Broadside: “1 Mai 1977. Une Idee Paralyse Pendant 25 Minutes 500 Bureaucrates et 100.000 Connards” – Les Fossoyeurs du vieux monde, 1977 [?]

Image of the broadside

A rare broadside produced by the French group Les Fossoyeurs du vieux monde, early into their collective interventions, likely printed in 1977. In May of 1977 the group hung a banner reading “FETE DE L’Alienation !!” [Festival of Alienation! or Alienation Day!] over the May Day march in Paris, apparently stunning those who saw it. The piece is full of contempt for the CGT and the ritualized march.

A scan of the broadside

Les Fossoyeurs du vieux monde, and the participants’ later project Os Cangaceiros, became known in France, and later in anarchist and post-situationist circles internationally, for their analyses and direct actions. (We have mentioned them briefly elsewhere on this blog).

There is little available about this broadside. The picture from the action was later reproduced as a postcard (see here), and a collection of Les Fossoyeurs du vieux monde’s writings can be found here. We locate no institutional holdings.

For english-language speakers we produce a rough translation below (with significant help from Deepl).


The police union is once more defeated by the truth. While the sinister convoy was heading, as every year for 40 years, to its dreary destiny and the cappa maffiosi were at the level of the Hotel Sully, on Saint-Antoine Street, a banner 15 meters long, thanks to an ingenious mechanism, was instantly and majestically deployed at 12 meters above the heads of the union racketeers and their clients. It proudly snaps in the wind and strikes with astonishment the greedy tramps of the big men of the security service. It simply asserts, in letters 1 meter high, perfectly visible and perfectly readable by the 10 000 people massed from the Place Saint-Paul to the Place de la Bastille, the truth of this subhuman gathering: ALIENATION FESTIVAL!

Where the enemy thought he was invincible, we found the weakest point: the cegetistas [members of the CGT] big guns proved to be totally impassive in front of the idea’s omnipotence. An idea triumphs undisturbed with sobriety and elegance (for 800 francs including alcohol). For 25 minutes [1] it immobilizes the ridiculous march and generates a fantastic banner giving to the enemy a preview of its next rout. Following the derisory braying of the common programmers yelping their usual slogans, a stupefying silence of 1,000 meters long falls on the grotesque cohort. The cheerleaders stand still with one thigh in the air, disembodied [desemparees]. But above all, thanks to the clever set-up mechanism [2], which required the intervention of only one person, we were able to savor, together with the public and the scavengers themselves, the stupefied and furious discomfiture of our victims. Some of us had even pushed the concern of anonymity to the point of wearing infamous C.G.T. badges.

We witnessed a clear movement of sympathy, approval and cheerful chatter among the public on the sidewalk, which was not smothered by the union salute. A good number of amateur photographers equipped with splendid Japanese cameras shot all this time the infamy which hung over all this disorder.

We had a good laugh. That’s an understatement. Only we knew why we were there. We didn’t suffer any losses, not a single scratch, and all the pictures are good. Thank you for your help. Bureaucrats you got it in the ass and you will get it again. SOWETO. LISBON. DAKAR. ROME. See you next time!

[1] We have thus immobilized the union shit 25 times longer than the first emergency valve of the Ecofisk platform immobilized the black shit [likely referring to the massive oil blowout at the Ekofisk Bravo platform in April 1977].

[2] However, this was not yet expertise: if, in addition to the strong chain which ended the cable and which gave the union acrobat a lot of trouble, we had put black soap on the lamp post, the banner would have lasted 30 minutes longer and, in addition to the regular troops of the bureaucracy, all the leftist scum and small unions of everyday life would have come under our yoke.