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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.

Challenge images
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.

Against forgetting
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.

Personal stuff…
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 system.

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