Val d’Ouvèze (Ardèche): Stop living? Rather die!

Relay antenna attack

For several weeks now the whole population has been living in a state of exception in the form of health confinement with its dose of unheard-of prohibitions, daily hypocrisy and promises of salvation.

I didn’t want to die of fear or boredom, attached to a drip-feed in front of Netflix. Over the past month, the anger and consternation of experiencing a live bad science-fiction novel have become an antidote rather than a poison for me. So I decided to attack.

By extending the boundaries of illegality, imposing themselves anywhere in the streets, cops and vigilant citizens have transformed the territory into a space where we have had to relearn how to move around and find the path towards other accomplices.
As the crosses on top of mountains have been replaced with GMS and 5G pylons, this says something about the form that power and our beliefs in salvation are currently taking.
So it was time to reignite fires on the hills, to spread more essential and direct messages to those who want to listen, time to burn those crosses of fibre optic nodes and electric networks.

I’m alone, somewhere in the Val d’ Ouvèze between Le Pouzin and Privas, on Sunday 3rd May [2020], at around 2am. It rained a lot the past few hours and the last clouds of mist evaporating from the soil are rising in front of the halo of a half moon. The night is sweet and very calm.

In recent years discourses seemed to suggest that the State has gradually been giving way to more liberal and economic forms of government, that more widespread, invisible forms were already replacing hierarchical power.

But the State hasn’t disappeared. It is at the centre of reality, in far-off wars against terrorism, in Mali, in the promotion of a connected daily life, in the generalized repression of social movements, in the production of increasingly normative and technologized living conditions.

At the dawn of the new spring war has been declared once again as the latest reason for union, as a common cause, a duty of faith. In the name of everyone’s health and safety, we are destined to be reunited, counted, subdivided, ordered, assigned, supervised and studied.

Anyone who deviates from the rule imposed by ministers, all sorts of health experts, prefects and their police, will be treated as irresponsible threatening the health of the most vulnerable.

It’s nothing new that in the name of those considered and classified «fragile», power is cutting out its best role. Power is ambidextrous. It reaches out a hand that protects, saves and caresses. At the same time it strikes and mutilates. Soon we will hear that some techniques of state management of a crisis are better than others. Comparisons are made between what is happening in different latitudes. The most totalitarian powers, such as China and Brazil, are incriminated. There was rejoicing that Portugal was giving documents to all asylum seekers. One almost doesn’t feel so bad, here where we are.

I advance calmly in the twilight, some litres of fuel in my rucksack, a wire cutter heavily positioned against my spine. It’s as if I am absent from myself, absorbed in the silence and the night rustles, immersed in the accuracy of the activity, stepping without leaving traces. The top is calm. A light breeze is sweeping the crest from where I can see everywhere down below, flashes of the many electric installations in the area, fields of wind turbines, telephone pylons and industrial plains.

I open a path on the grid, smashing a chain that is blocking the entrance to the main enclosure and of the bigger of the two pylons. I prepare the material and take care to stay safe from indiscreet gazes, under my balaclava.

As I advance, I keep thinking: as in any «crisis», be it produced by power or inflicted and managed as best as it can, the situation creates an unheard-of context, a support to the construction of the missing links in the mechanism of progress. Thousands of scientists, doctors and bio-engineers have come to offer us, for our sake, recipes of miraculous balms of twenty-first century quacks. More than selling us whatever medicine, they are selling us reasons for continuing to go forward, ways of living. In its response to the wrath of the gods, science has offered itself full of promises, bringing innovative solutions to the problematics caused by progress.

The health system also operates a selection of acceptable and unacceptable ways of dying. Unlike most biological risks, nuclear and industrial risks organized and constituted by human activity produce death and suffering every year in quite remarkable quantities. Where is the benevolent and protective State when it comes to protecting its citizens from the technocrats of nuclear power?

Faced with discourses that may seem vain or sometimes lacking, my gloved hands make some packets of industrial firelighter slide under the maze of cables.

I also pour some firelighter gel and turn towards the exit of the enclosure, to get close to the second pylon. A small excavator, switched off for the night, stands alone at the edge of the site. I’m sorry I can’t strike it as I don’t have enough material. I place more incendiary devices on the most fragile cables and go back to the first pylon.

As soon as I’m on the spot, I soak everything thoroughly with petrol and light it, on both sides of the structure, two fires that the breeze gradually swells.

I go down to the second pylon and do the same.
I leave the site and disappear into the night.
Health and safety have gradually become supreme values that, alone, justify the most absurd efforts and mistakes.
The virus and the struggle against its spreading has become the spectre to be hunted down relentlessly as it incarnates death that glides and strikes at random, unpredictable and sudden, so the places we are ready to avoid in order not to die are continually imcreasing.
What has been interiorized as a collective experience, perhaps definitively, is the taste and need for sacrifice. From now on, they will continually be asking us to sell off the shreds that are left of our lives, so as not to lose them.

In retrospect I don’t know if this attack caused much damage. Perhaps only a few cables cut. What counts for me is the fact of having succeeded in acting, even alone, in this night snatched from the absurd, and to have overcome my doubts and fears and struck what seems to be today an essential node of the present society: the mobile phone network and the whole connected world that it allows.

Against the society of control and the health dictatorship.

I feel anger towards health care tablets and robots which it is now fashionable to distribute in large numbers in the death cells for the elderly. The fact that the last people to have gone through this century without technology are dying surrounded by robots and all sorts of applications turns my stomach. Satellite lines, sent into orbit in their thousands that sabotage the mysteries of the night sky, will never be promises of peace.

A thought to the doors which voluntarily remain open, in this difficult time, for those who try, whatever the cost, not to sacrifice their lives in the face of fear. To the blows given and the help. To the bad shots and those gone wrong. To those who try. To those who don’t attack perhaps, but help to keep going and break the evidence.

So what: stop living? Rather die!

 

[Translated from Italian by Act for freedom now!]

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