JUST LIES WITH TO THOSE WHO REVOLT…
On the evening of the 6th of December, I took to the streets of the barricaded neighborhood of Exarchia. Here on our side of the barricades, a crowd of thousands was honoring the memory of Alexis Grigoropoulos, murdered by the pigs 8 years before, with a festival of rage against the armed guards of the state, who were besieging the neighborhood that day. On this year’s anniversary, collectives for struggle chose to guard the neighborhood up against this siege by erecting strong barricades on pivotal points peripheral to the square. A crowd of people defended the barricades from Tositsa to Stournara, to Solonos and Benaki st., while battles were ongoing on Ch. Trikoupi well into the night against the police forces that are stationed there.
Later that night, following clashes with the police that lasted several hours and after the organized guard had departed in coordinated manner, the riot cops who had not been able until that point to breach the barricades, managed to invade around the square and arrested whoever they happened to have in front of them., beating them and dragging them on the asphalt. This is a standard tactic of the cops to arrest people at random where there are dynamic and mass clashes unfolding, attributing in this way collective responsibility to all those who come out on the streets. This is even more the case when an entire neighborhood is targeted by repression. I was on the junction of Themistokleous and Kolleti st. when the cops, taking advantage of the dispersing of the crowd, managed to breach the barricade on Kolleti. An entire riot squad threw themselves on me, beating and cursing and congratulating each other for their catch, in an attempt to compensate for their defeat all the previous hours. When they realized I was a woman, they implemented another of their standard tactics, that is the rape threats. This special treatment of women by the cops aims to instill fear doubly: not only fear of torture, but fear of humiliation. Rape has always been used as a weapon of war. The state took a vindictive stance against the upgraded organization of all those who came out to the streets on the 6th of December, by keeping us in the cells of GADA for 3 days, even those of us charged merely with misdemeanors, and by detaining3 of the arrested in Korydallos prison for up to 18 months.
Here is Exarchia, 8 years before, the state with the bullet that shot and killed 15 year old anarchist Alexis, aimed at all those fighting, all the oppressed, pointing first at the youth. The reference to memory moves us and motivates us for our struggles today. The living memory is that which takes to the streets. It is that which, instead of looking compulsively for the 'connection', is connected naturally with the constant experience of oppression and of subjugation and with the everyday struggle for social liberation. It is that which sees every murdered and tortured and captive in the hands of the state as part of the ongoing class war. State murders aim to spread terror to those who resist. They are the ultimate expression of the raw violence of authority. Slavery is founded on the control over life and death and on the monopoly of violence claimed by the state in order to maintain this control. The choice of the place, Exarchia was not coincidental. Both today and historically, Exarchia has been a ground of social self-organization and combative resistance. The invasion of the state guards 8 years before in this neighborhood so as to practice their murderous violence, was clearly an attack against all those who dare fight against all authority.
As an active member of the neighborhood of Exarchia, of its structures of social self organization and of the broader resistance movement, with the understanding that this history is also my history, I felt it was my irrefutable duty to defend this neighborhood, its history and its present, against repression
The vision of social self-organization, of the struggle against state and capital is incarnated when it is grounded here and now in every place where we live and move as fighters in the struggle. Exarchia is a ground where the anti-state struggle is organized, it is a ground for political dialogue, where the oppressed gather to rise up. As a conquered ground of the movement its defense is an inseparable part of the struggle and a necessity for its development. In other words, in order to attempt to re-appropriate the entire ground that is now occupied by authority, we must be able to hold and fortify our own vital ground. The interaction between the ceaseless movement and the constant practical opposition to state control and to the police siege inside the neighborhood is what comprises so far its defense against the plans of capitalists for its deeper exploitation and gentrification, plans which presuppose and aim for the true desertification of the neighborhood, that is the annihilation of the social movement.
As long as the masters intensify their pillaging on the exploited, class polarization within the social body will also be intensified. Everyone is called, by conditions and by their positions, to take a stance either for the defense of private interests or for the promotion of social liberation, or in other words for the socialization of everything for the common interest of the oppressed. Within a metropolitan neighborhood where class contradictions are concentrated, and which is targeted by repression, private and commercial interests are clearly taking a hostile position against the anti-state, anti-authoritarian struggle. The social movement today has to fight the militant anti-social cannibalism of the private interest advocates. The latter, who on the pretext of securing their property, indirectly invite repression, are the primal anti-social elements, precisely because they perceive the public space not as social but as a desert of commercial activity. And they are cannibals, because they entrust the defense of their private interests to the torturers and murderers of the state. 'Peace and quiet' are protected by military occupation. As was mentioned in a public call of collectives of the neighborhood inviting the neighbors to co-organize for its defense on the 6th of December: “Korkoneas hand was armed by closed doors”. Those who reside are not always identical with those who live. Everyone takes a position in the class war: either in their comfortable holes or in the struggle. The social duty of every resident in every neighborhood is the self organization against exploitation and institutions, the socialization of all space, private and public, and its defense against repression. So that we may build communities of resistance in every neighborhood.
To give a small example, taken from everyday life, of the significance of the defense of the Exarchia social space, I shall describe a personal experience. During an open event realized on the square a few days before the 6th of December and calling the neighborhood to organize the resistance, I got to talking to some of the people who spend their time on the square. I asked where they were from, since we didn't speak the same language, and they replied “from...somewhere far” and that here in Athens where they reside some time now, they also live somewhere on the far west suburbs of the city. To my question, how come they come all the way here everyday to spend their days, they described the reality of all those who come from afar, driven out by war and poverty: there is no other place for them to stand in this metropolis, wherever they may stand they get constantly hassled, threatened, and even beaten by the cops. Here, in Exarchia, they can 'exist'. This 'asylum' is worth defending. This 'asylum', known as 'no-go area' in the regime's language, has been built with painstaking effort and combative resistance for decades now and it is only in this way that we may continue to guard it.
COMMUNITIES OF RESISTANCE IN ALL NEIGHBORHOODS
EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE