For years, Lyon has been a laboratory of the most radical far right. The violent demonstrations of its members against union activists, far left, libertarians and anti-fascists, with the implicit complicity of the political powers, are legion. The events of the last few weeks mark their impunity as much as they strengthen our determination.
By dint of shouting in demonstrations, it sometimes happens that we lose sight of the material reality of what we are protesting against. “ No fascists in our neighborhoods, no neighborhood for fascists ”, “ Fascism is gangrene, we eliminate it or we die of it ”, these slogans seem worn out, as if they came from another time.
And then sometimes, reality catches up with us and hits us right in the face. This is what has happened to us in Lyon for a few months, with an iron bar, punches in the face and concrete blocks in the windows.
Black feather and House of Mesopotamia attacked
On Saturday March 20 at 2 p.m., our La Plume noire bookstore located on the slopes of Croix-Rousse, was attacked by around fifty hooded far-right activists ; while a harvest of basic necessities for the beneficiaries of the association For Social Equality and Ecology (Pese) was held in the premises.
This time, it was with cobblestones that the Nazis smashed the front door and the windows ; some tried to enter to physically assault the eight people inside. Fortunately, repelled by our activists, they did not manage to enter and therefore did not physically injure anyone.
This attack was premeditated, prepared since the announcement of the dissolution of Génération Identitaire on March 3, 2021. More than the premises of the UCL, it is the symbol of the place that was attacked. A lively place of struggle open to everyone to discuss and organize themselves, but also to come and seek direct solidarity, through food or clothing. It is for everything that the place holds as popular, anti-fascist and revolutionary value that La Plume noire remains year after year a privileged target of the extreme right.
Indeed, this is not the first time that our bookstore has been attacked: in 1997, it was the victim of an arson ; in 2016, around thirty masked individuals broke the windows and tried to enter the premises ; in December 2020, two volunteers from the Pese association were beaten up.
The Black Feather and its activists are not the only ones to be targeted by the fascists. At the same time in the 7 th district of Lyon, Gray Wolves, a Turkish fascist group, have also attacked the house of the Mesopotamia Cultural local Kurdish our comrades struggling for years against Daech one side and Erdogan the other. If this first attack was courageously repulsed, without causing any injuries in the Kurdish camps, this was not the case for the second on Saturday, April 3.
This time, the Gray Wolves attacked, heavily armed with iron bars, bats and brass knuckles, causing two minor injuries and two serious injuries among our comrades. How can we not see the fascist rise to power which is now expressed every week in our lives, more and more violently, and with complete impunity ?
After the attack on The Black Plume, the police dared to come and tell us that the fascists had been spotted from the start by surveillance cameras, but that it had been decided not to intervene, supposedly for lack of effective.
Showing the same complacency, the prefecture, by means of pathetic manipulations (and subsequently invalidated in court) and pressure blows on our activists (visit of armed cops at home, repeated fines during a press conference), finally banned anti-fascist mobilization.
This is a very clear political act: to allow the fascists to injure and destroy, to muzzle and criminalize the anti-fascist response. In the same way for our Kurdish comrades, the authorities let the Gray Wolves attack them twice at two week intervals, but with a great deal of gas, the Kurds’ demonstration is blocked.
But what are the police doing ? Between inaction and complacency
We do not expect anything from the state and its armed wing, but this tolerance towards these successive attacks is clear new proof of the impunity of far-right groups in Lyon. The inaction of the state structures in the face of the extreme right here and elsewhere, and its relentlessness against the anti-fascist camps leaves the field open to all follies.
Taking advantage of this omnipotence, the fascists strike more and more often and harder and harder. We know for a fact that the attack on The Black Plume has a direct link with the dissolution of Generation Identity (GI). This attack was claimed the next day by an inscription on our premises ” we do not dissolve a generation, learn the lesson “.
Since the dissolution of GI, our social camp suspected that a violent action was preparing either against a progressive demonstration, or against activists or identified groups. In order to stop this fascist rise to power, for us libertarian communists, there is only one way: union. Silence and retreat, wherever it is found, in all the forms it takes, fascist hatred.
For us, this means working on a daily basis for a broad and popular anti-fascism: in our collectives, but also our unions, our associations, at work, in the street. Wherever we are, work for a strong anti-racist social movement and class solidarity.
So yes, fascism is still gangrene, we eliminate it or we die of it.
Myriam (UCL Lyon)