“Wednesday, June 15 2013, leaving a clothes shop, near Gare St Lazare, Clément Méric, a young 18 year old trade unionist and antifascist militant was beaten to death by members of the radical extreme right. He had come from Brest to study in Sciences Po, he was a victim of the context of extreme right violence which developed over the past few months. He died from his injuries in the night at the Hospital Pitié-Salpétrière. All our thoughts are with his family and his loved ones to whom we express all our solidarity. His friends and comrades.”
After this murder, information was carried over the internet and social media, and sometimes transformed. This is a bit of rumour control/further info about what appeared in English on twitter, facebook and all, and that Clément’s comrades deny. Obviously, I can only do so much for checking the reliability of sources, some of this could be inacurate, but this is what can be read or heard in the French-speaking media (bourgeois and/or revolutionary). On top of only being human, I am tired and upset, and I guess many comrades whose words are repeated here are too.
1. He was not a member of an extreme left party.
He was a member of a trade union (SUD/Solidaires Sciences Po), and joined Action Antifasciste Paris Banlieue. His comrades say he had “libertarian” tendencies.
2. It was not an accident during a fight.
His comrades have described him both as “not a warrior” and “not a fighter”, saying he weighed about 60 kg, and that he had apparently recently been treated for leukemia. The neo-nazi recognized the group of Clément and his friends, either from demonstrations or from stalking on social media. They gathered more people and weapons, waited outside the shop, and killed him, laughed, started running, realised no-one was after them, stopped and congratulated each other, according to witnesses. The neo-nazis’ defence is to paint it as a fight, possibly provoked by the victim, which led to a ‘tragic necessity’. It was not, his comrades insist that it was a political attack which ended in political murder. The police also briefly said they were treating it as “a fight between the extreme right and the extreme left”.
3. Who are JNR/Serge Ayoub?
Jeunesse Nationale Révolutionnaire is a group of neo-nazis led by Serge “Batskin” Ayoub, which has a shopfront in Paris. In the past few years he tried to unite the extreme right, but seems to have once again alienated all other groups. The most recent videos of him on YouTube are from the extreme right MayDay parade and the march in support of the Syrian governement. He has been a bonehead [apologies for the earlier use of “skinhead”] leader since the 1980s and declared in interviews that a physical confrontation to immigration was necessary and that his group was ready to do it. Serge Ayoub says he somehow had the accused on the phone before they were arrested, but denies knowing their names or that they are members of his organisation. Politicians are calling for the dissolution of this group, a number of antifa groups are reminding people that such groups have been banned in the past and it never prevented their resurrection, it seems more like politicians trying to be seen as doing something than any form of “solution”.
4. Clément and Breton nationalism?
No-one among his Paris comrades mentions anything about that afaik. They say he arrived from Brest (in Brittany) in September. His last name is apparently from the South West of France, and people say his family lives in the Gers (Occitania). Some Irish comrades have emphasised he was Breton and mentioned that his parents were into the defence of the Breton language. That may or may not be true.
5. Was he a member of the CNT?
Le Monde says he used to do some militantism with the CNT when he was in highschool in Brest, Brittany. However he does not seem to have been a current member of that organisation since he moved to Paris last September. 800 people were commemorating his death in Brest, where CNT members accused the Socialist mayor of political recuperation. The articles gave no indication on which CNT.
6. Are the JNR and JN the same organisation?
No, Jeunesse Nationaliste is a different organisation, a re-creation of Jeunesse Identitaire after some political infighting and the arrest of some of their members (who are at present still free) related to the attack in Toulouse on a Chilean post-grad student who was left in a coma, then was hemiplegic and thankfully seems to be recovering. I’ve been posting about them because Jeunesse Nationaliste had planned to hold a demonstration on Saturday in Toulouse before Clément’s death. Local authorities are trying to ban it in some way. An anti-fascist counter-protest was and is also planned.
Nothing can or should appease our rage as long as fascism has not been definitely made something of the past. This anger must fuel our fight against fascism, and in that spirit commemorative marches against fascism have been promptly organised in around 27 cities in France, as well as in Montreal, Madrid, and this list will no doubt get longer. The picture is from the one in Toulouse on Thursday, another one is called on Saturday. Also, many people will comemorate him during the various Pride marches this month. That’s all I can do to try and end on a “positive” note…. Never forget, never forgive.