Since 1982, it has been illegal for Greek police to step onto university grounds. From an American anarchist context, this is more or less impossible to imagine: it’s like playing tag where you can run to “base” and “it” can’t get you. Because of this, the universities (in Athens, particularly the Polytechnic) have been major strongholds in the ongoing resistance to Greek governmental repression. And on the 24th, they wiped this law clean away.
This is a huge deal for our Greek comrades. There’s an excellent, emotional understanding of the repeal over at From The Greek Streets:
I was born in the year 1982. The year when the first CD player came out, when TIME magazine would name the computer as its “man of the year” and here in Greece, the year when Academic Asylum came into law. It is strange to think how seemingly inane objects and conventions shape so much of our being: just like us and our coevals in countries across the world couldn’t perhaps imagine life without a computer these days, I could equally not imagine life without academic asylum, this peculiar little piece of legislation. But waking up this morning, the asylum was gone.
Such a strange concept, this demarcation of the spatial boundaries of power, and yet one that we had entirely accustomed ourselves to. As we continued to grow up I cannot even recall how many times we found refuge in a university building, chased or beaten by riot police, demonstration after demonstration. And I cannot begin to think what would have happened if the asylum wasn’t there.
The Asylum was introduced in response to the junta killing of university students during the Polytechnic Uprising of 1973. Rather than a kind commemorative gesture, this was a testament by power that it had gone too far; an effort to curtail its reach for its own good, to preserve its perpetuation.
As of today this social contract is void. It is an eery, even chilling feeling. Not quite like losing a loved person, more like losing a solid certainty about your ways of acting and interacting with the world.
In more positive news from Greece, the bail money raised from comrades across the world was used to successfully bail Manolis Liolios yesterday after his bail was dropped from 70,000 euros to 15,000.