FRANCE: Homage to Pierre Overney

Photo: Revolutionaries honor Pierre Overnay with red flags at his memorial 48 years after his death

By Mike Talavera

Coverage in French from Cause Du Peuple

French revolutionary news organization Cause du Peuple and youth organization Jeunes Révolutionnaires organized a memorial for revolutionary Pierre Overney on February 23, 48 years after his death, paying homage at his tomb with speeches, flowers, and songs.

Known affectionately as “Pierrot,” Overney was a militant worker at a Renault automobile factory in France during the tumultuous period of political unrest following the mass protests of 1968. Having been fired from his job for being part of a fighting workers’ committee, Pierrot had returned to the factory on February 25, 1972 to distribute anti-fascist leaflets with some other comrades, when a security guard shot him in cold blood without warning, killing him.

On March 1 following his murder, activists set fire to cars in the Renault Depot in protest. At his funeral on March 4, 1972, it is said that hundreds of thousands attended Pierrot’s funeral. Five years after his murder, the Armed Nuclei for Popular Autonomy (in French: Noyaux armés pour l’autonomie populaire) annihilated Jean-Antoine Tramoni, the security guard who had brutally killed Pierrot, shortly after he had been released from his short prison sentence.

In a statement, the Maoist Communist Party of France (Parti Communiste maoïste) said that revolutionaries today should honor Pierrot by upholding the slogans of the Proletarian Left (Gauche prolétarienne) of his time: “Rendre coup pour coup (Deliver blow for blow).” Workers in France have been rebelling against the state for over a year, mainly in the form of weekly “Yellow Vest” protests, and a general strike of three months just recently concluded.

“If we commemorate [Pierrot’s] memory today, 48 years later, we do not do it out of nostalgia,” the statement reads, “but for the fight that was his, to gain inspiration and courage from it. We communicate this courage through our practice, in the struggles we wage, when we first of all affirm that it is time to raise our heads and deliver blow for blow in response to attacks on the working class.”