[Besançon, France] In the face of JCDecaux and its minions… the best solidarity is attack!

Below is a text about the repressive waves following the destruction of JCDecaux advertising boards in the city of Besançon.

On November 18th, 2013 two people were charged with destruction of billboards which took place in Besançon between 2011 and 2013.

After 24 hours of detention and search of their homes, they were placed under investigation and judicial supervision (prohibited from leaving the national territory and getting in contact, and obliged to go at the central police station of Besançon once a month).

Both of these charges followed the arrest of a person for destruction of two advertising boards (“sucettes”) on the evening of June 21st, 2013. The cops were able to rely on the call of a citizen, who dialed the 17 emergency number from the top of his building. During his 48-hour detention, and besides the fact that he snitched on himself by admitting 50 incidents of destruction, he ended up spitting out two names before the cops. The snitch Nouma Friaisse facilitated the work of the police. This is to warn those who might run into him sooner or later, knowing that he’s made several travels on the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, particularly during the police assaults in April 2012. This collaboration with the police has evidently not permitted him to dodge the judicial machine, as he got the same judicial examination order as the others.

Of the three accused, only B. remained silent in the face of the police. The inquiry, initiated by the investigating judge Meyer, is ongoing, and at present no case file has been sent to his lawyer. Not confessing anything and keeping silent in the face of the enemy remains the best weapon of all those who may be caught in its clutches.

Over the last few years the local and then the national media, as good watchdogs of the State and capitalism, relayed these sabotages that were carried out in a scattered manner by marginalizing them, psychiatrising the “breakers” (who, in the words of the dominant daily L’Est Républicain, would be “sick megalo-maniacs that are picking personally on Jean-Claude Decaux,” the owner of the firm), and minimizing the damages – which amount to several hundred thousands of euros since 2008 (and continue to climb up after these three charges were pressed, especially during the detention night between the 18th and 19th of November 2013): the company has never put out a statement on this subject, although internally it has attempted to counter these attacks by changing the infrastructure of the billboards (passing from glass to plexiglass), and also by exploiting its agents in the middle of the night, then by putting pressure on police forces, as evidenced by interrogations of police toward persons arrested for possession of narcotics, or the evening patrols of the BAC (anti-criminality brigade) near billboards on major intersections of the city…

Of course, over the past few years in Besançon, the repressive forces haven’t remained passive with regard to these multiple attacks. On October 11th, 2011 the homes of anarchist comrades were raided: no judicial action was taken, but the willingness to step up surveillance and harassment on those who combat this world of money and authority was clearly manifested.

Advertising is one of the many instruments of domination to maintain the oppression of money on our lives and keep the population on a leash by mass consumption alongside work. It is the showcase of the Capital in the urban space and transportation.

The attacks against publicity are anonymous and diffuse according to the possibilities of the moment: during riots in demonstrations such as the one on February 22nd, 2014 in Nantes against the Vinci airport project and its world, in Paris after Clément Méric’s murder by fascists, in Turkey during the insurrection of Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the summer of 2013, and throughout the world, when urban revolts break out against Power and its servants. Oftentimes, the communication organs of Power relay these nocturnal attacks when they start to do great damage to the company; this was the case some time ago in La Rochelle, Niort, Angers, or in Liège (Belgium)… These blows to the wallets of the rich can be made in various ways: by destroying the glass panels and their internal mechanisms (lighting and rotating systems), or by fire when it comes to plexiglass facades. Anyone remembers the attack with Molotov cocktails and a jerry can filled with gasoline that targeted the Decaux enterprise in late March 2005.

Everyone knows that this company has expanded through advertising in collaboration with the local councils and the State, which have provided it with spaces and granted subsidies to spread these small or large billboards everywhere in France (and then, in exchange, undertake the task to provide bus shelters). It operates in over 56 countries worldwide, including Belgium since 1967, Portugal since 1972, Germany since 1978, the United Kingdom since 1982, Sweden since 1989, Spain since 1990, Russia since 1995, Australia since 1997, Brazil since 1998, Italy since 1999 and recently in Israel, Chile and China… (All contacts with JCDecaux per country where it operates can be found on their official site: Le groupe JCDecaux > Implantations.)

However, this rotten Decaux doesn’t limit its activities to publicity but rather operates in the entire field of urban furniture. The communication company has thus embarked on the “self-service” bicycle scheme by creating the Cyclocity subsidiary, primarily based in France: the first city to be equipped was that of Lyon in 2005 (with Vélo’v), Paris in July 2007 (Vélib’), then Toulouse (Vélô Toulouse), Nantes (Bicloo), Amiens (Vélam), Rouen (Cy’clic), Besançon and Mulhouse (Vélocité), Nancy (Vélostan’lib), Cergy-Pontoise (Vélo2), Créteil (Cristolib), Marseille (Le Vélo). These means of transport, considered as eco-trendy, allow yuppies to go to work while being policed when moving. These toys of green capitalism perfectly match the gentrification processes led by the State and the city councils – the locations of Cyclocity terminals are not chosen at random: affluent neighbourhoods, commercial zones, districts deemed “cultural for trendy yuppies” or areas in the process of being gentrified…

For those who do not already know it, the Decaux enterprise – through its subsidiary Cyclocity, whose headquarters are located in 29, allée du Mens in Villeurbanne (69100) – also profits on the backs of prisoners, exploiting them in its repair workshops without pay. The slave driver Decaux benefits from the collaboration of the State to get workforce straight from the courts, particularly those sentenced for theft and/or damage. But this information, released in the mainstream press, didn’t go unanswered: hundreds of Vélib’ were sabotaged in Paris in April and May 2014.

These attacks are simple, reproducible, and can be carried out everywhere because Cyclocity manages bike parks worldwide: in Belgium (Brussels and Namur), Spain (Córdoba, Valencia, Seville, Santander, Gijón), Austria (Vienna), Luxembourg, Australia (Brisbane), etc.

Decaux is far from being untouchable, and the targets abound.

Let us strike Decaux, and the city councils that make it rich, at every moment and in every place!

We cannot sit idly by, because in the face of repression, attack remains the best solidarity!

In french and italian