An open letter to students by workers in Athens, against the background of the social upheaval following the police shooting of a young boy.
A letter to students
Our age difference and the general estrangement make it difficult for us to discuss with you in the streets; this is why we send you this letter.
Most of us have not (yet) been bald or big-bellied. We are part of the 1990-91 movement. You must have heard of it. Back then, and while we had occupied our schools for 30-35 days, fascists killed a teacher because he had gone beyond his natural role (that of being our guard) and crossed the line to the opposite side; he had come with us, into our struggle. Then, even the toughest of us got to the streets and riot. However, we didn’t even think of doing what you easily do today: attack police stations (although we sang “burn police stations…”).
So, you’re gone beyond us, as always happens in history. Conditions are different of course. During ‘90s they passed us off the prospect of personal success and some of us swallowed it. Now people cannot believe this fairy tale. Your older brothers showed us this during the 2006-07 students’ movement; you now spit their fairy tale to their faces.
So far so good.
Now the good and difficult matters begin.
We’ll tell you what we’ve learned from our struggles and our defeats (because as long as world is not ours we’ll always be the defeated ones) and you can use what we’ve learned as you wish:
Don’t stay alone. Call us; call as many people as possible. We don’t know how you can do that, you will find the way. You’ve already occupied your schools and you tell us that the most important reason is that you don’t like your schools. Nice. Since you’ve already occupied them change their role. Share your occupations with other people. Let your schools become the first buildings to house our new relations. Their most powerful weapon is dividing us. Just like you are not afraid of attacking their police stations because you are together, don’t be afraid to call us to change our life all together.
Don’t listen to any political organization (either anarchists or anyone). Do what you need to. Trust people, not abstract schemes and ideas. Trust your direct relations with people. Trust your friends; make as many people as possible in your struggle your people. Don’t listen to them when they’re saying that your struggle doesn’t have a political content and must seemingly obtain. Your struggle is the content. You only have your struggle and it’s in your hands to preserve its advance. It’s only your struggle that can change your life, namely you and the real relations with your fellowmen.
Don’t be afraid to proceed when confronting new things. Each one of us, as we’re getting older, has things planted in their brains. You too, although you are young. Don’t forget the importance of this fact. Back in 1991, we confronted the smell of the new world and, trust us, we found it difficult. We learned that there must always be limits. Don’t be scared by the destruction of commodities. Don’t be scared by people looting stores. We make all these, they are ours. You (just like we in the past) are raised to get up every morning in order to make things that they will later not be yours. Let’s get them back all together and share them. Just like we share our friends and the love among us.
We apologize for writing this letter quickly, but we do it swinging the lead from our work, secretly from our boss. We are imprisoned in work, just like you are imprisoned in school.
We’ll now lie to our boss and leave work: we’ll come to meet you in Syntagma sq with stones in our hands.