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What the Raid Shows about the Police States to Come
The week of demonstrations against the G20 summit in Hamburg got off to a telling start on Sunday. A lengthy court battleculminated with the highest court in Germany upholding the right of the anticapitalist camp to set up in Hamburg. Yet when they attempted to do so, the police blocked access to the park, directly violating the court ruling, then carried out a brutal raid in which several hundred riot police surrounded and brutalized campers and confiscated their belongings. The following firsthand account illustrates the world that the G20 summit in Hamburg represents—a world in which “peaceful protest” and court proceedings exist only to distract the naïve, while the whims of security forces are the law of the land. No wonder people are preparing to resist the G20.
Video footage showing the tremendous numbers of police involved in the raid.
What Happened at Enterwerder Park
The passive demonstration that nonprofit groups organized for Sunday was explicitly not directed at the G20 rulers but only at their policies—as if mere sign-holding could possibly have any influence on state policy. The real demonstrations are scheduled to take place later this week during the summit itself.
The original group that had formed to organize a campsite for protesters during the G20 summit had split along similar lines, with the group that was afraid of anything that smacked of “violence” or opposition to capitalism accepting a purely symbolicsite far away from central Hamburg, while the other group continued to push for a place in Hamburg proper. The latter group had apparently won, with Germany’s highest court ruling in their favor.
We arrive at Enterwerder Park in late afternoon. Hundreds of hopeful campers are gathered at the gates of the park, kept out by lines of police in heavy riot gear.
The police have filled the area with armored vans, blocking the roads, stopping and immobilizing vehicles belonging to prospective campers and anyone else they consider suspicious. The campers have set up a temporary gathering at the gates, serving delicious goulash to whoever wants it and conferring about what to do. There is considerable outrage about the police defying the orders that the court gave to let us into the park, but no one has any particular idea what to do. Despite police rhetoric about “violence” and “rioters,” none of us came prepared for a confrontation.
There’s no point in trying to discuss it with the officers themselves. Their expressions are blank: their vacant eyes look through us as if we are not there at all. Recruiting advertisements on the armored vans depict hip young Germans with androgynous haircuts, their fresh faces strangely cruel and disinterested. I catch my comrades’ attention: “BEFORE,” I suggest, pointing to the fresh faces on the posters; “AFTER,” I conclude, pointing to a grizzled senior officer whose haunted visage illustrates the impact of a lifetime of obeying orders.
The police keep clamping down, establishing new control points along the road to the gate. They set up blockades multiple lines deep to prevent anyone from carrying more food to the aspiring campers at the gate—apparently someone was throwing apples over their heads so the campers wouldn’t go hungry. Fucking terrorists!
One local confides to me that although police will be present this week from all over Germany, these are the local Hamburg police. She knows them personally from attending demonstrations here—one of them broke her jaw, then made a point of beating her again at a subsequent demonstration.
We fan out into the area to look for other delivery routes to the assembly around the gate. In fact, there are several ways the police haven’t noticed. Rather than concentrating on the places they are blocking or sitting around apathetically, we should be looking for the margins, the edges beyond their awareness. They can never control everything completely.
However, when we finally return to the front of the park, the police have stood down. The officers who are standing to the side of the gates in small groups look somewhat sheepish as campers walk joyously past them. Has the chief of police relented, agreeing to abide by the court decision after all? We applaud as one of the trucks loaded with supplies passes through the gate. The drivers had been waiting for several hours, surrounded by lines of riot police.
Cheerful campers who have already set up large tents pick them up together, a person at each pole, so the tents themselves stroll across the threshold of the gate and into the park. This is the genial, animated world we hope to build.
Campers begin to set up in the park.
Walking into the park, we pass dozens more armored vans and several more full squadrons of riot police in formation. It is beginning to dawn on us just how many of them are concentrated here. Groups of them surround the field in the park that will serve as our campsite. Nonetheless, the mood is festive as people set up the area. The practical-minded German protesters have prepared quite a bit of construction material. We eat and talk and compare notes together, speculating about what the week will bring.
As night begins to fall, groups of police withdraw from the field to the single road leading to the gate through which we entered. Are they leaving, finally? Will the campers finally be able to relax and get a little rest?
No—they’re not leaving. They’re massing at the end of the field, on the path leading to the gate.
Some of us go over to take a look. There are hundreds of them now, identical in their armor, line after line after line. Guns and batons and pepper spray hang at their sides. Each is dressed head to toe in thousands of euros worth of state-of-the-art protective gear, paid for by dutiful taxpayers who are not particularly curious about what Deutschland is doing with all their hard-earned income. The officers in the back have already put on their helmets.
They pull an armored van with a public address system on it to the front of their lines. People with medical conditions or histories of personal trauma are panicking as they try to figure out how to leave the park. The rest of us move towards the front. No one is eager to get arrested so early in the week, but we know that if we show any fear now, the police will be emboldened to bully and attack demonstrators all week long. We are not choosing whether to defend a campsite—we’re choosing whether to defend our capacity to demonstrate at all. If we don’t accept the gauntlet they’re throwing down, we will give away our freedom.
An announcement comes screeching through the speakers atop the police van: a man with a high-pitched, nasal voice is threatening us. People whistle and shout back at him. A camper makes a counter-announcement from the truck with the sound system in it and people cheer.
The police make a second announcement. The tension is thick in the darkening gloom: are we all going to jail? To the hospital? Then they make a third announcement, and the stormtroopers come marching in. We hear the sickening thud of their boots treading the ground in unison.
We mass around the sound truck and the tents, forming lines of our own. The police march around us, encircling us, and then they close in. They reach the sound truck, physically attacking the people around it. The chaos is disorienting—the shouting, the sound of people being beaten and pepper sprayed around us.
There is a person in the back of the sound truck where the sound system is. One officer sprays him full in the face with pepper spray, then the police grab him, pull him out of the truck, and throw him to the ground. Several officers crowd around him, kicking him over and over with their heavy boots. They kick him in the ribs, in the knees, in the neck, in the head. They do this calmly, robotically, and then they leave him on the ground, blinded, gasping, and contorted in pain.
They do not make any move to arrest him. Like the rest of the campers, he has not committed any crime.
Medics rush those of the injured who have managed to escape out of the police cordon. Ambulances pull up, anticipating serious or permanent injuries. Police wave around cameras on poles equipped with blinding searchlights. “Why are you filming?” shouts one camper.
“We’re not filming,” answers the officer flourishing the camera.
An eternity and a half hour later, the police march back in formation, half a dozen tents in their possession. All this to terrorize demonstrators, to show that brute force alone is all that counts in Hamburg.
Video footage showing the tremendous numbers of police involved in the raid.
Welcome to Hell, Indeed
“There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” – George Orwell, 1984
The police seek to realize a vision of hell on earth. In the cosmology they represent, all humanity is suspect, guilty of potential insubordination, and only the constant threat of violence can keep us in line. Free will is a liability in a world in which the only conceivable purpose is to follow orders in return for a paycheck, so that everyone can be controlled and punished. Police are the murderers of freedom.
The worst thing about police is that they seek to strip us of the ability to imagine anything other than the reality they represent and impose. That is why it is worth it to them to spend millions of euros on an operation to seize a handful of tents. When they attack us—when they beat us with fists or batons, when they pepper-spray us, tear-gas us, or Taser us, when they shoot at us with concussion grenades, rubber bullets, marker rounds, or live ammunition—the real target of their assault is not our bodies, but our faith in humanity.
They seek to bludgeon out of us any hope that human beings could relate on equal terms, leaving only the ugly equation of authority, obedience, and violence. They represent the very worst our species is capable of—pure mercenary indifference—and they hope to make this exception into the norm.
This is not surprising. Their lies about “human nature” offer the only narrative that could possibly excuse their conduct. For our part, we know that human nature, if there is such a thing, is broad enough to include many possibilities, many different ways of being and relating.
The masters of these police—the leaders of the G20, who will be meeting in Hamburg this week—represent a political class that no longer has any idea how to respond to the problems of our time except with greater and greater exertions of coercive force. There is no longer any pretense that we are moving towards a free and beautiful future, but rather a climate-change catastrophe torn by civil wars, divided between dictatorships and increasingly flimsy pretenses of democracy. This is why the G20 leaders are increasingly reliant on the police forces, to the extent of letting them dictate state policy in defiance of court orders. Without the representatives of brute force on their side, the ruling class is sunk, and they know it.
In this sense, the police state has already arrived.
When Donald Trump explicitly endorses violence against journalists and other Republican politicians carry it out, it is clear enough that the gloves have come off. In nations that still pride themselves on being democratic, such politicians—and their apologists, some of whom pose as their adversaries—will attempt to convince protesters that the only way to be “democratic” themselves is to obey the laws and passively accept whatever impositions the police make, while the authorities themselves hasten towards the rule of pure force. If they succeed in convincing us to be passive, the future will assuredly be unmitigated tyranny.
Make no mistake: if there are clashes in Hamburg this week, if anyone sees fit to defend herself or himself from the tens of thousands of police officers that have assembled here to brutalize all who will not slavishly consent to their rule, the fault lies with the so-called forces of order. They started it with their unprovoked attack on the camp at Enterwerder Park, they started it by treating Hamburg as a training ground to practice mass police brutality, they started it by training and assembling all these thugs in the first place.
The demonstrators against the G20 are fighting for their lives. They are fighting for all of our lives, for the world that we all share together—and they are fighting out of the kindness of their hearts. On the other side of the lines, we see the police abdicating responsibility for their actions in return for thirty pieces of silver. Anything anyone can do to resist them, to disrupt their strategies for world domination and carve out spaces of freedom, is loyalty to what is best in humanity.
Yet the transformations we seek will not be won simply in symmetrical clashes with police and fascists. Above all, we have to make it possible to believe in what is freest and most beautiful in our species, even as the authorities strive to conceal it. We have to make our dreams contagious, so that one day the police will find themselves surrounded and isolated, the last ones who still subscribe to their hideous program. We have to make spaces of joy and healing in which they, too, might one day shed their shameful skins and become something beautiful and free.
Campers wait outside the police blockade; the raid involving nearly a thousand riot police.
Postscript: A Note on Strategy
The park was a trap. The police did not let us in because the court had ruled that we had a right to be there, but only so that they could surround, contain, and brutalize us.
Perhaps we should have stayed outside the police lines. When a huge number of police are available to the state, as during this G20 summit, it doesn’t pay to let them surround us. It’s better to remain at the margins of their zones of control, always forcing them to expand further, spreading their resources thinner and creating situations in which they can’t help but antagonize the general population.
At the edge of their range of control, our smaller numbers are not a problem—on the contrary, they can make it harder to track us, harder to predict what we will do next. When the authorities have to keep controlling ever wider areas, their bulk and force become liabilities, burdening them and provoking the public, drawing additional demographics and variables into the conflict.
This strategy of spreading out their area of concentration worked during the 2009 G20 summit in Pittsburgh, when protesters set out to cross the city in the opposite direction from the walls of riot police surrounding the meetings.
When the police realized what was going on and mobilized, attempting to establish control throughout large swathes of the city, they ended up turning the people of Pittsburgh against them, precipitating a series of new clashes in which business districts were demolished, the police lost legitimacy in the public eye, and many who had previously been outside the clashes were politicized.
If, rather than filing into the camp, we had remained at the edges, we might have accomplished some of the same things. At the least, we might have been able to draw the focus of the police away from assaulting the hapless campers. There was only a single entry point into the park for all those riot vans—had we blocked it, they surely would have been forced to shift their attention from the camp to the city around them, a hostile territory that wants no part of their summit and experiences them as an occupying force.
Perhaps these reflections can be of use over the coming days.
On the occasion of reports that talk about transforming the building where occupation Rosa Nera is in a hotel, the Anarchosindicalists Initiative “Rosinante” has published the following announcement:
In the last week, in newspapers (Eleftheros Press, Kathimerini) and racist web sites belonging to the “New Democracy” appears the Rectorate of the Polytechnic of Crete to offer informal “in secret” auctions buildings of the city to tourism bosses. Among these buildings is the building of the Rosa Nera Occupation. This move is part of the wider attack on social and labor movements – and with the backs of the current government.
The occupation of Rosa Nera, for 13 years, is a working machine of support and organization for important aspects of social and labor movements in Chania. Through a libertarian and anarchist culture that supports the organization on the ground, the political work of occupation offers both a hospitable “home” for social struggles and a critical human potential for most social, labor, environmental and rightful claims in Chania.
They know this well both in the villages of the county, which have been plagued by the looting and destruction of the environment from “green growth” and in the city: In the world, by trade unions, student co-ordinates, migrant and immigrant initiatives, Artistic groups and productions, social solidarity initiatives and initiatives to claim public spaces supported and / or collaborated with Rosa Nera. The occupation, unlike some others, has hosted refugee families when the city’s bodies were unable or disinterested. And along with other collectives – such as Immigration Stake, Immigration Forum and Social Kitchen – Rosa Nera has been a powerful force in one of the most important issues of modern class struggle: defending migrant life and struggles for rights and Life that deny to migrants by the same racist bosses who today want to take the place of occupation.
It is logical, therefore, to have the bosses with Rosa Nera. On the one hand the world of struggle for the class and social revaluation of life, and on the other hand the exploiters and their political staff. Much more, when we talk about bosses exploiting work in tourism businesses, bosses who have frozen wages for 20 years, with more recent cuts of up to 40%, have eliminated stamps, bonuses and insurance. It is also logical that the specific business will be made by the aspiring politician of the right and now rector Dimalakis in collaboration with the party of the ND. Which is involved in a lot of scandals, more recently the case of the loans of “Kirikas Chania” and the “golden buildings” of the Pancretan Bank.
Prior to the occupation, this area was always in the hands of the city’s authority as an administrative or military center, and its history is heavy: in its basements, fighters have been tortured by the Gestapo during occupation and by the ESA during the dictatorship . When the building was handed over to the polytechnic, it was left to chance as a closed dilapidated space. Thanks to the collective work of many people, for the first time the building and the area of occupation became accessible and opened safely to society. For the first time, one can enjoy the ride and his company, in a place that has always been locked up by power. Finally, 13 years now, Rosa Nera’s occupation is another social barrier to the rise of the extreme right and the effort of racists, militarists and neo-Nazis to appear with demands on the streets and workplaces of the city.
The solidarity and our support is given.
-Hands down from the occupation of Rosa Nera and the social occupations
-Solidarity with the social spaces that fight against fascism, militarism, exploitation
13.03.2017. the the ‘left-wing’ Syriza government revealed once more its total capitulation and authoritarianism by evicting two squats in Athens, Greece. More than 200 people were detained during the evictions, with about 100 of them being released again. Refugees with papers were released, while “non-citizens” without papers will be sent to hotspots/camps. The Greek state also raided a self-organized center in the city of Agrinio. The cops vandalized the venue and stole 600€. Several thousand people protested in Athens against the evictions where clashes broke out after cops attacked the demonstration with tear gas.
The Refugee Accommodation Space, City Plaza’s statement:
Repression will not put an end to the squat movement
The evacuation of Villa Zografou and the Alkiviadou squat by police is an act of extreme state authoritarianism. The SYRIZA-ANEL government quickly aligned itself with far-right voices screaming for more repression. While refugees are crammed inside terrible camps, while enormous sums of money are being wasted, while the city is suffocating from the lack of free, non-commercial spaces, the government is opting for a policy of police violence and social suffocation.
Yet they are mistaken if they believe they can crush the squat movement with riot police and district attorneys. The struggle for solidarity and dignity will continue unabated. It is a Social need, it is a political choice.
Refugee Accommodation Space City Plaza
The call for tonight’s demonstration against the evictions was published on squat.net and voidnetwork.gr, as well as other independent media and social networks.
Statement from Void Network:
Two Social Centers In Athens Under Attack / Solidarity Announcement
The repression of social liberation movement and the destruction of the occupied spaces of refugees and immigrants will not be left unanswered. The Greek Left government chose at the dawn of 13/03/2017 to listen to the commands of the conservative right and the neo-liberal Media of Mass Manipulation and attack two occupations of the broader social movement in Athens, Greece. Police raids are an ideal example of the policy imposed by the domination during our era: when we sleep the State continues working against all of us.
The occupation at the beginning of Acharnon Street, very near to the old Villa Amalias squat in the center of Athens was – with the joys and sorrows of the past year-, a real school for all the local solidarity activists that took part in the titanic struggle offering assistance to refugees outside the mechanisms of the regime, as humans to humans over the last years. The occupation of Acharnon was the first example of direct, autonomous and unmediated self-organization of refugees without the presence and participation of local activists. It was a self-organized space of immigrants and refugees by themselves for themselves and this is why it was hit directly by the state.
The occupied park and castle of Villa Zografou in the Zografou area was an important social center of the neighborhood and with a very strong involvement in the uprising of 2008 and the movements that followed until the final uprising of February 12, 2012. At a time of recession for the movements and of the general inaction of society, the State comes to get back every corner conquered by the social movements at a time when they tried to give answers to the capitalist, predatory raids misleadingly named by our oppressors as “CRISIS”.
The fraud of the representation of popular interests in parliament by ridiculous politicians and sold out parties already ended at Syntagma Square in the summer of 2011. The massive illusion of the desperate majority that Syriza wouls “save us” has ended long ago. This attack on the social centers is yet more proof that the left government is nothing more than another form of antisocial “social democracy” in front of us. Syriza is a zombie of PASOK, and while it is dying it continues to grasp at the defense of its own power, and every minute that passes the future of this society is mortgaged away.
The parliament stinks of the plague and those who want to support it with their backs and to irrigate it with their blood have to know that they live at the expense of their children and that they CHILDREN WILL GIVE THEIR ANSWERS. The Future will defend its rights and THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE STRUGGLING.
Re-occupation of all occupations hit by the State – Create squats and social centers across the country in all possible and unlikely places – Liberation of everyday life from all stupid social responsibilities and conventions – Refuse the dominant culture – Recruitment towards the social movements of our time – Support of the movement’s for the spaces with our daily participation
SYMBIOSIS / EQUALITY / TOTAL FREEDOM
Participate at the demonstrations organised in defense of the squats and social centers
Monday 13/3 at 18.00 Gardenia sq. Zografou area / 6th bus stand – BUS 230, 608,235.
“I am a revolutionary, and I have nothing to apologize for.
Terrorists, criminals, robbers are those who compose the economic and political life; the institutions and governments that, through the memoranda, are waging the most violent, the most heinous attack on the social base in the name of a “way out of the crisis.” Terrorist, criminal, robber is the State and Capital; those whom I fight committed with all my soul to armed struggle, to Revolutionary Struggle; those whom my organization has targeted all these years of our activity.
(…) when the economic and political establishment attacks the social majority in the most merciless way, armed struggle for social revolution is a duty and obligation; because that’s where hope lies and nowhere else. The only hope for a definitive way out of the systemic crisis we are living in this historical period, for a definitive way out of every crisis. It is the only hope towards overturning capitalism, the system that gives birth to crises; the only hope towards overturning the State and Capital.
It is the only hope for an armed counterattack of the social base against a system that crushes them.
It is the only hope towards overthrowing the State and Capital; for Social Revolution.
For a society of economic equality and political freedom for all.”
After the arrest of comrade Pola Roupa member of the Revolutionary
Struggle and the comrade who was arrested at a similar operation in
Brahami, a solidarity gathering was carried out outside GADA (athens
An open assembly in the Polytechnic followed, which carried out an
intervention outside the house of S.Kodonis minister of Justice. The
mass intervention by solidarians is a first reflex action to the
vengeful captivity by the state of the 6year old child of comrades
N.Maziotis and Pola Roupa, who went on hunger and thirst strike
demanding that their child be given to their relatives immediately.
IMMEDIATE SATISFACTION OF THE DEMAND OF COMRADES MAZIOTIS AND ROUPA WHO
ARE ON HUNGER AND THIRST STRIKE
This morning 5.1.17 two anarchist comrades K.A and the member of Revolutionary
Struggle Pola Roupa are caught by the cops.
Comrade Pola fell in their hands having her son with her, who they
separated from his mother and are keeping him in the juvenile
Behind the screams of the crows of tv and the laurels political
superiors expect for their “new success”, hides the callous brutality of
the state mechanism. Both towards the comrades who we know very well
what methods of psychological and physical violence they are
experiencing right now, but especially against the 6year old child they
are using as leverage.
No one should doubt where their vengeance could reach in this war. The
only obstacle can be solidarity. Solidarity on a political as well as on
a human level, against the mental torture of a young child who they
interrogate and deprive him of his familiar environment.
Left and right wing scumbags who are now in the political administration
of the capitalist machine, do not even think about continuing this
That stuff about institutionalizing the 6 year old child will remain in
the dirty mouths of the blackmailing cops and interrogators.
Immediate satisfying of the demand of the hunger and thirst strike by
anarchist P.Roupa and N.Maziotis.
Give the child to his relatives right now.
Solidarity to those who do not bow the head.
War against authority until social revolution and anarchy.
Different reasons have caused us to express ourselves again, even if the resources used, in terms of material expenditure and ‘man’ power were very small. One of these reasons is the ‘message barrier’ which was partly imposed on militant actions. Anonymous comrades of the ‘Autonomous Groups’ already pointed this out in the framework of their attack against the Ordnungsamt (public order police) on 25.12.16.
In the meantime, it should be clear to the authorities that the two torched vans did not fall victim to a technical defect on ‘company premises’ on Sewanstraße as they initially suspected but were torched using fire accelerators. One on the right front tire and one on the right rear tire. The vehicles belong to the company Sodexo whose activity in the prison industry has been reported several times, which is why they have been repeatedly subjected to militant actions.
We hope that there was damage to the building structure and we want to emphasize that we are not interested in frightening the workers. As a character mask of the capitalist social formation they contribute to the continuation of the same but only to a limited extent.
Solidarity also goes out to Tunfisch and Balu because of their activities related to a militant demo. Here, for example, the lines of repression continue to be continuous, independent of the partisan landscape.
Our attack applies to all those who unwilling or unable to adapt themselves to the existing social order, their ideologies of inequality and their compulsion to exploit them in all areas, and have therefore been forced onto the digital and analog grids of the repressive authorities and the prison industry. For them, this fire is perhaps a small, retrospective firework.
The tension field, which is set up when one acts in solidarity with those who are in prison, is well aware of us. As a matter of fact, we are not a small splinter group that can and will dissolve this field discursively. This is a social process, which, as in all other areas, must be taken as a matter of course, that people are no longer inhuman beings towards others. In this context, it is unquestionable that the current process of digital surveillance and monitoring as well as the expansion of the prison industry and the growing law and order mentality of the public.
Each blow against the security architecture should therefore be welcomed by every freedom-loving person, while at the same time a debate must be ignited as mentioned above.
As the attack against Sodexo could be plausibly denied and later no statement could be made that it was an attack, the non-reporting of an arson attack against a mobile phone tower can clearly be interpreted as a message block.
In the night from Saturday to Sunday at around 01:50AM we placed fire accelerators on 2 separate places on a mobile phone tower belonging to Kabel Deutschalnd (now Vodafone) on Oranienburger Straße and set them on fire. Unfortunately they failed to spread the fire but we think that the cables were not there for nothing so a (temporary) failure was to be expected.
With this attack, we wanted to create a small ‘surveillance pause’, as an action group (Katla) had already achieved withthe attack on a mobile phone tower in the vicinity of the S-Bahnhof Adlershof. Even if the attack in only indirectly connected, we would like to address the suggestion of a Hamburg group to disrupt the G20 summit by attacking infrastructure. Disruptions to communication could help the revolt in Hamburg in July, as it is only useable in a limited way as a result of the monitoring, whereas the police uniforms need the digital inflow to be able to efficiently.
1.5 years since our last attack (arson attack on the German railway) we are again expressing our presence. Nothing has failed. Too many things should have been active long ago but we keep to our silent philosophy of “a wave only retreats in order to strike again”.
In the future too, we will be marking and destroying what stands in the way of a libertarian society or favors reactionary regimes of right-wing or Islamist nature.
According to Athens Indymedia a new order was issued by the prosecutor on 08.01.16 terminating the detention of Lambros-Viktoras Maziotis Roupas, the 6 year old son of Revolutionary Struggle members Pola Roupa and Nikos Maziotis, and awarding temporary custody of the child to his grandmother. The child has already left the hospital with his relatives. Comrades Pola Roupa, Nikos Maziotis and Konstantina Athanasopoulou have ended their hunger and thirst strike. A decision on final custody of the child will take place in six months time.
SOLIDARITY WITH REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE!
Pola Roupa and Konstantina Athanasopoulou were earlier this day 08.01.2017. transferred to the hospital, because of their health condition during this exhausting battle.
Solidarity actions took place all over Greece during this 4 days – people showing their support and solidarity with various gatherings, protests, letters, banners, graffiti. Also prisoners refuse to go in their cells and some of them wrote solidarity letters to the strikers, as well as other individuals and organizations that condemned the Government, Minister of Justice, Health, and other responsible persons for holding and kidnapping a child and holding it non-legal in custody institutions isolated.
This precedent in treatment of the 6 year old child has seen as an act of class revenge and hatred to his parents because of their political choices of revolutionary armed struggle, and compares with dictatorship in Latin America as Dimitris Koufodinas, the member of 17N stated.
07.01.17: Two OPKE (Group of Crime Prevention and Suppression) police vehicles ambushed in Exarcheia, Athens with Molotov cocktails, one OPKE vehicle completely destroyed.
07.01.17: 3 ATMs torched in Thessaloniki
06.01.17: Car torched outside the home of Tassos Tsakiridi, Deputy Mayor for Social Policy in the Neapoli-Sykies Municipality in Thessaloniki
Also on 06.01.17: NEA TV (TV News) station was occupied in Chania, Crete and 8 minute message was transmitted live in solidarity with the 3 imprisoned Revolutionary Struggle members on hunger & thirst strike:
I Panagiota (Pola) Roupa declare that I was and will be until I die an unrepentant enemy of the system. They have now put the child in the middle of this war and they punish him in order to get revenge against me. They have kidnapped my child and I don’ t know where he is since our arrest in the early morning.
We are at war, it is true. But them fighting against my child, by not allowing me or other close relatives to see him and by threatening to send him to an institution, is the most despicable act in this war. Those who are in the state apparatus are worms because they are fighting against a 6 year old child.
And I want to state that I have now begun a hunger and thirst strike to demand that the child is given to my mother and my sister. As for me I will remain the enemy until I die. And I will never yield. Long live the revolution!
Pola Roupa, 5/1/17
Act for freedom now notes:
In the early morning hours of January 5th 2017, two Revolutionary Struggle members, fugitive comrade Pola Roupa and anarchist Konstantina Athanasopoulou were captured at a southern area of Athens. Anti-terrorist cops raided a hideout with Pola and her six-year-old son inside, while Konstantina was arrested in another house nearby.
After being forcibly removed from his mother, Lambros-Viktoras Maziotis Roupas—the small son of Revolutionary Struggle members Nikos Maziotis and Pola Roupa—is being held captive inside a children’s hospital in Athens guarded by cops…
In response to this, three Revolutionary Struggle members—Nikos Maziotis, the recaptured comrade Pola Roupa and the newly arrested Konstantina Athanasopoulou—have undergone hunger and thirst strike since January 5th, demanding that the six-year-old be immediately placed with his aunt and grandmother.
“I am an anarchist, member of the armed revolutionary organization Revolutionary Struggle. The only terrorists are the State and the Capital. I refuse to eat and drink anything until the child of my comrades Pola Roupa and Nikos Maziotis is delivered to relatives of theirs.
A few facts are enough to show the horror of the situation facing the migrants:
On 27 August, in Austria near the Hungarian border, 71 bodies (including 8 women and 4 children) were discovered in an advanced state of decomposition, locked into a lorry abandoned by the roadway;
A few days later, the body of a little boy of three, drowned at the same time as his mother and brother, was washed up on a beach at Bodrum in Turkey.
These were both cases of migrants from Syria fleeing the nightmare of four years of war. This phenomenon of refugees has now been globalised on an unprecedented, going well beyond the exoduses of the worst years of the 20th century.
Propaganda and solidarity
One thing about this is striking. The media are not trying to hide the unbearable horror of the situation. On the contrary, they are headlining it and are coming up with more and more shocking images, like that of the little boy on the beach. Why?
In fact, the bourgeoisie is exploiting, for the purpose of its propaganda, both the barbarism for which it is itself responsible, and the feelings of indignation it provokes, and the spontaneous expressions of solidarity between local working people and migrants which in the last few months has begun to develop in several parts of Europe. The propaganda is aimed at strangling at birth any possibility of independent thought and to instil nationalist ideology in a more insidious way. In the eyes of the ruling class, left to themselves, proletarians in Europe are acting in a curious and even irresponsible way: they are helping and supporting the migrants. Despite the permanent ideological bombardment, we find that very often when these proletarians are in direct contact with the refugees, they bring them what they need to survive – food, drink, blankets – and sometimes even take them in to their homes. We have seen such examples of solidarity in Lampedusa in Italy, Calais in France and a number of cities in Germany and Austria. When, after being hassled by the Hungarian state, train loads of refugees have arrived at the stations, the exhausted migrants have been welcomed by thousands of people offering them support and material aid. Austrian rail workers have worked extra hours to transport the refugees towards Germany. In Paris, thousands demonstrated on 5 September to protest against the treatment of the refugees. They raised slogans like “we are all children of migrants”.
Faced with such massive and international expressions of solidarity from the civil population, when the main concern of the state has been to intimidate the refugees and keep them under control, the ruling class has had to react. Almost everywhere the bourgeoisie has had to modify the anti-immigrant discourse of the last few years and adapt to the situation. In Germany, the turn-around of the bourgeoisie has helped it to strengthen the image of the country as a very advanced democracy, to exorcise the ghosts of the past in response to those of its rivals who never miss an occasion to refer to Germany’s dark history. What’s more, it’s the trauma of the Second World War which explains the sensitivity of the German proletariat to the question of refugees. The German authorities have had to suspend the Dublin agreement which calls for the deportation of asylum seekers. In the eyes of the world’s migrants, Angela Merkel has become the champion of Germany’s openness and a model of humanity. In Britain, David Cameron has had to modify his hard line stance, along with the worst right wing tabloids which up till now have been describing migrants as a threatening and sub-human horde. For the bourgeoisie, one of the key issues has been the need to hide the fact that there are two totally antagonistic logics at work here: capitalist exclusion and ‘every man for himself’ versus proletarian solidarity; a dying system sinking into barbarism versus the affirmation of a class which bears within itself the future flourishing of humanity. The bourgeoisie cannot avoid reacting to the real feelings of indignation and solidarity which are appearing in the central countries.
The spectacular explosion in the number of refugees
The situation is not totally new. In 2012, the High Commission for Refugees (HCR) was already counting 45.2 million “displaced” people and was ringing the alarm bells about this growing human disaster. In 2013, 51.2 million were fleeing various kinds of horror. The threshold of 50 million had thus been crossed for the first time since the Second World War. The HCR explained this as the result of “the multiplication of new crises” and “the persistence of old crises which never seem to die down”. The year 2015 is about to mark a new record: 60 million refugees for Europe alone. Since January, appeals for asylum have increased by 78%. In Germany, according to the minister of the interior, these appeals have quadrupled, reaching the record figure of 800,000. Macedonia has declared a state of emergency and closed its borders. Officially, more than 2800 of these exiles, men, women and children, have drowned in the Mediterranean in the last few months. In Asia, the phenomenon is also massive. For example, a growing number of people have been fleeing repression and persecution in Myanmar and desperately seeking refuge in other southeast Asian countries. In Latin America, criminality and poverty have reached such levels that hundreds of thousands of people are trying to get to the USA. A goods train which goes from the south of Mexico to the north, nicknamed ‘The Beast’, has been regularly carrying thousands of migrants. They run the risk not only of falling from the carriage roofs or being thrown off in the tunnels, but also of being assaulted by the authorities; they are above all at the mercy of the drug gangs or other bandits who ransom them, rape them, kidnap women for prostitution, and as often as not kill them. And for those who have the fortune to get through all this, all along the US frontier they face a wall of barbed wire policed by armed guards who don’t hesitate to shoot at them.
In fact, the hypocritical and civilised speeches of the democratic states go very well with the nastiest and most xenophobic rants. The first encourages feelings of powerlessness, the second of fear. Both obstruct any real reflection, any real development of solidarity.
A phenomenon accentuated by the reality of decomposition
Entire zones of the planet are being devastated and made uninhabitable. This is particularly the case for the regions linking Ukraine to Africa via the Middle East. In certain of these war zones, half the population is in flight and are being held in gigantic camps, at the mercy of the most unscrupulous traffickers, organised on an industrial scale. The real cause of this hell is the decay of the world system of exploitation. The breadth of the refugee phenomenon is a clear expression of the downward spiral of capitalism, which brings in its wake pogroms and violence of all kinds, growing pauperisation linked to the economic crisis, and ecological catastrophes. Of course wars, crises and pollution are not new. All wars have led to people fleeing to save their lives. However, the intensity of these phenomena is growing all the time. Up until the First World War, the number of refugees remained relatively limited. The war then brought the beginning of massive displacements, ‘population transfers’ etc. This spiral took on a whole new dimension with the Second World War, when the number of refugees reached unheard-of levels. Then, during the Cold War, the numerous proxy wars between east and west generated a significant number of refugees, as did the famines in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 70s and 80s. But since the collapse of the eastern bloc in 1989 a veritable Pandora’s box has opened up. The antagonism between the two imperialist blocs imposed a certain order and discipline: most countries obeyed the diktats of their respective bloc leader, the US or Russia. The wars of this period were inhuman and murderous, but in a sense they were ‘ordered’ and ‘classical’. Since the collapse of the USSR, growing instability has given rise to a multiplication of local conflicts, to all sorts of shifting alliances. Conflicts have gone on and on, resulting in the disintegration of states and the rise of warlords and gangsters, in the dislocation of the entire social fabric.
In addition, the contradictions between the imperialist powers (marked by the development of ‘every man for himself’, in which each nation plays its own imperialist card with increasingly short-term objectives), have led the latter to make military interventions in an increasingly regular, almost permanent manner. Each of the big powers support this or that mafia clique or warlord, this or that increasingly irrational band of fanatics, in the defence of their imperialist interests. What dominates in capitalist society today is the disintegration of entire regions, where the most crying expressions of social decomposition can be seen: whole regions controlled by drug gangs, the rise of Islamic State with its barbaric atrocities, etc.
The bunkerisation of the great powers
The states which bear the main responsibility for all this social, ecological and military chaos have at the same time become real fortresses. In a context of unemployment and chronic crisis, security measures are being stepped up to a drastic degree. States have become ‘bunkerised’. Only the most qualified migrants are allowed in to be exploited, to lower the cost of labour power and create divisions within the proletariat. The majority of refugees and migrants, the ‘undesirable’ ones, those reduced to misery and starvation, are cynically enjoined to stay where they are and die without inconveniencing anyone. The northern states have literally chased them into a corner, as in the case of France with its ‘Jungle’ near the Channel Tunnel at Calais. Gangrened by a crisis of overproduction, capitalist society can no longer them any perspective. Instead of opening up, the doors are being closed: states are barricading their frontiers, electrifying fences, constructing more and more walls. During the Cold War, the time of the Berlin Wall, there were about 15 walls defending frontiers. Today more than 60 have been built or are being constructed. From the ‘apartheid wall’ raised by Israel in the face of the Palestinians, to the 4000 miles of barbed wire separating India from Bangladesh, states are falling into a real paranoia about security. In Europe, the Mediterranean front is littered with walls and barriers. Last July, the Hungarian government began construction of a four meter high razor wire fence. As for the Schengen space in Europe, and the work of the Frontext agency or Triton, their industrial-military effectiveness is formidable: a permanent fleet of surveillance and war ships there to prevent refugees from crossing the Mediterranean. A similar military machine has been set up along the Australian coastline. All these obstacles seriously raise the mortality rate among refugees, who are forced to take more and more risks to get past them.
The cynicism of the bourgeoisie
On the one hand, the bourgeois state is barricading itself in. It feeds to the maximum the warnings of doom coming from the most xenophobic populist parties, sharpening hatred, fear and division. Themselves facing deteriorating living conditions, the weakest sections of the proletariat are hit full on by this nationalist propaganda. In a number of countries there have been anti-migrant marches, physical attacks, arson attack on refugee centres. The refugees are the target of campaigns against ‘foreigners who threaten our way of life’. The state legitimises all this by setting up internment camps (over 400 in Europe), deporting those it can, patrolling the frontiers.
On the other hand, this same bourgeoisie fakes its indignation through the voice of politicians who talk about the ‘moral challenge’ posed by the refugees and offers them token support and assistance. In short, the capitalist state, the arch-criminal, poses as their saviour.
But as long as capitalism lasts, there can be no real solution for the migrants and the refugees. If we don’t fight against this system, if we don’t go to the roots of the problem, our indignation and solidarity will not go beyond the stage of basic aid, and the deepest and most noble human feelings will be recuperated by the bourgeoisie, turned into heavily publicised acts of charity which will be used to fuel a more hidden form of nationalism. Therefore, we must try to understand what’s really happening. The proletariat has to develop its own critical and revolutionary point of view on these questions.
In future articles, we will return in more depth to this historic issue.
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If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks…will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. – Thomas Jefferson in the debate over the Re-charter of the Bank Bill (1809)
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.” – Thomas Jefferson
… The modern theory of the perpetuation of debt has drenched the earth with blood, and crushed its inhabitants under burdens ever accumulating. -Thomas Jefferson