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Social movement archive appeal for help :

category france / belgium / luxemburg | history of anarchism | appeal / petition author Sunday January 12, 2014 01:12author by KSL - Kate Sharpley Library Report this post to the editors

CRAS (Centre de Recherche pour l’Alternative Social, Toulouse)

Our comrades at CRAS – Centre de Recherche pour l’Alternative Social in Toulouse are appealing for support to get a decent building, nearly thirteen years on from the industrial disaster that damaged their former premises.
Please email your message of support to:
CRAS website (in French)



Please find attached:

An open letter-cum-request addressed to Mayor of Toulouse Pierre Cohen seeking support in the procurement of premises for our association. You can sign it and return to us by post or email, add a personalised perhaps, or circulate this one more widely.

Monsieur Pierre COHEN, Mayor of the city of Toulouse

Monsieur, we would draw your attention to the problem faced by the Centre de Recherche pour l’Alternative Social (CRAS). CRAS is an association of independent and volunteer archivists launched in 1979 in order to preserve the memory of social movements regionally. It has still not managed to procure from the city council working premises deserving of that description. We would remind you that the association’s former premises were partly demolished by the AZF explosion* and that the association has not, since then, been able to find lasting accommodation for its activities.

For the past thirty years, the association has been a significant and unique archival resource, a cultural and social asset to the region and to the city of Toulouse in particular. Its resources have been used by many people (researchers, writers, movie-makers ..) who have found their subject matter there. This is an archival resource accessible to the public; it is in danger and deserves our every attention. The dispersion of the archives is an impediment to their preservation, handling, circulation and routine management.

In December 2008, the association requested your help, issuing a statement addressed to you and enclosing the association’s statutes, the receipt from our declaration to the prefecture, a background history and an outline of our activities and the documentation held.

For upwards of five years now, its members have liaised with elected councillors (Mme Nicole Belloubet, Mme Touchefeu, Mme Gonzalez Tricheux and Monsieur Mateos) a technical expert ( Monsieur Fourbeau) and the head of the council’s heritage agency (Monsieur Brossant). In terms of practical outcomes for the association, we have been afforded access to accommodation measuring 4 metres square and made a one-off offer of premises that were unsuitable. Every year the association gathers in fresh resources which it stockpiles wherever it may and in cellars.

Mr Mayor of the city of Toulouse, we cannot believe that you can knowingly be indifferent to the fate of this association. We appeal to you once again to take steps quickly to resolve an untenable situation that has been too long in place. We are confident that you will respond urgently to this righteous request.

Yours faithfully, Monsieur le Maire.


Signed: Description:


The above is a user of the holdings of the CRAS archives, or a person (or body) cognizant of the public usefulness of that association and expresses support for the CRAS in its overtures to the office of the mayor of Toulouse with an eye to securing municipal accommodation.


* An explosion at the AZF fertiliser plant in Toulouse in 2001 claimed 31 lives and caused devastation. Despite initial speculation that terrorism was involved, the explosion has since been classified as an industrial accident
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