Just when we were finishing this review important events took place in Greece. Following the murder of a youngster by cops in Athens thousands of proletarians took to the streets in dozens of cities and clashed with the police. For several weeks, universities, high schools, public buildings, radio and television stations, trade-union premises… have been occupied. All sectors of the proletariat took part in this movement and developed its community of struggle and class associationnism.
For lack of a more complete analysis of these struggles we publish here some texts and statements coming from proletarians in rupture with capital’s law and order. Some of these texts express the refusal of democracy, its parties and unions, and reaffirm the perspective of the classless society, without boss, without State, i.e. the perspective of Communism.
An Open Letter to StudentsDecember 16th 2008
by Workers in Athens
Our age difference and the general estrangement make it difficult for us to discuss with you in the streets; this is why we send you this letter.
Most of us have not (yet) been bald or big-bellied. We are part of the 1990-91 movement. You must have heard of it. Back then, and while we had occupied our schools for 30-35 days, fascists killed a teacher because he had gone beyond his natural role (that of being our guard) and crossed the line to the opposite side; he had come with us, into our struggle. Then, even the toughest of us got to the streets and riot. However, we didn’t even think of doing what you easily do today: attack police stations (although we sang “burn police stations…”).
So, you’re gone beyond us, as always happens in history. Conditions are different of course. During ‘90s they passed us off the prospect of personal success and some of us swallowed it. Now people cannot believe this fairy tale. Your older brothers showed us this during the 2006-07 students’ movement; you now spit their fairy tale to their faces.
So far so good.
Now the good and difficult matters begin.
We’ll tell you what we’ve learned from our struggles and our defeats (because as long as world is not ours we’ll always be the defeated ones) and you can use what we’ve learned as you wish:
Don’t stay alone. Call us; call as many people as possible. We don’t know how you can do that, you will find the way. You’ve already occupied your schools and you tell us that the most important reason is that you don’t like your schools. Nice. Since you’ve already occupied them change their role. Share your occupations with other people. Let your schools become the first buildings to house our new relations. Their most powerful weapon is dividing us. Just like you are not afraid of attacking their police stations because you are together, don’t be afraid to call us to change our life all together.
Don’t listen to any political organization (either anarchists or anyone). Do what you need to. Trust people, not abstract schemes and ideas. Trust your direct relations with people. Trust your friends; make as many people as possible in your struggle your people. Don’t listen to them when they’re saying that your struggle doesn’t have a political content and must seemingly obtain. Your struggle is the content. You only have your struggle and it’s in your hands to preserve its advance. It’s only your struggle that can change your life, namely you and the real relations with your fellowmen.
Don’t be afraid to proceed when confronting new things. Each one of us, as we’re getting older, has things planted in their brains. You too, although you are young. Don’t forget the importance of this fact.
Back in 1991, we confronted the smell of the new world and, trust us, we found it difficult. We learned that there must always be limits. Don’t be scared by the destruction of commodities. Don’t be scared by people looting stores. We make all these, they are ours. You (just like we in the past) are raised to get up every morning in order to make things that they will later not be yours. Let’s get them back all together and share them. Just like we share our friends and the love among us.
We apologize for writing this letter quickly, but we do it swinging the lead from our work, secretly from our boss. We are imprisoned in work, just like you are imprisoned in school.
We’ll now lie to our boss and leave work: we’ll come to meet you in Syntagma sq with stones in our hands.
INVITATION TO THE OPEN POPULAR ASSEMBLY OF THE LIBERATED CITY HALL OF AGHIOS DIMITRIOSOn December 6th, 2008, the special guard Epaminondas Korkoneas pulled out his gun and murdered a citizen, a 16-year old kid. The rage that everyone feels is huge, despite all the attempts by the government and the mass media to disorient public opinion.
It is now certain that this insurrection is not only homage to the unjust loss of Alexandros Grigoropoulos. There has been a lot of talk since then about violence, thefts and pillages. For those in the media and power, violence is only what destroys the proper order.
For us however:
Violence is to work 40 years for crumbs and to wonder if you will ever retire.
Violence is the bonds, the stolen pensions, the securities fraud.
Violence is to be forced to take a housing loan that you will pay back through the nose.
Violence is the managerial right of the employer to fire you at will.
Violence is unemployment, temporary employment, 700 euros a month.
Violence is the “industrial accidents” because the bosses cut costs at the expense of worker safety.
Violence is to take psycho-medications and vitamins to withstand the exhaustive work schedule.
Violence is to be an immigrant, to live with the fear that you can be thrown out of the country at any time and to be in a state of constant insecurity.
Violence is to be simultaneously a wage worker, a housewife, and a mother.
Violence is to be worked to death and then to be told "smile, we are not asking that much of you."
The insurrection of high-school and university students, of temporary workers and immigrants broke this violence of normality. This insurrection must not stop! Syndicalists, political parties, priests, journalists and businesspeople do whatever they can to maintain the violence we described above.
It is not just them, but we too are responsible for the perpetuation of this situation. The insurrection opened a space where we can finally express ourselves freely. As a continuation of this opening we went forward with the occupation of the City Hall of Ag. Dimitrios and the formation of a popular assembly open to all.
An open space for communication, to break our silence, to undertake action for our life.
Saturday December 13 2008, 7:00pm, open popular assembly at the Ag. Dimitrios city hall.
NO PROSECUTION – IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ALL THOSE ARRESTED
OCCUPATION OF AG. DIMITRIOS CITY HALL
WE DESTROY THE PRESENT BECAUSE WE COME"The first dawning light comes out of the deepest darkness"
FROM THE FUTURE
Up until the Saturday night of 06/12/08 we could say that "jusqu'ici tout va bien", watching everyone's personal fall into the desert of the capitalist system. Then the crash came, and the destructive madness seized large parts of the youth of the country. At first, like so many times in history, it was the actions that did the talking. First the cop gun talked, shouting in the crudest manner the repulsion of Authority of every kind toward the phenomenon of life. The blood of a teenager was spilt, and immediately another cry instantly transmitted from Exarchia to the economic center of the metropolis and other big cities, a cry made out of collapsing glass and flames, transforming banks and malls into a raging cloud with the inscription: REVENGE.
Two days later the christmas centers of the cities looked as if they had been the targets of war bombing, while the already crisis-ridden economy took another deadly blow in its heart by hordes of "hooligans" looting commodities. "The Varkiza Treaty is broken, we are at war again". We are talking about the return of class struggle to the foreground, we are talking about the solution to the crisis: For us. And we're only getting started. Let's go…
We are part of the revolt of life against the daily death the existing social relations impose on us. With the destructive power that was latent in us we realize a wild (but contradictory) attack on the institution of private property. We occupy the streets, we breathe freely despite the tear gas, attacking the most despiteful image of ourselves: the image of ourselves as the bosses' slaves, that in its most extreme, most repugnant form is the cop. We erect a steadfast barricade against the loathsome normality of the cycle of production and distribution. In the current conjunction, nothing is more important than consolidating this barricade against the class enemy. Even if we retreat under the pressure of the (para-) state scum and the insufficiency of the barricade, we all know that nothing will ever be the same in our lives.
We also position ourselves in the historical conjunction of the recomposition of a new class subject, that carries from long ago the promise of assuming the role of the gravedigger of the capitalist system. We believe that the proletariat was never a class because of its position; on the contrary, it constitutes itself as a class for itself on the ground of the clash with the bosses, first acting and only later gaining consciousness of its actions. The recomposition is taking place by groups of subjects that become aware that they have no control over their own lives, from groups that have been -or are getting- squeezed on the bottom of the barrel, and are now entering a contradictionary trajectory toward unification.
Wage work has always been a blackmail. Nowadays this holds even more, as the number of workers that are employed only circumstantially and precariously in sectors which, while necessary for the reproduction of capitalist domination have no social usefulness whatsoever, is also growing. In these sectors, class struggles, exiled from the field of self-management of production, move into the field of the generalized blocking and sabotage. Simultaneously, the automatization of production and the abandonment of the politics of full employment create whole reserve armies of jobless proletarians who are pushed to the fringes of society and resort to insecured labor or turn to crime economy in order to survive. Jobless, precarious workers, highschool and university students destined to become future wage slaves, migrant workers of the first and second generation that daily live the marginalization and the repression constituted along with radical workers' minorities the community of the insurgents of December, a community based on the common condition of alienation and exploitation that defines a society based on commodity-work. Let's remind ourselves that the eve of this feast-day was celebrated from those even lower, from those who have lost every joy in the places of torment of democracy, from the prisoners of the Greek prisons.
The owners of the commodity labor-power who had it invested in the stock exchange of social security and in the hope of seeing their offspring exiting this condition through social ascension, continue to observe the insurrectionary party without taking part, but also without calling the police to dissolve it. Along with the substitution of social security with police security and the collapse of the stock market of class movability, many workers, under the burden of the collapsing universe of petit-bourgeois ideology and the state hybris, are moving toward a (socially important) moral justification of the youth outbreak, but without yet joining the attack against this murderous world.
They kept on dragging their corpse on three-month litanies of the professional unionists and on defending a sad sectional defeatism against the raging class aggressiveness that is rapidly coming to the fore. These two worlds met up on Monday, 8/12, on the streets, and the entire country caught on fire. The world of the sectional defeatism took the streets to defend the democratic right of the separated roles of the citizen, the worker, the consumer, to participate in demonstrations without getting shot at. Nearby, not that far away, the world of class aggressiveness took the streets in the form of small organized "gangs" that break, burn, loot, smash the pavements to throw stones onto the murderers. The first world (at least as expressed in the politics of the professional unionists) was so scared by the presence of the second, that on Wednesday, 10/12, attempted to demonstrate without the annoying presence of the "riff-raff". The dilemma regarding how to be on the streets was already layed in: Either with the democratic safety of the citizen, or with the clash solidarity of the group, the aggressive block, the march that defends everyone's existence with sharp attacks and barricades.
The December events ("Dekemvriana") of 2008 in Greece are the latest link in a series of insurrections that are sweeping through the capitalist world. In its decadent phase, capitalist society neither can, nor does it aim at gaining the consent of the exploited through the integration of partial demands. All that remains is is repression. With the restructuring that began in the mid-seventies (to repel the proletarian mutiny that is known as "movement-68"), capital faced the following contradiction: while it had the ability to create a human mass of passive tv-viewers and commodity-consumers, it had to simultaneously refuse them (by lowering their wages) the possibility of buying these commodities. From this point of view, the looting of a mall in Stadiou str. by people who are daily sharing the promises of a false consumer happiness, while being refused the means to realize these promises, shouldn't come out as a surprise.
The insurrection of December didn't put out any concrete demands, exactly because the participating subjects daily experience, and therefore know the denial of the ruling class to meet any such demand. The wisperings of the left, that initially demanded the removal of the government were replaced by a mute terror and a desperate attempt to relieve the uncontrollable insurrectionary wave. The absence of any reformist demand whatsoever reflects an underground (but still unconscious) disposition toward a radical subversion and surpassing of the existing commodity relations and the creation of qualitatively now ones.
Everything begins and matures in violence – but nothing stops there. The destructive violence that unleashed in the events of December caused the blocking of the capitalist normality in the center of the metropolis, a necessary yet insufficient condition for the transforming of the insurrection into an attempt for social liberation. The destabilation of capitalist society is impossible without paralysing the economy – that is, without disrupting the function of the centers of production and distribution, through sabotage, occupations, strikes. The absence of a positive, creative proposal for a different form of organizing the social relations was –up until now– more than self-evident. Nevertheless, the insurrection of December must be understood within the historical context of an enlivement process of class struggle that takes place on the international level.
A series of struggle practices – some have surfaced in elementary form in many countries where significant class conflicts took place recently – propose and realize in a germinal level the human community that abolishes and creatively transcends the alienated commodity relations: occupied schools can be used as regrouping centers to reclaim the streets and the public space in general; public anti-lessons organized within the context of the recent movement of precarious workers/students in Italy, putting knowledge under the service of the forming community; collective appropriations of supermarkets and bookstores, and the collective life in the occupation as a self-fullfilment of the demands for free feeding, housing, books; the radical contestation of the property relations, cooperation instead of personal appropriation (and sometimes reselling) of the appropriated commodities; neighborhood assemblies linking up, starting from the local issues, prefiguring thus a society where decisions are taken and are executed without the mediation of any separated power whatsoever (sf. Oaxaca); free transportations with the public transportation, the déménages (invading into employment agencies and throwing all their stuff into the street) as were systematically made during the anti-CPE movement in France. These (and countless others, that can be born out of the personal and collective intelligence) are the practises that can enrich and fertilize the powers of negation, so that through the turmoil of insurrection, the free, communist society will start to take shape.
We do everything within our reach not to abandon the occupations and the streets, because we don't want to go home. We get miserable and unhappy with the "realistic" thought that sooner or later we will have to return to normality. We get full of joy with the thought that we are in the beginning of a historical process of enlivenment of class struggle, and that if we want to, if we fight for it, if we believe in it, it can lead us out of the crisis, into the revolutionary getaway from the system.
Proletarians from the occupied ASOEE
December 18th 2008
A Bedouin anytime! A citizen never.Having by our late labours and hazards made it appear to the world at how high a rate we value our just freedom (…) we do now hold our selves bound in mutual duty to each other, to take the best care we can for the future, to avoid the danger of returning into a slavish condition.
- Levellers, An Agreement of the People, 1647
Let’s look beyond the tear gas, the baton sticks and the riot police vans: The operation being conducted by the bosses since December 6th doesn’t comprise a mere combination of repression and propaganda; rather, it is the application of a series of methods aiming to re-negotiate social peace and consensus.
From the communist party, which views the revolted people as puppets of syriza (the euro-left parliamentary party – transl.) and of cia, all the way to socialist party politicians moaning that Athens resembles a city of the Eastern Block, what with its streets empty from consumers. From the archbishop of Thessaloniki, who begs his flock to go shopping and the city’s international exposition offering free parking to Christmas shoppers, they all hold a common target: The return to the normality of democracy and consumption. Thus the day after the revolt, which happens to coincide with a dead consumer feast such as Christmas, is accompanied by the demand that this must celebrated at all cost: not only in order for some tills to fill up but in order for us all to return to our graves. The day after holds the demand of the living dead that nothing disturbs their eternal sleep no more. It holds a moratorium legitimising the emptiness of their spectacle-driven world, a world of quiet and peaceful life. And the generals of this war hold no weapon that is more lethal than the appeal to that absolute, timeless idea: democracy.
The word-for-democracy, developing as it does ever more densely from the side of the demagogues of calmness, aims at the social imaginary – the collective field of structuring of desires and fears. It aims, in other words, at the field where procedures invisibly take place that can secure or threaten order and its truth. Everyone knew, well before the assassination of Alexis, that the oligarchy of capital had given up on trying even to seem democratic, even by bourgeois terms: economic scandals, blatant incidents of police violence, monstrous laws. Yet this fact is not, neither here nor anywhere else, what might worry the bosses. This is precisely because the constant reproduction of the establishment under such terms (“is it democratic enough? Is it really democratic?”) reproduces the capitalist oligarchy that builds around it a wall of scandals, remorses, resignations, demands and reforms – preventing, in this way, the questioning of (not the democratic qualities of the regime but) democracy as a system of social organising. Hence bosses can still appeal to this higher value today, this axiomatic mechanism of the political, in order to bring us back to normality, consensus, compromise. In order to assimilate the general spontaneous rage in the sphere of mediation before this rage can organise itself into a revolutionary potential which would swoop all and any intermediaries and peaceful democrats – bringing along a new form of organising: the commune.
Amidst this ludicrous climate of shallow analyses the salaried officials of the psychological warfare point at the revolted, howling: “That’s not democratic, that ignores the rules under which our democracy functions”. We cannot help but momentarily stand speechless in the face of what we would until recently have considered impossible. Even if having the intention to deceive, the bosses of this country have said something true: We despise democracy more than anything else in this decadent world. For what is democracy other than a system of discriminations and coercions in the service of property and privacy? And what are its rules, other than rules of negotiation of the right to own – the invisible rules of alienation? Freedom, rights equality, egalitarianism: all these dead ideological masks together cannot cover their mission: the generalisation and preservation of the social as an economic sphere, as a sphere where not only what you have produced but also what you are and what you can do are already alienated. The bourgeois, with a voice trembling from piety, promise: rights, justice, equality. And the revolted hear: repression, exploitation, looting. Democracy is the political system where everyone is equal in front of the guillotine of the spectacle-product. The only problem that concerned democrats, from Cromwell to Montesquieu, is what form of property is sufficient in order for someone to be recognised as a citizen, what kind of rights and obligations guarantee that they will never understand themselves as something beyond a private citizen. Everything else is no more than adjusting details of a regime in the service of capital.
Our despise for democracy does not derive from some sort of idealism but rather, from our very material animosity for a social entity where value and organising are centered around the product and the spectacle. The revolt was by definition also a revolt against property and alienation. Anyone that didn’t hide behind the curtains of their privacy, anyone who was out on the streets, knows it only too well: Shops were looted not for computers, clothes or furniture to be resold but for the joy of destructing what alienates us: the spectacle of the product. Anyone who doesn’t understand why someone delights in the sight of a destructed product is a merchant or a cop. The fires that warmed the bodies of the revolted in these long December nights were full of the liberated products of our toil, from the disarmed symbols of what used to be an almighty fantasy. We simply took what belonged to us and we threw it to the fire together with all its co-expressions. The grand potlatch of the past few days was also a revolt of desire against the imposed rule of scarcity. A revolt of the gift against the sovereignty of money. A revolt of the anarchy of use value against the democracy of exchange value. A revolt of spontaneous collective freedom against rationalised individual coercion.
December 23rd 2008
THEIR DEMOCRACY MURDERS…On Saturday December 6, 2008, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year old comrade, was murdered in cold blood, with a bullet in the chest by the cop Epaminondas Korkoneas of the special guards’ police force in the area of Exarchia.
Contrary to the statements of politicians and journalists who are accomplices to the murder, this was not an “isolated incident”, but an explosion of the state repression which systematically and in an organised manner targets those who resist, those who revolt, the anarchists and antiauthoritarians. It is the peak of state terrorism which is expressed with the upgrading of the role of repressive mechanisms, their continuous armament, the increasing levels of violence they use, with the doctrine of “zero tolerance”, with the slandering media propaganda that criminalizes those who are fighting against authority.
It is these conditions that prepare the ground for the intensification of repression, attempting to extract social consent beforehand, and arming the weapons of state murderers in uniform that are targeting the people who fight, the youth, the damned who are revolting in the entire country. Lethal violence against the people in the social and class struggle is aiming at everybody’s submission, serving as exemplary punishment, meant to spread fear.
It is the escalation of the generalized attack of the state and the bosses against the whole of society, in order to impose more rigid conditions of exploitation and oppression, to consolidate control and repression. An attack that is reflected everyday on poverty, social exclusion, the blackmail to adjust in the world of social and class divisions, the ideological war launched by the dominant mechanisms of manipulation (the mass media). An attack which is raging in every social space, demanding from the oppressed their division and silence. From the schools’ cells and the universities to the dungeons of waged slavery with the hundreds of dead workers in the so-called “working accidents” and the poverty embracing large numbers of the population… From the minefields in the borders, the pogroms and the murders of immigrants and refugees to the numerous “suicides” in prisons and police stations… from the “accidental shootings” in police blockades to violent repression of local resistances, Democracy is showing its teeth!
In these conditions of fierce exploitation and oppression, and against the daily looting and pillage that the state and the bosses are launching, taking as spoils the oppressed people’s labour force, their life, their dignity and freedom, the accumulated social suffocation is accompanying today the rage erupting in the streets and the barricades for the murder of Alexandros.
From the first moment after the murder of Alexandros, spontaneous demonstrations and riots appear in the centre of Athens, the Polytechnic, the Economic and the Law Schools are being occupied and attacks against state and capitalist targets take place in many different neighbourhoods and in the city centre. Demonstrations, attacks and clashes erupt in Thessaloniki, Patras, Volos, Chania and Heraklion in Crete, in Giannena, Komotini, Xanthi, Serres, Sparti, Alexandroupoli, Mytilini. In Athens, in Patission Street -outside the Polytechnic and the Economic School- clashes last all night. Outside the Polytechnic the riot police make use of plastic bullets.
On Sunday the 7th December, thousands of people demonstrate towards the police headquarters in Athens, attacking the riot police. Clashes of unprecedented tension spread in the streets of the city centre, lasting until late at night. Many demonstrators are injured and a number of them are arrested.
From Monday morning until today the revolt spreads and becomes generalized. The last days are full of uncountable social events: militant high school students’ demonstrations ending up -in many cases- in attacks against police stations and clashes with the cops in the neighbourhoods of Athens and in the rest of the country, massive demonstrations and conflicts between protestors and the police in the centre of Athens, during which there are assaults in banks, big department stores and ministries, siege of the Parliament in Syntagma square, occupations of public buildings, demonstrations ending in riots and attacks against state and capitalist targets in many different cities. (...)
The bullets of the murderers in uniform, the arrests and beatings of demonstrators, the chemical gas war launched by the police forces, the ideological attack of Democracy not only cannot manage to impose fear and silence, but they become for the people the reason to raise against state terrorism the cries of the struggle for freedom, to abandon fear and to meet –more and more every day, youth, high school and university students, immigrants, jobless, workers- in the streets of revolt. To let the rage overflow and drown them!
THE STATE, THE BOSSES, THEIR THUGS AND THEIR LACKEYS ARE MOCKING US, ROBBING US AND KILLING US!
LET’S ORGANISE, COUNTER-ATTACK AND SMASH THEM!
THESE NIGHTS BELONG TO ALEXIS!
CONCENTRATION FOR SOLIDARITY TO THE ARRESTED AT EVELPIDON COURTHOUSE: MONDAY, 15 DECEMBER 2008, 9am
We are sending our solidarity to everyone occupying universities, schools and state buildings, demonstrating and clashing with the state murderers all over the country.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ALL THE ARRESTED
We are sending our solidarity to all comrades abroad who are mobilizing, transferring our voice everywhere. In the great battle for global social liberation we stand together!
The Occupation of the Polytechnic University in Athens,
Friday, December 12th, 2008