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Jacobinian Islamism: when the subject becomes annoying

Translated by Michael Theodosiadis
The article in Greek here

This article raises concerns about some, hitherto, unshakable certainties of the left, which are stubbornly negated by reality. Sadly, we have reached the point where such a debate cannot be done without avoiding biased approaches from anyone who discusses this topic; and this means that the right of free speech has already suffered irreparable damages.

In critical thinking the blackmail of the expected response always hangs like the sword of Damocles over our heads. As if to realise that walking on the wrong path should automatically mean one always has another path to propose. It is not so! Some paths should never have been followed whilst somewhere else perspectives have to be formed based in paths that do not carry the burden of previous choices. Obviously democracy and its reinforcement in its structures and content is another uncharted path that we should ourselves open, eliminating certainties (such as «sheltering» freedom from enemies) that, hitherto, have led to dead ends. We must appeal to broadening democracy itself without fearing whether it is not liberal enough for our standards (to invest in its growth rather in its ‘protection’). But the latter is primarily an issue of political action to undertake, and secondarily of political thought to be discussed.

From the suburbs to Nazism

Perhaps few noticed the under-story of the murderous attack in Paris; «the two perpetrators of Charlie Hebdo were born and grew up in France from Algerian parents». The «Islamic terrorists» who extended the western Islamic war-front a few hundred kilometres west of Kobane were French-born citizens, nourished in the bowels of the French Republique. The Algerian state, home of Camus and Zidane is not an Iraq or an underdeveloped Afghanistan cut off and isolated from Western values ​​(the markets), that fell into the obscurantism of fundamentalism, but a genuine child of French colonialism.

Even fewer are those who might combine the fact that the people we denounce as obscurantist terrorists or «Nazi fascists» nowadays, are the same people who during the «uprisings of the Banlieue» of the Parisian suburbs were viewed as the revolutionary subject. We have to admit – no matter how inconvenient it is – that the brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi are typical representatives of this youth whose wrath (la Haine) was so sang and praised by the left. Both were born in the east suburbs of Paris from Algerian parents who died when the two brothers were still children. They grew up in an orphanage in the city of Rennes. They held «precariat»jobs, like Pizza delivery etc., they followed the fashion of Rap and have always had problems with the police for minor crimes. However, Umberto Eco, expressing a general feeling, did not hesitate to classify them as neo-Nazis, apparently judging them by the actions, rather than by their class or their ideological beliefs.

It is common to classify as «Nazist» anything unpleasant for the liberal Western culture, and not necessarily as heinous as mass murder. Yet, perhaps for the wrong reasons, Eco rightly reflects a kind of truth, as indeed «the apocalyptic desire of ISIS to conquer the world» – as the most expressed form of politicized Islam in the world – is a kind of inverted Enlightenment, or to stress it differently, it is part of modernity; a modernist reaction to modernity rather than a pre-modern revival of barbarization. In essence, the ISIS has more to do with the cultural revolution of Mao than with some historical continuity of caliphates of the past. In this sense it is more post-modernist rather than a conservative revolution, and is diametrically opposed to the religious mosaics and genuine multiculturalism upon which the caliphates of pre-modernist world were structured.

This hypocritical contradiction of the ISIS as the most advanced stage of political Islam in the 21st century, shows that the objectives of politicized Islamists are not a guarantee of their religion or even a form of cultural autonomy (as in the case of the Zapatistas and other indigenous groups) but rather the creation of a nation-state, i.e. the epitome of modernist culture, and even a clearly colonial-imperialist nation-state («Islam should prevail over all») which is similar not only with the totalitarian deviations but also with the colonial domination of market liberal culture in the whole world. In a perverse way the commitments of the Islamic Jihadists to the ultimate goal are quite similar to that of the Jacobins and the Narodniks, and this historic comparison, especially for anyone who falls into their hands, should not be considered a farce.

The privileges of the really poor

It is much more convenient for liberal Europe that demonstrates these days in grief for the victims, to ignore the causes and the past, pretending that the Kouachi brothers is a postmodern «moment» fell from the sky, an incomprehensible product of distortion of Islam, or a mission of terrorists from the «mountain of the Assassins» instead of accepting that they are Parisians just as their victims.

But there is something more that the Kouachi brothers and Stéphane Charbonnier, Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut and Bernard Verlhac shared equally. They are all victims of the modernist world; the victims as exponents of the ‘right to freedom of expression’, whilst the perpetrators of the» right to cultural identity». And here is one of the innumerable conflicts the modernist world produces, where one right negates the other but together constitute the same world under the undisputed roof of the market. It is very difficult for leftists to understand another reason beyond blind fanaticism (whose right to cultural identity was so much supported by Charlie Hebdo) which pushed Kouachi brothers to render them bullets instead of gratitude. And it is much easier to believe that anyone who lacks undeniable rights should automatically be sensitive to the rights of others. According to this pourtousissisme to struggle for the right to cultural identity and religious faith is equally progressive with fighting for the right of expression to mock this faith in their face. In the psychic world of a European leftist, the rebellious hatred of the Kouachi brothers towards this progressivism is understood only as a product of a ruthless ingratitude.

How is it possible for the «rebellious proletarians‘ of the suburbs to become transformed into «Nazi-jihadists»? For a bleeding-heart leftist such a reduction is unthinkable. The oppressed identity that rebels, throwing stones at police officers and setting its neighborhood on fire seems to be a legitimate uprising against capitalist exploitation that has turned the contemporary youth into metropolitan pariahs, especially if the pariahs are not European indigenous. Therefore denying European chauvinism is positive in itself, even worse (why not?) if such pariahs constitute «the damned of the earth», the new messianic subject that came to replace the proletariat in its historic role. But when the subject acquires a face and a name, when it becomes Cherif and Said, and turns his wrath on the whole system that gave birth to the «capitalist exploitation» including all the values of the Enlightenment, ​​then this subject that we used to approach with instrumental sympathy automatically becomes a «Nazi jihadist».

But why do all these ideological and class interpretations matter, since the «subjects» change constantly? All the above do not significantly differ from the way the left viewed the indigenous European proletariat in the early 20th century when the working class immediately and hurriedly ran to embrace the fascist call. So today a minority that embraces anti-modernism is itself an incomprehensible development, such as when the factory worker registers himself in the fascist party of his neighbourhood. The usual reason that explaining the phenomenon in both cases is still the same and is attributed to a lack of understanding on the part of the oppressed of the root causes of their oppression. On why the subjects do not follow the revolutionary call, the usual answer is more and thorough study of the texts of Marx[1]

And, indeed, why not? If the angry minority person expresses a critique of the hypocrisy of the Enlightenment, as Adorno and Horkheimer set the theoretical foundations of this interpretation[2]. Moreover, the above observation means that the ideal of an international Enlightenment (a global western socialism pourtousissisme [for all]) constituted from its birth a chimeric monster[3]. We Westerners should be the last to preach at those «murderers», «fascists» and «totalitarians» since we ourselves have taught them the charm of political assassination, and terror that rises from the punishment of collective responsibility and the ideal of totalitarianism. Even more, it is us who sanctified their predicament. For the left, it is enough to be oppressed to be classified as a rebel in order to express your righteous anger.

The young lumpen of the Parisian suburbs have received an unspoken education of the new-left of post-colonial studies and have learned from it constantly to blame the West for their dire position in the class pyramid, but ultimately they themselves do nothing in order to organize and fight against this situation. Instead they persist only in victimizing themselves aiming to claim some extra benefits. The only time we see a massive «response» is through political Islam. With the announcements of multiculturalism along with the urban divisions of the metropolitan planning, every suburb managed to establish itself in «autonimised» micro-communities that do not interact with each other. The result is every minority living in a «bowl» ignoring par excellence the other communities and, of course, the Republique tout court.

The liberal Janus

The inability of the left for non-abstract thought has made all liberals to think in a «lame» fashion, and to perceive only half of reality, or to put it clearly, to perceive only the dimension that follows their imaginary ideology. In exactly the same manner (but perhaps with the other leg) the right’s thinking is also «lame». For both the «other» is absolutely good or absolutely bad; from this lame thinking derives the trend of the era regarding ‘islamophobia’ either in its right-wing version as a racist jam or in leftist as ‘antiracism’.

For leftists the issue is fixed. If something is haunted by the right then the left has a contracted responsibility to defend it. This position consolidated since the Dreyfus affair has so much infused the essence of being a leftist, that defense is now provided to «anything» uncritically and unconditionally as long as «it» is prosecuted by the right. The cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo up to their tragic death «always remained irreconcilable enemies of racism» and «all of them convinced atheists»[1]. The only difference is that never before did all this match together, because if we think in terms of combining together the above, that is of an «anti-racist atheism», then something is wrong with similar campaigns against Islamophobia, and this «something» is our thinking.

For the right-wing the issue is simpler. The best problem is the ‘no problem’. So it would have been better to have no Muslims in Europe or any other person if possible. Historically the right likes to ask the impossible, secretly wishing for a new final solution for Muslims. Therefore, they one more time wish the self-destruction of Europe and of themselves. But the desire of the left is no less childish. The enlightened Muslim, namely the Muslim without Islamism, can only find its counterpart in the Christian hypocrite who acts contrary to his beliefs. The solidarity embrace of the European liberals to the Muslims is the entry ticket to a Europe which, in contrast to the left, has a clear condition: the only Islam acceptable in Europe is the «liberal Islam»; this is simply impossible!

In order to become European citizens Muslims should first become like us, people without a serious faith, without values ​​apart from an unlimited commitment to individual rights… everyone lives his dream in a world that digests everything. We invite immigrants and Muslims in Europe to lose anything good or bad that defines their existence, to get a job like all of us, a house like all of us, a color TV like all of us, and the right to go shopping like us all without the being asked for their documents by the police, and we call this multicultural society?

What remains after all this? The most certain is what already exists. Liberalism will continue to fight for the rights and freedoms of all of us, annihilating us at the same time as human beings. And most likely it will eventually digest Islamism as it did with Christianity. The standard of the «good European Islamist» has already been formed and this is carried out everywhere by European antiracist groups. Personally I find it hard to see in this any distinction between left and right. There are countless ways to uproot a man from himself. The right use fear, the left adopt hypocrisy. Let each of us prefer what hurts the least.

If we understand the above, however bitter they may sound, we may realize in the end what is the charm that we are no longer able to offer ourselves, which they young Algerians from Paris have found in the Jacobin Islamism.

1. See. Charlie, from what God died? George Mitralias
2. See Adorno and Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment.
3. See John Gray, Black Mass. Apocalyptic religion and the death of utopia.

How non-violence protects the State-Peter Gelderloos

Since the civil rights era, the doctrine of nonviolence has enjoyed near-universal acceptance by the US Left. Today protest is often shaped by cooperation with state authorities—even organizers of rallies against police brutality apply for police permits, and anti-imperialists usually stop short of supporting self-defense and armed resistance. How Nonviolence Protects the State challenges the belief that nonviolence is the only way to fight for a better world. In a call bound to stir controversy and lively debate, Peter Gelderloos invites activists to consider diverse tactics, passionately arguing that exclusive nonviolence often acts to reinforce the same structures of oppression that activists seek to overthrow.

Contemporary movements for social change face plenty of difficult questions, but sometimes matters of strategy and tactics receive low priority. Many North American activists fail to scrutinize the role of nonviolence, never posing essential questions:

• Is nonviolence effective at ending systems of oppression?

• Does nonviolence intersect with white privilege and the dominance of North over South?

• How does pacifism reinforce the same power dynamic as patriarchy?

• Ultimately, does nonviolence protect the state?

Solidarity to the 5 of Barcelona #5brc

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Ftom Αλληλεγγύη στους πέντε της Βαρκελώνης #5brc: European Against The Political System

The more the State and the economic-political oligarchies feel that the crisis they created turns back against them threatening their interests, the more they lay aside the meaningless, statutory declarations-wishes about democracy and freedom, and turn relentlessly against those struggling for social revolution, for a society of equality and freedom.

On 15 May 2013, by order of the Spanish National Court, 5 Catalan anarchists were arrested in their homes in the area of ​​Barcelona: Yolanda, Silvia, Juan, Xabier and José, administrators of Facebook pages, are accused of disseminating opinions «that have aimed to spread subversive ideas and to incite and/or commit crimes against State and capitalist interests» (Court order 17.05.2013), of participating in demonstrations where there was unrest and of involvement in «terrorist gangs».

The five anarchists are held in Soto del Real prison, in north Madrid, practically experiencing the stance of the repressive capitalist state against any voice that challenges the dominant values ​​and fights for Freedom, self-organization, social and political equality – ideals which are the ideological foundations of the anarchist movement, and which are nowadays criminalized while profit, competition and the dissolution of every place of social solidarity are morally established in the consciousness of the people. This should not be seen as an isolated issue but instead must be viewed as part of the chain of the European repressive machine. It is no coincidence that in more and more countries the most radical views are renamed by the legislators as crimes – just by considering them opposed to the basic enforcement principles and methods of the capitalist system.

This is the European Union, this is the true face of capitalism; every time it is confronted with a severe (systemic) crisis, it abandons any semblance of democracy. Capitalism is nothing more than a continuous promise of exploitation, violence of any kind, inequality, repression, injustice. Nothing more than a state of constant oppression, aggressive torpor and apathy based on the chimera of a meaningless, alienating consumerism in a society where everything is literally or potentially a commodity.

It goes without saying that we do not recognize these laws. It is clear to us that laws which are not co-formulated by us are rules of enforcement of interests, desires, aspirations and fears of the oligarchies against the entire society. Laws not only morally unjust and politically charged by the ‘values’ of their creators (exclusively), but also shamelessly barbarian. We do not recognize any right of the judiciary to exclude people from society on the basis of their political views. We will not tolerate a new Inquisition draped in legitimacy. Societies have fought against totalitarian regimes, against the greed of economic oligarchies, against capital and bosses, against the very idea of ​​exploitation of man by man.

This war never ended and will not end until inequality, oppression, injustice disappear. Freedom for our anarchist comrades in Spain. Freedom for those who dare.

Αgainst the suppression of freedom of speech

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In support and solidarity with the suppressed Athens Indymedia and 98 FM – Radio Band of Subversive Expression.

In Greece, where pauperization, mass unemployment and destitution are on the rise, where many look for food in garbage bins while others are driven to suicide unable to secure shelter and welfare, the dissident media annoy and must close. In the country of violent State repression where the police now openly and shamelessly cooperate with the neo-Nazis against the movement. In the country of blatant racism and misinformation through the media, which have become disseminators of government propaganda, all other media that do not comply with the decisions taken without the majority’s consent must be closed.

While public education is but a memory, and the labor laws that protected basic labor rights were abolished overnight, while predatory laws spring up on a daily basis like rashes of an infectious disease, showing the sadism of the ruling elite and of the tragic and ludicrous governmental personnel; here in Greece that the basic income was annihilated for the benefit of domestic and international capitalism, the markets and the eurocrats, some say that «at least you have freedom of speech» and that «movements are expressed dynamically, opposing voices are heard. »

The anarchist/anti-authoritarian movement, which is growing stronger every day since the revolt in December 2008, having somehow gained a «hegemonic» word within the resistance movements, apart from the repression it receives on a daily basis, directly and indirectly, and exactly because it is obviously taken into account, is challenged in every aspect. First the squats and the self-organised spaces came under direct attack: the structures that managed to bring closer this political movement to the rest of society, which paralyzed and bewildered by the political agenda and the general collapse, tends to be radicalised. The government and the political parties do what they can to prevent this radicalization, fighting fiercely the anarchist/antiauthoritarian spaces, promoting (with the help of the manipulated mass media) the fascists of Golden Dawn, who are now seated in parliament.

The latest blow was the shutdown of Athens Indymedia and the counter-information radio stations 98FM and Radio Entasi, which since Thursday midday 11 of April have been subject to state repression via backstage pressure, without an actual legal issue in hand. Τhe various pro-EU extremists, supporters of Neoliberal social policies, of the «smooth functioning of institutions», would say: «in what serious country would a website be allowed to disseminate communiques of terrorists and incite mass destruction of property?» They are right. In no «serious» country, where the freedom of press is supposedly respected a website like Athens Indymedia would be allowed to broadcast for more than five days. They forget, however, that these countries do not owe their prosperity to blind obedience to the laws, suppression and social discipline. Instead, part of the freedoms the citizens (of these countries) enjoy is due to social struggles that took place during the previous century, struggles that managed to dismantle the old order (the fugitive serfs as Marx called them, or the struggles of workers, minorities and women), leading several groups to gain autonomy (let’s not forget that these struggles were initially stigmatized as «outbreaks of lawlessness», «incitements to violence» or even «terrorism», such as May Day in Chicago, as thanks to those struggles today the supporters of «law and order» can work 8 hours a day instead of 15, and get annual leave and sickness pay instead of dying outside the factories). On the other hand, the biggest part of the economic prosperity of the «serious» countries is due to domination, to the colonization of the non-Western world and the brutality it left behind. Let’s also not forget that new laws have now been introduced to countries like Britain, the Netherlands and Hungary forcing the unemployed to work for free 30 hours a week. For those that never wondered, this is because our societies have politically paralyzed, and follow faithfully and blindly the laws under the fear of repression, under the impending stigma of «terrorism» and «illegitimate degeneracy» – code-words used to label all those who disagree with the political system. Will such laws be implemented or forced sooner or later in Greece? Who could stop them when there will be no real opposition voice?

The silencing of the 3 specific counter-information media which have an enormous social impact (Indymedia is among the websites with the highest rates of everyday visits) is a clear political choice made by the autocratic Greek government, which desperately tries to annihilate any counter-information network, because this is exactly the way an important part of Greek society chooses to stay informed for what really happens in the country, being radicalised as a consequence. The fact that the Greek government shamelessly despises the civil-‘democratic’ Constitution is not a surprise to us. In post-memorandum Greece there is hardly a constitutional provision that has not been out-rightly circumvented or violated. Τhe blatant violation of the constitutional provisions according to which «anyone can express and spread verbally, in writing and via the press their thoughts by respecting the laws of the State» and «the Press is free. Censorship and any other precautionary measure is forbidden.» (article 14, paragraph 1 and 2), is a new qualitative and quantitative characteristic, making clear to all the authoritarian face of the Greek government, within the country and abroad.

Under these circumstances it is very important to re-establish the operation of the 3 counter-information media under the status they existed until today. It is not of concern if -technically speaking- it is possible to run them outside the Polytechnic School. The important thing is that their operation is supported by the students’ unions and their decrees, but mainly that any tactical withdrawal gives the opportunity to the government to utterly, definitely, irrevocably repress any opposing voice. It is absolutely certain that an unscrupulous government will stop before nothing. It is unconditionally crucial that Athens Indymedia, 98FM and Radio Entasi continue to broadcast free, the same way and from the same places they used to before April 11. At the same time, however, websites with articles that call Albanians a ‘dishonored breed», Jews a «source of all evil» that would soon «be buried in their tomb in the Dead Sea» and Turks the «offspring of the devil», remain open, stigmatizing people of different orientation, allowing the racist poison to spread in society.

Let us speak clearly. The attack on Athens Indymedia and 98fm is a POLITICAL attack. Yes, the website could be based elsewhere, but this is exactly the point! This would be a defeat for the whole anarchist movement. Those who share this view and rest assured that it can operate outside the university, automatically accept an unprecedented political defeat. All must understand that this is not just a technical issue. All must see the unprecedented denial of freedom of expression for (indirectly or directly) ALL OF US! Because this is what it is: DEPRIVATION OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. Meanwhile to those who might say that some journalists are also denied the right of freedom of expression due to popular anger and fear of being targeted by armed groups, we answer that these vocationalists who always criticize safely from ‘above’, should know that they applaud violence when they defend the policies that have forced an entire population to poverty. When they justify the violence of the repressive forces and of Golden Dawn, they become terrorists themselves. They undoubtedly have the right to express themselves as they wish. If they are elitists, it is their undeniable right to attempt to demonize poverty by any means possible. However, they should be ready to take responsibility, given that their elitism causes mass reactions against them. Those who supposedly speak in the name of the majority and baptize «populist», «lawless», and «terrorist» anyone who disagrees with them should either fear or respect the people about whom they speak. If both are not possible, then they had better be afraid.

At a time when the benchmark of the movements is the media of counter-information and the social structures of resistance, there is no luxury for further losses and/or retractions. This should be understood by those who think they have not been directly influenced by the particular practice of preventive (and vindictive) censorship. The citizens of other countries should realize that not only in Greece the once seemingly unpopular Government reveals day by day its totalitarian face, but that across the globe, political inertia, addiction to political correctness and «legality» has led to a state of absolute subjection, where every voice not in line with the dominant doctrine is considered illegal and therefore should be gagged for the «good of all.» Protection from the danger of «lawlessness» (once expressed as «protection from the threat of communism»), reliance on the work ethic and the instrumental capitalist order, are the factors which during the interwar period in Europe allowed the implementation of the state of exception, leading to the rise of fascism. We should therefore understand that just with the fear of being stigmatised as «terrorists» we are deprived of all freedoms at all levels of social life; that the government should be politically and morally isolated by those who respect themselves and value freedom, equality and solidarity. Finally, the movement itself should and must show its solidarity as in the case of the government’s attacks on political squats and autonomous spaces. If an injury to one is an injury to all, then injuring the heart of the movement is war against all of us.

In hard and ugly times, like those we live in years now, counter-information is one of the most important weapons in our arsenal. It is what keeps us in touch with reality, what WE manage without partisan or monetary support, without interference from third parties, without filters of respectability for the sake of balance, or fear of bullying by rippers and moralist prosecutors. It is by us, for us! And when we say «us» we mean those not on the side of the oppressors, the exploiters and their lackeys. What we must understand is that this time we ourselves must show practical solidarity. Athens Indymedia and 98fm are vibrant parts of the revolutionary movement, and the revolutionary movement is all of us, who do not believe the prefabricated nonsense of the TV channels that support the regime in which we live. We take information in our hands. We choose to live the events and have a personal opinion about them, and not hear them like another TV serial.

We know that freedom of expression, thought and action are obstacles for every government, as we know well that to control the flow of information is one of the strongest weapons in the hands of the oppressors. We therefore think that our response should be solidarity in practice. Athens Indymedia, Radio 98fm, and Radio Entasi are integral parts of our action, bridges among all groups that fight against oppression.

Eagainst.com & Europeans Against the Political System

What is that you do not understand, mister Prime Minister?

Via Borderline Reports

A magazine cover showing a photoshopped image of the Greek Prime Minister with torture scars on his face, in direct reference to the Greek Police’s use of torture, sparked controversy, with MPs maintaining that it is “an invitation to terrorism”. Yet questions over the recent incident where the Greek Police presented to the public a series of photoshopped images of youths arrested on robbery charges in an attempt to hide evidence of brutality, as well as the statement by the Minister of Public Order that this was done so that they are “recognizable”, remain painfully under-addressed,  while claims of torture and police brutality keep mounting.

Publishing the photographs and personal information of citizens arrested on various charges, and asking the public to provide additional information on other crimes they may have committed, is one of the most controversial practices favored by the Greek Police today. Greek law states that the publication of photos or data of arrested persons awaiting trial is prohibited, except in cases of public danger. One is hard pressed to understand what sort of “public danger” is averted through the publication of photos of arrested demonstrators or even HIV positive women charged with prostitution, nevertheless the Police keep doing it and the judicial authorities keep supporting the practice.

Recently, however, this controversial practice was taken to a new level. The Police published photos of four youths arrested on robbery and terrorism charges.

Three of those arrested, as presented in the first set of images released by the Police

When reporters and members of the public pointed out that the photos had evidently been photoshopped, and rather crudely for that matter, the Police finally released several unaltered photos of those arrested. In the second set of photos, it was revealed they had been brutally beaten.

The same three, in the second set of images

The Minister of Public Order Mr Nikos Dendias was then asked why the first series of photos had been altered. His reply was that it was done so that the accused would be “recognizable”.

The Minister of Public Order when asked why the first series of photos had been altered, replied was that it was done so that the accused would be “recognizable”

Internal Affairs were quick to clear the Police of any wrongdoing. A hasty inquiry found that the accused had been wounded during the struggle that led to their arrest. This is hard to believe. For one, the accused were armed with assault rifles and the Police disarmed them, which makes it implausible that the arrest led to the kind of prolonged fistfight that could have resulted in such beatings. Secondly, before the Internal Affairs inquiry was undertaken, local Police Authorities where the arrests took place gave a Press conference in which they mentioned nothing about a struggle during the arrest. On the contrary, they pointed out that no one was hurt. And the lawyers for the accused subsequently reiterated the sadly not unheard of police practice of beating handcuffed detainees.

What makes the Police’s acquittal seem even more facile, is that this is far from an isolated incident. A few months ago, forensic reports showed extensive beatings and even taser gun scars on detainees – even though the Minister of Public Order vehemently denied any wrongdoing in Parliament. When we interviewed him for UNFOLLOW magazine, he again denied any wrongdoing, despite the forensic reports. The Minister even said he was going to sue the Guardian over a report on the Greek Police’s use of torture. Up to now, of course, he has done nothing of the sort.

Cover of UNFOLLOW 15 (March 2013)

Moreover, these incidents appear against a background of a torrent of complaints for abuse and torture by the Greek Police, as reported by Amnesty International, which also documents 12 cases where Greece has been convicted by the European Court of Human Rights for police crimes.

In the March issue of UNFOLLOW magazine, we decided on a symbolic reversal. We photoshopped some torture scars onto the face of the Prime Minister of Greece, rather than taking them off. The caption reads: “Photoshop on the Prime Minister. Politics must be recognizable”.

Our cover illustrates our position, founded on our reports, that the main perpetrator of undemocratic violence in Greece is your Government. What is it that you do not understand?”

UNFOLLOW published a statement on its website, where it outlines the reasons for widespread concern over police torture in Greece, and points out the following:

“Our cover makes a direct reference to Greek Police torture practices, unheard of in a democratic country. […] We maintain that the repeated attempts to cover up a regime of torture leads to the conclusion that this is systematic policy. The leader of the Government is evidently the architect of this policy.

We further maintain that such undemocratic violence and suppression of human rights are the most barbaric aspect of a political deviation, which includes sidestepping the Parliament and democratic process, “investments” that are damaging to the public interest, and the manipulation of free public discourse. Solid reports on all these have been published in our magazine.

Mr Prime Minister, our reports cast severe doubts on the democratic nature of you government. You have nothing to say on this, but instead try to obscure the harsh yet obvious political irony of our cover by presenting yourself as a victim. You are not a victim, you are a victimizer.

Mr Prime Minister, you further attempt to turn a poignant and well-founded journalistic critique into a conflict with the Opposition. What the Opposition does or does not condemn concerns us only to the extent that we follow it in our capacity as journalists. You may be used to Media that function as branches of party Press offices, but we are not one of those.

Our cover illustrates our position, founded on our reports, that the main perpetrator of undemocratic violence in Greece is your Government, the authorities over which it presides, and the policies it implements.

What is it that you do not understand?”