Luther Blissettt on Fri, 24 Apr 1998 23:25:24 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> The Shit Hit The Fan


The bourgeois state forces me to answer to the name of "Roberto Bui". I am
responsible for the final cutting and editing of the material collected and
assembled in Bologna by the Luther Blissett Project during the 18 months of
our research on pedophilia, Satanism, sexophobia and censorship. Then the
edited text became 'Lasciate che i bimbi', i.e. the book that in its turn
became the main pretext for the ongoing attempt at crackdown.
Thus I am not the 'author' of anything, I am just a "complexity-reducer",
in some way the co-ordinator of the 15-20 people that worked on the project.

Since it was necessary to put someone's signature on the contract between
us and Castelvecchi Edizioni, I also became Blissett's nominee, nay,
Blissett's man of straw. Therefore it appeared "natural" to use my personal
bank account for the payments. It was a big mistake: as afterwit goes, we
should have required a mere verbal agreement and payments rigorously in
cash... and if they didn't want to pay? Kick the shit out of them!
It is counterproductive to stay within the law. Why am I saying this?
Because I am waiting to receive Lucia Musti's libel suit. I'm head over
heels in the Musti affair, I figure as the only author of the book because
of a dodgy move made by our former publisher: they made me a party to the
suit by revealing my "real" name and address to the Tribunal and the
opposite party. They also claimed that  I'm the main responsible for all
this mess, owing to the fact that the anti-copyright label was my idea
(Musti's description of anti-copyright as a "license of character
assassination" is the corner stone of the libel suit). Castelvecchi want
the Judge to state precisely their right to take offence at me in case
Musti wins the case.

All this happened on April 7th, which means that Castelvecchi's move was
prepared whilst the Luther Blissett Project and the targeted ISPs were
starting to launch the solidarity campaign, get media coverage on the case
(both on a national and local level) and organize a big public meeting in
Bologna. Castelvecchi didn't bother to let us know what they were going to
do, thus we couldn't have a clear picture of the situation. For instance,
their demand for my prosecution had already caused a postponement of the
first hearing, because the law states that I must receive the Atto di
Citazione at least 60 days before the beginning of the trial.

Since the beginning Castelvecchi have sabotaged our efforts by hiding the
best part of the truth. They damaged me, the sued providers and the whole
The presence of my "real" name in the official documents came accidentally
to my knowledge on the 17th of April, that is ten days after Castelvecchi
had registered the Atto di Costituzione e Risposta [Certificate of Response
and Defense] at the Tribunal of Bologna. While Musti's Atto di Citazione
contains a sort of "political recognition", that is Blissett is described
as an anti-copyright multi-use-name adopted by an indeterminable number of
people, Castelvecchi's Atto di Costituzione simplistically states that I am
Luther Blissett, although I'm just a man of straw. Castelvecchi
paradoxically proved to be more reactionary than Musti.

Our former publisher weren't able to give us convincing explanations for
their dirty trick. On the contrary, they improvised nonsensical excuses,
insulting the intelligence of all the concerned parties. One of the
executives went so low as faxing me a sort of neurological diagnosis, on
whose ground he had allegedly decided to keep me in the dark: he felt I was
'too nervous', that's why he didn't want to worry me! To be honest, I
didn't expect to read such crap after more than 10 years of squatting,
direct action, net activism and communication guerrilla. After a decade of
accusations, perquisitions and trials.  The asshole also wrote: 'Do not
forget that social engagement [...] must go together with running risks and
a personal undertaking of responsibility [...] also and especially in view
of judiciary battles'. As if I didn't know.

As Sun Tsu puts it: 'The art of war does not consist in feeling sure that
the enemy will not come, but in feeling sure that we will be able to
receive them adequately'. When one handles such subjects as pedophilia and
Satanism, it is normal to expect consequences.Our heads are not in the
clouds. But Castelvecchi's breach of solidarity deprived us of the
information we badly needed for receiving the enemy. Fuck Castelvecchi.
I apologize to all the brothers and sisters whose books ended up in the
scumbag's catalogue just because they trusted me as "middleman" and
translator, Stewart Home and the Critical Art Ensemble above all. I'm
terribly sorry.

My long-time identitary drifting has been broken off for the time being.
The weight of the register of births fell straight down on me after years
of savage anonymity and pseudonyms. After this came to my knowledge, I
demanded that the North-Etruscan Unitary Command of the Luther Blissett
Project (an entirely parodistic and pataphysical organ) "officially"
suspend me *a divinis* from any public intervention as "Luther Blissett",
on the grounds that my name is known and the media might wickedly
over-identify the collective phantom with myself. I cited a precedent: in
1997 some newspapers revealed the names of the four multi-use-name bearers
taken to court for hijacking a night bus in Rome: those comrades
immediately issued a letter of "resignation" and "expelled" themselves from
the Luther Blissett Project.
The Command turned down my request unanimously. I'm back in the saddle again.

But I've found myself in the most difficult position. As regards the court
battle on the book's content, everything's up to my lawyer.
The electronic campaign and the mirroring of the incriminated text keep
going on, which is indispensable in order to prove that it is absurd to
hold providers responsible for material that nobody can control, and that
those who want to impose limitations in cyberspace are deluding themselves.
This is as much important to prevent the book from disappearing and fix the
memories of a successful counter-investigation on media hysteria and
judiciary abuse.
But none of these things will make me and my comrades any safer: if we
really want to fight and defeat Musti, the whole section of magistrature
that she represents and the catholic pressure groups that backed her
disgraceful inquiry, we have to sharpen and deepen our analysis further on.
Besides confuting word by word Musti's Atto di Citazione, we must put the
whole affair in the context of the religious and cultural intolerance
fostered by witch-hunter general Cardinal Ratzinger and his Congregazione
della Dottrina della Fede, exposing the very role of the Opus Dei if

Since it is a civil suit, there will be almost no highly symbolic event:
the proceedings will be rather boring and are likely to go on for a long
time, procrastination after procrastination. Musti chose to resort to the
civil insted of the penal because it's harder to affect a civil trial by a
social and political mobilization. But it isn't impossible: we've taken the
field and got positive responses from various individuals and associations.
We've pulled some good publicity stunts and planned further ones. We're
organizing happenings, benefit parties and Satanic guerrilla warfare.
Luther Blissett will adopt every strategy improved by General Vo Nguyen
Giap during the Vietnam wars.
Anyway, this is entirely up to us over here. Let's get back to what can be
done by people abroad.
What you can do is defend freedom of opinion on the Net, by spreading the
word and putting the book onto your websites. We need yet more feedback
from "foreign" netizens, 'cause this is going to be a hard struggle and our
foes have to realize once and for all what a big piece of shit they're
treading upon.
It's understandable that many of you are unwilling to mirror a long text in
Italian, a language that you can't read yourselves. Cheer up! An English
translation of the incriminated chapter is being smoothed by the NYC-based
NOT BORED! collective. As soon as it's ready, we'll let you know.

Thanks for your attention,

in struggle,

(still) LUTHER BLISSETT, Bologna, April 24th, 1998

Il caso Musti rappresenta l'offensiva del giudiziario contro la liberta'
d'espressione nel cyberspazio italiano. Occorre una mobilitazione totale
per impedire che venga stabilito un gravissimo precedente legale. Non uno,
ma 100 mirror sites di 'Lasciate che i bimbi' e siti di controinformazione
sul crackdown! Accerchiare gli accerchiatori!

I querelati/The sued providers:

Adesioni alla data 23/4/98:

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