Published in French on 4 March 2021
Mesdames, Messieurs - MPs and Senators
Three weeks have now passed during which your colleague Régis Juanico has not seen fit to answer the letter I sent him on February 11 – and so I now make it public and call your attention to it, because its subject concerns you personally as much as him.
I’m addressing you personally, doubtless for the last time, inviting you to sign the attached Bill, a bill aimed at organising a referendum on France’s participation in the abolition of nuclear and radioactive weapons, in line with the obligation she undertook on 2 August 1992 in joining the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) to honour its Article VI.
This referendum, called “a shared-initiative” one, is a power given by the 1958 Constitution as revised in 2008 in its article 11/3, a power that you have not only the right but also the duty to exercise. Indeed the Constitution requires in several of its articles that France should take part in this, and a great majority of French citizens (up to 85% according to some polls) want France to respect national and international law in this way, and want this democratic consultation.
Besides, as you perhaps know, in 2012 I personally did a full hunger-strike (15 May to 26 June) aimed at drawing the attention of François Hollande, the new “nuclear-button president”, and requesting a referendum on this subject. I hereby inform you that unless positive reactions from a sufficient number of you come in the next two months (before 8 May), I envisage beginning another hunger-strike (at age 77), an open-ended fast, in order to attract the attention of our compatriots to this crucial objective – an objective dictated by law, by commonsense, by peace, by ecology, by humanity and by democracy, and one which also matches the majority will of the French people, including your own voters (cf the IFOP poll).
The so-called “nuclear deterrence” policy of the current president and government, and of all their predecessors, is totally unacceptable, for many reasons, including military reasons, as is expounded in the Referendum Bill proposal. It would be even more unacceptable if the Parliament, supposed to represent the people, continues to be an accomplice of this policy by its silence and passivity.
Please accept, Mesdames et Messieurs, our assurance that we believe in the core values of the French Republic: Liberty, Equality, & Fraternity.
Jean-Marie Matagne PhD
President of ACDN (Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire)
Saintes, 11 February 2021
to Monsieur Régis Juanico
MP for the Loire,
Monsieur le Député,
On Monday February 8, I watched carefully on the Parliamentary Channel (LCP) the public hearing you took part in with Madame Olivia Grégoire, your former colleague at the National Assembly who is now Secretary of State for socially connected and responsible economics.
You spoke to her on the project of a Universal Income, which you support as does Benoît Hamon – a doubtless interesting project, if it had not been accompanied in Hamon’s presidential project by the declared wish to raise the defense budget from 1.77 % of GDP to 3%, and above all to increase the role and budget of the nuclear strike force. On that subject Benoît Hamon promised, with heart on sleeve, to go even further in this regard than the other presidential candidates, including Mme Le Pen, or M. Macron who (alas) has certainly kept his promises. (Cf. My letter of 31 January 2017 to Benoît Hamon, which was copied to you)
But you also spoke to Mme Grégoire about the problem of “the engagement of volunteers”, which you said was harmed because of insufficient financial support by the government to the NGO sector (only 1.3 billion euros out of 100 billion intended). Let us agree that that assistance is not sufficient.
Nevertheless, may I observe that the dis-engagement of NGO activists, the deep discouragement affecting many of us, is not solely or even chiefly due to financial considerations. Especially not in the small humanitarian groups like the one I have chaired for half a century, an NGO that aims to rid the planet of the diabolical weapons that are nuclear bombs, which receives no subsidy at all from the state (not that we expected one...) or from any other official body, and which therefore operates by the sweat of volunteers alone, without being able to offer anyone a salary.
No sir, what kills the engagement of NGO volunteers like my friends and myself, and which in my case would prompt me to withdraw (and I’m only 76, two years younger than the new US president!), no sir, what could lead to our deaths, brutal or slow, is not just COVID, and is not the lack of public money either. It is you and your colleagues, Monsieur le Député.
It is the attitude of parliamentarians who say they are socialists, or democrats, or pure republicans, attached to the values of the French Republic (as you know, they are Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité…), by who can’t be bothered signing a Bill aimed at organising a referendum on France’s participation in the abolition of nuclear and radioactive weapons. (See the attachment). In short, MPs and senators who are preventing the French people from making the nation honour the commitment she made in 1992 when she signed the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) – a treaty she has never honoured!
This Bill was sent to you many times since May 2018, as also to all your colleagues. In addition, I wrote personally to you several times (and not just you, not by far). You replied to none of the personal messages, except for having your assistants send me the circular intended for voters in your electorate in the lead-up to your re-election.
Nevertheless, 50 of your colleagues belonging to 14 parliamentary groups have now signed this Bill. And 85% of French people agree with it, according to an IFOP poll. They want to answer YES to the question that this Bill proposes for referendum, and they want that question to be put! How uppity, how impudent of them!
I tell you frankly, Monsieur le Député: if there’s a gulf between the Parliament that pays your salary and the French people you are supposed to represent, if the voters are less keen to tick your name, if French democracy is becoming bankrupt – even perishing – if humanity is today only 100 seconds from midnight according to the Doomsday Clock of the atomic scientists, if, in short, we are careering to our doom between disasters linked to climate, ecology, food supply, hunger, social pressures, health problems, and democratic deficit, and of course nuclear radiation and nuclear weapons – then all that, I regret to say, is because of people elected to positions of responsibility, people like you.
Unfortunately you are not the only one to turn a deaf ear, in this Parliament of false humanists... (even though not all are such, fortunately, and not all were unjust under the nazi occupation), since many seem to care more about their own fate than that of others. The worst thing is that you’re not the worst! You seem to be sincerely concerned - allow me this touch of sympathy - with the conditions of survival that our young people are facing in these horrific times of COVID!
So, when will you understand that the future of these young folk – our children, grandchildren, great-grand-children – does not depend solely on the RSA [a sort of labour income] which obviously should be granted them – for lack of anything better? That surviving in a radioactive world, with or without RSA, is literally unlivable? That in the last analysis an atomised world is a world strewn with corpses, with wounded, torture victims, and zombies? And that we are in the corridor of death?
That’s when a question assails me: what’s the use of having spent 60 years of my life trying to improve this world by all sorts of committed actions, if it will all result in such a sorry outcome? In a state of despair, for the limited time I still have to live, I will spend it summoning spirits like you to match their actions to their words! Apart from life, I have nothing more to lose, having already lost what was dearest to me in the world... So I wanted to trust you, you and your colleagues, to believe in your capacity for accepting commonsense – that’s probably a philosopher’s naivety – I simply believed in your humanity.
Now, Monsieur le Député, there is just one way for you to be pardoned: Sign the Bill!
I say the same to all your colleagues suffering like you from mutism, indifference, unconsciousness, irrespective of their political labels. Sign! With this command we rebuke you in the name of God, Allah or Yahweh, we issue it in the name of human beings and living creatures, animals of flesh and blood.
Otherwise, you would all have to answer one day before a new Nuremberg Tribunal – if such a thing can be – for your complicity in the horrible crimes against humanity which nuclear France and similar states are preparing - with our money, but thanks to your votes and your silence. In any case, this is certain, you will have to answer to your children, if they happen to survive with you and with the unhappy young people that you say you are defending.
For the last time, Monsieur le Député, please answer without delay, I await your reply.