– not alternative information – that frightens you!
On July 3, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) - in alliance with fascistic dregs of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and its months-long Parliamentary questioning regarding the established functioning of both Athens and Patras Indymedia - dispatched an extrajudicial summons to the National Network for Research and Technology (EDET). In the summons, our ‘national’ telecommunications provider revokes the contract it has signed with the company in question regarding the administration of fiber optics as concerns the National Technical University of Athens. As it states: ‘…the subject of the contract under discussion…is OTE’s providing EDET with fiber optic network implementation services, OTE granting EDET the right of use of the network’s fiber optics for 15 years, also providing maintenance services for the fiber optic network for 15 years, in accordance with this contract’s specific terms.’ With the rationale that the company is not fulfilling the contract’s agreements with OTE’s German bosses, since the network is being used by third parties without ‘research’ or ‘educational’ purposes - as determined by the Government in line with the far-right – they threaten to take all ‘justified’ legal measures if EDET does not comply with the necessary(?) actions within 5 days.
The attack against Athens and Patras Indymedia cannot be viewed apart from the Establishment’s methodical suppression (following the recent December events) against the broad opposition Movement that has managed to create fissures in the social fabric and public sphere acting ‘from below’, and that imposes its presence on the social scene on its own terms. Initially, the police state took to the streets following the Establishment’s ‘advice’ and exhortations to break up occupied areas. Towards this end, attacks (both legislative and actual) were ordered against the Movement’s working-class sectors. The cherry on the cake of suppression is the mass pogrom against immigrants that has been underway in the city center since June.
It is not, thus, an isolated attack upon two sites of alternative information. Supreme Court of Appeal Former Chief-prosecutor Sanidas has also assisted in this in his recent consultative ‘gift’ to his bosses regarding the revocation of privacy for blogs and sites, and the emerging curtailment of free movement of ideas on the Internet. In hitting Indymedia, the authorities hit an entire network of independent communications and their concerted effort at alternative information. Alternative information is our only communicative weapon in this combative front, the only channel for social issues that attempt to define reality using dialectical terms rather than force.
In all societies, people are involved in the production and exchange of information and symbols. From the non-verbal to mediated communications, people’s sociability is engineered by the production, propagation and administration of information – simply stated, the communications between themselves. The latter, furthermore, could be considered as both cause and effect of the community and people’s innate tendency to rally around social frameworks. The continuously increasing need of socialization and communications has given rise to Mass Media’s emergence and development. It is this that contributed and continues to contribute to the formation of the ‘public sphere’.
The Internet is the most recent means of mass communications. It is the most recent variable in the formation of this public sphere. In Internet communities, a radical renegotiation of the public sphere is taking place. In ever-greater numbers, people are addressing themselves to such kinds of communities – and this cannot be viewed apart from contemporary society’s speed of production, which limits the time and space of social gatherings. Ultimately, communications are internationalized on a wide scale, as both time and space have been negated.
Thus we are led to a cockeyed reformation of the public sphere and to the creation of a place of public dialogue (the Internet) – where communicative and dialectical ‘gagging’ of socially excluded sections of the international community necessitates the creation of a new class of technologically privileged administrators of communications. Taking the lead in the Establishment’s effort is their ‘most stable relation’ OTE. This is the same company that was bought out by the German Deutsche Telekom (that last year caused enormous scandal in Germany over its widespread telephone surveillance and subsequent violation of communications privacy) – and which was mixed up in the mire of recent scandals and corruption, see Siemens, kick-backs and C41 system ‘supervision’ (not that we expected otherwise from those who control the country’s telecommunications). Let them close OTE, therefore, and clean the place of their putrid stench – not Indymedia.
The moves to silence Athens and Patras Indymedia do not intimidate us. One way or another, alternatives exist for their continued functioning. Despite this, we can place it within a wider communications and essential war that the State and political and economic authorities have declared against society. To the contrary, rather than intimidating us with this recent action, bourgeois democracy and its crutches (business and political) have demonstrated how very much they fear a Movement that has, for some time, rejected truce in the social-class war. A multi-formed and broad Movement that – upon terms of equality, anti-hierarchy and collectives - tries to reshape social reality from below, whose dynamic is not constrained by barricades erected in fiber optics, but will demolish them, – and which will become tangible in the streets and through everyday direct action. Whatever bourgeois rights you may institute that you may then trample upon, such as the wretched ‘right to information’ at issue, the broad opposition Movement will continue to administer itself and defend itself as it, and it alone, chooses.
Participants in alternative information, in solidarity
Collectives of athens.indymedia.org and patras.indymedia.org