Elina: An unemployed anarchist from Agrinio
Agrinio is a small town of 80,000 people with a radical history in western Greece. The anarcho-syndicalists were very active here, and there was a major tobacco strike in the ’20s. And this is the city where the Anarchist Union started.I think that was the ’70s but I’m not very good with the chronology. The anarchists in Agrinio thought that all the anarchists should come together, and also that they should be more social. This was at the time when other anarchists were taking up arms, like ELA (Popular Revolutionary Struggle). But the Anarchist Union failed. They had their assembly in Agrinio and Athens and Thessaloniki but in the other cities it stopped working. Later there was the Anarchist Federation of West Greece, it was mostly anarchist-communists, and Agrinio participated, but this also failed.
There were riots in Agrinio in December, of course. There were demonstrations with four hundred, five hundred people, and they smashed the banks. Lots of high school students participated, as well as the anarchists, including anarchists of the older generations and from the villages around Agrinio. This is what made December a rebellion, the fact that it came to all the small cities and the villages. Otherwise it would have just been a huge demonstration, a huge riot, in Athens.
Most people, normal people, were glad when they saw the smashed banks. My aunt went out to see the broken windows because she said it made her happy She was calling all her friends on her mobile phone, saying "They smashed all the banks here! And here too!" all full of joy But in a small village you can’t smash so many things since you usually know the person who owns it. Because of this there were some conflicts between Alpha Kappa and the Black Bloc anarchists here, with some people telling others not to smash certain shops.
After December you can see the difference. The thing didn’t stop with the demonstrations. Right after December anti-authoritarians of Agrinio made a new social centre, it’s the second one, there already was one anarchist social centre. The anti-authoritarian group Aura of Freedom, along with a cultural hip-hop collective, rented a building, painted it, fixed it up, and started hosting events. And some of the young people who became active in December are still participating. But it’s not just young people, some older people are participating as well. A colleague of my mother teaches classes in the new social centre. There are also two new pirate radio stations, Radiourgia and Kokkinoskoufitsa. Kokkinoskoufitsa means "Little Red Riding Hood," actually It was the name of the pirate radio station here in the ’80s and ’90s so in a way it’s been reincarnated in the struggles of our times.
I think the major result of December in Agrinio and maybe other villages and towns in the countryside has been that more women and men in their 30s and 40s, people from the generation of our grandfathers and our fathers, and also more leftists, are coming nearer to the anarchist and anti-authoritarian ideas.