Iulia: A participant in the queer and anarchist movements
The situation was boiling before December, all the scandals, the apathy of the bourgeoisie, people wanting to create a change but not knowing how. Then the groups that thought they were the specialists, like the leftists and the anarchists, they lost their place in the hierarchy because immigrants and students and people with no political identity were out in the streets. These specialists were supposed to be leading the struggle but they had lost their status. They had to make alliances with other people who were out on the streets. This opened those groups up. They had to think about their role. It also had a fragmenting effect and opened the gender relationships. A bit of light came in, although I wouldn’t say it’s wide open. It helped that women had the opportunity to fight in the streets.
A queer movement is developing in Greece, slowly but we’re trying. I was really surprised, during Carnival there was a queer party at Villa Amalias, which is normally very closed, a ghetto, exclusively punk.
I don’t want to criticise, I'm just making observations, because things are getting much better, things are happening. But I can see why and how people can be included or how they can be excluded. There are a lot of girls who participate in the violence and that’s very positive; and there are a lot of girls in the assemblies. I think there is an equilibrium. But women lack visibility I would say the biggest problem is that the smaller issues are not discussed, like sexuality, even labour, or gender relations, or art. The good thing with December is that this started to open up. It seems like we’re getting closer.
The thinking hasn’t changed much. For example there is lots of solidarity with Kuneva but we don’t talk about why these women from Bulgaria are in this position. We just denounce precarious work and that’s that. But still, because of the attack on Kuneva there are openings. It’s just that I'm impatient and I want things to get done. I don’t want to criticise because things are getting done slowly, but I want to caution that it needs to go beyond simple solidarity. The anarchists, we take up a cause and it becomes ours because we show better solidarity than anyone else. What we need to do is analyse it, take it to pieces and ask why these women are in such a precarious position, who are they and I think that’s the way to make the movement open to more people, by opening up to their experiences.
The topic of gender relations can work in a fractal way. From the situation with Kuneva there is the potential for things to move off in multiple directions and all the different themes can be discussed instead of being overshadowed by this solidarity umbrella. That's my vision, that it branches off in multiple directions. I wish the movement would talk about the whores. No one talks about them now. In December you had a free zone in Solomou in Exarchia, it was like a liberated zone, yet you still had whores from Nigeria working there, What the fuck? They’re still there now and nobody talks about it. How can you intervene in such a situation? There must be a way It’s the same with the drug addicts.
The groups focusing on gender relations are minor and without much visibility And many anarchists look down on them, as though the issue is not so important. And typically they don't make connections between the struggles. But you can see a change. Connections are starting to be made. I’m optimistic.
Maybe this thing with the parks is quite a feminine project. I’m not fond of using these terms, feminine, masculine, because this is a trap, a dualism. But this focus on the parks and the public space has the potential to change the gender relations, because they are self-organised and come from within the movement. In those spaces gender relations can take on different forms because it’s not a combat situation with barricades and no time to try out new things, just, "Ill do the first aid and you do the stones." It is crucial that it’s happening in a public space, that it's not closed. And I have a very good feeling about what’s going to happen at the new squat on Patision.
Because Greek society is very patriarchal, when we say that things are going to change, the first thing you imagine is that things are going to become more feminine, because that’s what’s missing, that’s the energy that has been suppressed. But I have a problem with the terminology because it can become a trap, masculine and feminine, using the terms they impose. But then if you don’t speak about it I don’t think you can change it.
Anyway I want things to change but I don’t want the attacks to stop. I enjoyed the Kolonaki action when I saw it on TV. There’s some people making this very awful argument, saying that after these attacks there are more cops on the streets. And they blame the actions for the repression. But the repression is everywhere, in the jobs and the everyday lives. You can’t say the repression starts after you go smash a window, it just becomes obvious. They don’t understand that repression is everywhere but some people have the courage to play with their own body and risk themselves to reveal this repression.
You also need the battles. They’re not necessary for their logic, they’re necessary for their passion, and that’s the first thing you have to do, you react to this gloom, and it helps you start to organise. There’s a paradox that I haven't sorted out. If you favour violence then you personally have to throw stones. You can’t just sit on your couch. When the insurrection was happening I had to be there in the streets. Whether I’m going to be up front throwing stones, that’s up to me and my courage and my abilities.
The movement still needs to open up more, to leave behind this bourgeois normality but after December it is getting better. I feel very lucky to be living in these times.