26 December 2008
The Movements for the Generalisation of Revolt talk about the process of radicalisation that has gripped Greece following the killing of 15-year-old Alexis by police earlier this month
On 6 December, at nine in the evening, a man of the special police force stopped, took aim and shot dead a fifteen-year old kid in the neighbourhood of Exarchia, Athens. This murder is not a singular event of police violence. The morning of the same day, immigrants waiting to apply for asylum at the police station of Petrou Ralli avenue were attacked by riot police. A Pakistani man suffered traumatic brain injury and has been struggling for life ever since in the intensive care unit of Evangelismos hospital. These are just two of the dozens of similar cases over the past years.
The bullet that pierced Alexis’s heart was not a random bullet shot from a cop’s gun to the body of an ‘indocile’ kid. It was the choice of the state to violently impose submission and order to the milieus and movements that resist its decisions. A choice that meant to threaten everybody who wants to resist the new arrangements made by the bosses in work, social security, public health, education, etc: Whoever works must stretch herself too thin for a mere 600 euros monthly wage. She must work herself to exhaustion whenever the bosses need her, working overtime without pay, getting laid off whenever businesses are ‘in crisis’. And finally, she must get herself killed whenever the intensification of production demands it, just like those five dockers who died in the Perama shipyards five months ago. If she is an immigrant, and dares to demand a few euros more, she will be faced with a beating and a life of terror, just like the agricultural workers of both sexes in the strawberry hothouses of Nea Manolada in the western Peloponese.
Whoever is a pupil must spend her time in crummy school halls and intensive tutoring to ‘prepare’ herself for protracted, annual exam seasons. As a kid she has to forget about playing with others in the street and feeling carefree, in order to befuddle herself with reality shows on TV and electronic gaming, since free public spaces have become shopping malls, or there is no free time for hanging out.
Later on, as a university student, because such is the natural ‘evolution’ to success, she discovers that the alleged ‘scientific knowledge’ is in fact geared towards the needs of bosses. A student has to continuously adapt herself to new study curricula and gather as many ‘certificates’ as possible in order to be awarded in the end with a degree of equal value to loo-paper, but without its practical importance. A degree that ensures nothing more than a 700 euro monthly wage, often without national insurance or health cover. All this takes place in the midst of a crazy dance of millions landing in priestly businesses and doped-up Olympic athletes who are paid extravagantly to ‘glorify the homeland’. Money that ends up in the pockets of the moneyed and powerful. From bribes to ‘compadres’ and haggling of scandalous DVDs with corrupt journalists in order to cover-up government ‘scandals’. While dozens of lives are wasted in forest-fires to allow big capital to turn forests into tourist businesses and while worker deaths in construction sites and in the streets are dubbed ‘work accidents’. While the state gives money away to banks to aid them sink us deeper in a sea of debts and loans and raises direct tax for all workers. While the stupidity of heftily paid television stars becomes the gospel for an increasing number of exploited people.
The bullet that pierces Alexis’s heart was a bullet to the heart of exploitation and repression for an important part of this society who knows that it has nothing to lose apart from the illusion that things might get better. The events following the murder proved that for a large part of the exploited and oppressed have sank in this swamp up to their neck, and this swamp has just overflowed and threatens to drown bosses and politicians, parties and state institutions. It’s running its course to clean this dirty world that is based upon the exploitation of human by human and the power of few over the many. It filled our hearts with confidence and filled the hearts of bosses with fear.
The destruction of the temples of consumption, the reappropriation of goods, the ‘looting’ that is, of all these things that are taken from us, while they bombard us with advertisements, is the deep realisation that all this wealth is ours, because we produce it. ‘We’ in this case means all working people as a whole. This wealth does not belong to the shop-owners, or the bankers, this wealth is our sweat and blood. It is the time that bosses steal from us every day. It is our sickness when we start our pension. It is the arguments inside the bedroom and the inability to meet a couple of friends on a weekend night. It is the boredom and loneliness of Sunday afternoon and the choking feeling every Monday morning. As exploited and oppressed, immigrants or greek, as working people, as jobless, students or pupils, we are called now to answer back to the false dilemma posed by the media and the state: are we with the ‘hoodies’ or are we with the shop-owners. This is dilemma is only a decoy.
Because the real dilemma that the media do not want you to ask is: are you for the bosses or are you for the workers? Are you for the state or for the revolt? And this is the one reason that journalists need to do their best to defame the movement, talking about ‘hoodies’, ‘looters’ etc. The reason they want to spread fear among the oppressed is simple: the revolt makes their position - and that of their bosses - very precarious. Revolt turns against the reality they create, against the feeling of ‘all goes well’, against the separation between ‘rightfully sentimental revolt’ and ‘extremist elements’ and finally against the distinction between ‘outlaws’ and peaceful protesters. In this dilemma we have one answer: we are for the ‘hoodies’. We are the ‘hoodies’. Not because we want to hide our face, but because we want to make ourselves visible. We exist. We wear hoods not for the love of destruction but for the desire to take our life in our hands. To build upon the grave of commodities and powers a different society. A society where everybody will decide collectively in general meetings of schools, universities, workplaces and neighbourhoods, about everything that concerns us, without the need of political representatives, leaders or comissars. A society where we will all together guide our fortunes and where our needs and desires will be in our hands, and not those of every MP, mayor, boss, priest or cop.
The hope for this life was put back on the table by the barricades that were set up everywhere in Greece and in solidarity abroad. It remains to make this hope a reality. The possibility of such a life is now put to the test by public assemblies in occupied municipal buildings, trade union buildings and universities in Athens and elsewhere in Greece, where everybody can freely express her opinions and shape her action collectively, based on her desires and needs. The dream of this life has started taking shape.
What remains to do to see this dream realised?
We should organise in our paces of study, work and habitation. In our workplaces we discuss our everyday problems and we create nuclei of resistance against the terror of the bosses. In our schools we contribute and support their occupations, we create counterinformation groups, we organise lectures and workshops, we question sovereign knowledge, we produce new knowledge geared to our needs and not those of capital. In neighbourhoods and housing blocks we talk to our neighbours, we create gatherings and committees, we share knowledge and skills, we decide collectively for actions. We take part in marches and protests, we stand by each other, we break the fear that is spread by the state, we help the pupils that are now bearing the brunt of the attack of the state. We stand in solidarity to those arrested in the revolt, both greeks and immigrants, in Greece and abroad, most of which are now prosecuted with every legal trick in the arsenal of counter-terrorism laws because they opposed the dictates of the state.
Everything begins now.
Everything is possible.
Movements for the generalisation of revolt
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