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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #226 - Read: Henry and Marty Martinez Phillipe "The Last Convicts" (fr) [machine translation]

Date Fri, 03 May 2013 09:42:25 +0300


First under a new independent publisher The Last Convicts is the transcript of convicts two books which give us a testimony raw, violent and uncompromising survival in prisons Guyana. ---- " In the halcyon days of the colonies "imperial France in 1854 establishes the transportation of convicts to forced labor in sweatshops overseas (in the colonies of French Guiana and New Caledonia), with the stated objective of value through this workforce colonial territories. In 1885, Republic created a new penalty, relegation - double the time just before condemning incorrigible (offenders) a requirement of residence in colonial with an obligation to work and supervisory regime that has nothing inferior to that of the transported. Again, the stated goal was to populate these lands based on the model of convicts in Australia.

This system will continue officially until 1949, the last returns to the mainland and Algeria were spread out until 1953 (except for the Indochinese who were treated to a few years rab ').

Both notebooks found in the archives of the photographer and journalist Ingeborg étatsunienne of Beausacq - came in 1955 from a story in French Guiana - are exceptional documents and this publication is a useful wake collective amnesia about what life was like in the prison and more generally the prison-colonialist system of colonial prisons. We are far from political writings of Eugène Dieudonné (anarchist therefore not anti-Semitic!) Or novel mythographic cut for editing Papillon Henri Charriere said. Marty Martinez and do not shout with Libertad " All laws are wicked, all judgments are unfair, all judges are bad, all prisoners are innocent , "yet they have any legitimacy. Far from challenging the bourgeois justice or punishment in prisons, however, they relentlessly denounced the prison in its internal functioning. Their words are more raw, more direct, more aggressive too, written from the depths of their hospital beds. These are two men, or what remains of it, broken, destroyed, annihilated by a system they sometimes compare the concentration camps. Violence, exploitation, corruption, racism, nothing will be spared to readers, not even madness through delusions of persecution reflected here and there in these two victims of a whole system turned dehumanization.

The editing work is finally worth noting: the writings are preserved to the maximum, although reinstated in or chapters for easy reading, at the same time qu'enrichis a preface and notes to locate at the same time these writings in their historical and social dimension and sufficiently clarify about the reader. A worthwhile read for both shed additional light on this social history of colonial prisons and more generally on the mechanisms of incorporation totalitarian system.

David (AL Paris North East)

• Henry Marty, Philippe Martinez, The Last convicts , Albache Editions, Paris, 2012, 224 pages, 12 euros.
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