Solidarity is a flame

A. G. Schwarz

Submitted by Uncreative on December 17, 2010

Solidarity is a flame that cannot be extinguished.
- words from a poster urging support for the Greek insurrection

It was a miserable winter evening tied down with the razor wire of routine and obligation when I realized that, if I let myself, I was free to do whatever I wanted. Of course it's not the first time I’ve thought this, but it’s a realisation that’s heavy with the responsibility that accompanies it: it sinks like a stone amidst the empty interactions that people our worlds, and we have to keep reaching for it and picking it up again.

What I wanted to do that particular evening was to go back to Greece. I was tired of nourishing myself on the smallest signs of life that our dream gives off in these inhospitable circumstances, or the more dramatic signs from somewhere else that one can find on the Internet.

But I didn’t want to go to Greece just to pick myself up, as important as that was. What good would it do for me to replenish my inspiration if all my friends were slowly hardening? If people were citing the insurrection in Greece not to take hope or strategic lessons but to prove to themselves that the struggle is only possible some place far away? Or, even worse, if people were saying that the struggle in Greece is just as doomed as anywhere else, citing the fact that the fires had died down after Christmas?

But in cryptic emails the Greek comrades were insisting that even though the fires had gone out, nothing had gone back to normal. I realised that as anarchists we focus a lot on the strange alchemy that suddenly explodes in insurrection, we drool over the insurrections themselves, but in regards to what comes after, we know almost nothing. Is it because we’re trapped waiting for a riot that never ends, or do we fear the demands the revolution will make of us, once we’ve burned everything? And what does happen after the angry crowds of the insurrection disappear?

I felt a need to go to Greece, to talk to people there, find out what was happening and why and share these stories with as much of the rest of the world as possible. So I wrote to my friends there with my proposal, they wrote back with ideas of their own, and I started to look into how the hell I could get over there without any money being for the past months, unemployed, another victim of the crisis.

Suddenly, the winter darkness was the cloak for an ember that could burst again into flames. The obligations and routines that pretended to tie down my future blew away like paper.

Everything is possible again. The struggle welcomes us back ecstatically.