Greece is having a General Strike today, and up to around 250,000 people are out in the streets of Athens today. There are live updates about it being posted on three sites:
I’ve been waiting to discuss this for a few months, to see if it would become public. I’m glad it has. An american anarchist woman was beat nearly to death last November by Greek police. Basically, she was jumped and curb-stomped. They fractured her skull. She is recovering, thankfully, and she’s decided to press charges for attempted murder against the police. (Who continued to beat her long after she was unconscious, who dragged her several meters to the curb, who intentionally targeted her head and neck. Who tried to kill her.)
This morning in Athens, an American anarchist has pressed attempted murder charges against Delta and Dias motorcycle police, as well as the relevant commanding officers, for a beating she suffered at the intersection of Patision and Stournari streets, while demonstrating against the IMF on November 15th, 2010. Meanwhile, over 170 members of the American and European scholarly community, including Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, and Immanuel Wallerstein, have denounced the behavior of the Delta police towards demonstrations and specifically the beating of the American demonstrator, calling the attack on her “nearly fatal”.
This isn’t more important because she’s american, and she has never asked for special treatment. It’s important because it is always important when the police do this sort of thing. As she has said:
What happened to me is not an isolated incident, it is a daily occurance because it is the very role of the police in co-operation with state and capital. This beating will not make me afraid, it does not stop me or anyone else from going to demonstrations – although it’s true that the police came close to killing me that night, we go into the streets because capitalism murders us everyday.
The Philly radical paper The Defenestrator has put up one of the best anarchist articles I’ve ever seen: Violence is a Small River: To be with Society is an Ocean. It is an interview with three greek anarchists about their situation, and their ideas for helping anarchism grow, what it would take to have a revolution. It gets at the ideas that we don’t need pacifism but that violence isn’t really such a major thing as we often assume:
Most anarchists believe we know the truth and the people don’t, so the people must follow us. For example, there was a park called the Self-Organized Park of Cyprus and Paticion. The people occupied the park and self-organized. Anarchists went there and said, “this isn’t anarchist enough. We can’t sell beer. We can’t have this concert because the singer isn’t anarchist.” So in two month’s time, the only people who went there were anarchists. Many times we prefer pure anarchy than to have a relationship with society. This is a mistake. Like Marxism and Stalinism, if you believe completely in it and don’t allow criticism, we are no better than them. We go straight to one closed system.
Greek anarchists must overcome ideology, to learn to be with society and live within it, not outside it. That’s what we’ve tried to do here in Exarhia. After December 2008, people, not only anarchists, occupied public spaces and tried to manage these places using direct democracy. Also, here there are many anarchists who are open minded and try to build structures, and there are others who are not. I can’t speak of anarchists as a unified thing.
Note that the latter quote is not, from what I gather, suggesting that we all get mainstream jobs and basically let ourselves be eaten into society: they’re mostly defending the self-organized spaces that they’ve been building in the anarchist neighborhoods in Athens. Also of note though, is you can’t actually speak for greek anarchism as an individual: it’s certainly made up of disparate parts. That’s probably part of its strength. But anyhow, this article may or may not be an accurate reflection of the situation there. Even if it’s a bit of a myth though, it’s a useful one.
As I’m certain much of the world is aware, Greece has been alive with riots these past two weeks since the police killed a teenage anarchist. It’s hard to keep up with it all, being over here in the USA, of course, but Crimethinc has come out with an excellent analysis of the uprising. One major point they propose is that, contrary to what the mainstream press has supposed, the riots are about more than just the economy, they are about the existence of the police, of the state. These protests, after all, were started with anarchist momentum.
But it’s not just the economic hardships accompanying times of recession—the resistance in Greece is also a revolt against the exploitation, alienation, and hierarchy inherent in the capitalist system, that set the stage for police to murder teenagers whether or not a significant percentage of the population is unemployed.
For a blow by blow of the action, I suggest The Center for Strategic Anarchy.