AntifAlice in Monsterland

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’ [1]

Racism, xenophobia and fascist obsessions appeared as trends in Greek society when the first wave of immigrants entered the country in the early 90’s. But given the exploitation of immigrants from almost all parts of Greek society and of any profit the exploiters gained in a time of artificial economic prosperity, these trends were, in a manner, dormant. It makes sense: When they harvest your olives and fruits, when they work in construction and the Olympic Games projects, when they clean your toilets and help your annoying, senile mother-in-law defecate, when they spread their legs in brothels, etc., and they do all this with no complaints, with no insurance, for very little pay and on top of it, they thank you; then you, the successful Greek lower/middle/upper-class bourgeois, can feel like the masters in Uncle Tom’s cabin (smiling masters, who understand and sympathize with the slaves…)

Greek capitalism failed; it was always irrational even from a capitalist perspective, meaning that, apart from brutal and anti-societal, it was and remains both counterproductive (being innately obsessed with hoarding profit, rather than making investments), wry, mafia-like and under intractable state protection to the extent that it constitutes the very definition of political entanglement. It naturally led to the advent of poverty and Greece’s economic shipwreck, these being the precipitating factors of the appearance of the fascist disease that could no longer be kept in a state of incubation.

Already since the era of the “movement of the squares,” an undefined and heterogeneous mob gradually appeared, alongside the people’s assemblies. This crowd consisted of “patriots” with strong nationalist tendencies, fearful or even delusional conspiracy-theorists, new-world-order-phobics, and fascists. After the elections of May 6 and June 17 the nightmare became so real, that no matter how much we pinch ourselves, we cannot wake up from it: 441,000 and 426,000 votes respectively, for the neo-Nazi organization. From the very first moment that the neo-Nazis realized they have a potentially large audience, the atrocities began: Beatings and killings of migrants, bullying in the workplace, constant terror; many people have even spoken of disappearances, rapes and practices that incorporate more than half the crimes of the Criminal Code.

Any act of violence by the neo-Nazis which remains unanswered or is directly or indirectly tolerated, or even desirable, raises for them and their friends, a sense of grandeur, a sense of even greater power. This, in turn, fuels yet another even more fierce wave of hatred and (fascist) intolerance that ultimately creates a constant threat that not only targets migrants and political groups, but also social groups or “minorities”: Homosexuals, the disabled, psychiatric patients, etc. are all on the waiting list of candidate victims. As the self-powered hatred escalates, the moral, spiritual, political and social tumble has no end.

Within this reality, where the fascists organize “patrols” and “legality checks” demanding migrants’ residence and work permits, where they aid evictions of migrant (as well as Greek) workers, because they can not afford the slum house rented to them by the local owners, the need to create an antifascist defense arose as a social reflex. Many people self-identify as or are antifascists, but the burden fell on anarchist/antiauthoritarian organizations (the reasons why will become clear shortly) . The Left-wing parties with parliamentary representation (SY.RIZ.A., KKE) are good with words, but they do not and/or cannot organize their supporters or society, even with the simplest of issues (e.g. refusal of payment of onerous and illegal taxes). Not only are are they unable to organize something like an antifascist force, but they do not even dare hint about it in public. Their incessant need for compliance with the law has eroded them so much, that they now resort to political rhetoric and ridiculous squealing in an attempt to have Golden Dawn ‘declared illegal’. How can they possibly believe that the system that gave birth to this phenomenon, or at the very least tolerated it’s appearance, will do anything to fight it? How can they not see that, even if they managed to “outlaw” Golden Dawn through legal channels, this would set a precedent for ‘outlawing’ the true anti-establishment/anti-capitalist libertarian organizations? Are they truly unaware that they reinforce the rhetoric of the extreme Center, that dishonestly and fraudulently lumps together the “two extremes of the political spectrum”? Have they not realized that 4 out of 5 of those serving in the security forces, and especially in the police’s MAT (riot control), DELTA and DIAS (motorcycle units) teams, are part of the neo-Nazi organization, body and soul?

Do they not know that judges and prosecutors fear enforcing and/or do not want to enforce the laws of “Blind Civil Justice” when it comes to dealing with the fascist mobsters?

For this reason, anarchist collectives, isolated from the rest of the antifascist (with or without quotation marks) spectrum of society, engaged in a continuous anti-fascist struggle. A struggle which they pay for with unjust and irrational criminal prosecutions, with ruthless repression and torture, but also with harsh criticism from every side. Let’s look at the events of the last few days and then try to put things in order:

On the 30th of September, a Sunday evening, the third in a series of antifa motorcycle patrols started from Exarchia [2] (about 80 motorcycles with 150 riders) in the center of Athens: “our intention is that this intervention works as a call for activating anti-fascist reflexes and class self-defense within the broader struggle against the state and capitalism.”

Motorcycles of team DELTA followed either from behind, or from parallel streets. In Fylis St. (between Meletius and Ithaca streets), the motorcycle patrol meets members of a “citizen and shopkeeper committee”, known for operating protection rackets in neighbourhoods, their main activity being carrying out attacks against anarchists or leftists, immigrants (beatings and stabbings), as well as on their shops and hangouts. They were members of Golden Dawn smashing immigrants’ shops. A clash between the fascists and the motorcycle demo was followed by an attack from the police forces on the antifascists. They suffered beatings to the arms, legs and head, while the police also used taser guns (immobilizes the victim by diffusing electricity, with hooks that cling to the victims body). “When they attacked us, they beat us up badly, they hit us with their batons all over. When they tasered me, I was completely paralysed. First I thought it was from the adrenaline. My arms and legs were paralysed and I was charged with resisting authority.” A policeman said, “beat them, but don’t leave marks” Arrests of some of the anti-fascists ensued, and their motorcycles were seized.

News reports on TV and other mass stupefaction media (e.g. NET, STAR) mentioned conflicts between residents and “anti-authoritarians from Exarchia.” In the meantime, a fascist site posts the injury of one of their members and numerous articles on the internet insist on presenting the “touching” image of the residents who were attacked by anti-authoritarians. Through social networks, the injured fascist admits to participating in pogroms against immigrants, and makes his intentions clear (and yet he is still walking free in the streets).

The arrestees are transferred to the Athens police heaquarters, where they are subjected to torture: “They started with verbal abuse: “We will bury you as we did in Grammos, in Vitsi”, “Now little whores, we will fuck you. You’re chickens. We were only thirty and we fucked you.” They were telling us clearly that they were members of Golden Dawn. ‘Yeah, we are Golden Dawners, forget all you knew up to now.” Then they started slapping us. They were pulling the girls’ hair and making obscene comments. One of us was bleeding from the head all night and when he leaned to sleep they turned lasers and flashlights to his eyes. A Delta chief came after a while. He gave them the green light to keep going and gave instructions for the torture”. (Source)

“The ‘democratic’ torture came to an end when one of the women arrested was screaming for too long and the on-duty officer intervened to pull out the tormentors.”

Broken bones, “used as ashtrays” because they “stank”. “We were so thirsty we drank water from the toilets,” said one of those arrested. Some said they were burned on the arms with a cigarette lighter, and they said police officers videoed them on their mobile phones and threatened to post the pictures on the internet and give their home addresses to Golden Dawn, which has a track record of political violence. (source: Guardian)

For 19 consecutive hours the arrestees were not allowed to contact their lawyers or be transferred to the hospital. In the meantime, the “residents” were testifying for the legal brief.

Those in solidarity mobilized immediately and gathered at Evelpidon courts where the arrestees were transferred on Monday evening. A brutal and totally unprovoked attack was carried out by the riot police against those in solidarity and 4 more were arrested. The torture continued: “The cop forbade us from sitting cross-legged, drinking water and smoking. They were constantly saying, ‘whenever you come in here you’ll cough up your own blood. I don’t care if it’s a detention or an arrest. Remember my face, if you want to find me we are big a clan and we know where you live”.

“They asked us to take off our pants and show our genitals. Whoever refused to do so, was harshly beaten. At some point the officer said to one of us ‘put your hands up’. When he did, the officer considered it an indecent gesture. He grabbed his neck, hit his head against the wall and kept telling him ‘do this to your mom, not me’. The officer kept slapping him until he finally said ‘I’ll do it to my mother’.” (Source)

“They try to terrorise fighters; to push them into a state of lawlessness or fear (after threatening with home visits), alongside with direct threats of murder and other such absurdity… In the same climate of civil war, the state prosecutors intensify their effort to terrorize by threatening with pre-incarcerations, essentially eliminating their own code of criminal procedure they are supposed to serve and defend,” the arrestees say. (Source)

The media continued their campaign of disinformation regarding these events for a week. Members of Parliament seeked answers to the detainees’ accusations, but the only response was received from the Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection, N. Dendias, through a simple statement that he will do what it takes so that the two ‘extremes’, one of which, he notes, is supported by SY.RIZ.A., will not threaten our democratic regime.

When the Guardian published the article about the torturings, journalists mobilized to cover the issue and N. Dendias’ reaction was to dismiss the newspaper’s accusations as false. Specifically, he stated that there is no evidence that the detainees suffered torture (i.e. burns, electric shocks) and if any evidence is found, legal action will be taken. [3] (Link1) (Link2)

“As anarchists and antifascists we were under no illusion that the struggle against the state, capitalism and its lackeys will be easy. We declare that the determination to continue our struggle cannot be thwarted by state repression. Against the state and parastatal gangs we should assemble anti-fascist forces in every neighborhood and organize social and class counterattack.”(Source)

The antifascists were released on Friday, October 5th, carrying charges that include felonies, such as resistance against authority, breach of peace, the ridiculous aggravation of ‘concealing facial features’ (they wore helmets as they were part of a motorcycle demonstration), grievous bodily harm, the aggravation of causing specific damage, and breach of the Arms Act (refering to the flagpoles they carried in the demo). They are forbidden to leave the country and they are obliged to report to the police station every 15 days. The bail was set to 3.000 € for 14 of the arrestees, with one required to pay 10.000 €. [4]

We are therefore being told that it is wrong to take part in the antifascist struggle; that it is wrong to “give importance to a bunch of fascists”; by doing so, we reproduce their propaganda and advertise them… Arguments that seemingly have some validity, but in practice and given the situation, are plain wrong. Do the media not persistently advertise GD’s positions, turning their grisly exploits into a family spectacle? Could it not be that the constant lies of the neo-Nazis have weaved a web of paranoia in which our entire society is trapped- a society that has fallen victim to the Goebbels-like propaganda supported by mass media and preserved by their governmental arm, the Police? Are the anarchists to blame for the fascist nightmare, once again? It is easy to transfer one’s apathy, cowardice or complicity onto the ‘atheist witches’ in our times of Total Stupefaction. But we are not deterred by such arguments (“if you face the fascist with (counter-)violence you’re turning into a fascist yourself”). We are not obliged to respond to all nonsense uttered by all those who are fully and consciously dissociated from every social struggle. We shrug and warn that it is a matter of time before the fascist threat turns against the Greek working class, the underprivileged locals, Greek society itself, with the immigrants left in the dark corners.

We react to the onslaught of fascism. We may not save anyone. We might not “save the revolution, but we’ll save our thoughts and our cohesion.” And our dignity. It is true that we have to create conditions that support the growth of positive actions. We must find new practices, avoiding counter-violence whenever possible (which, no matter how much we try, might lack the results we want as long as it is not inclusive, but instead is considered our “responsibility,” partly forced upon us by other antifascists- e.g. in leftist-dominated local assemblies where we are unwanted, but remembered whenever the question of fascism arises- and partly undertaken by us (as if we are responsible to do the dirty work).

Indeed, it is imperative that we adopt new methods, such as the ones the Spaniards have been trying to implement for years, working tirelessly towards this direction: It is necessary to create an inclusive movement through which we will be able to pass on as many libertarian principles as possible, to as many people as possible. The Spaniards have been organizing for months, without being dependent on major unions. They create dozens of frameworks, groups, movements. Smaller and bigger ones. They experiment with different types of (self)- organization and communication, creating networks everywhere. They avoid premising ideological characteristics and differences, while at the same time emphasizing partial demands and needs (e.g. corruption, evictions and housing problems, unemployment, etc.). Importance is placed not to assign the solution to “someone else”, and so they try to get everyone involved at all the stages of the assemblies, actions, etc. It is essential that noone is represented by anyone else, with any kind of cooperation achieved on the basis that individual disagreements and nuances can exist, and nonetheless everyone is able to participate. Moreover one must be able to find ways to participate, even if they are elderly, disabled, etc. Noone needs to get permission and approval from anyone, but everyone should be clear that it is the collective strategy that is most important.

The basic components are: Horizontality, Collective intelligence, Non-violence Inclusivity. The pervasiveness of our propaganda in society can, and should be achieved by any means likely to produce results that have thus far failed with current practices. Support on activities and actions which aim to improve small or less small areas of everyday life, can be quite crucial for us, especially considering that, through our participation (and our dynamic influence) in them, we may succeed where untill today we systematically fail.

We think that our effective participation in activities which in principle do not seem conflictual, could possibly result in some of the following (which we should, in advance, have set as goals): to leave room for participation in demonstrations for the people who do not want/cannot engage in conflict yet. To set aside the media’s rhetoric and the dominant ideology which refers to “dangerous/extreme elements”. To create representations and narratives that will help us gain more in the communication war, considering that in this age of the spectacle, we can reach out to the world more effectively than our opponents. Ultimately, to give birth to that feeling of participation that will mobilize people who are not ready to function so much through political choices, but are rather driven by emotion.

The simultaneous adoption of such practices should not be seen as a step backwards. “While preaching against every kind of government, and demanding complete freedom, we must support all struggles for partial freedom, because we are convinced that one learns through struggle, and that once one begins to enjoy a little freedom one ends by wanting it all. We must always be with the people, and when we do not succeed in getting them to demand a lot we must still seek to get them to want something; and we must make every effort to get them to understand that however much or little they may demand should be obtained by their own efforts and that they should despise and detest whoever is part of, or aspires to, government,” said Malatesta [5] and it seems that this strategy is now more necessary than ever. We can therefore create new practices to complement our current ones, and selecting one or the other, or a combination thereof, will depend on the established circumstances and the specific objectives that we have set.

The question is who will eventually be master. Until now masters managed to remain masters by making words (democracy, freedom, equality, justice) mean so many different things in order to cause confusion so that they can govern in a way that serves their interests. Today an increasing number of people are unfulfilled from this rhetorical/pretextual narrative, and while the elites, their political staff and their repressive mechanisms abandon every pretext in a panic, the words have lost their meaning. The only thing left to consider is whether we will continue to have masters or if we can be emancipated. The dilemma is simple: It’s either the (para)State or us. Getting to the coveted “we” is a matter of organization, will and strategy. Or, at the very least: It is a matter of dignity.

1 Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There,” 1871. With the same excerpt begins the chapter “The active reality of capitalistic economy” from “The “rationality” of capitalism”, by Cornelius Castoriadis.

2 Exarchia is a district in Athens, known as a place where anarchists, leftists and all those against state repression, would find themselves at home. Media tends to characterize it a very dangerous place, though it is not.

3 It should be noted that even in the cases where evidence of brutality is found, the perpetrators are never punished.

4 There is a need to raise the amount of 45.000 € for legal costs and bails.

For all those that want to contribute in collecting these amounts, there is a box at the K*VOX squat, in Exarchia Square in Athens. Since it is not possible for many people to go there, we have set up a separate PayPal account under the email address The whole amount collected there will be handed over to K*VOX.

5 Errico Malatesta, “An anarchist program.”

Ian Delta, Sen, Tinaletina

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Αναρτήθηκε στις: 23/10/2012