Statement by the Aubonne Support
Group on the court proceedings against the Police
We don’t believe in your rule of law, and we don’t believe
in your system of justice.
We won’t act out our roles in your play and make repression all
too easy for you.
We won’t make it so easy for you to sweep this under the carpet...
Every court case is a play, in which ‘justice’ is meted out
in the name of a “people” that doesn’t even really exist.
What is right, and what is not, and how this is interpreted from case
to case, is entirely up to the powerful.
The point of the whole show is for them to retain their hegemony and the
status quo of social and ecological injustice.
Jails are the key institution in this system of state repression. Without
jails, that is, without the means to deter, to punish, and to simply remove
people from society, no state (and no capitalism) could continue to exist.
To initiate a court case against the police contradicts the rejection
of state and its organs of repression. How can we say that justice can
never come from the state, and at the same time demand that the police’s
actions on the bridge have juridical consequences?
We do not expect justice, not from this court, nor any other.
We don’t believe in your laws, your sentences, your jails.
So why claim a right that means nothing to us?
This contradiction bothers us, of course. We are aware of the fact that
to initiate a case against the police is a reformist approach.
Aren’t we rather aiding them, if one out of the hundreds of cases
of state abuse that are ignored every year is brought to court –
doesn’t this merely maintain the appearance of official justice?
Here, we would like to explain in five short points why we nonetheless
have decided to take this approach, and believe it to be meaningful.
Being a spanner in the wheel
We do not expect anything from this case, although we are prepared to
use their own weapons against them. We want to create headaches for the
powerful. We want to make it harder for them, and their repression. The
best way to fight repression would of course be immediate self-management
in all spheres of life, but until that time, we believe it to be useful
to also, amongst others, use tools that have their roots in their system
– publicity, personal prestige, and careers. The publicity we’re
creating here is a problem for them.
The state always needs to maintain its democratic appearance in front
of the middle classes. The Aubonne-case in terms of politics and the public
eye is a ‘scandal’, nothing more and nothing less. It became
a scandal as the result of active publicity- and media-work, without which
it would have been ignored, like so many others. A scandal is always an
‘exception’ – but if the number of scandals increases,
then images of law and order (for example that of the police as ‘serving
and protecting’ the public) can become shaky. It then becomes harder
and harder to maintain belief in the rule of law.
Limiting their “carte blanche”
We also think that it’s a good thing when cops and the police have
to consider the potential consequences of their actions. They don’t
like it when their brutality is made public. However, this is usually
only possible in connection with trying to take them to court (even if
it is actually very unusual that cases are actually taken up by the state
prosecution service, and they normally get away with their lies). When
the ‘forces of order’ realise that activists can sometimes
manage to put them in the dock, when their brutality can become the talk
of the town, then this challenges their feeling of being able to act with
total impunity, and thus limits their “carte blanche” to behave
however they want.
We think that it’s important not to leave the field of media reporting
entirely to the police. We need to make the real course of events known
to people, and make sure they aren’t forgotten. Due to the censorship
of the media, this is usually impossible outside of political movements.
In this case, however, it is possible, and we want to use this opportunity.
Finally, there are of course also very personal reasons to do this, which
we think are completely legitimate. Many activists have been through a
lot as a result of the Aubonne-story, and it’s simply a matter of
personal satisfaction to at least see two of the cops sweating under cross-examination.
Also, it’s possible that the Swiss state will have to pay damages
– which is not very likely, since it has never happened so far –
but if it were to happen, it would be great to see a couple of quid in
return for never being able to climb or run again.
So these are our reasons. Of course it feels a bit schizophrenic, sitting
next to the public prosecutor, claiming our ‘rights’. But
we still think it’s important, and right, to at least temporarily
use this avenue in this case, even if we don’t believe in their
Whether it makes sense, generally, to report and attempt to prosecute
the police – there may not be a universal answer to this question.
The decision always depends on the particular case, and on the people
involved. But it’s clear that this can never be the only means we
use: solidarity and pressure from the street are our main fields of action.
If you’re interested in the legal aspects of the Aubonne-case,
have a look at the online summary; we think these details are kind of
beside the point, they mostly divert attention from the real problem.
Resistance always leads to repression.
Our weapon is solidarity, and our drive is our desire for freedom
Aubonne Support Group