The Spark

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

Guadeloupe:
The Appeal of Two Combat Ouvrier Militants

Mar 16, 2015

The appeal for Sony Laguerre and Raphaël Cécé, two militants of the revolutionary workers organization Combat Ouvrier in Guadeloupe and Martinique, took place on March 3. The two young men helped produce a journal for high school students called Rebelle (Rebel). They were charged with attacking the police and threatening them in an incident from 2012. They were sentenced to five to eight months in prison, suspended until after the appeal process is finished. The verdict will be given on April 21.

The whole matter began on May 18, 2012 when a high school student associated with Rebelle was brought up on charges of threatening the principal. On that occasion, the police had charged into the crowd, beating them with batons without the slightest provocation.

At the appeal this March, about 120 people (half of them high school students) went to protest at the courthouse in Basse-Terre, enthusiastically shouting to the beat of the drums. Half of them were able to push their way into a hearing chamber, which usually limits how many can attend. There were supporters from a number of groups, including unions, environmentalists, students, etc.

What’s important is that the whole trial was shown to be political, related to legal measures taken to repress opposition newspapers that denounce all sorts of injustices in the society. And it was also an attack on Laguerre and Cécé because they are openly displaying their revolutionary communist ideas.

The whole thing was too much for officials in the school system and the justice system, which led to the trial and appeal in the first place. This mobilization with the support it aroused made it possible to lift the veil of secrecy on certain injustices against young people in general but also against the havoc wreaked on too many people by unemployment.