the manifesto of the surrealist group in 1931

[« Le tour du monde en un jour » : tel est le slogan de l’Exposition coloniale qui s’ouvre, le 6 mai 1931, à la Porte Dorée, sous les auspices du président de la République, Gaston Doumergue, et du maréchal Lyautey, commissaire général de l’exposition. Malgré des soulèvements dans le Rif marocain (1925-26) ou en Indochine, l’empire colonial français est à son apogée. Et c’est bien cette puissance – notamment économique en pleine crise après le krack de 1929 – qu’entend promouvoir le gouvernement afin de « donner aux Français conscience de leur empire », ainsi que le souligne Paul Reynaud, ministre des colonies, dans son discours d’inauguration.

Si quelques voix s’élèvent à gauche pour fustiger les festivités qui dureront six mois, elles laissent surtout entendre les divisions entre les socialistes, tel Léon Blum, qui dans “Le Populaire” dénonce les violences commises, sans condamner ouvertement le colonialisme ; et le Parti communiste qui propose à Paris une contre-exposition intitulée « La Vérité sur les colonies ». Pour sa part, le groupe des surréalistes rédige un tract invitant à boycotter l’exposition située au bois de Vincennes. Son message ne sera guère suivi puisque 8 millions de visiteurs viendront s’instruire et baguenauder entre les villages indigènes, les échoppes artisanales et les temples asiatiques reconstitués, dont celui d’Angkor Vat.]

Leaflet. On the eve of 1er May 1931 and two days before the inauguration of the Colonial Exhibition, the Indo-Chinese student Tao was kidnapped by the French police. Chiappe [préfet de police de 1927 à 1934], to reach it, uses the forgery and the anonymous letter. We learn, at the end of the time necessary to ward off any agitation, that this arrest, given as a preventive measure, is only the prelude to a pushback to Indo-China.

. Tao’s crime? Being a member of the Communist Party, which is by no means an illegal party in France, and once allowed itself to demonstrate in front of the Elysee Palace against the execution of forty Annamese. Article reserved for our subscribers Read also

“Do not visit the Colonial Exhibition”: the manifesto of the surrealist group in 1931

The world opinion was moved in vain by the fate of the two condemned to death Sacco and Vanzetti. Tao, handed over to the arbitrariness of military justice and the justice of the mandarins, we no longer have any guarantees for his life. This pretty curtain raiser was the right one, in 1931, at the Vincennes Exhibition.

“Skeleton Carnival”The idea of ​​colonial brigandage (the word was brilliant and barely strong enough), this idea which dates from the XIX e century is one of those which have not made their way. We used the money we had in excess to send to Africa, Asia, ships, shovels, pickaxes, thanks to which there is finally, over there, enough to work for a salary, and this money is readily represented as a gift to the natives. It is therefore natural, it is claimed, that the work of these millions of new slaves should have given the heaps of gold which are in reserve in the cellars of the Banque de France. But that forced – or free – labor presides over this monstrous exchange, that men whose customs, what we try to learn from it through seldom disinterested testimonies, men whom it is allowed to take for less perverted than us and this is saying little, perhaps for enlightened as we are no longer enlightened on the true ends of the human species, of knowledge, of human love and of human happiness, that these men from whom we are not distinguished. what our quality ofwhite , we who say men of color, we men without color, were required, by the sheer power of European metallurgy, in 1914, to have our skin punctured for a very low collective funerary monument – it was, moreover, if we are not mistaken, an idea French, it responded to a calculation French – this is what allows us to inaugurate, we too, in our own way, the Colonial Exhibition, and to hold all the zealots of this enterprise for birds of prey. The Lyautey, the Dumesnil, the Doumer who hold the upper hand today in this same France of the Moulin-Rouge are no longer close to a carnival of skeletons. A few days ago, in Paris, we read an unbroken poster in which Jacques Doriot was presented as the person responsible for the Indo-China massacres.Not lacerated


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