Greece: reflections on some of the contradictions of the movement there.

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Samotnaf
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Jan 10 2010 19:12
Greece: reflections on some of the contradictions of the movement there.

Written the day after the bombing of the Greek Parliament's front yard.

This is the first time I've started a thread - not sure if it should go here or in 'Theory'. Anyway - sorry for its length.

I don't live in Greece, but I feel that what's been happening in Greece for over a year is one of the most important movements at the moment, at least for those of us living in "the West". And yet, over a year after the big uprising, there is now relatively little discussion about it.

I was prompted to start this thread by my frustration with a brief attempt at dialogue, a month ago, with taxikipali in the News section following this news item:
http://libcom.org/news/day-after-riots-reforms-crisis-greece-13122009 ,
the submission of the following text to the library:
http://libcom.org/library/just-spoonful-sugar-helps-medicine-go-down ,
and the thread that announced this text:
http://libcom.org/forums/theory/great-article-seems-more-so-were-it-possible-everything-else-here-boring-economist

These are the significant (for me) bits of my frustrated dialogue with taxikipali:

He said:

Quote:
...in contrast to Britain of the late 1970s there are no demands, no distinct groups or identities that can be enclosed. And this is what scares the bosses most....

I responded:

Quote:
...remember that the riots of '81 also had no demands, and that group identities were superceded in the riots (blacks and whites, gays and "straights", etc.). But we still lost. The fact that there are no demands does not in itself mean that the enemy can't deal with it (in the UK by gentrification, investment, etc.). And the failure of the miners strike was not down to the fact that they made demands. I know the margin of manoeuvre for the Greek ruling class is a lot less than that of the UK in the first half of the 80s, but don't think that a combination of the 3 R's - reforms, recuperation and repression - can't teach the the proletariat some very painful lessons. Beware of an over-optimistic determinism.
By the way, taxikipali, what do you think of the text "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down". It seems badly translated (?) and jargonistic, but it's got some interesting stuff in it.

One of the problems with it is partly down to the fact that it doesn't give enough examples so that those not living the movement in Greece can assess the validity (or otherwise) of the theoretical reflections. But,even if it sometimes does it badly, from this distance, imo it tries to say something fresh and pertinent (particularly concerning the strategy of reformism and reforms, which many Greek revolutionaries were dismissing as impossible less than a year ago). What do you think?

He responded:

Quote:
Naturally there is no question of determinism or optimism, but there is no reason for deterministic pessimism of the "greece if 20 years behind it will too become like europe". Its both telelogical, ahistorical and rather colonial minded.
Regarding the text you mention there is a habit in greece not to publicly criticise discursive or other weapons of comrades, a revolutionary ethic to which I subscribe. The efficacy of the critique of this text and any text will be judged in battle not in some online comment box. The revolution is not a reading group...

I replied:

Quote:
In the heat of battle I understand your impatient dismissiveness: you've got other more immediate fish to fry.
But I guess that many of us who are far from such an immediately explosive situation tend to view things a bit differently. Some of us are not just watching but hoping this struggle could partly inspire movements elsewhere. And inspiration comes partly from reading and discussion. It seems to me that this refusal to publicly discuss "discursive or other weapons of comrades", when the "discursive" text itself is a public auto-critique (in part), is a bit evasive (though maybe you've got more exciting things to do). Though it's a fair critique to dismiss those who have an excessively theoretical and unpractical attitude to social movements ("a reading group", as you put it), those who consider theory as an end in itself, I wasn't trying to discuss this text abstractly but asking you about its relation to the development of the movement - maybe I didn't do it very well, but you seem excessively bored by my questions. Online discussions are a part of the connection of this movement to the rest of the world, particularly in countries where wider practical revolutionary questions are not so present as in Greece. If it's true (though I don't think it entirely is) that "there is a habit in greece not to publicly criticise discursive or other weapons of comrades", this is a bad habit and not "a revolutionary ethic"; it's a lazy self-repressive ethic. I'm sure, for example, that loads of people in the movement openly criticise the actions of 'the Sect of Revolutionaries' (and 'revolutionary struggle', if i remember the name correctly). But you often report what they do without critical comment - even though their effectively vanguardist terrorism can, and possibly will, help to derail the struggle. "Online comments" are obviusly not just an exchange of facts.
Just because the old world hypocritically attacks some obvious stupidity in a social movement, doesn't mean that the movement itself has to maintain a united front. History is littered with examples of how people have swallowed, or kept private, their criticisms because the media, the State, etc. have attacked each and everyone involved in the struggle, including those who helped fuck up the struggle from within. And if the movement doesn't take up a public critique, the spectacle surely will - and use it brutally . To make a distinction between private discussions and public ones is part of the problem.
As for "there is no reason for deterministic pessimism of the "greece if 20 years behind it will too become like europe". Its both telelogical, ahistorical and rather colonial minded." - you imply I said something like this, though I never said anything remotely like it.

He then replied:

Quote:
The principle you so deride here is that the movement chooses to criticise what it chooses to criticise in the manner and at a time that maximises its strategic effect and not out of some love for openess and dialogue or any other democratic abstraction. That is why many people might talk against this or that dimension of the insurgency but nobody apart from the parliamentary left writes about it or even worse publishes it in plain sight of the state. This is not out of lack of critique, self-repression or laziness. It is out of the basic principles of protecting people who are struggling even if one disagrees with the way they choose to do it. This does not mean that people are swallowing their critique against tendencies that as you put it threaten to "fuck the struggle from within" (and this is always done by many directions, not just the most violent one). This critique takes place at the mass assemblies, in the protest marches in the occupations and in day-to-day practice. In other words it is a practical critique not an abstract one.
I hope this clears up why I do not provide critical comment on the news I provide but try to report things as dry as possible from the Communist Party strikes to green struggles and from urban guerrillas to anarchist riots. Its not out of a desire for objectivity, but because any critical comment here is certainly first a weapon in the hands of the greek state and only then perhaps a weapon in the hand of internationalism.

I then responded:

Quote:
taxikipali wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
many people might talk against this or that dimension of the insurgency but nobody apart from the parliamentary left writes about it or even worse publishes it in plain sight of the state.... critique takes place at the mass assemblies, in the protest marches in the occupations and in day-to-day practice.

Does the state not go to the mass assemblies, protest marches, occupations etc. then?

No problem, though, with the idea that the movement should choose
Quote:

Quote:
to criticise what it chooses to criticise in the manner and at a time that maximises its strategic effect and not out of some love for openess and dialogue or any other democratic abstraction.

Fine.

But when actions and texts become public, it doesn't make sense to say that some discussion of them shouldn't also be public (although discussing some of the practical implications would obviously have to remain private at least until the practical implications manifest themselves). Anyway - all I asked you was your opinion on a text and then you dismiss asking this as abstract and implicitly playing into the hands of the state. Can't see how you stating at least some aspects of your opinion on the text could be doing this. But it doesn't matter really - forget it.

END OF ATTEMPTED DISCUSSION

Now yesterday, taxikipali posted something about the bombing of the Greek Parliament totally uncritically, presumably in line with his idea that "any critical comment here is certainly first a weapon in the hands of the greek state" . And yet a small Greek group (Ta Paidia Tis Galarias - a Greek translation of "Les Enfants Du Paradis", one of the best films ever made, made in Vichy-dominated France during the war) that participated in the movement in December, some of whom have participated in social movements for over 20 years, wrote about armed attacks in December 2008 and January 2009: "From a proletarian point of view, even if these attacks were not organized by the state itself, the fact that after a month all of us became spectators of those ‘exemplary acts', that had not at all been part of our collective practice, was a defeat in itself." They are direct in their critique: "It's not important for us now to doubt about the real identity of these hitmen with the ridiculous but revealing name ‘Revolutionary Sect'; what causes us some concern is the political tolerance of some quarters towards them, given the fact that it's the first time that in a Greek ‘armed vanguard's' text there's not one grain of even the good old leninist ‘for the people' ideology but instead an antisocial, nihilistic bloodthirst."

Which shows that taxikipali's statement "nobody apart from the parliamentary left writes about it [aspects of the social movement] or even worse publishes it in plain sight of the state" is factually incorrect. And when in the above quote he says "the movement chooses to criticise what it chooses to criticise in the manner and at a time that maximises its strategic effect" it implies that the "movement" is a homogeneous party machine. It seems just an excuse for not discussing or criticising in the name of an anarcho-leftist politics which has been decided beforehand, behind the scenes.

As far as I can gather, the 'revolutionary ethic' that taxikipali 'adheres to' seems to be a habit of the antiauthoritarian milieu in Greece which has a long tradition: it is very rare that real debate takes place. To say that 'the efficacy' of ideas will 'be judged in battle' exorcises dialogue, as if theory and practice ('battle') are two separate entities. It seems like a remnant of family conditioning - the milieu is felt like a family where open criticism is seen as an insult, though this separation between public and private, typical of traditional families, is here cloaked as an activist 'revolutionary' principle. I've heard that this allows malicious gossip to flourish, as well as, sometimes, physical confrontations (though these are typical of almost all scenes). Apparently, repression of self-reflective critique is mostly limited to anarchists, although debate in the circles of the Left is not highly appreciated either. I 've heard that it would be unthinkable for someone in Greece to be in the same discussion group with someone else whom he has publicly criticized.

As far as I can tell, from the distance of France where I live - and I'm perfectly willing to be corrected, taxikipali presents all kinds of different actions unconnected to each other (from police repression to demos against it, which is something quite usual in Greece, from ritualistic one-day strikes to night assaults with fire bombs - again, quite usual phenomena in Greece) as if they were something important leading to the Great Day, which is typical of an anarcho-leftist mentality, deeply rooted in Greece, according to which adding up 'activisms' equals Revolution. In fact there have been very few wildcat strikes (the garbage workers strikes in December were a fairly unusual exception). Besides, the duration of almost all of these strikes was limited to a few days for some or even to one for most, with not many people mobilized. I know a teacher who was on strike for one day and for her, who had been involved in a six-week strike 3 years ago, this was unimportant.

I think we should be asking ourselves these kinds of questions:

What happened during those strikes? Were they out of the control of the unions? How many people were involved? What kind of discussions were held among the participants? How were these strikes connected to the repressive campaign, mainly against the antiauthoritarian milieu? Apart from the CP and the leftist organizations, was there an initiative to connect these strikes to each other in an autonomous way from below? How long did the high school occupations last and how many students were involved? What's the use of citing reports on all kinds of different activisms without a qualitative, critical review?

Also I feel we should look at the strategy of the new Socialist government. Here are some reflections gleaned from some Greek friends:

From my reading of it, the social-liberal government seems to have studied carefully the lessons from last year and in trying to apply a strategy of both repression and recuperation, they are leaning more towards repression in a period of accelerating recession (undoubtedly the unstrategic actions of professional sub-terrorists, will help them). They, unsurprisingly, are trying now to restore the cops' lost dignity in their "good cause" against "violence and crime", i.e. to crush whatever signs there are of social antagonism. Their rhetoric has changed somehow (from the previous government's) and there is a constant appeal to 'human rights', 'respect for democracy', which all boils down to respect for public order and private property. Of course, with a huge mass media campaign and with no real rebellion, it is easy for this government to present itself as a more reliable force guaranteeing social peace while resorting to brutalities. Its profile has been damaged a bit but its main concern seems not to prevent a small scale riot but to show that possible generalized questioning of capitalist relations will not be tolerated. Whether such a strategy will fail or not, remains to be seen, but repressing auto-critique will certainly help them succeed.

It seems that the separation methods, discussed in the badly translated and rather verbose, but interesting, "spoonful of sugar" text (mentioned above) have been working since last year - promoting divisions among all those segments of the proletariat that found themselves in the streets and in the occupations, when they temporarily lost their distinct identities (although, apparently some anarchists did a very good job themselves in encouraging hierarchical divisions, trying to differentiate themselves as a vanguard and thus helping to destroy communities of struggle with no distinct political identity). The government has isolated a big part of the inner city immigrants, has been trying to demonize and depoliticize the antiauthoritarian milieu (presenting it as a crime network) and they have been trying to track down and terrorize high school students. They have also made some vague promises about the legalization of second generation immigrants and a spectacular movement towards tracking down the thugs that had attacked Kuneva (a case which is seen, of course, as just a personal individualised drama, excluding its social function).

In the face of the acute fiscal crisis of the State, except for some promises of "fairer" taxation and some minimum benefits, the rulers are preparing themselves for a new wave of privatisations, freezing public sector wages and a 'redefinition' of closed shop jobs. So, on one level, isolating ideologically and repressively parts of the insurgents may be successful (although it's clear that there is no unanimous consent for the State's tactics), but in the long run, the offers of a new 'contract with the people' are not likely to be very convincing for the majority.

I know this has been very very long (proportionate to what I believe is the importance of the situation there) - but are there any reactions to this out there?

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Red Marriott
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Jan 11 2010 23:10

I appreciate the efforts of taxipali and others, who send regular useful news from various places; but I think Samotnaf raises valid points. Answers to certain questions would help put the news in better context as to the methodology behind it. I'd like to know how taxipali defines 'the movement that should not be publicly criticised'; are the leninist left groups part of the defined movement, or only their rank'n'file but not the organisations themselves?

Does it include bombers, as in this recent story? - http://libcom.org/news/greek-parliament-damaged-bomb-its-front-yard-09012010 If it does, that would mean (what many would see as) terrorist acts are being reported sympathetically on the site - which, I assume, would be against the basic ethos of the site? I think that should be clarified.

When did the tradition against public political criticism originate and was it in very different circumstances from now?

b1368437
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Jan 12 2010 00:59

Firstly, it's not right to criticize these kind of actions publicly (even though in the assemblies or in other "closed" discussions there is some criticism), because nobody that has the opposite point of view can answer to you easily. It's not easy for me (i live in greece) to state that i agree with these actions, because i'll be considered as a suspect. I think you can understand this.

We criticize openly and condemn actions against the movement, and a bomb against the parliament is certainly not such an action. It's not our job to comment these actions. Our "job" is to defend the movement and to go on trying to expand our ideas into the society, with or without bombings. In such moments it's not the best tactic to condemn these kind of actions, especially as a collective. It's like saying to the state: "we have nothing to do with this, find suspects elsewhere". It's like asking the state to catch the "terrorists" and whoever will not condemn the actions will be suspect. So nobody condemns, the state cannot exclude suspects and in this way you protect some comrades that maybe have something to do with the actions.

If somebody disagrees with the actions, the only thing that he has to do is to act as he thinks it's best. Nobody will stop him.

If somebody is arrested, then it will be almost impossible to stand in solidarity with someone that acts in a way you have condemned. You can read some communiques from greece about the case of the belgrade 6. you will find them at http://asisolidarity.squat.gr/. Not even one assembly in greece has never condemned the attack at the greek embassy, even though some of the assemblies have known opinions against these kind of actions. This is in contrary of the initial communique that came from Serbia.......

something more, about the tradition... The Communist Party always condemns every action that is not done by itself. It talks about people that work for the state, not only for bombers, but even for those that do riots in the streets. It is an opinion that some years ago was accepted by many people (leftists). The Communist Party has criticized the revolutionary movement more than the rightwing parties. Even for the insurrection of 1973 against the dictatorship this was the opinion...people that work for the state. The anarchist movement in greece cannot play these games, does not have any reason to do it, does not seek legitimization from the state.

[everything above is personal point of view are i do not want you even to think that i try to show the opinion of anybody else]

Samotnaf
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Jan 12 2010 06:34

b1368437:

I realised that one of the factors in the lack of debate about these sub -"terrorist" acts was (justifiable) paranoia, and it was an oversight on my part that I forgot to mention this. But if the movement is to advance, it is as necessary to criticise unstrategic actions in the light of the consequence of the past history of these types of actions as it is to criticise Communist Party organised strikes (which taxikipali also never does, though I suspect, in the assemblies, people do). See, for instance, John Barker's auto-critique of his Angry Brigade years here:
http://libcom.org/library/review-angry-brigade-vague-book-barker

I too, at the time, 'supported' - cheering from the risk-free sidelines, and later as a contributor to the Stoke Newington 8 Defence Committee - the Angry Brigade, whose actions were tame in comparison with the ridiculous Revolutionary Sect (machine-gunning police stations etc) today in Greece. What they did made you feel good, that the State wasn't as invincible as it wanted to appear to be. And, yes, everybody slightly connected with them was very paranoid, with good reason - but in fact, there was a public (written and spoken) debate about them, particularly in what used to be called "the Underground press". So - really, no excuses: though the State repression in Greece is far more intense than mainland UK in the early 70s, movements only advance, and are partly defended by, constant self-questioning and the practical follow-through of this self-questioning, regardless of the level of struggle. Would it have been inappropriate to criticise, for instance, the ANC in South Africa in the 1980s because of the brutal viciousness of BOSS, the white ruling class's secret police - considerably worse than the Greek ruling class's secret police? would it have been

Quote:
like saying to the state find suspects elsewhere...like asking the state to catch the "terrorists"

? Far from it imo (now I know the little terrorist groups in Greece don't claim to be a state-in-waiting like the ANC, but sometimes I wonder if some of them are not manipulated by the already-exisiting State).

I realise that if you verbally or in writing support these actions that could put you at risk, but then people lay themselves on the line when they openly support more general forms of proletarian violence (e.g. riots and violent strikes). The difference between the risk of losing your job or of being hassled by the cops for support of generalised class violence (which can sometimes happen even in countries where the class struggle is lower than in Greece) and being followed, arrested and beaten up etc. for openly supporting sub-(and sometimes not so "sub-")terrorist actions is real however, but I can't see a way of overcoming such a difference other than to realise how it's not more radical, extreme or chic to support specialised "terrorist" gangs than to criticise them from the far more radical point of view that this movement is not just an

Quote:
anarchist movement

. The very fact that there is a bit less risk in verbally or in writing supporting the molotoving in a riot of police stations, or the burning of a train and station in solidarity with Kuneva, for instance, than there is in (verbally or in writing) supporting the act of a revolutionary sect should tell you that there is something more intelligent, less sacrificial, in supporting the violence of class struggle rather than that of professional 'revolutionaries' acting in a more or less elitist manner. In the former, repression, if and when it comes, is more general. And even if the class struggle greatly intensifies and support results in you being put in solitary confinement, you still won't feel alone, precisely because you're not trying to be 'special', separate and superior to the rest of the class struggle . However, I think you're exaggerating the risk: in the 70s and 80s and 90s loads of people openly supported (verbally and in writing) the IRA, for example (I wasn't one of them) but very few of them were treated to worse repression than anybody else. And at present, the State is hardly likely to do anything overt against the 34.9% of the Greek population that, according to one opinion poll, believe that armed violence, under current circumstances, is justified.

Nevertheless, you take the 'risk' of sending your post - and yet you don't answer the critiques of, for instance, Revolutionary Struggle. Your silence seems to imply that you have no real reasons for your support for actions that don't advance the struggle one iota.

However, to lump me in with the Greek CP - whose reactionary role was already obvious in the early 1920s, when "During the General Strike it played the role of fireman and scab" (Stinas' Memoirs) - is a bit of a classic political amalgam technique: "If you're not with us, you're against us, on the side of the enemy" - a technique which, ironically, is something the CP has a long history of. I don't "condemn", as you put it, these acts - condemnation implies a moralistic hypocrisy from on high (the CP condemn, but then they've often been involved in far more brutally violent forms of action than any little sub-terrorist gang): unlike the CP, I'd love to see parliaments everywhere burning because of the fury of the class struggle, but that's very different from what happened the other day.

I want to emphasise that, like Ret in his post here, I have always valued taxikipali's reports, and have said as much in a post in the news section - but the situation there is far too serious to just be positive about every instance of something that appears to be against this society.

I hope, if this thread develops a wider debate, that it won't just concentrate on "terrorism" (with or without inverted commas) but also on some of the other things I mentioned at the start of this thread.

b1368437
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Jan 12 2010 09:20

I would like to make clear that i do not lump you with the greek CP. The misunderstanding is maybe because i can't write in english perfectly.

Something more:
When "revolutionary struggle" shot against a riot cop unit in Exarchia on 5th January 2009, and the police then raided some houses in the area (without reason and without finding something related), some collectives published openly their strong disapproval of this tactic. If the attack had happened in another area and the police could not retaliate, i think (not sure, but...) nobody would comment.

About the rest you wrote, i'll answer when i have time. I don't really disagree with you about the Sect. These organizations are not coming from the movement. Even their language in the communique is different, their actions are not so good coordinated with the rest (shootings on 5th of January, when thousands of people have already planed a mass demonstration 4 days later?) so i can't call "revolutionary sect" or "revolutionary struggle" (more serious generally) part of the movement. They act seperately, for the same reasons maybe, OK.

I can't say the same though for all the rest groups that do arson attacks or put bombs.

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Devrim
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Jan 12 2010 11:06

I agree with Samotnaf's general point there are some things that I would like to comment on though.

Samotnaf wrote:
I don't live in Greece, but I feel that what's been happening in Greece for over a year is one of the most important movements at the moment, at least for those of us living in "the West".

I am not so sure about this. Of course it was an important movement, and the strikes in Greece since then have also been important. I think that it is possible to get over-excited about things though.

To me one of the things, which is clear about the movement in Greece is that it failed to link up with workers. As far as I am aware there was only one strike, that of teachers for half a day, in support of the demonstrators. Yes, there was a general strike at the time, but this had been organised prior to the events. To some extent this shows the failure of the demonstrators to link up with workers even at a time when the working class was already struggling.

This doesn't mean that no workers were involved in the protest movement. Of course they were, but as individuals, not as workers.

Samotnaf wrote:
And yet, over a year after the big uprising, there is now relatively little discussion about it.

I think part of this is due to the fact that Greek is quite an obscure language, and at least on here, none of the groups that the posters belong to have sections in Greece.

The comment on the armed actions is interesting:

Samotnaf wrote:
And yet a small Greek group (Ta Paidia Tis Galarias...) that participated in the movement in December, some of whom have participated in social movements for over 20 years, wrote about armed attacks in December 2008 and January 2009: "From a proletarian point of view, even if these attacks were not organized by the state itself, the fact that after a month all of us became spectators of those ‘exemplary acts', that had not at all been part of our collective practice, was a defeat in itself." They are direct in their critique: "It's not important for us now to doubt about the real identity of these hitmen with the ridiculous but revealing name ‘Revolutionary Sect'; what causes us some concern is the political tolerance of some quarters towards them, given the fact that it's the first time that in a Greek ‘armed vanguard's' text there's not one grain of even the good old leninist ‘for the people' ideology but instead an antisocial, nihilistic bloodthirst."

The first point that you don't even know if these attacks are being preformed by the state really hit home with me. In this country, Turkey, we have got to a position, when you have no idea who is behind a bomb attack, but many people refuse to rule out that the state could be behind them.

I think it is really important to publicly say that these sort of actions have nothing to offer the working class.

Samotnaf wrote:
As far as I can tell, from the distance of France where I live - and I'm perfectly willing to be corrected, taxikipali presents all kinds of different actions unconnected to each other (from police repression to demos against it, which is something quite usual in Greece, from ritualistic one-day strikes to night assaults with fire bombs - again, quite usual phenomena in Greece) as if they were something important leading to the Great Day, which is typical of an anarcho-leftist mentality, deeply rooted in Greece, according to which adding up 'activisms' equals Revolution. In fact there have been very few wildcat strikes (the garbage workers strikes in December were a fairly unusual exception). Besides, the duration of almost all of these strikes was limited to a few days for some or even to one for most, with not many people mobilized. I know a teacher who was on strike for one day and for her, who had been involved in a six-week strike 3 years ago, this was unimportant.

This is an important point.

Samotnaf wrote:
However, I think you're exaggerating the risk: in the 70s and 80s and 90s loads of people openly supported (verbally and in writing) the IRA, for example (I wasn't one of them) but very few of them were treated to worse repression than anybody else.

I don't know about the situation in Greece, but this is not the same everywhere. Supporting the PKK in writing in Turkey does lead to prosecutions, for example. I think that your general point still holds though.

Devrim

Samotnaf
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Jan 12 2010 12:29

Devrim said:

Quote:
one of the things, which is clear about the movement in Greece is that it failed to link up with workers....To some extent this shows the failure of the demonstrators to link up with workers even at a time when the working class was already struggling.
This doesn't mean that no workers were involved in the protest movement. Of course they were, but as individuals, not as workers.

I basically agree - but you made exactly the same point in another thread sometime before Christmas; it was something the TPTG - and lots of other people - said about a year ago. I said the same in a short text, which you have no reason to be aware of at all, in French in April:

Quote:
« Fuck May 68, Fight Now » is a slogan that was written on the walls of Athens in December. But although this movement is often more daring than much of the movement in May '68, the main difference, compared with '68, is that there are hardly any strikes, at least any that connect to the movement. At least in '68 there was a wildcat strike of 10 million workers; but nowadays workers are in far smaller enterprises and therefore easier to intimidate. It remains to be seen if the movement in the streets connects to a movement in the workplaces.

Maybe I should have made that point at the start of this thread. However, the movement in December 2008, was essentially working class - I'm sure you'd agree that the class composition of the 800 or more High Schools and the hundreds of universities occupied, the riots and demonstrations even in lots of smallish villages was not that of the upper middle class. It's obvious to me that workers don't become 'working class' only when they are at work - the working class exists in the streets, high schools, universities and in the home. And the working class is made up of individuals as well - not just "masses" (I know you didn't explicitly say anything to contradict this, but I read the implication that you only become "working class" when you stop being an individual into your comment "This doesn't mean that no workers were involved in the protest movement. Of course they were, but as individuals, not as workers"; but let's hope I misread you).

You also quoted me:

Quote:
Samotnaf wrote:
And yet, over a year after the big uprising, there is now relatively little discussion about it.

And responded:

Quote:
I think part of this is due to the fact that Greek is quite an obscure language, and at least on here, none of the groups that the posters belong to have sections in Greece.

I also don't speak Greek (it's all Greek to me, ho ho) - I get my information from friends in Greece, from meetings here in France and from the internet. I also don't have a section in Greece or, for that matter, anywhere - I am not in an Organisation, and the idea that not having a section somewhere is a reason for not discussing something, or for feeling, maybe, that it's not your place, seems ridiculous to me: whilst you're not likely to have the same confidence and certainty about what you say as someone living there, there's nothing wrong with saying things perhaps a bit tentatively with all sorts of "I'm not sure, but.."s . But anyway, I wasn't intending to be critical of the lack of discussion generally on libcom - I just gave it as one of the reasons to launch such a discussion; my frustration was specifically with taxikipali's refusal of communication and debate.

As for publicly supporting "terrorist" acts - well, maybe it is the case in Greece that you'll be prosecuted if you support a specific "revolutionary" terrorist gang - but
b1368437 in his/her later post said s/he didn't support these groups - and I doubt if writing to say you support the bombing of Parliament as long as there are no injuries would get you prosecuted (for the moment, at least). When Thatcher was bombed in Brighton during the miners strike, with several dead, including a hotel worker iirc, there were tens of thousands who clapped and I seem to remember things written in support, but no-one was done for just 'supporting' the IRA - though over 25 years on, and in Greece, the State might well try to crack down on mere verbal or written support...who knows?

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Jan 12 2010 13:04

just to note that I don't perceive taxikipali's reports on things like the urban guerrilla activity supportive of them, I always read them as he/she merely reporting on them in order to give a good all-round view of the situation in Greece. His/her reporting style is quite factual and I like this about it.

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Jan 12 2010 13:06
Samotnaf wrote:
However, the movement in December 2008, was essentially working class - I'm sure you'd agree that the class composition of the 800 or more High Schools and the hundreds of universities occupied, the riots and demonstrations even in lots of smallish villages was not that of the upper middle class. It's obvious to me that workers don't become 'working class' only when they are at work - the working class exists in the streets, high schools, universities and in the home. And the working class is made up of individuals as well - not just "masses" (I know you didn't explicitly say anything to contradict this, but I read the implication that you only become "working class" when you stop being an individual into your comment "This doesn't mean that no workers were involved in the protest movement. Of course they were, but as individuals, not as workers"; but let's hope I misread you).

Yes, you are right that the working class don't only become workers at work, but I think that is a place where they have power, and can act powerfully and collectively. I think the fact that the working class wasn't able to do this is a weakness of the movement.

Samotnaf wrote:
I also don't speak Greek (it's all Greek to me, ho ho) - I get my information from friends in Greece, from meetings here in France and from the internet. I also don't have a section in Greece or, for that matter, anywhere - I am not in an Organisation, and the idea that not having a section somewhere is a reason for not discussing something, or for feeling, maybe, that it's not your place, seems ridiculous to me:

No, of course it isn't a reason not to discuss something, but is a reason for a lack of information and analysis. If for example there was an IWA section there, I think there would have been a lot more input. We only have one Greek member/sympathiser (I am not sure which), who no longer lives there. It makes analysis more difficult.

Samotnaf wrote:
When Thatcher was bombed in Brighton during the miners strike, with several dead, including a hotel worker iirc, there were tens of thousands who clapped and I seem to remember things written in support, but no-one was done for just 'supporting' the IRA - though over 25 years on, and in Greece, the State might well try to crack down on mere verbal or written support...who knows?

Yes, I know. I said that I didn't know about the situation in Greece, but if that sort of thing happened here and you supported in in writing. You would most likely be prosecuted under article 301.

Devrim

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osobo
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Jan 12 2010 13:14

didn't read the whole post, but i tend to agree with taxipali. self-critique is acceptable only when it is remoted from actual struggles, i.e. amongst "foreigners", closed from public or when struggles are passed.
undoubtedly, maneuvers of the spectacle should be taken into considerations. for example, recently, one anarchist group attacked building of a tabloid that published antifa smearing articles (and one about dead Ivan Khutorskoy particularly). then, large portions of mud from anarcho-liberals were thrown at these guys. so, on that days, public critique would be considered as game on the side of anxious about biulding civil society "anarchists".

Samotnaf
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Jan 14 2010 10:21

kotob wrote:

Quote:
didn't read the whole post, but i tend to agree with taxipali. self-critique is acceptable only when it is remoted from actual struggles, i.e. amongst "foreigners", closed from public or when struggles are passed.

Disagree: during the miners strike, for example, several people published critiques of the NUM - how can critique only be acceptable "when struggles are passed" - i.e. when the best time to influence struggles has passed? Nor is it just something that should be reserved for "when it is remote from actual struggles, ie amongst "foreigners " " - again, those usually least able to practically influence struggles. And, besides, in Greece there are open self-critiques within the movement, though not by those who reduce this movement to just an anarchist one. See, for example: http://www.tapaidiatisgalarias.org/
and
http://www.kokkinonima.gr/
(these are in Greek, which i don't read, though some translations of the TPTG stuff is here in the libcom library - e.g. http://libcom.org/library/winter-thousand-decembers-tptgblaumachen

or:
http://libcom.org/library/rebellious-passage-proletarian-minority-through-brief-period-time-tptg

Don't see your second point -

Quote:
recently, one anarchist group attacked building of a tabloid that published antifa smearing articles (and one about dead Ivan Khutorskoy particularly). then, large portions of mud from anarcho-liberals were thrown at these guys. so, on that days, public critique would be considered as game on the side of anxious about biulding civil society "anarchists".

as being at all relevant to what I've written, but then you should really read the whole post if you want to comment usefully. I have nothing against attacking the buildings of professional liars (though if the attack was with bombs, I think that that would be pretty unstrategic in the present circumstances of a lower level of class struggle in Greece than a year ago or more) - I have, for instance, often supported attacks on journalists in the past. And if what you say about these anarcho-liberals, I'd feel disgusted about this kind of bouregois 'criticism' - but that wouldn't preclude criticism as such.

Devrim wrote:

Quote:
you are right that the working class don't only become workers at work, but I think that is a place where they have power, and can act powerfully and collectively. I think the fact that the working class wasn't able to do this is a weakness of the movement.

In fact I said workers don't only become working class at work, a subtle difference that means that we don't only assert our class interest at work - you for instance, see these forums as a way of asserting your class interest (though maybe I'm doing my argument an injustice, cos maybe you're posting from work - but in Turkey, I doubt it). You also see your participation in an organisation as asserting your collective power (I don't think it does at all, but I don't want to get into that argument here for the moment) - presumably this organisation doesn't all share the same wokplace. And the working class obviously did assert its collective power in the streets, high schools etc. in Greece, not just as "individuals", as you put it, but as a community of individuals. I agree, though, as the quote from the text I put out in French (Eng. translation of a bit of it above) makes clear - the fact that workers at work didn't really move was a weakness of the movement, so no disagreement on that score.

Steven wrote:

Quote:
just to note that I don't perceive taxikipali's reports on things like the urban guerrilla activity supportive of them, I always read them as he/she merely reporting on them in order to give a good all-round view of the situation in Greece. His/her reporting style is quite factual and I like this about it.

I hope I didn't imply that taxikipali definitely supported "urban guerrilla activity", what I didn't like was the very dubious reason for not discussing it. As I said, I've always valued the reports - and the text I put out in French last April was mostly gleaned from these reports. However, just saying they're "quite factual" seems over-diplomatic on your part (but then, as part of admin, you have to tread lightly). If I were to put out loads of uncritical reports on, say, CGT-organised strikes here in France, wouldn't you feel that my lack of criticism limited the value of my reports? You might keep your feelings private because of the diplomatic position your admin role tends to necessitate, but I suspect that maybe you'd wish I had some insights into their recuperative function. Though I didn't really mention it, I find this also is a limitation of taxikipali's reports - particularly on the CP-organised strikes in Greece; and it was only through a friend in Greece that I discovered that the garbage strike during December was wildcat - though I suppose I could have guessed that from taxikipali's fact that it went against a govt. ban on strikes during that week. However, when everything is reported without comment, you get the impression that all strikes there are the same, when clearly there are important differences.

My point about the reports, good as they are, is that afterwards there's a thread allowed for comments - and in the thread linked to in my original post here, taxikipali responds to your comment that the situation in Greece is a bit like the situation in the UK in the 70s and 80s, with various analyses that I tried to develop - e.g. s/he said that Greece was different because, amongst other things, there were no demands made by the movement in Greece and I said that the fact that the riots in the uk in the 80s made no demands didn't in itself prevent us from being defeated. I then tried to engage him/her in debate which s/he, rather unnecessarily aggressively imo, dismissed as "a reading group". It's for this reason I started this thread here, where a discussion is more likely to develop than in the News section.

In relation to taxikipali saying that Greece was different because, amongst other things, there were no demands made by the movement in Greece, I'd say that this affirmation of the pure revolutionary nature of the Greek movement on the basis of its lack of demands can lead (though not by taxikipali) to a lack of interest towards struggles which do make demands - the movement in Guadeloupe, for instance, shortly after the explosion in Greece in Dec 2008, had over a hundred demands, most of which were agreed to by the enemy - and though there were criticisable weaknesses in this general strike movement, it also had something revolutionary about it. In Greece, the CP and other Leftists, attacked the Greek movement for having no demands - but that doesn't mean to say, in reaction to these creeps, we should make a hierarchy of struggles - with those which make no demands on the top.

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Jan 17 2010 17:52

About the critiques that can be found in some leaflets or books (like the one in ta paidia tis galarias) i can confirm that these texts are not so open as you may think. I mean that very few outside the movement are likely to read these critiques. To add my own critique (even though i do not write to libcom) under the news reports is actually an open critique and i think taxikipali is referring to this when he says that he does not want to criticize openly. Generally self-critique of course is useful, and maybe one of the most useful things in order to develop. But can't erase certain types of action. Multiform action is another important substance of the movement and goes on for many years.

There many things that happen every day. The language is a real problem and that some people have to select what to report in english. It is inevitable to show something more and hide something else. The reports of taxikipali are actually admirably very close to what is really happening and present the situation accurately. But it is humanly impossible to present every single thing that happens. And some are important.

Samotnaf
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Jan 18 2010 00:52

I wasn't criticising taxikipali's failure to

Quote:
present every single thing that happens

(from_gr) at all - I've said several times that I find his/her reports useful, but s/he could add something a bit more reflective, add his/her point of view, at least after people have commented on the reports. And your comment

Quote:
that very few outside the movement are likely to read these critiques.

is not the point I was trying to make: they're 'open' in the sense that they're not kept private. Critiques are, anyway, only useful for those who participate in social movements; it's not really important that spectators of social movements read critiques unless it's a prelude to moving out of their relative passivity, to participating in these movements.

from_gr
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Jan 18 2010 01:27

About the first quote, it was not an answer to what you said. This is my own concern for what things are published to the rest of the world about the situation in greece. Usually this happens to the most impressive or spectacular, at least through the mass media. Here, in libcom this is not the case, but still there is a filter.

About critiques: if taxikipali gave his point of view, he would express an opinion that maybe is not generally accepted. The information then would depend on who knows better english and is capable of reporting.

Samotnaf
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Jan 20 2010 06:58

from_gr:

Quote:
About critiques: if taxikipali gave his point of view, he would express an opinion that maybe is not generally accepted. The information then would depend on who knows better english and is capable of reporting.

Firstly: everyone who can write in English is capable of reporting on libcom (as long as admin don't totally object to their reports) - just go to 'submit content' and follow instructions.

Secondly: it's not necessary to know "better English" - some people on the forums, for instance, have problems with the language (absolutely no hint of a criticism here at all - just in case anyone accuses me of "languagism"), but they make themselves understood , which is the essential thing. And if anyone has fears about the confusion they might express because of language difficulties, there are quite a few people in Greece, people who nobody need be paranoid about, who can check their English. Or if they can't find someone, they can take the risk of being misunderstood and then struggle to correct this misunderstanding - and that goes for people who speak "perfect" English as well: misunderstanding or being misunderstood is not a crime amongst those who want to contest this society. And the struggle to understand and be understood is part of the general struggle against everything that makes us misunderstand each other. Making the effort is great for people's confidence, in any language (it took me over a week when I was in Greece 10 years ago to merely get the pronunciation of "Thank you" in Greek right, but it felt good when people stopped laughing at me).

Thirdly, and most importantly: what is wrong with "expressing an opinion that is not generally accepted".? If I refused to say anything "that is not generally accepted" I would never have participated in the libcom forums, let alone open my mouth with people apparently more conventional. If I've misunderstood this, try to explain better ( and I don't think that your lack of clarity is a language problem, but more an ideological one - though maybe I'm wrong; enlighten me).
On the occasions I've sent reports (about France) I've expressed opinions based sometimes on information not readily available to those who don't speak French (and occasionally even to those who do) - but it's never held me back - that's part of what communication is, as well as part of what internationalism is.

.

from_gr
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Jan 21 2010 01:24

I'm not of course the lawyer of taxikipali and it would be better for him to answer, but i think that he is trying to give an overview of what is happening here and tries to present the facts, with few personal critiques. I think also that people that read his reports want to know what are the opinions of most people that fight. It's impossible of course to know all of them, but can at least show some "generally accepted" ideas. That's what i meant about generally accepted opinions. Anyway, i wouldn't have any problem, if someone wanted to present his personal view. If he wants, he can add his personal view, but he should state it clearly or else he could be easily misunderstood, and the readers might think that this is what most people in greece believe.

Maybe the best would be to present the ideas and the critiques that are expressed publicly by communes or organizations. This would be quite accurate about the view of most people that fight.

Moreover, most people that are in the movement do not have a PC or internet (do you know the percentage of the greek population that has access to internet? i don't, but it's low) so they cannot report, and even more do not know libcom, in order to contribute. Actually i found this a week ago, when i was trying to find out how things are presented abroad.

fleshmachine-zine
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Jan 21 2010 08:54

We are sorry to intervene, but as the whole discussion seems to be triggered on the refusal of TP to comment on our posting (Spoonful of Sugar), we would like to clarify a few issues. What TP or any other news contributor to this website reports is not of our concern and we will not judge his or her reluctance to give a personal opinion.

Fleshmachine has contributed the above item not only to libcom but to other websites both in english and in french (not in greek however - all greek reproductions have been made by individuals from its printed copies handed out on the street). However, it only came to our perception that people actually want to discuss a tactical piece like SoS in front of the eyes of the state after we put it online. We regret our naive preconception that this would not be tried. A critique of such online discussions has been long standing, though not universal as TP tried to portray it, among radical groups in Athens. A critique dating to the founding of indymedia here and the (often aggressive) refusal of several groups to be even mentioned there, let alone their texts being discussed. Lately indymedia itself has come to respect this, giving contributors the opportunity to preemptively block any comments on their post for security reasons. Let us remind comrades who live in the blissful west that we are in a historical period where the stakes are high and the movement is facing multiple forms of attacks. Let us not give our enemies more weapons than the ones they can get by risking to infiltrate our assemblies.

Fleshmachine thus expects its texts to be discussed within the movement and not online. You can print the text and discuss its practical faults and merits amongst your comrades, groups and assemblies. But its discussion online is actively discouraged by us. We will not engage in a dialogue over this decision here.

kostis
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Jan 21 2010 12:16

Another place for gossip then? I refer to the comments about the sickness of secrecy and the syndrom of family of anarchists in greece. One cleans ones own house before pointing at the dirt of anothers. Samotnaf seems to be informed by "greek friends" who like to sit a cafes talking all the time, the usual moaners "who have been in the movement for more than 20 years". A slogan above Grigoropulos murder place says: "act or shut up". And yes this is achieved with fists too in Athens, for those who speak and moan put other peoples lives and freedom at risk.

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mikail firtinaci
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Jan 21 2010 12:28

I realized that I know very very little about Greek anarchism. In some "gossips" some of my friends who went Athens and Salonika told me that there was a more legalistic and a more non-violent tendency, and that was the division. But I do not know whether this is correct. Is there any texts on Greek anarchism? What kind of organizations exist, "synthesist", platformist, or mainly insurrectionist?

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Red Marriott
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Jan 21 2010 13:12
kostis wrote:
Samotnaf seems to be informed by "greek friends" who like to sit a cafes talking all the time, the usual moaners "who have been in the movement for more than 20 years".

An arrogant assumption. The denouncing of those you don't know as supposed 'do-nothings' is always shallow - strange that while declaring no one should publicly criticise Greek anarcho texts and acts, kostis feels OK about publicly criticising as 'cafe intellectuals' others (TPTG) who publish radical texts in Greece.

from_gr
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Jan 21 2010 13:45
mikail firtinaci wrote:
In some "gossips" some of my friends who went Athens and Salonika told me that there was a more legalistic and a more non-violent tendency, and that was the division.

If your friends are not well known and trusted by local anarchists, it's sure you'll find out that everyone is non-violent!!! But still violent actions happen all the time. A non-violent tendency exists of course, but a legalistic or an antiviolent one...only some exceptions.

kostis
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Jan 21 2010 15:31

Lessons are needless from people who are ready to adopt the state discourse and term urban guerrillas as "idiots" and "terrorists"...especially when this discourse is the main tool of the greek state to criminalise anyone who refuses to condemn violence. If some anarchist or communist groups in greece choose to reproduce the arguments of the Radical Left Coalition that is a result of their long-term voluntary distance from the processes of the movement due to some vague workerist elitism. So, you wanted gossip only against the people you already disagree with?

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mikail firtinaci
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Jan 21 2010 18:00

from_gr;

is there any group or federation that openly declare its existance and also have influence, or is the majority insurrectionist like Bonanno?

Samotnaf
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Jan 21 2010 23:38

from_gr :

Quote:
people that read his reports want to know what are the opinions of most people that fight. It's impossible of course to know all of them, but can at least show some "generally accepted" ideas.....
Maybe the best would be to present the ideas and the critiques that are expressed publicly by communes or organizations. This would be quite accurate about the view of most people that fight.

The problem with "generally accepted" ideas in a social movement is that individuals often suppress their point of view in conformity with the "generally accepted" ideas of a movement, and if you're always trying to present yourself to others in the movement as able to say what is "generally accepted" ("correct") then you don't push this movement further, and the movement becomes internally conformist, even if it doesn't conform to what this society considers "generally acceptable". What's more this 'movement' isn't just anarchist - it's a class movement, of which the anarchists are just a part: it's a measure of the remnants of a Leninist vanguardism that many anarchists take their role as being more significant than other initiatives. Undoubtedly in Dec 2008, many anarchists played a significant part in catalytising the uprising, but the fact that workers in their workplaces hardly moved should have shown to anarchists some of the limitations of the movement, and they perhaps should have acted accordingly (e.g.by making more approaches to those workers who were struggling in their workplaces) rather than tend to up the dose of an already-defined activism.

Quote:
Moreover, most people that are in the movement do not have a PC or internet (do you know the percentage of the greek population that has access to internet? i don't, but it's low) so they cannot report, and even more do not know libcom, in order to contribute.

But I bet most people have access to PCs - and there are internet cafes - which have the added advantage of making posts relatively anonymous (for the really paranoid, put away your dark glasses, cloak and dagger for a few minutes, pop into the internet cafe with a false clean-shaven chin to cover up the beard, log in and post your already-prepared comments copied from your USB key onto the thread, pay for the 2 minutes internet use and get off and out, down to the local cop-free assembly where you can express yourself openly before the State has time to locate the position of the cafe you posted from and screech up to it,ready to bundle you off to the Greek police h.q.).
As for not knowing libcom... well - they're obviously not going to be influenced by reports on it - with or without comments - at all, are they - so it hardly matters - at least in relation to libcom forums - does it?

Fleshmachnie-zine wrote:

Quote:
it only came to our perception that people actually want to discuss a tactical piece like SoS in front of the eyes of the state after we put it online....Let us not give our enemies more weapons than the ones they can get by risking to infiltrate our assemblies.

Are you seriously suggesting that the State never saw this text until it appeared online? Was the text only discussed in small secret groups where everyone could verify that the other person wasn't a cop? Was it only discussed in assemblies which take place in secret hideouts where everyone is frisked for bugs and cop IDs and where every light socket is checked for microphones? Why is online discussion more of a weapon in the hands of the State " than the ones they can get by risking to infiltrate our assemblies"? On the contrary: to a certain extent, you can be anonymous on the internet - in assemblies faces are seen; and though i'm well aware that the State can, and possibly does, look at every email and post I've ever written (what fun these cops must have), there are ways around it if I wanted to, and besides, it's obvious that precise practical questions - that arise out of these more theoretical discussions - should be limited to those you know and trust and who might be interested in acting on them. Such immediately concrete practical questions ("what shall we do tomorrow/next week?") were not what i wanted to discuss here.

Quote:
discussion online is actively discouraged by us. We will not engage in a dialogue over this decision here.

Well that's decisive! - looking forward to you not responding.
I suspect there's a certain "generally accepted " pressure being put on you here: the "how dare you" outrage comes over as a performance, an act put on to persuade others, who maybe have criticised you for your apparent indiscretion, that you'll be a good boy and won't do it again.

But really - this refusal of discussion because of the State is also a refusal of internationalism - this movement has to be discussed because it's of concern to proletarians eveywhere (but especially in Europe) - and even if you don't want to talk about it (though, ever-so-slightly-illogically, your text does), many of those who were and are excited about the movement who don't live in greece do.

kostis wrote:

Quote:
Another place for gossip then? I refer to the comments about the sickness of secrecy and the syndrom of family of anarchists in greece. One cleans ones own house before pointing at the dirt of anothers. Samotnaf seems to be informed by "greek friends" who like to sit a cafes talking all the time, the usual moaners "who have been in the movement for more than 20 years". A slogan above Grigoropulos murder place says: "act or shut up". And yes this is achieved with fists too in Athens, for those who speak and moan put other peoples lives and freedom at risk.

What cleaning would you like me to do before i point the "dirt of anothers"? Should I wash my dirty linen in public? Feed the voyeurs need for gossip? The criticism of the 'anarchist family' mentality wasn't suggesting that everyone points to each others dirt, which is only of concern to others and to social movements when this dirt effects them directly; the critique I was making was the gang/family mentality that says "regardless of whether you act or not, shut up, particularly about us, and particularly about our activism". And the higher you are in the anarcho-hierarchy the more you want to shut people up who might think there are better ways of acting than "armed struggle now". I certainly don't want to " put other people lives and freedom at risk" obviously - either by moaning or speaking: but a year has gone by since Grigoropulos' murder and the movement is in many ways less than it was a year ago, a sad, and often depressing, disappointment that can't be overcome by loads of young people expressing their authentic and totally justified anger and desperation by 'proving themselves' in armed struggle: I completely support, for example, the attacks on the high-up 'general secretary ' (equivalent of PA, I guess) of the Minister of Justice (there - I've said it now - someone organise bail for me as the cops will be round any moment), but bombing is somethinhg different at this stage; and i cannot see how stating this critique is putting "other peoples lives and freedom at risk." There's a tendency of those who see " armed struggle now" as the way forward to cut out all the intermediate stages of a progressing revolutionary class struggle apart from the very last stage, the final battle - the all-out war against the personnel of the State . For them this is somehow more radical than those who fight directly in their daily lives. It's a mentality and practice that's not just unstrategic, but a really serious way of putting their own "lives and freedom at risk" - and all those they pressure into daring to enact this notion of pure radicality.

Quote:
Lessons are needless from people who are ready to adopt the state discourse and term urban guerrillas as "idiots" and "terrorists"...especially when this discourse is the main tool of the greek state to criminalise anyone who refuses to condemn violence. If some anarchist or communist groups in greece choose to reproduce the arguments of the Radical Left Coalition that is a result of their long-term voluntary distance from the processes of the movement due to some vague workerist elitism. So, you wanted gossip only against the people you already disagree with?

And who is it, kostis, that calls such people "idiots" (some maybe are - e.g. the Revolutionary Sect, but I don't think I've seen that applied to just anyone involved in "armed struggle" here on this thread; and many of the acts of class violence are certainly in no way "terrorist") It is idiotic to get into just reacting with a superior "we're the business cos we activists are doing the revolution now" type arrogance against those who try to reflect ("to reflect is not to genuflect" as someone said): look at past experience - check out, for instance, John Barker's self-critique of his Angry Brigade days, which I mentioned earlier; "Fight now", sure - but don't dismiss past experience if you don't want to fall into the militant sacrificial trap of becoming some hero.

And who gets criminalised for refusing to condemn violence? The 34.9% of the Greek population that have openly said they support violence in opinion polls? How far do you have to go before refusing to condemn violence becomes a criminal offence in greece? You're just getting carried away with your own rhetoric - what you say has no basis in reality for the moment.

Samotnaf
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Jan 22 2010 08:19

I was kind of tired last night after reading and mulling over the various posts on this thread and replying to them, but there's an important point I missed out that I think needs saying:

I have nothing as such against blowing up statues of Unknown soldiers and not injuring anyone if at all possible ; but we have to think in terms of the present circumstances, not in terms of what might be ok in different situations. Next time these "insurrectionists" might not be so lucky: the State and the media may conveniently not heed their warnings ("they phoned us up too late" or whatever), because, as historical experience shows us (particularly in Italy in the 60s and 70s) it's very useful for the powers-that-be to permit a massacre of the innocents, manipulated by fascists or genuinely carried out by anarchos who never intended to kill anyone. That's what happens when you rely on the State to make sure a bomb doesn't hurt or kill other proletarians. And then where will the movement be? Permanently occupied in endless defence campaigns for the young beautiful losers? outraged articles about how nasty the State was to allow or initiate such an atrocity?
kostis:

Quote:
Lessons are needless from people who are ready to adopt the state discourse and term urban guerrillas as "idiots" and "terrorists"...especially when this discourse is the main tool of the greek state to criminalise anyone who refuses to condemn violence. If some anarchist or communist groups in greece choose to reproduce the arguments of the Radical Left Coalition that is a result of their long-term voluntary distance from the processes of the movement due to some vague workerist elitism.

No amount of false argument worthy of Leninist politicos - like the amalgam technique of making out my point of view is somehow comparable with the parliamentarist Radical Left Coalition - can distract from the "idiocy" of genuinely and rightfully furious young people thinking of themselves as Supermen (and it's usually men) who, playing the meek and mild Clark Kent-type ordinary proletarian suddenly transform themselves into Supermanarchist to battle the forces of the State, separate from, and usually contemptuous of, the "vague worker"s, who are just Clark Kents without secret superpowers. Who is truly being elitist here?

The impatient desire for immediate effectiveness accepts the laws of the ruling thought, the exclusive point of view of the present, when it throws itself into unthinkingly daring pseudo-revolutionary common actions, like someone opposed to the dominant misery of cars and car culture throwing themselves in front of speeding traffic on a motorway. In this way madness appears in the very posture that wishes to fight it. The critique that wants to go beyond the spectacle must know how to wait - and I re-emphasise "how".

Devrim's picture
Devrim
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Joined: 15-07-06
Jan 22 2010 08:49

I agree with Samotnaf here:

fleshmachine-zine wrote:
However, it only came to our perception that people actually want to discuss a tactical piece like SoS in front of the eyes of the state after we put it online. We regret our naive preconception that this would not be tried. A critique of such online discussions has been long standing, though not universal as TP tried to portray it, among radical groups in Athens. A critique dating to the founding of indymedia here and the (often aggressive) refusal of several groups to be even mentioned there, let alone their texts being discussed.

I fail to see how people from foreign countries discussing a text on line is in anyway a threat to individuals security in Greece.

fleshmachine-zine wrote:
Fleshmachine thus expects its texts to be discussed within the movement and not online. You can print the text and discuss its practical faults and merits amongst your comrades, groups and assemblies. But its discussion online is actively discouraged by us. We will not engage in a dialogue over this decision here.

As if the state doesn't have people in assemblies and political groups.

fleshmachine-zine wrote:
Let us remind comrades who live in the blissful west that we are in a historical period where the stakes are high and the movement is facing multiple forms of attacks.

The stakes are high in lots of places. The West isn't 'blissful'. Workers actually fight there too.

Devrim

from_gr
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Joined: 17-01-10
Jan 22 2010 09:39

from mikail firtinaci:

"Is there any group or federation that openly declare its existance and also have influence, or is the majority insurrectionist like Bonanno?"

Of course there are plenty of groups. After last year the groups have spread throughout greece and even in small cities, where there was never a group, now there is. In the big cities there have always existed groups, some of them exist for decades. Especially in Athens i don't even know how many they are, in almost every neighborhood. They usually meet in squats, but some in rented areas, in university buildings or even in houses. There is not a real federation, but some groups have managed to built a network throughout greece (ex: Antiathoritarion Movement). Generally they have influence and it's very easy to find them, if you want. They are not all insurrectionist, even though some new groups were formed during last December of after it.

from Devrim:

"I fail to see how people from foreign countries discussing a text on line is in anyway a threat to individuals security in Greece."

It's obviously not a threat if you talk about what's happening here, but if i answer, there will be.

from Devrim:

"As if the state doesn't have people in assemblies and political groups."

It's not so easy as you may think to infiltrate anarchist assemblies, especially those that are to decide something important. This is that creates this "family mentality" that is criticized above. Of course there's always a danger...

from devrim:

"The stakes are high in lots of places. The West isn't 'blissful'. Workers actually fight there too."

I agree absolutely with you.

I haven't read the answer of Samontraf. I'll do this later

kostis
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Joined: 21-01-10
Jan 22 2010 12:02

All those wise-men who are so eager to comment on the state of radical things in greece should first study the history of the movement here and then pass their high judgements (it being in a sad state today etc). But what can you expect from people who have not seen a uprising for half a century...as for us we will keep fighting in our narrow minded ways, being rude and arrogant.

taxikipali
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Joined: 6-06-08
Jan 22 2010 13:49

I have been watching this thread silently for some days, and the ferocity of kostis responses strike me as inappropriate esp. the attack against TPTG. I further want to believe Samotnaf and Devrim who are consistent members of this site do realize that a criticism of an eponymous collective must be more careful than the "good boy" slander provided above. Its a different thing to have a fight with anonymous members and a different thing to publicly attack a collective with a material existence on the street. However, I want to believe this has been caused by bad climate created by kostis outrageous interventions, not a genuine disregard for how groups choose to manage their texts etc. In Greece this is accepted without further discussion as it is considered a structural element of the autonomy of each group. As far as I know there has not been a breach of this ethical rule since 2003 and it has led to an improvement of inter-radical relations. We must perhaps pay more attention to fleshmachine's phrasing regarding SoS being a 'tactical text'. This was my original reason too for not wanting to comment on it. There is a difference between theoretical texts and tactical ones. In greece the latter are most usually never distributed in public (internal documents) and very rarely appear online. Here, in other words, we have an issue of the negotiation of the degree of public exposure allowed to different genre of texts in Greece. I believe the online publication of SoS by the comrades of fleshmachine/ego te provoco is a step towards a relaxation of the accepted degree of secrecy regarding 'tactical texts'. I think it is thus counterproductive by comrades from outside greece to (unknowingly) endanger this opening-up by criticising it as closing-down. Things do not always progress in leaps, but can easily slip back if others hurry them. I hope comrades on both sides understand this as an effort for compromise, or at least a helpful "translation of positions".

comradely greetings
TP

Samotnaf
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Jan 22 2010 14:44

kostis wrote:

Quote:
we will keep fighting in our narrow minded ways, being rude and arrogant.

I guess you think you're being ironic, sarcastic, or just cleverly integrating a valid critique of your attitudes and turning it round into a self-boosting complement, the way loads of people do when they want to avoid, with a joke, serious reflection on what others say about how they behave and speak and write.
But yes - you're right: you will probably keep fighting with a narrow-minded arrogance that pisses off genuine people who authentically want to contribute to getting out of the horrific mess this world is in, and continue to think of yourself as more radical than they are.

Arrogance isn't merely a manner, but expresses a fundamental petrification in struggle, in behaviour, in ideas,in life, in the desire to communicate and to do something fresh.

Your arrogance makes incredible unsubstantiated assumptions :

1. That my understanding comes just from the top of my head - ”high judgements”, and not from talking with greek friends and reading their opinions, as well as the opinions of other greeks, including those on the internet, plus an assessment of the facts of the struggle there. My “study” of “the history there” makes me feel that short CP (and other union) controlled strikes and the drift into “armed struggle” by some of the anarchists are a retreat from the far more widespread independent actions (of which the anarchist actions were a part, but only a part) of a year ago or so; maybe the Elite factory occupations and the Farmer's blocades will catalyse things further, but,from this distance, the Farmers' blocades, for instance, are not,so far, as significant as the nationwide blocades of a year ago, the occupations of airport runways, the riots and General Strike in Crete launched by the farmer's movement in January and February 2009. I certainly didn't wish to imply that the class struggle in Greece was “in a sad state” (typical of ideological arguments to parody the positions of those you oppose), merely that it's not advancing at all, and some people are going up a blind alley.
2.That I “have not seen a uprising for half a century.”Well, few people outside Greece have seen an uprsing like that in December 2008, but internationalism implies,as a minimum, a refusal to be contemptuous of people who live in countries other than your own. But before you pity me for this failure to live in Greece, I should point out that I have (a) participated in the anti-CPE movement here in France in 2006 (a movement that sometimes threatened to turn into an uprising) (b) seen from afar the riots of the banlieux of November 2005 (which were far more interesting than most libcom posters gave them credit for, by the way) (c) seen the shutting down of the UK by the petrol tanker blocades of autumn 2000 (d) participated in the poll tax riots of 1990 (e) participated a bit in the Waping riots of 1985 – 6 (f) participated a little in the Brixton riot in 1985 (g) contributed to the miners strike of 1984 – 5 (h) participated in one of the Brixton riots of 1981 (i) seen the Winter of Discontent that so scared the ruling class in 1978-9 (j) participated in the general movement of opposition the UK in the early 70s and lagte 60s. I don't ask for a medal – this was no more than many thousands of others who lived through this period – but don't assume I sit in cafes sipping crème de menthe and discussing things radical to 'prove' I'm a revolutionary. Uprisings, sadly, aren't available to eveyone all the time the world over – and though Greek anarchists might, with some justification, claim credit for catalysing the uprising in Dec 2008, to turn this into some kind of anarcho-nationalism certainly does you no credit whatsoever.
3.That there's nothing wrong with speaking on behalf of the movement with his “we will keep fighting in our narrow minded ways”; you might pay lip service to a critique of vanguardism and of representation, but I suspect that most of those involved in the class struggle in Greece wouldn't include themselves in this “we”.

Of course, you don't care about trying to influence, or be influenced by, anything I (or any other non-Greek poster) might say: you just think you're being clever in dismissing everyone who's not Greek who doesn't want to shut up even though they're not in a position to directly contribute to the movement there. And your posts are just a cover for the fact that you have absolutely nothing to say (at least here) about the social movement there or about the rulers' strategy. .

Samotnaf
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Joined: 9-06-09
Jan 22 2010 14:46

Taxikipali: our posts crossed - will read and respond properly later, or even tomorrow, as I've got too much other stuff to do.