Do you know Bloc Lorrain?
– An association that practices self-help and participates in the anti-capitalist struggles in the east of France –
The libertarian association is very active in Lorraine, organizing solidarity actions as well as food distributions and demonstrations. It also runs its own media on social networks. The Bloc Lorrain has been targeted by the authorities for some time. Now the government is going a step further: a few days ago they received a disbandment notice by mail. The spokesperson of the association explains.
April 2022, a “March for the Future” unites hundreds of people in Nancy to respond to the ecological emergency. The Bloc Lorrain is involved in the initiative. On September 4, hundreds of billboards that remain on all night are switched off in Metz, Nancy and Commercy. Behind this environmental action: the Bloc Lorrain. At the end of September, banners are unfurled at the Saint-Avold coal-fired power plant in the Moselle department. Demonstrators had entered this facility to protest the reopening of this heavily polluting power plant and called for an exit from capitalism. Bloc Lorrain claimed the coup. The collective was very active during the yellow vests and in the resistance against the “pass sanitaire”.
The structure is an association under the 1901 law that “includes about 200 members of all ages,” its spokesperson tells us. The collective describes itself as libertarian, critical of globalization, ecological and promotes anarchist ideas. At the grassroots level, it is “a group of friends, some of whom have been active for 20 years.” After the yellow vests and the pension movement, the group decided to get serious. “We constituted ourselves as an association in March 2021 to carry out certain actions around social justice.“
And the Bloc Lorrain spares no effort. Every week, “maraudes” (soup kitchens) are being organized in Nancy, Metz and throughout Lorraine. Meanwhile, there are “activists all over the region” and even “sympathizers elsewhere.” Within two years, Bloc Lorrain has distributed more than 20,000 meals.
The collective also conducts food distributions to students each semester and helps families with refugee backgrounds. “We also do environmental campaigns,” the spokesperson tells us. For example, the group goes out to collect tons of thrown away trash in nature. These are wholesome initiatives that serve the common weal.
It is a real “alternative struggle system” that is being developed. The Bloc Lorrain practices concrete mutual aid and fights in the streets. “We also demonstrate, of course, we hold the banners“, or “we also fight in Bure against the storage of nuclear waste“. The Bloc Lorrain was also in Paris at huge demonstrations or in Nantes at music festivals in honor of Steve, a teenager murdered by the police.
For its solidarity and voluntary actions, the Bloc Lorrain was never praised, on the contrary, it was strongly repressed: “Many arrests, but never for acts of violence or damage to property.” “I myself was often convicted for media offenses, that is, for the things you write when you denounce police violence, when you talk about militias to denounce police officers, for example,” the spokesperson recounts.
Another example after a registered demonstration in Nancy: “40 people were summoned for allegedly obstructing traffic“. There are many other “absolutely absurd situations “, e.g. a flood of tickets against activists while kettled, “detentions without justification or trial…“.
In recent months “we have been followed by strange people, even during the Maraudes. We don’t know if it was the secret service, the police prefecture or a cell for the ultra-left. Men in hiding, taking pictures of us. We documented everything on our Facebook page and made fun of them“.
The Ministry of the Interior, which has been in a dissolution frenzy for two years, obviously did not laugh about that. In a letter dated October 21, 2022, which we were able to examine, the Bloc Lorrain is accused of provoking “armed demonstrations or acts against persons and property.” Can it get more piled up?
As with the government’s attempts to dismantle Nantes Révoltée, the Lyon et Environ anti-fascist group, or Associations for the Defense of Palestine, these are only vague accusations based on assumed intentions. For example, the government accuses the structure of “valorizing riots” on its Facebook page or distributing a video showing “refugee movements and cataclysmic events” to denounce capitalism. Telling the truth is now illegal in France.
Every post or comment on Facebook seems to be scrutinized and screened to deduce that the collective is “inciting” “violent action.” The statement of intent is unquestionable: “At no point you disavow the words or actions of your activists, you even encourage them, as your condemnation of police violence shows.” Once again, denouncing a real and documented fact, namely repression, becomes a crime. The dissolution proceedings are first and foremost proceedings against the freedom of expression.
Moreover, the letter accuses the “denigration” of the forces of order and the use of the acronym “ACAB“. As with the other dissolution procedures, it seems that the police have become an untouchable body that you cannot question, since if you do, you will be dismantled.
Even more absurd is that “the creation of demo paramedics structures within the Bloc Lorrain clearly demonstrates a genuine preparation for confrontation“, as one can read. Thus, the treatment of people who have been injured during demonstrations would be threatened with disbandment, although such treatment is, in principle, a responsibility of the authorities!
Four pages long, everything is chimerical, right down to the signature of Pascale Léglise, the “Director of Public Liberties and Legal Affairs” of the Ministry of the Interior. One thinks one is dreaming. The Darmanin clan seems determined to destroy all local counterforces. Yesterday it was Nantes Révoltée, a small independent media outlet from the West, that was affected from this kind of procedures. Today it is a voluntary self-help organization in Lorraine. And what about tomorrow? How far will the repressive mania go?
Bloc Lorrain does not intend to give up: “We have a collective of lawyers who will defend us before the Council of State“. For November 5, a demonstration is already planned in Nancy.
Finally, an online pool was created to cover the legal costs. “We have no finances, the money we collect we invest in our maraudes or in supporting refugees,” explains the spokesperson. So the members need support.
You can support them here: https://www.helloasso.com/associations/le-bloc-lorrain/