaper. Even though I had 
decided to get back with AD I did not want to go 
underground as soon as I got out of prison. It 
was almost a year later, when the repression was 
intensifying, that I went underground.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In 2002-2003, while still in prison, Aubron was 
interviewed by the anarcho-punk webzine Future 
Noir (the entire interview was translated and is 
available on the web at 
http://www.kersplebedeb.com/mystuff/texts/aubron_1992.html); 
she was asked what she thought of activism today, 
and what she thought had changed from the 19702 
and 1980s when Action Directe and the RAF carried 
out their attacks. While the entire interview is 
worth reading, his is how she answered that one question:

"When I look at activism over the past few years, 
it is from a very particular point of view. My 
perspective basically consists of two things.

"First, the years in prison. My relationship with 
what is going on today is necessarily very 
intellectual. I can’t see, or hardly, the living 
contributions, how people actually come together 
in the different situations and, along with that, 
the connections, the emotions
 in short, that 
collective subjectivity, an essential part of the 
struggle and of life. I am in a certain sense out 
of touch, kept in an involuntary ivory tower 
where what people are theorising is more 
important than what they are doing. Given the way 
in which I lived out my own politics, it is not a 
very comfortable place to evaluate things from.

"Secondly, the “defeat” that we suffered. When I 
say “we”, I am referring to far more than just 
those Action Directe activists who are still in 
prison. In 1968 I turned nine years old, so I am 
not of the generation of ’68. Nevertheless, I 
started from that revolutionary surge “there”.

"There were many different expressions of the 
strength of the desire for liberation and 
emancipation in that surge. They were present 
throughout the different experiences of men and women:

"* The struggles, whether armed or not, in the 
three continents, which confronted local 
dictators supported by the imperialist powers, or 
else directly confronted the armed forces of the 
latter, and the struggles of the oppressed in the 
very heart of those imperialist powers.

"* The struggle of women to act and think 
critically against all those institutions where 
human beings are molded to serve capitalist 
social relations and the reproduction of alienating submission


"By the end of the 1980s, this surge was 
“finished”. In quotation marks though. It was a 
defeated at the hands of a bourgeois 
counter-offensive that we had seen getting 
stronger and stronger since the 1970s. In the 
long war between exploiters and exploited, a 
battle was lost. Yet the undeniable historical 
break which is the cruel result of this surge 
ending should not be confused with being finished 
once and for all. It is simply a cycle of struggle which was finished.

"The 1990s, especially the first half, were a 
nightmare, as we fled from the naturally 
oppressive march of history. Our oppressors were in a position to brag.

"Today, that phase is behind us, and over the 
past years we see the outlines of what we hope may be a new surge.

"Within which there is of course what the media 
calls the anti-globalization movement. At first 
it seemed to me to be monstrously dominated by 
social-democratic assumptions. Nostalgia for a 
“social” State, demands for “better 
redistribution of wealth”, which don’t really 
question the foundations of the system. Indeed, 
in this way they limit the hopes of life, pull 
them down inexorably into the rut of reformism, 
all the more senseless given that the decay of 
this very system is characterised, amongst other 
things, by a deep reactionary impulse (see what I 
said about the ATTAC and other partisans of 
global citizenship). Faced with this, the more 
radical expressions were put on the defensive, 
people dusted off their prayerbooks (whether 
communist or anarchist) in an attempt to to 
counter this falsified and falsifying view of 
reality. This was a high point in sect-like 
behaviour and competition between different 
brands in the marketplace of the protest 
spectacle. Over the last little while, I have the 
impression that things have started to get 
better. The opening of spaces for critical 
discussion and actions and all sorts of 
interesting things. You’ve got to admit that 
reality really helps us here. Especially since 
September 11th and the pretext that the new “holy crusaders” made of it.

"Already, in light of the series of events that 
have transpired over the past months, it is 
difficult to continue to reject the analysis of 
imperialist relations. Globalization is the name 
of the new form of imperialism. In the same was 
that the means of accumulation changes within an 
“eternal” capitalist mode of production, the 
forms of imperialism change. On the one hand, a 
clearly visible pyramid with the United States 
sitting on top; on the other hand, the utterly 
reactionary nature of this relationship of forces 
where its pretentions of acting on the world seem 
to be exhausted by the very spectacle of its 
powerlessness. It is definitely a very dangerous 
situation. For at least two reasons: the 
impressive attack power that imperialism has 
developed and the temptation of miracle-solutions 
with their scapegoats and heaven-sent politicians.

"But despite myself, despite being well aware of 
these dangers and what they mean for the 
different spaces where life and creativity exist, 
I am not convinced that the desire for liberation 
and emancipation has been destroyed. A while back 
I wrote a text about commitment where I compared 
it to the old myth of Prometheus, who stole fire 
from the gods so that men would no longer be at 
the mercy of their blind and arbitrary power. An 
insurrection where perseverance turned lost 
illusions into power for the future. The goal of 
developing liberatory relations between people is 
at the heart of the human adventure. Throughout 
the ages its ideological, political and social 
aspects are expressed differently, there are 
often mistakes made about how to realize it, but 
nevertheless it is always reborn from its own 
ashes. It is intimately tied to life, to its 
surging forth there where it was least expected.

"I am thinking about really a lot of things that 
all have in common the desire to change the 
situation and change it concretely. In a 
maquiladora town close to Tijuana, faced with the 
desertion of the so-called public authorities 
from this free trade zone, the women are creating 
popular education initiatives, they set up as 
school with 300 places, and set up a university 
of knowledge and philosophy. Recently a Civil 
Mission for the Protection of the Palestinian 
People succeeded, through the presence of 
internationals, in allowing Palestinian workers 
to fix the water-pumps in a camp, abandoned for 
15 days and under fire from Israeli snipers. A 
film-maker makes a film with street-children in 
Daker after having set things up so that his 
project helps the kids in the long term. I have 
chosen “small scale” examples, carried out in 
situations where death is never far away. There 
are countless others. Day after day, they 
deconstruct the destruction and the unfavourable 
balance of power, even if they are not enough to reverse this balance.

"There are more and more people resisting around 
the world. For those of us who persist in 
fighting for the future, having experienced 
defeat may be an advantage. We have lived through 
the exhaustion, the death of an upsurge. Today, 
we are seeing and living the budding new life 
behind that phase. These situations where the 
invisible recreate the consciousness of being the 
only creative multitude, they reinvent our 
ability to function while asking questions.

"From various things I have been reading, I am 
seeing things coming together. It seems that 
anticapitalist critiques and actions are once 
again taking place. After having thrown out lots 
of babies with their bathwater, notably in the 
way of concepts and grasping reality in a way 
that serves the oppressed, we are leaving our 
defensive positions. Calls that “we want it all 
and we want it now” can once again be heard. In 
any case, nothing else is possible. What I am 
saying here is very vague but there are so many 
realities where once again we can see global 
understandings of struggles, resistance and hope. 
In any case, it is going better than it was in the mid-nineties."

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
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