The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Guadeloupe:
The Tabanon Tragedy, Showing a Sick Society

Aug 5, 2013

This article is translated from the July 6 issue of Combat Ouvrier (Workers Fight), the paper of comrades in Guadeloupe and Martinique, two islands that are French overseas departments in the Caribbean.

The terrible tragedy in Tabanon in Guadeloupe at the end of June profoundly moved the people of Martinique and Guadeloupe. A man killed six people in his family, his wife, two children, two uncles and his cousin. The reason he did it is unclear. But this family tragedy occurred in the context of increased violence on the island that is stirring up discussions and questions.

Some days ago, a young man was killed in cold blood while leaving a night club, for simply approaching a young woman. Almost every day there is an armed robbery in Guadeloupe. There are fewer in Martinique, but in both islands the number of violent acts is growing. Murderous violence directed against women really stands out.

Certainly, this violence isn’t always of the same kind. There is a difference between armed robbery and a family tragedy. But what they have in common is how commonplace the risk of loss of life and the loss of life itself have become. Is life itself so trivial that one can lose it and people do lose it so easily? We have to believe that for many the answer is, yes.

As for juvenile crime, there’s no reason to give a complicated explanation to find its major causes: unemployment, poverty, the lack of prospects.

As for the Tabanon murder, confusion and moral distress were causes of this crazy act.

But in any case, we find ourselves faced with a moral crisis in which the current society is incapable of providing a response and remedy. It’s completely understandable that a sick society – based on inequality, unemployment, selfishness and increased individualism – produces sick and psychologically damaged individuals.

We’ve seen and heard politicians speak with a serious face about the tragedy. But these same people are part of this rotten system that constantly throws more people into distress. Some said there should be reinforced patrols, radar on the sea to surprise drug or human traffickers. But the Tabanon tragedy wouldn’t have been prevented by more police.

Against such a tragedy, when a man in distress has lost his mind, another remedy is needed. It means changing life, making it sufficiently rich that it’s enough to provide for everyone’s happiness. For tragedies like Tabanon are also the expression of a more general social demoralization that will only worsen if there is no radical change.

What is striking about the succession of violent acts is the actual trivialization of death and of life also!

In order to give everyone the feeling that life is worth the trouble of being lived, material conditions have to change. But that will only be possible in the framework of another type of society founded, not on the domination of a minority of profiteers over the great majority of people, but on the priority of satisfying the needs of this majority. Fighting collectively together for this change would be the first step in this change!

This is the battle of those who fight for another society, which will favor the material and intellectual flourishing of everyone. This is the fight of revolutionary militants. It is our fight at Combat Ouvrier (Workers Fight).