Sunday, September 06, 2020

Utopians and Anti-Utopians

Dear David, 
It’s midnight. Tears come and go like tides. Last night under the full moon, you passed away suddenly and left this world that you have been so much part of transforming for the better. In the library on the ZAD (Zone à Défendre, Zone to Defend)—built where the French state wanted to put an airport, in the shadow of an illegal lighthouse erected on the site of a planned control tower—there are eight books on special display. One of them is the French edition of your Bullshit Jobs.

The library is crammed with books about anarchism, occupation movements, the Paris Commune, utopias, territorial and peasant struggles. Strangely, next to the display copy of your book there was a half-empty shelf: the only half-empty shelf in the library. That shelf seemed to be the place to mark your senseless passing, with just enough space to make a small shrine to your memory, your friendship, your brilliance and quirkiness.

We adorned it with candles, flowers from the meadow where they wanted to put the runway, a paving stone from an old barricade from the forty-five-year-long struggle here, and a photo of you smiling and looking up to your left into the air, as if calling the spirits of joyful rebellion to your side. If we followed your gaze, up from the photo across the books, it landed on the shelf marked ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards). You would have laughed your trickster laugh.

Not many libraries have an ACAB shelf, or are built on an occupied autonomous zone against an airport and its world, which worked with self-organization without police for six years. You would have loved the ZAD; it embodied your ideas where direct action became entangled with everyday life. We had often spoken about you and Nika visiting us, giving a talk here, spending time together walking through these farms and wetlands saved from destruction. But life, like revolution, is always unexpected. You were not to visit these four thousand acres which politicians once called the territory lost to the republic. We still can’t believe that we have lost you. Tonight we shot a firework toward the moon for you.

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