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why i packed my bags

anon | 08.08.2008 14:46 | Analysis | Repression | Social Struggles | World

This is a translation of an open letter from Bruno, a French Anarchist who recently decided to escape his oppressors and go on the run.

For the original (French) version of this letter see:

For a translation in Spanish see:


Open Letter Nº 1
5th July 2008

« Act like a primitive and think like a strategist » René Char.

Greetings to all comrades and friends and to all those who have followed our story from near or far.

I was arrested in January, and after four and a half months in prison and further struggles for decent conditions in jail, I found myself on the outside, under the control of the court for the past month. Court control is a kind of personalized law that tells you what you should do and what you are forbidden from doing. I should not leave the Belfart area, or the department of Haute-Saône (Eastern France) where my residence was established, in my fathers house. In theory my movements were limited to searching for work and working, or the needs of the investigation into my case.
The idea is powerful social control, putting your body at the disposition of the Police and the Justice system. I should, for example, have gone every week to show my face at the local police station and be "monitored" two times a month by a social policeman from the penitentiary, a kind of local equivalent to an investigating judge. To summarize, things are simple, or you take a lot of care, you find/they find you a place to stay and you stay there, or if not, you go back to jail, and it is not to be taken lightly.

During the month I was under court control, I had the unpleasant sensation of being outside of the spaces of struggle, of taking part in my own death as a political subject.
Accepting the rules of their game, it was as if I signed my own submission, my surrender as a rebel,we sometimes even think we can say to ourselves: « I'll play a while and then I will calm down » or « I keep up the appearance of playing the game». And here I felt dispossessed of the way I had chosen to fight the existent, I felt dispossessed of how I struggle for a radical transformation of the spaces in which we live and against the capitalist mediation of our lives.

So my gesture is a simple gesture of my revolt against what they were trying to impose on me. All I have is my own life and I could chose between letting them grind me and annihilate everything I had done up until now, or I could fight, not accept the situation they impose on us, take the spaces that open up to me. The room for maneuver I had left me only illegality, clandestinity and escape. In the first instance, to put a bit of distance between myself and the Police. Later to dare to live the present, without regrets.

I know that this is a hard road, that very often jail catches up with us, that the claws of repression end up toppling those who fight as illegals. I also know that I prefer some hours of stolen freedom, wrenched from those who oppress us than to breathe drip-fed by the hand of the master.
I want to live without masters, with no one who tells me what is bad or good for me. I don't care what they think of me. I want to live in permanent revolt against oppression. I want, starting from that, to weave links that allow us to live collectively, because that is politics, basic understanding of what we want and acting in consequence. We start with the problems we have and we act without waiting for any boss to come and tell us if he agrees or not.

Escaping from judicial control today means once again situating myself with those who fight, a statement that I am not a body to be managed, that they can impose their will on. It means I have not finished with my critique of oppression and of the power of capitalism, that I have not ceased to be one among hundreds of thousands who fight in the spaces that are theirs, against the madness of our time. I have not ceased to think that it is in struggle, that continuous re-appropriation of our lives, that we find freedom.

I think of all the men and women who fight in solidarity with our comrades in prison.
A special thought for them, our imprisoned comrades: strength, courage and determination.

For all those who exchange the destruction of our lives for money, for social standing, or for I know not what, you will have nothing more than the expression of my deepest disdain. I hope to never see you again.

Fire to all prisons.
Fire to Capitalism.
From the underground, Bruno.