(from Terra Selvaggio)
For several years now, even on the level of the mass media, there has been talk about risks connected with the over-abundance of electro-magnetic waves in the environment. Though the most frequently mentioned and feared sources are the transmitters for cellular phones, these are certainly not alone, but are merely the latest on the scene. In fact, radio and TV antennae, radar platforms, high tension wires, military stations and dozens of different electrical high tension wires, military stations and dozens of different electrical household appliances have already been disseminating waves for decades that, even if trifling taken singly, together and with continuous exposure could have effects on the health of living beings.
And if these effects are still largely unknown, or absolutely denied with firmness by a few the usual experts, this is no reason for putting one’s mind at ease. After all, the greatest fear is that of the unknown. And in this case, the unknown is not just that of the future reversals in our bodies or those of others), of new incurable disease or of the expansion of cancer-caused slaughter, but also in the invisible nature of the poison in question. If the pure and solid dust of DDT was handled without care or apprehension, as, not surprisingly, other substances still are, perhaps because we don’t believe that it’s possible for something that we can calmly hold in our hands to kill us, the fear of what we don’t know and can’t see or touch is another thing altogether. Viruses, bacteria and radiation have killed quite enough, at bottom, and none of us could see or feel them, necessarily delegating the knowledge of and defense against them to science and its people. Their lordships love to describe a fear of this kind as irrational in their greed to control it in order to reduce everything to the vision of their rationality; through measurement, screening, legal limits, appeals to an unstoppable progress, the attempt to make every danger scientific in order to render it palatable, rational to be precise, cannot hide the roots planted so thoroughly into this reality: the cases of leukemia, tumors and dozens of other maladies are increasing and more and more people die without being able to clearly link it to a precise cause. Because there are thousands of causes. The invisible but omnipresent harmfulness strikes everyone, and no one escapes from it.
But in this climate, some manifest certainties also emerge, as always. First of all, that neither the reassurances of the experts nor the legal limits placed on the potency of the transmitters will protect us from electro-smog. The latter and the technical organizations appointed to their measurement are solely price-fixing decrees useful for giving the appearance of a situation under control and pacifying the most enflamed minds. We will never grow tired of confirming that we can never expect the protection of our health from that which poisons us: the state and capital in their technologically advanced form. And it is with this conviction, combined with the desire not to see the antennae altered but to make them disappear completely, that we must animate the struggle against the antennae. Then the struggle would have to have different contents and methods.
Also the antennae do not just represent an assault on our health, but are also realizations of a development of technological society toward new forms of economic expansion in alienating communications and control. We must not, in fact, forget that it is not just our phone calls that travel through these waves, but also data and information that in their totality form a huge cage in which to enclose us, signals that keep track of us hour after hour, making it indispensable to behave when near an optimum signaling device like the cellular phone.
In a land already polluted by thousands of antennae, they will not hesitate to bring in just as may more for the third generation of cellular phones, capable of transmitting and receiving not just voices and words, but images as well. But among the 45 million Italians who own cell phones, and among the remaining few who still lack one, fear and discontent increases as well about these sources of waves placed in the neighborhood of schools and housing. Of course, a bit of hypocrisy can be seen here in those who don’t want electro-smog but at the same time demand optimum reception with their little phones, but it is necessary not to fall into the trap of considering those who manufacture and disseminate what is harmful and those who are induced to use it in the same light. It would be like seeing everyone that uses electricity as complicit in the nuclear industry, an idea that in the end becomes an easy excuse for the holders of power who want to make us feel like their accomplices, with the logic that for one’s personal good a collective harm is unavoidable. A logic of the same sort that claims that for the collective good of society – in this case the progress, security and convenience brought by the telephones – it is necessary to sacrifice with an individual harm, the antenna over one’s head. In this way, it becomes difficult to rebel any more, feeling on the one hand complicit and on the other, egoistic in one’s demands.
So it becomes necessary to understand the snares of psychological terror, because new passages are revealing themselves in which new channels of resistance have opened. Resistance that is, furthermore, quite widespread with innumerable committees and individual actions against the antennae throughout the territory. A struggle that, if it usually has partial objectives, is, nonetheless, frequently carried forward with a deep personal involvement, setting aside sterile and useless institutional methods like the collection of signatures and the appeal to politicians. In reality, one sees road blockades, climbing on roofs or scaffolding with fastenings and lowering placards as well as the blockage of work at the installations. Moreover, some have acted under the cover of night with the heat of fire to destroy these hateful antennae. These last actions are not distinct or separate from the struggle in which they arise. Indeed, let’s leave the distinction between “ecoterrorist” and “honest citizen” – useful for dividing a movement of opposition and justifying acts of repression against those who do not disassociate themselves from a practice of sabotage, but rather recognize its importance to the struggle – to the infamous journalists, politicians and armchair environmentalists.
We are interested in a struggle from the base, without hierarchy, specialization or compromise. We think that this is an area in which a partial struggle could become a point of departure for a generalized critique of power, and a consequent practice in which each one chooses the method and moment that he or she prefers.