The poster reads:
“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.”
“I am an anarchist, member of the armed revolutionary organization Revolutionary Struggle. The only terrorists are the State and the Capital.”
Demonstration in solidarity with Revolutionary Struggle members
Saturday January 21st 2017 at 12:00 in Monastiraki (downtown Athens)
SOLIDARITY WITH THE REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE MEMBERS
NO EXEMPTION STATUS OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
STRUGGLE AGAINST THE STATE AND CAPITAL BY ANY MEANS
–Solidarity Assembly (Athens)
Full text of callout in Greek.
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
THE STATE AND CAPITAL ARE THE ONLY TERRORISTS
SOLIDARITY TO ARMED GUERRILLAS
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.
Berlin, January 6, 2017
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.
This attack is to be understood as a small flame of solidarity with the diverse range of people affected by repression. Examples include the revolting / striking prisoners in the USA. Also in the exceptional condition, due to the riots of the inmates, are some prisons in the UK.
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.
The same is true of Greece, where recently, to our regret, some people from Revolutionary Struggle were arrested. To mention here Pola Roupa and Konstantina Athanasopoulou.
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.
(via Linksunten Indymedia, translated by Insurrection News)
After 4 days of hunger and thirst strike of 3 members of R.O. Revolutionary Struggle( Pola Roupa, Nikos Maziotis and Konstantina Athanasopoulou)we finally see an epilogue:
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.
Solidarity Actions (via InsurectionNews):
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:
SOLIDARITY WITH REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE!
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.
In the past several months since the streets of the so-called United States of America were set alight by riots after the murder of black teenager Mike Brown by a white police officer, an increasing number of people seem to be asking the question: do riots work?
In answering, people tend to look at the historical connection between violent unrest and the government granting concessions afterwards. While this connection is certainly very real, it misses some key aspects and drastically reduces the scope of what we might consider a so-called “victory.” The federal investigation into the Ferguson Police Department would likely never had occurred if not for the sustained unrest throughout 2014. The rioting that took place after a BART police officer murdered Oscar Grant is often credited with the officer’s arrest and subsequent conviction (however lenient.) Fear of further rioting in Birmingham is said to have prompted the federal government to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And if the federal investigation, the conviction of a police officer, or the passing of legislation is what is sought after, then surely, the riots work. But we want much more than that; we desire the downfall of the capitalist-white-supremacist-patriarchal social order.
This thought process has emerged in reaction to the obscuring of violent (for lack of a better word) conflict in favor of a white-washed, pacifist history of struggle. Oftentimes liberals and others wishing to preserve social peace suggest that all struggles that were successful primarily utilized non-violent tactics. It may be tempting to accept the above framework as a response, but we do so at our own peril.
A more important question might ask why rioting is suddenly caught in this recuperative scheme. Before, the state was satisfied with repression coupled with the spreading of “outside agitator” narratives to isolate potential rioters. But since the Ferguson uprisings, the tactic has become more generalized. As a decreasing amount of people are put off by riots, and thus the strategy of erasing its potential must be shifted.
When the success of rioting is framed in terms of concessions won, it replaces the revolutionary nature of the riot with the agenda of reform. It becomes simply one of many tools in the activist’s toolkit to achieve “social change.” Want to pressure your elected officials? Riot. Revolutionaries seem to be misled by this newfound appreciation for formerly-condemned tactics and are excited for a culture that accepts and even supports not-so-civil disobedience. But when we agree to this framework, we only sacrifice this growing potential.
After periods of unrest, self-styled radicals often claim that violent tactics were the only way to grab media attention, to bring an issue to light, or the only way to make those in power listen. And this is not untrue. Those in power certainly only listen when they are being threatened, and rioting offers people a way to threaten power. But when a political solution is offered—the federal investigation, the indictment, etc.—it is not a reward for rising up, it is an attempt at de-escalation, at counter-insurgency. This is key to understanding the connection between uprisings and concessions.
In exchange for restoring social peace, the state offers superficial solutions to the underlying problems that caused people to riot in the first place. Rioters return to their homes, feeling accomplished while nothing fundamentally changes. Heralding these concessions as sincere accomplishments not only obscures their recuperative effect, but also mistakes them for genuinely progressive solutions. No amount of “bad apple” cops locked up could possibly end the oppression found in the very existence of police and prisons. No amount of legislation can replace the need to completely dismantle the state structure.
For riots to truly “work,” we must abandon the framework of the activist, and recognize the concessions of the state as what they truly are: attempts at recuperation. Each riot offers us the opportunity to find each other and act collectively, appropriating everything around us that was built for the functioning of capitalism for our own needs, or else do away with it. It is only through sustaining moments of rebellion that we might catch a glimpse of sincere success.
Part II: Blocking Politics
Written almost a year ago, “Do Riots Work? Exploring New Frontiers of Recuperation” attempted to clarify a misconception of the so-called ‘post-Ferguson era.’ It addressed the tendency to frame riots as a means to achieve reforms as a response to pacifism, and claimed that doing so actually forecloses revolutionary possibilities. Since then, the task of further elaboration has proven itself more crucial than expected.
Referring specifically to rioting missed the opportunity to address a related development. In the past year or so, rioting has not spread nearly as much as ‘disciplined militancy.’ Christmas 2015 in particular was marked with several actions by organizations such as Black Seed and various Black Lives Matter chapters that spectacularly shut down highways, airports, bridges, and more. Activists carry out bigger and more impressive disruptions that mirror the uprisings following the acquittal of George Zimmerman or the murder of Mike Brown, but remain within the traditional political framework. While some see this as a “refinement” or evolution of the latter spontaneous actions, it could more accurately be described as the capturing of what was previously uncontrollable. Instead of agitated crowds chucking proverbial wrenches into the gears of the nearest capitalist infrastructure, activists carefully craft a spectacular event for mass consumption. The latter follows the activist logic of consciousness-raising through media-centric protest, perhaps inherently so. These actions interrupt the functioning of society only as required to draw attention to their grievance or cause.
The nature of demands has been more thoroughly explored elsewhere, but put simply: any engagement with those in power to address our problems simultaneously reinforces their power. I refer to this as politics. To take action that seeks no concessions or even recognition from power, that advances our own position in a material way, is sometimes called destitution.
A typical anarchist reaction to the actions carried out by these activists usually involves suggesting less controlled, more confrontational actions instead—but as discussed in the original piece, this doesn’t truly get to the heart of the matter. More destructive actions can still be captured by politics if politics itself is not confronted. However, the future depicted in “Do Riots Work?” has not yet come to pass: rioting and it’s associated tactics (property destruction, street fighting, looting) have not yet entered the mainstream tactical array of activists in the United States.
While anarchists in the United States are familiar with a left that represents the pacifist middle ground between themselves and the far right, it appears more likely that it’s function will evolve to capturing tactical escalations within the political terrain. Instead of, or even complimentary to, fighting against escalations of militancy, it will attempt to make those actions legible to power, to explain them politically.
More and more are becoming frustrated with the plainly ineffective rallies and parades, it would be a mistake for the left to forfeit its own legitimacy so easily by abstaining from militancy which has become increasingly popular. Conceding a moderate amount of damage is a small price for preserving the social control of politics.
I therefore propose the following hypothesis: it will be worth more in the long run to push the analytical framework of destitution rather than trying to escalate from within a political logic.
If we set our sights on the social order in it’s entirety, the tactical maturity will follow. There is no reason to remain devoted to pacifist tactics when one stops appealing to the state or the ‘masses.’
Of course, the importance of desitution is about more than tactics, it is about making insurrections irreversible. How else could order be restored, without the legitimacy of politics? Undermining this legitimacy is the only way to prevent a return to normality. Satisfying demands—or, all too often, simply the promise to satisfy the demands in the future—can easily halt revolt in it’s tracks.
When we find ourselves in these situations—in riots, in blockades, in uprisings—we don’t simply get to choose the character that it takes. For this reason, we must find ways to intervene in these political movements to push the tensions at anti-political fault lines within these events. Politicians of all sorts must be resisted and their programs sabotaged, laying bare their attempts to preserve life as we know it—while sowing the seeds of destitution.
We also need to operate outside of them to maximize our potential. There is no denying the material consequences of attacks or blockades regardless of their political nature. A shut down highway is a shut down highway, a burnt police station is a burnt police station. When activists carry out their theatrical actions, it could be an opportune moment to paralyze another node of the metropolis. Not because our struggle is the same, but to spread the fires of revolt.
A Short Post Script
Whilst the primary focus of both essays dealt primarily with recuperation of confrontational tactics from the left, there are more reasons to dis-identify tactics from motivations.
As should be clear, shared tactics have little relation to a shared project—and often enough the opposite is the case. The re-emergent far-right in Europe (and more often in the U.S. as well) has found itself capable of breaking windows and torching refugee housing, while various authoritarian factions have joined popular uprisings from Kiev to Cairo. Many have observed that this decade’s revolts appear to belong to a single trajectory, but the conclusion that we are all partisans of insurrection together is a false one—even if some refuse to admit it.
This thinking is best represented by the recent video A Resolution, which is a short propaganda film that calls people to action, but shies away from putting forth any position. Simply anyone fighting “for freedom” or “for the Earth” should join up together and get organized. The omission of any discernible ideological grounding is further complicated by the inclusion of footage from movements that took a heavily right-wing character.
We must be absolutely clear: we are not simply advocating for certain tactics, we intend to see the end of domination.
It is the question are we too old when we start remembering and researching the past, or it was always part of us we bear like a cargo.
All the stories that means something to us, are kind of “genealogy of the subject”…we are dragged already in the maze of our own past, memorized stories, whether our own or people close to us.
Life goes fast and we are living on this earth immersed in the events, and part of us is always looking back, in to the past. Past has this privileged status over future, because we can look at it, we can see the picture in our mind, of what we experienced, or heard, or we can look at the photography. This process involves our imagination. (Whether we experienced or just heard about some events. )
Photography is mimicking (mimesis) our memory (nemesis). A process that is primarily mechanical, involves mechanic work of photo camera, and later work in a dark chamber, with chemicals, works on the principle of mechanics and chemistry.
The images detached from every aspect of life fuse in a common stream in which the unity of this life can no longer be reestablished. Reality considered partially unfolds, in its own general unity, as a pseudo-world apart, an object of mere contemplation. The specialization of images of the world is completed in the world of the autonomous image, where the liar has lied to himself. The spectacle in general, as the concrete inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living.
Guy Debord 1967, Society of the Spectacle,
New age obsession with photography is kind of Nemesis and living virtually in the past and trying to memorize and remember everything, from our past, personally and universal. But the ways of this remembrance are telling us that present is changing the way past looks to us. Deeper relation with history is motivated with present. Why we want to remember and what to remember?
War and memory
There is sort of fetishism about the history, of some events that represents to us big events in human history. We want to remember them because the lessons we can learn about them…I recently started to be interested for the past, and started to research systematically parts of classic history and also less knows history.
It is well known that anarchists are against wars (imperial wars) and that they (some of them) only supports class war. All wars that were raging in history were wars for profit and power. Anarchists here have a constant anti-war orientation…In this wars upper classes were ready to sacrifice their own sons only for interests of their ideology: profit, glory and power. But we, anarchist say that in wars the poor people are the ones that losses the most…What is glorious about wars? My great grandfather was fighter in WWI, in Thessaloníki Front and survivor of this horrors, as well as the horrors of the WWII. His father died in Balkan war, and his grave is not known…near their family house in the mountain family build a small monument for him. From childhood I was listening the stories from my grandmother and grandfather about WWII, and partisans, and WWI…and other stories from the past.
My grandfather lived 90 years, he survived horrors of WWI, and WWII, like many people of this generations. Also I grow up on my grandmother’s stories about her father…( he was solder in Thessaloníki Front in Greece, was awarded the Albanian medal, (“albanska spomenica”) after the war he worked as a border guard on the Bulgarian-Serbian border, and in some way it is the reason why our family was saved in WWII when Bulgarian solders wanted to burn their house down, because they were hiding wounded partisans…One solder saw the picture, in the house of my grandfather together with man that he recognized, that was his father! Turned out that they worked together between the wars on the border…my grandfather and the father of this solder that came to burn their house. Many questions I have to ask my father,and to write it down…because to save it from oblivion…Another story my grandmother was talking to me about chetniks ( serbian nationalistic troops, that cooperated with nazis in WWII) and today in Serbia they want rehabilitation of them…She was very angry about this rehabilitations, because she knows who they were.
I hate when they use WWI for strengthen patriotism in every country, 100 years after. Memorization of WWI in my country was kind of political propaganda. There are things to remember, but it is a question what kind of lesson we learned from the past and why we remember wars? Governments uses them to underline obedience and glorify militarism, bravery, and celebrate “victories”and political consequences of particular wars. They trade with grief and individual emotions. It is not the same to grieve for the solder that defends has no other choice and the one that is serving imperial colonial interests…like in Syria, there are innocent people who dies every day, and there are solders, bombs and plains that comes from military states. Usually those who defends militarism and say that WWI was not needless war they are defending colonial and capitalist interests and if you ask them what they think about other uses of weapons, like in revolutionary actions, they would say that they are against it.
Anarchism’s antiwar orientation and anarchist pacifism
Anarchist-pacificm is another issue, when anarchists are against war. What anarchist pacifism means? Anti-militarism for anarchist should be anti war orientation against wars that upper classes perform, refusing to participate in this conflicts, and doing anti-war propaganda trying to explain to wider audience why this wars are needless and what consequences may be. The history of WWI and the hypothesis of defending the land is hard to stand. The real cause was imperialism and desire to rule, expand the power. And yes this are economic reasons. It is the other thing how the war was explained to lower classes that they need to go in war to “defend their country”, patriotism, etc. Also the beginning of WWI was misinterpreted…In some versions they blame Gavrilo Princip’s assassination of France Ferdinand for it. There are a lot of anti-war activists, anarchist that were against the war. Explore this article: https://robertgraham.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/international-anarchist-manifesto-against-the-first-world-war/
But anarchist anti-war orientation doesn’t mean that anarchist are against the use of arms, in all cases. There are anarchists who reject using of arms, who are only for demonstrations,and waving flags at the protests, organizing at the work places, and among syndicates (like anarcho/syndicalists). And sometimes, this pacifist anarchists are accusing others that fight or avoiding to show their solidarity with such fighters that choose to use arms in their class fight because of fear or because they disagree with this methods of fight. Division between pacifism and militarism leaves here traces on those who literally understand the language and think if you are pacifist (against military in the hands of the state) that means that you can not show your solidarity to comrades that choose to fight with arms for the cause of revolution…(the same cause they claim to fight too.)
The fight for anarchism is the fight for peace. I agree with that claim. Only, I do not accept pacifist orientation of anarchism which denies all forms of armed actions to oppressed class. The war is not over,not that particular WWI is not over, but the world after that leaded to another war, and wars in 20 and 21 century. Wars are fought with different arms than in past, but not less butchery. We need to rethink what is “pacifism”. In modern days military operations across the world, leaded by NATO and USA,are apologies of “operations for peace”. This are old colonial tactics that serve and protect colonial interests of rich minority. And this “pacifist” actions are no different from WWI reviews that have apology for WWI to start…but yet putting the guilt on another…when they say that WWI started because of Sarajevo assassination. Also, they blame Serbian nationalists for that, although it is another mistake because Gavrilo Princip who shot France Ferdinand was not serbian nationalist, he was serbian, but his views were anarchist, and he belong to the organization “Mlada Bosna” that was pro-Yugoslavian, and anti-monarchist. They organized themselves against oppressor (in this case Austria, monarchy). They read anarchist literature. Also there is a poem that Gavrilo Princip wrote in the prison. It is misinterpretation to call them nationalists. In Serbia assassination of the kings, happened also against Serbian king Aleksandar.
Class division between private grief and public honoring the victims
Australians have a big digital archive for WWI. I read the stories about Australians , how they much suffered in WWI. 100 years after WWI, there are and were more in 2014, ongoing discussions on memorials, grief, the roll of different countries in WWI, the role of women, how families commemorate deaths, about burial of deaths, etc. One part of this consequences of private grief and way to commemorate dead, is that mothers and families from private sphere draw attention of the public and necessity of collective remembrance of the war and victims of war. It was a way of unifying the dead of war and one part of trans-national, trans class, universal values, that every victim is the same (in death) as the people should be equal, in life also. Some differences, class status is sometimes represented in death also, in cemeteries, but main tendency was that all solders should be buried in the same way, with same insignia and honors… What is new in WWI, dimension and need of honoring the dead solders, glorifying their dead, giving a meaning to their deaths, that they did not die in vain. There is a space for political propaganda, in this connection between private and public emotions, in this case grief, and commemoration, memorization of deaths. Whenever we deal with some individual, private emotion, on public and universal level, there is a possibility of manipulation…the work of ideology.
Interpretations that try to cover class-divisions they try to say that war is classless, that rich and poor died in the war equally, proving that with decisions of governments about commemoration of death solders, that it was proclaimed that they all need to be buried in the same way. But this was not applied to deserters. Desertion was cruelly punished (by death) … and these cases are rarely discussed under the veil of state secrets. All this we need to have in mind when Remembering Galipoli. What the war memorials talk to us? There is an interesting anarchist article about War Memorial Encounter.
Mari Gilmore in the poem “War” writes about the loss and death, feeling of losing someone very close, beside the political and government’s stories of glory death that became a phrase with which was communicated with solder’s families after their son’s death in a war.
Anarchist also commemorate deaths of their fellow companions,usually assigning the their name to political actions: from direct actions that are dedicated to lost companion to assigning their name to Commando, units for the fight and revenge.
Knowledge chooses its project,
each project is new and chooses its moments,
each moment is new, but simultaneously emerges from
the memory of all the moments that existed before
— The Interior of the Absolute
The sun still rises
On February 6th, anarchist comrade Panagiotis Aspiotis is transferred
from Navplio prisons allegedly to Koridallos prisons. In reality they
transferred him to the isolation section of the metagogon (transfer
detention cells bulding). A bit later it became known that the comrade,
while having his arms tied up behind his back, got attacked by the
cowardly hooded thugs of the anti-terrorist force who seriously injured
him during but also after the reason for their visit which was no more
than to extract a DNA sample. Later the comrade was transferred to the
hospital for exams.
The whole story of the comrades’ transfer was a well-staged trap by the
mechanisms of the police and the ministry of justice, who for a while
now were looking for a way to extract a dna sample from him. We would
like to remind that the comrade did not give a dna sample when he was
first arrested since there was a pause in police brutality and violent
extraction, with the clarification in the law that the sample must be
extracted “without violating the dignity of the accused” and “with the
presence of an expert who the accused designates”. This clarification
was made after the hunger strike of the political prisoners
(2/3/15-18/4/15) as a middle ground solution to the demand to forbid the
violent extraction of dna samples, one of the many demands that were
won, each on a different level. This legal glitch was violated during later arrests through
the intervention of the special prosecutors and
interrogators and the special authority the exclusion legislations
(187A) give them. It is also important to remind that the prosecutor in
Grevena had demanded the extraction of dna samples by the hospital of
that city while the comrade was held in prison there.Then comrades were
informed in time in order for them to intervene to a possible torturing
that would take place in the hospital. Solidarians but also medical
staff were on standby but the transfer did not take place after the
comrade refused. Thus after a few months the state, with secretary
general of the ministry of justice Eftihis Fitrakis and special
interrogator Eftihis Nikopoulos as the frontmen, delegates the job to
the anti-terrorist force by setting up the suitable trap for the
torturing to extract a dna sample from the comrade.
The state once more violates its own laws with unprecedented ease.
None of us has the illusion that laws can function as guarantees of freedom no matter how
progressive they are, since they are still laws of the state, rules for
the functioning of a structure that is naturally oppressive therefore
hostile. Especially when their function limits the oppressive ease, they
are placed in the “to-be-modified list” or are bypassed from the windows
or are systemically violated. In this case there is a small obstacle
that limits one of the main weapons of oppression that is the arbitrary
use of dna as incriminating evidence, which was violated blatantly and
with excess violence.
In the hunger strike we had also defined the limitation of use of dna as
a target, exactly because we know what an important piece of
false-evidence it consists in the way its used. Its only use is to hold
comrades in prison as long as possible. From the first moment of that
struggle it became evident that no conquest will be a given and the only
way to maintain our ground is continuous revolutionary anti-state and
anti-capitalist battle. This is confirmed once more today.
Someone accused irrelevantly if they are an anarchist or not has every
reason to refuse the extraction of dna. The labs of EL.AS (greek police)
are kitchens for cooking up cases and false-scientific proof of
evidence. We have seen this in all trials, where without evidence only
with a dna type that resembles that of the accused, the indictment is
evidenced. Cops, whether they wear a white apron or a hood are the same
protection dogs of the industrialists, shipowners, channel owners and
politicians. They are all accomplices in every torturing of a person.
The scumbags of the antiterrorist force and the police are worthy
descendants of Mallios and Babalis* in the times of a left coalition
government. We wish them that their career ends in the same glory.
Those of us who fight have acknowledged that the state continues
regardless if it’s managed by the right or the left. Those who are in
positions of authority must in turn acknowledge that the war from those
below also continues and is consistent.
The neoliberal leadership of Syriza completes the social looting the
previous governments left half completed. They pass in the social
insurance law which will finish off, among other things, the small
producers and redistribute the pie for the benefit of the
farming-industrial capital. They reinforce the banks with cash from the
support packages and tie the economy even tighter on them with most
recent indicative adjustment the mandatory use of plastic money
inaugurating a society of absolute control. They decrease the labour
costs in any way possible trying as they say to create an environment
friendly towards investments, that is to say slave workers, landless
farmers, favela neighbourhoods. In the field of foreign policy the state
remains a member of NATO, the relations with the apartheid state of
Israel and the junta of Egypt are strengthened and they take on the role
of the mercenary border-guard of the E.U. New immigrant concentration
camps are opened to manage the flow the E.U. itself created to a great
degree. In the frames of domestic oppression let’s not forget the
invasion of the riot cops in the occupied deanery building in Athens and
the arrest of the fighters who stood in the way of the extermination of
the imprisoned hunger strikers. With a left government for the first
time an ambush and torturing by the police is set-up against a comrade
who is already a prisoner. The EKAM (greek special forces) enter and
exit the prisons again and the prisoners are transferred and held in the
metagogon in disgusting conditions.
The left management can allegedly do all that could not be carried out
by the governments of classic social-democracy and the right wing
because of social reactions. This is their use, which however is
deteriorating very fast. Through delegation and within the system there
is no future. The solution for the problems caused by capitalism can
only come from revolutionary subversion and horizontal social
organization. The destruction of the state mechanism, the expropriation
of the wealth of the state, church and bosses and its self-management.
Only in this way will there be an end of the looting of nature, our
lives and the lives of our children.
The incident of torture of our imprisoned comrade is one more attack
against those who do not bow the head and as such it deserves similar
responses in the frames of the multiform struggle against the state and
ABOLISHING OF ALL ANTI-TERRORIST LAWS
DOWN WITH THE STATE AND WAGED SLAVERY
TORCH AND BURN ALL PRISON CELLS
Network of Combative Prisoners (DAK)
*Both Mallios and Babalis were cops-torturers during the junta in
Greece, Mallios was executed by the “17November” organization in
December 1976 and Babalis was executed by the “June 78” organization in
Translated by Act for freedom now!
A brief history of the movement for workers’ self-management in the 20th and 21st centuries. Examines instances of workers’ control in Yugoslavia, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and contemporary Argentina.
Worker self-management (WSM) has re-emerged as a major movement in Argentina, particularly this year with over 200 factories organized and controlled by their workers and a national co-coordinator of self-managed enterprises in the process of being organized.
Historically, WSM has been the centerpiece of the socialist project, dating back to Karl Marx’s famous statement that the “workers’ emancipation can only be accomplished by the workers themselves”. In that sense, WSM as the road to socialism stands in contrast to the bureaucratic centralism of the former Soviet Union and the hierarchical system of capitalist management. This essay will briefly survey the great potentialities of WSM and then review some historical experiences during the 20th century to point up some historic lessons that are relevant to the current Argentine experience.
Potentialities of WSM
WSM is a truly liberating experience, both in the sense of freeing the working class from capitalist abuse and insecurity and providing them with the freedom to create new forms of social relations of production and distribution. Briefly stated, WSM provides the workers with the decision-making power to:
1) decide what is to be produced and for whom
2) safeguard employment and/or increase employment
3) set priorities in what is produced
4) define the nature of who gets what, where and how
5) combines social production and social appropriation of profit
6) creates solidarity of class at the factory, sectoral or national/international level
7) democratizes the social relations of production.
The Argentine experience with WSM exemplifies some of these potentialities. In Brukmann textile factory and Zanon ceramic factory as well as in the WSM enterprises established by the unemployed workers in Solano and elsewhere, productive and distributive decisions are taken by assembly of all the workers (see Interviews by Mario Hernandez 23-08-02 FSM (La Casona). The high degree of solidarity is evidenced in the popular slogan “an attack on one, is an attack on all (“Tocas uno, Tocas todos”).
Historically, the realization of the potentialities of WSM have encountered both limited successes and failures. It is useful to review some of the major experiences of WSM in different historical contexts.
Historical Cases of WSM: Yugoslavia, Chile, Bolivia, Peru
WSM has taken hold in several countries at different moments and contexts. We will examine four cases: Yugoslavia, Chile, Bolivia and Peru and highlight the strengths and weaknesses.
WSM was the official doctrine of Yugoslav socialist regime between 1950 and the breakup of the Yugoslav Federation. Throughout Yugoslavia all the major factories were under the system of WSM, resulting in greater influence over production and income than anywhere else in the former socialist countries. Free health and education and secure employment was guaranteed by WSM. The WSM movement in Yugoslavia emerged from the defeat of fascism, Yugoslavia’s President Tito’s break with Stalin and the Soviet Union and the socialist revolution. The WSM went through several phases, in the first period 1950-64 it operated at the factory level as the Communist Party controlled national policy; from 1965-1972 under “market reform”, the WSM factories began to be effected by capitalist pressures, resulting in greater social inequalities between factories and economic sectors as well as unemployment; the period between 1973-1990 the encroachment of ethnic chauvinism, IMF pressures and the degeneration of the Yugoslavia Communist Party led to the eventual demise of WSM.
The early success of the WSM in Yugoslav experiment with WSM for over 30 years was due to the mass struggle which preceded WSM during the anti-fascist, anti- Stalinist period 1940-1950, which politicized and mobilized the working class and raised class consciousness and organization. The limitations of Yugoslav WSM was that it was always limited by the fact that the State remained in the hands of the Communist Party which limited the extent of WSM to the local or sectoral level, and thus created a dual system of power between the bureaucratic state and the factory-based WSM movement. When the bureaucracy turned toward the market and later to ethnic politics it undermined the system of WSM.
In Chile, under the Allende government (1970-73) over 125 factories were under some system of WSM. About half mostly controlled by public functionaries, the other fifty percent by commissions of workers in the factories. Studies demonstrated that the factories under WSM were much more productive, efficient and with less absenteeism than state run factories under centralized management. The WSM movement created “cordones industriales” industrial belts which coordinated production and self-defense against capitalist attacks. In the successful factories controlled from below, the party and trade union disputes were subordinated to the power of the popular assemblies in which all workers in the factory participated. WSM defended the factories from closure, protected workers’ employment and vastly improved social conditions or work. Most importantly it raised workers’ political consciousness. Unfortunately, the WSM took place under a parliamentary socialist regime and a capitalist state. WSM created a situation of dual power between the workers’ power embodied in the factories and the cordones and on the other hand the military-bourgeois state apparatus. The Allende Government tried to balance between the two power centers, refusing to arm or to repress the workers. The result was the military coup of 1973 which led to the overthrow of Allende, the destruction of the WSM movement. The lesson was clear: as the success of the WSM advanced and spread throughout the country, the displaced capitalist and landlord class turned toward violence and repression to recapture control over the means of production. The capitalists first attempted to sabotage distribution and production via truckers strikes,then they attempted to block financing and finally they turned to the military and dictatorship. The WSM attempted to pressure Allende to act more decisively in the face of the imminent threat but he was blindly committed to parliamentary procedures and the WSM was defeated. If the WSM in Chile as in Yugoslavia had moved from the factory or sectoral bases of organization to the taking of state power, the workers would have been in a superior position to defend the system of WSM.
The system of worker self-management in Bolivia emerged from the popular revolution of 1952, when an alliance of class conscious miners, peasants and nationalist petty bourgeois overthrew the oligarchical pro-imperialist regime. In the first phase of the revolution, the workers and peasant militias were able to destroy the army, expropriate the mines and realize the redistribution of land. The armed militias of the miners, through their assemblies and unions however, were geographically and politically confined to their mountain strongholds and isolated from the mass of the peasantry, which came under the influence of the nationalist petit bourgeoisie (Nationalist Revolutionary Movement) which gained control of the government and reorganized a bourgeois state. This created a system of dual power which led to intensified conflict in the post-revolutionary period. Throughout the 1950s the Bolivian Workers’ Movement took militant action, general strikes, armed confrontations, to defend the gains of the Revolution, while the MNR bureaucratized the nationalized mines, establishing a State Mining Company, COMIBAL which effectively took control away from the workers while retaining state ownership. In 1964, a military coup led temporarily to the military occupation of the mines. However, a worker-peasant alliance with the progressive military government of J.J. Torres in 1970 led to the re-emergence of popular power in the Popular National Assembly. While the Assembly approved of revolutionary legislation, it did not have state power. A military coup led by General Banzer dissolved the Assembly and effectively destroyed the miners’ militias.
The lessons from the Bolivian experience are that WSM in a single sector (mining) is vulnerable if it does not form alliances with other popular sectors; that a Popular Constituent Assembly without the backing of the state or of popular militia is vulnerable to a coup. The third lesson is that the statification of worker-controlled factories may result in petit-bourgeois technocrats and bureaucrats taking control away from the workers and centralizing it in the state apparatus, and running the public enterprise like a capitalist firm.
Peru: The Revolution From Above
In 1967 a group of progressive nationalist military officers led by General Velasco Alvarez took power. The new regime expropriated a large number of mines, factories and plantations and established two types of innovations: industrial cooperatives and industrial communities. Industrial cooperatives were based on management-workers participation and led to significant growth of productivity and socio-economic benefits, but eventually management took over the policymaking and marginalized or co-opted the worker representatives. The industrial communities were supposedly a form of co-participation between military officials, and workers, but de facto, the military officials retained the centralized control of the previous capitalist ownership as well as the salary differentials. As workers realized that co-operatives and industrial communities organized from above would not operate in their interests, they organized to democratize them and to secure greater control and equity, frequently resorting to strikes against their own enterprises. Eventually, under neo-liberal rulers, the factories and plantations were re-privatized and the progressive labor legislation under Velasco was abrogated. The lesson from Peru is that statification or nationalization from above reproduces the hierarchical structure of capitalism and marginalizes the role of the workers in the public sector. The social gains achieved by the workers in the struggle are then reduced by the bureaucrats in charge, who operate with capitalist criteria. Corruption and mismanagement by the bureaucrats and the lack of workers’ control leads to de-nationalization and privatization.
The Historical Experiences and Argentina
Several important lessons of past experiences with WSM are relevant to Argentina’s growing number of worker-managed factories.
1) The success of past worker-managed factories was based on horizontal structures based on popular assemblies. The successful operations in Chile and Yugoslavia were based on workers’ councils and factory assemblies.
2) The success in one sector, mining in Bolivia, manufacturing in Chile depended on extending the WSM to other sectors and alliances with other classes, a phenomena that the worker vanguards failed to consummate.
3) Local victories and dual power heightened class consciousness and improved working conditions, but also provoked violent reaction from the ruling classes. The failure of the WSM in Bolivia and Chile to move from local power to state power led to bourgeoisie repression via military coups: counter power or dual power is an unstable and temporary situation, which inevitably is resolved by the question of state power.
4) The context for the growth of WSM movements varies from country to country and under specific conditions. In Yugoslavia, WSM began with the workers’ anti-fascist war, and culminated in the massive occupation of factories under the Yugoslav Communist Party. In Chile, WSM was a result of both government policy and direct intervention of workers to prevent capitalist lockouts and sabotage. In Bolivia, WSM grew out of a popular anti-oligarchical insurrection. Only in Yugoslavia did WSM consolidate power over 3 decades, and that is largely because the state power was in the hands of a non-Stalinist Communist Party. WSM, in order to consolidate and operate needs to move from the local to the national, from the factory to the state, from the employed industrial workers to the unemployed, the youth, women, ethnic minorities.
Argentina’s growing WSM movement, particularly in the occupied factories and in the enterprises organized by the unemployed workers’ movements the MTD have opened a wide-ranging debate on the structure, trajectory and politics of the movement. In the debate at the Foro Social Mundial on “Emprendimentos Productivos, Propuestas Obreras Desocupacion y el Cierra de Empresas” it became clear from the interventions of workers from Grissinoppoli and Bruckman, that the workers’ takeover was the result of necessity not ideology: the workers had not been paid for several months and when paid their pay was reduced; the owner was emptying the factory and dismantling machinery, etc. In other words, the worker takeover was a desperate act to save their jobs. Once the factories were organized, then the more political workers in general assemblies proposed that the workers organize production and sales without the capitalists. Eventually, the move toward a WSM factory attracted economists and professionals who offered technical advise on how to operate the factory. In the course of these developments, as Ivana from Grissinoppoli stated, “we are learning every day…the struggle is long…but we are learning to jump over the obstacles because we listen and we understand each other”. The struggle and the practice of self-management is creating the class consciousness as much after the factory occupations as before. The Argentine experience with WSM in the unemployed workers is also leading to new forms of social organization popular assemblies. As Valdemar (MTD-Solano) noted, the guiding organizational principles of the movement is direct democracy, horizontality, and autonomy. The distrust of representative democracy is based previous barrio and trade union experiences where leaders were bought off or corrupted. As our previous discussions of experiences with WSM in Peru and Bolivia suggests this is a real problem.
The WSM movement particularly among some of the activists in the occupied factory are aware of the need for solidarity with other movements and popular sectors. For example, faced with the threat of factory eviction by the state, they have called on the neighborhood assemblies, and the unemployed movement to join in the defense of their workplace. The growing coordination between the factory occupation workers’ movement and the unemployed workers has increased, particularly in moments of crises, and in the face of growing state repression. As Hector (MTD from Guernica) recognized the threat of militarization is imposing the need for the broadest popular unity between factories, assemblies and MTD.
Some of the leaders of the unemployed workers’ movement not only understand the limits of islands of WSM in a capitalist market, but also project the need for actively participating in the general political struggle at the national level. As Martino of the MTR stated at the FSM meeting, besides resolving immediate problems and recognizing the importance of construction of local power it is important to understand that this local power is linked to the construction of a political force, a national social force. The building of alliances between the unemployed workers’ movement and the WSM in the occupied factories is described by a delegate from Zanon in the following synoptic terms. During the initial factory occupation, the organized unemployed workers’ joined in defending the ceramics plant from efforts by the former owners to forcibly dislodge the workers, calling on the police. The mass united resistance effectively blocked them. Subsequently, Zanon ceramics a well known and respected product expanded production, and hired ten workers from among the unemployed in the movement.
The Argentine WSM movement organized two national events, a march on August 24, 2002 involving over 3,000 workers and delegates from the occupied factories supported by dissident trade union leaders demanding workers’ control over all the productive units which are bankrupt, are not meeting their payroll, firing workers, or selling off machinery and equipment.
The WSM movement however, is in the midst of a major debate over several issues:
1) the form of the occupied enterprise cooperative or worker self-managed?
2) the alliances, should it include politicians from the traditional parties or no parties (autonomy) or only Left parties (and which ones)?
3) the perspective should the focus be exclusively local, regional, sectoral or national?
Previous historical experiences provide us with some guidelines.
First alliances with traditional parties have served to co-opt leaders, to isolate WSM from the larger struggle and to bureaucratize the internal structure. The most successful alliances are horizontal alliances, networks of workers and popular classes organized in assemblies and with a class perspective toward transforming state power.
Second, while cooperatives have improved their members’ living standards, they have usually found a niche in the capitalist system. At a time when close to 60% of the population is below the poverty line and 4 million children of the 8 million below the poverty line ,are suffering from malnutrition and related illnesses, the political need is to go beyond “islands” of success to basic changes in the socio-economic structure a transformation from savage capitalism to a worker self-managed socialism.
Thirdly, while the autonomy of the unemployed and WSM movements is positive insofar as it rejects state tutelage and party control, it would be an error to reject allying with Left parties and other social movements that share common goals and tactics of direct action. The example of Bolivia with its highly class-conscious but isolated mining sector is an example of how autonomy carried to its extreme, is self-defeating.
Fourthly, there are at best between 100,000 and 200,000 unemployed worker organized and in action approximately 5 to 6 million unemployed and underemployed who are unorganized.
The success of the political and social organization of the popular classes in WSM and unemployed movements as we have seen in other countries, provokes repression and violence by the ruling classes. At some point the movements, as they grow and gather momentum, will have to establish mechanisms of self-defense and many forms of resistance, to avoid the fate of the WSM movements in Chile and Bolivia.
The key to the success of the WSM in Argentina depends on deepening the ties to the existing networks, with the neighborhood assemblies, the progressive trade unionists, and the organization of the unorganized. Unity of action is of the highest priority as the crises deepens, factory closings multiply and repression increases. The basic policy of solidarity “tocas uno tocas todos” is a good starting point toward the task of creating a national political movement capable of challenging state power.
James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer
Taken from http://www.rebelion.org/petras/english/worker021002.htm