“Amongst the best was Andrew Boyd’s compendium-like Beautiful Trouble which brought together some of the most imaginative elements of a movement influenced by a mix of non-violent direct action and the public drama of situationism.”

Mark Perryman, The Substantive

Joyeux Bordel — new French edition already causing trouble!

Contributed by on

Liberating chairs at HSBC, Bayonne, France, February 12, 2015.

Liberating chairs at HSBC, Bayonne, France, February 12, 2015.

In early February, while on the train from Paris, members of the non-violent Basque action group Bizi devoured an early release copy of “Joyeux Bordel” (that’s French for Beautiful Trouble) that they had just picked up from the ATTAC France offices. Inspired, they thought up the action “requisition cityoenne” before they reached home in Bayonne.

A few days later, Bizi-led activists marched into a branch of HSBC, a bank that is accused of billions of euros of tax fraud, evasion, and money laundering. Bizi “liberated” all the chairs, hauled them outside and handed them out to people and allied groups who were in solidarity with the action. The message to HSBC: “We’ll give you back your chairs if you give back the money you stole from the French people!” The action was repeated in Bruxelles and Paris.

The “requisition cityoenne” actions brilliantly illustrate the Beautiful Trouble principles “Turn the tables” (“Renversez les rôles“) and “Make the invisible visible” (“Donne de la invisibilté a l’invisible“), as well as the theory “Action logic” (“Le logique de action“).

These chapters and more are in Joyeux Bordel: Tactiques, Principes, et Theories Pour Faire La Revolution, just published by Les Liens qui Libèrent. This FOURTH international edition of Beautiful Trouble contains six new case studies, one new tactic, one new principle, and features a new introduction by John Jordan and Isa Fremeaux.

Read about the new tactic “Dismantling the tools of your enemy” (“Démantèlement stratégique des outils de l’ennemi), and new principle “Make the movement your materials” (“Faites du mouvement votre matérieau”). New case studies feature the best in French (as well as Québécois and French West African) creative action: “Picnics in Supermarkets” (“Les pique-niques en supermarché), “Alternatiba, the Village of Alternatives to Climate Change” (“Alternatiba, le village des alternatives au dérèglement climatique”), ZAD Reoccupation (“Manif de réoccupation sur la Zad de Notre-Dames-des-Landes“), Pyramid of Shoes (“La pyramide de chaussures), Transnational Action Against Bolloré, the Land Grabber (“L’action transnationale contre Bolloré, l’accapareur de terres“), and Québec’s Student Strike of 2012 (“La grève étudiante québécoise de 2012).

Andrew Boyd, with a liberated chair.

Andrew Boyd, with a liberated chair.

Andrew Boyd, co-editor of the original edition of Beautiful Trouble was in France for the launch of Joyeux Bordel. In classic troublemaker fashion, he carried one of the “liberated” bank chairs from interview to interview with the French press, and France responded with extreme enthusiasm: over 100 people (along with a camera crew from France 3 TV) crammed into the tiny Culture Rapide bar in Paris for the April Fools Day launch party; Andrew and the book were featured in Elle, Le Monde online, 20minutes, L’Humanité, LesInrocks (the French equivalent of Rolling Stone), as well as an unprecedented two-page spread in Libération. Within its first month, the book is already in its second printing!

The Beautiful word continues to spread. Tell all your French-speaking friends, s’il vous plait. It’s now four down (French, and the earlier Brazilian, Spanish and German editions), with five more on the way: Look for the Turkish, Russian, Arabic, Greek, and a special Latin American version, all coming soon to a bookstore or street protest near you.

Order your copy of Joyeux Bordel online here.

Cover of Joyeux Bordel lower res