5. Breaking new ground

Chronology: March-October 2009

March 7: In Exarchia, 4,000 people rip down the wall around a vacant lot destined to become a parking garage, tear up the asphalt with jackhammers, plant trees, and create a free park fifty meters away from the spot where Alexis was killed.

March 9: In separate incidents in Athens, a group of youths smash two banks in the middle of the afternoon, while early in the morning a homemade bomb explodes outside a Citibank branch, causing extensive damages and no injuries.

March 13: Fifty masked anarchists smash dozens of luxury shops in Kolonaki, the wealthy downtown district of Athens, in broad daylight, distributing flyers in solidarity with anarchist prisoner Yiorgos Voutsis-Votzatzis, and disappearing before police arrive.

Mid-March: Spectacularising the Kolonaki attacks, the media go into overdrive presenting the anarchists as a threat to order. The government announces several new security measures, including announced changes in the law to aid the criminalisation of protests, the arrival of police consultants from Scotland Yard, and the creation of Delta Force, a new police corps that will patrol on motorbikes and function as a rapid response force.

March 21: After hearing about the assassination of prisoner activist Katerina Goulioni, women prisoners in Chania and Thiva revolt and occupy their prisons.

March 30: The various squatted parks, social centres, and assemblies of Athens convoke thousands of people in a major protest march, starting at the new Navarinou Park in Exarchia and ending at City Hall.

March 31: Anarchists occupy the President’s Office of Athens University at Panepistimio, hanging a huge banner from the front of the building calling for solidarity with all squatted and self-organised spaces throughout the country on and off the universities, as well as for university asylum.

April 1: Kouzina Collective appears in Athens, serving free food in public. The same day in lraklion, three hundred people hold a demonstration in solidarity with those arrested in December.

April 2: During the national general strike day 50,000 people demonstrate in the streets of Athens while major demonstrations take place in other cities. In the middle of the demo a group of anarchists smash the Athens offices of OIKOMET while members of Kuneva’s union, with protection from anarchists and autonomists, occupy the offices of the train company forcing them to cancel their contract with OIKOMET and give the cleaners permanent contracts directly with the public transportation company

April 4: Members of the neighbourhood assembly of Petralona (Athens) along with the Assembly for Health, occupy PIKPA, a two-storey former hospital, in order to establish a social centre that will be used for many events and as a facility to provide free health care for the neighbourhood.

April 15: The British College in Thessaloniki is attacked with a gas canister bomb in solidarity with the people arrested and repressed in London and Nottingham around the G20 protests, during which one older demonstrator was killed by police violence.

April 16-18: A string of arson attacks in Xanthi targets the house of a police informant, the ATM of the central bank, the luxury car of the city’s bishop, and the car of the chief justice of the city

April 25: 5,000 people take over a pedestrian street below the Acropolis for a DIY punk concert, one of several massive public, open air free festivals, concerts, and illegal raves to oc- cur throughout the spring and summer.

April 28: 3,000 people march from the occupied park in Exarchia to the occupied park on Patision in opposition to the new anti-protest law criminalising wearing masks or insulting police off1cers.Along the route, many CCTV cameras and banks are smashed. One thousand people, mostly anarchists, march in Thessaloniki in support of the occupations.

May 9: The neo-nazi group Golden Dawn, together with the MAT hold a protest against immigrants in Omonia. Anarchists who try to attack the protest are pushed back by riot police, and fighting occurs around the Polytechnic.

May 12: A branch of Eurobank in Athens is destroyed by a bomb. The same day an arson attack targets the national electricity company in response to the deaths of two workers.

May 18: A barrage of simultaneous arsons in eleven different areas of Athens target a shop selling police uniforms, a police training school, a surveillance systems corporation that works with police, two shops that sell guns to police, the central office of a private security company in a wealthy neighbourhood, a Suzuki exhibition that provides the police with motorbikes, two private motorbikes and two private cars of cops parked outside their houses, and an exhibition of Skoda, a company that provides the police with vehicles. The communiqué was signed by “Enflamed Shadows? In the preceding days, similar attacks also occur in Thessaloniki and in Hania.

May 20: Police raid a café in Athens where many migrants gather. During the raid they tear up a Koran. Over the next two days immigrants organise several demonstrations and attack the police with stones. Hundreds participate, and police respond with tear gas. Sixteen are arrested, one, a Syrian immigrant, for throwing a molotov at a police station. Seventy-five cars, five shops, and one bank are damaged or destroyed.

May 27-31: 40,000 people participate in B-Fest, a week-long festival on the campus of the University for Fine Arts that includes concerts, raves, and a multi-day international conference that features anarchist and autonomist speakers from other countries, such as Noam Chomsky (via video feed), Bifo, Class War editors, and Michael Albert.

May 28: The Anti-sexist Faction commits an arson attack against two high-end brothels,"not for them [the sexworkers] but for us." Their communiqué also mentions the trafficking of women.

May 29: The offices of fascist party LAOS are smashed in the city of Pyrgos. Similar attacks against LAOS are carried out in several other cities over these weeks, accompanied by accusations that they coordinate with paramilitary groups inside the police to repress the social movements.

June: Fascists in the Athens neighbourhood of Aghios Panteleimonos stir up racism against the strong immigrant presence in a local park, situated near a church that was giving aid to undocumented people. The fascists instigate a right-wing neighbourhood assembly that occupies the park and kicks out the immigrants, protected by the riot police and supported by the Minister of Public Order. Shortly after the Minister speaks at the right-wing assembly fascists attack the nearby anarcho-punk squat Villa Amalias with firebombs. On the 9th of June, anarchists manage to iight off the fascists and open the playground, but they are subsequently attacked by police. They injure one cop, but five are arrested.

June 4: A police station in northern Athens is attacked by ten hooded anarchists with molotovs. Meanwhile three banks in different parts of Athens are firebombed at the same time.

June 7: Early in the morning, a group of hooded assailants attack a police station in Patras with molotovs and escape on motorcycle.

June 8: A bank in Thessaloniki is torched with a gas canister bomb.

June 11: About twenty hooded anarchists attack a group of police in Exarchia with molotovs and escape on foot.

June 17: In Athens the Sect of Revolutionaries assassinates a policeman who was guarding the home of a prosecution’s witness in the terror trial of members of ELA. In a subsequent communiqué, they threaten to target politicians and journalists, and include “everyday life" and "normal people" in a long catalogue of enemies of the revolution.

July 2-4: In response to the collaboration between the State and the neo-nazis, the Interior Ministry the political office of the ex-Minister of Public Order, the offices of an advisory think tank for the military the Institute for Immigration Policy think tank, and the car of the president of the Constitutional Court are targeted in a barrage of arson attacks claimed by “Combat Groups for the Elimination of the Nation."

July 7: 3,000 people in Athens and one thousand people in Thessaloniki march in solidarity with immigrants. Fascists attempt to attack the Athens march with molotovs. Demonstrators blockade Patision Avenue outside ASOEE, burning dumpsters and fighting with police and fascists into the night.

July 8: The last remaining prisoner of December, Thodoros Iliopoulos, is denied bail on the grounds that he is an anarchist and a"danger to democracy" He goes on hunger-strike in protest.

July 10: A riot police bus is fired upon in Athens, forcing the cops to abandon the bus and run for their lives.

July 11: The Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire carries out a bomb attack against the home of a former interior minister and warns that the new national intelligence chief could be next. Dozens of fire bombings have already been claimed by this anarchist group. In contrast, most other anarchist fire bombings and attacks were claimed by groups that disappeared after signing their name to only one or two communiqués.

July 12: A large refugee camp in Patras is mysteriously burned to the ground during a police operation. The city subsequently bulldozes the remains, preventing its reconstruction.

July 14: Villagers near Chaldiki block the road to Scouries, which a major gold-mining corporation wants to exploit and destroy In Athens, protesters attack the central tower of the National Telecommunications Company with black paint, with the support of many workers there, after the company sues the Polytechnic University for hosting the Athens Indymedia server. Protesters claim the company is taking cues from LAOS politicians who want to gag radical dissent.

July 22: Police defuse a bomb placed by the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire in front of the Chilean consulate in Thessaloniki, in memory of Mauricio Molares Duarte who had recently died while carrying a bomb meant for a police target in Santiago,

August: Dozens of actions, from gas canister bombings to radio station occupations, occur all across Greece in solidarity with the last prisoner of December, Thodoros Iliopoulos, who is still on hunger strike. Thodoros is subsequently released. Also, the occupied social centers all across Greece continue to maintain and also defend themselves, and the occupied parks expand, with the planting of more trees and flowers, the construction of playgrounds and tile mosaic walkways, becoming more beautiful than any park the State has ever produced ....

August 10: Eco-anarchist group "Animals’ Revenge" rescues 7,000 mink from two different fur farms in Kozani, in northern Greece, causing hundreds of thousands of euros in damages.

August 21: Major forest fires begin just north of Athens and burn for four days, destroying 40,000 hectares of forest, olive grove, and shrub land. Many people understand that these tires are set intentionally by real estate developers.

August 25-31: Anarchists and leftists hold a No Border Camp, amidst an extreme police presence, at Mytilini, on the island of Lesvos, near Turkey

September 2: Revolutionary Struggle bombs the Athens Stock Exchange, calling in a bomb threat first to avoid casualties. The building is heavily damaged by the huge blast.

September 5: Athens police chase some people painting graffiti into Exarchia, where a crowd gathers attempting to stop the arrests.Delta Force arrives and they attack anarchists throughout the neighbourhood,yell at neighbours, smash things in the occupied park, and generally behave like hooligans. They arrest five people though all are later released with charges dropped. Police kick one of the‘detainees until they rupture his lung.

September 23: A suspected cell of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire is caught by police in Athens after the explosion of a small bomb in front of the house of an ex-minister of finance and PASOK member, just days before PASOK wins the national elections. Three men and one woman are arrested and given terrorism charges. One is released on provisional liberty awaiting trial, with the terrorism charges dropped. Six other people are wanted by police. In the months since December, the group had claimed responsibility for 160 attacks.

October 2: The Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire take responsibility for a small bomb placed close to the stage where the current prime minister and candidate for ND is giving a major public speech, just two days before the election.

October 4: PASOK win the national elections, which had been called largely in response to the political crisis of legitimacy exacerbated by December, and the December revolt proves to be a major election topic. 30% of eligible voters abstain (compared with 26% in 2007), PASOK takes 43.9% of the votes, ND takes 33.5% (their lowest polling ever), KKE takes 7.5%, LAOS takes 5.6%, SYRIZA takes 4.6%. The Green Party with only 2.5%, do not win enough votes to enter Parliament.

October 7: Three days after the elections, prime minister-elect Giorgos Papandreou (son of the legendary former Prime Minister) says in a public speech to his new ministers, "We must be like anti-authoritarians in authority.. our main target is to bring equality to all genders, races, economic classes, and nationalities, bringing together all differences,” revealing both how much the real anti-authoritarians had influenced the political structure, and also hinting at the strategy of the Socialists for recuperating the revolt. Meanwhile, anarchists and the extreme Left riot nearby in Istanbul, Turkey in protest of the International Monetary Fund, while World Bank president Robert Zoellick declares an end to the days of elitist decision-making without input from developing countries, mirroring the PASOK rhetoric.

October 8: At midday about thirty koukoulofori in Exarchia smash out the windows of a half dozen corporate targets, including the National Bank of Athens and a fascist bookstore, as well as a few luxury vehicles, disappearing before the arrival of Delta Force, units of which had been parked nearby. That night, hundreds of police invade the neighbourhood, searching some 200 people, eighty-one of whom are taken to the police station and eight of whom are arrested (for poverty-related crimes). They also search sixteen automobiles and twenty-six cafés. The next day the new minister of public order, who some years earlier was responsible for torturing suspects in order to bust and imprison several members of 17 November, says on television that the purpose of the raids is not to go after the anarchists but to arrest the vandals and hooligans and establish police authority in Exarchia. The massive and aggressive police presence, raids, and arrests continue. The last time it was like this, recall the old timers, the Socialists were also in power; it was after the 1989 riots sparked by the acquittal of the cop who killed anarchist Michalis Kaltezas, and then the police occupation of Exarchia lasted for three years.

October 10: In the afternoon, several hundred residents of Exarchia and anarchists hold a protest against the police occupation, angrily confronting a line of riot police guarding a government building, but deciding not to attack. The neighbourhood assembly of Exarchia has decided to permanently resist the repressive measures. At night, on Strefi Hill above Exarchia, four thousand young people take over the park for an unpermitted free festival with DJs, VJ's, and bands. At one point Delta Force makes a threatening show of force but leaves without provoking a fight.

The neighbourhood assembly continues holding protests twice a week, bringing thousands of people together to march from Exarchia Square to Parliament and back, vowing to continue until the police presence is removed. The struggle continues...

Alexis Grigoropoulos park

On Saturday March 7th, 1,000 people converged on a vacant lot that for years had been surrounded by metal construction barriers several meters high, stealing the space from public view and public use. Going on fifteen years, the city government had promised to turn the lot into a park and still had done nothing. Recently the owner of the property, which was valued at 9 million Euros, decided to retract their offer to allow a park there and were formulating plans for construction. A confluence of neighbourhood residents and anarchists from all over Athens acted first. In one day they tore down the metal barriers and began the process of creating a park, ripping up the asphalt, building benches and planting trees. One of the participants tells with glee: "For years there had been these walls here, no one was used to thinking that there was an empty space behind them. And the day we tore it down, you see neighbours walking by they come upon this open space and start looking around them, checking the street signs - they were lost in their own neighbourhood. We transformed this place." A visitor exclaimed: “You know what the best part is? It’s seeing all the old people look at the park and how happy they are.""No," interrupted a Greek anarchist. "The best thing is that we fucked the city out of 9 million Euros."

We intervene in the daily flow of things to interrupt it

Daredevil: An active participant in Exarchia's new squatted park

Before December I wasn't directly involved. I followed what was happening and went to some protests but there was no strategy It was just solidarity for other people’s actions. There’s a lot of small anarchist groups that do a lot of actions and they created the conditions for December to happen, but what happened exceeded these groups. They made some sort of a network and this network was very helpful, at least in the beginning. They started by occupying the national university the economic school, the law school. They provided some sort of a basis for people to come and meet. The anarchists were more involved and they were more active before December. They also had street knowledge, they know about conflict and lighting. And the young kids, they picked it up very fast and in two days they were experts too but it was vital that this knowledge was present beforehand.

Two crucial events happened during this time: the death of the young kid and the attack on the lady; Kuneva. For Greek standards this was very brutal. It’s unheard of. A lot of people felt like they had their backs up against the wall. That's why we saw such a powerful eruption of outrage.

At some point we formed a group, but this group didn’t have an identity. It was part of our strategy not to have a name, not to have anyone speak for the group. I operated together with other people but I cannot speak for anyone else. What was important is this decision that we took not to have a name or identity.

Often the strategy of the State and the authorities, is to separate the different groups, to differentiate anarchists from students from workers, so they can play one group against the other. Or they can represent a particular group as, for example, artists, so everyone who is not an artist, it doesn’t involve them. But when we did things that got in the news they didn’t know how to label us-students, anarchists, youth. I think that this has worked very well.

Sometimes we organised things in cooperation with a group that already existed, a group that was more visible, more broad. For example here there is a group of residents. With the park we did all the work but they took all the credit. This was a civic group, more open, so they couldn’t be tagged as anarchist or whatever. This worked well for us. We did this a couple times, three times, with a big festival in Exarchia, for example.

We don’t want to be in touch with the media, so we get in touch with more mainstream groups, and they can get in touch with the media. For me this strategy has worked.What’s new is that now a lot of people are united and doing things, but this is still mostly around action. There are a lot of ideological differences but there is some sort of unity around the action. Like for example here at the park. I think this is a new development, since December. This is a small country and everyone knows one another. The different groups have some solidarity but also they have differences, they were fragmented. But now you have osmosis, people going from one group to another. It’s much broader.

In December we talked with some people about this strategy of autonomous zones and I think a lot of people liked the idea. There’s a lot of new squats, a new discussion about this situation. It also happened after the student riots of 1991: there were lots of occupations and now it’s happening again. But there are many different approaches. For example there was the occupation of the National Opera, that lasted for ten days. It was very big. And by Greek standards it was a very open squat. Lots of people came in who wouldn’t feel comfortable going to other political spaces. There were people from the whole political spectrum. Lots of discussions, it was quite interesting. At the beginning you saw they all came from different backgrounds but slowly a connection began to form.

The park is wonderful. It's very open, anyone can approach it, there’s no inside and outside. In the Opera there was the dynamic of one big group using the place and one smaller group that ran the place. There was a tension.

The starting point for our strategy was parenvoli, intervening and breaking the normal routine. We intervene in the daily How of things to interrupt it. The first intervention lasted one minute, then ten days, and now a more permanent interruption, with this park. These actions were done by different people, but what's important is that it goes from smaller to more permanent. It’s part of the strategy that the same group of people doesn’t do everything, so more people can participate and more people can relate. And the authorities never know who is doing it. One minute they thought it was fourteen-year-old kids and the next minute they thought it was veteran anarchists.

To occupy the park we worked with a civic group. They had been thinking about it for a long time, and for 6 months already they had been pressuring the municipality and the owner of the lot, which is the Union of Mechanical Engineering, to turn this place into a park. Some of our people who also participated in this civic group decided that it would be a good idea to make the park ourselves. In the beginning we didn’t have this whole thing in mind, we thought maybe we would just make some holes and put in some trees, and you can see now how it’s grown. But this is only because people put in so much work. They put in time, brought tools, and did so much. The park built itself. Some people provided the spark, and so many more people showed up and made it happen. And now it operates through its open assembly.

If someone comes along, uninitiated in this way of doing things, of organising assemblies, he would think it is completely chaotic - nothing could possibly‘come of this. But the truth is that from this seemingly chaotic environment a lot of l things can happen and they work really well. They're well organised, no mistakes, no big conflicts. This is a lesson for new people but also for us, to believe more and more in this way of organising and this way of acting. The idea that you don’t need some sort of leader to tell you where to go and what to do and who is responsible. You must prove this through action, not just say leadership is superfluous but prove it in action. And I think that on many occasions since December we have seen this.

Where do we go from now? There’s this dilemma: do we do things that bring in more people or do we do the things that we like and if other people like it too, so be it, something like that. But I’m not sure how to do it. We need some kind of combination. We should hope that the things we like and do well appeal to other people also. Because we don’t want to dilute our principles or our activities. There is this idea that we have to create the life that we want, parallel to a direct conflict with the authorities. We must build a new reality on the ground, of what we like and how we want to live. Like this park: we have to build it ourselves and organise it in some autonomous way, period.

In my view all the different aspects are related. Hitting the police, throwing molotov cocktails, these are different from creating a park and different people participate, but they fit well together. It’s a multifaceted struggle. The strategy of the opposite side tries to distinguish between everything, to turn you against the others. But the same people, different people, same time, different times, it doesn’t matter. We’re all together.

The big question we face now with the park, is that if you take the best scenario, that the municipality is willing to compromise with the owners and give them some money so that the park can legally remain, then the municipality takes ownership of the park. How can you guarantee the autonomy of the park so it doesn't just become another city park? This is uncharted territory I’m sure that in other times and in other countries there were similar experiences so we must look to history. We are formulating a new language to describe these experiments. Currently we lack the means to communicate what is happening. And there are new challenges. Hopefully we’ll learn from the past or create new ideas of how to do this, how to guarantee the autonomy of the park.

An interesting idea is what has happened in the West, the creation of social centres that provide social services. This is a huge project. It takes lots of money and infrastructure and expertise. But if we can take this on and make it run autonomously and keep it open to the people it’s going to be good. It's going to be really good.

The house of Maria Kallas

"The biggest expectations lie ahead of us and we find ourselves in the joyous position of seeking ways to drift along with them."

At 8 a.m., March l9th, dozens of comrades occupied a building on the corner of Patision Ave and Skaramaga Street, the former house of Maria Kallas, right between the Athens Polytechnic and the Economics University in Athens. Work inside started immediately. A soundsystem was quickly set up and the subversive "Carmen," sang by Kallas, echoed across Patision Ave. There are many people in the building, the number increasing by the hour. You can come to the beautiful building and gaze at the sea from its rooftop.

The new Patision Commune is here. Strong, sober and uncrushable.

Carrying on...

We are some people who met on the streets and in the occupations during the events of December’s revolt-events that derive from historical, class, social, and dispositional causes and of course, from the assassination of Alexis by the cop Korkoneas. December was a peak moment, a spark in the powder keg, upon which the peaceful social consensus is based, an accelerating factor leading to an unprecedented social explosion. An explosion that shattered the suffocating normality of our lives. The feast of December blew apart individualisation and the sealed-off private sphere in our lives. A joyous, collective, and wild “we" poured out on the streets. It attacked democracy and its guards; abstaining from any demand or petition, it self-organised everyday life within occupied buildings. It articulated the sharpest critique against the monologue of the commodity destroying and looting its temples, redistributing social wealth, halting consumption in the very centre of the city. It disproved the ambitions of the leftist wanna-be intermediaries, letting them stammer sociological crap on the TV. It cancelled out the convulsive muddle of the journalists, making it clear that whoever wanted to understand what was going on only needed to get out of their homes. It abolished, even if temporarily gendered and spectacular roles. Thousands of people acted as one body; during events where what mattered was what was happening, not who was doing it.

And on the other hand: the State, the bosses, and those with a strong interest in everything staying the same. From the moment they managed to regroup they were anything but spectators. They sought a return to normality by using all means at their disposal. From riot police and paramilitary thugs to the sociologists and sensitive artists. From talk of extremists, gangs, saboteurs, Greek-haters, all the way to the peaceful citizens' claim to the right to celebrate their Christmas. From the hypocritical criticism of the adults to their kids, to the arrest of 265 rebels and the incarceration of sixty-five. They did whatever they could do, in other words, for December to turn into a“sad bracket" where in the end the extremists were punished and those who followed were admonished.

Carrying on,

The meaning of December grows increasingly important. Conditions remain polarised and confrontational on both sides. Only within the context of December's upheaval can one understand events like the acid attack against syndicalist K. Kuneva; the attempted massacre, by hand-grenade, at the migrants’ space as well as the proclamations for the restructuring of the legal and military arsenal of the State, the most recent attempt to awaken reactionary social forces.

At the same time, widened social groupings are constantly developing actions, practices, and a voice, using December’s events as a clear starting and reference point. From the railway stations to the centres of bureaucratic syndicalism, from workplaces to the hospital receptions, from parks and neighbourhoods to the spectacle’s temples, self-organised incentives that are diffused, socialised, and enriched emerge as tools, methods, and ways of reshaping reality and attacking the capitalist relations and the democratic condition. These elements constitute a wider process of radicalisation that seems to have time, continuity and qualitative depth.

Carrying on,

To the extent that we constitute a product and a component of these conditions, we decided to reclaim the abandoned building of 61 Patision Avenue and Skaramaga Street, with the aim of grounding our intentions and desires; in order to turn it into a base for the life that we want. To turn it into an open social space where in a self-organised, comradely, and collective way we will comprise a part of the conspiracy for the destruction of this world, Against all forms of hierarchy and authority against all political and corporative intermediation, against all spectacle - given roles and gendered divisions. And in this attempt of ours we are looking for accomplices...

The revolt is already everywhere.
Solidarity to Konstantina Kuneva.
Immediate release of December’s arrestees.

The assassination of prisoner Katerina Goulioni

According to IMC Athens, Katerina Goulioni, militant prisoners’ rights activist, has died in police custody this morning, Wednesday March 18th. Katerina was one of the most active prisoners in defence of prisoners’ rights and was often put in isolation.

Katerina was being transferred from the women’s prison at Thiva, where she was active in exposing bad conditions and organising against mistreatment and rape of prisoners, to a prison on the island of Crete. Evidently she was on the same boat to Crete as the fascist prisoner “Periandros.” Periandros had previously attacked the anarchist prisoner Yiannis Dimitrakis;Yiannis is in the hospital but is doing well. Afterwards, Periandros was attacked by other prisoners in his own cell, possibly in retaliation, as Yiannis has much support on the inside.

In the boat from Pireaus to Crete, the guards forced Katerina to sit alone, fifteen seats behind the other prisoners, hands tied behind her back. At 6a.m. in the morning Katerina was found dead; according to testimonies by other prisoners, she was badly beaten in the face.

The coroner refuses to give out any information before the official report, though police already claimed Goulioni died of a heart attack. Prisoners at Thiva, approximately 100km northwest of Athens, quickly began a hunger strike.

Update: On Sunday the 22nd it was reported that the women had set one wing of the prison on fire. Meanwhile prisoners in the Hania prison on Crete also revolted and occupied the prison, and 200 people in Korydallos prison staged a solidarity protest. Simultaneously, a radio station close to Hania was occupied so solidarity messages from and for the prisoners could be broadcast:

We the prisoners of the juridical prison of Hania, today on the 2lst of March 2009 and in reaction to the horrific living conditions, refused to enter our cells in order to demand the immediate de-congestion of the prison. As a solution to this problem, we seek the immediate transfer of the majority of us to other prisons in the country. We ask, in other words, what should be a given. What no one should be denied even for a single moment: humane living conditions. Dignity!

How could we not act, when 157 of us are piled up in a prison, a former Turkish command post, built to house 70, when 57 of us are forced to live in a room designed for 20, when to use a toilet we must book an appointment the day before, when we join up two beds so that three of us can sleep on them, when we have no hot water and shiver, when we shout and nobody listens, when the State hides away from society an untold truth!

Yet again the State becomes an accessory to murder when facing the fact of an unavoidable revolt!

The threats issued against the revolt and the judicial condemnations directed against all of us who participate in it, as insurgents, criminals, do not scare us. The State will always meet with our opposition! Its terrorism shall not pass!

We voted unanimously and with enthusiasm that:

We will continue our struggle until we get a hearing with a representative of the Ministry of Justice, in order for our demands to be met.
- Prisoners of the Juridical Prison of Hania

Conversation on a park bench with a random young person in Thessaloniki

"Excuse me, milas agglika?"

Nai, ligo. A little."

“Do you know what time it is?"

She shows me her watch."How do you say... quarter past nine?"

“Yeah, that’s right. Thanks. So are you a student here?"

“Yes."

"What do you stucly?"

"Economics."

"What do you think about the student occupations?"

“It’s okay but I think it’s hard to study here. It’s a lot of work."

She didn’t seem to have understood the question, so I went in for some small talk, "Do you like Thessaloniki?”

“Yes, it’s a great city."

‘Are you from here?"

"No, I’m from Crete. Do you know where is Crete?"

“Yup. What's it like?"

“Very nice. I’m from Hania. It's a big city, not so big, but it’s alright. There are four big cities on Crete, Iraklion is the biggest. I think it’s the 3rd or 4th biggest of all Greece."

"My names Alex, what's your's?"

“Ionna. Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too, So..." Small talk was harder than it looks. I plunged back in to the topic of politics. “So, were you in the student movement two years ago? You know, the occupations, the katalipsi in 2006?"

“Ah no, I was in high school then?.”

“So what do you think about what happened in December?”

"It was awful!"

"'What was awful about it?"

“The police shouldn’t have the right to take someone’s life. It’s very very bad."

"That’s funny in my country someone would say it’s awful and they would be talking about burning the banks - they would have forgotten about the boy getting killed."

"That’s terrible."

"Yeah, really. So I bet you smashed like a hundred banks."

“Ha ha! No, but I went to the protests!”

"I like how everywhere there's graffiti here for the prisoners."

She looks to where I point out the slogan written for Polikarpos Giorgiadis, from November 17th, on the wall across from us.

“Yes," she says with a little laugh I can’t quite decipher.

“So do the anarchists here have much support? I mean from normal people?"

“Mmmm, I don;t know. I think yes among the young people and not so much from other people.”

“ I went to the katalipsi at the university yesterday. They had a talk about Konstantina Kuneva and the workers, that was very interesting.”

“Ah, yes?”

“Do you know about that case?”

“A little.”

“So... are there any good parties on the university this weekend?”

Now there's no going back

Sakis and Dine: Two older members of the Anti-authoritarian Current in Thessaloniki (speaking from their own point of view and not as spokespersons).

Yes, there was an occupation of the Theatre School in December but this action wasn’t done by Alpha Kappa. Many of us participated in it, but as individuals. There were also many students. This was an occupation by everybody. We also participated in the protests. In the protests Alpha Kappa usually goes as a tight bloc. We fight with the police but we don’t run around and scatter. We stay close, sometimes we link arms, and this way we don’t get arrested.

Since December, Greece is totally different, and the anarchist movement here is totally different. Now there’s no going back. It’s as though in one month things moved forward five years. Greek society moved forward. We saw the anger that everyone feels about the economic system, their jobs, the crisis. For 150 years it's been the same, the politicians just take the money and do whatever they want, but now, for the first time, the Greek people have shown their anger. If I were a fifteen-year-old in December it would affect me for the rest of my life and even when I was thirty whenever I saw a cop or some other authority figure I would remember what kind of person this really is.

The anarchists didn’t expect the riots in December because we know the Greek people and they’re not such active members of society. But we saw that there is hope, especially in the young people, and this frightens the politicians. They didn’t expect twenty-five cities to be burned at the same time. They were already afraid of the anarchist and left movement, but they never expected this.

The European politicians are very afraid. With the economic crisis, the European politicians believe that there will be many Decembers, in all of Europe. They want to stop this but they don't know how. I believe there will be many more Decembers. I think for many people the crisis is bad, for example I’m in danger of losing my job, but I want the crisis to continue, I want it to become ten times worse, because I think it will bring more Decembers.

After December Alpha Kappa understood that we are at a point where we have to set our sights higher. So now we are moving out of this social centre and we are moving to a much larger building in the centre, a rented building we will share with other groups, with other Left collectives and individuals. We have decided to do this because it is time to be open to society and be a part of society rather than being like the old closed anarchist groups all dressed in black.

There is also a new house that is squatted, right on Nikis Avenue, right on the sea front, a huge building, and there are other new social centres that are beginning as well. The government, I think, is very afraid. This high judge said that it's time to put an end to these new occupations, and he even named our new house which has only been squatted one month. And he named Yfanet and Terra Incognita and Delta and the others. He said the anarchists now have seven spaces in Thessaloniki, we have to stop them or they’ll take over the whole city! So they are looking for legal ways to evict us. I think they will try to start with the squatted buildings because they can pretend it’s a matter of legality; they can say it’s because those places are illegal, but their real reason is to attack the movement.

But I don’t think they will do it. I think they are bluffing. They know we would defend these places. The State knows we could start the war again, easy.

So, now you see we are putting all our things in boxes, getting ready to move to the new social centre. This place was a good one, there were always lots of people coming in here and we had lots of events. But it’s time to move to a bigger place, and cooperate with other groups. It’s time to talk with the people so they understand our analysis, and the words we use, so they understand what we mean by internationalism, our critique of money our critique of the State, not to make them anarchists but to make them active in society and make them believe that things can change.

We decided to occupy the university rectorate

Kostas: A student in the computer science department involved in the occupation of the administrative building at the Aristoteleous University of Thessaloniki

After the attack on Konstantiva Kuneva we started building a movement. Many students united and started printing papers or sticking up posters all over the university. This university contracts with the same company that employed Kuneva for its own cleaning staff and other staff. We demanded that the administration end its contract with that company and hire on all the staff as permanent, contracted workers - essentially a de-privatisation. After one month of action, in March, we decided to occupy the rectorate and establish a centre for our struggle. The student unions of three schools decided to participate in the occupation: geology biology, and electrical engineering.

The staff have held four assemblies. In the first week they decided to initiate a partial strike, working four hours less per day We organised a march along with the syndicate and five hundred people came out in the centre of Thessaloniki. On Monday (March 30th) there is another staff assembly and maybe they’ll decide to go on strike. There’s also a protest march in Athens they may participate in.

So there is a direct link between this occupation and December. Many students participated in December. At least twenty schools out of about thirty were occupied by their student unions all through December, and there were occupations of the theatre school, the workers’ centre, and the high schools. In the first week the directors tried to close the universities so the students couldn’t gather and hold assemblies but despite this decision and despite the police throwing tear gas onto the campus, many students came and occupied their schools. There were also many marches. The largest march included approximately 12,000 people.

In the student occupations the extreme Left and the anarchists started to win over the assemblies. There are many Left organisations and anarchist organisations in the university but they are all united. Personally, I’m part of a small political party, the Communist Party of Greece (Marxist-Leninist) (1). In my opinion the extreme Left groups and the anarchists have been the only powers in December and in the student movement. The leftist political parties that are in Parliament are not a part of this movement at all. They did not participate in the movement and they are not welcome in it.

This unity and this tradition of student assemblies goes back to the student occupation movement of 2006-2007. This very important movement created a culture of struggle. Before then there were only one or two assemblies per year, with no more than fifty students. In the 2006-2007 school year there were fifteen to twenty assemblies with at least 400 students participating. The education reform passed in 2007 was forced through with great violence. The law changed how asylum works in the universities. Before, the police could come in only if the students agreed, but now the director of the university can call the police onto the campus without approval from the students. So technically it's easy now for the police to enter the campus - but not in reality because they’re afraid of how the students will respond.

Our director is threatening to call in the police to end this occupation, but we will see what happens this week. We have decided to defend the occupation no matter what.

The next steps for the movement in Greece is to address the financial crisis: the basic salary how many hours you work, the pensions. Everything related to work, because the people in Greece cannot afford basic things.Also some of the immigrants live in very poor conditions. In December there were many immigrants participating. And of course we have no intention to stop fighting against the university privatisation law, to force them to repeal the law In all sectors of society now there is a tendency to participate in the struggles. In January even the farmers started building a movement. I think you will hear again from the Greek movement.

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(1) This is a small extra-parliamentary party not to be confused with KKE, the Communist Party of Greece that has seats in Parliament.

December is a result of social and political processes going back many years (part 2)

Alkis: An anarchist, squatter, publisher, and worker

Continued from Chapter 1, this interview expresses the continuity from before December to afterwards.

...As the events of December showed, those who lost contact with society's most radical and militant expressions were not the anarchists, but those who were flirting with the ideas and structures of authority claiming a role for themselves as representatives of the social subjects and mediators of social conflicts.

Through a long-lasting process of struggle, which I briefly described before, anarchists and anti-authoritarians gained a lot of ground in the consciousness of the people, something that was not evident to everybody until December. Some believe that the State lost a lot of social ground during the days of December. More accurately the State had lost a lot of ground before the events of December, over a long period of time. This was revealed during the revolt, with the participation of crowds of people in actions that were considered, up to that moment, exclusive to small groups of anarchists.

December of 2008 has a profound historical, political, and social background that is connected to the history of struggles over the last thirty years, and to the presence and participation of anarchists inside those struggles. The anarchists’ participation that is characterised by the praxis of social revolt without mediators and without illusions for a change inside the existing system, proposing self-organisation against any kind of hierarchical organisation, proposing counter-violence against State violence, and solidarity against individualisation and the artificial divisions created by power.

Here we could talk about dynamic practices of struggle: the clashes with the police and the occupations of buildings (universities, schools, town halls and many others) - both were appropriated by crowds of people in December. The same happened with self-organisation through open, anti-hierarchical assemblies that were created during the days of December and afterwards. Those practices were avoided and downgraded by the Left and the result is that the events surpassed them.

However, even though December is a result of social and political processes going back many years, and it does have similarities and analogies with previous events, it still surpasses them and expresses new situations, needs and desires, creating new potentials. Unlike past events, this time they weren’t limited or localised in a specific time and space. They were diffused to numerous cities all over the country and took many different forms, more or less violent but always antagonistic to the State, based each time on the inspiration and imagination, the inventiveness of the people who participated.

Furthermore, it is a process that, because of its diffusion and its multiform character, doesn’t seem to have an endpoint; rather it seems to continue and renew itself, taking new forms and bearing the promise of new social explosions in spite of the current decline in violent events. Previously events mainly concerned Greek youth but in December what spread all across the country included people of many other nationalities, including migrants and refugees.

Dynamic methods of struggle and processes of self-organisation were adopted by many people, without representatives and without putting forward demands, December not only continues a culture of political violence, it is also laying down a new tradition of self-organisation as an important social urge, to organise from below These processes of self-organisation don’t respond to murderous police violence as their only objective but to all expressions of Authority: from the way we live, the way we work, produce, consume, to issues of health, the environment, everything. Every aspect of authority is a front of struggle for the people who self-organise and fight from below, not always violently but almost always antagonistically to the State.

The revolt also justified certain positions inside the anti-authoritarian movement and disproved others. For example, the notion that everything is under control, that manipulation and control of people is so strong today that revolts are not I possible, or that society is dead, that it cannot produce anything healthy and that we anarchists are alone against the State, was disproved. December showed that social revolt is possible.

The subjects of the revolt are another important issue surrounding December. There has been a lot of talk about who rebelled and there has been a major effort by the media and representatives of the political system to determine the subjects of the revolt in order to write the history themselves. They allege that it was a revolt of youth, specifically Greek youth, and especially high school students, based on the fact that part of the revolt was mobilisations of high school students, who, on many occasions, went as far as to demonstrate at police stations and assault them. But this is a very limited and falsified presentation of the revolt. The political system and the media want to conceal the wider social, multinational, and class character of the revolt. It was not only the students who were in the streets! And, in any case, most of the youth who came into the streets did not come down as students, but as insurgents against the world of domination, state violence, authority and exploitation. The media and politicians want to hide what was evident to everyone who was in the streets: that in those streets there were the poor, the salaried workers, the unemployed, those we call excluded. And a large number of them were immigrants, those who are the cheapest labour force and main victims of labour exploitation, police violence, and state repression.

Consequently the subject that each analyst presents as playing a central role in the revolt indicates his or her own political purposes and reflects their subjective perception of the revolt, as well as their future objectives. For example, when they talk about Greek youth, especially about high school students, it is in order to separate the "good" rebels, considering them easier to manipulate, from the "bad," uncontrollable rebels. However the majority of the people who were in the streets basically belonged to the latter category they were uncontrollable, oppressed people.

Today we are facing two things. One is the repressive moves by the State through the judicial system and the police-such as arrests, imprisonment, people being held hostage through prosecutions, increased public surveillance, the penalisation of wearing masks and of insulting the police verbally the targeting of squats, of self-managed spaces, and generally of the self-organised structures of the movement. On the other hand we have the ideological attack launched by the State in order to divide the rebels of December into "good" students, aiming to incorporate them into the system, and the"bad ones,"who cannot or do not want to be incorporated and thus must be isolated and attacked and repressed.

We should also point out that while repression is expressed directly by the state mechanisms, the ideological war is being expressed by them and by other auxiliary mechanisms, such as the parties of the institutional Left. While the judiciary and the police repression are immediately visible and understood as something that comes from outside, the ideological war is more insidious and is generated within the movement itself, since it is expressed not only by those who are hostile to the movement but also by people who appear as friends of the movement and who are selectively projecting those characteristics of the revolt which they like, which means those characteristics they think they can absorb and utilise. And at the same time they slander those characteristics and subjects of the revolt that they don’t consider agreeable, naming them non-political, anti-social, or even criminal.

This ideological war aims to incorporate, to terrorise those who are not incorporated, and to isolate those who support the revolt.

The crisis of the system, which is a crisis of its social legitimation, radically limits the possibilities of incorporation for a large portion of the people who react and resist. To clarify this means that more and more people lose their trust in the institutions or the proponents of the system. This is why, even if they manage to incorporate some, they can’t really confine and intercept the influence of the radical ideas.

The ones that we have to be wary of, because of their erosive and undermining presence, are exactly the ones who have one foot in the old world and the other foot with us, talking about a new world. These double-faced enemies of the revolt are the worst, worse than police and judges.

We have to make clear that we’re referring specifically to those who play a certain role, not even always an important one, inside the institutions, and not generally to people - workers, neighbours, youth - with whom we meet. As for the latter, people who are being acculturated and educated by the system to have faith in the institutions, it was much easier to communicate with them in the first days of the revolt, because the material conditions and the tension of the events was such that everyone was moving from their old positions to new ones.

Today as time goes by our political and personal ability to keep these contacts is being tested. And so is our patience when acting together with people different from us, recognising that we have a lot more to learn about how to keep contact with all these people whom we met in the streets in December. And the most important way that we meet face-to-face, beyond the usual propaganda material, the texts and flyers, is in the self-organised assemblies. From our side, we encourage the creation of such assemblies, we participate and intervene in them. And it is there also that we’re faced with the ideological war I talked about before. But apart from that, there are the prejudices; both the prejudice of other people regarding us, and our prejudice towards people who do not have a clear rejection of the existing system, either out of naivete, out of fear or just because they are accustomed to it.

But we are on the right path. The relations that have been developed between anarchists, anti-authoritarians, and other parts of society constitute a whirlwind and the outcome is unpredictable. For sure it is something positive, as we don’t allow normality and alienation to re-establish themselves. Because in contradiction to the swirl of the revolt where everything is possible and we can hope for the best, normality is a situation where almost everything is predictable and most of the time the result is negative.

Things are unpredictable, not only concerning the relation between anarchists and anti-authoritarians with other people, but within the movement as well. And, mostly things are unpredictable in terms of the relation between the anarchists, society and the State. The anarchist/anti-authoritarian social movement produces many initiatives and acts of resistance against the State, some more dynamic and others less so, some more social and others less so. That is to say that there is not any central organ or single nucleus, but a variety of larger and smaller initiatives of struggle from below, some of which are coordinated while others are not. In every case, what should be avoided, in my opinion, is to be socially isolated, to be isolated among us, in the movement, and to be left alone to carry out a confrontation with the State.

We understand that a number of things that are done in Greece, were they done in the US or in Italy for example, some of us would be dead and many more would be in prison for a lot of years. This balance of power that exists today - the fact that there is such activity and that we can talk about these things - has been thirty years in the making. But our lives and our freedom are always imperilled and targeted by the state mechanisms.After December the State wants to change this balance of power, and it could reverse it. Just as when Alexis Grigoropoulos was murdered and the desire for revolt came from within the people, there could be another moment where, based on a different event, an explosion of state repression could occur; and anarchists, as well as other fighters, could be exposed to tremendous dangers.

The history of the movement in the US, in Europe, and in the world teaches us both what we can do and what we can be faced with. Having a deeper knowledge of what we are and what we want to do, but also of what the State is and what it wants to do with us - to make us disappear - what we should make sure of is not to isolate ourselves from society but also not to be divided within the movement, so that as a whole we won't be left alone against the State, nor that every individual comrade will be left alone against the State. But it is also important not to restrain our impetus or compromise our inner desires, to act and make things happen, to use our courage and even our craziness.

We haven't said anything so far about the role of spontaneity in the events of December. Spontaneity has always played a role in the anarchist initiatives and did again in December. But there was also the spontaneity of the social groups that participated in the revolt, the spontaneity of the masses. According to Castoriadis, "Spontaneity is the excess of the “result" over the "causes."" There were spontaneous forces that were expressed in December, forces that were hidden inside the masses of the people and that were not predictable before. And these forces still inherent in society, much more in a society that is on its knees, much more in a society divided into classes, suffocating by the violence of the system, by poverty despair, fear. For people living in such a society two possibilities remain: either the passive acceptance of the existing reality which the State wants to present as the only option; or insurrection, which even when it is not visible as a possibility or choice doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist and that it won’t burst forth.

And there is one more point: in today's conditions of domination by the State and capitalism in the West, the explosion of revolts is not so rare, including metropolitan riots, mostly by groups of youth and usually triggered by incidents of police violence. We have the events in the French suburbs, or the black revolt in L.A. in ’92. And as a different case, we could also mention the Albanian revolt in ’97, even though it has many distinct characteristics. But what happened here in December, in comparison with other big insurrectionary events, was that political and social subjects met and interacted.Anarchists met with social subjects ready to revolt.

In this context, revolt becomes much more dangerous for authority; when it is not just an outburst of social rage by a specific oppressed social group, but the fertile meeting of the dynamics of various social groups who direct together their violence against the source of all the exploitation and oppression.

Revolts happen and cannot be avoided. Authority knows that, so, it prefers to suppress each one social group alone and not let revolts take on clear political characteristics, not let them have a total criticism against the existing order. The presence and participation of the anarchists in December gave such wider political characteristics; and to a large extent a subversive criticism of the system as a whole was developed.

And that was right, and it is right for every comrade or group of comrades, wherever they are in the world, to attempt and to realise the meeting with social groups that suffer from the tyranny of the State and capitalism and have the desire to fight back, so that the unavoidable revolts become more widespread and not restricted.

If only we imagine what could happen with the meeting between political subjects who are consciously intending the subversion of the existing order, with all those social subjects who suffocate from the State and capitalism and have reasons to revolt. Only imagining this is enough to understand. And this is what happened to a large degree in Greece in December.

April 2009

You could see the hatred in their eyes

Kazana Poli: Manager of the posh clothing store Rococo, in the heart of Kolonaki

One sunny Friday I donned a suit and went with a friend, similarly attired, into Kolonaki, central Athens’ most elite neighbourhood, whose luxury shops and expensive cars were the target of substantial popular violence in December and of a well planned anarchist attack executed in early March. We went into a few shops looking for interviews. My friend introduced me as a British reporter and himself as my official translator. I put on my best posh accent to ask about the “disturbances." The best part of it was that my friend had been to this shop in December - with a mask and a sledgehammer. It was all we could do to keep from cracking up during the interview.

My store was vandalised two times, in December and also at the beginning of March. They destroyed the windows completely and also caused some damages inside the store. It was very bad. In March the troublemakers met in Exarchia, just a few blocks from here, to put their masks on and prepare for their rampage. So lots of people saw them and the police were called in advance. But the police came really late. I don’t think they did their job well. They just came to write up all the damages but that’s not enough.

Business definitely went down in December and after the attack in March. People in Athens were afraid to come downtown and go shopping. And we here in the shop have been afraid too. Every time I hear a loud noise I think the troublemakers have returned. I’ll hear a loud noise and my mind will immediately go back to those moments. And also all the protests they’re still holding are keeping the shoppers away.

You can’t really be sure if the attacks are related to the episode with the students, in December. Of course there’s no real connection. As a businesswoman I think it’s quite strange that Kolonaki has been hit twice. I find that quite suspicious. Because as a result people are leaving the city centre and going to do their shopping in the big malls in the suburbs. So this vandalism is benefiting major interests like Latsis [a Greek billionaire] and the other people who own the malls. As a merchant, that’s my perspective.

But you have to understand that of course I support peaceful protests. If you want to protest something you should go out into the street and do it peacefully. This is how you show your support for an issue. You don't go around breaking things. I was also sad after the killing of that boy but in my view the troublemakers who damaged the shops were bad people. You could see the hatred in their eyes. They were very provocative, the way they would look you right in the eyes as they were smashing the windows. It was just mean. This proves they had nothing to do with the students, who went out into the streets with very just demands. It should be peaceful.

Giorgos Voutsis-Vogiatzis

“With violence as a structural part, the system organises ignorance and fortifies itself against its deniers. Violence is everywhere. It is in the peitharxika (1), in the penalties and in the isolation cells. In the city plan and in the war. In the news and in the commercials. In the murderous police and in the environmental looting. In the video games and in the juvenile correctional institutions.

How much, Mister President, does your democracy say that the life of a robber costs, and how much the life of a cop? How much does the life of a prisoner cost in your modern Greek democracy and how much the life of a prison manager? How much does the life of a reputable judge cost and how much the life of the poor demonised immigrant? Obviously the value of a human life gets a different meaning when the deceased is a defender of the ruling class. But the bullets cost the same."
- Giorgos Voutsis-Vogiatzis

The trial against Giorgos Voutsis-Vogiatzis, concerning a bank robbery in 2006, started Wednesday the 1st of April in the court of Athens. The charges against him were armed robbery and possession of explosives (a hand grenade was found on him during the arrest). About one hundred people gathered outside the building in solidarity though only fifteen of them were allowed inside by the cops, which caused some small disturbances from time to time on the stairs to the entrance. A jury (which in Greece advises the court’s verdict, but is not decisive) that was composed of only employees of the bank that was robbed was presented first, and witnesses heard all the testimony during the first day. The defence witnesses were family members, friends, and comrades. They spoke openly about the economic crisis, the social conditions and working conditions, syndicalism of the base. Many also explained how the State and the banks are stealing from us, in order to justify the robbery.

Giorgos stood by his action, which he called a symbolic attack against the banking system. He said he hadn’t yet thought about what he would do with the money that the money wasn’t the point. The judge tried to force him to reveal who his accomplice was and he refused, saying it was an insult to his integrity. He criticised the reign of drugs and snitch culture in the prisons and said it was a lie to claim they played any rehabilitative role. And he apologised to the bank workers for manifesting authority over them for thirty-five seconds, which he felt bad about even though it was a negation of the authority that rules every moment of our lives. He ended with a quote from Kazantzakis, and when he was finished everyone in the courtroom applauded.

On Thursday the 2nd of April, the sentences were delivered. For the robbery seven years of imprisonment, and one year for possession of explosives, resulting in a total of eight years. Considering the fact that Giorgos had already spent eighteen months in pre-trial detention, and worked inside (one day of work equals two days in prison), a substantial amount of time was deducted from the final sentence. Since prisoners in the Greek system must only serve out 3/5 of their sentence, Giorgos only has to spend another six months in prison. He will be transferred to Korydallos prison in Athens, and freed in September.

During the first day of trial, the nerves and emotions over the prosecution of a comrade were interrupted with joy when it was discovered that two prisoners on trial in the building next door managed to escape. Most of the overwhelming amount of undercover, riot, and prison police were so intensely focused on the growing group of anarchists outside building 13, that two freedom loving birds were able to spread their wings and fly the coop.

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(1) A system of judicial punishment for misbehaviour and disobedience committed within the prisons, used to control prisoners throughout the duration of their sentence.

We are winning

A.G. Schwarz

Another battle is coming. Energised by the fires of December, the movement is claiming more and more ground. They won the fights in the streets, and they still haven't been defeated. Every week they’re claiming new buildings to turn into social centres, transforming their new parks into undeniable realities, and pushing the State back. The students in Thessaloniki are demanding that the university de-privatise the cleaning staff and give all the precarious workers permanent contracts. Kuneva’s syndicate in Athens is demanding the same for the trams and the trains.

The university director in Thessaloniki has threatened to call in the police. The mayor of Athens has denied the existence of the new park in Exarchia, saying: "I don’t see a park there, I see a parking lot." But both of these malakas know that if they touch either occupation, it’ll be a war all over again, and we will probably win. But eventually they’ll have to act, because like smart guerrillas, we refuse to go on the defensive. We don’t mistake these new occupations, these little victories, as ends in themselves. As precious as each one is they are only steps on the road to revolution. We will and we must risk losing them in order to go further because in the war against the State there is no peace or stalemate, and to stop and circle the wagons means to be destroyed. In other words if we do not go further, if we only try to protect what little we’ve won, we will certainly lose it. So each new liberated space is being developed for the long-term even as it is used as a staging point for the next attack.

We don’t disregard these liberated spaces as pawns in a struggle; on the contrary we treasure them. You step into the park in Exarchia and you see the handmade playground and all the new trees and it is obvious that it is a work of love. And if it weren’t, so many hundreds of people of all ages wouldn’t come here to hang out, and they wouldn’t defend it tooth and nail when it’s threatened. But we won’t settle for this park, or just for its physical existence, giving control of it over to the mayor like he wants. We'll use it as a staging ground for meetings and protests, another bubble of social asylum in the war against the police, and maybe we’ll decide one day to convert the bordering streets into pedestrian zones, ripping up all the asphalt. Soon they’ll have to strike back. A government cannot continue to issue hollow threats without losing all its legitimacy and inviting more rebellion.

Thursday the 2nd of April was a day of general strike. In the protest march there was a lot of talk about Kuneva. And right next to the march route a group of anarchists entered the office of the company that employed Kuneva and smashed it all up, from the computers to the filing cabinets to the hardwood furniture to the framed art hanging on the walls. These private contractors rent out hyper-exploited immigrant workers, pocketing the greater part of the labour costs budgeted by the government. But that Thursday was payback. The new Delta Force sped to the scene of the crime but they were too late. All the anarchists had disappeared into the crowd, having caused thousands of Euros of damage while hanging a banner off the office balcony to the delight of the crowds below. Later in the day, Kuneva’s syndicate occupied the offices of the city trains, demanding the private company be dismissed so that all the cleaners could be hired on a permanent contract. Outside, a crowd of anarchists, Alpha Kappa, and some leftists gathered in support, ensuring that the police could not come to save the bosses.

Before long, a cheer went up and the crowd began to clap and talk excitedly. The train company had caved in to the demands, essentially reversing the supposedly unstoppable tide of neo-liberal privatisations and austerity measures. The syndicate promised that if their agreement was not honoured, they would be back. History was being changed. Outside, the person next to me smiled and proclaimed, "We’re winning!"

I remember on the streets of Seattle and Prague, anarchists spray painted that same sentence on the walls, and later, watching it in some documentary; all the hardened activists smirked a little, cynical. But the possibility has returned. In fact it had never left. It’s not going to be over tomorrow, but we can win. And it depends largely on having the confidence to change history.

I feel very lucky to be living in these times

Iulia: A participant in the queer and anarchist movements

The situation was boiling before December, all the scandals, the apathy of the bourgeoisie, people wanting to create a change but not knowing how. Then the groups that thought they were the specialists, like the leftists and the anarchists, they lost their place in the hierarchy because immigrants and students and people with no political identity were out in the streets. These specialists were supposed to be leading the struggle but they had lost their status. They had to make alliances with other people who were out on the streets. This opened those groups up. They had to think about their role. It also had a fragmenting effect and opened the gender relationships. A bit of light came in, although I wouldn’t say it’s wide open. It helped that women had the opportunity to fight in the streets.

A queer movement is developing in Greece, slowly but we’re trying. I was really surprised, during Carnival there was a queer party at Villa Amalias, which is normally very closed, a ghetto, exclusively punk.

I don’t want to criticise, I'm just making observations, because things are getting much better, things are happening. But I can see why and how people can be included or how they can be excluded. There are a lot of girls who participate in the violence and that’s very positive; and there are a lot of girls in the assemblies. I think there is an equilibrium. But women lack visibility I would say the biggest problem is that the smaller issues are not discussed, like sexuality, even labour, or gender relations, or art. The good thing with December is that this started to open up. It seems like we’re getting closer.

The thinking hasn’t changed much. For example there is lots of solidarity with Kuneva but we don’t talk about why these women from Bulgaria are in this position. We just denounce precarious work and that’s that. But still, because of the attack on Kuneva there are openings. It’s just that I'm impatient and I want things to get done. I don’t want to criticise because things are getting done slowly, but I want to caution that it needs to go beyond simple solidarity. The anarchists, we take up a cause and it becomes ours because we show better solidarity than anyone else. What we need to do is analyse it, take it to pieces and ask why these women are in such a precarious position, who are they and I think that’s the way to make the movement open to more people, by opening up to their experiences.

The topic of gender relations can work in a fractal way. From the situation with Kuneva there is the potential for things to move off in multiple directions and all the different themes can be discussed instead of being overshadowed by this solidarity umbrella. That's my vision, that it branches off in multiple directions. I wish the movement would talk about the whores. No one talks about them now. In December you had a free zone in Solomou in Exarchia, it was like a liberated zone, yet you still had whores from Nigeria working there, What the fuck? They’re still there now and nobody talks about it. How can you intervene in such a situation? There must be a way It’s the same with the drug addicts.

The groups focusing on gender relations are minor and without much visibility And many anarchists look down on them, as though the issue is not so important. And typically they don't make connections between the struggles. But you can see a change. Connections are starting to be made. I’m optimistic.

Maybe this thing with the parks is quite a feminine project. I’m not fond of using these terms, feminine, masculine, because this is a trap, a dualism. But this focus on the parks and the public space has the potential to change the gender relations, because they are self-organised and come from within the movement. In those spaces gender relations can take on different forms because it’s not a combat situation with barricades and no time to try out new things, just, "Ill do the first aid and you do the stones." It is crucial that it’s happening in a public space, that it's not closed. And I have a very good feeling about what’s going to happen at the new squat on Patision.

Because Greek society is very patriarchal, when we say that things are going to change, the first thing you imagine is that things are going to become more feminine, because that’s what’s missing, that’s the energy that has been suppressed. But I have a problem with the terminology because it can become a trap, masculine and feminine, using the terms they impose. But then if you don’t speak about it I don’t think you can change it.

Anyway I want things to change but I don’t want the attacks to stop. I enjoyed the Kolonaki action when I saw it on TV. There’s some people making this very awful argument, saying that after these attacks there are more cops on the streets. And they blame the actions for the repression. But the repression is everywhere, in the jobs and the everyday lives. You can’t say the repression starts after you go smash a window, it just becomes obvious. They don’t understand that repression is everywhere but some people have the courage to play with their own body and risk themselves to reveal this repression.

You also need the battles. They’re not necessary for their logic, they’re necessary for their passion, and that’s the first thing you have to do, you react to this gloom, and it helps you start to organise. There’s a paradox that I haven't sorted out. If you favour violence then you personally have to throw stones. You can’t just sit on your couch. When the insurrection was happening I had to be there in the streets. Whether I’m going to be up front throwing stones, that’s up to me and my courage and my abilities.

The movement still needs to open up more, to leave behind this bourgeois normality but after December it is getting better. I feel very lucky to be living in these times.

The political parties after December

On the 8th of April, the newspaper Eleftherotipia published poll results, showing the strength of political parties in 2009, compared with 2004. PASOK, the Socialists, climbed from 34% to 38%. ND, the conservatives, in power since 2004, fell from 43.1% to 33.1%. KKE, the Communists, fell from 9.5% to 8.7 %. SYRIZA, the coordination of the far Left, rose from 4.2% to 7.5%. LAOS, the fascist party; rose from 4.1% to 7.9%. The Green Party did not exist in 2004, but in 2009 polled at 4.8%.

Between the two major political parties, ND and PASOK, it was clear that the scandals and the crisis of legitimacy provoked by December would necessitate a house-cleaning, so these two parties were essentially changing places. It speaks volumes that the KKE, the former representative of the resistance to the dictatorship, who unequivocally condemned December’s insurrection in its entirety lost support,while the "pink" or "Euro" communists of SYRIZA, who played with the events of December, gained significantly. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to continue to manipulate the insurrection and recruit its less radical participants. As for the fascists, it is to be expected that when popular revolt threatens authority; the elite will encourage populist fascism, but just because it's predictable doesn’t make it any less of a threat.

During the European Parliament elections the media and political analysts were scrambling around trying to explain away the extraordinary situation that over 50% of the Greek citizens had refused to vote, a social phenomenon directly related to the insurrection of December.

Claim of responsibility for an arson attack

Many older dogmas and ideological schemes have collapsed or are gradually collapsing in the face of dilemmas such as career vs. family entertainment vs. moral temperance, and more extreme and vulgar individualism against the promotion of "the social good." Advanced capitalism penetrates everything. It sells opportunities for social and economic advancement in the form of investment shares. (And whoever fails bears personal responsibility for their poor investment.) It sells mass entertainment, sells the idea that in reality you should only care for yourself: to focus on doing your job well to get a promotion, to acquire a new car, new apartment, new furnishings, new routine. In your free time you seek entertainment spending hours of your life in shopping malls, cafés, clubs, cinemas, theatres, whether in the high culture or some alternative. We are encouraged to seek self-improvement, because you are never good enough according to advertising in hair parlours, beauty salons, gyms, diet centres...

The organisation of this lifestyle requires the assurance that nothing will penetrate your personal space, that nothing will disturb your bliss, that there will be no obstacles in your way. Yet in this society coexist the disinherited and excluded, who don’t have access to this lifestyle, not out of choice, but social conditions. Expecting not so much the possibility of mere survival, but the wish of living “like everyone else" produces violence, theft, burglary robberies, kidnappings, often with bloody endings. Other groups of marginalised youth ignore the orders of the legal system and vandalise their environment without a specific reason, just because they want to defuse a rage that they cannot define, but express everywhere.

Schools occupations, the battles in the stadiums, neighbourhood gang clashes to control the drug traffic, all of these are dangerous to the status quo. This is where the role of security comes in: "justice" that sends to hell whomever is cast out by the system, the police that offer order, the various police units and their frequent patrols and presence in the metropolis and throughout the country. But as the police may not be ubiquitous, their measures escalate. More cameras appear on the streets, and methods of surveillance become more evolved. As the outcasts become more evolved, so too the systems of security. Scientists work feverishly in universities and other institutions to develop smart solutions using the cutting edge of technology with public or private grants. Individual vendors specialise and can now offer alarms, access control systems, security shutters, electronic locks, motion sensors, all types of cameras, microphones, bugs, etc.

A whole industry has developed, with demand from the general public,because those who do not take special measures have a lot to lose. So many petit bourgeoisie establish small companies of this type and try to earn a few crumbs from the enterprise. A common culture of snitching is also developing, and for every dark spot not watched by a camera there is a vigilant eye watching from behind the shutters. For every delay in the police intervention, there is an indignant citizen who is eager to be a vigilante. But in this same society there are those who refuse, who defy these structures, institutions, and ethical and cultural values, promises, and hopes. Restless agitators who organise and attack the existing in order to eliminate it. Some who arm their desires for action. Some who will never rest until they see the ruins of this world.

There can be no oasis of freedom in this space and time. Everybody owes it to themselves, if they have any dignity to fight, to test the limits of endurance, and take part in the revolutionary struggle for a world without authoritarian institutions and property that will not exclude anyone, and therefore will not need the machinery of control and surveillance, and will not be run by the vampires in suits and uniforms, but will be organised by the collective synthesis of our free individual desires in ways that only the experience of the struggle can achieve.

That’s why we decided to hit three shops that sell surveillance systems and services, one on Tuesday at dawn in Gizi and two simultaneously on Wednesday morning in Kalithea. Not only has it proven that the great number of cameras in front of these shops cannot protect them but we also humiliated the frequent police patrols that go around like sheriffs in groups of twenty in the city centre. Our goal is to spread chaos and insecurity on the enemy’s territory; which is where every large or small property mediates human relations, constructing exclusions in every little corner of this rotten world. There is no security system or police patrol that will reverse our intentions, nor those of all the other comrades who are fighting for revolution. Let all the shopping malls fill up with cops, let the security guards get all the work they can, let the shops sell us more security systems, and let the bourgeoisie look under their beds before they go to sleep and they will still awake in the night terrified.

P.S. We salute all the comrades who alone or in organised groups are trying to transmit the virus of the revolutionary violence. We respond to the invitation for a new urban guerilla whose dimensions are already exploding even across the smallest cities in the countryside.

- Conspiracy for the Promotion of Insecurity,
April 15, 2009

The prisoners of December

N. & Mi: Anarchists from Exarchia who participate in, among other things, the movement of solidarity with the prisoners

Apostolis Kiriakopoulos, one of the prisoners of December, is currently in Korydallos. He was arrested in the first days of the insurrection, outside the Polytechnic, and he is in prison awaiting trial. They filed a motion to release him but it was rejected. He is accused of being a very dangerous person who could commit the same actions if released. The judge made clear in his statement that these kind of people have to be eliminated.

Talking about the prisoners of December, we have to mention that there are an unknown number of immigrants who were arrested, and the police never provided any names or lists of them. They say that there were about 300 people arrested in December, and of these seventy were kept in pre-trial detention. Among these are immigrants about whom there is no information, and we only have contact with a few of them. The basic accusations are for rioting and looting. Gradually these cases are going to trial, and some of the detainees have been released. To sort through the chaos the movement created a single blog that includes all the info we have been able to gather, and this helps coordinate the solidarity.

One important group of prisoners were the nineteen high school students arrested for rioting in Larissa. The local judge charged them under the anti-terrorist law: Four of them, as of April, have been locked up for months and were only released recently Because of the fact that they applied the anti-terrorist law there was massive participation in the solidarity movement in Larissa, especially on the part of other high school students.

Elias Nikolaou was arrested on the 13th of January 2009, near the scene of an arson attack on a municipal police car. He is currently in the Amfissa prison. Elias is one of the prisoners who was indicted for arson last year and he had been on the run. In November of 2007, the police arrested Vaggelis Botzazis in Thessaloniki. They convicted him for many different arson attacks, on the French car company Renault (in solidarity with the anti-terror arrests in France), a bank, one attack against the building of the electricity company but they didn’t have any proof connecting him to these other actions. Nonetheless the police announced that they had arrested a highly active gang. They said Vaggelis was operating together with three other people, one of whom was Elias.

When the police started to search for the three comrades they went underground. After one year, Vaggelis was released from prison for lack of evidence, and in the meantime he had been active on the inside. One month later the three comrades appeared at a police station and presented themselves. They said there was no proof at all connecting them to these incidents, so there was a meeting with the authorities and they decided not to give them pre-trial detention and just let them await trial on conditional liberty.

In November they let Nikolaou go free and in January they arrested him for burning the cop car. He doesn’t speak about this action because he doesn’t admit to doing it. In his letters he has explained that he is imprisoned for being an anarchist and this makes him a target for the police. And he will stay in prison at least one year until his trial.

We have to mention that throughout December many incidents also took place inside the prisons in reaction to the murder of Alexis. However, major revolts did not take place, because the prisoners were physically exhausted from their hunger strike and the struggle that lasted all through November. Still, to express their solidarity with the insurrection many prisoners refused to eat during those days.

Letter from anarchist A. Kiriakopoulos from Korydallos prison

Five months after the explosive events of December and the mass arrests and prosecutions that took place, six of us remain captive in the claws of the State.

Recently the so-called "justice state" and its servants decided to extend my pre-trial detention, stating that what should come first is the extermination of my person and of my "criminal" activity for the protection of society. According to their characterisation, I am a reckless and fanatical person. To sum it up they characterised me as an enemy of society. But the enemies of society are all those who after the cold-blooded murder of comrade Alexis Grigoropoulos tried to repress the social phenomenon of the violent insurrection in December with the reckless and mass use of tear gas - to the extent that it constituted torture - the beating of protesters, and their swift imprisonment.

It is known for years now that the cops, especially when dealing with anarchist demos, unleash chemical warfare with the slightest pretext so they can torture people. Despite the vicious repression of December’s insurrectionary violence, it continues to persist and is proof that the fire that was lit cannot be extinguished. After all, Alexis’s murder was the cause and at the same time the pretext for the outbreak of social rage.

As always, the mass media assumed their role, as the low-life journalists’ propaganda reached vile limits. After the state murder of Alexis, they reported widespread destruction in the whole of Greece and claimed the police made no arrests. The the fact that all of us imprisoned for the insurrection face the same charges is no coincidence. The line from the State was exactly the same for nearly all of us.

Inside prison, time is the worst enemy. Especially when you are in custody awaiting trial. There is a continuous uncertainty as you never know exactly when you are going to be released. This is a situation that definitely wears you down psychologically. This is also an effect of being locked up against your will with four people for fourteen hours a day in a nine-square-meter cell designed to fit only one person. It is especially felt when relationships of camaraderie or even of understanding are as rare as they are on the other side of the prison bars. Though of course there are always those who choose to stand in dignity and struggle.

Incarceration is an everyday psychological warfare enforced upon you by the system when you are in prison. On top of this you also have the screws usually treating prisoners who take part in struggles (hunger strikes, refusal of prison food, demanding their printed material free of censorship) in a derogatory and sly way. One typical example is the last time prisoners were refusing food as a protest for the murder of Alexis, the warden of the wing came in together with other screws and threatened the prisoners taking part in the protest with disciplinary prison transfers.

Generally when you are not subjugated to their correctional system they try to create a climate of fear. Anyway prison is like a large melting pot of souls. If you are a coward it will mince you up and make you even more of a coward but if you are tough it will make you even tougher and colder as a person. The cell makes the prisoner suffocate. Outside in the prison yard there is the illusion of freedom".

Still through all of this nothing has ended, the struggle continues.

Those who are right are the rebels, not the snitches and those who bow down
- (A popular Greek anarchist chant)

Specialised Guerilla, Diffuse Guerilla

In the last days of December, a new aspect of the continuing insurrection began to appear more frequently: urban guerilla groups expanding their presence and activity. Some of these groups existed long before December and came from the extreme Left, following the tradition of 17 November and ELA. But after December, new groups appeared and began carrying out bold attacks, and the communiques they inevitably released were often laden with an anti-authoritarian analysis. Clandestine anarchist groups carrying out night time fire bombings against police vehicles or government buildings had been active for years, but the new manifestations of this tactic after December were calling for urban guerilla warfare as a decisive strategic course.

This development was the subject of strong, and anonymous, debate. There are multiple conflicting opinions. Some people feel that escalating to guerilla attacks is going too far too fast, that most people will not be able to make that tactical leap or even understand it, and the anarchists will be isolated and vulnerable to heavy repression that the authorities will justify on the basis of those guerilla activities. The suggestion was even published that the shooting attacks against the police were acts of provocation orchestrated by the State itself. This sounds too much like the habitual response that fearfully denounces any attack considered too extreme as the work of a government conspiracy: the assumption is that people within the struggle are always victims, always defensive, they never take the initiative to attack and they never make a mistake and go too far. Although the theory itself seems invalid, it does reflect that many people considered the guerilla attacks to be illegitimate or dangerous for the struggle as a whole.

A more nuanced critique is that Greek society has historical references for specialised Left guerilla groups, such as 17 November, which enjoyed a good deal of success and popular support, but there is little tradition in Greece of the anarchist model of diffuse guerilla groups-non-vanguardist groups that intend to encourage a diffusion or spreading of their tactics and that exist as amorphous or flexible entities rather than professional guerilla organisations. Lacking this set of historical references and traditions, the argument goes, the new strategy will not be successful at getting a broader portion of the population to engage in guerilla actions. Some years back, 17 November itself made a criticism of an anti-authoritarian group attempting to utilise guerilla tactics against a broader array of targets. 17 November had a populist analysis and they tended to attack targets that the vast majority of the population hated, such as CIA agents or the US Embassy It is also worth noting that their greater specialisation allowed them to touch targets that would be too difficult for less professional groups to even approach, In their critique, they said that choosing more commonplace targets, which the anti-authoritarians did to accompany their deeper analysis, would generate fear rather than appreciation in the society because people would not know why the target was attacked. In this way the diffuse guerrillas are more demanding of the people, both because they require a deeper critique of capitalism and the State in order to be understood, and because their strategy requires that more and more people make similar attacks.

A third critique aims at clandestinity itself, The argument is that a strategy of clandestine guerilla warfare is inherently specialising and spectacular. In other words, it takes such a high degree of specialisation and expertise that the vast majority of a society cannot and will not participate, contrary to an insurrection in which everyone can participate in their own way as long as they can go out on the streets. Given the numerical inferiority of the participants, hence the scarcity of the actions, combined with their higher level of preparation and impact, the guerilla actions are by nature spectacular. Their primary audience, whether intended or not, is virtual reality. The major way an urban riot communicates itself, at least within the city in which it takes place, is to be seen directly. Clandestine attacks, however, are witnessed primarily through the lens of the media, as people rarely happen to be around to see them occur. Hence, people become spectators of the struggle rather than its protagonists, as when they are in the streets, participating in public illegal actions.

As the leading edge of the struggle gets further away from people’s lived realities, they are transformed even more permanently into spectators; meanwhile the State and the media themselves spectacularise the attacks and make the attacks the symbol for the entire struggle. Popular participation in the decreasingly significant public struggle decreases, and eventually the State can simply turn off the struggle by directing the media to stop publicising attacks, thus erasing what had become in the popular consciousness the leading edge and primary manifestation of the struggle. Thus decapitated, what remains of the struggle can be bullied and bribed into collaboration with the institutional Left. According to proponents of this critique, that is what happened in Germany and Italy in the ’70s and ’80s.

The guerilla strategy also finds many proponents. Some say that attacks should not be denounced, and denouncing attacks carried out by other comrades in the struggle is doing the divisive work of the State. Furthermore, the guerilla attacks are just another manifestation of the rage of the people, and a larger portion of society can participate in them if they are legitimised and supported by all the comrades. After all, for an insurrection to grow to a revolution it will have to win an armed conflict with the State and it cannot do this if it is unarmed.

Others counter the argument that a guerilla strategy spectacularises the struggle or leads to an unintentional vanguard, pointing out that before December, the anarchists were the only ones fire-bombing the police and attacking banks, and one could have accused them of being vanguardists, except that their tactics were generalised, adopted by society and taken out of their control, which is exactly what they wanted. Currently guerilla attacks are the most extreme and violent manifestation of the struggle but in a certain moment they could become generalised. During the civil war in Greece, a huge portion of the population supported and participated in the clandestine struggle, and revolution at one point or another entails civil war.

Some anarchists who favour the guerilla strategy believe that non-vanguardist guerilla groups need nonetheless to have a strong structure and a certain professionalism in order to prevent immature or unprepared people from taking up the guns or doing something reckless that could not be justified. The idea is that if one escalates to tactics that could easily cause the loss of life, they also need to escalate their level of organisation and preparedness to be sure that no one is killed needlessly or accidentally. There is also the fact that carelessness leads to people getting caught needlessly which gives the State the appearance of more power and efficiency than it actually possesses, and discourages others from participating in these attacks.

Below is one of the few criticisms of the guerilla strategy to be openly published within the Greek anti-authoritarian movement, authored by the autonomist group TPTG. Elsewhere in the book, We have published communiques released by guerilla groups after specific attacks.

Extract from "The rebellious passage of a proletarian minority through a brief period of time" by TPTG

The spectacular separation of armed "struggle."

The need to mediate proletarian anger politically even if it is to mediate it with an armed mediation, was not something that stemmed from the struggle itself but it was something that was being imposed on the struggle from the outside and afterwards. In the beginning, there were two attacks by the so-called "armed vanguard," one on the 23rd of December after the peak of the rebellion and one on the 5th of January when the resurgence of the rebellion was at stake. From a proletarian point of view, even if these attacks were not organised 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. The "armed vanguard" avoids admitting not only that they were not the first ones to target the police but also that no "armed vanguard" anywhere, has forced the police from the streets, or frightened individual cops from carrying their official identities with them for a few days. They can’t admit that they were surpassed by the movement. Claiming that there is "a need to upgrade" violence, the so-called "armed vanguard" essentially tries to downgrade the socially and geographically diffused proletarian violence and violation of the law; the latter are the true opponents of the "armed vanguard" within the movement and as long as such practices go on no interventionism of "upgrading" things can find a fertile soil. It is on that basis that the armed struggle allies with the State: both are challenged by the proletarian subversive activity the continuation of which constitutes a threat to the existence of both of them.

The proletarian subversive activity in the rebellion gained a temporary but not so superficial victory: an insubordination that weakened the security-surveillance state for a month and proved that we can change the power relations. This became possible since the rebels targeted the social relations in which they are forced to live, something that no "armed vanguard" has ever managed to do.

Considering the range and the intensity of all the December events, the state repressive apparatus proved practically weak. Since they had to deal with a de-legitimisation of the institutions of control and not just bullets and grenades, the infamous zero tolerance became a simple tolerance towards the rebels’ activities. The state counter-attack could actually become successful in January only by making use of the “armed vanguard" operations: first, on an ideological level, by equating the state murder with the wounding of a riot police cop, thus re-legitimising the police and the security-surveillance state in general. Secondly on an operational level intensifying its repression. They even exploited the place of the attack (Exarchia), presenting the rebellion as a spectacular vendetta between cops and "anarchists,” as a grotesque and banal performance staged in a political ghetto.

As the rebellion was dying away there was a notable proliferation of attacks against banks and state buildings by several groups, which cannot be placed in the same category with the “armed vanguard" "deeds," since most of them do not claim to be ahead of the actual movement (although they do not necessarily lack a voluntaristic, arrogant posture).

However, the return of the "armed vanguard" proper with the execution of an anti-terrorist-squad cop in early June, when even the memory of the rebellion had weakened, has given militarism and the escalation of pure violence a pretext to present themselves as an attractive alternative to a (small?) part of those who participated in the rebellion, if we are to judge by the political tolerance of the anti-authoritarian milieu towards this action. The limited class composition of the rebellion, its restricted extension beyond the level of the de-legitimisation of the security-surveillance state and the gradual weakening of several communal projects in the centre and the neighbourhoods - mostly in Athens - led to the flourishing of a separated kind of blind violence as a dangerous caricature of “struggle," or rather a substitute. As certain important subjects of the rebellion were gradually leaving the stage (the high school students, the university students, the immigrants), its social content got weaker and weaker and political identities became again strengthened as was the norm before. The "armed vanguard" violence is just one of these political identities, even in its naive and nihilistic form, appearing in an era of a generalised crisis of reproduction where the State and capital are unable to offer any social democratic type of "remedies" to heal the wounds of the rebellion. It’s not important for us now to doubt about the real identity of these hit men with the ridiculous but revealing name "Revolutionary Sect"; what causes us some concern is the political tolerance of some quarters toward 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 bloodlust. The crisis of neoliberalism, as a certain phase of capitalist accumulation and legitimisation, seems to lead to a deeper crisis (even to serious signs of social decomposition) and not to any signs of revival of reformism. Even the recent electoral failure of the governing party combined with the high percentage of election abstention (the highest ever in an excessively politicised country like Greece), which was an indirect result of the legitimisation crisis that the rebellion expressed and deepened, have not led to any concessions on the part of the State. With all its own limits, the rebellion made the limits of capitalist integration even more visible than before. The slogan "communism or capitalist civilisation" seems more timely than ever.

What the cops told us

Brief reflection on a conversation between an anarchist and a progressive student with many anarchist friends, one night in the occupied park...

We had been talking about the revolt, the tactics of the State, how to win the revolution, what were the weaknesses in the anarchist space, what was going well. Like any other night in Exarchia. At nights the whole neighbourhood was one giant multicentric meeting, a hive of the buzzing bees of the revolution, talking, arguing, theorising, planning, laughing, socialising, making the networks stronger. At one point I mentioned the Kolonaki attacks, to name a method of keeping the struggle fresh in people's minds, to show that the anarchists were capable of acting outside of Exarchia too, even in the richest neighbourhoods.

And she says: "But the Kolonaki attacks were done by police."

"What? What are you talking about? I mean the time in March when thirty koukoulofori smashed all the luxury shops."

"Yes, that was police."

"No, it wasn’t."

"It was. Some cops admitted this to my friend. They said, yeah, we did that."

"I assure you, it was not the police."

"How do you know?"

“I know."

“How?"

"...We know the people who did it."

"But I don’t believe it, why would the police say they were the ones behind it?"

"To create divisions and discredit the people taking more aggressive actions, obviously?"

"But this friend isn’t political at all, it makes no sense for them to tell lies to some uninvolved student."

"But look how quickly that rumour comes to the anarchist space, and the people at its periphery."

It’s the same game as always. Everyone should choose their own level of involvement but everyone needs to support the attacks. They can make criticisms - internal criticisms - but the support has to be there. If we’re afraid to show that these attacks give us joy to claim them, not as our own acts but as a part of our struggle, people will sense the marginality of these actions, and the uncertain ones will latch on to any rumour that the attacks were really a provocation by the State meant to discredit the struggle, and they themselves become the unknowing discrediters. Everyone loves a conspiracy that leaves them as victims in a moral play and not protagonists who have to take bold actions in murky situations. How sad, to think of all the brave combatants written down in history as police provocateurs thanks to the people doing the actual police work of discrediting the foremost attacks of the struggle, which sometimes have poor aim, but always are necessary.

A hot summer...

On July 25, at five in the morning, unknown persons placed a firebomb at the gate of the squatted social centre, Fabrika Yfanet. People standing guard at the squat quickly put out the fire. In a suspiciously short amount of time, multiple police vehicles arrived at the scene and began provoking the squatters. Later two riot police squads parked nearby.

Four days earlier, several assailants with molotov cocktails attacked the station of Radio Revolt, a pirate radio station broadcasting from an occupied space in Thessaloniki’s Aristotelious University The attack was also thwarted thanks to the resistance of people guarding the station, and damages were minimal.

In Athens, the summer was stained with the appearance of fascists, walking openly in the streets in areas where they had never been seen before, forming groups to patrol their neighbourhoods. Police conducted massive raids to clear the undocumented immigrants out of Omonia, sweeping them off the streets where they had once thronged in the thousands, and the fascists held a march in the same neighbourhood, protected by police from the anarchists trying to attack them. In Patras the police destroy a major refugee camp, full of people waiting as they try to get on a boat for other parts of Europe and the greater chances of survival they offer. As the police raids mounted, immigrants in Athens protested and rioted for several days, and the anarchists organised a protest in solidarity with them, attracting more than 4,000 people. In the neighbourhood of Aghios Panteleimonos, the fascists took over a park with a playground where immigrants and their children had been hanging out, and they forced the local police station to lock the park. In their attempt to segregate the park, they viciously beat up a father in front of his child for violating the boycott.

In August, in the midst of all these clashes and contradictions, the struggle takes a recess. The heat drives everyone out to the islands, and the cities close down for the month. The squatted social centres put up posters inviting nazis and police to get acquainted with their security teams, which are staying throughout the summer to defend these spaces. The fascists decline to take them up on the offer. But the temperature goes up even more as forest fires are set just north of Athens to illegally clear land for real estate development. Even in the midst of a political crisis of legitimacy and popular rebellion, the capitalists are so greedy that they cannot refrain from rocking the boat for just a few months.

At the end of the month the Greek anarchists and anti-authoritarians continue a recent tradition of making a summer camp at Acheloos, a river in eastern Greece that is being diverted for hydroelectric dams and commercial cotton irrigation in a construction mega-project that is destroying one of the Greek mainland’s most important wilderness areas.

On August 25, in Belgrade, Serbia, two molotov cocktails are thrown at the Greek Embassy in solidarity with the Greek prisoner Thodoros Iliopoulos, on hunger strike at the time. On September 4th, five anarchists, Tadej Kurep, Ivan Vulović, Sanja Dojkić, Ratibor Trivunac, and Nikola Mitrovic, are arrested and threatened with international terrorism charges. A sixth person goes on the run.

Early on the 4th of September,police spark a small riot in Exarchia when they pursue two people spraying graffiti into the anarchist stronghold. Residents run to stop police from making the arrests, and the cops pull their guns on the crowd, which reacts aggressively. Delta Force arrives on motorbike in several groups, cutting off streets and arresting five people, kicking them savagely with their jackboots. Subsequently riot police provocatively attack the liberated park on Navarinou, just above the spot where Alexis was murdered. The arrested are charged with throwing molotovs, even though none had been thrown that night. One of the arrested is seriously injured, suffering a ruptured lung. Three cops are also injured, and two cop cars damaged. The next night, a riot police position nearby is attacked with real molotovs, and residents set up burning barricades to hinder the entrance of police reinforcements. Charges against the five arrested in the park are later dropped.

On September 5, during the International Expo in Thessaloniki, PEKOP the cleaners’ union to which Konstantina Kuneva belongs, leads a protest of thousands of workers. PEKOP declares:

In the dark days that they are preparing for us, let’s get ready let’s organise and let’s hit back without delay with a warm autumn and a hot winter. We do not forget December! We do not forget the bullets that killed Alexis, nor the acid that burned K. Kuneva, PEKOP’s general secretary! We live social war everyday here. And Konstantina is the flag of our social struggle.

[...]

We shall not be the tail of the bureaucrats who constantly team up with the bosses and the State, allotting like "parties of power" the privileges of class collaboration, having the audacity to speak in our name, in the name of the Working class, stabbing our struggles in the back. Nor will we give ground to those who constantly want to control us, to transform our struggles to votes, and when December comes they cross to the other side of the river... The workers must march and struggle against the bosses without false mediators and good-willers of this or that bureaucracy. The emancipation of the Working class is the work of the working class itself!

Along the march protesters destroy several CCTV surveillance cameras and launch flares at the police. Police respond with tear gas, and after the march attempt to arrest a dozen members of Alpha Kappa, meanwhile gassing an Alpha Kappa social centre. A large crowd of protesters comes and unarrests the AK members.

Conversation with the owner of a small hotel, on the train from Athens to Patras

“So, what do you think about what happened in December?”

"What do you mean?"

"You know all the protests, the riots. Do you think it will happen again?"

"You know what, here in Greece we have the Conservatives, the Socialists, the Communists, and all they want is power. So if the conservatives are in power, the others will do things to create disruptions so they can call an election and try to take over the government. The conservatives were in power, it looked like the Socialists would be in the next government, so the Communists wanted to make some problems in the streets."

"But it wasn’t the Communists in the streets, not the Communist Party. They were trying to stop the occupations and the riots."

"It's always like this in Greece. One political party is in power and the other ones want to be in power, so they create problems. You’ll see, in another few years they'll create some other scandal or outrage so they can call elections and change who is in power. That’s all they care about."

"Maybe that’s why some people want to get rid of all the politicians and all the political parties."

“Yes, but their purpose is to organise the country someone has to do that."

"People can do that themselves?”

“You think so? But what about defending the country? Who will do that? We have Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, all of them think part of Greece is theirs. And then there is Turkey; just waiting to invade us the minute we are weak. What do we do about that? Get rid of the politicians, and then you’ll be without a house, my friend."

“I mean all the politicians, all the governments, in Turkey too."

"You think they’ll get rid of the government in Turkey?"

"I know people there who are trying to. And besides, the other Turkish people believe the same lie told by their politicians, that they need the government to protect them against Greece, or the Kurds."

“Ha! Greece is just nine million. How many is Turkey? They’re a lion afraid of a cat.”

"There’s nothing unusual in that. Israel is afraid of Palestine. America is afraid of Al Qaida. The world is full of lions afraid of cats. It's a very useful lie."

“Ha, this is true. The world is full of lions afraid of cats. The Palestinians are very dangerous, with their rocks, and Osama, hiding in a cave somewhere, is very dangerous to a country with nuclear weapons. Ha! Anyways, the politicians won’t be able to make people happy. How can they solve the economic problems? They can’t! It’s a problem of the economy. Greece doesn't produce anything. We don’t make any cars. We just have tourism. How can politicians make the crisis go away or create jobs? They can’t. The only thing they can do is crack down on the immigrants who are taking the jobs of Greek people.”

“The immigrants aren’t taking anyone’s jobs. The bosses are choosing to give those jobs to people they can exploit more, and relying on the politicians to blame the immigrants instead of the bosses."

"True, this is true. But anyways that's all they can do, get rid of the immigrants. What else can the politicians do? Nothing. A politician can’t create jobs if the capital is not there. But how can they bring capital? They already let the big companies get away without paying taxes. Me, I own one small hotel and I have to pay all the taxes, but if I owned twenty hotels I wouldn’t have to pay anything. The real problem is that Greece doesn’t produce anything. If we made cars I bet we'd be happier."

“They produce cars in my country and the people aren’t happy."

"No? Hmm. Well, we do make the best oil. Olive oil I mean. I make my own oil, I never buy any I have my own trees. The very best oil comes from Peleponesus, next best from upstairs, the north I mean. But we don’t produce our own brand. Italy buys our oil, mixes it with lower quality stuff to make it more, and sells it with an Italian stamp. It’s terrible!"

"That’s too bad."

“Ah, look out the window there, you see those trees, all black? There were big fires here. The government says it’s from people dropping their cigarettes. I tell you what. Go into the forest, take a pack of cigarettes, light every one, and drop them in an area of live square meters. It won’t start a single fire. Not unless you add gasoline. People lit those fires. All the sudden, fires started in 200 places around Greece on the same day. That doesn’t happen by accident. It’s people who burn down the forests so they can build there..."

Maybe its gotten worse

Yiannis: An anarchist from Patras

I think we had seven arrests here in Patras in December. The heaviest case, and one which we are still trying to arrange support, is with an old man who was arrested with a backpack full of molotovs. But he’s a little bit crazy. We’re hoping that will help in his defence and get him a reduced sentence.

Patras is a conservative city because of its history. It has always been very industrial, and the people here only think of themselves. Of course this is a problem everywhere, but it is especially bad here. So after December nothing changed. Maybe it got worse. The government destroyed the major immigrant camp here, they bulldozed all the buildings after the fire. I think most of the immigrants went to Athens, or were arrested, though there are still many here trying to get on a boat for Italy In the summer we tried to set up a social centre but it failed. I don’t know what to do. There are a few new people involved here, but not many. And the fascists are active, with the help of the police. It’s a difficult situation we face.

The media try to kill memory

A.G. Schwarz

After the massive riots of December ended and the insurrection continued in new forms,the media adapted their counter-insurgency strategy to the new circumstances. In January and February, mention of the revolt disappeared almost entirely from the media. There were a couple important exceptions to this pattern. A few of the more visible and shocking attacks carried out by anti-capitalists in those months were given sensational coverage completely divorced from the ongoing struggle that manifested in continuing protests, occupations, counter-information, and so forth-all of which had disappeared from the media. These now "senseless" attacks were portrayed as the work of the same disconnected and nihilistic hooligans who ruined the legitimate student movement with too much violence in December. The second exception appeared primarily in the Sunday magazines, which ran photo-filled retrospectives on December that sympathised with the high school students, sanitised their participation in December, forgave their youthful excess, and patted them on the back for their social consciousness. Because photography is assumed to be a presentation of reality more objective than the written word, all the images in these pieces succeeded in the Orwellian exercise of making many of the participants of December themselves believe what was inarguably a lie: that the students limited themselves to protests, occupations, assemblies, and a little fighting on the barricades, but they were not responsible for the smashings, the burnings, the attacks on police. The show of sympathy and the ostensible acknowledgement of their story made this lie much easier for the youth to digest. Thus, in a poll released at the time, the vast majority of the youth expressed the belief that the media coverage in December was completely false and irrelevant, yet a majority also believed that it was outsiders operating with unknown motives who were responsible for smashing the shops. The youth distrusted the media, but they were still influenced by them.

In March, the Greek media tacked into a new wind. They could no longer deny that the revolt was continuing without losing their monopoly on the social narrative, so they gave major, fear-mongering coverage to the continuing attacks. They started with and focused on the daytime anarchist attack on Kolonaki, as though the breaking of a few windows was equivalent to the sacking of Rome (and as though the barbarians weren’t perhaps a bit better than the Romans). They also gave coverage to the continuing occupations, particularly in Thessaloniki, where the students had taken over Aristotelous University in solidarity with the struggle of the cleaning workers. They mixed up an alleged increase in crime with the occupation itself, suggesting university asylum functioned as a safe haven for antisocial crime and should thus be abolished.

It seems clear that the anarchists themselves were an intended target of the media coverage, which sought not only to build popular confidence in a police solution but to threaten the anarchists. Building off the frightful Kolonaki spectacle, the newspapers filled the front pages with articles on new police measures every day for several weeks in March. Shop owners called for greater protection to prevent more attacks like the one in Kolonaki! Police specialists from Scotland Yard are coming to advise the Greek police! The government is considering abolishing university asylum! The director of the university in Thessaloniki may call in the police to end the occupation! The government will pass a new law outlawing masks and hoods in demonstrations, and criminalising the insulting of police officers! A high judge is looking into ways to evict the squats! The police will create Delta Force, a rapid response unit to be deployed around the city in teams on motorcycles, for the express purpose of arresting the criminals responsible for these attacks! On April 5th the Athens newspaper To Vima reported that the police had about twenty anarchists suspected of participating in the attacks under surveillance, and they expected to make arrests soon. The arrests did not materialise, and in fact over the next months anarchists demonstrated the capability to carry out attacks against the very directors of the police and intelligence apparatus and get away with it. These articles were not a reflection of reality rather they were part of the police counter-attack to restore order and show force.

The media also continued their work of distinguishing the good parts of the revolt from the bad parts. For example in April, a large and sympathetic article with colour photographs appeared in a major Athens newspaper featuring Nosotros, the social centre of the left anarchist group Alpha Kappa. It portrayed the space as a cultural centre that hosted artistic events and provided social services, showing that even anarchists can be embraced by the system if they learn to restrict themselves to acting in certain ways. It's beyond me to say whether Alpha Kappa self-censored their combative aspects or whether this was entirely the initiative of the media, but either way the result is the same. The same also happened with many sympathetic articles about the new occupied park in Exarchia.

In May; the media turned their focus on the immigrants with a vengeance. During the December coverage, they had separated out the immigrants as the elements responsible for the looting. In the following months, under the guise of humanitarian analysis, they looked at the crisis of immigrant living conditions in Greece in a way that could only substantiate the fascist portrayal of the immigrants as dirty and disgusting. And of course they interviewed shop owners who, with the pragmatic voice of mass murderers, insisted that the immigrants stole things and scared away shoppers; that the cities needed to be "cleaned up." In May and June, the media prepared the summer’s pogrom.

It needs to be explained first that the European Union recently enacted a new anti-immigrant law declaring that immigrants without visas had to acquire papers in the first EU country where they arrived. In other words, they could not go on to Belgium or Sweden or any of the dominant member states with a higher standard of living and more social welfare, and if they did they would be sent back to the country of entry; if not deported altogether. As Greece is one of the main entry points, the country as a whole was turned into a giant border prison, and it was responsible for making it as difficult as possible for immigrants to acquire papers. So, for example, the only place where asylum could be requested in the entire country was in Athens, and authorities did all they could to obstruct immigrants travelling from the islands or Turkish border towns to the capital. And the immigrants who did arrive had to wait forever just for a simple interview, after which they were usually denied even the paper that said they had requested asylum and their case was being considered. Practically nobody actually got asylum.

In Athens, there were tens of thousands of immigrants waiting around for their chance to get papers. This visible concentration of immigrants was successfully exploited by fascists, and in May the media announced an "immigration crisis." Naturally only a policing solution was proposed. In May and June, the government sharply increased the number of immigrant concentration camps around the country These were fenced-in compounds where immigrants were herded together en masse and locked up against their will. They called them "Welcome centres" with much the same sense of euphemism as when the Nazis called extermination camps "concentration camps." Amid all the hysteria, the fascist party LAOS gained a relatively high number of seats in the European Parliament elections in June. And in July and August the police carried out pogroms against the two major immigrant districts, in Athens and in Patras, destroying settlements and shipping immigrants off to the concentration camps or deporting them. In central Athens alone, thousands were arrested. And where once parts of Omonia had been bustling immigrant neighbourhoods with thousands of people from dozens of different countries on the streets, in public, at all hours of the day, now they were "cleaned up," just as the shop owners had wanted. It was eery trying to find those streets again, and only seeing pleasant avenues with tourists strolling hand in hand, browsing postcards outside gift shops, with nothing to disturb their comfort.

In September, all the media coverage was focused on the upcoming elections, psychologically preparing the illusion that the government was going to clean house so that when the Socialists came into power, they would start with as much legitimacy as possible. December had successfully challenged the legitimacy of the State itself, and now the media had to do a bait and switch, centring specific controversies in specific political parties, so that the losers of December would be Nea Demokratia and not the government as a whole.

It is necessary to go back and look at the relationship between the media and LAOS over the last years in Greece. Though on not quite as large a scale, it seems that LAOS has mimicked the media machine used by Berlusconi of Italy to engineer the society undermine radical movements, and set the stage for the return of a fascist party as an important political force. Even before LAOS formed from dissident members of Nea Demokratia, they had been consolidating control over several media outlets, so that now the fascists directly own or control three major television stations in Greece. They also have several influential tabloid newspapers that focus on voyeuristic and moralistic celebrity news in the guise of social problems.

In a sort of FOX News effect, as they brought more right wing commentators and sources into the news programs, the other news channels were pushed rightwards as well. Perhaps even more important than the obvious effects on news coverage, has been the role of talk shows, soap operas, entertainment, programs, and telemarketing, just like in the Italian phenomenon. The fascist television stations pioneered telemarketing in Greece, providing themselves with potent funding and flooding the airwaves with infomercials for books, videos, and other products relating to beauty (in this manifestation a very racialised notion reified by blond and brunette models with lilly-white skin), nationalistic Greek history and mythology hunting, weaponry and paramilitary gear, xenophobia, and the protection of a homogenous and Orthodox Greek culture, Jewish conspiracy theories, and more.

After December, the celebrity talk shows openly promoted fascist and racist ideas and brought personalities from the far Right into the celebrity market. For example the wedding of a LAOS parliament member was turned into a celebrity event through multiple days of news coverage. Hundreds of people were brought to the wedding itself, making it a spectacular and popular happening. It was a clear attempt at social engineering designed to turn Greek society into a receptive mass every bit as fashion-obsessed, consumeristic, selfish, tolerant of policing and surveillance and unsupportive of social movements as Italian society has become, a society in which people hide behind designer sunglasses, chase after Aryan standards of beauty despise anything poor, ugly or foreign, understand politics as a popularity contest, and care more about the lives of celebrities than about the lives of other people in their community.

All the people went back to their private lives

Alexander, Thodoris, Vlasis, & Kostas: Two students and two graduates from Exarchia High School

Vlasis: The strongest influence for ending the riots was the terror created by the mass media. As the State was facing attacks against police stations all over Greece, from school to school, the mass media organised a propaganda campaign obliging parents to get their kids off the streets and lock them in the houses.

Alexander: I think that the Christmas holidays were a big factor.

December made me understand that there were people looking for a revolution, outside of the public view and that such a revolution is possible. But still it’s not that close. Things aren’t different now. People just realised how close we are to something like this happening again, And maybe the politicians are being more careful. But I can't imagine Greece changing. I think it will always be a democracy.

Thodoris: Few things changed. What happened is that we gathered and then we split again. In my opinion each person acts individualistically and takes care of himself. First and foremost they want to have a good life, they’re worried about how they’ll survive.

From the time I came to Greece from Albania when I was three years old until now, nothing has changed. During December we felt that something could change but then we realised that all the people went back to their private lives and nothing really changed. Me, I cannot explain my thoughts so clearly but I hope that this new generation will achieve a social change. It's possible, we will try In all the days before December I would never have imagined this kind of change. And this keeps me here to dream and participate in the social struggle.

Vlasis: A first step toward general social change could be the elimination of religion, that keeps the people trapped in moral codes that prevent a liberated way of thinking and acting and awakening. And also another limitation that entraps us is all this history of national dogmatism, going back ages. But for me, the biggest threat to all society is the existence of the police. Unfortunately I cannot imagine how a world without police could function. But at the same time I won’t trap myself in this and not criticise them, especially when there are murders.

One thing that has been very important for young people and students were the DIY bands that they created. Hip-hop, punk, trance, all kinds of music. They could express their thoughts in public, be creative, organise solidarity concerts to help the prisoners of the social struggles. This was going on before December but it’s continuing even stronger now, especially with the solidarity concerts.

Kostas: After December the State did not change. In a way you could say that things became even harder, especially for the immigrants. The riot police beat people much more after December and it became harder to go out on the streets and express your ideas. The only thing that changed is in the society, in the people, for many of them it was an awakening that opened their eyes from many years of deep sleep and now they can see the injustices more clearly. Now.. what do you expect me to say to you? That we dream of the revolution? Of course we do. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be in the streets every day talking with people and fighting...

The passage to revolution

Transgressio Legis

The text below is an attempt at evaluating the insurrectionary events of December and placing the priority of the passage to revolution in its proper place. Continuously highlighting this issue is one of the key elements of our political discourse and our actions on the practical level. The death of a fifteen-year-old child at the hands of the modernised security forces of democracy was the beginning of a series of situations, the likes of which have never existed before in this country. The social unrest and the destabilisation of the government reached impressive levels, but in our eyes something was missing: the passage from revolt to revolution. An organised offensive using all available means against the State, the police, and all the executive officers of the government, as well as against its supporters and functionaries, and of course against every social class that demonstrates a coherent purpose and activity to obstruct the greater revolutionary goals.

The revolt of December crushed all the practical utopian positions that believed such situations could not occur in modern societies. A perfect, stable utopia that could only be impugned by direct action and the creative desire for destruction. The political and social status quo, which is endorsed by some of the ideologues of the movement, is the main issue that must be resolved for revolution to be achieved. The lack of will and action to promote revolutionary ideas will always bring us in conflict on political and practical levels, and our own choices will be the best response in the face of pathetic behaviours.

The passage to revolution, therefore, can only take place through the immediacy of the attacks, which inevitably will sometimes take on an acute and antisocial nature. We should admit that the concept of "antisocial" does not bother us in the least. In fact, we don’t tolerate any such characterisation, recognising that it has been adopted as a negative value by those comrades who have endorsed normality. Why should an extremely realistic opinion recently elaborated within an insurgent urban movement be classified as antisocial? Why should we tolerate social groups that only offer us the denial of the reality of our desires? Why shouldn’t we target these groups? The rejection of these attacks is the denial of the reality of the revolutionary civil war.

He who accepts the class struggle cannot deny civil wars, which in any class society represent the continuity and growth - physiological and in some cases inevitable - of the class struggle. To deny the civil wars or to forget about them would mean to stoop to an extreme opportunism.
- Military Program of the Proletarian Revolution (1905)

Whoever, therefore, insists on believing religiously in the greatness of their ideology will always be our enemy no matter what side they come from. Many people throughout history have believed that the revolt is a beautiful, romantic fairy tale. But now that modern society has suffered this blow, do all these supposed intellectuals and ideologues of the movement revise their views in order to understand the war we are in? Shouldn’t they take a clear position on this war, and set aside their stereotypes? Even the mechanisms of government have understood the situation. When Markogiannakis complained on TV about the need for a social consensus around law enforcement and for an anti-terrorism policy it inevitably divided the community into two rival camps: the petty bourgeoisie and the rebels, those of us who hope to become revolutionary subjects. Anyone who is not among the insurgents is submitting to the social consensus of the system.

We must break with this miserable view of labouring away gradually for an ideal society. The uprising of December has laid strong foundations and on these we must build our own world. The only reliable basis for this transition is for the insurgents to drop their inhibitions and annihilate the existing social system and all its values.

It must always be assumed that all the appropriate conditions to launch the revolution are already in place. The outbreak of rebellion can make them appear.
- Guerilla Warfare: Military Texts (Ernesto Che Guevara)

Procrastination must be overcome at all costs. At this point we should emphasise the need to escalate from the conventional battlefield to higher forms of struggle. Of course, the conflicts we encounter along the way are the best teachers for the creation of revolutionary subjects, but an obsession with fixed forms of struggle often leads the insurgents to ultimately lose sight of the revolutionary cause.

The confrontational events of December brought many people into the street battles, with their main target being the expression of accumulated anger after the murder of a fifteen-year-old child, helping them reach an initial level of understanding that the uniformed government assassins, who had once seemed untouchable, could be injured, bloodied, and even killed.

The lack of fear in those moments, the new consciousness, led to great successes in the December revolt, helping along some rebellious subjects as they began the passage to revolution. What was missing from the rebellious crowd was the organisational ability and experience in more targeted and direct attacks, with better results, a shortfall which we believe will be overcome in the next revolt.

The revolt of December was the greatest response to the enthusiasts of the capitalist utopia. The brutality of the conflict was so great that the State avoided a military-style operation, which would have catalysed the arming of the rebellious crowd, and then we would all now be experiencing the beauty of the revolution. For many; the revolution still remains an unknown path they dare not tread. Those, however, who have decided to cross that line already know the desire to strike a lethal blow to all those who want to impose government, while giving life to more affirmation and action for a different reality. The only thing we wish for is pain for all those in power. Plenty of pain and hatred. And not for a moment will we think of retreating. The fear is for them. Te fear, hatred, and the ashes we will leave behind us.

The unanimity of the fearful

On 2 September, one bomb was detonated at the Athens stock exchange ad another at the building of the ministry of Thrace and Macedonia in Thessaloniki. The "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire” claimed responsibility, releasing the following communiqué.

Throughout history leaders of totalitarian regimes have aimed for social cohesion. Through this cohesion the mass-human is produced - more flexible, more disciplined, and more conservative toward the prevalent social behaviours. It is the contemporary class of these socially integrated citizens who then discover their common identity and crouch around the common interest, common aspirations, and desires. All the loneliness of the western world meets for a moment in the snapshot of consumerist frenzy.

In Greece during the ’80s social cohesion was inspired by the dream of "change" and invested in the owner-mania of house-building. Multi-storey flats in Athens and Thessaloniki were built one after another in order to accommodate the absence of life emerging as family ownership: property. Everyone was seeking their own property as recognition of their social value. "Neo-Greek" required property-owner status.

In the ’90s came new appliances, mortgaged joy and the second car. The neo-Greek bourgeoisie were parading their uselessness in a new environment of technological comfort and digital pleasure, promised by Greek capitalism. Loans for new living room couches and electrical appliances became routine.

And so the bourgeoisie acquired all the characteristics of a class. They have common desires, common aspirations, a common language and no consciousness. Yet they also have something else, something that in times of crisis becomes the strongest negotiation strategy for its administrators: they have common fears. Fear of loss of all these material "ideals" acquired with so much compromise, tolerance, and humiliation. The peaceful bourgeoisie is capable of killing someone, should they threaten their property. Because in this very property they have invested everything they are.

In illusions all hopes for a future that will never come are placed; daily humiliations are soothed, stressed micro-egos get to rest. Leaders invest in the politics of crisis and fear once the social cohesion of the common dream collapses, as a natural malfunction of the capitalist machine.

First of all, the notion of a crisis as constantly bombarded upon us through the media is in itself a military order, an order dictating social alert. The social fear parading in front of the unknown of the crisis has its own, very distinct smell. It is the smell of the cowardliness of all that the bourgeoisie have accepted, all the desires they never discovered, all the humiliations they never reacted to, all the roles they played in front of the empty stage of their bourgeois fantasising. Social fear also has its own expression - it is vengeful, stingy and conservative.

Social cohesion is reclaimed by fear. From the religious crisis of some "god" to the national crises, even their breathe is tuned in, military style. The entire zombified society dances along the rhythms of the crisis, incapable of even realising what has happened.

These artificial alerts act as military exercises against social polarisation. The times they are tested are chosen very carefully Because they are not limited to one state, especially the economic crisis, they acquire different versions between them, so as to act more efficiently.

For example, the current economic crisis in the USA as a response of the conservative "white" Republicans to the established Democrats and the restructuring in the health system serve different purposes to the crisis in Greece after the revolt of December. And also, the crisis with the outbreak of the new flu also comes to serve other purposes.

The politics of crisis prove to be a rather successful technique because except for the "wise ones" (political authority journalists, analysts, "experts" of all sorts) who propagate it, there is also a stupid audience of the faithful (society) ready to accept it and take orders.

In Greece, after all, the technique of crisis is a typical. Often after social tension and clashes, or ruptures caused by the enemy within, such crises of national unanimity make their appearance.

1991 was the year of the mass school occupations and the assassination of teacher Nikos Temponeras while the next year saw the crisis with Skopje and the Macedonian demonstrations. 1995 was the year of the largest mass arrest - 500 people in the Athens Polytechnic - while 1996 saw the Imia crisis (1). 2008 saw the revolt of December and 2009 was the year of the migrant crisis, pogroms, concentration camps, Turkish airspace violations and revelations of the execution of missing Greek-Cypriots by Turkish-Cypriots. This does not mean to say that events were "produced" in order to disorient the zombified public opinion. Imia did not happen to cover the Polytechnic arrests, nor was the supposed migrant issue highlighted to cover for December. Plus the fact that the economy is damaged and collapsing is a reality. The technique of the crisis is simply the director-like ability to highlight certain scenes at the right moment, so to direct the viewer's gaze.

Air-space violations and incidents with Greek rocks have happened many times, and yet in the case of Imia they were particularly promoted. (Undocumented) migrants have been living in the centre of Athens for years, and yet it was now that they had to be "revealed." Illnesses and epidemics exist or are created constantly yet once their period of usefulness is over they disappear without anyone knowing their ending, like in the cases of the mad Cow Disease and the Asian flu.

The economy is constantly in the red, this has to be emphasised. Tables of statistics have no importance whatsoever, nor do the facts produced by financial authorities or financial analyses. What needs to be understood by the revolutionary force and the new urban guerilla tendency is the social value of the financial crisis, the social value of fear - we need to proceed to our counter-analyses and to launch an attack on all fronts.

Economy is not a mere math equation, it is a factory for the production of relationships. The coming elections are the visible exit from the crisis. They are the diffusion of the amassed social fear and its replacement by the hope for reconstruction of the bourgeois dream. We know that even sad people, who carry the title of citizen as a badge of honour, think of elections as outdated - and yet they are the only thing they have. After all, as we said, illusions and idiocy are nearly totally unbeatable, but not without their weaknesses.

Because we, like other comrades of the new urban guerilla tendency do not participate in fixed games, nor do we participate in the official fiestas (demonstrations), in called-for marches - such as those against the International Expo in Thessaloniki, we choose our own time to act.

And so at dawn on Wednesday September 2, we placed a self-made explosive device consisting of two time bombs and 8 kilos of explosives in the back entrance of the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace. In order to avoid injuries we notified one TV station and the police.

The selection of that particular target was a challenge due to the police protection of the particular location. The policemen by the entrance, the riot police unit in the courtyard, the police blocks on the adjacent Ayiou Dimitriou St., the patrols around the building were all a good opportunity for us to send them run panicking.

Each time that we explain the operational part of a plan we do so not in order to brag of our lawlessness and bravery that would be nonsense. Whatever we do, we do because we feel it, and it fills us with meaning. These references to some operational details take place as an invitation to new comrades in order to share with them our belief that responsibility good organising, trustworthiness, comradely feelings, and decisiveness can attack that which until yesterday seemed unapproachable.

After all, the consecutive attacks that took place in our city during the summer by different groups prove that the new urban guerilla tendency is already under way and prepares its own charge. Broken doors, smashed shop fronts, smoke from the torched buildings, the chaos of sabotage, it's a unforeseeable network of communication. It is a way to tell our losses, our contradictions, our desires, ignoring the registries of authority and laughing at its established rules. No respect to the authorities of this city and its obedient citizens.

We shall return...

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(1) Skirmishes between the Greek and Turkish armies over a small rock in the middle of the sea.

December revisited

Answers from Void Network to questions from US comrades

How much were the limits of the insurrection imposed from outside, by the power of the State?

The government trapped in scandals, economical crisis, and inner conflicts is unable to learn from all the ways it was beaten. An Elite that tries to behave like nothing happened can do nothing but forget and place the insurrection in an oblivion.

During the insurrection in the countryside, the towns and small cities, the external influences were much stronger than in Athens and Thessaloniki. For example, in Patras and in Larisa, both big cities that experienced riots that the police were unable to control for days, small but well organised groups of neo-nazis together with riot police were searching for the young people, street by street, and following groups of high school students from the riots to their houses, frightening them and their parents as well.

In small cities and towns, undercover policemen were going from shop to shop to spread false rumours and to inform the owners that wild anarchists were on their way from the big cities to come destroy their shops in the same way the television was portraying an exaggerated destruction of small shops in Athens. So when young people, anarchists, and leftists came out onto the streets of their small town with no intention to smash anything but banks, police stations, and government buildings, the shop owners treated them like vandals rather than their own children. However in most small towns during the insurrection the people generally had an attitude that these were "our own children" and the youth and comrades accomplished unbelievable actions on a local scale.

The influence of conservativism was also much stronger in some right wing towns. Conservatism, the power that keeps our life "as it was,” our mind "as we know it,” and our activities "as we’ve always done them," was the strongest factor for sustaining normality before, during, and after the riots all over the country.

Many people opposed the insurrection and they had the power to express their disapproval much more openly and effectively in the countryside. In some of the towns the majority of the locals were obviously against the"tendencies" of the anarchists and the leftists. In these towns it was very difficult for the small number of isolated participants to sustain an insurrectionary enthusiasm for many days, even though in such places actions still took place day after day for weeks, proving that the passion for freedom doesn't fear any authoritarian conservative majority.

The power of the State existed mainly in radio interviews, TV programming, and riot police in the streets. The work of the State was to offer excuses and reinforce the conservative defences of this society to sustain normality even in the middle of chaos, and to express with certainty that nothing will change; also to suppress the total chaos without having another dead body on the streets. It was crucial that they do it without filling up the stadiums with thousands of detainees, in order not to create images of dictatorship within the spectacle of social life.

The work of the mass media, as part of the regime, was to offer simplistic excuses for the "children’s revolt," to not alienate their parents, to avoid speaking seriously about the specific reasons behind many targets of smashing and burning, to feed the worst fears of the conservative majority and to portray the anarchists as irrelevant to the phenomenon. In this way they were building the separation between the good children and the bad anarchists, immigrants, radicals, extremists-criminals.

How much did the limits come from the participants themselves?

In big cities and especially in Athens and Thessaloniki, physical exhaustion had a strong influence after all those days of tear gas, running around the city centre, hours of assemblies and all kinds of direct actions, creating and sustaining street barricades and liberated zones, smashing, burning, and lighting the riot police, the undercover police, and the neo-nazis over vast areas of the city... day after day and through the nights. The boys and girls sleeping inside the occupied universities for many days showed heroic physical strength.

When the schools reopened the students had to go back to class. Three weeks after the start of the revolt the university students started to think it was possible to lose credit for the whole academic year if the occupation of the universities continued after Christmas. After three weeks the students took to the streets less and less. Satisfied by the amazing personal experience of revolt and revenge against the State, they were tired from the street lighting. And they were pushed by their parents to return to normality. The students and youth who were not politically organised began to lose the feeling of togetherness of the first weeks, and started again to express scepticism towards the attitude, decisions, initiatives, and political analysis of the anarchists. Many continued to participate in different actions but they began to keep a distance from the central occupations and riots.

And the workers had their jobs waiting for them. Most of the participants had to work all day and then they participated in the actions in the afternoons and evenings, also expressing an amazing physical strength. The worst moment of the assembly for the occupation of the General Confederation of Greek Workers was when the insurgent workers started to speak out against spending a long time forming a deeper analysis because they had to go to sleep so they could work the next morning. Work was a limitation before, during, and after the insurrection.

After the third day the immigrants, many of whom lacked papers, faced a very strong backlash from the police and in public opinion. Police continued searching for them for months and in the following summer they arrested thousands of so-called illegal immigrants.

In the network of assemblies and conversations there began to reappear many different questions, debates, and the endless disagreements that characterise the Greek radical space. Many of these took the form of hostile dichotomies and enmities, like leftists vs. insurrectionists, anti-authoritarians vs. anarchists, artists vs. anti-artists, independent media journalists vs. anti-media activists, direct action vs. political messaging, naives vs. extremists, hooliganism vs. anti-statism, anti-statism vs. criminality anarcho-communism vs. post-anarchy junkies vs. serious political revolutionaries, looting vs. burning, and so on. Many people felt this and made conscious efforts to combat it. But by the third week, many of the debates had become long and tedious distractions to the disappointment we felt when we saw that the whole society would not rise up, as many people hoped it would in the early days.

A major defeat came early when the syndicalist hierarchy decided to cancel the nationwide general strike scheduled for December 10th. This strike had been announced long before the death of Alexis, but they cancelled it to avoid generalising the insurrection. The historical meeting with the working class failed to happen once more. Never trust the workers. The "working class" followed their leaders, their political parties, their own syndicalist institutions, unions and organisations, their own idols and ghosts. The workers, the farmers, the petit-bourgeoisie did everything in its power to help the regime survive and bring everything back to normal.

So you see, normality was also hiding inside of us, not only around us.

The submission of the majority to the status-quo and the habitual repetitive behaviour of work and consumption kept millions of people off the streets, The inability of the insurrection to explain politically the reasons for the actions and to expand this understanding on a scale that could address the problems of common people was a failure that kept the entire society from exploding, from taking up the revolt and continuing it with their own decisions and actions.

For sure, people were not ready for social change, not even for a general confrontation with their own realities. The death of Alexis fell like a thunderclap on their pathetic situation but most of them were unable to understand what caused their own children, their own friends, their own neighbours, to revolt. The society could feel it, they could express empathy but they were not ready to translate it into a political confrontation with the regime.

In an insurrectionary way of thinking we can say that now, after the insurrection, the consciousness of millions of people has stepped forward and this is the main achievement of the revolt. The insurrection opens horizons. Many things that will happen in the future could never have happened before December.

All the thousands of people who participated offered an invitation to the others, the silent majority. When this silence fills your ears, echoing off the streets of a crowded city that wants to come back to normality after four weeks of endless riots and all kinds of actions, an inner voice forces you to pack up all the inspiration and experience you have won for yourself, to go back to your collective and continue the struggle from there.

Even with most of the markets destroyed the society generated a strange need to reproduce a pseudo-celebratory Christmas. Even though all the walls of the city were painted with the slogan "Christmas Postponed, We Have Insurrection" and the smoke of the tear gas and the smell of burned banks and the ashes of luxury shops still hung in the air, and the death of Alexis filled everyone's thoughts, Christmas happened on December 25 just like every other year. The fucking mayor announced during New Year's Eve from Syntagma Square, next to the brand new Christmas tree, this one protected by riot police, that we are all one, that we are all the same, and we are happy! Thousands of poor immigrants were clapping their hands below the stage, though they hardly understood a word. The three central occupations in Athens (Polytechnic, Nomiki, ASOEE) dissolved one or two days before Christmas.

And you walk in the city centre with your friends, four o'clock on New Year’s morning, and there are no riots anymore, and you want to smash everything around you and start again from the beginning. And an inner instinct says to you that there is still a lot of work to do before this world will explode". And the insurrection continues travelling in space and time, but still you feel that something is missing, and there are a lot of things we have to take care of.

In what ways were the limits of the insurrection determined by factors in place before it started, such as the infrastructure of anti-authoritarian groups and projects and the culture of resistance in Greece?

For many decades the uncompromising fight of anarchists against the State and capitalism has found its chief expression in the confrontation with all the various bureaus and branches of police across the planet, as can be seen by the local police sections of Prague, Seattle, Genoa, Thessaloniki, Maastricht, Nice, Rostock, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, Cancun, Santiago, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Mexico City, Hamburg, St. Paul, Turin, Johannesburg, Miami, Seoul, and many other places. Of course, as the State is not a castle, the police are not the major protector of the State. Social apathy habit, acceptance of status, and fear of change are perhaps even stronger protectors of the State than the army and the comrades in Greece know this well. But, during the "Days for Alexis," the police were the primary target of the attack. The reasons were obvious this time even to the conservatives. The struggle was righteous even for the reformists. The anarchist common-sense for once met with the social common-sense. Unfortunately common-sense is a great obstacle to wisdom.

The target of the struggle itself, the police, was the greatest limitation to the expanding of the insurrection to a general social insurrection. For most of the common people the police brutality was the target of this struggle and the anarchists, used to fighting against the police for ages, fought hardest alongside the people who wanted to express their rage against police brutality, together with them, sometimes even following them.

But generally they were unable to take the majority of the people with them in a total negation of the roots of the regime and against the real causes of this and all the other murders carried out by the State and capitalism. Most of the people were not ready yet to travel to the roots of their slavery. The society was not ready to face its own failures in the clear light of insurrection.

And the people in the struggle did not expand the dialogue as necessary to encompass all sides of everyday life. Of the hundreds of communiqué's released, only a few could really offer an inspiring political explanation and a solid organisational solution. The affinity groups and the initiatives had the capability to offer high-quality analysis of the conditions and a hard critique of the regime, but they hadn’t enough experience to spread enthusiasm for a social victory visions of a world that could appear from the ashes of the old world, practical escape routes the dead-ends of a neo-liberalism in serious crisis, images from the future we are dreaming of, applicable plans for continuing the struggle once everything is already smashed and burned.

So when the rage started to fade there were no solid answers as to what should come next. Not even in our craziest dreams had any of us come so far. We walked for days and days like shadows inside our own struggles, wondering, through the smoke of the tear gas, about each next step.

Who has the proper answers, who can even narrate this story, who can offer solutions and answers about the way to general social insurrection? No one wanted to oblige the society to go further and the anarchists always dislike this role. Four weeks after the assassination of Alexis everyone knew that this is not a revolution and so nobody gave specific answers for what we had to do in order to go further. What could we do to keep the riots from ending? Is the never ending riot the way to social insurrection?

Most people that participated in the insurrection say that it didn’t end. We find great truth in this, as thousands of us participate and stay active in many projects, struggles, and assemblies that were created after December in all the cities and towns. For most people Alexis is still alive. In today’s struggles you can find him smiling behind actions, demonstrations, creative plans, and destructive visions.

What conflicts have developed after the uprising between groups that participated in it together? Are there bonds and connections that were possible to maintain during the uprising that have broken down since then?

During the insurrection many old friends lost each other forever and people or groups that hated each other for decades worked in projects and actions together. Many old groups transformed into something completely different and many new affinity groups have been created. As most of the Greek anarchists don’t like each other, and deep differences separate groups and people, no one can speak definitively about what is happening and nobody clearly understands what is prepared and by whom. This total fragmentation is very useful during periods of "social peace" as it produces a vast variety of opinions, analysis, and initiatives. The police cannot infiltrate the movement, since such a thing does not exist. Hundreds upon hundreds of groups, people who’ve known each other for many years and share total trust and empathy they meet, appearing as if from nowhere and return to nowhere.

In a way, all this fragmentation created the strange situation where all these people, who knew each other for years but would never talk to each other, were suddenly speaking, spending time together, and fighting side by side. December produced strong feelings of solidarity and common struggle.

In the first months of 2009, huge assemblies, mostly accommodated in the university amphitheatres late in the afternoon, were taking place nearly every clay. Sometimes people from one assembly started to participate in the one taking place before it, as they waited for it to finish and for the next one to start. Some of them, for example the Assembly for Solidarity with Immigrants, for Solidarity with December’s Prisoners, the Fight for Worker Konstantina Kuneva, the Assembly of the School and University Students, the Assembly of Insurgent Doctors and Nurses, of Insurgent Artists, the Assembly of Unknown Artists, the Assembly of The Ones Here and Now and For All of Us, the Assembly of Workers and Unemployed, the Exarchia neighbourhood Initiative Committee, and many other Committees in different neighbourhoods, as well as assemblies happening in other cities all over the country were gathering from 100 to 400 active people every week. And to all these general insurrectionary assemblies of course we have to add all the separate meetings of collectives and groups that were participating in these general assemblies.

Throughout these months there was a poster on the walls of Athens with a wildly naive dadaist monster saying: "Obedience Ended! Life is Magical!" and for most of us this magical life was to jump from assembly to assembly preparing unbelievable things and putting them in practice with all those people. Those assemblies brought to life all different kinds of actions and projects and visions and crazy dreams you had from when you were fifteen years old or from last week’s late night talk with some friends or some secret plan you had with your lover and now was coming true.

Most of the initiatives and the assemblies of artists, romantics, non-ideological people, and creative activists shrank, lost the enthusiasm of the first week and became smaller and more solid creative groups. Various reasons forced people from these assemblies to go back to their individual creativity but many of these groups are still dedicated to their projects.

Week after week, and as people were coming closer and closer, the old conflicts, the differences, the diverse political standpoints and the different needs, expectations, strategies, and methods started to appear again. This brought back to the surface the old separations and the old debates. It proved that the differences were not just ephemeral misunderstandings or personal distrust but were based in deep analysis and long-term differences of practice and ways of thinking.

The interesting thing was that even though most of these general assemblies split or started to attract fewer people and to have less power and less influence, new ways of organising appeared. After some months of meetings the whole political space took new directions. The general assemblies were not useful any more as new coalitions, new friendships, and new contacts appeared. Different squats, social centres, and initiatives started to form after the end of the general assemblies. People and groups that met during the insurrection and the period of open creativity and massive open meetings after December now had experience with each other, they knew if they agreed or disagreed, they knew what were the directions and strategies of each group and so new projects, plans, and solid decisions took place. In this way the anarchists and other insurrectionists and radical activists avoided conflicts. The melting pot of general assemblies broke into much more effective meetings, laboratories of creative chaos, squats, and direct actions.

How effective has government repression been in weakening the movements that started the uprising? What have been the most effective ways to resist this repression?

A basic characteristic of the Greek anarchist space is that through the influence of insurrectionary practices it refuses to see itself as a homogenous "movement" and especially as a movement of "resistance" or"direct action." The idea of direct attack is much more influential. The momentum of the attack is controlled by the groups and the initiatives and not by any collective, central decision-making process.

Of course, in periods of social mobilisation like the demonstrations against the privatisation of education or of health and public insurance or in big events like the European Union Summit or the G8 there is coordination and communication between the groups. But even under these circumstances the initiative for the direct attack is taken by the groups and individuals. This makes the things very complicated for the State and also for the people. No one can decide what will happen, no one knows what actually transpired until it has already happened.

The anarchist space has the ability to appear very powerful and disappear completely from the stage of confrontation, for short periods of recovery. These short periods without riots hypnotise the State and make the government believe it has other more important things to care about. In these periods of calm, the eye of authority is not focused on the anarchists. Meanwhile the arson groups commit unstoppable attacks against all kinds of targets. During these period hundreds of assemblies, events, public talks, film shows, free festivals, parties, lectures, workshops, and public non-confrontational demonstrations assure the visibility of the anarchists, autonomists, and anarcho-libertarians. All these political and cultural processes are also responsible for the never ending attraction of new people, the replacement of burnt-out people with fresh ones in the frontline of the riots and the preparation for a new cycle of intense confrontation.

It is like a wave. When it's up you can see it in the news, on TV, in the streets, everywhere. When its down, you don't see it but you feel it. You meet with the wave because it is coming to you and moving unstoppably through the initiatives of thousands of different people.

What are some of the way that people have had to "recover” from the uprising? Legal troubles? Emotional trauma? Exhaustion?

There was not any emotional trauma from December. The use of molotov cocktails heals a crowds' panic and fear and takes back control of the streets from the police. Molotovs used as a defensive tool can keep the riot police away long enough for everyone to run safely away and recover from the tear gas or avoid arrest. When molotovs are used as offensive weapons together with hundreds of stones from broken pavement they give courage to the crowds and spread a feeling of massive power and the belief that they can accomplish amazing things.

As a slogan from December put it: "Action replaces Tears."

Many people participated in the solidarity movement for the sixty-five that were arrested and who stayed in custody for two to eight months. Now all of them are free. The solidarity movement that took over the streets with massive demonstrations and counter-information, that held massive fund-raising concerts and organised movement lawyers has made clear to Greek anarchists that in the years to come solidarity must be one of the main methodologies of any movement that wants to participate in a serious confrontation with the regime.

There was no need for "recovering" after December. We also have to clarify that there was no end to the insurrection and especially no ending caused by legal troubles, emotional troubles, exhaustion, or repression. Rather, the anarchist space, in an instinctual and intelligent way, chose to disappear from the central highways and put into practice many other low-tension initiatives that enrich the struggle. This wise, self-preserving urban guerilla strategy also finds its expressions in the appearance of many different projects that started after December and now help the "movement" to deepen its roots in the society and in the local communities.

How has the government used the uprising strategically to strengthen its position, since December? Could this have been avoided?

The government didn’t find ways to use the insurrection to strengthen its position. It was difficult to do such a thing as the insurrection was spread among all social classes and backgrounds. Only the immigrants were brought into a worse position as they faced a backlash and the police pogrom against those without papers, that occurred in June. The solidarity shown toward immigrants was strong but unable to protect them. A lot of effort is going into bringing the immigrants closer to the anarchist space but this task is not easy at all. The immigrants have their own limitations, their own interests, their own fears and wishes. Many of them they have a very difficult life and very different cultural and political or non-political backgrounds.

In what ways has the uprising put anarchists in a stronger position? In what ways has it used up energy without putting anarchists in a stronger position? Are there any ways it has put anarchists in a weaker position?

The anarchist movement in Greece underwent a lot of methodological changes over the last years in its efforts to come closer to society, to hear the problems of the people, to avoid an anti-social attitude without falling into reformism, and to try to find ways to participate in and radicalise the social movements of our times. All these efforts bore fruit during December.

The social centres that opened in all major cities of Greece during the last years, rented or squatted, offered the best preparation for the creation of strong, active circles of lighters and assemblies able to produce and spread analysis and propaganda everywhere.

Anarchist participation in the social struggles of the students and workers during the last years was also very important, and it utilised two main strategies, changing according to the circumstances:

1) Separate, visible anarchist blocs, with flags, banners, posters, and pamphlets.

2) Radical direct action, smashings, attacks on the police with molotovs, sticks, and stones.

In this way the Black Bloc spread throughout the whole body of these mass demonstrations, even if only a minority were participating. The adoption of these two strategies by all anarchists according to the tension of the social struggle and the available momentum produced a common ground for different comrades and eliminated inner conflicts. And the anarchist participation empowered those social struggles, gained respect from other political organisations, produced common ground with many different social subjects and attracted many new people to anarchy.

The defence of Exarchia and other areas like it in Greece as autonomous public zones, including street corners and an everyday presence in "our own" cafés and bars, offered a constant meeting point that empowered the relations, the connections, and the coordination of actions. The creation of anarchists squats, social centres, occupied rooms in universities, concerts, events, film showings, and assemblies offered a sustainable ground for the cultivation of anarchist ideas and practices.

All these conditions are much more powerful now after December and it doesn't seem that there is any way to put ourselves in a weaker position. As long as we maintain the ability to listen to the heart and understand the mind of the society the State cannot defeat the anarchists.

Are you working with new people since December? More people?

Many young people who participated in the riots continue to avoid any political participation, so you will see many new people in the free festivals, DIY concerts, underground rave parties, and even the demonstrations, but not in the assemblies or discussions; however the youth in general seem to be much more critical towards mainstream TV culture than they were before December. On the other hand there is a whole new generation of young anarchists, especially in the countryside, who have become politically active. But the greatest achievement of December is that thousands of people who were anarchists before December but did nothing more than hang around in Exarchia or go to some demonstrations have now become active, they have found confidence in themselves, and they are organising different projects, writing pamphlets, taking part in the struggle.

Are the arguments and disagreements different? For example when you disagree with someone, does it end the same way now as before December; or is there more possibility, more learning, more solidarity?

This unfortunately has a lot to do with personal relations and local ways of analysis. For sure, it is different from city to city As an example, the classical conflict between the different sections of Alpha Kappa and the Black Bloc differs completely from city to city In some areas the people are old friends who hate each other, in other places they organise demonstrations together, in other cities they don’t even say hello. In some cities the punks like the Black Bloc and in other cities they punch each other in the squares. In some cities the anarcho-junkies hate the Black Bloc, in other cities they show respect. In some cities the anarcho-hooligans ight with the Black Bloc, in other cities they fight with Anti-authoritarian Current.

The classical technique for solving theoretical and practical differences in the Greek anarchist space continues to be the trading of punches between two crowds, in the middle of the square or during a party in the university or some day after two people have had a fight. These continue to happen same as always. There are always people in every group who try to avoid this method, but it is still a common practice. Generally speaking, December gave all kinds of groups an excuse to explain the spirit and the meanings of the insurrection in their own way Everybody finds the absolute verification of their own beliefs and conclusions within the spirit of the insurrection. In the long run this fact might cause bigger disagreements than before. For the time being, many people try to create bridges and keep the personal communication open between different people and theoretical streams.

Are there any weaknesses the movement is refusing to look at?

Yes, obviously there are many weaknesses because if they didn’t exist we would have completed the "revolution." But do we have the time to think about our weaknesses, to reconcile our conflicts, renegotiate our beliefs and rearrange our strategies? Unfortunately after the self-validation of December the egoism of many comrades only got stronger, so it’s more difficult to look at the weaknesses.

On the other hand, a great difference between the Greek movement and the US movement, for example, is that we don’t spend so much time analysing our defeats, we don’t speak on public radio, in magazines, newspapers, or books about our problems. We don’t overemphasise our inabilities and of course we don’t write books or pamphlets or posts on the internet about our inner conflicts and our different opinions on a specific subject. In a way this is much better. The weaknesses of the movement are not written in books or on the internet, you face them on the street, behind the barricades, outside of the assemblies, or you speak about them on a street corner, late at night, drunk, face to face with your friends and comrades.

Where do you think the movement will be one year from now?

It will be in many different new squats and in the old ones. In new social centres and in the same old squares, the old cafés and new bars created by friends and comrades, a place to feel safe, where you can speak about everything. It will be in taverns getting drunk together, building courage for late night attacks against riot police squads around the city. It will be hunting the neo-nazis from street to street in order to fuck them. Where do you think the movement will be?

It will be in a war against apathy, stupidity and defeatism. It will be in arson attacks against all kinds of State and capitalist targets. It will be in free festivals and crazy all night parties, it will be drunk and happy having sex or finding a new boyfriend. It will be in the smile of a young boy behind his mask and in the hands of a girl throwing stones at the policemen. It will be all around the country in the posters on the walls, the communiqué's, the books, the hundreds of new blogs talking about new actions, It will be in the graffiti everywhere, an "a" in a circle, or the squat symbol, or the symbol of chaos, the symbol of entropy the symbol of void or just your tag, your name that means Fuck The Police... It will be in the heart of thousands of new people all around the world and it will be here still, on the same spot where the State assassinated Alexis, defending it from the rank smell of the policemen.

Has the movement gotten more or less arrogant since December?

In the Greek language "arrogant" means the person who believes that he is more important than he is, or the person who underestimates those around him. In this way yes, many people from the movement became more arrogant towards the State and the police. But many people try to keep themselves in mental balance with dark jokes.

"Arrogant" in Greek also means a specific stance of a warrior’s body to not feel fear and to stand still and proud while defending your point, to have the power to defend your turf and expand into the territory around you. Arrogant means to have the inner power to start fights with enemies who are much stronger than you. In this way yes, the movement became much more arrogant.

Can you describe contact you have with people who were previously outside of your circle? What new communication and connections do you have?

Never speak in public about your communications and your connections, especially with people you don’t know or with people you don’t trust 100%. This is the best form of communication with people previously outside of your circle. Of course, during this year of insurrection all of us gained some great new friends and comrades from a vast cultural background and from different economic classes.

What is something that anarchists are doing now that they never did before?

Trying to connect between two powers through the activity of the same people. As you Destroy you also Create, smashing and burning while making living, functional alternatives. This is an end to the separation between violence and non-violence forever: the violent becomes the non-violent and the non-violent becomes a monster that can confront all kinds of power. There is no morality of non-violence any more in Greece, even the non-violent activists agree with this. There are no non-violent anarchists, and even the sensitive, naive romantics are ready to confront the tear gas, build barricades, and light the police.

As one poster proclaimed from walls all over Athens just before the elections,"Sometimes the most violent thing is to do nothing. Don’t vote!"

Violence and Non-Violence are not identities or morals. The same people who fight against the police have the experience and the knowledge to create a park, make non-confrontational political and social demos, write a book, sing a song, play with children in the playground. The same people who make art happenings and dance in front of the police with the drums and the puppets will fight back with molotovs and stones along with the Black Bloc when the police come closer, and they will help their comrades to escape. The same people whom you will meet behind the barricades are the people who will organise a grocery shop with organic vegetables and fruits from the anarchist farms, and all of them participated and will participate again together in the insurrection.

The way that non-violent practices blend into an insurrectionary context is happening here for the first time and it is one of the most extraordinary things to arise after December. The methodology with which the same people express both of these identities in an open and all inclusive experiment produces an explosive new social reality. It destroys the separation between insurrectionism and the creation of alternatives in an effort to avoid the transformation of insurrection into a new separate identity or lifestyle and at the same time to keep the social struggles from falling into reformism. The one strategy can overpass and solve the limitations of the other in a complementary and not an antagonistic manner.

How will anarchists overcome the power of the media?

...and how we will overcome nationalism, conservatism, cynicism, apathy and the influence of the heavily controlled public or private mass education?

Possibly we will overcome the power of the media only through the building of a strong underground anarchist culture, that will include thousands of dedicated "amateur intellectuals" in the same way that it now includes thousands of amateur DJs or punk band members. We will overcome the power of the media through the free distribution of all kinds of cultural products, books, cds, dvds, hand to hand and face to face. If we count, for example, that many hundreds of these things were published this year in Greece - each at between 1000 and 4000 copies and distributed for free all over the country - you can imagine that whole libraries could be filled with underground cultural products of theory creativity and propaganda if thousands of people put this approach into practice through personal and collective efforts.

When we transform information and culture into a gift our culture and information gains the highest possible authenticity and respect from the common people. Through the organisation of meeting points, events, and film showings we can transform information into a collective power. We have to entice people out of their prison cells of mainstream stupidity and into a culture without spectators or spectacles. And we can expand the mistrust of the people towards the corporate media through widespread anti-media campaigns, and through the total refusal to collaborate with the mass media in any way This is a long-term strategy that in the meantime will cause people to rely on the Internet for information when something really important is happening.

We have to create our own myths, our own information, our own incredible actions and to cover them by ourselves. The people are not stupid. Society knows that TV news is full of lies and the younger generation doesn’t watch TV news anyway.

But are we capable of really breaking the status of the big media corporations with our creativity? Are we capable of producing such interesting theory, such fascinating films, and such great stories? Are we ready to live great adventures that will spread in seconds all over the planet? Are we capable of finding ways to explain our visions to adults, even though we are adults ourselves? Are we ready to capture the focus of this society and offer an exit from here and some obvious, clear reason to break down the doors that keeps us locked inside?

What new tools and strategies do people have since December?

The most important characteristics are:

1) Consistency: efforts to offer answers and direct responses to all the moves of the State and to keep the fight alive with actions and events that take place almost every day. Also, there are conscious efforts to avoid suicidal or sacrificial moves that will cause arrests or hard defeats. The riots and the clashes with the police are well organised, well equipped, and they occur at the place and time when they’ll have the greatest possibility of causing the most damage without paying a high price or putting people in serious danger. With these victories the struggle attracts new people.

2) Political Work: based on direct connection with the problems of the society and not on ideological abstractions. The efforts to listen to the society keep in contact with the worries and fears of the people, give answers where it seems that there are no answers, and attack the causes of the problems, not just the results. The ability of the movement to play a serious role in the political world of the country depends on the creation of deep roots in the social struggles and the ability to inject anarchist ideas and practices into the hearts of common people and young radicals. This happens through the personal cultivation of critical minds and the collective creation of open, all-inclusive, public confrontation with all forms of authority.

3) Cultural Work: the meetings, the assemblies, the squares, the parks, and the public life tend to include people who have the courage to fight and the capability to think and create. For the first time in many years anarchists now are ready to achieve high visibility in this society and attract new people not only through their destructive power but also through the defence of public spaces (like the parks), and the creation of political spaces (like the squats and the social centres). Also important is the collective culture that allows all individuals to benefit from the communes without losing their personalities within them, as happens in the Left tradition of organising.

4) Constant Spreading of Counter-Information: the importance of typography, (not digital printing but 70cm x 50cm offset printing!) for printing thousands of copies of large posters and sticking them everywhere is vital. As all different groups produce many different posters, a whole spectrum of theory appears on the walls of the city. You don’t need to read anarchist books any more. The theory is on the walls! Of course it is also very important to use offset machines for thousands of copies of communiqué's and books that you hand out for free in your city. These practices go together with the unstoppable use of spray paint to write political slogans on every wall, signed with the circle-A, and to remove any neo-nazi graffiti. Also comrades go frequently to the central square of their city with a small electric generator and small sound system to play their music and read off their communiques, and to pass out pamphlets. With this method of counter-information they attract the focus of the people to specific social struggles, they raise solidarity and have endless dialogues with passers-by.

Some important struggles and strategies, as examples:

- The neighbourhood assemblies, organised with invitation posters from door to door, offer answers to local problems and connects them with general social problems.

- The occupied parks offer a direct connection between ecological problems and everyday urban life and produce new liberated public spaces where different kinds of people can meet and co-exist (or try to co-exist).

- The different new squats enable all different styles of anarchist thinking to achieve visibility.

- The new social centres offer workshops, free lessons, free food, cheap alcohol, free books, lectures, film shows, DJ sets, concerts, and open social meeting points for all kinds of people. They connect the political activists with common people and young students.

- The small urban guerilla arson groups continue fight- ing. Formed by people who know and trust each other 100% they continue to upgrade their weekly attacks against capitalist and state targets. The huge catalogue of arson attacks create a map of institutions, corporations, banks, and offices that society has to eliminate from social life for the people to be free and equal. In this way, the arsonists offer the society a signal that elevates mistrust of these specific targets and encourages suspicion regarding the exploitive function of these targets.

- The active anarchist student groups don’t allow the bourgeoisie to control the university. These groups communicate clay by day with each other and with all other students. They turn the university into a public space that can accommodate tons of public events every week, organised by comrades from other political and cultural collectives as well. Of course leftist organisations and cultural groups also participate in the struggle to defend university asylum and the struggle for keeping the universities open to the public overnight.

- The defence of public autonomous zones like parks and urban hills, universities as well as urban areas, street corners, squares, and meeting points like Exarchia and other similar points in the rest of Greece from police, mafia, drug dealers, neo-nazis and capitalist investors brings the people together. These meetings in public space produce an explosive mixture of all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds who get used to facing the policeman, the mafia, the drug dealer, the neo-nazi and the investor as an enemy. The day to day meetings in the public space empower the groups and the companies of friends to be ready and capable of fighting against the enemies at a moment’s notice and to imagine that this area is something completely different from the surrounding territory.

- The empowerment of the imagination, intelligence, and critical mind is the best strategy.

- The solidarity movements encourage the people to continue fighting and take care, as much as possible, of the prisoners of this war.

- The open public solidarity for all prisoners, criminal and political prisoners equally expresses the total negation towards prison institutions, reveals the real causes of criminality in this society and brings the anarchist prisoners closer with all other prisoners, gaining respect and support for them inside the prison.

- The fight for Konstantina Kuneva and all other workers sends a direct message to the bosses that when they hit one of us they have to confront all of us. Also, it proves that the collective struggle can reveal subject matters and attract the focus of all society.

- All direct syndicalist struggles self-organised from the base prepare in the consciousness of the people, year after year, a deep-rooted, radical strategy that intervenes in the sphere of work.

- Indymedia works like a strategic centre for the organisation of the struggles and as a digital public space where all the announcements, debates, and invitations can gain attention. In a way, all comrades start their day reading the indymedia calendar to decide what social action or assembly they will participate in.

- The creation of pirate communal radio stations and digital radio stations -in universities and social centres sends the message of resistance on the radio waves and creates cultural and political communities around them.

- The critical mass parades, the street parades, the free party movement, the illegal rave parties, the squat events, the DIY concerts, the socially aware hip-hop, punk, indie rock, drum ‘n bass, techno & trance scenes attract thousands of young people to temporarily liberated public zones. They of fer an existential contact with the underground cultures and the radical movements. The gatherings of the underground cultures, when they are connected in solidarity with the anarchist political space, offer an experiential introduction to the political and social awareness that cannot be replicated in books.

- The demonstrations in malls and luxury areas or in the metro stations transfer the message of insurrection to privatised public spaces at the centre of capitalistic illusions.

- The occupation of the National Opera Hall and interruption of the commercial shows created an example of a meeting point between the sphere of the arts and philosophy and the insurrectionary practices and ideas.

- The occupation of the building of the General Confederation of Greek Workers created a public, visible negation of the role of syndicalist leadership in the failures of workers’ struggles over the last 100 years.

- The occupation of the offices of the newspaper editors by insurrectionary journalists and comrades active in the creation of underground media produced a lively meeting point for direct criticism to appear against the role of mass media in the building of social apathy.

- The occupation of the National Television Station studio by young artists and activists trashed the speech of the prime minister, expanded mistrust of the mass media, and sent the message onto the screen of every house in Greece: "Switch Off Your TV, Come Into The Streets."

- Occupations of government buildings and municipalities all over the country sent a message to society of a different understanding of public institutions and constituted victorious fights in different causes and struggles.

- The anti-nazi struggle sends the message that there is no mercy for the enemies of freedom.

- The anti-nazi demonstrations in solidarity with the immigrants made obvious to all immigrants that we are standing on their side (but not without criticism of their own limitations).

- Videos and media work uploaded to the Internet and used by mainstream TV channels proved that the police are working with neo-nazis against the immigrants and the social movements. Also they proved to everybody that the neo-nazis are a tool, the long hand of the State against any kind of social resistance.

- Independent amateur videos, like the video of the assassination of Alexis or moments of police brutality; played a very important role in the building of a new kind of public opinion.

- The creation of hundreds of blogs by all kinds of initiatives offered a digital space for the direct expression of the reasons and the theory of each struggle and attracted thousands of readers and participants. The blogs broke the authority and monopoly of mainstream mass media forever.

- The unstoppable writing,printing, and hand to hand free distribution of hundreds of different publications, pamphlets, books, cds, dvds and the creation and display of thousands of posters in all cities bring the analysis to a level capable of covering many different subjects and reaching nearly every part of society. Also, they express the anarchist way of thinking directly to the other people of our times, and not through abstract theories and ideological labyrinths.

We have seen immigrants closed in concentration camps, we saw normality taking revenge expressed in laws as threats, we saw conservatism be the guardian and the protector of the worst side of humanity we saw greed and exploitation destroying our most beautiful dreams together with the forests, beaches, parks, squares, and hospitals. We saw apathy imprison our lives in fortress-like cities of commerce and mass stupidity...

Maybe now we are closer to the point of no return. To reach this point perhaps we all should have resigned from our jobs last year in December... Perhaps the unemployed had to replace the uncertainty of "personal failure" with the pride of an insurgent collective risk. Maybe the students had to leave school for at least a year of holidays, rediscovering the meaning of public education. Then, the creation of thousands of new websites, blogs, free movies, books, dvds, and pamphlets could undermine the dominance of the mass media. Free underground festivals can destroy the "mass entertainment industry" and occupied universities can offer free accommodation, food, counter-information and meaningful entertainment for thousands of people every evening.

We have to live collectively again, redefining contemporary political philosophy and revolutionary art. Perhaps the creative teams of friends, the affinity groups, the occupied parks, the squats and the social centres can become points for bringing alive all those dreams. We lost in the selfishness of our small, insignificant, individual illusions. We may have to fight against many fears, traps, deeply rooted lies, psychological complexes, and insecurities. And then we will link our daily lives with the most magical secret desires to transform the streets of Metropolis in precious moments of freedom and happiness.

The insurrection never ends.

The insurrection will never end.

Maybe we need to start thinking about how the world we would like to live in looks like. We must use moments and images of our present life that we want to expand and activate in all their significance. We don’t need any science-fiction plan for our future. We have everything here and now. We have to liberate it all from the State and the market and share it.

Revolution is when the society takes life in its hands and everything that now is merchandise again becomes a gift. Revolution is One Thousand Insurrections, nothing more, nothing less. Insurrections open paths, liberate space and time, reprogram Daily Life, change the relations, invent new words, break hierarchies, smash taboos and fears and limitations, achieving the highest possible public participation in projects and infrastructure that give us the chance to expand ourselves and share our abilities without limits. Insurrections are a never-ending fight, a constant struggle between desperation and self-restraint, apathy and action, fear and decisiveness, needs and passions, obligations and desires, obstacles and break-outs. Is it even possible to imagine such a thing? The experience of the insurrection showed us that those wild dreams we were too embarrassed to admit can actually become reality.

- Void Network [theory, utopia, empathy, ephemeral arts]

What Greece means (to me) for Anarchism

A.G. Schwarz

Approximately two years before the insurrection flared up in Greece in December, some anarchists of the Platformist persuasion embarrassingly identified Greece as a country of low social struggle, to back up their mechanistic theory that the insurrectionist strain of anarchism only arises during lows, i.e. it is a product of weakness. After December, other anarchists who were convinced that workers were the only legitimate revolutionary subject either minimised the importance of the revolt because the working class as such did not participate, or they skewed and entirely misunderstood the events by emphasising news of the protests by base unions and the blockades by farmers, as though the irresponsible adventurism of molotov cocktails and firebombs was a phenomenon that existed somehow outside the events.

On the other hand, insurrectionary anarchists surviving in the most alienated of countries seemed to subsist entirely on a diet of digital imagery and poorly translated poetic communiqué's, snapshots infused with the smell of burning shops but completely separated from their social context, as though these anarchists somehow hungered even more than the media to kill the revolt by spectacularising it. And while most Greek anarchists I know tend to share the insurrectionary critique of the Left, or more accurately they simply take it as self-evident, many Western insurrectionists would be shocked to hear the widespread opinion that "insurrectionary anarchism [referring to the Italian school] has had very little influence here." Which does not contradict the fact that illegalist and individualist tendencies were passionately adopted by many segments of the anarchist space in the ’90s; however this has manifested as an entirely different phenomenon from the many blogs and papers in English that regurgitate "notes from the global civil war," little news clippings of violent actions from here and there completely stripped of their social context and thus of their political content. I understand the need, in a pacified setting, to glorify the very act of violent resistance itself, but I'm afraid these comrades are digging themselves into a hole every bit as deep as the one constituted by the idealisation of a class that sixty years ago willingly adopted all the characteristics of its enemy and dissolved itself.

What happened in Greece arose out of a specific culture and history of struggle. It is not an ideological tool to be used for any faction nor a blueprint to be transported to another country or context. It would be a shame for anarchists to convert the Greek rebellion into a dogmatic plank or to ignore it because it does not confirm a preconceived ideology. And as much as I would like to, it would be wrong of me to use Greece as a tool to urge greater cooperation and solidarity between different anti-authoritarian currents, because all the infighting, the sharp criticisms regarding important questions, are a part of the history of this insurrection, and the rebellion itself was claimed to confirm or contradict peoples idea of revolution.

The truth is that all these contradicting currents made up the revolt, and a key characteristic of the revolt that the State and media worked so hard to deny is that at times, in the streets, the many people who were supposed to be different and separate became indistinguishable. But without denying any of the elements that participated, we can and should look at the role they each played, what made them stronger, and what made them weaker.

We are storytellers, not historians. Our job is to relate these happenings to you, not to separate, to objectify, to engrave these living stories and rob them of any connection to the present moment. Just as the solidarity actions in other countries lent more fire to the ongoing insurrection in Greece, the exhilarating smell of smoke rose from Athens and spread around the world. I cannot see it as disconnected that it was also a hot winter in Sofia, Malmo, Oakland, and Guadeloupe, nor that anarchists around the world stepped up the struggle after seeing what was going on in Greece.

Several months after December, I was at a small protest in one of those northern social democratic countries where such things as riots aren’t meant to happen any more. But when the police attacked, even though there were only a hundred people in the demo, they rioted, and when the police broke up the riot, they dispersed throughout the city to take revenge by setting afire symbols of wealth, property and authority. The only similarity between their situation and Greece was that in both places people had the confidence to fight back. And that is an element that no material conditions and no historical process can give you. It may be easier to come by in some cultures than in others but it is entirely yours to claim or disown.

Confidence played a major role in the Greek anarchist practice in all the years before December. Anarchists had enough confidence in their ideas to communicate them with society and enough confidence that their struggle was right that they continued attacking the State and boldly upholding an ethic of solidarity with all the oppressed and no compromise with authority even when they were the only ones doing so.

And in this way they won presence in their society and everyone, even if they disagreed, knew who the anarchists were - the ones who fought against all authority who stood alongside the most marginalised members of society the ones who self-organised, and the ones who never acted like politicians. This social connection was perhaps the greatest foundation of the insurrection. Many anarchists insisted on seeing society as distinct from the State. They participated in all the social struggles, offering a different analysis than the political parties and refusing to sugar-coat or hide their radical ideas, even when this made communication more difficult in the short-term. And whenever there was a social problem or important event or tragedy, they would meet and take the initiative to respond, so that the government did not have a monopoly on discourse while managing the problem. The anarchists created examples of uncompromising struggles, and trusted that when people were ready they would choose to adopt these examples as their own.

There are also many antisocial elements within the anarchist space, and these play an important role as well, because even though society is our most crucial ally there are plenty of reasons to hate it in its current form, and many people want to drop out from it or stand outside of it. While most Greek anarchists I know look just like any other Greeks - they do not differentiate themselves as anarchists in their mode of dress - there are also the anarchist punks and hippies and junkies and metalheads and goths. In other words, anarchism is not a subculture, but it is present in nearly all the subcultures, and in the mainstream culture as well. Anarchism needs to be there for those who hate society for what it is not and those who love it for what it could be.

An antisocial edge has also helped those parts of the anarchist space carry out unpopular and shocking actions without flinching. Society is often conservative, and under capitalism all its members are tied in to their own oppression. Anarchists often have to clash with the reigning order, and this clash creates inconveniences for all those who depend on that order to get them through their miserable lives. Social anarchists who are excessively populist will be unable to do this.

Although the Greek anarchists argue and fight with one another, there is another side to this, harder to see from the outside. They also have a habit of ignoring those they disagree with, and this makes sense, because they do not have enough in common to work together, and no need to try and change one another. They are other people, doing their own thing, and this difference does not entail a contradiction because anarchists don’t go marching to the same drummer.

Many anarchists, primarily in Protestant countries, set themselves the primary activity of perfecting and purifying the anarchist space, and they go about massacring ideological opponents, petty enemies, and perpetrators of bad manners with all the righteousness of Crusaders. The personal is political; however it is precisely because there is no clear line between inside the movement and outside the movement that we should not try to erect such a line by attacking the flaws of our selves l and our allies with more enthusiasm than we attack the State.

What the rebellion in Greece showed once again is that people do not need vanguards or political parties, that self-organisation, direct action, and self-defence are second-nature to everyone. The people who express their rage or illuminate the targets of the struggle with fiery actions far more extreme than what the majority might consent to are not acting as a vanguard because in a given moment, all the exploited and dissatisfied members of society might take up these tactics and go even further than yesterday’s extremists.

But in this moment, the anarchists still have a crucial role to play and we must be confident enough to play it. We have to learn how to communicate and cooperate with society at a higher level, once we meet in the street. We have to keep the institutional Left from recuperating the struggle without creating divisions by judging people in the street by the colour of the flag they carry We have to point out new and more difficult targets as our power to attack increases, otherwise the revolt will exhaust itself smashing banks and police stations without ever becoming a revolution against capitalism and the State. We have to contradict and ultimately silence the media as they try to fabricate hollow explanations for the insurrection and generate fear. We must have the faith in our imaginations to suggest long-term answers to the problems of society and start creating those answers as though we might actually win.

Part of the task of communication with society involves identifying traditions and symbols in a particular society that foster the ideas we want to communicate. One can't simply take the Greek practice and put it to use in Great Britain. Every society has its archetypes of justified violence and heroic defiance, but what exactly those are differs from one society to the next. In a country like Great Britain, that prides itself on the centuries-long stability and longevity of its government, or one like the Netherlands that touts its political culture of dialogue and compromise, this is a difficult task. In the US there is a deep and lively tradition of hatred for the government, but it is mostly found outside the Left. In Germany on the contrary there is a diverse tradition of defiance coming from within the Left, but it runs up against the popular demand for public order.

One of the most powerful specific strategies of counter-insurgency used by the State, which the anarchists will have to overcome in Greece and anywhere else we rise up, is racism. The natives and the immigrants, the whites and the blacks, is one of the most effective divisions to hamstring society; because there are real cultural differences and thanks to imperialism there is a history of antagonism as well. People from both sides of the line will have to meet and learn to work together to communicate with others, so as not to be separated from society and cast as a scapegoat for the social problems, or to be validated as part of national community and placed unwittingly alongside one’s mortal enemies.

I am afraid that if the Greek insurrection does not continue to grow stronger, if it is defeated, the crucial moment will have been its failure to extend effective solidarity to the immigrants when the State and the fascists carried out their major operation of ethnic cleansing in the summer. And this failure was probably not due to a lack of response in the moment it occurred - although many anarchists did pass up the opportunity to participate in the immigrant riots - but due to the fact that they had not prepared enough in advance, had not identified this as a key strategic weakness and worked to improve their connection with the immigrants, had not done more to counteract the racism that was being instilled from above by spreading their anti-racist analysis throughout society; and had not made more personal contacts so that when the protests and riots started, they could be instantly notified about what was happening like they were with the death of Alexis. Without these close contacts, the strong and immediate mobilisation that occurred after Alexis' death could simply not occur in solidarity with the immigrants, and in fact most Athens anarchists found out about the immigrant riots in June through the media or because they saw the fires by chance. Even though they had met intimately in the streets and occupations in December, they had not held on to these contacts so that when the immigrants had an emergency they could call their friends the anarchists.

It must also be said that the immigrants were not passive victims, and on the whole they chose the search for a better quality of life rather than the struggle for a better reality. In accepting the reality of capitalism and only trying to improve their position within it, the majority of immigrants have also accepted the whims, machinations, and violence of capitalism that will always be directed against them, no matter what part of the world they live in or how much money they make.

The second major shortfall, in my opinion, is the disillusionment felt by many youth after the rush of December ended and the many blackmails of capitalism returned to dominate their lives. People who already had a deep anarchist understanding and an experience in the struggle were theoretically and emotionally equipped to deal with the low. They knew that reaction and repression litter the road to revolution and they could take strength from December without expecting the fight to be over in just a month. But the apolitical people, most of them very young, had never imagined an insurrection before, and it changed their lives, but after it ended the depression was profound because their already hopeless lives became even more miserable after seeing that another world was possible and having it slip between their fingers and retreat to an unimaginable distance. The experienced anarchists could have preserved some of the enthusiasm of December by sharing their long-term understanding of the struggle with the new generation and making more efforts to invite the newcomers into the autonomous spaces where the flames of insurrection burn a little brighter.

Most of my Greek comrades disagree with this point, and they clearly understand the situation better. They point out that this ecstatic wave of revolt and then the subsequent disillusionment was something they all went through, with the student movements of each generation, in ‘91,‘99, and so forth. The intensity of the struggle showed them what was possible, and the doldrums that followed taught them that the struggle was long and hard. And while I agree that learning to survive profound disappointment is essential to being a revolutionary I think that more young people would hold on to the courage to hope if they weren't so alone, if more experienced radicals took them under their wings and actively invited them to participate in existing initiatives and structures, precisely to break out of this timeless cycle of resistance and repression; to seize on the delirious momentum of the revolt and help the new generation see that things don’t have to go back to normal if they don’t let them. After all, after December many Greek anarchists concluded that what was lacking was not popular consciousness but more opportunities for new people to get involved, for the anarchists and the other people to continue meeting like they met in the streets.

The necessity to overcome the isolation which the State ceaselessly works to impose requires a Herculean journey to communicate with society and all its potentially rebellious parts. This communication can take myriad forms, from flyers, to protests, to exemplary and violent attacks. All the different types of anti-authoritarians can make their contribution. The revolt in Greece, that continues today has been built by students, immigrants, theorists, fighters, terrorists, drop-outs, activists, kids, grandparents, artists, ascetics, journalists, small store owners, academics, feminists, machos, drunkards, straight-edgers, soldiers, and union organisers. The revolt has been attacked by politicians, fascists, cops, left wing party activists, journalists, the media, small store owners, academics, capitalists, bureaucrats, the military, and labour unions.

Though all the participation in the revolt should be valued, not all is equal. By analysing the attempts to recuperate the revolt and turn it into a harmless thing, we can understand the meaning of the specific elements. SYRIZA, the only political party to participate in the street protests in December, was called on to denounce its actions just before the elections. Predictably they said that the students were justified in their cause. What they denounced was the violence. They blamed 150 extremists for exploiting December and turning it into something subversive.

In the Left’s history of December, the revolt was only about anger over a police shooting, and the desperation of youth whose future was threatened by an economic crisis. The history of the struggle and the depth of its negation are censored. Its refusal to make demands is wilfully misinterpreted as a lack of political analysis. The violence was its ugly side, but it also had a positive side, praised by many parts of the far Left, especially SYRIZA. These include the creation of parks, the peaceful protests, actions and occupations by artists, even the foundation of new social centres. This politically correct version of December attempts to erase the centrality of the Polytechnic occupation and everything it symbolises: the continuation of the civil war despite the transition to democracy uncompromising rebellion against the entire system, constant struggle against the police and the total destruction of corporate stores, the mixing of youth and adults, immigrants and Greeks, anarchists and non-political people. If there were good insurgents and bad insurgents, those described by this symbol, whether they were at the Polytechnic or anywhere else, were undeniably the bad insurgents, and that is precisely why for me they constitute the most important element of the revolt, because they are the only element the State finds indigestible.

The artistic actions, the parties, the occupation of the National Opera, the social centres, the peaceful protests: these elements should not be censored or derided as the weak and reformist side of the insurrection, because they represent the widening of the struggle to the point that it could include anyone who chose to come out on the streets. But it is the uncompromising and violent elements that give the softer elements their meaning, their ability to constitute an attack on the system. Dividing the one from the other is precisely what the State has tried to do in order to defeat the continuing insurrection.

The insurrection is the meeting of society at the barricades assembled from the smashed remains of everything that isolates us. For me it is a vital concept in the anarchist vision of revolution, and it is something that we must prepare the ground for and fertilise at every moment, even and especially when it seems like the wrong moment. Just as the anarchists of Spain would never have been able to resist Franco’s coup and create space for a revolution if the pistoleros had not "irresponsibly" embarked on a course of armed struggle a decade earlier, I think the anarchists in Greece facilitated a social insurrection when they wed their uncompromising and illegal approaches with recognition of the importance of communicating with society in the years before December 2008. The ability to be antisocial allowed them to adopt a course Greek society was not ready for, and the need to be social brought them back to the people who would eventually rise up, because the insurrection is a function of society and not of a political movement, as important as those movements may be in the development of necessary social characteristics.

The anarchist participation in those movements, because it was both critical and enthusiastic, won a greater visibility for anarchists and their ideas. Simultaneously, the fact that the anarchists had never succeeded in consolidating as a single movement seems to have helped them immensely to diversify and spread and include a greater portion of society. And in December, the lack of a single program and the diversity of strategies made the task of police repression impossible.

What the rebellion in Greece shows, as do the rebellions in Kabylia, Oaxaca, and China, is that although insurrection becomes second nature to everyone and vanguards can only get in the way the insurrection does not spontaneously provide the people with what they need in order to go from insurrection to revolution. We still have to find the answers to certain questions, and those of us who never go back to normality those of us who keep dreaming of freedom, need to suggest and deploy these answers when the moment comes. Once we’ve burned everything, how do we reveal and attack the social relationships that underpin capitalism and the State? What structures and infrastructure can we target that will weaken the counterinsurgency without putting society in a passive disaster mode, waiting to be rescued? How do we help other people believe in another world they would be willing to fight for, and to spread visions of stateless, communal societies that begin now? How do we escalate to revolutionary civil war - that is to say a two-sided war rather than the one-sided war waged against us permanently - without losing social support and participation?

These questions were not answered in Greece, and that is why their insurrection is still an insurrection and not a revolution. Spontaneity is a crucial element without which the insurrection would not exist, but spontaneity is not a God that will deliver us from Egypt if we walk through this desert for long enough. The anarchists, doing what they always do, miss strategic opportunities that have previously not been possible. The apolitical people, exercising secret desires, will have their spirits crushed when a temporary return of order prevents them from being the selves they only just discovered, and with the help of this demoralisation the temporary return of order will win the appearance of being permanent.

But order is never permanent. Although we may never achieve the world we want, the very dynamics of control and rebellion ensure that we will never lose and the State will never win. Either we will destroy it, or we will continue fighting against it and troubling its pathological dreams forever. Nature itself is chaotic, making total control impossible. We may not have ultimate defeats and they may not have ultimate victories, but there are steps forward and steps backward. It remains to be seen whether Greek society holds onto the ground it won in December, but it is certain that the anarchists in Greece strengthened themselves for the battles to come. Learning from their experiences, the rest of us can, too.

Nothing changed, everything is different

Tasos Sagris from Void Network

It’s Autumn 2009, the middle of September, in the daytime.

I walk in the streets of Athens from Monastiraki, the flea market, down from Acropolis, up to Exarchia, through the luxury market area, past Parliament, the business district, the offices, government buildings, bars, cinemas, and hotels.

Downtown Athens.

I pass through buildings that burned down completely during the December riots, huge multi-floor corner buildings, still smelling of fire and rage: silent monuments of an outcry remains of a thunderbolt that came from the sky and hit the city like a wild nightmare. The city breathes hard work, blackmail, exhaustion, obligation, exploitation, and cheap amusements. Museums, galleries, stadiums, and clubs inhale the fears, misery and rage and turn them into a fake smile.

Merry Crisis and a Happy New Fear
- Graffiti remaining on the wall from last Christmas

This ancient city continued her way to normality with all her fears and her cheap excuses, walking through this century like a slave girl in a parade, like a chained animal in a global circus, like you and I squandering our last and only lifetimes in a luxury mall or near the pool, drinking an expensive cocktail with our last Euros, pretending to be the heroes of a Hollywood movie.

So many cars burned, but the streets are still full of them, going everywhere like empty private countries moving in the city's veins and feeding the crisis. More than 500 shops were turned into debris and ashes, but in this city the market still works like an amusement park in the middle of a vast cemetery. The banks of all the major cities in Greece were smashed and burned, but people are still struggling with their clocks and their suspensions to pay back huge loans and high taxes. The workers’ strike was successful, but human beings still spend their lives in offices, keeping a mechanism that leads life on earth towards extinction in good working order. All the universities were squatted for a month, but the students are still taking exams and dreaming of good careers, good money and two weeks of crazy holidays somewhere away from here.

Nothing changed: the clock of this world rings us out of sleep at 6:30 in the morning here same as anywhere else. We have to run to survive, we have to obey to stay out of prison, we have to forget our dreams to stay employed, we have to buy our lives from the supermarket and pay for the water we drink and the air we breathe and the place we put our bed to sleep.

Nothing changed. The government announces elections and the Parliament is voting on our future; the politicians speak on TV every afternoon and plan our opinions; the policemen put immigrants without papers into concentration camps and small paramilitary groups of Nazis go around kicking Arabs and Balkan people out of the squares. People go around in the streets like ghosts without lives of their own, and kids spend their time in front of computer screens in dismal internet shops and petit-bourgeois apartments.

The same moves, the same decisions, the same confusion, the same doubts,the same wishes, the same answers, the same payments, the same walks, the same bars, the same clothes and shoes and makeup, the same songs and films and television programs, the same apologies, the same timetables. The production goes on and consumption consumes our days; the shops sell dreams that turn every night into individualised fears and collective social apathy.

Society sleeps in the night of oblivion. People try to find a way to live, or else to leave, to get away from here. Paradise still waits after death, somewhere beyond our lifetimes. Nothing has changed.

Alexis is still lying dead on that pedestrian street corner in Exarchia.

Nothing Changed,

but

...everything is Different.

To express our rage with words or gestures is useless, ridiculous or dangerous, mindless or false common sense. Only the cold-blooded animals are poisonous.

Everything is different...

More than 100,000 people took part in the insurrection of December 2008 and many more were influenced by those days. They wait in the veins of this society ready to explode at any moment. Perhaps they can’t force the body of society in a specific direction, but when 100,000 cells explode in the veins of the social body the body collapses on its knees, like the Greek state during December 2008. The bureaucrats of the State know this, and the Business Administration does too.

There are thousands of young girls and boys walking the streets of this country who, just a few months ago, encircled the police stations of their neighbourhoods and threw stones at them, burned the local banks, and refused to go to school or work for weeks.

There are hundreds of workers who forced out the syndicalist's who ruled the General Workers Union and assembled in their offices. There are hundreds of thousands of unemployed people who hate the system, and lazy kids who hate working, and millions of dissatisfied producers and consumers of a life that offers nothing.

All these lonely people discovered their dignity during the insurrection, experiencing their personal and collective power to explode as the cities and villages caught fire and their horizons opened up beyond the white fog of teargas. Those horizons remained open night after night, and still stay open so long as the memory of the insurrection is a wound in your body and in the body of society.

Through our open wounds, we are observing the horizons of our future. We are an image from the future.

There are thousands and thousands of people who don’t trust any government and hate the banks and the corporations, The insurrection helped millions of people across the world to stop, to see their lives with the clarity of a flashback, shifting their way of thinking for a moment and observing this world naked. The fairytale revealed its ugliest face and the beautiful smiles of the journalists and politicians froze, unable to continue the narration that keeps the populace in deep sleep.

We stay awake in the deep night of social apathy. Around us millions of people continue sleeping, but the dreams are turning into nightmares that make them sweat as their hearts race and they weep silent teardrops that might wake them at any moment.

There are millions of people who don’t trust any official ideology or academic authority or any political leadership, who don't vote for any legal organisation, who mistrust rich philanthropists. The people of our times don’t believe in any universal truth or any specific lifestyle, any way of life or spiritual value system, any political agenda. They don’t read serious political or philosophical books or the announcements of the activists or even the free press except when they are in the metro for fifteen minutes. They don’t hear the right wing president when he speaks, or the speeches of the Communist Party; they want to go to a party get drunk, find a boyfriend, go to the back of the garden and make love in the moonlight.

Nothing has changed, but everything is different

Hundreds of squatted social centres and radical student groups function in the universities, the schools and in the streets of all Europe. Social initiatives, affinity groups, groups of friends, political gangs, and underground meeting points in the streets and in squatted buildings bring the heat of their action into the soft belly of the regime.

Arson attacks, riots, demonstrations, free festivals and distribution of analysis and propaganda are organised every week, day after day by common people. These actions send signals to the society that there are targets, institutions to mistrust, places to avoid, ways that have to change, places and relations of enslavement, places and relations of emancipation, points of no return.

Nobody trusts the government. Everyone knows that capitalism is destroying the planet, turning life into commodities, humanity into a destructive mechanism, suppressing creativity love, fantasy turning basic needs into a constant problem, offering none of the happiness promised to the ex-Soviet Bloc countries.

Neo-Liberalism is dying. Everything is different.

We are here in the highways and in the squares, out in the streets, downtown in Exarchia and in the city centre, still hanging around on the corner where Alexis liked to meet his friends. A whole new generation of people is around - you make so many new friends during an insurrection: so many new comrades to decide their own future and offer their new directions.

Everything is different. Week after week there are wild demonstrations for Freedom of Public Space from the State, Freedom of Immigrants from Borders, Freedom of All Prisoners from the causes of Imprisonment, Freedom for All Workers from their imprisoned lives. These demonstrations are travelling on the body of the city searching for the wild riots of the future, preparing with their chants the spirit of active negation, the fire of radical change, the hope for a general social uprising.

People are beginning to reflect again on what general social revolt will look like. It will look like December 2008, and we are here and waiting.

Now we are here and waiting: for society to digest the smoke of the burned luxuries, to express openly its distrust of state institutions and make directions and decisions that will appear on the social horizon for the first time. Hundreds upon hundreds of small pamphlets of radical analysis are distributed week after week by amateur intellectuals preparing the end of the classical Western way of thinking. Thousands of posters hang in the streets of each neighbourhood, by the local squats and social centres, sending a signal to the petit-bourgeoisie that the days of obedience, work, consumerism, and individualism are coming to an end. Thousands of short films and paragraphs of critical thought utilise the internet to transmit the real stories of our lives, the real news of our actions, to connect the moments in order to produce the myths and dreams of coming insurrections.

The "important" people of this world try to persuade us that all these are not important. Anyway they say all these underground books and pamphlets are published by non-existent publishers, the short videos on the internet are just childish games for kids and naive romantics, the radical blogs are not efficient, the squats are places for criminal activity and the youth cultures are the commodities of the near future. Anyway they say nothing changed: the television doesn’t speak about "all these" anymore except when a "terrorist" action occurs, the demonstrations are just some small riots around Exarchia. All that happened in December was a childish revolt over the accidental death of a child, which a few isolated anarchists took advantage of to express their nihilism, they say.

At the same time... "it's midnight in europe.”

There is a feeling of the end of an era all across Europe and amazing phenomenons of stupidity are happening in the heads of postmodern thinkers as postmodernism dies. Nobody controls the spirit of the age, nobody can offer solid analysis about what is happening around us, no one can predict what this world will look like in fifty years. The young boys and girls smile silently behind their black masks near the barricades, imagining a world with no obligations.

Everything is different. Maybe the elites, the rich, the famous and "important" people act like nothing changed, but nothing is normal anymore and no one has the authority to speak in the name of the people. The people express more mistrust towards the regime than ever, and perhaps they are ready to speak for themselves in such a way that no sociologist or journalist will be capable of understanding their language.

In the night, everywhere, the people speak about the general failure; in the bottom of their hearts, they know that everything has to change, that many things have to burn to ashes for humanity to continue its way in space and time.

I walk around in Exarchia. I pass through the squatted self-organised park, where old people from the neighbourhood stay in the shade of trees and speak with young girls about last night’s police attack on the area. A few meters away at the place Alexis was shot, there is a marble monument with flowers and posters all around the walls, and a lit candle... It’s early in the afternoon; some boys and girls stand around talking. People from a new squat give me a 32-page pamphlet analysing everyday racism on a molecular social scale; on the other side of the pedestrian street, I see two people from an underground post-rock band that I know from free festivals talking with people from a DIY drum ‘n bass collective.

No one will propagate a new way of life with words alone, there are no theories that can describe our passions. Maybe we are the ones who will take back life in our hands from capitalism and aristocracy Maybe we will be shot in the streets of our cities, like Alexis. There is no plan, or even a specific goal, or a single achievement we are fighting for. There are no futuristic visions of paradise inside the heads of the people, not even a wish to be in such a place, except perhaps for short-term expensive holidays. We fight to survive, to maintain our dignity, humanity and critical thinking from one day to the next; we fight off the businessmen, politicians, armies, and kings of this world as they attempt to steal our future and turn it into coins - day after day after day. We are the survivors of humanity in a war with our most pathetic selves .

We are lost in the darkness of a world in which we are strangers, foreigners, customers, guests, separate individuals, or we are just slaves that share some small personal salary to survive. We are survivors in the desert. When we meet, we meet in void, in void we live, the void we share. When we decide to attack, our attack is like a thunder that comes from outer space and breaks the night of social apathy We are waiting, waiting for the proper moment ...

Nothing will stay like it was.

We Are an Image from The Future.