Fanzine and review of the documentary on CLODO (Committee for the Liquidation or Destruction of Computers)
A documentary delves into the mystery surrounding a group of anonymous activists who carried out a series of arson attacks in Toulouse in the 1980s.
In the 1980s, the French city of Toulouse was home to a number of companies that used computers to further the aims of France’s police and military-industrial complex. These companies, such as Sperry Univac – a major U.S. equipment and electronics company – were among the first to create digital surveillance systems and manufactured products that would make warfare easier for the state by improving the accuracy of missiles.
In addition to housing these private military companies, Toulouse was also home to a milieu of radicals, including Spanish anti-fascists fleeing Franco; Action Directe guerrillas; and a new left forged in the aftershocks of May 1968, when students and workers staged a series of strikes that rejected the authority of the ruling Gaullist party and the orthodox Marxism of the French Communist Party.
It was in this context that an activist group called the Committee for the Liquidation Or Destruction of Computers (CLODO) emerged, which carried out several arson attacks against computers of military technology companies in Toulouse during the 1980s. Not much is known about CLODO. It disappeared completely after committing some six successful and two unsuccessful attacks against technology companies, leaving satirical communiqués as the only proof of its existence.
An introduction to the translation of one of its communiqués suggests that the group may have emerged from a citywide coalition to prevent the construction of the Golfech nuclear plant on the local Garonne River. In 1981, when this movement reached a stalemate, some participants resorted to an intensive campaign of sabotage. CLODO, who claimed to be computer workers, may have taken this sabotage impulse and applied it to computers, which in their view were “the preferred tool of the rulers. They are used to exploit, file, control and repress”. Continue reading “CLODO (…when matches were the “off” button)”