Athens December 2008.
I was in Athens that December 2008, on the streets around Syntagma Square, the atmosphere was electric, awe-inspiring, walking and chatting among those thousands of people from all walks of life, it was easy and wonderful to get drunk on this new elixir, an elixir that is there for us all. I had never felt a feeling like it before in my life, and I have never felt anything like it since. Deep inside you felt that something wonderful was about to happen, something new and empowering was about to be born. Sadly it didn't happen that month, or the next. The process is still going on, still forming, still waiting to burst forth and create that new world we all hold in our hearts.
There Will Come a Time
There will come a time when the hordes remember,
who bound our grand-parents to the yoke of oppression,
who sentenced our parents to deprivation,
who bid poverty sink its teeth into our heart,
who teach our children, greed is a noble art.
Who sent our sons through the gates of hell
to a litany of cambist brawls,
crammed coffers with blood-stained gold
while laughing in Ares’ halls.
“Who does these terrible things to us?” they will ask,
and when they remember,
they’ll bring an energy that is endless
to drive a fist that is fearless.
Then this merciless market-driven world will crumble
under an insurrection of integrity,
the poor will emerge from the dark husk of capitalism
to live in the light of social justice.
There will come a time when the hordes remember.
Athens December 2008.
I hate the individual who bends his body under the weight of an unknown power, of some X, of a god.I hate, I say, all those who, surrendering to others, out of fear, out of resignation, a part of their power as a man, are not only crushed themselves but crush me, and those I love, under the weight of their frightful cooperation or their idiotic inertia.I hate, yes, I hate them, for I sense it, I do not bow before the officer’s braid, the mayor’s sash, the capitalist’s gold, moralities or religions; for a long time I have known that all of this is just baubles that can be broken like glass.
— Joseph Albert (Libertad)
There are times in history when the randomness of some events can cause dynamic variables, able to almost entirely paralyse the social space-time.
It was Saturday night, on 06/12/2008, when the culmination of a conflict between two worlds took place in just a few moments. On one hand, the youthful, enthusiastic, spontaneous and impetuous insurrectionary violence; on the other hand, the official state institutional organ that, legitimately, claims the monopoly on violence through repression.
No, it was not about an innocent kid and a paranoid cop found in the wrong place at the wrong time, but a rebellious young comrade who attacked a patrol car, in an area where clashes with the forces of repression were common, and a cop who patrolled the same area and, out of a personal perception about the honour and reputation of the police, decided to confront the troublemakers on his own. It was a conflict between two opposing forces: on one Insurgency, on the other Power, with the main protagonists of this conflict each representing their own sides.
The murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos by the cop Epameinondas Korkoneas, and the large-scale riots that ensued, caused a powerful, high-tension social electroshock, because the image of “social peace” was shattered and the existence of these two opposing worlds was made visible, in the most manifest way, triggering situations from which there was no easy return, at least not without a creation and manifestation of events whose momentum nobody could any longer pretend they did not notice, they did not see, they did not hear, they did not take into account.
The 2008 rebellion rocked a society that, in its majority, still enjoyed their consumerist bliss and the culture of western lifestyle, and ignored the unbearable consequences of the coming economic crisis. It caused embarrassment, numbness and perceptive paralysis, since the majority of the social body was unable to comprehend whence sprang so many thousands of rioters, who were creating disturbances of such a tension.
In the aftermath of the rebellion, a number of intellectuals, political analysts, professors, sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, and even artists, each taking advantage of their own professional prestige and renown, joined the public debate, not only in order to interpret December ’08, but also to de-signify it by slandering its occurrence and condemning violence altogether, from wherever it may come, making it clear what their real social role is.
There is much more to be said about December ’08 and its insurrectionary heritage, as manifested through the dozens of direct action groups which proliferated explosively across the country, creating a front of internal threat. A period when anarchist direct action undermined the social normalcy almost on a daily basis. But what we want above all is to remember…
To remember what December ’08 was and how anarchy, having a leading role, contributed to the manifestation of dynamic situations, which gained resonance in the international anarchist movement.
To remember the time when anarchy overcame the fear of arrest, captivity and violent repression, and therefore acquired a tremendous self-confidence, moving on to actions and gestures that, until then, seemed impossible; a self-confidence which was manifested in the whole range of anarchist polymorphous action, from simple public interventions to all kinds of occupations, and from spontaneous confrontational practices to more organised offensive actions.
We want to remember our young comrade who was guilty of his spontaneity, which he paid with his life. Under other circumstances it might have been us in his place, as the same insurrectionary enthusiasm pervades us since then, and besides, EVERYONE should remember their origins instead of exorcising them.
We want to remember the beauty of paralysing the social space-time through smaller or larger social short circuits.
We want to remember how dangerous anarchy may become, when anarchy wants to…
We want to relive the days when “death shall have no dominion, and dead men naked they shall be one with the man in the wind and the west moon, and they shall break in the sun till the sun breaks down”
(paraphrased verses from a poem by Dylan Thomas).