More Greek News

20 12 2008

It’s amazing.  The events in Greece take an increasingly Syndicalist turn and new clashes arise between the police and the Anarchists.  But as these events unfold in the land that birthed both Democracy and Anarchism, the “self-styled” and “self-described” Anarchists, as the media has been describing them, are being increasingly becomming the victims of propaganda.

World wide, media outlets are painted the Anarchists (as per usual) as hooded bandits indiscriminately destroying whatever is in their path out of a lust for chaos and violence.  The following extracts are taking from this article, care of ManBear2Pig on the Forums of the Libertarian Left, demonstrates this.

Firebombs and breaking glass, tear gas and burning cars. The images from Greece this month were enough to put the fear of youth into the hearts of European leaders.

Experts speak of another worry, which is the seemingly anachronistic resurgence of vague radical movements, loosely called anarchist, which hark back to the destructive ideology of Mikhail Bakunin, the 19th-century Russian revolutionary, and to the rebellious rhetoric of the 1960s and 1970s.

Some of it isn’t that threatening, like recurring play of the 1979 song, “Another Brick in the Wall,” by Pink Floyd, on Alpha radio during the week-long protests in Athens. “We don’t need no education / We don’t need no thought control / No dark sarcasm in the classroom,” goes the angry refrain.

But the violence wasn’t far behind the slogans. By the third day of rioting, the estimated damage in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece’s two biggest cities, was more than €1 billion, or $1.4 billion.

From these passages alone the reader is lead to believe that the Anarchists, in particular the Anarcho-Syndicalists are a random mob of violent thugs. The specific reference to Russian revolutionary and the 1960’s and 1970’s immediately takes the readers mind to the Soviet Union and the hippy’s.  So what is the image we are given from this piece of journalistic writing?  The Anarchists are “a bunch of violent hippy communists that model themselves after Che Guevarra.”  Think I’m exaggerating?  Read this paragraph:

The role of these so-called anarchists in the weeklong protests is still not clear. But their message – loaded with anti-capitalist, anti-government and anti-globalization themes – is unmistakable. Also clear is their bent for violence.

Can’t make it much clearer than that.  What’s better is that there is absolutely no understanding of the position of the “self-described” Anarchists.  No attempt is even made to research the background and provide a general idea of what they stand for and why they are anti-government, anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation.  Neither is any decent information provided explaining the long running feud between the Anarchists and the Greek police or the economic circumstances that have lead to this saga.

The most important phrase, found frolicking through-out its unnatural habitat in the lines of text in this article, is the phrase, ‘so-called Anarchists’.  It’s a lovely little piece of political spin that does nothing but cause the reader to connect definition of anarchy as ‘chaos’ to this political group that incorporates it into their name.  You’ll also see it appear in other forms such as, “self-titled,” and, “self-described.”  Even other Anarchists have taken the mainstream media line and so applied the same or similar terms to the Greek Anarchists based on the place that violence has taken in the uprising, regardless of cause, context and circumstance.

There is much propaganda being spread to marginalise the Greek Anarchists and polarise them from “common decency.”  Mainstream media outlets originally decried the violent protests as they took the police line — the same police line that involved 30 hooded teenagers attacking them with molotovs, bricks and all sorts.  Then they turned tail, reported that the kid was shot unjustly and now have returned to the side of the government by condemning the “anachronistic” and “violent” Anarchists. The coverage of the protests has been non-specific and one-sided, which translates every report into something along the lines of, “this is more stupid street fighting by stupid people who can’t understand that the boy was in the wrong and you should all get back to work.”  Thank Christ for internet forums, the blogosphere and alternative media outlets, is all I have to say.

But hey let’s end this on a different.  Seems the workers have taken over the union and town halls.

The action forms part of a strategy to counteract the designs of the union bureaucracy to distance its membership from the current revolt, and protest its management and mediation of workers’ struggles in Greece. The occupants aim to create a space in which to facilitate a grassroots and self organised workers response to the crisis, and bring the wider working class into the events unfolding on the streets of Greece. Town halls in Athens and Thessaloniki have also been occupied in order to hold general assemblies.





Funny that

15 12 2008

Yes, again it’s the Anarchists in Greece that grace this post and rightly so.  The BBC is reporting that the “riots” in Athens have subsided and that calm has returned. However, the social unrest caused by the Anarchists has united the country against the Greek government.

A poll has suggested most people think the riots are a social uprising rather than just a reaction to the shooting.

Sixty per cent of those questioned by the Kathimerini newspaper rejected the assertion that the disturbances have been merely a series of co-ordinated attacks by a small hard core of anarchists.

Another poll, in the left-wing Ethnos newspaper, suggested that 83% of Greeks were unhappy with the government’s response to the violence. Kathimerini put the disapproval rating at 68%.

The BBC’s Malcolm Brabant in Athens says the results appear to confirm what many commentators have been saying – that Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis has pulled off the unique feat of alienating all sections of Greek society.

But as per usual, after the Anarchists take a break, the politicians step in and seek to exploit what has happened for their personal political gain.  At least, this is the impression given according to the same BBC article.

Later, the leader of the opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) demanded elections and said the government “ignores the calls of society, is incapable of steadily driving the country towards change, and is afraid of the people.”

“It is wasting away, collapsing and dissolving into a dead-end… Its political time is finished,” George Papandreou told a party meeting.

Deadeye, the Greek Anarchist who has contributed information on the Anarchism.net forums had the following to say regarding the Unions, the strikes and the political climate from the Anarchist perspective.

The anarchist view regarding the strikes is generally positive, even though we hold little trust in those unions.

Without doubt, we have something more than just another riot going on.
It seems that all of our grudges found a way out through the murder of young Alex. There was a general discomfort among Greeks the past few years, partially because of the economic crisis, but it goes beyond that. The point is, the anarchists were brave enough to step up when the opportunity was given and now many more are following, regardless of political beliefs.

Our main concern focuses on the future of this outbreak. We all agree that it must not be allowed to die out. A way to preserve the flame is to channel this outbreak into our long demanded desires in order to transform it into a social movement, in which we will remain united not only against police brutality but against every aspect and value of the modern Greek society.

For that reason, we gladly support general strikes, preferably without expiration dates. It is also time to connect our outbreak with demands concerning the educational section. Students and pupils are under siege from the new educational measures and they will willingly join. After all, they’ve always been the core of anything revolutionary in Greece.

The first difficult stage has been completed, we have risen up. Inevitably, I think we will settle down sooner or later, but lets earn what we can while its still time. The state is in fear and it might be willing to exchange our content with the rope that it will be hung from tomorrow.
We’ll see.

Also, over the last few days, there have been claims from Anarchist sources that Neo-Nazis and fascists had joined up with the police to help in putting down the unrest.

Reports on indymedia this morning claim that Alexandros’ murderer was a member of the nazi group “Golden Dawn” in the late eighties/ early nineties (without cutting his ties since) and that his family was active in the nazi collaborationist forces.

This claim was made on the OccupiedLondon blog.  The comments section of the blog point out that the claim was dropped without any link, which then resulted in links being provided.  One of the links was this blog contained images of men, wearing civilian clothes and armed with sticks and one man who was hooded, dressed all in black, standing with police.  The blog also claims that the reporter who took the images contained on that blog was subsequently fired from the newspaper he worked at.  The same post also contains footage of plainsclothes police officers causing damage to property in an obvious attempt to infiltrate the Anarchist ranks and commit needless violence so as to portray the Anarchists as violent, indiscriminate rioters.  Mainstream media outlets have even picked up on the violence, and ran the story that the Anarchists are indiscriminate, despite testimony from Deadeye that the Anarchists had been precise about their targets.  I then questioned Deadeye on all this and asked for further confirmation if he could provide it.  His response as follow,

There is a strong bond between Greek police forces and neo-nazi groups, mainly the one that goes by the name “Golden Dawn”. Their cooperation has been confirmed on both physical and informational level.

An example from a past event, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g1VdrYBECs

The murderer cop is said to be an ex member of Golden Dawn himself, but we’re on hold for a confirmation.

Your first link depicts a parastate scum, possibly a Golden Dawn-er.
In the second link, we see cops in uniforms and undercover cops.
All faces have been recognized.

Notice that one of them is hooded, resembling an anarchist and another one is holding a stick. I’ve explained previously how provocateurs attack non-political targets, mostly small stores and random cars, in order to damage the public support that favours us. We’ve chased away some, but enough damage has been done to arm reporters with venom.

In the city of Patra, around 600 undercover cops, neonazis and zealous government supporters unsuccessfully attempted to disperse a manifestation of around 5000. A protester was stabbed. Various incidents of violence from parastate groups have been confirmed, outside occupied universities throwing rocks, cars attempting to run down protesters etc. We’re expecting more.

Deadeye has said he will report back with more information if it becomes available, which I expect it will with the current lull in violence.

In addition to these claims, there have also been a number of reports regarding violent acts by police and other pro-state elements.

…riot cops attacked at Korai Str in Athens, arresting at least four students. One of the arrestees was a 13 year old girl; nearby journalists who reacted to her brutal arrest were also beaten up heavily.

As well as,

Earlier today, a car with unregistered license plates (i.e. belonging to the undercover police) drove into two students outside a high school in Ilioupolis, Athens, leaving them both injured.

I will leave you with more information regarding the possible neo-Nazi background of the cop who executed Alex, the young Greek boy, and initially started the violence.

As per Indymedia Athens, his family environment and family members, were participating in the right wing ProNAZI gangs during the German occupation in Greece (WWII), collaborating with the NAZI. (Tagmatasfalites). According to Indymedia Athens, his family members after the war and during the Greek civil war joined criminal gangs of “Maganas” and “Katsarea” that massacred the region of Kalamata after the period of Várkiza agreement. The killer Korkoneas was a member of the Core action group of the Pro NAZI Golden Dawn ( Hrysi Avgi) in Kalamata in the late 80s and early 90s. Then joined the Special army Forces (LOK) and in 1999 was one of the first that was recruited to the newly established body of “Special Guards” a special body within the Greek Police. He served in Exarhia and was of those who had the most provocative behaviour for years. The police and especially the MAT and Special Guards have close relations with Fascist organisations and Pro Nazis.





Greek Unrest Update: Witness Testimonies Contradict Police Story

10 12 2008

The following video has come to my attention, pointed out by ConvertedLefty in the Forums of the LibertarianLeft discussion, in which witnesses who don’t fit the popular propagandistic description of ‘bomb throwing Anarchists’ seem to add another more evidence against the police execution.  The translation and following information regarding the police story has been provided by Deadeye.

This video contains testimonies of some of the many eye-witnesses.

Here goes.

1st witness
-We saw them at some point, with guns in their hands walking down the street.
-Both of them?
-Both
-And? Where did they stop?
-Here, right here. They started cussing here, “Come here punks, come and settle this”. Some kids approached.

2nd witness
-During this verbal fight, we saw no objects being thrown, suddenly one of them pulls out his gun and opens fire, straight ahead. We took a careful look and noticed someone on the ground, being dragged away by his friends, probably in fear that he would shoot again. Anyway, this is what happened, the officers were just standing still and then walked away. They turned away and left, on foot.

3rd witness
I saw the extension of his arms, I saw him aiming. The extension of his arms, not the position of his body. I was behind him. And he aimed. He aimed towards the other end of the street, towards that group.

4th witness
They were exchanging words. It was intense. Suddenly, without any other intervention, the patrol car abruptly departs and some time later the officers return. They stood in front of the kids and gunshots were heard. One of the kids, fell.

1st witness – resumed.
-3 shots?
-3 shots because he didnt[sic] hit him at first. This man wanted to kill. Simple as that.

5th witness
-We heard two bangs. I immediately understood it was gunfire from the sound of the very first shot. I heard the second shot, followed by a scream and a kid falling to the ground. We headed towards the kid, we dragged him away.
-What did the police do?
-The police turned their backs, as if nothing had happened, and left. We lifted his shirt, he was bleeding. We gave him CPR, the ambulance was late.

6th witness
-I saw the patrol car between Zoodoxou Pigis street and Tzavela street, it left but a minute later, the two drivers came back. They were both armed and they shot that kid, without a reason.
-Did you see them aiming?
-Yes, they were aiming.
-They didnt
[sic] shoot up to intimidate?
-No, they shot the kids that were standing there.
-Did they see the kid falling dead?
-Yes, someone shouted that the kid was wounded, but they turned and left.

Those testimonies are a bit useless without knowing what the cops themselves testified.

They claimed they were attacked by a group of 30 hooded anarchists, with rocks, sticks and molotof[sic] cocktails, while in the car. They stepped on the gas to evade them, but later returned to arrest them. They were attacked once more and while in self defense, they threw a flashbang grenade, fired two shots in the sky to intimidate the attackers and one in the ground. The last one hit the ground but ricocheted.

They’ve been flipping their story until today. Their first two lawyers have already retired from their case, for ethical reasons. The ballistic examination was completed today. The bullet remained inside the body and it indicated that it came from a higher level (the pistol) to a lower level (the victim’s body). If it was indeed a ricochet, the bullet would have entered from a lower level (the street) to a higher, the point of entry in the body.

At first, all media adopted the cop’s case, spreading similar news worldwide.
Now, they talk about murder in cold blood.

Greeks cooperating with local anarchist groups are taking over greek embassies, all over Europe. Berlin, Hague, London and more that I’m not aware of.
Now, we’re just making sure there wont be “one minute silence” goodbyes before we return to our daily routine. Alex will have the loudest and most fiery farewell.





Greek Unrest

9 12 2008

A Greek Anarchist who is involved in the current unrest in Greece on the side of the Anarchists has offered his eye witness account of the trouble.  This in many places contradicts the account put forward by the mainstream media which has, as per usual, come out in support for the police despite their blessed journalistic objectivity.

First things first.
Before I jump into the events, I have to paint the whole picture.

There has been a feud between the police and anarchist groups since the fall of the greek dictatorship. Whenever there’s a protest, you’ll see anarchists setting up roadblocks, going head to head with the riot police, attacking banks, cameras etc. In 1985, a similar incident took place. A police officer shot dead a 15 year old anarchist, with a well aimed shot in the head. He was later released from all charges, a decision which erupted similar riots.

Traditionally, the athenian district of Eksarxeia was an anarchist headquarter.[sic] Mostly due to its historical role in past events, against the military dictatoship[sic] and many more. For that reason, the past, say, 10 years, it has been a target for police forces. It is now, informally, considered to be an anarchist asylum where no cop can enter under the watchful eye of our comrades there. For that reason, even the local police station of Eksarxeia has instructed its patrol cars to avoid by all costs certain areas that are literally under anarchist control.

Sometimes, cops managed to slip in for the sole purpose to harass some anarchist hangouts. These “challenges” would cause small scale wars in Eksarxeia district, with riot police divisions, supposedly guarding banks, entering an “anti-authoritarian area” just to confront scattered anarchists. It was typical once a week to have a street fight. Lately, this situation was being steadily intensified. On one hand, reporters would often mention that this police-free area had to be infringed, on the other hand, police officers with far right-wing beliefs were eager to provoke trouble, fueling[sic] the fire.

What I’m trying to say is, we all knew it would come down to this.

And now, to describe what is “this”.

A patrol car entered Eksarxeia, last Saturday night.
Like I said, they’re instructed to remain in a certain pre-defined route, to avoid anarchist confrontations. (cop cars usually become a moving target for any kind of projectile when they drive by) These two cops are known from past events to challenge anarchists in the district, so this Saturday, they broke in. They bumped into a small group of underaged, some say anarchists, some say kids that were having their typical night-out. It matters not.

The cops were looking for trouble, so the moment they saw the kids, they assumed they were anarchists as it is a popular destination for people of such beliefs, even for entertainment purposes. They provoked those children, while in the cop car and were ousted for being bullies. The cops drove away, but came back on foot a few minutes later to settle the score. They exchanged words, nothing else but words. This is confirmed by numerous eye-witnesses, while mass media and the cops themselves were spreading, unsurprisingly, that the cops were attacked by a large group of enraged and armed anarchists. In the middle of the quarrel, one of the two cops pulled out his pistol and shot a kid dead with two shots, one in the belly and the second one in his heart. They both calmly walked away to their patrol car.

The quarrel was of such a volume, that the incident was filmed by a two kids in a balcony. I uploaded it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1wrDbw9KeQ and an edited version with more light, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvgUQcYgrn0
You cant clearly see the whole incident, but the two cops are standing alone in the street and there is no fight. Only a car alarm.

The cop speaks some final words, something that would be roughly translated as, “I’ll show you what”, and fires two shots. They can both be seen walking away.

The incident was first reported in the athenian indymedia, which is typically controlled by anarchists. The news were spread rapidly, causing spontaneous riots all over Greece.

Right now, everyone is enraged. Not only anarchists but every Greek with minimal common sense. A kid was executed for talking back to a cop. It was not out of the blue, it was the product of an ongoing repression that has centered its efforts in the district of Eksarxeia.

Anarchists went on a rampage, myself included. We havent[sic] slept many hours, I just came back to rest a bit, wash the tear gas off my face and clothes, sleep a few hours perhaps, before I return to defend the roadblocks.

Excuse me for being incoherent, like I said, I’m tired, furious and my face is burning. I suppose you’ve been told a million lies, so I end this post with a list of anarchist targets, which are strictly political.

-The main target in EVERY Greek city and each district, are the police stations. I have lost count in how many areas they have been bombarded by rocks and molotov cocktails. Every cop in Greece should live in fear the following days to balance their arrogance with fear.
-Banks are the next best target. For a million reasons I need not explain in an anarchist forum.
-Cop cars. Luxurious cars. Civilian cars that belong to cops. (we know their plate numbers), they all made good barricades.
-Every grand store, of any type. Only the big money holders.
-Cameras.

I know it has been reported that small neighbourhood stores have been looted. Its true to some extent. Its quite usual for undercover cops to damage such types of property. Its also usual for hooligans to rush into riots. We bumped into a few of both kinds and chased them with sticks.
I can only speak for what I personally saw. And I saw extremely careful anarchists in what they were smashing and in a manner to avoid the lightest damage on parked cars . However, I can’t deny the fact that there are exceptions.

The Anarchist in question goes by the name, “Deadeye,” and the posts were taken from Anarchism.net.  The most interesting thing I find are the mainstream media reports that the kids provoked the police by throwing molotovs at the cop car.  The footage uploaded to YouTube by Deadeye tells a far different story.  There are no flaming molotovs.  Instead there are the sound of the bullets that had taken the kid’s life.  In the top right corner you can see the police walking away.

A police statement about the boy’s death said the incident started when six young protesters pelted a police patrol car with stones. The 16-year-old boy was shot as he tried to throw a fuel-filled bomb at the officers, police said. – CNN.com/Europe

This, as the Youtube video shows, is a lie.  What is interesting is the reaction these reports have generated. As a general example, this comment posted in a discussion about the events on the SomethingAweful forums is fairly representative.

This has nothing to do with young people. Some idiot tried to kill people with a fire bomb and was shot. His equally stupid peers got pissed at this for some reason and used it as an excuse to go on a rampage. Hopefully more will get shot or end up in prison for the next 10 years. – aSocial

Though I will not condone violence, I understand that the current conflict is the result of long running tensions because Anarchists and the police.   This particular instance has found itself provoked by the police, who have then lied.  This lie has then been picked up by the media and repeated in countries all over the world.  So my support remains with the Anarchists.  In fact, Orwell’s obsession with language immediately comes to mind when I think about this, particularly as every report by the mainstream media has characterised the Anarchists as indiscriminate bringers of chaos and destruction — because the teenager attacked the cops first.  What it is about the general Anglo-Saxon Psyche that seems to believe the cop is always in the right?

Yet the account by Deadeye paints a different picture. Greek Anarchists have responded with outrage at the execution of a young boy and have accordingly done their best to avoid looting, damaging small stores and harming innocents.  Instead their anger is directed primarily at targets who embody or symbolise the state and the status quo.  Deadeye, for anyone who doesn’t remember, even talks of Anarchists chasing off groups that arrived specifically to cause trouble.  These aren’t the words of a madman looking for an excuse to go on a rampage.

Discrepancies are appearing in many of the reports.  For example, BBC  news and CNN have failed to agree on the age of the dead teenager, the former stating he was 15, the latter claiming he was 16.  Better yet, the police officers involved appear to have changed their story.

Two police officers have been arrested in connection with the incident.

The officer who fired contends it was a ricochet from a warning shot, but witnesses told Greek TV it was a direct hit. – BBC NEWS

I’ll leave it here and hopefully keep updates on what has been happening.

Hat tip goes out to Francois Tremblay for the link to the Something Aweful discussion.








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