War-Zone Athens: three people dead, many buildings burning as general strike march turns into a battle

Three people have suffocated to death as a result of a fire in Marfin Bank during ongoing battles between anti-measure protesters and police in Athens.

Submitted by taxikipali on May 5, 2010

The Athens protest march marking the zenith of the general strike called for the 5th of May was attended by an approximate 200,000 (20,000 which is the foreign broadcast number referring to the PAME march alone), although because of lack of media coverage due to the media participation in the general strike no concrete estimates can be made. After the PAME (Communist Party union) protesters left Syntagma square, the first lines of the main march started arriving before the Parliament with the first clashes erupting at the end of Stadiou street. The march then walked on the Unknown Soldier grounds leading the Presidential Guard to retreat, and attempted to storm the Parliament but was pushed back by riot police forces which today demonstrated a particularly staunch attitude and resolve against the demonstrators. Soon battles erupted around the Parliament with protesters throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks, with one riot police armored van torched, and the police responding by extended use of tear gas that soon made Athens’ atmosphere unbearably acrid. As more blocks reached Syntagma square, the battles spread across the city center and lasted for more than five hours.

During the clashes several state buildings were set ablaze including the County Headquarters of Attika. At the time of writing the Ministry of Finance is reported to be on fire, and vital tax documents as destroyed by the raging fire. However the strange thing is that it is the fourth floor of the building that is burning, at a height inapproachable to petrol bombs. The building is in danger of total collapse.

According to news reports that began at 14:00 Greek time after, under pressure by the events, most radio and TV stations decided to break their strike, claim that the fire at Marfin Bank’s Stadiou street branch that has led to the death of three workers (one a pregnant woman) was started by protesters. However this remains an unsubstantiated claim. A similar case three decades ago had originally put the blame for the fire at Kappa-Marousi building on Panepistimiou street, leading to the death of several people inside, to anarchists, while its was later proved the fire was caused by tear gas fired by the police.

A video of the fire-brigade trying to evacuate the building can be seen in http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8661385.stm

After the tragic death of the three workers made the round of Athens, new clashes started to spread in the Greek capital, with a large crowd gathered outside the burned bank when Marfin's boss tried to visit the site. Clashes broke out between the crowd and police when the former attacked the bank magnate accusing him of forcing the dead workers to scab on a general strike and locking them in the building despite them demanding to evacuate it since 12:00.

In Parliament the Communist Party of Greece has accused the government for the deaths, claiming it was a result of agents provocateur fascist groups. The claims of the Communist Party are based on the fact that 50 fascists tried to enter the PAME demo bearing the flags of the union earlier in the morning. The fascists were spotted, chased and sought refuge behind riot police lines. Accusing the extreme-right as being behind the deaths, the Coalition of Radical Left has declared in Parliament that the government cannot pretend to be in grief for the loss of life, as it has been attacking human life by all means possible.

Meanwhile, extended clashes broke out in Salonika where approximately 50,000 people marched destroying dozens of banks and corporate shops in Greece’s second largest city. Clashes with the police continued for several hours. According to news broadcasts anarchist have occupied the Labour Center of the city.

In Patras, around 20,000 protesters were joined by tractor drivers and garbage truck drivers on their vehicles, as flaming barricades were erected along central streets of the city and clashes developed between protestors and the police.

In Ioannina the protesters attacked banks and corporate shops leading to extended use of chemicals by the police. In Heraklion, 10,000 people are reported as marching against the measures. In Corfu, protesters taking part in the anti-measures march occupied the County Headquarters. Protesters have occupied the Administrative Headquarters of Naxos and the City Hall of Naoussa.

As a result of the Athens riots, the police have cordoned off the entire center of the city, erecting check points of entry and exit, while all police work permits have been recalled. At the time of writing battles continue to rage in the inner city, while news broadcasts claim the police is mobilising its forces to storm an anarchist squat in Exarcheia.

Comments

taxikipali

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by taxikipali on May 5, 2010

Update: the union of bank workers (OTOE) has declared a strike for tomorrow in response to the death of the three bank workers today. The union puts the blame for the deaths on the bank bosses and the police.

A video of protesters attacking Mr Vgenopoulos the boss of Marfin visiting the burned bank, calling him a murderer can be seen here http://www.zougla.gr/page.ashx?pid=2&aid=131644&cid=4

A video of riot police smashing a coffee shop in Exarcheia can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkQ4YsRlFxI&feature=player_embedded#%23!

Riot_Queer

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Riot_Queer on May 5, 2010

Fucking framing Anarchists....back in fashion eh? Haymarket take 2?

MD

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by MD on May 5, 2010

Hey taxipali, i have heard from some PAME and KKE members that it was the fascists who tried to storm the parlament as a form of provocation (and also that they were the ones who threw the petrol bombs that killed those people). They say that the fascists stole flags from the leftist groups, was chased away, but then showed up again later and stormed the steps.

What can you tell us about that?

iaourti iaourtaki

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by iaourti iaourtaki on May 5, 2010

#279 | An employee of the burnt bank speaks out on tonight’s tragic deaths in Athens – please spread

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tonight’s tragic deaths in Athens leave little space for comments – we are all very shocked and deeply saddened by the events. To those (on the “Occupied London” blog even) who speculate that the deaths might have been caused purposefully by anarchists, we can only reply the following: we do not take to the streets, we do not risk our freedom and our lives confronting the greek police in order to kill other people. Anarchists are not murderers, and no brainwashing attempted by Greek PM Papandreou, the national or the international media should convince anyone otherwise.

That being said, and with developments still running frantically, we want to publish a rough translation of a statement by an employee of Marfin Bank – the bank whose branch was set alight in Athens today, where the three employees found a tragic death.

Read the letter, translate it, spread it around to your networks; grassroots counter-information has a crucial role to play at a moment when the greek state and corporate media are leashing out on the anarchist movement over here in Greece.

I feel an obligation toward my co-workers who have so unjustly died today to speak out and to say some objective truths. I am sending this message to all media outlets. Anyone who still bares some consciousness should publish it. The rest can continue to play the government’s game.

The fire brigade had never issued an operating license to the building in question. The agreement for it to operate was under the table, as it practically happens with all businesses and companies in Greece.

The building in question has no fire safety mechanisms in place, neither planned nor installed ones – that is, it has no ceiling sprinklers, fire exits or fire hoses. There are only some portable fire extinguishers which, of course, cannot help in dealing with extensive fire in a building that is built with long-outdated security standards.

No branch of Marfin bank has had any member of staff trained in dealing with fire, not even in the use of the few fire extinguishers. The management also uses the high costs of such training as a pretext and will not take even the most basic measures to protect its staff.

There has never been a single evacuation exercise in any building by staff members, nor have there been any training sessions by the fire-brigade, to give instructions for situations like this. The only training sessions that have taken place at Marfin Bank concern terrorist action scenarios and specifically planning the escape of the banks’ “big heads” from their offices in such a situation.

The building in question had no special accommodation for the case of fire, even though its construction is very sensitive under such circumstances and even though it was filled with materials from floor to ceiling. Materials which are very inflammable, such as paper, plastics, wires, furniture. The building is objectively unsuitable for use as a bank due to its construction.

No member of security has any knowledge of first aid or fire extinguishing, even though they are every time practically charged with securing the building. The bank employees have to turn into firemen or security staff according to the appetite of Mr Vgenopoulos [owner of Marfin Bank].

The management of the bank strictly bared the employees from leaving today, even though they had persistently asked so themselves from very early this morning – while they also forced the employees to lock up the doors and repeatedly confirmed that the building remained locked up throughout the day, over the phone. They even blocked off their internet access so as to prevent the employees from communicating with the outside world.

For many days now there has been some complete terrorisation of the bank’s employees in regard to the mobilisations of these days, with the verbal “offer”: you either work, or you get fired.

The two undercover police who are dispatched at the branch in question for robbery prevention did not show up today, even though the bank’s management had verbally promised to the employees that they would be there.

At last, gentlemen, make your self-criticism and stop wandering around pretending to be shocked. You are responsible for what happened today and in any rightful state (like the ones you like to use from time to time as leading examples on your TV shows) you would have already been arrested for the above actions. My co-workers lost their lives today by malice: the malice of Marfin Bank and Mr. Vgenopoulos personally who explicitly stated that whoever didin’t come to work today [May 5th, a day of a general strike!] should not bother showing up for work tomorrow [as they would get fired].

- An employee of Marfin Bank [greek original]

KKE/SYRISA:

1. In Parliament the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has accused the government for the deaths, claiming it was a result of agents provocateur fascist groups. The claims of the Communist Party are based on the fact that 50 fascists tried to enter the PAME demo bearing the flags of the union earlier in the morning. The fascists were spotted, chased and sought refuge behind riot police lines.

2. Accusing the extreme-right as being behind the deaths, the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRISA) has declared in Parliament that the government cannot pretend to be in grief for the loss of life, as it has been attacking human life by all means possible.

iaourti iaourtaki

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by iaourti iaourtaki on May 5, 2010

for translations into french, italian, spanish, dutch and german may be use this site, click on translate and copy/paste your translation pl

robot

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by robot on May 5, 2010

Part of the material used for a German language article at:

http://www.fau.org/artikel/art_100505-225607

Mark.

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 5, 2010

Spanish translation (in third comment down)

http://www.alasbarricadas.org/noticias/?q=node/13934

iaourti iaourtaki

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by iaourti iaourtaki on May 5, 2010

deutsch: http://de.indymedia.org/2010/05/280460.shtml

giannis

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by giannis on May 6, 2010

This is my first post ever in English so sorry for my mistakes.

About the strike an the march. I think that taxikipali's report is accurate. Many people participated in the strike and the march in Athens and a lot of them were very very angry. Personally today's march reminded me December '08. In December the youth played the key role in the demos and the clashes but today more older protester participated even with bare hands.

About the death of the three workers. It is a common practice in Greece to attack banks in marches. In a march that the anarchists participate, If the police isn't defending a bank it is more than certain that it will be attacked and even burnt down. So when a big march is taking place all the banks close down and employees leave the place and if they don't anarchists never start a fire. Such think happened in this situation. The bank was closed and there was nobody in. Alongside with the march a small group of black blockers was moving. When they reached the bank a guy shattered the front window, threw flammable liquid in and started a fire. What they didn't know was that the bank had also offices in the same building and people were working in. The workers went on the windows and shouted people to stop the fire. People tried to put out the fire and go into the building out the doors were locked. Also the building didn't have an emergency exit. Furthermore, a firetruck that arrived first had only a small ladder that couldn't reach the upper windows and no information about the building or the number of people in it. All those things led to the tragic lose of three lives not by the fire but by suffocation.

When I was going home after the march I was happy about the outcome and thought that something big is rising up from the ashes of the December. Then I heard about the incident in the bank and I froze. Suddenly everybody stopped talking about how great the demonstration was and started talking about the people who died. All those years hundreds of banks were burnt with no causalities and none could imagine such a result. Media started accusing everybody who clashes with the police as a murderer. In one of the biggest tv channel a reporter even claimed that he had exclusive information that the attackers new that people were in but they didn't care for their lives. More or less they tried to convince everyone that if you are not a peaceful crowd people like you will die. Alongside came analysis that wild demonstrations are responsible for the countries debt because they scare tourists away.

The state almost immediately took action. They cleared the streets with extensive use of violence and each time they saw a group of people trying to move in the center of Athens they stopped them. Also they invaded the district of Exarcheia were many anarchists and leftists hang out and cleared it too. They also invaded the offices of and anti-racist group and an anarchist squat.

To me it is obvious that the state is trying to turn people against anarchist but also against everyone who clashes in the streets. The last thing that government wants at this point is large demonstrations of an angry crowd. I think that eventually they will achieve this goal, for a while at least. Maybe at least the clashes with the police will continue, I don't think so but some people do. But it is more than certain that the government does not want everyday people that are furious with the economic measures and started just recently going on marches getting in touch with anarchists. They have decided, and every single anarchist in Greece knows it, that now more than ever is the right time to put an end in the growth of the Greek anarchist movement and smash it like they did in 1995 without making the same "mistakes". Harsh days are coming lets hope we are strong enough to survive..

jesuithitsquad

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on May 6, 2010

giannis-thanks so much for your informative and thoughtful post. please be safe.

your english is fine, by the way.

Gareth woz ere

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Gareth woz ere on May 6, 2010

Can anyone tell me what the “Occupied London” blog is?

jesuithitsquad

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on May 6, 2010

http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/

Gareth woz ere

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Gareth woz ere on May 6, 2010

Thanks jesuithitsquad

fondis002

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by fondis002 on May 6, 2010

An employee of the burnt bank speaks out on tonight’s tragic deaths in Athens – please spread (translation: http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/)

"I feel an obligation toward my co-workers who have so unjustly died today to speak out and to say some objective truths. I am sending this message to all media outlets. Anyone who still bares some consciousness should publish it. The rest can continue to play the government’s game.

The fire brigade had never issued an operating license to the building in question. The agreement for it to operate was under the table, as it practically happens with all businesses and companies in Greece.

The building in question has no fire safety mechanisms in place, neither planned nor installed ones – that is, it has no ceiling sprinklers, fire exits or fire hoses. There are only some portable fire extinguishers which, of course, cannot help in dealing with extensive fire in a building that is built with long-outdated security standards.

No branch of Marfin bank has had any member of staff trained in dealing with fire, not even in the use of the few fire extinguishers. The management also uses the high costs of such training as a pretext and will not take even the most basic measures to protect its staff.

There has never been a single evacuation exercise in any building by staff members, nor have there been any training sessions by the fire-brigade, to give instructions for situations like this. The only training sessions that have taken place at Marfin Bank concern terrorist action scenarios and specifically planning the escape of the banks’ “big heads” from their offices in such a situation.

The building in question had no special accommodation for the case of fire, even though its construction is very sensitive under such circumstances and even though it was filled with materials from floor to ceiling. Materials which are very inflammable, such as paper, plastics, wires, furniture. The building is objectively unsuitable for use as a bank due to its construction.

No member of security has any knowledge of first aid or fire extinguishing, even though they are every time practically charged with securing the building. The bank employees have to turn into firemen or security staff according to the appetite of Mr Vgenopoulos [owner of Marfin Bank].

The management of the bank strictly bared the employees from leaving today, even though they had persistently asked so themselves from very early this morning – while they also forced the employees to lock up the doors and repeatedly confirmed that the building remained locked up throughout the day, over the phone. They even blocked off their internet access so as to prevent the employees from communicating with the outside world.

For many days now there has been some complete terrorisation of the bank’s employees in regard to the mobilisations of these days, with the verbal “offer”: you either work, or you get fired.

The two undercover police who are dispatched at the branch in question for robbery prevention did not show up today, even though the bank’s management had verbally promised to the employees that they would be there.

At last, gentlemen, make your self-criticism and stop wandering around pretending to be shocked. You are responsible for what happened today and in any rightful state (like the ones you like to use from time to time as leading examples on your TV shows) you would have already been arrested for the above actions. My co-workers lost their lives today by malice: the malice of Marfin Bank and Mr. Vgenopoulos personally who explicitly stated that whoever didin’t come to work today [May 5th, a day of a general strike!] should not bother showing up for work tomorrow [as they would get fired]".

klas batalo

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on May 6, 2010

OTOE: THREE DEAD Bank Employees
... dead by three colleagues, workers at 11:34 a.m., Thursday, May 6, 2010
The OTOE launches tomorrow 6 MAY 24
Nationwide CONTENTS A C I A

Three dead colleagues, working in Marfin - Egnatia Bank are the victims of riots that occurred in the late panergatikis peaceful demonstration in the center of Athens.
The three unfortunate employees trapped in the shop of the Bank, which burst into flames could not be removed, thereby losing their lives.
The OTOE condemns in the strongest terms those who engage in such acts of violence with which it dealt with the problems of the people of our country and demands exemplary punishment of the culprits.
But this tragic event which deprived the lives of three colleagues (two women and one man) is the sad result of unpopular measures roused the popular anger and protest of hundreds of thousands of workers, which, however, have physical and moral perpetrators.
The perpetrators must be found and punished exemplary.
The instigators, but must be sought on policy, the operational attitude of the police and the bank management that the coercive practices hinder the participation of workers in action and the irresponsibility of not receiving timely manner all necessary security measures to protect the lives of workers and citizens to bank branches, which are familiar and timeless goals throughout the itinerary whenever the workers' demonstrations and protests.
But serious political responsibility has the government apparently did not calculate the size and extent of effects on Greek society and people's decisions regarding the economic tradition of our country in the troika of D.N.T ., the European Union and the ESF, and the temporal demands of the local chapter.
The OTOE in protest, expressing anger and indignation of the bank sector and the entire Clerks and Workers union movement against the individuals and sponsors of the horrific events of loss of life of three colleagues, Nationwide launches 24-hour strike tomorrow, Thursday, May 6 .
We urge the government to reconsider its policy directed exclusively against non-privileged citizens of our country.
To look into alternatives paths to observe the weak masses will have to pay those who are truly responsible for the tragic economic bottlenecks facing our country.
It is high time all of the political system to understand that the river of popular rage is not guided, not entrenched and will not stop until there is justification and democratic governance fully conforms with the popular sentiment.

THE PRESS OF OTOE

Entdinglichung

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on May 6, 2010

according to http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100002_06/05/2010_116899

"Marfin Bank also issued a statement in which it laid the blame for yesterday’s incidents at the feet of Greece’s politicians. “We hope that the perpetrators will be arrested and punished,” it read. “But the greatest responsibility lies with the moral instigators who, unfortunately, will never be punished.”"

Mark.

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 6, 2010

Comment from a discussion on abc
http://www.anarchistblackcat.org/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6566

Anyway, about the news for the three deaths in the fire at this bank, not only me, but the group I am in (MACG) and also other anarchists from my country of origin think that should make the movement sit up & take notice. The macho militarism by certain groups within anarchist movement in Greece, which sees the revolution as being a series of ever-larger clashes with the police, is a dead end and will only divide the working class.

We gain our strength from withdrawing our labour. The working class approach to the use of force is to set up picket lines in industrially significant locations (including, but not only, struck workplaces) and then use reasonable force to defend them when the bosses or the State attempt to break them up with force. Molotov cocktails are the work of people who have no confidence in the working class and who seek to substitute themselves for it.

Any thoughts on this?

klas batalo

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on May 6, 2010

yes occupy the factories, i say

occupy everything

revolution!

taxikipali

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by taxikipali on May 6, 2010

The comment by JH on macho militarism hits exactly to the point. The truth is that, even if the left wing press like Eleftherotypia are right in pointing out that the tragedy might have been a result of parastate or fascist groups that were seen to have penetrated the mass rally, the possibility of it happening today or tomorrow as a result of the rising militarism and nihilism of anarchists in greece has always been very high.

I do not want to exploit my position as a contributor to articles here, but the situation is very serious and no one can keep silent any longer: since December the anarchist scene has been characterised by a mass quantitative increase and a critical qualitative leveling. As a result it is verging on the dangerous limits of what one could call "an unprincipled struggle" where violence has acquired an almost totemic dimension. That is not to say that there are no groups which have engaged critically with the issue of violence in the last year or so, but these efforts have been brushed aside as either too academic or too pacifist or whatever, and marginalised.

The only thing that can save the anarchist scene in the eyes of the much wider social and labour movement in greece is at last some trace of self-criticism. Anarchists should develop a sense of public responsibility and realise the consequences of "playing war" on the backs of others. If the anarchist believe they are the vanguard of society that need give word to no one because they embody some historical necessity, they are no better than the Stalinists in the KKE.

ASyndicalist

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ASyndicalist on May 6, 2010

russian translation:
http://aitrus.info/node/838

There information in russia from Anti-authoritarian Movement that this is really was an anarchists who frame the bank and that they know thap people was here:
Самое гнусное в том, что этот поджег произвели действительно "анархисты" и еще гнуснее, что они знали, что в здании есть люди.
Так что, с одной стороны вчера были массовые демонстрации, число участников которых доходило до 300.000 в Афинах и 80.000 в Салониках, а с другой стороны, были те, кто прикрываясь своей идеологией, чинили беспредел.
Сейчас мы потеряли все, что было в Декабре. Конечно, то же самое происходит со всеми организациями, леваками и анархистами, организованными и неорганизованными, программными и беспрограммными...
(http://community.livejournal.com/anarchia_ru/830018.html)

Who can say something about it, and what?

akai

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by akai on May 6, 2010

One Polish guy was there. Here are his photos:

http://cia.bzzz.net/zdjecia_tomasza_grzyba_z_greckiego_strajku_generalnego_i_pozaru_marfin_banku_5_05_2010

I wouldn't care to speculate here on who did what but the suspicions raised above have been repeated. That said, witnesses often jump to the wrong conclusions by looking at how somebody is dressed.

burakumin

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by burakumin on May 6, 2010

Hey everyone,
I jsut felt a need to comment as I think the line of argument is going a bit to strong against militant action.
No doubt the events are tragic and three people lost their lives yesterday without having done anything to deserve it.
We are witnessing this every day, that people loose their lives in the most senseless and stupid ways, out of hunger, thirst, becuase the right medication is not avaliable, because they don't see any other alternative for themselves than take their lives.
I don't think there is any way to get your way around this with arguments, that IF these deaths were not caused by provocateurs or police this is a grave misdoing on the side of the protestors (do only anarchists throw molotovs?).
Still I personally believe that any given struggle should not try t abandon the way of militant resistance to the capitalist system. Capitalism is death and murder. The European/US-American/Japanese/"First world" state of peace can only be upheld because the conflicts, that are inherent in the way our societies are run, are being externalized, we don't have to bear the gross burden of the capitalist domain, other people suffer and die on a daily basis for the greed an profit of the few.
I think anybody who in this world feels compelled to take militant action has her reasons.
I don't think that "Bank-smashing" is close to an efficient way to bring this system to fall. Which can only be done through long term organizing and struggle.
I am not a very militant person myself, still I am in solidarity with the people who engage in it. In my opinion we can not simply give the mandate of force to the state, as the state is a power structure that is only there to support the ones who are in power.
I think this is one of the most difficlt issues that exist, so we should be trying to be open minded when talkign about this, even though everyone of us has a background with this stuff and therefore a point of view.
Peace

taxikipali

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by taxikipali on May 6, 2010

For the "Statement by the Skaramanga squat in Athens regarding today’s events: The murderers “mourn” their victims" see

http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2010/05/06/280-statement-by-the-skaramanga-squat-in-athens-regarding-todays-events-the-murderers-mourn-their-victims/

lproyect

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by lproyect on May 6, 2010

http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/is-firebombing-a-bank-an-acceptable-tactic/

petey

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on May 6, 2010

i strongly support dmitri's statement from abc and taxikipali's statement here. spectacularist violence is never productive, it victimizes the lives often enough of FWs, and gives the state a golden propaganda opportunity. i'm just old enough to remember the late 60s and was permanently turned against such stuff by the arrogance of the vanguardists and their liberal excuse-makers.

AIW

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by AIW on May 6, 2010

Petrol bombs have been used defensively; I think they were used to take out tanks in the Hungarian revolution. Only weapons of mass destruction have no defensive application.

I've heard of workplace occupations and bosses lockouts before but I've not heard of the employer locking the workers in the workplace.

This couldn't happen if you had a fire exit. Workers in unsafe environments might campaign for the bosses to fit fire exits or for the state to develop an effective Health and Safety Executive to force the bosses to fit fire exits or they might fit them themselves. The workers might fit fire exits in the bosses time and charge the company for them. It would be an interesting tribunal if they were sacked for making an unsafe work place safe.

Rest in peace fellow workers.

jesuithitsquad

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jesuithitsquad on May 6, 2010

While I firmly agree with the prevailing sentiment, I would point out there's a difference between this critique and the one lproyect linked to above which appears to see non-violence as a strategy instead of a tactic. There appears to be quite a few Leninist overtones to his/her criticisms, and it seems exactly like an opportunity to 'pile on' and settle old scores. If I'm misinterpreting and or misrepresenting this viewpoint, apologies in advance lproyect, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.

Further, on the 'pile on' thing, I'm not sure whether or not it is the appropriate time for those of us not in Greece to add our criticisms. Though I am certain 'piling on' isn't the intention of the known posters here, I can imagine it could appear that way to folks involved in the struggle. This doesn't mean we should muzzle ourselves, or be lax with our principles--and I might be completely wrong about this--but maybe it just isn't the best time?

iaourti iaourtaki

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by iaourti iaourtaki on May 6, 2010

admin - no flaming.

iaourti iaourtaki

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by iaourti iaourtaki on May 6, 2010

what about the communique of the three of "EA" any translation around or any other results of torture?

Django

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Django on May 6, 2010

Taxikipali

The comment by JH on macho militarism hits exactly to the point. The truth is that, even if the left wing press like Eleftherotypia are right in pointing out that the tragedy might have been a result of parastate or fascist groups that were seen to have penetrated the mass rally, the possibility of it happening today or tomorrow as a result of the rising militarism and nihilism of anarchists in greece has always been very high.

I do not want to exploit my position as a contributor to articles here, but the situation is very serious and no one can keep silent any longer: since December the anarchist scene has been characterised by a mass quantitative increase and a critical qualitative leveling. As a result it is verging on the dangerous limits of what one could call "an unprincipled struggle" where violence has acquired an almost totemic dimension. That is not to say that there are no groups which have engaged critically with the issue of violence in the last year or so, but these efforts have been brushed aside as either too academic or too pacifist or whatever, and marginalised.

The only thing that can save the anarchist scene in the eyes of the much wider social and labour movement in greece is at last some trace of self-criticism. Anarchists should develop a sense of public responsibility and realise the consequences of "playing war" on the backs of others. If the anarchist believe they are the vanguard of society that need give word to no one because they embody some historical necessity, they are no better than the Stalinists in the KKE.

Thanks for the insights from Greece - they're much appreciated by those of us following events from abroad.

Though the details of what happened aren't clear, despite the clear disregard of the employers for their staff's lives, and despite the ultimate cause of events being the attacks on living conditions in Greece, if the fire was deliberately set by demonstrators no excuses can really be made for it. Setting a building on fire without knowing who is inside is horrendously stupid, and if the statement of an employee is accurate, has led to the deaths of working class people coerced into staying in the building and locked in without fire escapes.

And of course it is the best excuse the state could have for justifying cracking down on the anarchist movement and more importantly the movement against the austerity measures.

baboon

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on May 6, 2010

Agree with Django above.

Is there any news of any sort of self-organisation among the workers, any attempts by workers to hold meetings, to join up?

Anti-German nationalism is a danger.

ernie

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ernie on May 6, 2010

Agree with Django and taxikipali about the seriousness of the situation and the danger to the movement represented by such pointless attacks of violence, let alone the tragic consequences. These actions as taxikipali says undermine the movement not take it forwards. They do not help the most essential need for the struggle: unity. Instead they add to the ruling class's (from Right to Left) efforts to divided up and exhaust the proletariat's and populations anger and militancy faced with these attacks; no matter what the intensions of those involved. As Taxilipali says even if this was an act of provocation it has had an impact because of the wider context of militariam and nilhilism.. The central question is the need to spread the struggle, to break down the divisions imposed by the ruling class; be it the riot sticks of the police or the radical slogans of the Stalinist; for the working class to take its struggle into its own hands. The proletariat in Greece is at the forefront of the struggle and the are faced not only with the Greek bourgeoisie but that of the whole of Europe and beyond. The ruling class want to smash the workers in Greece to give a lesson to the international proletariat: you cannot fight back and win. The responsibility of all revolutionaries is to do everything we can to help push forwards the unity of the class and to oppose that which works against this unity.
Taxipali's point about this kind of vanguardism being the same as the Stalinists is very true. It is the collective self-activity of the proletariat that will push back the bourgeoisie's attacks or at least provide invaluable experience of collective struggle for the proletariat in Greece and internationally.

ernie

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ernie on May 6, 2010

Agree with Baboon that it would be very useful to hear about any moves towards unity, self-organisation, mass meetings, etc.

ernie

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ernie on May 6, 2010

One last point, the information provide by the comrades in Greece has been extremely useful for discussing with work mates and others. The bourgeois here have made the most of the deaths to present the protests and strikes as leading to nothing but destruiction. For example they said the bank workers strike was to express there disgust at the deaths, but nothing about the anger towards the owner of the bank. The media concentrates almost solely on the violence. The Al Jazera news showed the riot police wading into the crowd today battering anyone who got in their way. It even showed police men having to restrain another one who has knocking the shit out of someone on the floor.

GerryK

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by GerryK on May 6, 2010

Here's a French version of the statement by the Marfin's bank employer (if others could inform French indiymedia, I - and the movement in Greece also maybe - would be grateful, as I'm too exhausted and my access tonight on the internet is limited):

Je me sens obligé envers mes collègues, qui moururent d'une façon tellement injuste, de parler ouvertement et de raconter des vérités objectives. J’envoie ce message à toutes les formes de médias. Tout le monde qui a quelque conscience devrait le publier. Les autres peuvent jouer le jeu du gouvernement.

Les pompiers n’ont jamais donné leur accord pour que ce bâtiment soit utilisable. Le permis, nécessaire pour que la banque puisse fonctionner, avait été donné sous la table, comme ça se passe pratiquement partout, et avec toutes les entreprises et sociétés en Grèce.

Ce bâtiment-là n’a aucun mécanisme de sécurité mis en place – ni prévu pour l'avenir. C’est-à-dire, il n’y a pas d’extincteur automatique d’incendie, de sortie d’urgence ou de lance à incendie. Il y a seulement quelques extincteurs portables qui, bien sûr, ne peuvent pas aider face à un feu répandu dans un bâtiment qui fut construit avec des normes de sécurité depuis longtemps obsolètes.

Il n'y avait, dans aucune agence de la Banque Marfin, d'employé formé pour combattre les incendies ou même pour utiliser des extincteurs. De plus la direction a toujours utilisé comme prétexte les prix élevés de la formation, et n'a même jamais pris les mesures les plus élémentaires pour protéger ses employés.

Il n’y a jamais eu d'exercice d’évacuation par des employés dans aucun bâtiment, ni de session de formation par les pompiers, pour transmettre des instructions pour des situations comme ça. Les seules sessions de formation qui ont eu lieu à la Banque Marfin concernaient des scénarios d'actions terroristes et spécifiquement les plans d'évacuation des grands chefs de bureaux pendant de telles situations.

Ce bâtiment-là, spécifiquement, n’était pas doté de protections contre les incendies, alors que la façon dont il a été construit le rendait vulnérable au feu, et qu'il était bourré, du sol au plafond, de matériel de bureau, matériel très inflammable: papiers, plastiques, dossiers, meubles. Le bâtiment n’était objectivement pas adéquat pour être utilisé comme banque, du fait de sa construction.

Aucun membre de la sécurité n’a de connaissance en matière de premiers secours ou d’extinction des feux, même s'ils sont, en pratique, chargés de la sécurité du bâtiment. Les employés de la banque doivent se transformer en pompiers ou employés de sécurité selon l’appétit de M. Vgenopoulos [propriétaire de la Banque Marfin].

La direction de la banque a strictement empêché les employés de partir aujourd’hui [le 5 mai], alors que ces derniers insistaient pour partir depuis très tôt ce matin – elle a aussi obligé les employés à fermer à clef les portes et à annoncer continuellement au téléphone que le bâtiment resterait fermé toute la journée. Elle a même bloqué leur accès Internet pour les empêcher de communiquer avec le monde extérieur.

Pendant plusieurs jours il y a eu une terreur complète à l'encontre des employés de la banque, au vu des mobilisations de ces derniers jours, avec la « proposition » orale : ou vous travaillez ou vous serez virés.

Les deux flics en civil qui sont normalement rattachés à l'agence de la banque pour la prévention des cambriolages ne sont pas arrivés aujourd’hui, alors que la direction de la banque avait promis oralement aux employés qu’ils seraient là.

Finalement, messieurs, faites vos autocritiques et arrêtez d’errer en faisant semblant d’être choqués. Vous êtes responsables de ce qui s’est passé aujourd’hui et dans une situation acceptable (comme celles que vous aimez utiliser de temps en temps comme des exemples importants dans vos spectacles de télé) vous auriez été arrêtés pour les actions décrites ici. Mes collègues ont perdu la vie aujourd’hui par malice : malice de la Banque Marfin, et de M. Vgenopoulos en personne, qui ont explicitement annoncé que ceux qui ne viendraient pas au travail aujourd’hui [le 5 mai, jour de la Grève Générale] n’auraient pas à venir au travail demain [car ils seraient virés].

Un employé de la Banque Marfin [originalement, ce texte a été écrit en grec. Cette version est la traduction de l'anglais].

rooieravotr

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on May 6, 2010

taxikpali, thanks again and again for all theiformation and the insights!
On the events leading to the three deaths: I think we should be careful in how we discuss things like these. Criticism can be necessary. But it should not slide into condemnation of the people on our side we disagree with.
I am no fan of tactics like attacks with molotovs on bank buildings. I have seen things like that happening before my eyes in Genoa. My doubts are not because these tactics are 'violent' as such (there is a time when riots are in order, and revolution is not an non-violent thing). I just don t see how a burnt bank building weakens capital and the state. The risks - you cannot always be sure if there is something in the building... - do not outweigh the, mainly symbolic, contribution such acts make. I am open for arguments to show I am wring on this. And I accept that there is a place for sheer rage in our struggle...

But there is a big difference between openly debating the wisdom of such tactics on the one hand - and blanket rejection and condemnation of anyone using or advocating such tactics. The first strengthens our movement and our struggle. The second is aiding the state in criminalising our side.

Submitted by giannis on May 6, 2010

Is there any news of any sort of self-organisation among the workers, any attempts by workers to hold meetings, to join up?

Well, not much. To be more accurate nothing official till now. There are self-organized fights in some workplaces, especially to prevent layoffs, but nothing big.

The way I see it, the labor movement in Greece is not at the pick of it's fight but rather in a transition point (I think that I'm making some bad translation at this point, sorry).

After the military junta (1974) and the big workers' struggles that followed, the state gave a lot of power to the unions, especially those of the public sector. Off course, as the years were passing by, the unions became a hierarchical bureaucratic layer and their only role was to intermediate the workers' fights, earn some little raises and keeping theirs privileges as unions. So today people have lost their fate in the unions as they have lost their fate in politicians.

To make a long story sort what we see now is the old world dying. The class war is not at the peek of it's fight. The workers are starting to discover what tactics (=just voting) are wrong. But they have not much experience in other tactics (=self-organization)*. Imagine us as some un-organized barbarians that make their final stand against the roman legions. If by this way we lose the fight, which I think is a big possibility, then new tactics will emerge. I think that you better don't wait to see self-organized fights in Greece right now but in the years to come as the resistance grows.

*for example, in contrary with other European countries, Greece never had a remarkable anarcho-syndicalist union or any kind of self-organized union. Recently some promising efforts have been made and we'll see the results in the years to come.

Submitted by Ross from Atlanta on May 7, 2010

Thank you Giannis for your reply.

I think these tragic events should be a wake up call for the international anarchist movement. After a day of shock and disappointment, I have come to many revelations. The situation in Greece does not look good. Despite the conditions being promising, the lack of organization is starting to show. The revolution will not come because of street fights.

I know some of you may believe that this event alone may have halted the workers movement in Greece, but the truth is that it is only a picture of the greater problem there.

Samotnaf

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 7, 2010

I get the feeling (from the distance of a couple of thousand kilometers) that some people are dividing too much into pro-violence v. anti-violence camps, into dismissing workers struggles v. dismissing "marginal" struggles, into pro-strike anti- riot v. pro-riot anti-strike Manichean camps. This of course is a simplification but it's a tendency (and it's a stronger tendency on another thread here about these events).

After the vicious attack on Kouneva, some people attacked, in solidarity with her, a train and station which had been using the company she had gone on strike against, after making sure that all the passengers had left; the fire caused several million euros worth of damage. This, in a sense, was an attempt to unify solidarity with strikes and "marginal" violent action. To separate violent attacks from strikes is just what the ruling class wants. Of course, the difference, in this instance, with the bank deaths here is obvious: the March 09 Kouneva solidarity action involved making sure nobody was hurt (it seems they even attacked a station terminal to make sure that nobody's journey was interrupted); however, the communique they issued was kind of ridiculous in its arrogant dismissal of "commuters", still reflecting the separation between "marginals" and working proletarians. This separation has been exploited by our enemies throughout the history of class struggle since the post-68 period, and people who want a revolution should seriously consider how to practically and theoretically overcome this Grand Canyon in the movement to abolish present conditions. Neither "macho militarism" nor traditional workerism helps at all.

Samotnaf

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 7, 2010

giannis:

I think that you better don't wait to see self-organized fights in Greece right now but in the years to come as the resistance grows.

No - self-organisation has to grow now; what you say is just abstract hope that it wil grow - it could just as easily lessen and retreat (as happened in the 90s in the UK after poll tax). "Lessons" have to be learnt NOW, not when the ruling class has total control over all initiative.If the Greek working class (whether working or not) withdraws like the UK working class did, then the Greek proletariat will become as characterological, ideological, racist, nationalist, psychotic, suicidal, drug-addicted, alcohol-addicted, football-addicted, everyday lifestyle-addicted, "theory"-addicted as the UK proletariat has become. The chance of making progress in the struggle depends on each and everyone drawing significant conclusions to advance against the fear, indifference and/or guilt that this society pushes everyone into submitting to.

taxikipali

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by taxikipali on May 7, 2010

First a great thanks to all for their contribution here; I believe this is a very fertile discussion and will hopefully help people in Greece think some things over in the days to come. My apologies for not being able to think and respond to each and one of the posts at the moment.

Update: The new measures have been voted in the Greek Parliament today by a majority of 172 votes out of a total 300, these including the votes of the ruling Socialist Party (PASOK) and the extreme-right party of junta nostalgic creeps, LAOS. The Conservative party, the Communist Party and the Radical Coalition of the Left voted against the measures. The procedure was not without surprises as 3 PASOK MPs cast a blank vote, leading to their expulsion from the Party. One of them a veteran Socialist politician and Olympic Games champion Mrs Sacorafa is refusing to hand over her seat in Parliament. At the same time the ex-Foreign Affairs Minister, daughter of the ex- PM Konstantinos Mitsotakis, and defeated candidate for the leadership of the Conservatives, Mrs Bakoyanni voted for the measures leading to her immediate expulsion from the Party – a move expected to lead the Conservatives to a major crisis. The demand of the Left for a 180 vote majority for the measures to be passed (a rule applied for constitutional reform) was not accepted by the government.

After the voting GSEE and ADEDY, the private and public sector union umbrellas staged a demo outside the Parliament, while around 10,000 PAME allied protesters gathered in Omonoia square and marched towards the Parliament. At the same time grassroots unions performed a march to the Parliament from Propylea where tension rose when police started detaining protestors with backpacks. After reaching Syntagma square around 10,000 protesters pressed against strong riot police forces protecting the Parliament shouting slogans like “air for the cholera to go away”. After some time clashes broke out when riot police attacked the crowd in order for it not to meet up with MPs exiting the Parliament. The clashes did not develop into riots and the general mood of the protesters has been reported as angry but not violent.

Similar protests took place in Salonica without clashes being reported.

It must be noted that tomorrow bank workers will once again perform a walk-out at 12:00. Today bank workers went on strike as a response to the death of their three colleagues yesterday.

giannis

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by giannis on May 7, 2010

I think that you better don't wait to see self-organized fights in Greece right now but in the years to come as the resistance grows.

No - self-organisation has to grow now; what you say is just abstract hope that it wil grow - it could just as easily lessen and retreat (as happened in the 90s in the UK after poll tax). "Lessons" have to be learnt NOW, not when the ruling class has total control over all initiative.If the Greek working class (whether working or not) withdraws like the UK working class did, then the Greek proletariat will become as characterological, ideological, racist, nationalist, psychotic, suicidal, drug-addicted, alcohol-addicted, football-addicted, everyday lifestyle-addicted, "theory"-addicted as the UK proletariat has become. The chance of making progress in the struggle depends on each and everyone drawing significant conclusions to advance against the fear, indifference and/or guilt that this society pushes everyone into submitting to.

Let me rephrase in case it wasn't clear. There are not much self-organized struggles in Greece and no tradition of such struggles so you will probably don't see fights like these right now. Maybe you will see them in the close future.

Mark.

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 7, 2010

Statement on the Occupied London blog
http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/

"The time has come for us to talk frankly about violence and to critically examine a specific culture of violence that has been developing in Greece in the past few years..."

What do we honestly have to say about Wednesday’s events?

What do the events of Wednesday (5/5) honestly mean for the anarchist/anti-authoritarian movement? How do we stand in the face of the deaths of these three people – regardless of who caused them? Where do we stand as humans and as people in struggle? Us, who do not accept that there are such things as “isolated incidents” (of police or state brutality) and who point the finger, on a daily basis, at the violence exercised by the state and the capitalist system. Us, who have the courage to call things by their name; us who expose those who torture migrants in police stations or those who play around with our lives from inside glamorous offices and TV studios. So, what do we have to say now?

We could hide behind the statement issued by the Union of Bank Workers (OTOE) or the accusations by employees of the bank branch; or we could keep it at the fact that the deceased had been forced to stay in a building with no fire protection – and locked up, even. We could keep it at what a scum-bag is Vgenopoulos, the owner of the bank; or at how this tragic incident will be used to leash out some unprecedented repression. Whoever (dared to) pass through Exarcheia on Wednesday night already has a clear picture of this. But this is not where the issue lies.

The issue is for us to see what share of the responsibilities falls on us, on all of us. We are all jointly responsible. Yes, we are right to fight with all our powers against the unjust measures imposed upon us; we are right to dedicate all our strength and our creativity toward a better world. But as political beings, we are equally responsible for every single one of our political choices, for the means we have impropriated and for our silence every time that we did not admit to our weaknesses and our mistakes. Us, who do not suck up to the people in order to gain in votes, us who have no interest in exploiting anyone, have the capacity, under these tragic circumstances, to be honest with ourselves and with those around us.

What the greek anarchist movement is experiencing at the moment is some total numbness. Because there are pressurising conditions for some tough self-criticism that is going to hurt. Beyond the horror of the fact that people have died who were on “our side”, the side of the workers – workers under extremely difficult conditions who would have quite possibly chosen to march by our side if things were different in their workplace – beyond this, were are hereby also confronted with demonstrator/s who put the lives of people in danger. Even if (and this goes without question) there was no intention to kill, this is a matter of essence that can hold much discussion – some discussion regarding the aims that we set and the means that we chose.

The incident did not happen at night, at some sabotage action. It happened during the largest demonstration in contemporary greek history. And here is where a series of painful questions emerge: Overall, in a demonstration of 150-200,000, unprecedented in the last few years, is there really a need for some “upgraded” violence? When you see thousands shouting “burn, burn Parliament” and swear at the cops, does another burnt bank really have anything more to offer to the movement?

When the movement itself turns massive – say like in December 2008 – what can an action offer, if this action exceeds the limits of what a society can take (at least at a present moment), or if this action puts human lives at danger?

When we take to the streets we are one with the people around us; we are next to them, by their side, with them – this is, at the end of the day, why we work our arses off writing texts and posters – and our own clauses are a single parameter in the many that converge. The time has come for us to talk frankly about violence and to critically examine a specific culture of violence that has been developing in Greece in the past few years. Our movement has not been strengthened because of the dynamic means it sometimes uses but rather, because of its political articulation. December 2008 did not turn historical only because thousands picked up and threw stones and molotovs, but mainly because of its political and social characteristics – and its rich legacies at this level. Of course we respond to the violence exercised upon us, and yet we are called in turn to talk about our political choices as well as the means we have impropriated, recognising our -and their – limits.

When we speak of freedom, it means that at every single moment we doubt what yesterday we took for granted. That we dare to go all the way and, avoiding some cliché political wordings, to look at things straight into the eye, as they are. It is clear that since we do not consider violence to be an end to itself, we should not allow it to cast shadows to the political dimension of our actions. We are neither murderers nor saints. We are part of a social movement, with our weaknesses and our mistakes. Today, instead of feeling stronger after such an enormous demonstration we feel numb, to say the least. This in itself speaks volumes. We must turn this tragic experience into soul-searching and inspire one another since at the end of the day, we all act based on our consciousness. And the cultivation of such a collective consciousness is what is at stake.

baboon

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on May 7, 2010

Thanks for the reply Giannis (and Taxi by the way). Your first response was perfectly clear to me. The Greek unions and the state's left wing, despite their waning influence, still have a grip on the situation and a role to play in order to defend the state. Over and above this the whole of the European bourgeoisie will do what it can to contribute to the defeat of this movement and that it includes portraying it as an expression of blind, murderous violence and therefore nothing to with the proletariat elsewhere - helped in the process through ultra-minority actions that end up killing workers. In this respect I find Samotnaf's characterisation of the working class in Britain as it will affect those in Greece involved in a longer process, "nationalist, racist, psychotic, etc. etc.", contemptible. Further, his idea that self-organisation could lessen and retreat, is impossible if it doesn't exist in the first place. And according to Giannis it doesn't. Self-organisation and moves towards unity can't be imposed on the class "NOW" as Sam would like, but has to develop out of the struggle.

petey

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on May 7, 2010

a great thanks to all for their contribution here

thanks first of all to you taxikipali for these reports, and also to the other greek posters for their info and comments. these few outlets (occupied london, libcom) are indispensible

Mark.

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 8, 2010

A rather garbled machine translation of a statement on Athens Indymedia, signed by the following publishing projects and collectives:
Εκδόσεις-περιοδικό Πανοπτικόν, Εκδόσεις των Ξένων, Εκδόσεις Στάσει Εκπίπτοντες, Εκδόσεις Εξάρχεια, Μαύρο Πιπέρι του Ευβοϊκού, Περιοδικό Νυχτεγερσία

If anyone whose Greek is better than mine could translate this properly then that would be useful.

http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1165849

Anarchy is the struggle for life, not for death

In December 2008 during the events that followed the assassination of Alexander Gregoropoulos anarchist anti-authoritarian-fascist site responded to calls of SMEs to return to "peace, order and security" in disarming the slogan "you are talking about windows, we are talking about lives.

What makes a dangerous hypocrisy now some talk about the non-existent fire protection measures by the bank and not for the lives lost and what orgoueliki inversion of reality some people do talk about the tragic incident like this was a short circuit?

Does not understand that hypocrisy is the NATO equivalent of murderers who spoke on 'collateral damage'?

Does not understand that for granted and obvious cynicism and brutality of a megalokapitalisti, imposed blackmail employees to lie within the bank, not atone for any deaths?

Does not understand that if you use the tactics of the beast that you have been fighting against myself with this?

If you are fighting for something anarchists, if something is worth to fight the people are for life, liberty and dignity. In a world where death will no longer have the power...

In protest 6 / 5 in Thessaloniki, which responded to the call of the union clinicians Thessaloniki and primary societies, plenty people, anarchists and anti-authoritarians from the last block, shouted repeatedly: "It was murder, not illusions, state and Vgenopoulos kill workers. Surely such a thought for some it is comforting. But it is certain that they understand the contents and implications of what they wish?

We do not know what happened in Marfin noon 05/05/2010. But we know that the moment we heard the tragic news, no one from those around us were not able to say that was ruled out what prosecutors SMEs announced! And it is also tragic.

Because if the practice we do not make patently unthinkable (and first of all to ourselves) this does not come from people moving in the same room with us, then we have already opened the way for tragedy to happen (from murderous irresponsibility, twisted by malice or fraudulent design).

In an uncontrolled generalized rebellion there dead, was in Los Angeles, was in Argentina. Nobody dianoithike ever to perform in an organized political power challenged these deaths.

The fact that the three murdered, Marfin charged into anarchy definitely shows great responsibility. Who can ignore the pioneering reasonable tolerance and contempt of life? Not to say that the PA experienced anarchists over the years, many banks have been burned and that nobody was in danger ... not to say that PA blame Vgenopoulos which forced workers to left the bank, which was not fire, etc.

The responsibility does not leave on you.

If there are even few people who identify themselves as anarchists and irresponsible to reach the buildings burnt with people inside, some have grown this irresponsibility.

If, even worse, you pave the way for this to happen the biggest war provocation in Greece, then the long-term consequences going beyond the tragedy of the three murdered.

And the answer is not the protests that "the enemy is ruthless. We know the Piazza Fontana in Milan and the Scala in Barcelona.

The answer is the emerging populous opposition to take root in all social areas and nationwide, with persistent and laborious work, the camaraderie, mutual support and solidarity. The answer is the struggle for life, not death.

Submitted by GCI-ICG on May 8, 2010

This post as well as some others from Libcom and Occupied London about the current class struggles in Greece are reproduced on our own Blog of Information on Class Struggles.

We also published a new review in Greek:

ΚΟΜΜΟΥΝΙΣΜΟΣ Νο3 (Απριλιοσ 2010) - Κεντρικό Όργανο στα ελληνικά της ΔΚΟ | PDF |
Η ΟΙΚΟΝΟΜΙΑ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΣΕ ΚΡΙΣΗ. ΑΣ ΤΗΝ ΑΠΟΤΕΛΕΙΩΣΟΥΜΕ!!
Σχόλια ενάντια στη δικτατορία της οικονομίας
Για την λατρεια τησ εργασιασ
Αξιοποίηση/Αποαξιοποίηση

iaourti iaourtaki

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by iaourti iaourtaki on May 8, 2010

it's kinda scary seeing my post being published as two! that's censorship and has nuthing to do with anarchy.
it's simple: stop dissing the antarchist, the nihilists, the anarchists and the revolutionary communists of GREECE and their friends!
if ya start that shit ya are not better than the police junta of BASOK!

TAXIKIPALI,
don't force us too to run the mountains! Shall we go to Kosovo so that you can keep on with ya reformist project?!
getting thrown out of the orthodox church of the greek anarchists!
and to all the others: stop writing about the greeks!
we are all folks, populations and people living inside greece except from some rich whities!
funk off!
cheers
iassu malaka

taxikipali

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by taxikipali on May 8, 2010

It is obvious that iaourti cannot afford having his/ her myth of greek anarchy troubled let alone breached by facts...I am sorry but the three dead are due to this kind of keeping silent about wrong methods and wrong ideas in the movement. Its time to break that silence or see all that we have been building collapse on our heads like a house of cards.

Samotnaf

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 8, 2010

Hate to say "told you so" but...in fact I don't hate to say that, but some might hate that I'm saying that...As I said - more or less - in the thread about your reports in January iirc, taxikipali, to separate theory from the facts represses stating what you know is vital. (I don't have the referene at hand, and I'm in a hurry, but that , more or less is what I said). No more journalistic attitudes amongst radical news-givers - facts are selected according to a point of view and that point of view has to be explicit. Debate about the facts is as vital as changing the facts with actions . If this debate had been launched amongst the anti-authoritarian milieu in Greece a couple of months ago, maybe something different would have happened. But it's never too late. And at least something is developing out of the horror.Will post more when I have time.

taxikipali

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by taxikipali on May 8, 2010

I have nothing more to say Sam than that you are right, and proved so in the most terrible way.

Mark.

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 9, 2010

Translation of the "anarchy is struggle for life, not death" statement:
http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2010/05/08/284-anarchy-is-struggle-for-life-not-death/#comments

Anarchy is struggle for life, not death

In December 2008, during the events that followed the assassination of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, the anarchist/ anti-authoritarian movement responded to the fascist pleas of the Mass Media for a return to “quiet, order and security” with the disarming slogan: “you talk about shop fronts, we talk about human lives”.

What dangerous hypocrisy makes some now talk about the non-existing fire extinguishers of the bank rather than the lives that were lost? What Orwellian twist of reality makes some talk about the tragic event as if it was some short-circuit?

Don’t we really understand that this hypocrisy is on par with the NATO murderers who spoke of “collateral damage”?

Don’t we really understand that the granted and obvious cynicism and thuggery of a mega-capitalist, who blackmailed his employees in being in the bank, does not redeem anyone for the dead?

Don’t we really understand that if you use the tactics of the beast you are fighting against, you become one with it?

If anarchists struggle for something, if there is something worth for people to struggle for, this is Life, Freedom and Dignity. For a world where death will no longer hold any authority…

At the demonstration of May 6th in the centre of Thessaloniki, which came as response to the call-out by the union of hospital workers of Thessaloniki and grassroots unions, many people – mostly anarchists and anti-authoritarians from the demonstration’s last block – shouted repeatedly: “these were murders, we hold no illusions, the State and Vgenopoulos murder workers”. Surely for many such thoughts will be soothing. But do they definitely comprehend the content and the extension of what they are wishing for?

We do not know what exactly happened at Marfin bank on the afternoon of 5/5/2010. What we do know is that at the moment when we heard of the tragic news none of our surrounding was in a position to categorically reject that it was what the attorneys of the Corporate Media had declared it to be. And this is tragic too.

Because if through our practice we do not make it evidently impossible (to us, first and foremost) that such an act would come from people active in the same political space with us then we have already paved the way for tragedies to take place (from murderous irresponsibility, warped nastiness or malice).

In a generalised revolt there are uncontrollable dead; it happened in Los Angeles, it happened in Argentina. No-one ever thought of charging an organised political current with these deaths.

The fact that the three murdered workers of Marfin bank are charged to anarchy certainly reveals some huge responsibilities. Who can ignore the tolerance to avant-guardist logics and the contempt for human life? No matter if you say that the experienced anarchists, all these years, have set alight so many banks and no-one ever was endangered. No matter if you say that it is Vgenopoulos’ fault because he forced the employees to stay in the bank, which had no fire protection etc.

You cannot shake off the responsibility.

If there are even some few people who define themselves as anarchists and get to the point of irresponsibility to torch buildings alight with people inside them, this irresponsibility has somehow been cultivated.

If, worse even, you have paved the way for the largest act of agent provocateurs in Greece post-WWII, then the long-term consequences exceed even the tragedy of the three murdered people.

And the answer is not that “the enemy is ruthless”. We know of both Piazza Fontana in Milan and Scala in Barcelona.

The answer is the emergent, dense opposition which is growing roots across social spaces, across the country – with persistence and toilsome labour; with camaraderie, mutuality and solidarity. the answer is the struggle for life, not death.
.

Panopticon publications/journal, The Foreigners’ Publications, Stasei Ekpiptontes Publications, Exarcheia Publications, Black Peper of the Evian Gulf, Nixtegersia Magazine

[The signing collectives in Greek: Εκδόσεις-περιοδικό Πανοπτικόν, Εκδόσεις των Ξένων, Εκδόσεις Στάσει Εκπίπτοντες, Εκδόσεις Εξάρχεια, Μαύρο Πιπέρι του Ευβοϊκού, Περιοδικό Νυχτεγερσία]

baboon

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on May 9, 2010

Taxi, your May 8 post seemed to have a bit of wistful sadness in it – understandably. You’re doing great and we very much appreciate it. Also your political analysis has developed and sharpened through your observation and narration of events. Your position on the “violence”, and similar positions above, carry weight and the conclusion has to be the pointlessness of individual acts of violence and the worship of the flame. And in the wider scheme of things, it’s worse than pointless.

There was a similar but different event in Britain during the 84 miners’ strike. Two men, breaking the strike and going to work in a taxi had a paving stone dropped on them by two other lads who laid an ambush from a bridge. One of the miners was killed and it was more than shocking. The left came out with excuses like “going to work in a taxi” (and no one can be more sanctimonious than the left of capital) but it was clearly wrong for worker to be killing worker in a struggle. These two lads weren’t really killers, murderers, but caught up, in this case, in a campaign pitting worker against worker.

The events in Greece are different but the underlying lessons are the same for the struggle and something positive can come out of these deaths. For the proletariat in Greece, and generally elsewhere, to push back or attenuate these attacks, it has to strengthen its position through the only way it can; self-organisation, solidarity, extension.

Mark.

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 9, 2010

A rough translation of part of a discussion on alasbarricadas
http://www.alasbarricadas.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=40822&start=150
CretaNarka

I don't know what to say about what happened on the demonstration with the tragic deaths…. words are superfluous in cases like these…

It's the same to me if it was "anarchists", fascists, secret police, provocateurs carrying out the "dirty work" of the state. It's the same to me if they attacked the bank knowing there were people inside or not (I'd like to believe they thought there was nobody inside…). What matters is that three people have met with a death that they haven't chosen. And it's wasn't just the events in the Marfin Bank. The same individuals (almost everyone says this) are the ones who attacked, broke [windows?] and threw molotov cocktails into the Bazzar supermarket… with employees and possibly customers inside… in the Ianos bookshop, where they tried to set it on fire (with people inside)… some compañeros tried to stop them, but they "defended" themselves with punches, blows [?] etc… I myself saw individuals destroying expensive cars, where there were people inside the cars!!!

In my opinion the deaths were something that was unfortunately going to occur sooner or later. The blind violence, the complicit silence of the anarchist space faced with the hooligans, the lovers of Nechayev, the nihilists… was some day going to leave us faced with these situations.

Far from whether the bank had safety systems for extinguishing fires, from the management terrorism (on the biggest demonstration in recent decades it was certain that banks were going to be the object of attacks) which didn't permit its employees to leave for their homes (which the same employees had asked for), locking them up in the bank as if they were rats etc etc… the most important thing is what it is that we do, how we move, how we protect our blocs, towards where we express our anger and in what way…

In fact… with 200,000 people on the streets, everyone (of all ages, of all political tendencies) shouting "burn the parliament"… the constant attacks against the police to occupy the parliament… putting into practice the slogans and actions which for many years the anarchists have been the only ones propagating… who believed it was the right time to attack banks and break some windows???

The time has now arrived for all the collectives and different anarchist tendencies in Greece to start talking and doing their self-criticism… a very hard self-criticism but one we should have done before. It's now time to leave behind the practices of the past, practices where all kinds of doubtful people [gentuza] who have nothing to do with anarchism have found "lodging". And the positive thing is that this self-criticism is already happening.

The state has found the perfect reason to attack the anarchists. It's a gift they've made maximum use of. Anyone who hasn't seen it can't imagine the repression suffered after the demonstration, in Exarchia, in social centres and even in people's homes.

I can state with complete certainty that the anarchist blocs have nothing to do with the attack on the Marfin Bank. What's more, when the attack was carried out we had already passed the bank and were quite a long way from it. Nevertheless, yes we are complicit. Yes we are to blame. Yes the dead were from our side. And yes we should quickly get rid of the doubtful people [gentuza] who have been "living" and "feeding" from us in recent years.

The anarchists love life, they have never put lives at risk and many times at risk of being arrested, they have helped people to evacuate banks and shops which were burning. And on various occasions they have gone into banks to get the employees out before attacking it. But in the end… it's not about looking for excuses.

It's about getting rid of [?] the anger…

Peterpan

It's always necessary to self-criticise and learn from any mistake. But the acts were individual and were the responsibility of those people. […] The self-criticism would be if the people who caused the deaths were anarchists, to make an act of responsibility and see how to develop it. If it is ignored one becomes complicit by not rejecting or targeting [?] actions that are a long way from our ideas.

To condemn a whole movement for the individual act of three people, and even more when it was a decision made by them and not planned by everyone.

CretaNarka

Yes, but it's more than that… the self-criticism is about the stance and behaviour of the Greek anarchist "movement", which in recent years has been accommodating [?] all those individuals, and "fascist" behaviours far from the libertarian spirit. And I repeat, even if it turns out that those who threw the molotov cocktails were fascists or state provocateurs (which wouldn't surprise me… Piazza Fontana, Caso Scala…), these issues need to be dealt with just the same. Enough of the dodgy people [gentuza] who on the streets are only interested in satisfying their own adrenalin without caring about the rest of the demonstrators. Let them go off to the football stadiums, where they'll find a lot to do [?]…

For years on the Athens streets we've been shouting: "Silence is complicity" and "You talk about material damage, we talk about human lives". What an irony. These questions have been returned to us in the most tragic manner (deaths).

Samotnaf

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 10, 2010

taxikipali:

I have nothing more to say Sam than that you are right, and proved so in the most terrible way.

Apologies if I sounded a little smug. And certainly I didn’t say this as some individual Cassandra warning about dangers in isolation, operating as some misunderstood genius that people scathingly dismiss – my influences were the TPTG and a friend in London, plus things long ago critiqued in the situ milieu, though I obviously applied them to what is going on in Greece. But you too weren't operating in a vacuum – you had plenty of flattering support for sticking to this separation of fact and theory: flattery gets the movement nowhere. Though guiltily "eating humble pie" is not useful for going forward and advancing against past mistakes, past mistakes have to be recognised, and I feel Rob Ray (from a far more petrified arrogant position)and Steven, amongst several others who tried to twist what I was saying into claiming I was dismissing what I had always insisted were mostly excellent reports (despite their limits) could also show a bit of humility - they'd encouraged you (and you certainly have worked unpaid overtime giving these reports, which is more than can be said for your applauding flatterers). They also are just as responsible (insofar as these forums have any effect on what happens in Greece, that is; I suspect they do a bit, but fairly marginally) and at least you've recognised a small margin of responsibity (in the sense of remaining silent about your contradictory feelings about violence) - not an easy thing to do (as iaourti, with a far more entrenched dogmatic attitude, has shown). I too want to encourage you to continue your reports, but this time - as you already seem to be doing anyway - with more of your ideas intertwined in them.

Although we might be a little paranoid about discussing violence with the State watching, for me the risk is necessary: silence is mouldy. Anyway, how much can we avoid the State planting incriminating evidence, cutting off our source of income, arranging fake "accidents" or whatever for those of us it deems a danger if it sets its collective 'mind' to it? Better to speak our minds than submit to the terror they try to impose; besides, who the State fucks over is often fairly indiscriminate - sometimes its most loyal citizens get caught up in its net. It's a "hanged if we do, hanged if we don't" world, so what the fuck does it matter really?

baboon:

the pointlessness of individual acts of violence and the worship of the flame... in the wider scheme of things, it’s worse than pointless.
There was a similar but different event in Britain during the 84 miners’ strike. Two men, breaking the strike and going to work in a taxi had a paving stone dropped on them by two other lads who laid an ambush from a bridge. One of the miners was killed and it was more than shocking. The left came out with excuses like “going to work in a taxi” (and no one can be more sanctimonious than the left of capital) but it was clearly wrong for worker to be killing worker in a struggle. These two lads weren’t really killers, murderers, but caught up, in this case, in a campaign pitting worker against worker.
The events in Greece are different but the underlying lessons are the same for the struggle and something positive can come out of these deaths. For the proletariat in Greece, and generally elsewhere, to push back or attenuate these attacks, it has to strengthen its position through the only way it can; self-organisation, solidarity, extension.

This is typical ICC-type anti-violence rubbish, and a useless "critique" of violence. There's absolutely nothing wrong with violence against this hierarchically violent society - it depends on how and where it is expressed. The attack on the mini-scab at the end of '84 came after the deaths of at least 2 striking miners (Joe Green and David Jones) by scabs, deaths which were either virtually ignored or distorted by the media, surprise surprise (there were other deaths as well - for instance a cop car drove at high speed towards 2 pickets in a car, and they died swerving to avoid these filth). The mini-cab driver knew exactly what he was doing - he was getting extra pay (blood money, I'd call it) and - iirc - had been warned beforehand. The ICC during the strike condemned attacks on pickets as being within the traditions of trade unionism!!!! "If the Left suport it, we must be against it" should be their slogan. Ironically, Scargill condemned this attack on the mini-scab, saying he was against "violence away from the picket lines". And Kinnock, despite eulogising the mass murderer Indira Gandhi, also loudly condemned this attack. It was the miners themselves who shouted at scabs after this "Go get a mini-cab!", not "the Left" as the baboon claims. It's him who's being "sanctimonious". The Left were, generally speaking, a bit embarassed about it.

The problem with the attack on the bank wasn't that it was violent (there's nothing wrong with attacks on banks as such) but was that they seem to have fallen into a trap set by the highly political boss of Marfin, a trap which could only have worked because of the predictability of much of the anti-authoritarian milieu, who reduce revolt to a repetetive series of 'tactics' regardless of the simplest precautions or any attempt to think out different strategies that might be more relevant or innovative. In the autumn of 1985 (iirc) a petrol bomb attack on a post office during a riot in Handsworth, Birmingham, left 2 dead. One of the differences between this and the 5/5/10 situation is that these 2 people, despite loads of people shouting at them to get out, which they could easily have done, had decided to secure the valuables of the post office, and so wasted valuable time in not valuing themselves except as servants of surplus and exchange value ("enough with the puns, already" - ed.), whereas at Marfins, the 3 had been locked in by the boss. I must admit, callous bastard that I am, that i can't feel sorry for the ones in the post office in Birmingham or condemn the attack. The difference between Athens and this is the difference between "mindless" vilence and mindful violence. In the class struggle innocent people die, though our desire for a humane humanity obviously means we have to try to be as careful and conscientious as possible. I heard at a meeting a few years back, given by a guy who was very critical of the CNT in Spain in the revolution there (critical from a radical perspective) and who'd done an enormous amount of research into the period, that it was very likely that Durutti himself was a victim of carelessness - a ricocheting bullet from the republican side ( even if it made better propaganda to say it was a fascist bullet than to admit such carelessness). These things - terrible as they may be - happen. This is not in any way to condone the macho culture of the Greek anti-authoritarian milieu, but let's not go overboard with a counter-ideology à la ICC, as if baboon's magic words

self-organisation, solidarity, extension

can somehow distract from the need from our side for class war, and not just empty clichés, however "correct".

Samotnaf

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 10, 2010

The quote from baboon should read like this:

the pointlessness of individual acts of violence and the worship of the flame... in the wider scheme of things, it’s worse than pointless.

There was a similar but different event in Britain during the 84 miners’ strike. Two men, breaking the strike and going to work in a taxi had a paving stone dropped on them by two other lads who laid an ambush from a bridge. One of the miners was killed and it was more than shocking. The left came out with excuses like “going to work in a taxi” (and no one can be more sanctimonious than the left of capital) but it was clearly wrong for worker to be killing worker in a struggle. These two lads weren’t really killers, murderers, but caught up, in this case, in a campaign pitting worker against worker.

The events in Greece are different but the underlying lessons are the same for the struggle and something positive can come out of these deaths. For the proletariat in Greece, and generally elsewhere, to push back or attenuate these attacks, it has to strengthen its position through the only way it can; self-organisation, solidarity, extension.

Admin; corrected in original post above.

Samotnaf

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 10, 2010

The ICC during the strike condemned attacks on pickets as being within the traditions of trade unionism!!!!

This should, of course, read "The ICC during the strike condemned attacks on scabs by pickets as being within the traditions of trade unionism!!!! " Sorry - very tired - woke up at 4 this morning feeling kinda blue, woke up at 4 this morning feeling kinda blue, got
my words 'bout the ICC wrong - jus' don' know whatta do ...wah wah wah....

Devrim

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on May 10, 2010

Samotnaf (edit included)

This is typical ICC-type anti-violence rubbish, and a useless "critique" of violence. There's absolutely nothing wrong with violence against this hierarchically violent society - it depends on how and where it is expressed. The attack on the mini-scab at the end of '84 came after the deaths of at least 2 striking miners (Joe Green and David Jones) by scabs, deaths which were either virtually ignored or distorted by the media, surprise surprise (there were other deaths as well - for instance a cop car drove at high speed towards 2 pickets in a car, and they died swerving to avoid these filth). The mini-cab driver knew exactly what he was doing - he was getting extra pay (blood money, I'd call it) and - iirc - had been warned beforehand. The ICC during the strike condemned attacks on scabs by pickets as being within the traditions of trade unionism!!!! "If the Left suport it, we must be against it" should be their slogan. Ironically, Scargill condemned this attack on the mini-scab, saying he was against "violence away from the picket lines". And Kinnock, despite eulogising the mass murderer Indira Gandhi, also loudly condemned this attack. It was the miners themselves who shouted at scabs after this "Go get a mini-cab!", not "the Left" as the baboon claims. It's him who's being "sanctimonious". The Left were, generally speaking, a bit embarassed about it.

I can't remember exactly what the ICC said in the strike, nor was I a member then. Did the ICC actually condemn attacks on scabs, or did they say that it is not a way to take the strike forward? If we did condemn it then we were very very wrong. It isn't the job of revolutionaries to condemn workers in struggle. I think that it is the task of revolutionaries to comment on how they think struggles can develop, and to argue how to take the strike forward. In this I think that the ICC was correct in arguing that the way to win the strike was to extend it, and not by an ever increasing level of violence. There are times when 'more violence' has been used directly as an alternative to strikers arguing to extend the strike. Wapping was certainly one of these cases.

In the case of Dean Hancock and Russell Shankland, it would have been (and again I don't know what the ICC said at the time) absolutely wrong to condemn these people. Whatever we thought about their actions, and I thought they were deeply mistaken then as I do now, these people were class war prisoners and had to be supported.

Devrim

gypsy

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by gypsy on May 10, 2010

Samotnaf, thats surprising what you said about the post office workers in Handsworth. Just cos they tried to secure the contents of the post office should hardly mean they deserved to die for that act or am I misunderstanding u? I can't imagine that they were highly paid managers, just ordinary workers although correct me if im wrong. I know Handsworth and I think saying that to people there who remember the incident would land you in a serious argument.

Rob Ray

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on May 10, 2010

I feel Rob Ray... could also show a bit of humility

Why? I've never denied Taxikipali the right to make conclusions or voice his opinions.

What I lauded, and will continue to laud if he goes on with it, is the straightforward, uneditorialised way he informed me of what was happening without forcing me to wade through acres of his opinion mixed in with the facts as though it's part of a definitive view.

In fact, his opinion carries more weight with me now precisely because I respect the clearheaded approach he has taken in the past.

NB// I also think you taking advantage of the situation to have a pop at me and my views several months on from an argument is a bit of a shitty ego trip, tbh.

Mark.

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 10, 2010

There's a text in Greek by the Autonomy or Barbarism group at
http://autonomyorbarbarism.blogspot.com/2010/05/marfin.html

I'm hoping this gets translated into English. In the meantime if anyone is interested they could try using google translate on the text and the discussion that follows.

Samotnaf

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 10, 2010

allybaba:

Samotnaf, thats surprising what you said about the post office workers in Handsworth. Just cos they tried to secure the contents of the post office should hardly mean they deserved to die for that act or am I misunderstanding u? I can't imagine that they were highly paid managers, just ordinary workers although correct me if im wrong. I know Handsworth and I think saying that to people there who remember the incident would land you in a serious argument.

I didn't say they deserved to die, but that I didn't feel sorry for them. If people put the property of their bosses before themselves (and with not even the threat of the sack or anything like that), it's hard to feel sorry for them. Which is not the same as saying they deserved it.

Worse, in some ways, than the Marfin bank was the attack on the Bradford Labour club in 2001 (iirc), when , during a riot, people chucked a molotov into the club and barricaded the front door so that people inside couldn't get out. It was by sheer luck that the mostly oldish inhabitants were able to climb out the window at the back. Worse, anyway, in intent - not in consequence,as no-one got hurt. But psychotic in intent. Some lefties supported this action (whilst somehow ignoring the barricade bit) because it was a Labour club, and therefore was apparently a critique of NuLabour.

Devrim - we've been through this argument before. Maybe a year ago. I don't have the copy of World Revolution but i know that Neil Fernandez quoted it in his "A Communist Effort" and that people round the London Worker's Group took the piss out of the ICC about it. Really don't want to repeat the argument that's on some thread on the glories of Scargill initiated by sickdog .

gypsy

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by gypsy on May 10, 2010

Ok Samotnaf im sorry I came to the wrong conclusion when you said that. That was shocking what happened at the Manningham Labour Club :(

Samotnaf

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 10, 2010

allybaba - no problem - everyone gets things wrong sometimes, particuarly when emotions are high as with the 5/5 deaths.

I think it might be useful to anticipate some of the conspiracies/strategies of tension in Greece. Our enemies are certainly brainstorming in private on how to control Greece and the various movements round the world (some people are saying that British intelligence might have been involved in what looks like the trap, probably fallen into by some of those adherents of the macho militantism of the anti-authoritarian milieu, at Marfin's bank). We should be doing the same against such control, but some of this brainstorming is going to have to be public, particularly anticipating their manipulative tactics.

Taxikipali has mentioned the dominant forces attribution of a fascist bombing to anarchists in 1991 (http://libcom.org/history/kappa-marousi-tragedy-athens-1991). But couldn't anti-fasicsm equally be used by the State, particularly by a party claiming to be of the Left? In the early 80s Francoists were allowed by the democratic State to invade the Madrid parliament and threaten a coup - enough to rally everyone round the nice reformed bourgeoisie, who quickly arrested the fascist consprators. I don't know how applicable this might be to Greece, but I thought I'd mention it.

In 1982 a beleaguered Thatcher, very low in the opinion polls and with everyone preparing for a second summer of riots, this time with train strikes looming, allowed Argentina to invade the Falkalnds, thus giving a temporary boost to the spectacle of the anti-fascist bourgeoisie (with Michael Foot in toe) defending the Nation against yet another fascist invasion. Though the Dunkirk spirit was more a media-driven idea, it did kill off the chance of riots that year and helped fuck over the train strike (returning soldiers/pilots hung a banner over the side of their battleship with the slogan "If you launch a train strike, we'll launch an air strike".) It was enough to give her a reversal in the opinion polls and she was overwhemingly elected a year later, amidst the greatest attack on the working class since a helluva long time. Later, during the miners strike Thatcher referred to the Argentinians as "the enemy without' and in the same breath referred to the striking miners as "the enemy within", though by that time the nationalist show had somehow lost its gloss; nevertheless, the Falklands show had bought time for the rulers and lost time for the social movement - and time is essential for the rulers to keep control of the initiative. Is it possible that the Greek ruling class will allow something like this to happen, maybe using Macedonia? Don't know enough about Greece and the Macedonia question to see if this is applicable or not.

During the miners strike, Libya became the bête noir - particularly after the killing of the cop, Yvonne Fletcher, though now there are lots of indications that she hadn't been killed by Libyan agents, but by some mysterious gunman firing from a window next to the Libyan embassy. An MI5 agent implanted in the NUM arranged to accept money collected for the miners in Libya in front of the cameras so that the miners could be made to be seen as supporting Libyan terrorism ( http://libcom.org/library/chapter-15-september-–-october-1984-2nd-dockers-striketuc-brighton-conferencepathetic-le ).

And so on. The trouble with using the past to anticipate things the rulers might do is that in practice the rulers usually innovate past manipulations, because they know that, second time around, people might too quickly suss them as manipulations. But we can try. Don't know if all this is useful, or really pertinent, for the Greek movement to anticipate some "conspiracies" or not - but it's worth brainstorming about, i think. What do peple "out there" think?

Submitted by Devrim on May 10, 2010

Samotnaf

Devrim - we've been through this argument before. Maybe a year ago. I don't have the copy of World Revolution but i know that Neil Fernandez quoted it in his "A Communist Effort" and that people round the London Worker's Group took the piss out of the ICC about it. Really don't want to repeat the argument that's on some thread on the glories of Scargill initiated by sickdog .

Yes, we have. I don't really want to run through it again, and it isn't really relevant to this discussion. You shouldn't be surprised though if you take off the topic digs at people and they respond.

Samotnaf

In the autumn of 1985 (iirc) a petrol bomb attack on a post office during a riot in Handsworth, Birmingham, left 2 dead. One of the differences between this and the 5/5/10 situation is that these 2 people, despite loads of people shouting at them to get out, which they could easily have done, had decided to secure the valuables of the post office, and so wasted valuable time in not valuing themselves except as servants of surplus and exchange value ("enough with the puns, already" - ed.)

allybaba

Samotnaf, thats surprising what you said about the post office workers in Handsworth. Just cos they tried to secure the contents of the post office should hardly mean they deserved to die for that act or am I misunderstanding u? I can't imagine that they were highly paid managers, just ordinary workers although correct me if im wrong. I know Handsworth and I think saying that to people there who remember the incident would land you in a serious argument.

I don't remember this event, but from the sound of it it would have been a 'sub-post office'. These are not staffed by postal workers, but are operated on a franchise by the 'postmaster'. When I was working in the Post Office back in the 80s, there were lots of stories about 'have a go heroes' in the POs internal newspaper. The PO officially discourages it, and workers are told not to risk their lives. When somebody tried to rob me in the street with a knife (presumably for the giros), I just gave my bag to them. Despite the fact that it is 'officially discouraged, the POs newspaper is full of examples of these sorts of people, the vast majority of them being sub-Postmasters.

I can't see how burning down Post Offices does anyone any good though. It just means that unemployed people would have had to travel further to cash their giros.

Samotnaf

The problem with the attack on the bank wasn't that it was violent (there's nothing wrong with attacks on banks as such) but was that they seem to have fallen into a trap set by the highly political boss of Marfin, a trap which could only have worked because of the predictability of much of the anti-authoritarian milieu, who reduce revolt to a repetetive series of 'tactics' regardless of the simplest precautions or any attempt to think out different strategies that might be more relevant or innovative.
...
I think it might be useful to anticipate some of the conspiracies/strategies of tension in Greece. Our enemies are certainly brainstorming in private on how to control Greece and the various movements round the world (some people are saying that British intelligence might have been involved in what looks like the trap, probably fallen into by some of those adherents of the macho militantism of the anti-authoritarian milieu, at Marfin's bank).

Whilst not denying that it could have been a 'trap', I think it is worth pointing out that bosses constantly ignore safety regulations, and try to stop people striking anyway. There doesn't have to be a conspiracy at work here.

Devrim

Samotnaf

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 10, 2010

Devrim:

You shouldn't be surprised though if you take off the topic digs at people and they respond.

I was responding to Baboon, who took things "off topic".

Whilst not denying that it could have been a 'trap', I think it is worth pointing out that bosses constantly ignore safety regulations, and try to stop people striking anyway. There doesn't have to be a conspiracy at work here.

Devrim

Agreed there doesn't HAVE to be a conspiracy here, but it's a possibility, and the ruling class are constantly thinking up ideas to manipulate people to derail the class struggle or just to increase their profits in a particular sector.
* * *
Got an interesting take, from a Greek friend, on the current bout of self-questioning in the anti-authoritarian milieu: on last Wednesday 5th May, there were lots of instances of proletarian violence, and many of them could have resulted in innocent proletarians being killed. They didn't of course, but though the self-questioning about Marfins is welcome it's still within the framework of "we (the vanguard) are responsible" - a kind of guilty avant-gardism. But in the atmosphere of proletarian fury, terrible mistakes are made; now it is pretty clear that in this instance 'macho activism' played a part, but sometimes it's just stupid carelessness without any particular ideology. Witness the enormous amount of people who got bricked by our own side during the Trafalgar Square poll tax riot of 1990, due often to a kind of release of repressed anger on the part of people who'd probably never thrown a brick before and were maybe too scared to get close enough to the enemy to get their aim right. Sure, killing 3 people is on a very different scale of things but let's not just assume that the struggle for genuine humanity is going to be nice and even and follow the over-simplifications of a 'correct' programme, which always looks good on paper, but rarely get to grip with the complexities of reality, the complexities of a violent break with this crazy world.

Steven.

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on May 10, 2010

stupid carelessness without any ideology, sure, that is always going to happen, and accidents will happen when there are hundreds of thousands of angry people on the streets. However, in Greece there is a a big nihilist, violent scene around the anarchist movement. Some of us libcom people were on the demonstrations in Thessaloniki in 2003, and people could have been killed there, with shops being burned with people in the building still.

I have no problem with violence as such, but the key to winning is broadening out the struggle, not escalating the violence. I hope that out of this tragedy can at least come something positive in terms of learning for the movement over there.

Samotnaf

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 11, 2010

A friend from Athens writes about the anti-autoritarian milieu:

The problem is that they still see themselves as an avant-garde,
the main enemy the state has to fight, and thus do not see that the
state is trying to delegitimize proletarian resistance and violence in
general through the stigmatization of the particular milieu. No strikes
have been announced for this week, on the other hand, only an afternoon
demo, although other measures ("reform" of the pension system) are
about to be passed. The unions are also capitalizing on the impact of
the tragedy (ADEDY is talking about "populism and blind violence") and
the prospects seem rather bleak.

Mark.

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 11, 2010

"No more hypocrisy - no more mindless violence" (article in Greek)
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/16584

google translation

also "The morbid explosion of ideology"
http://libcom.org/library/morbid-explosion-ideology

On May the 5th the explosion of ideology that has plagued radical circles for some time now reached its tragic apex: 3 dead bank workers. With few honourable exceptions, in the next days knee-jerk reactions to the deaths consisted of blaming the police, the bosses, or even more abstractly Capital and the State for the carnage. Among these accusatory rituals, the lack of self-criticism is deafening. If the great silence were merely the result of some sort of existential numbness, it would be purely proof of the radicals’ inability to cope with the inevitable. Yet this silence is structural. It is an organisational component of the degeneration of the radical movement into a cult with its own oaths of secrecy, its own rules of speaking the truth, and of course its own precious totems and taboos...

iaourti iaourtaki

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by iaourti iaourtaki on May 11, 2010

o.k. i've stopped all publishings of research plus updates on internet, may it be this site, indymedia (except from greece) or any other bullshit: it makes no sense as "lefties" believe in the mediamachine!
after 18 months all the sects come out to play and endaxi belongs in it too: IT'S THE DECESSION OF THE GREEK REVOLUTIONARIES how they like to fight and all these news junkies should shut up and fight their own fights.
it's like: so many punkrock bands sing about the revolution instead of making anythang. THE REVOLT BELONGS TO THE STREETS AND NOT THE INTERNET cuz in prison we don have!
FREEdome for the ATHENS SEVEN!

Shorty

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Shorty on May 11, 2010

Okay, maybe not the best source to say the least, but ... Vice article

http://www.viceland.com/blogs/en/2010/05/07/the-greeks-are-still-fucked/

Mark.

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 12, 2010

"May 5th events: the anarchists speak out" - links to the various statements in English and Greek
http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2010/05/12/may-5th-the-anarchists-speak-out/

Incubus

14 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Incubus on May 13, 2010

iaourti-

The Revolt belongs everywhere. If it just stays in the streets it will only end up being defeated.

You cannot fight alienation with alienated means.

You cannot burn down a social relationship.

Acts of destruction are only of symbolic value, expressions of social anger and resistance, unless they are of practical, tactical necessity.

Any acts, or tactics, that are, or can be percieved to be, a threat to the life and health of ordinary workers are self-defeating and therefore counter-revolutionary.

iaourti iaourtaki

14 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by iaourti iaourtaki on May 21, 2010

i still haven't seen any proof that the murderous attack was carried out by revolutionaries and i'm scarred what will happen when they let Kourkoneas leave pre-trial prison on 6th of 7th of june and the case will implode...
also it was kinda phrophecy pointing at the ETA attack at a shopping mall in Barcelona in 87 with 11 or 21 dead victims, may be it was the mistake to talk about that BEFORE!
and i don't see any vanguard!
example: try to book a band in a social centre can take quite some time because the people gather about it... is this vanguard? vanguard isn't anarchy anyway and what about the story from austran t.v. that the arsons at marfin and tax-office were carried out to destroy files?
for me it all sounds like a big misunderstanding like the middle european punx understood "no future" for themselve and not for the queen.

Samotnaf

14 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on May 22, 2010

iaourti:

i still haven't seen any proof that the murderous attack was carried out by revolutionaries

You're being disingenuous. No-one's going to provide "proof" unless they want to do the State's work for it, but everyone knows that it was people from the "milieu" (we might question who is "revolutionary" and who isn't, but that's not really the point here). I suspect the State is not arresting them yet because they're planning something more useful for it (the State) than just a simple arrest; besides, not arresting them allows the anti-authoritarian milieu to carry out its internal civil war, which is so far just a war of words (though the obnoxious "Nucleus of Fire", which can positively quote Guzzman, the vicious Maoist/Stalinist responsible for almost as many deaths of peasants as the Peruvian State, might take this war beyond words).

This guilt-ridden self-questioning, though it comes a little too late, reminds me a bit of some aspects of Debord's take on the First International; to detourn Debord (thesis 91, "Society of the spectacle"), you could say that the first successes of the struggle of the anarcho-situ milieu in Greece led it to free itself from the confused influences of much of the dominant ideology which survived in it. But the defeat and repression which it is beginning to encounter is bringing to the foregound a conflict between 2 different conceptions of the proletarian revolution. Both of these conceptions contain a self-important ideological dimension and thus abandon the conscious self-emanciation of the working class. In effect, the quarrel between the fetishists of violence and their nihilist tendencies and those who want to minimise the necessarily violent aspect of proletarian revolt (which is rapidly becoming irreconcilable) is 2-edged, each having a partially true, but essentially undistanciated, critique of the other. It is a political battle, an essentially sectarian quarrel which wants to caricature the position of their opponents. Thus there are those who call those who attacked Marfins "parasites" on the movement, as if the movement is their possession, and as if the movement can be reduced to that of the anti-authoritarian milieu. They might decry "vanguardist" tendencies but if they think the a-a scene is the most important aspect of class struggle then they are as "vanguardist" as those they critique. Sure, with the Polytechnic occupation of '72 and the uprising in Dec. 08, this scene initiated a seriously significant attack on this society, but it went beyond their initiatives (occupations, general assemblies, demonstrations even in small villages, various imaginative acts) and people startee to break out of their separate scenes; his should have made the anarchos a bit more clear about the limits of their specific milieu, but sadly far too many just retreated into its safe family-like familiarity, and attacked workers for aparently accepting their lot, whereas the anarchos had seen through the con.

There are also some, who, having denounced public discussion about the fetishism of violence a few months ago, now rush to condemn it publicly without admitting their earlier attitudes; as if, in their panic about the horrors the State might mete out to them in its present viciousness, they can cover their backs - as if the State, like those radicals these individuals wish to manipulate with their present image of "correctness", also has no memory.

On the other hand, there's too much of a swing in the other direction; for instance - in treating violent attacks as just being "symbolic". Banks are not just "symbolic": the head of Marfins is directly involved in the political process of the State in Greece (which is why many people think the whole thing was a deliberate trap); Lehmann Bros was directly implicated in the misery of the Greek proletariat. When people attack these so-called symbols, they are attacking a concrete manifestation of the ruler's violence against them. Of course, this can be, and far too often is, fetishised, but then so are strikes amongst those "communists" who denigrate this particular fetish; strikes are far too often, not violent enough, and there are some, who, when strikes become violent, get all flustered and wave their ideology in the air with a shocked expression, whimpering "no...no" and refer to the wonderful model of 1917 Petrograd (see, for example, on the "insurrectionism, adventurism etc" thread, the ridiculous Impotent Camouflage for Conservatism's - the ICC's - attack on violence in the UK miner's strike). This is certainly not to justify the horrific consequences of a nihilist carelessness, but it does partly explain it. If we criticise aspects of a social movement we have to also recognise what is valid and true in these aspects in order to separate them from what is ideological and stupid.

The situation in Greece is the global rulers' laboratory for repression everywhere amidst austerity (in France, Sarkozy has just announced austerity measures that are getting a bit closer to the nasty measures coming down in Greece; and we all know about Spain and elsewhere), and if we are to contribute towards a social movement and not just mouth correct lines to impress those who are part of our particular groupuscule or scene we have to distanciate ourselves from these "families" and face reality with a greater clarity. Hand-wringing will get us hardly anywhere. And is not much better than the standard response in Greece that just doesn't want to talk about the situation because it's all too depressing (and because if you talk about it, you have to go beyond talk).