In front of the steamrollers of industrial civilization and progress, one of the last sensible worlds populated by terrifying imagery and enchanted fantasies is disappearing before our eyes: that of the forests. Those that were a fiefdom of the lords who lined the hanged there, or a shelter to escape persecution. Those that represented the darkness where one could abandon one’s hungry offspring or the dense shelter from which to set out on the assault of the existent. Those that harbored mysteries populated by dryads and werewolves or that saw the warship builders and other master forgers come through to strip them en masse. Those that saw in Sherwood daring bandits plundering the rich, in Ariège Demoiselles (*) with soot-covered faces burning and plundering castles, in Courlande of revolutionaries continuing to strike fierce blows against tsarist tyranny, but also witnessing in the Alps or Poland the death by frostbite of migrants driven out by European border guards.
Fundamentally, forests are also ambiguous because of their very etymology, since forest stood for first and foremost the outdoor space not used by villagers-the word savage itself comes from silvaticus, meaning sylvan-before designating vast wooded areas reserved for the nobility and monasteries protected from peasant uses. By a singular inversion of meaning, the word forest, the perilous unknown that Roman civilization could not subjugate, ended up qualifying in a few centuries the territory par excellence of religious and feudal rule, before finally becoming a generic and rather vague term. Continue reading “Silvaticus”
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)”