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Open Letter to the French socialist candidates and leaders

Published 18 May 2007

Dear socialist friends,

It is true that Nicolas Sarkozy is far from reassuring as a man in command of France’s strike force. ACDN France did all it could to warn French voters about the dangers. (1)

Rightly or wrongly, we hoped that Ségolène Royal would be less tempted than Nicolas Sarkozy to « press the nuclear button », if a major crisis arrived, and that such a crisis would be less likely because unlike Sarkozy she refused to adopt the absurd revision of French nuclear doctrine that was expounded by Jacques Chirac in his speech of 19 January 2006. Nevertheless, we deem it UNACCEPTABLE for the power to destroy millions of human beings to be placed in the hands of a single person WHOEVER IT BE, and on whatever pretext ! If this person is really human, he will never decide to massacre thousands or millions of others. Yet that is what the principle of nuclear deterrence requires of him. If he rules out pressing the button however grave the situation may be, then he is no longer credible. In that case he might as well renounce IN ADVANCE the possibility of doing it, and therefore renounce the strike force itself - preferably by negotiating this in exchange for universal, controlled nuclear disarmament.

For over a year, we have tried in vain to get leading figures and potential socialist candidates to the presidency, Ségolène Royal especially, to think hard about this key aspect of the president’s functions. Permit us therefore to insist: you must now reflect deeply on your policies in this area and change them RADICALLY- you cannot afford not to.

If you remain committed to the French nuclear doctrine, even without the extremes of its version of 19 January 2006, you would not only be breaking France’s word as a signatory of the NPT, you would be lacking in humanity and good sense, you would be lacking in logic, coherence, realism, in short in rationality. You would be showing a failure to understand the world’s evolution - since now and henceforth there is only one realistic alternative to nucelar proliferation: the complete nuclear disarmament promised by Article VI of the NPT. Even major US actors of the Cold War period, such as Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and Edward Perry, have understood that.

If you are not sufficiently convinced, then note carefully that beyond the personal conflicts which are apparent among you there is a contradiction you don’t seem to have realised and which nevertheless costs very dearly on the electoral front: how can voters believe in the sincerity of socialist ideas, in the humanity and « social fibre » of socialist candidates, if their party continues to want to spend tens of billions of euros on building weapons of mass destruction ?

A cross-over of barely more than 3% of votes would have made Ségolène Royal the winner. This could have happened if the voters had felt that with a socialist president there would really be the possibility of building A DIFFERENT WORLD, one based on SOMETHING OTHER than might, intimidation, threats of mutual annihilation, obscenely wasteful weapons, violence - and war. That is how Ségolène Royal, despite her worthy efforts, lost the election. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t both protect the environment and spend prodigious sums modernising your means of destroying it. You can’t doubt the virtues of nuclear technology when it generates electricity and have no doubts when it makes bombs. On green issues the socialist candidate was reasonably credible. On management issues she was much less, but she could have gained considerable dividends by promoting disarmament. On humanist issues she was even less credible. On deterrence, she was not credible at all: chanting the Marseillaise is not sufficient to make you look like a killer. Ségolène Royal was perhaps the first victim of the strike force... let’s hope there are no more victims. (2)

Dear socialist friends,

There is still time for you to get back on track. You can still make it known publicly that you want:

- the abolition of nuclear weapons all over the planet

- a diplomatic initiative of France for this purpose, accompanied by a significant gesture: the suspension of her vertical proliferation programmes (the 4e SNLE sub, the M51 and ASMP-A missiles, TNO, TNA, LMJ...)

- consultation of the French public on the subject of nuclear disarmament, for the people have to be able to gain information, reflect, debate and finally decide whether or not they want one man to have the power to cause multiple crimes against humanity in the name of the French people and using their money.

The socialist candidates must at least commit themselves, individually, to voting against any military programme, any financial bill, any military budget that pursues or envisages the development of new French nuclear weapons.

You are free to make these commitments: you are no longer bound by the « socialist programme » or by proposition 93 of the « Presidential Pact » - these have become AMENDABLE and indeed NULL AND VOID, since the French people did not want them.

If you don’t have this political courage, who can still believe you have good sentiments? Consider this : there are many of us who do not believe that preparing for war is the way of ensuring peace, who have stopped wanting this world of actual or potential murderers. There are many of us who no longer want to vote for the politicians or finance the parties who are accomplices of this (financing by 1.66 euros for vote cast). So set yourselves apart from tose accomplices! Show that you have intelligence of heart - or failing that a good grasp of your own interests. You are heading for an electoral disaster. So you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by convincing us that you also « have changed »... in the right direction, in the commonsense direction of peace, general disarmament and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

18 May 2007

Jean-Marie Matagne, President of ACDN

(1) Cf. our media releases of 19, 24 & 28 April and the VIENNA DECLARATION of May 1.

(2) See earlier documents on this site

L'argent est le nerf de la paix ! ACDN vous remercie de lui faire un DON

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