Thursday, 8 December 2016

In Defence Of Autonomy.

       This year's demonstrations marking the anniversary of the murder by a police officer, of young 15 year old Alexis Gigoropoulos on December 6th. 2008, turned into a confrontation with the repressive police responsible for that murder, and a large group of anarchists. The battle of resistance mainly took place around Exarcheia Square.
      There are estimates that there were 800-1,000 activists involved in that struggle for autonomy around Exarcheia Square, though as far as the babbling brook of bullshit, the mainstream media were concerned, it never happened.

This report from Anarchist News:
The Exarcheia Commune Rises and Defends Itself, 
a Review of the Battle
Ons Danse le Lachymo…”
Graffiti, France, July 2016
(transl. “We Dance the Teargas”)

“ Comrade, will you watch these while I throw one?” He is tall, masked from head to toe in black, and is known to me. As he speaks he motions to a milk crate stuffed with Molotovs.
“ Sure…go ahead,” I say as I light a cigarette and settle in to guard the precious weapons stash while he tosses the thing at the Social Enemy. Ten minutes later he returns and in spite of the dark night, his black clothing, and the shadow we stand in, he glows with happiness---like the Molotov he just launched, he is alight.
The strategy was simple, and for the anarchists new: defend the beating anarchist heart of Athens, of Greece, perhaps the world. Block, stop, and turn back any and all attempts by the Athens Police to get to Exarcheia Square. And do so in a coordinated fashion between all the various groups, teams and squats. Each entity taking responsibility for one or two streets—ensuring they are effectively blocked. This in contrast to previous years when the rioting was scattered, unfocussed and usually developed into clashes around the Polytechnic, the University complex set off several blocks from the Square. This year, the Polytechnic and its environs played no role whatsoever, but Exarcheia Square sure as hell did. Finally, in crystalline form, the strategy was to take and keep liberated territory, to free a community—if only for a few hours.
And further on:

Order of Battle
Anarchists: 800-1,000. Organized as teams of between 5 and 10 fighters. Those from Exarcheia were assigned to various barricades and maintained themselves within their area. Those from outside Exarcheia roamed, the sound of flash bang grenades drawing them to specific streets, militants would frantically move from barricade to barricade as cop charges changed location and intensity. In a lull most hung out in Exarcheia, drank beer, talked, and scrounged for more stuff to throw. The number dwindled over the night to perhaps two hundred when the militants finally dumped arms and hostilities ceased, about 11:00 pm.
Cops: 200-300 (a guess). Based on my observations of the number per charge (20 cops maximum) and the number of barricades being simultaneously probed and harassed—upwards of five, and the number of police needed to provide logistics, support, command, reserves, and to steer traffic well out of the area.
As I sit and write this on the Isle of Lesvos a short 24 hours after the battle a number of scenes come to mind. Sitting in a room discussing preparations for the night, many of the militants standing, pacing, nervous with energy to get started. As I guarded the Molotovs having some Italian comrades wander by. They asked for a Molotov, which I provided and we all agreed that the Greeks had done something very right. Helping a young woman overcome by gas, who, when the Riopan got into her eyes and nose immediately recovered. Like a stoned person suddenly sober-- she straightened, said, “Thank you Comrade,” turned and headed back to the barricade she was attending to. The sight of burning barricades, great arcs of Molotovs fuses sputtering as they flew and struck home in the ranks of the police. The shouting, chanting, laughing, talking--the feeling of really finally being alive. One’s hair standing on end as the flash bangs explode and teargas projectiles clatter on the ground and cloud the street. Finally on my way back to the apartment I was staying at, I noticed a small store open, with several people playing cards at a table in the back. I knocked on the door--needed smokes and something to drink. They motioned me in, and asked where I was from, a few questions and finally one of the older men asked,” So tonight did you see the riots?”
“Yes,” I answered not wanting to give too much away.
“And who are you with, the young people or the cops?”
Hesitantly I said,” The young people, always.”
He smiled broadly and answered,” So are we.”
Read the full article HERE:
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