Information was ricocheted off…
Alexis was killed by a bullet that a cop shot at Exarcheia, from his chest blood came out… However, it took plenty of days for the ballistics report to come out…finally the boy was killed by a ricochet and not by a direct shot. One can say that all the stones, the molotov cocktails, the fruit that was thrown at the shop windows, expensive cars and against riot police were also by ricochet. In the end, reality is constructed by many subjective events that everyone can interpret as he/she wishes. Except journalists.
But that is another story. What we are interested in is what picture was painted in the minds of the rioters and not the picture projected by the media, the politicians, the Ermou and Tsimiski shop-owners…generally by all those who in this confrontation fortunately took a stance against us, so that we know who they ally with. We finally experience the much anticipated social polarization. Alexis’ assasination was truly the spark that triggered the expression of compressed repression of a good part of the greek society, immigrants included. The winds blown by the riots shook up not only the pavements, but also the couches, the political parties, the commissioned journalists and the rest of the social mob who year after year organize their “safety” against contemporary proletarian negations. We don’t know if this time we caught them sleeping, but we are certain that their sleep will never be as sweet as it was. It is with confidence that we speak, and this is a feeling that we share among us. It is our collective experience and memory. It is the history we’ve written and the knowledge we’ve acquired. For our goals and our means we care not to apologize.
For all those reasons, and even more, this newspaper is issued by the people who took a stance in this rioting December week somewhere in the northern hemisphere. Thought this won’t be easy we we must meet again. For all of us out there in the streets, aroused by the tragic death among us, our outburst was against all those things that steal our lives away. A life chopped everyday into pieces between house, work, entertainment – they divided us into pupils, students, workers – kids, teenagers and adults – boys, girls, men and women – natives and immigrants. They divided us into rediculous tiny categories and they stacked us up into schools, universities, workplaces, shops and bars. They offer us houses as small as cages, poorly-paid jobs and a gloomy future. But these days we were given the chance to destroy some of the things that we hate and live some of the things that we desire.
As for those men and women who are captive by the state here and there on this planet, they must know that in these difficult moments, hours, days that we are out here for them, and that they are in there for us. Our desire for a world without authority, without nations, armies, borders, police, prisons, torture, exploitation and deprivation is expressed and manifested through solidarity.
You are not alone brothers and sisters!
So, for all the reasons in the world…
P.S. This edition was printed in Thessaloniki in 50.000 copies. We apologize for any omissions or errors. Words cannot replace actions.
Welcome to the oasis of the reality We have been together in the streets, since plenty of days, along with thousands of others. Thousands of others whom we didn’t seem to know before. We happened to meet relatively recently, within the flames of the roadblocks, the solidarity of the demonstrations, the assemblies of the occupied spaces. This is probably why the media call us the “known unknowns”. We are both, in fact. Unknown to each other we are, as we live, since years, in a situation where everything alive is being destroyed, every hope is being impaired, every expectation is being contradicted. We live in this same desert with many others, but we live in distance; separated, scattered around, overwhelmed by a feeling of weakness; including the boss that pays just 700 € per month and sacks us whenever they want, the unbelievable effort required to make a living, the massive TV stupidity of a happiness that we peek through the key-hole of that mortgaged LCD TV set bought by our parents. All these situations are parts, fragments of our common life. Therefore, we are unknown to each other, in a common desert, where everybody makes a clumsy effort for their own survival. Everybody has an ego, among so many other similar egos. Until the first days of December, we were unknown for this society. As if all that we had been living, didn’t fit anywhere; neither in the TV, nor in the declarations of the left for an organized struggle, nor anywhere. During those days, accumulated anger flooded the streets; following almost twenty years of successive defeat and retreat, we got our back from the wall. Despite tons of tear-gas, sprayed by the repression forces, we can now breath freely. These don’t refer just to the people who have been in the streets, but also to those who couldn’t join us, but see that we have the right on our side and smirk in a meaningful way, as they learn what is going on. Those breaths are precious for all of us; we need them, since it is now our turn to start pushing. But, after all, who is responsible for the insurrection? Is it the furious high-school students, or the second-generation immigrants? The powerful student movement or the so-called “generation of the 700 euros”? The luben proletariat or the antiauthoritarian scene? Comrades and enemies struggle in order to define the subject of the insurrection, to find the objective conditions that generated this outbreak, to sketch the anonymous crowd that flooded the streets. In vain. The answer is simple: the insurrection is done by the insurrected ones and this finding is not a terrible tautology, it’s the crux of the matter. The paths that lead each person to the streets are a lot and are hazardous; there is a separate reason for each rebel. Though, by the moment those subjects join together and act in common, something new is created; and this one has a name: it’s called a historical act, a collective creation, a dash. Take care: all the reasons are still there, but this time reformed into an act of resistance. The insurrection involves pupils, immigrants, students, precarious workers, politically active parts, including others, of course. But the crux of the matter is not what exactly these people are, but what they become. Through the decision to go in the streets, through the encounter and the communication, the solidarity and the comradeship, the anger and the contradiction, the demonstrators become masters of their own lives. The blocked city centers are the field where all these different identities melt together and every segregation stops; even in snatches, even for a little, even if this segregation is back within a few days. It is not so important whether those who block the streets, shout slogans, give out leaflets, spray on the walls, throw stones, burn banks, are students or unemployed. What’s mostly important, is that they do all these and they do it together and this is a victory that we can’t be deprived, even under heavy repression or when everything is back to the normality. After all, what does “pupil”, “uninsured”, “immigrant”, “student” mean in this capitalist universe that it’s called “world”? Aren’t they just different names for the repression that we all live? What does “insurrection” mean, if not “taking our lives on our hands”? The days of December do not belong to anybody, but they belong to everybody at the same time; they don’t belong to any political side, any party structure, any revolutionary avant-garde; not even to the antiauthoritarian scene. The anarchists where in the streets by the first moment, accompanied by their anger and their conscience, their determination and their knowledge, their practices and their principles. Though, the reality overcame us, and that was good. This is not the right time for anybody to extend their “political store”; what is important is to try and understand, act together, build bridges. What is being unfolded in the Greek cities, is a social insurrection, and this is the only thing we can learn from; in order to get the content, to learn the new forms of organizing, to inspire ourselves from the actions. What gets in the foreground, in a really obvious way, is the social antagonism itself. Every social conflict of this scale and strength is like a civil war. Parts of the society that have different interests, relationships and ideas, confront each other. This traumatic dimension of the reality is scary and is supposed to be covered, manageable. The authority invents the necessary segregations: good students vs. bad rioters, citizens in self-defence vs. destructive freaking-out demonstrators, real class struggles vs. incited provocateurs. It’s not convincing; it’s playing its last card: calling for the unity of the nation and the displacement of the enemies of the democracy. Indeed, this is an issue. The thing is breaking and the fragments threaten the image of the authority. Democracy, as a governmental management of discipline commands, as a puppet show without symbols, stares into the chaos of reality and this chaos stares back. Their nation is fake and their democracy has no meaning at all. Yes, we are the enemies of the democracy, the betrayers of the nation. The society is not uniform, it is the field of a constant confrontation, which is sometimes underground and sometimes, like now, obvious. The state is not alone, it’s accompanied by those who see the private property as the only thing that deserves protection. Whenever the societies try to enter the accelerator of the history, there will be the ones who try to save their power, by defending the unity and the continuity of the nation, the state and the normality. Betrayers on the way from the streets to the parliament. These days, the fossils of the left wing were scared, since they felt totally alone, behind the times, quaint. The head of the Church agreed with the head of the Communist Party, alleging that “foreign forces” incited the insurrection. The Communist Youth locks the faculties up, in order to avoid spreading the revolt. The national backbone, in the entire spectrum from the left to the right wing, formed an alliance and got a position. The last resort of the defenders of the order was enabled, just in case it could sort things out. Though, we are many people in the streets of the struggle, and we will make sure to confirm their worst nightmare: to let us be the best possible social antagonism. The notion of movement is usually connected with specifying requests, with a possible positive plan that the rebells are supposed to adopt; a set of positions that would allow their representation by the parties. Part of the left-wing are concerned about that, since they try to promote a possible stepping back of the government as target according to the will and the prospects of the rebells. Nevertheless, the whole set of the rebels’ wills and practices cannot fit into the fabricated schemes of the political representation, the sociological management and the mediation by the mass media. Of course, we don’t think that we are in any better position, within this storm. What we want is to get wet and never dry again; to get to know things from the ones we meet in the streets, to live in the only way that our days deserve: against the authority. In order to understand this, you need to get drought by the tear-gas, to break the loneliness of the habit, to share the joy of revolt, to let your anger burst out. We saw structures of self-organization dominating the streets, counter-structures of information jumping out of the struggle, symbols of the state, the capital and the spectacle being destroyed. We saw many other things that we couldn’t imagine, that overtook us. Luckily. Things have a tremendous speed, into thousands of currents. In such moments, there is a crisis for the state, as a monopoly of violence and for the structures of representation, as unique administrators of the political field. In such marginal moments, it is the community of the struggle that is being born, full of meaning, not just an indefinite plan for the future, but as a present practice. The city turns into a field of encounter and experimentation, where everything is possible: the destruction of this world and the creation of different values; the creation of a new class, instead of reproducing the mainstream one. We don’t know what will be left after this insurrection. The ways it is being developed give a spectrum of possibilities that we want to live, instead of predicting. In much worse times, some comrades wrote “we are in our future”. During these days and nights, we are in our present. And we don’t want to get out of it.
The invisible have a face
We were shadows. Shadows in what you refer to as “everyday life”. Countless invisible figures that you walked by in the streets. Faces that reminded you of something but you were never sure exactly what.
The pint of beer on the bar that is full again
“I’ ve ordered a pizza half an hour ago but the delivery boy isn’t here yet”
Supermarket shelves and shiny floors
“ Where is the girl to empty the ashtrays?”
Put your helmet on, your raincoat, on your motorcycle driving across town
“Position 146, how can I help you please?”
Behind the stalls, folding clothes, in the arrays organising books on the shelves
“It seems a bit tight around the waist”
In front of computers answering phones
Circling small adds “female wanted, person with former experience needed”
And sometimes queuing outside OAED
“Signing checks every Monday-Wednesday-Friday”
Stage programmes, seminars, “new job vacancies”
Never here, never there. In constant motion, in an endless nerve-racking stand by.
Selling out ourselves, our whole lives in order to survive. Always present, always invisible, alien in our own cities.
And suddenly a shot…
“ Have you heard the news? They murdered him the bastards!”
“Who did they murder?”
“ They murdered that boy, man!
Murder. Violence. This word rings a bell. Yes, it does…
Early morning wake up for work. The stamps they didn’t give me. The rent that I need to pay every month. Suddenly hitting the brakes and the creepy sound of crawling on the road. The nights that I stay in alone. My boss calling- fuck…I need to be at work tomorrow. My struggle to get paid what I ‘ve worked for. The peering eyes of the customers on my body when I serve them. Counting my stamps- can I go on the dole? Classified adds. The clock at work that seems to be stuck and my boss has just bought a new car. And in all these the sound of a shot. He was murdered. All in the streets, man! Rage. Rage for the killing, rage for our everyday death.
We meet in the streets. We yell at their faces together. We build road blocks together. We break pavements apart and we put the stones in our pockets.Tear gas is suffocating but we go on. We continue, all of us who until yesterday we spoke a different language, all of us who until yesterday we were invisible. We go on because after this nothing will be the same again. Away from all those who tried to represent us, away from politicians and syndicates who speak a strange, foreign language, away from all those media experts who still wonder where we all came from.
We have no demands. No, we don’t. We fight for every reason in the world. We want back the life that everyday they are steeling from us. The cop’s violence who shoot the boy is the condensation of violence we suffer everyday. It is to this that we revolt.
We are no shadows anymore, although we started as such…
To live in communism to spread anarchy It is not the first time that cops commit murder, so it is not the first time that people revolt, attack the police or burn down banks. But this time things are different. The rage that broke loose scribes its own history. Yes, it is an uprising. And what is characteristic of uprisings is a gut feeling that nothing will remain unchanged, that nothing will be the same again. That’s how we feel. History is condensing, new forces are being released and authority comes to a freeze . The question that immediately pops after the first outburst is how we go on since we are no longer the same. What do we do when there is no bank left to be broken, no police quarters unravaged, where do we meet again after the riots, how do we go on relentlessly, as we used to, towards bringing down capitalism in the world? Since the first night of the murder, Athens Polytechnic School is occupied by hundreds of people. At 8/12 ASOEE (University of Economics and Business) is under occupation as well. This is a part of its 1st announcement on its blog “As a piece of social-class conflict the occupied University of Economics and Business constitutes an open space for briefing and co-formation of collective action on the streets. At the same time we consider as very important the occupation of academic institutions as spaces of rearrangement and self-organization of our forces toward the state repression, so that no one will stay on his/her own in the struggle that has been burst out against the state. For this reason the occupation of the University of Economics and Business stays open and calls for an assembly on Monday 12/08 at 20:00. We declare that the occupation will last until the release of each and everyone arrested by the police across the country.” The School of Theatre in Thessaloniki is occupied on Saturday night (6/12) after the riots on Aristotelous and Egnatia streets. From its blog: “After the demonstration at Thessaloniki on Saturday night for the murder of Alexandros, anti-authoritarians occupied the School of Theatre in Thessaloniki to cater for the need to counter-inform protesters in the city. From the start the MAT (riot police) tried in vain to invade the building. The next day after the assembly, the occupation was reinforced by drama students and by people who do not belong to any political associations.” The Salonica School of Theatre has successfully become a center for convocation, exchange of ideas, a space to organize action and it still goes on. The following day, the Lawyers’ Association of Thessaloniki building is squatted as well. There, a number of assemblies are taking place, mainly by students, and it functions as a counter-information center until the cross country strike day on 10/12, while many state schools and academic institutions begin unprecedented occupations without any specific demands. On December 12th the town hall of Aghios Dimitrios in Athens is occupied and calls for a public assembly. From this blog we can read: “We are revolting. We function on a direct-democratic bases because this is the only way that we want to live by. We’ve taken our lives in our hands. We will get rid off our bosses and help the prosecuted to get rid off their charges. We use this public building as an open center for counter-information, as a meeting place where people who have decided to change their lives come in great numbers to co-form ideas and actions.” At the first assembly 300 people are present. Actions are decided, current events are being discussed, people from different generations come together, individuals from vary social backgrounds meet each other, cultural events and greek language lessons to immigrants are being organized. From the very first moment, the Association of Public Servants of Aghios Dimitrios Municipality, stands in favour of the occupation and is actively involved in its defence. It is the first time ever that the town hall is truly open to the neighbourhood as a vivid political space. There is no point mentioning here the predictable reactions of the mayor or the cops. On the same day (12/12) the former town hall-KEP (Citizens’ Information and Service Center) on Halandri square is squatted . On the blog we can read: “The sorrow and the rage that we all feel is unvailing to be expressed by zapping from the couch in front of the TV. We decided to squat the former town hall-KEP on Halandri square, the meeting place of town hall officials, and transform it into a place for counter-information and discussion on future actions. We invite the residents of Halandri, and the ones of nearby areas to defend this squat and take part to open, egalitarian, non-guided co-forming procedures.” A public meeting is announced everyday at around 19:00, while a number of actions and demonstrations are supported. On Monday (15/12) the town hall of Sykies in Thessaloniki is under occupation. A public assembly is announced on the same afternoon. The main slogan on the banner that covers the face of the building demands the immediate release of all people arrested by police forces. What matters is these examples to spread as much as possible, for people to start deciding their own lives, to practically question the very idea of representation, of responsibility transfer, of getting politically comfortable while belonging to a party. Now it’s the time. Now, when everything has changed. The spontaneous occupations that started in many academic and non-academic places-not necessarily by students- provide the possibility for meeting each other. But they cannot accommodate us anymore. That’s why we need to squat town halls, empty houses, public buildings and transform them into places for meeting and organizing. More places like that must be created, more places must be liberated, new spaces for communication and resistance must be founded. All anarchy squats should look into how they can make their actual space more accessible to their neighborhood. Schools must close down and be transformed by the protesting social masses into places where the possibility to over throne capitalistic-nationalistic education can be real. Working places must be blocked by workers and the meaning of employment in our days must be discussed and reinvented. The idea of direct-organization and solidarity must be carried into every collective. We don’t need bosses, we are not in need for guidance, we care not for any kind of representatives. It’s time to start living in communism. It’s time to start living in anarchy. To create the communes of the future.
It’s a revolt and it’s struggling; sometimes it burns, sometimes it speaks Trying to evaluate the aspects of a social struggle, while it is still evolving, is difficult and awkward. It is even worse, when this struggle has characteristics of a generalized insurrection. Who could try to give an overview of all the forceful incidents? How could those multilateral actions, originating from various social levels, be distinguished into “important” and “unimportant”, into “pro-movement” and “provocations”, into those which “push towards the revolutionary precedence” and those which don’t?.. Of course it’s hard to say. Though, the problem is that, while we talk about this difficulty, thousands of others (journalists, politicians, cops, priests, home-makers), are trying to create their evaluation and add the last words to this insurrection, leading it to an obviously early end. Let’s see carefully what’s happening around us… High-school and university students, anarchists, employees, immigrants, hooligans, luben proletariats, are in the streets, having their discrete identities, no identities, or getting their identities mixed. As they are rising in revolt altogether, a war of communication is in on. A war that concerns everybody, including the most conservative parts of the society. It has to do with a basic rule of the Democracy game, a rule that the authority usually decides to apply. It’s a relatively easy scheme: in order for the repression to function, there is a need beneath the formal legality, for an underlying layer of political legitimacy. This is why now, when some rebels are ending up in the prison, being revenged by the authority, the state or privately-owned mechanisms of control (media, parties, institutions etc.) are the first to offer the required excuse, shifting the focus of the common sense, from the heart of the revolt, to the presumably terrible social and economical consequences of it, alleging that these would mainly affect the lower social levels. At the same time, similarly, we can read in the newspapers that historical figures of the left wing don’t allow us, the hooded ones, to identify ourselves as a movement and to link ourselves with the historical struggles of the past; we read that it’s time for the society to draw a line between the peaceful and the violent demonstrations. For those who didn’t get it, you are supposed to applause for the high-school students and set the rioters apart… (meanwhile, on the back side of the same page, we go nuts; we read that according to another opinion, this same left-wing foments the riot, and fondles the rioters -we wonder how the rioters can be fondled, being covered by hoods). Before trying to spot several exaggerated points of the media war concerning the destruction, we should make this clear: We don’t feel that we need to apologize to anybody for the consequences of a social revolt, even if it intends to totally destroy a world based on exploitation. Neither will we try to balance the destruction with the state murders. THERE IS NOTHING that can be put in balance with the missing life; and this is not a generalized statement of some abstract sentimentalism, but a clear political position against the authority. The 15-year-old student was not killed in a car accident. His death is the absolute and totalitarian projection of the state violence onto the real life. Even if we could accept -within a terrifying abstraction- that this was the only reason for the revolt, that would be enough to “counterbalance” the total destruction of this corrupt and murderous system. Nevertheless, there was never such a catastrophe that would have such disastrous consequences, resulting into the extermination of the poor and the weak… and let the mass media cry for the opposite. There are two basic communication barriers, set up during the last days, concerning the social and economical implications of the destructions, and they are used as a shield by those compliant with the state: (a)The thousands of lost working hours of the single citizens and (b) the terrible damages on private properties, owned by low proprietors. The first barrier is a relatively new recipe; a recipe that goes nicely along the economic crisis and gives “a little bit of class concern” to the reactive soup, while it meanwhile stands as an excuse for low and high-level capitalists to misbehave as employers. It is just a simple effort of shifting the consequences of the economic crisis from the bosses to the employees, using in parallel the idea of the internal enemy and the foreign forces (both the communist and the extreme right wing party claimed that even the Americans were behind the riots). Therefore, this led into the focus of the public opinion (already mediated at a terrible level) to be shifted from the issue of the tremendous social injustice to the discussion about those 2,500 working positions, which would be lost when those people lose their jobs… Though, it is still unknown why these working positions were “lost”. A fair statement by a serious mainstream journalist (…) could be that 2,500 employees (provided that they are so many), couldn’t go to their jobs, the following day. Well. Maybe for two or for ten days, as long as their everyday prison was being repaired. Nevertheless, if these employees didn’t receive their wage from their bosses, that should not be attributed to the rebels. Same if there was an asthmatic in Exarchia; he couldn’t blame the demonstrators that their actions result into extraordinary use of tear-gas by the police (of course this is ALSO expected). Also, several clever entrepreneurs, despite the compensation they receive from the state and despite the compensation paid by insurance companies, they will still get the chance to sack some employees, without even giving them the legal compensation; this is a fact that has nothing to do with any revolt or any destruction… (not to mention that, whether we like it or not, capitalism gets back to a motion and balances back, after the destruction: the financial newspaper Naftemporiki estimates that more than 50 million Euros will be paid back by the insurance companies. As if by magic, exactly the same value of destruction had been previously estimated by the Chamber of Commerce…) The second barrier of the war of communication, focusing on the destroyed property of the poor people, is a known successful recipe against every social struggle. It is not by chance, that this also includes a tiny bit of a class theory. So, if we would try to counteract to this barrier, beyond using a slogan for a general depreciation of the private property (keeping an analogy to what Proudhon said, we could for example say that “small property is small theft”) we have to note that there is no clear definition for what is a “small store” in Voukourestiou str. or the small but fair boss in Patission str. After all, yes, there was a lot of destruction, and some it was in small stores (we said: THERE IS A REVOLT). Nevertheless, during December, there were two obvious data that radically changed the image of the destruction: (a) that a lot of commercial kings were shown as small stores, eg. fast food chains (shitty food, shitty life) were presented as restaurants and (b) that both the multinational corporations and the several small stores with broken windows got in the same list of damages, resulting into that famous list reported by all the TV channels, having more than 400 destroyed small shops… Let’s set the scam apart and come back to our own barriers; let’s count our “profit” from this struggle that is still on: solidarity, self-determination, multilateral action. By looking on the other side, where there used to be the barrier of the enemy, through this dirty mass, we may see a ray of light. If we are careful enough, we may see that the whole chatter about the damages of the small properties, is making a little underlying point. This constant reporting on the private properties of the poor people in conjunction with the general silence for the damages on the banks and the multinational corporations, may mean a general disappointment of a new form. It may mean an underlying depreciation of AT LEAST the large property, which seems to be considered, by almost the entire society, as provocative; PROVOCATIVE during these hard times we live. Who knows… Maybe it is the beginning for the depreciation of all property. Perhaps, this simple, generalized, even populist depreciation of the large property, will be accounted in the future as one of the “movement profits” gained by this insurrection. Similarly, another “profit” may be accounted in the future; the simple and unstrained inclusion in everyday speech, of an old slogan that unites all of us, “PIGS-COPS-KILLERS”.