Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The reunification of Brittany a step closer?

The French Parliament has voted in favour of a change in the law that could herald the reunification of Brittany. 

In the evening of Wednesday 21st December 2011 the French Parliament voted in favour of allowing residents of a department to hold a referendum without the agreement of other residents of the region. 

The change in the law could potentially mean that residents of the Loire Atlantique department, which forms part of the historic nation of Brittany and includes the historic Breton capital city of Naoned/Nantes, will be able to vote in favour of unification without having to convince others in the region to do the same. In 1941 the Loire Atlantique department was merged with the French Pays de la Loire region by the Fascist Vichy Government, which it has remained a part of ever since. 

It has been reported that there is widespread support among the people of the Loire Atlantique department for reunification with Brittany and similarly people in Brittany are in favour of this piece of their historic territory returning to them. Within the last decade in particular there has been a growing movement among activists to raise the profile of the campaign to reunify Brittany. In June this year a mass demonstration took place in Naoned that attracted 5000 people. The aim of the protesters was to apply pressure on the French presidential candidates, in time for elections in 2012, to come out in support of Breton unification. In June 2010 the Breton Regional Council voted in favour of a motion on the `territorial collective' of Brittany, which recognized the Loire Atlantique department as part of the traditional territory of Brittany. 

Currently the Pays de la Loire region has approximately 3.5 million residents, with 1.3 million of these people inhabiting the Loire Atlantique Department. The new law could potentially mean that the 1.3 million residents of the Loire Atlantique Department can vote on whether they want their department to return to Breton control, without the approval of the other 2.2 million residents of the Pays de la Loire region. For the Loire Atlantique electorate to be able to decide whether their department is reunited with Brittany, without having to convince the rest of the Pays de la Loire region is a significant development, because traditionally the inhabitants of the Pays de la Loire region outside of the Loire Atlantique Department have been against reunification. 

Naoned is an economically strong region in its own right and currently the capital of the Pays de la Loire region. The president of the Pays de la Loire region, who is one of the biggest opponents of reunification, said he was "surprised" by the vote. A close advisor to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Franck Louvrier, said he was pleased by the draft amendment, arguing that the idea of giving the Loire Atlantique Department back to Brittany was "decidedly favourable" and welcomed the development, which he said was a democratic move. 

The draft text of the bill will now need to go before the French parliament's upper house, the Senate, for approval. 

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League: Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912 M: 0044 (0)7787318666 gensec@celticleague.net The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query. 

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.  Website here and news group here

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Some ugly mugs


Spot the blog author.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Greens as they could be

Europe Ecologie's (the French Greens) candidate for the 2012 presidential election has spoken out in favour of the promotion and teaching of Frances 'regional' languages. Equally Eva Joly (pictured) has called for the reunification of Brittany with its historic capital Nantes coupled with a far greater degree of autonomy. 

Can the Cornish expect the same from Caroline Lucas? Why not take the time to write and ask her

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Celtic solidarity against fascism


Some inspirational images from a recent match between Stade Rennais and Celtic in one of the two Breton capitals Rennes (the other being Nantes of course).

Breizh News

Reunification campaign

On 18th June 2011 protesters marched on the Breton city of Naoned/Nantes in a mass demonstration of solidarity in calling for the reunification of Brittany. A number of groups were behind the organisation of the protest, including Naoned e Breizh (Nantes in Brittany), Bretagne Reunie, 44=Breizh, Agence Culturelle Bretonne Morvan Lebesque and Kevre Breizh. However, some campaigners did not think that the reunification campaign is going so well as it may perhaps seem. One activist told the Celtic League that the demo was not successful, because a couple of years previously between 10 000 and 15 000 people had demonstrated in a similar demonstration.

Yann Fouere

One of the Celtic League founding members, Yann Fouéré, has been launching his autobiography internationally this year, firstly in Clifden, Co Galway, Ireland in July and last 12 week in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales. Mr Fouéré, paased away on 21st October 2011 aged 101 years old. 

Bugaled Breizh 

Seven years on and no one has yet been convicted for the sinking of the Breton trawler in waters off the Cornish coast, although suspicions have fallen heavily on the Royal Navy. In August the Bugaled Breizh got into the press again after one of the submarine commanders, who was engaged in war games in the vicinity where the fishing boat sunk, wrote on his twitter account that he was "getting a bit irritated by the continuous press coverage of something I didn't do." 

Elections 

On 20 and 27 March 2011 Cantonal elections to elect half the membership of the general councils took place. The Cantonal elections use a two round system similar to that employed in the legislative elections and take place every 3 years. The March 2011 elections were the first Cantonal elections since 1992 not to be paired with another election, such as the regional elections or the Municipal elections. Cantonal councillors are electors for the senatorial elections and considering that the forces in the senate are, as of March 2011, balanced the results of this election could play a role in the September 2011 senatorial elections. In these elections political agreements were made between some nationalist parties and other parties, which meant that they campaigned alongside each other. These included the UDB campaigning alongside Europe Ecologie les Vertes and Breizhistance with the New Anti Capitalist Party. Parti Breton campaigned in the election its own right. Another new party that ran in these elections was the Mouvement Bretagne et Progres. 

ABP 

This year there has been a reorganisation at ABP and the founder, Philippe Argouarch is taking less of a prominent role, although he is still involved. Agence Bretagne Presse was redesigned and relaunched in October 2011. 

Per Denez 

Celtic League member and Breton language activist, Professor Per Denez, died on 3rd July 2011. 

Emgann visit Ireland 

In May and August 2011 a delegation from the Breton group Emgann visited Ireland on the invitation of Republican Sinn Fein to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of the Hunger Strikers. A commemorative plaque was offered by the Breton delegation, which was led by Reun Diguerher. 

Ferry Link 

A proposed weekly ferry route between Brittany and Cornwall is currently being discussed and a feasibility study into the venture is being carried out. 13 A and P Falmouth, the company which runs the docks in the town, is leading a consortium to run a route between Falmouth and St Malo, but so far no ferry company has shown an interest in taking up the idea. 

Language 

On 7th December 2010 a new language Bill was introduced into the French National Assembly that aims to give greater rights to the languages of the French state, including Breton. The 'Regional' Language Bill (développement des langues et cultures régionales) aims to establish a greater level of linguistic rights for speakers of 'regional' languages and will bring the French state in line with European legal norms. The Bill, if successful, will include a state guarantee for the teaching of Breton to children and could could potentially have a huge impact on the revival of the Breton language, which according to some predictions is losing an estimated 10 000 speakers a year. In November 2010 language activists demanded that more Breton language signs are erected at post offices and a peaceful protest was staged in Landerne/Landerneau. However, the manager of the post office called the police and the activists were arrested." 

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League: Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912 M: 0044 (0)7787318666 gensec@celticleague.net. The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query 

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Devonwalls friends in Brittany

Néanmoins, les corniques hurlent au massacre culturel quant à une réunion des comtés du Devon et de Cornwall (The new Devonwall !), mais là ils ne comprennent pas encore le potentiel culturel et autonomiste d'une Nation Devonwall, regroupant deux cultures identiques britoniques, avec un Dewnansek (Devon language, très proche du Cornique commun) retrouvé (à l'avenir !).

The translation of which reads: Nevertheless the Cornish hurl cultural massacre with regards a 'reunion' of the counties of Devon and Cornwall (The new Devonwall!), but here they don't understand, yet, the cultural and autonomist potential of a Devonwall nation, regrouping two identical brythonic cultures with Dewnansek (Devon language, very close to common Cornish).

The quote is taken from comments left by Yves Le Gonidec at the bottom of this Agence Bretagne Presse article - Les Britanniques ne veulent plus être britanniques. More alarming perhaps than the comments themselves is the position of influence Yves Le Gonidec has in a Breton university. Of course if I were to point out to Yves that half of Brittany was traditionally Gallo speaking, a latin language, and therefore, following his logic, better linked to latin langue d'oil speaking regions of France rather than the Celtic speaking west of Brittany, I'm sure he would object. Or perhaps if I were to remind him that a very large part of France, and French culture, has Celtic Gaulish roots this being enough of a reason for maintaining Brittany joined to France, run from Paris, again I'm sure he would object once more. He would be right to do so in both instances.

This comes hot on the heals of an article featured in the Celtic Leagues, usually fantastic, Carn magazine written by the Breton Gi Keltik. His artcle Armoric Breizh spectacular contains:

"The links and agreements between Clovis and the Breton-British army helped a lot during this second migration with the aid of King Riwal of Domnonea in 511. As you may know this small kingdom is now “Devon”. At the time this kingdom also controlled the northern part of “Armorica-Breizh” (Leon and Treger). Therefore, this is the first time it is possible and correct to use the word “Breizh”, because these people came from Great Britain"

Not once are Cornwall or the Cornish mentioned in the article! Gi, the Kingdom, and polity, that was Domnonea was pushed back to the now territory of Cornwall which alone to this day has maintained its own sense of national identity. Todays Cornish national identity is the direct descendant of the Kingdom of Domnonea. Devon has merely inherited elements of its name.

Celtic Devon, one face of the Devonwall project, seems to have recruited at least a couple of influential individuals in Brittany. What are our Cornish academics doing to counter this nonsense?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Electoral performance of regionalist parties and perspectives on regional identity in French regions

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Thoughts on direct action from Brittany

           

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The return of Agence Bretagne Presse

Many visitors to this blog will be aware of the Brittany based independent news website Agence Bretagne Presse. Indeed, in the past, I've blogged about ABP, shared their articles via social media and placed their news feeds on my blogs.

Last year the UDB, and others, requested that their press releases not be featured on ABP. This greatly surprised me until I discovered their motivation. In fact, as well as a multitude of interesting articles in Breton, French and English from a wealth of sources, ABP also regularly published press releases from far-right and fascist Breton organisations such as Adsav, Jeune Bretagne and Ti Breizh (both parts of the Bloc Indentitaire). Their philosophy seemed to be that if you were a Breton political or cultural organisation, no matter of what political persuasion, you could use their site to publish press releases and promote your ideals. The UDB felt that they didn't want their material on the same site as, or in anyway connected to, the Breton far-right and so asked not to be published on ABP.

In agreement with the UDB, but not wanting to make much fuss, I simply and quietly removed my links to  Agence Bretagne Presse from my blogs. There was no way I wanted people, in a couple of clicks, navigating to the website of Jeune Bretagne. Equally press releases from fascists were not welcome in feeds on my blogs.

After an exchange of emails with someone from ABP I've been assured that the majority of directors that control the site have decided against featuring the far-right on ABP for the foreseeable future. It is with some satisfaction then that I will once again link to their usually superb news website.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Wha's Like Us? Brittany

A good article here from Paul Kavanagh on Brittany published on Newsnet Scotland: Wha's Like Us? Brittany

Friday, 8 July 2011

Stourm ar Brezhoneg crashes Tour de France

You've got to admire our Breton cousins. They have a way with direct action.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Breton reunification and Celtic Cooperation

Last week (24th June 2011) the First minister of Wales travelled to Brittany to reaffirm the 'special relationship' that the two nations enjoy.

Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, was invited to address the Breton Regional Council in Rennes by the President of the regional Council, Jean-Yves le Drian. In 2005 Brittany and Wales signed a 'Memorandum of Understanding' in Caerdydd/Cardiff , which aimed to forge closer cooperation between the two Celtic nations in the areas including culture, language, health and sustainable development. During the meeting on Friday Mr Le Drian and Mr Jones signed a document reaffirming their continued cooperation, which Mr Jones described as producing a real 'mutual benefit' adding:

"By working together we shape and influence policy on an international stage and further promote the role of regional governments. Wales and Brittany are both longstanding members of The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR). With our work on Cohesion Policy and Common Agricultural Policy reform CPMR is an example of how regional cooperation can have real benefits."

Other areas highlighted by the two Ministers where further cooperation could be developed included climate change and submitting a joint bid to EuropeAid to increase the amount of community-level engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa.

Link:

The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR).

On 18th June 2011 protesters marched on the Breton city of Naoned/Nantes in a mass demonstration of solidarity in calling for the reunification of Brittany.

Over 5000 people took to the streets in what has become a regular event in the attempt to pressurise the French central government to consider reunifying Brittany following its partition by the Nazi's in the 1941. Private business, politicians and civil society have all expressed their support for the Pays Nantais (Nantes Region) or 'Pays de la Loire' region to be reunified with the rest of Brittany following its separation, which was a measure designed to divide the Celtic nation in a way that has proved expedient for the French state ever since.

In recent year's though central government in Paris has began to show signs that they may finally be prepared to listen to the demands of the people, but plans to redraw the regional boundaries of France were scrapped last year. With the French presidential elections due in 2012 and a possible change of government, Breton activists realise that the forthcoming year could be crucial for gaining the support of politicians for their cause. The demonstrators were demanding that all the presidential candidates make their position clear on reunification and to show their support for a referendum. Many people in the Loire-Atlantique department however do not to let Pays de la Loire go, because they argue it plays an important industrial and economic role in their region.

Protesters at the demonstration sang Breton songs and held banners that read: Vichy is over. Reunite Brittany, but some protesters questioned the overall success of the demonstration. Kevin Jezequel, a writer and protester in Naoned, told the Celtic League that he had his reservations:

"For me the demo was not successful, because 2 years ago, we were between 10,000 and 15,000 [people] it is one more demo, and nothing new. The politicians from PS, UMP and the Greens don't want reunification and the Breton lobby does not have sufficient strength.

"It is necessary for the Breton lobby and Breton parties (UDB, Parti Breton and Christian Troadec) to meet and to think about what it is possible to do, to identify how to stop the unification process and put pressure on it."

A number of groups were behind the organisation of the protest, including Naoned e Breizh (Nantes in Brittany), Bretagne Reunie, 44=Breizh, Agence Culturelle Bretonne Morvan Lebesque and Kevre Breizh.

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary
Celtic League

29/06/11

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

TEL: +44 (0)1209319912
Mobile: +44 (0) 7787318666
Email: gensec@celticleague.net

Internet sites here: Celtic league - News Group.

Monday, 20 June 2011

5000 for Brittany


More images of the 5000 who marched for the reunification of Brittany and Breton language rights in Nantes this weekend can be found here.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Fascists try to murder Breton activist.


Some French fascists have tried to kill a Breton activists. This is one Cornishman who is 200% behind the Breton campaigners. The scum bag ran over an activist in his car. The condition of the victim is still unknown. 

Step out of your car boy. 

Friday, 20 May 2011

Reunification Now!

The 18th of June 2011: Another mass meeting to be held in Nantes for the reunification of Brittany. Putting Brittany's reunification on the political agenda. Two Breton groups are intent on putting the issue of Breton reunification on the political agenda next June, by organising a mass meeting in the city of Nantes.

Read more at the link above. Lets make sure there is a Cornish contingent at the meeting. 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Independence Cymru: The Case for Brittany

Independence Cymru: The Case for Brittany : Independence and national identity are emotive issues, but the arguments in favour of a greater level of autonomy for Brittany are very strong and rest upon historical, geographic, cultural, and economic considerations.

Economic Arguments

The myth that has been taught to schoolchildren for the past one hundred years is that Brittany is an intrinsically poor country, hampered by poor soil and bad weather. The real truth, however, is that for most of its history Brittany has been extremely prosperous, and that it only started to go into economic decline once it became united with France.

During the Middle Ages Brittany was one of the wealthiest areas of Europe: the interior was home to a thriving textile industry, and the coastal areas maintained a merchant fleet that was one of the most successful of the age, trading salt, textiles, fish and agricultural products across Northern Europe and down to Spain and Portugal.

The wealth accumulated by these activities attracted the jealousy of neighbouring countries, which is the reason why the King of France forced Anne of Brittany to marry him in 1491, a marriage which eventually led to a union of the two states. Brittany remained semi-autonomous and reasonably prosperous until the Revolution, when it was finally amalgamated into the rest of France. The next hundred years of its history were marked by famines and widespread destitution – giving rise to the short-sighted idea that Brittany has always been impoverished.

Although outwardly prosperous, the modern Breton economy is now dependent on agricultural subsidies and funding from central government – which, in economic terms, is disastrous.

A clear argument can be made that Brittany would be more successful in diversifying its economy and creating wealth, if its people had a greater level of control over their own affairs.

Cultural Arguments

The Breton language has survived to the present time; there is still a tradition of Breton music; and there is a wealth of stories and traditions which are specific to this part of the world. These are the sorts of cultural ingredients which are required to support the sense of identity and common purpose required for a successful unit of government. The idea of an autonomous Brittany makes a lot more sense than many other administrative regions that have been created in Europe and around the world in recent times.

Geographical Arguments

People disagree as to where the eastern border of Brittany ought to lie – for most of the past thousand years Nantes and the ‘Loire Atlantique’ have been part of Brittany – but even a cursory glance of a map of Europe marks the Breton peninsular out as a distinctive geographical area, easily distinguished from the rest of France. Many aspects of life in Brittany are dictated by the weather and the sea, which makes it have more in common with places such as Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall than with mainland Europe.

Historical Arguments

It is, perhaps, history that provides the strongest reasons in favour of a change in the way that Brittany governs itself.

Over the years the people of this region have had many different relationships with the rest of Europe, and there is no reason to suppose that the present arrangement should be regarded as permanent.

In ‘pre-historical’ times, Brittany was inhabited by people about whom we know very little except that they erected the menhirs, dolmens, and covered alleyways that are so common in the Breton countryside. These monuments are quite distinct from remains found in other parts of mainland Europe, but do bear a resemblance to sites in the UK, in India, and in China. This would suggest that, in those days, Brittany was an outward-looking country, more closely allied to countries across the ocean than to its neighbours on the mainland.

Immediately prior to the Roman occupation, Brittany was inhabited by Gallic tribes, each of which was autonomous but loosely linked to other Gallic people by Druids who travelled freely throughout France, Britain, Belgium, Switzerland and northern Italy. The Druids did not constitute a form of government, (or a religion in today’s sense of the word) but do seem to have provided training and spiritual guidance which knitted the Gauls together into a unified nation: it seems unlikely that a tribal chief could have maintained power without the support of the Druids.

Julius Caesar ruthlessly suppressed this civilisation – in modern parlance his ‘campaigns’ would be termed genocide – and Brittany, along with the rest of Gaul, was incorporated into the Roman Empire.

All sense of self-determination was lost over the course of the next four centuries, and, when the Western Empire finally collapsed, the people living in this area had no more idea of how to govern themselves than anyone else in Rome’s former dominions.

But, whereas most of the continent was overrun by tribes from the east (Visigoths, Ostragoths, Huns, Franks, etc.) something unusual happened in Brittany. The Romans had left Britain a few years previously, and it had been settled by people from Saxony: the Saxons. For a time, harmony was established between the native Celts and the newcomers and, consequently, Britain could enjoy a time of peace and prosperity just as chaos was engulfing the rest of Europe. (It is to this period that the legends of King Arthur and Merlin are often dated.)

‘Saints’, or wise men, crossed over from Britain to Brittany and set up sanctuaries in which they taught and helped the local people. The names of some of these men have become legendary and include the ‘Seven Founding Saints’ of Brittany – Malo, Samson, Brieuc, Tugdual, Pol Aurélien, Corentin and Patern.

Towns built up around where they settled (St Brieuc, St Pol de Leon, St Malo, etc.), composed of local people, plus Britons who came to join them. It is only since this time that this region has been known as Brittany and that its people have spoken Breton. It would seem that it is to these founding saints that Brittany owes its traditional love of freedom and independence: Brittany was the only part of modern France which did not fall under the control of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire, and subsequently Brittany succeeded in resisting a Norman invasion of the type that overwhelmed Britain.

For several centuries Brittany had the status of an independent Duchy, recognised by the Pope in Rome but not allied to any particular kingdom. This independence was lost when Brittany was united with France in 1532. Some modern historians blame this union on the greed of Breton nobles who preferred to accept gifts from the French court than to defending their independence; others have maintained that some form of union was inevitable given the state of European politics at the time. Whatever the case, the young heiress to the Duchy, Anne of Brittany, found herself helpless and besieged by a French army in Rennes and was forced to agree to marry the French king, which signalled the end of Breton independence.

Brittany retained separate institutions (in much the same way as Scotland retained its own legal system after it was united with England), but these were swept away in the French Revolution. Since then Brittany has, administratively, simply been part of France.

The late 1800s and early 1900s were a difficult time for Brittany because the government in Paris had little understanding of the region and no empathy with its history and culture: a legacy with which people are still trying to come to terms today.

The Future

The arguments in favour of Breton devolution are so overwhelming that it is almost inevitable that the region will acquire a greater level of control over it own affairs at some point in the future. The question is when and in what form? Many people are fearful of the phrase ‘Breton independence’ because it conjures up an image of militancy, but, if it is true that Brittany does need a greater degree of autonomy before it can move forward, then it would be those people who defend the status quo that posed the greatest threat to its future.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A weekly ferry route between Cornwall and Brittany?

A proposed weekly ferry route between Brittany and Cornwall is currently being discussed and a feasibility study into the venture is being carried out.

A and P Falmouth, the company which runs the docks in the town, is leading a consortium to run a route between Falmouth and St Malo, but so far no ferry company has shown an interest in taking up the idea. In addition to the ferry service there are plans to create an international partnership between University College Falmouth and Rennes 2 University to develop cultural and artistic links.

On 27th April 2011 the French General-Consul in London, Edouard Braine, was invited to visit Falmouth by the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce International Development Officer Pierre Cuignet. Mr Braine was supportive of the project during discussions at Tremough University campus and said he was moved by the hospitality and positivity he had experienced.

The Operations Director at Falmouth Docks, Mike Reynolds, told the BBC that:

"There's no link from this far west and yet there is a lot of traffic coming out of France which has to go a long way up the channel and then has to come all the way back down in order to get to Cornwall."

Mr Reynolds warned people not to get too excited yet about the development, because the project was still in its initial stages and pointed out that the service was unlikely to be a car ferry. Tim Light, who runs Cornwall Ferries, told the BBC:

"I think it would be absolutely fantastic, both for Brittany but also for Cornwall to have a physical link, which would also tie-in in with all the many festivals, the local food and drink production and of course the great Universities at Tremough and also the University in Rennes."

Currently the closest ferry route to Brittany from Cornwall is in Plymouth, England and is operated by Brittany Ferries. In the 1970's before Brittany Ferries first began operating, the company purportedly approached Cornwall Council about creating the first link between Brittany and Cornwall, only for the Council to turn down the offer arguing that the road infrastructure in Cornwall would not be able to cope with the increased number of cars on the road. Over the last few years a number of festivals have developed in Falmouth with Breton links, such as the inter-Celtic Aberfest festival, Cornwall International Film Festival and the Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival.

Links: Aberfest

From the Celtic League.

Monday, 11 April 2011

United in their hatred of Breton


In the clip above we can see Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the far-left state-nationalist Parti de Gauche having a cosy chat with Marine le Pen of the far-right state-nationlist Front National. Who would have thought that they could stomach each other let alone have such an amiable chat. 

Both have in the past expressed a great hostility towards Frances regional languages - le Pen attacking bilingual sign posts and Mélenchon describing the Diwan Breton schools as a sect.

Both rather populist and opportunist in approach maybe they have more in common than we think. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Why are the French surprised by Marine Le Pen?

BBC News - Marine Le Pen poll rating shock for French politics. What get's me is that polite French society is shocked by the fact that the far-right are so strong.

Anybody who's travelled around France will have noticed the huge amount of streets, squares, parks etc named after French generals, war hero's and battles. One would have also noted the number of monuments to the grandeur de la France and wars past. National triumphalism is the term.

The French state is run as the well-oiled clockwork machine with its centre in Paris. An almost military style of bureaucracy is applied to the civil service and society in general.

The fanatical Jacobin republicanism applied across the French state -all must be equal so all will be forced to be the same- has resulted in the various populations -Breton, Corsican, Catalan, Occitan, Arpitan, Flemish, Alsatian, Norman etc- having their grass-roots identities torn away from them to be replaced by the homogenised product of a militaristic state - the French citizen. Indeed the French state has a long and less than glorious history of meddling with the identities of its citizenry.

....and then they are suprised that the militaristic, identity obsessed,  far-right has such a big audience!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Dialogues, 5 questions à Léna Louarn

Monday, 28 February 2011

Pipers unite against white supremacists

Pipers unite against white supremacists - Europe, World News - Independent.ie: Pipe players of Brittany on Sunday united against a group of US based white supremacists who are campaigning to discredit the French region's top piper, who happens to be a black man.

It should be added that ALL Breton parties of any note have totally condemned this racism.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

A commercial rebellion

Any Cornish activists looking for ideas for T-shirts and other such rebellious bunting, so good at bring in the coffers, would be wise to have a gander at Emsaver.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Cantonal elections 2011

For the forthcoming cantonal elections in the Breton administrative department of Ille et Vilaine: The UDB will be campaigning alongside the newly re-branded greens Europe Ecologie les Verts; Breizhistance has formed an electoral pact with the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA); and the Parti Breton will be running alone.

In Vannes an electoral alliance called En Avant Bretagne / Breizh War Roak has obtained the support of the newly formed party Mouvement Bretagne et Progrès [MBP].

Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Bretons are coming, the Bretons are coming … - Herald Scotland | News | Home News

The Bretons are coming, the Bretons are coming … - Herald Scotland | News | Home News

Saturday, 22 January 2011

French politics in the balance? - the Le Pen Effect | openDemocracy

French politics in the balance? - the Le Pen Effect | openDemocracy

Breton comments welcome!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Nolwenn Leroy, Tri-Martolod (CE)



Oh go on! It's not my musical cup-of-tea but I'll include it here as the album is a huge success and uses the Breton language.



But give me some punk anyday!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Indignons-nous!

The Celtic League has received reports that a French appeal court has agreed to the extradition of a French woman to Spain for her activity in a political party that is illegal in Spain, but not in France.

The decision to extradite the French woman has been condemned by La ligue Bretonne des Droits de l'Homme (Breton League of Human Rights). The organisation says that the decision by the Pau (France) court is made even worse, because the extradition order comes from a special court in Spain that has been previously criticised by the Pau court for ignoring accusations of torture and have even refused to grant prior extraditions. The woman, who the extradition order has been placed against, is a member of the Batasuna political party, which is registered in the French state. However the Batasuna political party, which is registered in the Spanish state, was banned in 2003 and its leader is still in jail.

The general secretary (GS) of the League has written to the French embassy in London to express his concern about the decision. The full text of the letter from the GS can be found below.

"Maurice Gourdault-Montagne
Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom

Dear Maurice Gourdault-Montagne

Appeal court decision, Pau

I am writing to you to express our concern at the decision by the French court of appeal in Pau, to agree to an extradition order made against a French woman recently.

From what we can gather, the extradition order was made on the basis that the French woman - who has not been named - was an active member of the Batasuna political party in the state of France. Unlike in Spain, in France as you know, the Batasuna political party is a legal organisation and as such membership is not prohibited. The French woman in question therefore had not broken any law and the extradition order should not, in our opinion, have been agreed to.

Moreover, we are aware that the same Pau Court of Appeal has previously refused to grant prior extradition orders from the Spanish Special court, because the same courts were thought to have ignored accusations of the torture of previous defendants.

I feel that if the circumstances surrounding this case are accurate then a severe miscarriage of justice has taken place and would think that a revision is necessary.

I would like you to pass on my concerns to the appropriate authority.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary
Celtic League"

16/01/11

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

Celtic League News Group.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Brezhoneg war CNN

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Celtic League reviews 2010 for Brittany

The Celtic League has produced its review -full version here- of 2010 for the Celtic nations. The section relevant to Brittany is reproduced here.

Linguistically 2010 was an exciting time for the Celtic nations, especially during the second half of the year. In December 2010 alone, the Cornish and Manx languages were reclassified by UNESCO, the Welsh Assembly voted unanimously in favour of a new Welsh Language law creating a new system of placing duties on bodies to provide services in Welsh, the Irish government launched their ambitious 20 year strategy for the Irish language and the introduction of the `Regional' Language Bill (développement des langues et cultures régionales) in France, which will bring the French state in line with European legal norms, potentially having a huge impact on the revival of the Breton language.

Linked to the revival of Breton, protesters demanded that post offices in Brittany use the language in their working practice, with a much publicised sit-in at Landerne/Landerneau Post Office - a town that has been traditionally applauded for its use of the language in the public sphere. Police were brought in to break the peaceful protest up, but the message is clear – the Breton language needs much more support if it is to survive into the future. With estimates in 2010 showing that approximately 10 000 speakers are lost on an annual basis, something desperately need to be done.

Creating a political alliance with the Greens (Europe Ecologie Bretagne) in the French regional elections in March 2010 - which decided who was to be the Regional President for the Breton Regional Council - provided the Union Démocratique Bretonne (UDB) with one more regional councilor taking their number up to 4 representatives (the same as MK in Cornwall). Parti Breton also stood in the regional elections in their own right, but didn't win a regional council seat. Another nationalist Breton political party, Mouvement Bretagne Progres, was formed in December 2010 by Christian Troadec, who was once closely allied with the UDB.

Before the March 2010 elections, people travelled from all over Breizh/Brittany to take part in a `Freque Humaine' to show Breton politicians that the issue of Breton reunification should be firmly on the political agenda. The organisations responsible for the organisation of the peaceful event were Bretagne Réunie and 44=BZH, but reunification hasn't featured much on the political scene in Brittany over the last 12 months with the exception of the arrest, verbal assault and prolonged detention of a Breton youth for spraying pro reunification graffiti in the town of Le Mans in Loire-Atlantique. There are no major elections or political developments planned in Brittany in 2011.

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