In the context of their national campaign for nuclear disarmament and a halt to the M51 missile programme, a dozen French NGOs belonging to the international "Aboliton 2000" network, joined by other NGOs and political parties, are organising a grand rally on 22-24 September at Biscarosse, near the CEL (the Landes Testing Centre) where the M51 is soon to be tested. This festive, informative and civic gathering will hear several concerts, notably with Johnny Clegg, Mouss & Akim (of Zebda), les Motivés, Hightones, La Phaz, La Ruda, Marcel and his orchestra, Enhancer, Desert Rebel, Bombes 2 bal, Tagada Jones, the Jolie Môme Company, etc. Plans have been made for street theatre, NGO displays, discussion forums, and camping sites.
This event is placed under the banner of nonviolence, and the marshals in charge of security will have received the appropriate training. All the actions under the responsibility of the organising NGOs will maintain strict obedience to legality. The "citizens’ inspection" of the site will be made by a delegation of elected representatives, NGO officials and citizens planned in advance by the collective; a letter has been sent to the CEL’s director asking him to receive the delegation.
Now that the organisers have agreed unanimously on this symbolic form of citizens’ monitoring, ACDN is calling on its members, its sympathisers, and all French citizens to
join in this gathering, and particularly in the peaceful demonstration which will march from Biscarosse-Plage towards the CEL on Saturday 23 September at 2pm;
not to enter without authorisation any part the military terrain of the CEL, and foil any provocation that might lead to violence and repression;
to question, by the recognised means of the French constitution and statutes, France’s nuclear policies, which are - simultaneously - militarily absurd, financially ruinous, morally indefensible and contrary to humanitarian and international law.
These nuclear policies are written into the LPM (Military Progammation Law), which was unfortunately passed by MPs apparently unaware of international law as defined by article VI of the NPT (which France ratified) and the advisory opinion given on 8 July 1996 by the International Court of Justice. Citizens have a duty to demand that the LPM, of which the M51 missiles form but one element, should be brought into conformity with international law. The Declaration of the Rights of Man of 1789, still valid, recognises that citizens have a fundamental right to "resist oppression" (Article 2). Before envisaging other forms of civilian resistance to nuclear dictatorship such as, for example, refusing to pay the share of our taxes that goes to develop the "strike force", we can still use two other means: one is judicial - a decision of international justice; the other is political and parliamentary - a new military law suspending any new nuclear arms programme.
The elections of 2007 can be a time for changing military policies. ACDN calls on all citizens, who are also voters, to seize the chance and to put the key question to current MPs and to future candidates for presidential and parliamentary office - it is this question:
« Do you want France to ask all nuclear states, whether or not they signed the NPT, to negotiate, adopt and implement by 2010 at the latest a timeline for the elimination of their nuclear arsenals under strict and effective international control, and to suspend until the end of 2010 her programmes for new nuclear weapons, transferring that budget instead to the meeting of needs in the social, health, cultural, educational, environmental and humanitarian areas?"
Candidates should be asked to commit to making this a referendum question during the year following their election.
The French Republic is based on "government of the people, by the people and for the people". The people must therefore choose how their security is guaranteed and how they are to live in peace. It is possible to show that nuclear weapons, on the contrary, contribute to the world’s disorder and prepare for its destruction. The only sensible way forward, the one chosen by the UN and by international law, is the methodical and controlled abolition of all weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons.
For group travel from the Poitou-Charentes region (buses, car-pooling): phone 06 73 50 76 61