Les Ormes, September 6
Day 43 of the March on Brussels. From Naintré, 28 km.
Entering the village of Les Ormes is almost a Wild West experience. A ghost town, abbandoned overnight when the gold rush ended. On a given moment, the hero arrives. He is a poor lonesome cowboy.
Unlike the frontier villages, which were built just as quickly as they were left, the villages in the French countryside have had a story of centuries, followed by long decades of the decline.
What’s left is the same old west image we all know from the movies, only in stone instead of wood. Our travelling caravan takes control of the place without any resistance, and the pirate flag is raised on the village square.
Our logistic problems have been temporarily solved today. Two generous people from the village offered to help is transport the kitchen and the bags to Les Ormes with their stationwagons.
In the meantime, having breakfast while looking at the map I decide to take a little tourist trip on the other bank of the river, to the site of the old Gallo-Roman city of Poitiers.
There is hardly anything left other than what appears to be a city gate. The rest is rubble and a buried Roman theatre on the slope of a hill. I arrive there with comrade Panna, the cowboy from Asturias. We notice that the site is fenced. A sign says that you have to pay various euros to enter. There’s no-one there, and thankfully the autorities have left the gate unlocked, so we enter.
On top of the hill we sit. I’m content. I feel at home between the ruins of ancient empires. It gives me the feeling of ‘ashes to ashes and dust to dust’. I imagine the people of this town watching a comedy on a summer night. They were part of an empire whose culture spanned almost the entire known world. They would never have imagined that an empire so mighty could fall one day, and turn into this. Rubble on a hill.
Even when the Roman empire was in full decline, people didn’t realise it. Only with the hindsight of history can we see clearly the lifecycle of a civilization.
Also today’s mighty global empire based on the transformation of natural resources into trash through consumption, will fall. It would fall by itself even if no-one would rebel against it. And it wouldn’t take nature much more than a century to make our houses, our palaces and our skyscrapers crumble. At first sight, nothing would be left but a virgin planet.
Looking down at these feeble remains of a Roman provincial city, all I really notice is the fence around it and the sign with the price in euros. The thought that crosses my mind is that our civilization is ridiculous, and nothing else.
While I was walking with comrade Panna along the river Vienne, some of our comrades where engaged in an action. I didn’t assist because I’m fed up with our Communications commission. If we plan actions, I want all of us to be involved and informed. I want to know exactly what we’re going to do, with whom, and why. If not, I walk.
The action, as I heard, was one of solidarity with French workers on strike. They were protesting against flexibilisation and the speculation on labour by interim agencies. Our platoon of indignados was hailed by the striking work force, and cheerfully they paraded through the factory. Most of the people I spoke were very positive about it. We’ve begun to fraternise with the working class, and that’s good. Our movement needs to mobilise a lot of people here in France, to make an impact. Not only workers, also students and professors, immigrants, people from the suburbs, middle classes and self employed professionals.
If all those people become aware of the potential for human self determination, there will be no boundaries to all the great things we could do.