Roland Perrot aka Rémi (1930-1996) was an anti-militarist author, political activist and one of the founders of Longo Mai. He was born in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, south east France.
The French war in Algeria
In 1955, he was involved in protests against the war in Algeria (mutiny, desertion, action against the OAS). He wrote a book, “R.A.S.”, (Rien à Signaler), about his experiences. This was filmed in 1973 by Yves Boisset.
During the events of May 1968, he was responsible for a self-managed home for young offenders, and hung a notice on the door stating that it was “Closed for Revolution”. Active in the May revolts, he was wanted by the French police and went into exile in Austria at the end of 1968.
In 1969, in Vienna, he was involved in the formation of the New Left/Communist group, “Section VI”, together with Michael Genner, Norma and Jakob Mytteis, Christian Pillwein and Willi Stelzhammer – all of whom were much younger than he was. This group, many of whom lived together in one of Vienna’s first communes in the Theobaldgasse, was later to become the independent “Spartakus” group. Through Rémi they had contact to the Swiss “Progressive Organization Basel” and the “Hydra” group which came out of it. These were the two groups which were to soon found the Longo Mai European cooperative. In summer 1969, Rémi was arrested in Vienna and deported to Denmark. In 1972, many of the “Spartakus” members immigrated to Switzerland to avoid police and neo-Nazi harassment.
In July 1972, there was a joint congress of “Spartakus” and “Hydra” in Relémont in the Swiss Jura. Rémi spoke there in favour of practical, self-managed alternatives to the ideas and actions of the Maoists, Trotskyists and other communist groups which were politically active in the years after 1968.
As well as supporting active cooperation between students, youth organisations and workers, they were inspired by Charles Fourier and Jean Giono, proposing communal life forms, self-sufficiency, artisan production and agricultural work.
In December 1972, the founding congress of the European Pioneer Settlements was held in Basel. 40 people, mostly Spartakus and Hydra members, were enthusiastic about an immediate start. Rémi was the oldest in the group. Through his contacts to Provence, in June 1973 the group found and purchased 270 hectares of abandoned land in the hills near Forcalquier, Haute-Provence, France. This commune was the start of the Longo Mai network of European Cooperatives.
Due to being a lot older than the other founder members of Longo Mai, Roland Perrot was often seen as being the leader of the commune and the network. His knowledge, experience, ideas and strong personality were certainly very influential. However, other founders were also strong and assertive characters, which lead to some conflicts. (E.g. Michael Genner left in 1977, returned in 1980 and finally left again in 1988.) Accusations made in the Franco-Swiss press campaign against Longo Mai (Autumn/Winter 1979/1980) depicting Rémi as being an authoritarian “Wolf-Guru” and another Jim Jones were, however, wildly exaggerated and libellous.
- Gilbert-François Caty, “Die umstrittenen Erben”, Focus Verlag Giessen 1983. ISBN 3-88349-303-1(Gilbert-François Caty, Les Héritiers contestés: Longo Maï et les médias d’Europe, Anthropos)
- Perrot, Roland, « Longo Maï, nomades et sédentaires du IIIe millénaire », in Les Nouveaux espaces politiques (dir. Georges Labica), L’Harmattan, 1995, p. 111-127
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