from Rene Riesel

To Jose Bove
2 November 1999

You telephoned me this past Saturday, for the third time since your release from prison. You doubt that I literally have nothing more to say to you. For your part, you have seized upon a new pretext of the most tenuous nature to call me (I have had my telephone service disconnected for a dozen days, I did not go to the sheep [breeders'] meeting in Clermont-Ferrand; in brief, one wonders what has become of me).

We have thus exchanged several notes without interest. All this ends up being clumsy, I am left to say that no, I will not participate in the slapstick comedy of Seattle,[1] and that you have said everything and the contrary of everything for several weeks, comrade.

This has led you to conclude that it would perhaps be useful if we spoke and why not have breakfast, come by train, in Paris. Such a detour would be useless.

We have worked very intelligently for almost two years concerning the question of genetic engineering. The divergences in our approaches were obvious but we managed -- in the enlargement of the action and the deepening of its meaning -- to give each other the space that we each needed. We even spoke quite openly about it.

Our last contact before these three phone calls was made by an interposed person. To the letter that I sent you in prison,[2] a few days before your release, you responded that you were in agreement.

If the quick analysis that I proposed to you was succinct, it was [also] just, which what has followed has not ceased to demonstrate. You have chosen to close the fragile perspectives that opened up by surrendering yourself to ostentatious association with the most unspeakable scoundrels, mouth-to-mouth with the first social traitors to arrive, with the most shameful alliances, the most pitiful consensual clownish acts. You knew how to do better, through your own means as through what I warned you about.

Do not imagine that this divergence -- one too many -- can be considered tactical. We do not share the same methods nor the same associations, because we do not share the same goals, not at all.

Do you know what they say in the banlieus, among the young poor people, as among your citizen friends who dream of inclusion in their world of shit and their equitable trade? "Bove has lost his skirt!" which practically means, "he is out of it."[3] This is a more trustworthy judgment than any international tribunal.

It will be necessary to make this matter public.

Rene Riesel

[1] One wonders if Riesel regretted this decision, giving the intensity of the subversive activity (and the police repression) that took place in Seattle at the meeting of the World Trade Organization on 30 November 1999.

[2] See letter dated 3 September 1999.

[3] The French here is Bove, il a paume sa jupe and il marche a cote des ses pompes.

(Translated from the French by NOT BORED! August 2007. Footnotes by the translator.)

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