ONE REAPS WHAT ONE SOWS: With regard to an "anarchist" journalist
On Thursday, November 13, Fulvio Fiorini of the Trentino turns up at the occupied Bocciodromo to shoot some photos. The occupiers have already written a thousand times on their posters and flyers that the space is open to anyone who wants to meet them, but closed to parties, police and journalists. They have said it a thousand times in the plaza, at marches, at demonstrations. Some occupiers, who know him personally, have already said it many times to Fiorini himself. Despite all this and despite a media lynching that has reached unprecedented levels in the past few months, Fiorini, who spices the articles against anarchists – however indirectly – with his photos, turns up at Bocciodromo and begins to take photos without asking anyone anything. With the arrogance typical of his position, he thinks that he can disregard all the desires of his subjects in the name of the "right to news". A comrade repeatedly asked him to leave, however uselessly, receiving only insults and the inevitable "I’m only doing my job" in exchange. At this point he was quickly removed and left there without his diskette (the equivalent of a role of film in digital cameras); there was no beating. He immediately informs the newspapers and then goes off to the barracks of the military police for some photographic work. Here, noticing that he doesn’t have the diskette, he tells the military police about the incident (his version, that is). The latter take action against a comrade. Encouraged by the press that speaks of a "beaten and robbed" photographer, the forces of repression evict Bocciodromo the next day and arrest the nine comrades who are there for "aggravated theft of electrical energy". Three days later, seven of them are sentenced to 6 to 8 months in prison from this charge. Benefiting from a suspended sentence, they are then released. However, one comrade, Bogu, remains in prison today. Fiorini, once again sent like always to photograph the eviction, is then called into the barracks to identify Bogu as his "robber". He identifies him. The next day, in an interview in which he says he was not told to leave but was rather immediately beaten, the photographer brags about not having denounced anyone, and this on the basis of his "moral and ideological principles". Unaware of all this, we think: "Well, it is necessary to recognize that at least he has his dignity." Then we found out how things had really gone. Indeed, he has not put out formal denunciations. He has only acted as an informer to the military police and then identifies the person against whom the soldiers took official action. Everyone will understand the great difference. Above all, our comrade who is still in prison because of him.
In the same interview, Fiorini, who still considers himself an anarchist, gives lessons in anarchism to the occupiers of Bocciodromo who he describes as "fascists", "squad members" and "politically, corpses". The political people – of the right and left – and the Order of journalists express their solidarity with the photographer, a "true anarchist" and "exemplary citizen".
From the other side
If there is anything that enflames the hearts of anarchists, it is the hatred for uniforms and prisons. Fiorini sent someone to prison. He can describe himself as he likes, but he is certainly not an anarchist. We don’t doubt that the military police have swindled and blackmailed him, as they have blackmailed so many others against us. We don’t doubt it, really because we know that a photographer who works for the daily papers cannot allow himself to entertain non-cordial relationships with the forces of order: much of his work is, in fact based on a direct exchange between police forces, editorial staff and individuals sent by the papers. But this doesn’t justify a thing; if anything, it should make one reflect further on the responsibilities that anyone who takes on such a job assumes. To give an example: photographers are informed of an eviction before it happens.
They are in some way part of the operation. Comrades, themselves, are on the other side, beyond the police cordon. Fiorini insists that one can be more or less honest in doing a job like his. We know him, and his behavior in the past has most of the time shown this, as those of us who have known him for so many years are aware. But then a point is reached where the distinctions increasingly diminish, because struggles are radicalizing and repression swiftly follows. A point is reached where – in the face of an identification – one must decide whether one is a human being or a photographer, a human being or an informer, a human being or something vile. And Fiorini, the "anarchist", has chosen.
The rage at his arrogance left us with a bitter taste in our mouth. But now our comrade is in prison, and the photographer who sent them there is silent. We wrote, about the military police who died in Iraq, that "one reaps what one sows". This is valid not just for those soldiers, professional murderers that no nationalist propaganda will ever make us call heroes. It is valid for any of us, because one cannot lay the blame for our actions on history, fate or the scapegoat on duty. We don’t expect the authorities or the mass media to speak well of us. We don’t play the part of eternal victims. Anyone who is paid to defend this system will always try to make us pay for it. One is not anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian with impunity. In the same way, you do not work for newspapers that slander anarchists, without any sign of protest, and then demand that these anarchists welcome you with open arms. You do not send a comrade to prison and then speak of anarchist principles. We call a cat a cat, and a snitch a snitch.
A certain Serantini group
It is ironic that Fulvio Fiorini took part in the 1970’s in the local Serantini group, the name of which was a homage to an anarchist comrade who was beaten bloody by police squads and then left to die in prison because in May 1972 he opposed a fascist meeting in Pisa. If one reads the Roveretan press of the time, one will generally find the same lies and slander (among them that of being squad members and fascists) against the Serantini group and "extra-parliamentarians" in general that we can read against anarchists today. Furthermore, during a general strike against high prices in March 1976, the comrades of Serantini beat a photographer and took away his role of film when he rushed to catch the broken windows of a supermarket.
So then who has changed? The current free-lance professionals from the former Serantini group, or those who continue to shun careers and newspaper photographers? Who is "politically a corpse"? Those who persist in their ethical and practical hostility against the foundations of this society and against its institutions, or those who are described as "exemplary citizens" by politicians and journalists? They call us hooligans and terrorists. We prefer this.
**THE REASONS FOR A HOSTILITY
*About the Mass Media***
Our hostility toward journalists – their words, their images – needs some more clarification. As we explain in the following notes, the point is not the greater or lesser honesty of the individual journalist or photographer, but rather the role of the media apparatus itself. That mass media has the pretension of being the total representation of reality is made obvious by this simple fact: for it, anyone who refuses to speak with journalists, "doesn’t want to communicate with anyone". As if it was impossible to communicate in a direct manner, without the filter of the press and television. It is the same attitude that the political authorities have: anyone who refuses any relationship with them, so they tell us, refuses dialogue with everyone. And yet, despite the great steps forward in social domestication, the world is not just populated by authorities, cops and journalists. In fact, it is actually beyond and against their power that real dialogue begins.
The mass media is an integral part of the ruling order. As such, it forces participation, excludes, recuperates and represses at the same time.
It forces participation. Everyone must believe that the only reality that exists is that which the newspapers and television shape daily, the reality of the state and the economy. The media is the indispensable tool in the determination of consensus. It is the modern version of the myth, i.e., of the representation that unites the exploited with the exploiters. The media socializes the populace.
It excludes. Thoughts and actions hostile to this society must not appear. They must be silenced, falsified or rendered incomprehensible. Silencing when their very existence is an attack against the constituted order. Falsifying when that which cannot be silenced has to be opportunely reconstructed. Rendering incomprehensible when the media is forced to concede some partial truth to revolt, so that its total meaning goes unnoticed. The media takes every means of autonomous expression away from the powerless. The one-sided nature of information is the opposite of communication between individuals.
It recuperates. It invites us to dialogue with the institutions, it creates spokespeople and leaders, it integrates all subversive ideas and practices once it renders them harmless, separating them from their context, making us consume them without living them, suffocating them with the boredom of the already well-known.
It represses. It collaborates with the police in denouncing and slandering, it prepares the terrain for the with opportune alarmism, it publicly justifies their operations. Sometimes it represses by admitting an action is right – someone called this "laudatory repression" – i.e., by presenting that which is not subversive as being so, that which is just around the corner as distant, that which has just now started as finished. More often all one gets from the mass media is the work of falsification and repression, i.e., the more openly slanderous and criminalizing aspect. But rage against journalistic lies is short-lived since it can be undermined in less conflictual periods by series of sufficiently honest articles. The problem is not the honesty of the individual journalist or the accuracy of the articles, but rather the social activity of the mass media. In the media machine, intellectual qualities and ethical norms are swept away be the mass of information, by the "totalitarianism of the fragment" that is the true face of the news. Critical intelligence is formed through association, analogy, memory. News, on the contrary, is the product of separation, of details, of the eternal present. Media passivity is only the reflection of the passivity of work and of the market. As is well-known, the life that gets away from us comes back to us in the form of the image. The more one is informed, the less one knows, i.e., the less one lives.
Today no one can do politics without selling her image. Anyone who does not want to break with politics in all its forms does not want to break with media representation. He might insult journalists for several weeks, in the impossibility of doing anything else; then she will return to dialogue.
The media is necessary for mediating with power. It is itself, and recent events confirm this, what urges dialogue in order to, thus, foster the repression of those who don’t dialogue with their enemies.
In the chatter of consensus, the police file starts against anyone who remains silent. Because to break off with the press and television, with the images and labels that they place on our backs, means breaking off with politics.
But the conclusion cannot be that of the autism of the ghetto, but rather that of a rebellion that gives itself its own tools of autonomous communication.
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