from Rene Riesel

To Jose Bove
3 September 1999
My dear Jose:

Outside I cannot have the same appreciation of the situation as you inside.[1] But independent of our differences, we have, I believe, a sufficient basic agreement on the meaning of what has been undertaken these past two years, in particular, on what we would do if there was an incarceration for which we have sought, that there is no need of more oratory precautions before, quite briefly, giving you my feelings and my analysis of the situation that each new rebound of your "affair" reinforces.

-- We are in the process of completely losing the initiative. The affair, which has this time become really mediatic,[2] escapes us. Consequently, it is completely possible to give it new meaning and pursue what you have called the pedagogy of action. More or less confusedly, each one -- close to our positions or hostile to them -- feels it, and maladroitly brings the responses that he has the habit of bringing to all things, without dissimulating that an opportunity is being lost here.

-- But it is we who are especially losing the opportunity to push further: this time the quantity has not produced quality, in any case, not as we would like.

-- I believe that in this case, where it nevertheless goes without saying, that the tactical recourse to the Conf[ederation] umbrella (corporatist motivations = "professionals," save roquefort,[3] etc.) was a primary strategic error. Not for the Conf, which gained the greatest possible benefit, but for the goals that we pursue (even accounting for the numbers of those who "radicalized" the Conf by evolving the relations of force in it). For the record, I only mention the confusionism concerning union freedom (at the minimum, it would be necessary to know which unionism, without counting that this would imply that a non-unionist person would ipso facto be condemned to stagnate in jail or pay [a fine]).

-- The second global error of appreciation was surely not accounting for the risk in such an objective of the increase in power over the last two years (in the sense that it would have been necessary to foresee the cumulative exasperation of the judges in Averyron and "the independence of the judiciary," if they objectively played an unexpected dirty trick on the State, they would take us for idiots, because there is no doubt that this was the most "explicit" opportunity to imprison you).

-- The essential now is to make use of the opportunity to reseize the young people and first of all by subdued speech or writing. I will try to do what I can in a certain isolation, thus in a subterranean fashion, with the limits that this involves. Everything will rest upon you after your release. Prepare yourself well, this will be difficult. But is the opportunity is there to speak clearly about the real links between the actions, the direct actions, against GMOs[4] and the eugenic poisoners, against the reformist illusions of the Tobin type[5] and obviously the State!

And so, rhizome (this is how you are referred to by Mermet's scoundrels[6]), have courage.

I embrace you,

[1] At the time this was written, Jose Bove was in jail for his role in the widely reported attack against a McDonald's restaurant in Montpellier, France.

[2] The French here is mediatique, for which there is no equivalent in English. Using genetique ("genetic") as our model, we have rendered it as "mediatic." It means more than simply media-related or mediatized, and suggests the spectacular.

[3] gardarem lou roquefort, an alteration of Gardarem lou Larzac, a slogan and movie title from 1974. Larzac is limestone karst plateau in the southern part of the Massif Central in France. Roquefort is a French cheese, indirectly threatened by the McDonaldsization of French eating habits.

[4] Genetically modified organisms.

[5] Named after the economist James Tobin, the Tobin tax is designed to penalize short-term speculation on currency exchange.

[6] Daniel Mermet, a French journalist.

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

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