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(en) acracia.org: INTERVIEW WITH THE GREEK ANARCHIST GROUP ROUVIKONAS by CAPI VIDAL (ca, en, it) [machine translation]
Thu, 6 Sep 2018 10:49:05 +0300
In these pages we transcribe the interview that last June made Hibai Arbide, of the
TeleSur network, to Spiros and Thanasis, of the Greek anarchist group Rouvikonas. This
group has spent years collecting the attention of the media because, in addition to not
abandoning their daily work in the streets with their participation in social centers, in
the attention to migrants, in the fight againstpresence of neo-Nazis and traffickers in
the neighborhoods, they have carried out innumerable actions with great mediatic effect
that has allowed them to take their message to the Greek society. Among them, those
carried out in embassies from different countries stand out, such as the attack with red
paint on the one in Israel denouncing the ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians or the
French to criticize the attacks in Syria, the sale of warships to Greece, the labor reform
of Macron and solidarity with the ZAD of Nantes, or the symbolic occupations of the one in
Mexico to support the struggle of the teachers or the much talked about in our country
consisting of occupation for one hour of the Spanish Embassy in October 2017 against the
state repression in the independence mobilizations. In this action they hung a huge banner
with the slogan "Solidarity is the weapon of the people. They will not pass "and published
a statement denouncing that what happened in Catalonia was a brutal attack of submission
and humiliation of a social majority.
For this type of action, at this time the group is facing a trial in which it is sought to
be outlawed as a criminal group and in which twelve of its members are asked to serve
How do you define yourself?
Rouvikonas is an anarchist group that has existed for five years. The goal is to resist
everything that is happening in Greece these years, the memos and austerity, and become,
if you can say, an example for other people to organize and go out.
It belongs to the anarchist movement in Greece and was born from the entrails and history
of that movement. We try to do what the anarchists have always done, at least the
organized parts of the anarchists. Obviously, if you ask me what our horizon is, it is
anarchy and communism, but in this phase in which we find ourselves we give priority to
the resistance struggle.
Greece is known for its broad anti-austerity movement, especially in the years of the
mobilization of the squares. How do you see the current movement in Greece?
Unfortunately this movement died. Is dead. He made a lot of noise before he died, but he died.
He died with the rise of SYRIZA, which did what historically institutional left forces do,
which historically has done social democracy. He integrated and capitalized the struggles
of a whole cycle, metabolized them and expelled them as surrender and apathy. In these
moments the Greek society is in shock. Both the struggles of the anarchists and the other
parts of the antagonist movement that they trusted have failed. The easy way is to accuse
SYRIZA and accuse social democracy for doing what they do, but a chameleon always acts
like a chameleon. That is his behavior. What the previous period reveals is that, at least
the revolutionary forces of the Greek movement did not succeed ... This apathy means that
the situation of austerity, of labor cuts continues. It is not a crisis that has come and
gone. It is a crisis in which capital is devastating everything. The issue is that at this
moment in which we are talking, the level of struggle in Greek society, beyond some
actions that we could call issues that make groups like Rouvikonas, is very low, is the
last soldier standing .
The bet for the next period is the resurgence of the movement, first of all on the
streets, and this is one of the things that Rouvikonas will try to the extent of their
strength. Let's say to star, to boost. What anarchists have always done in history.
The basic problem is that SYRIZA killed hope. They sold hope, killed hope. This is what
people must recover, because now they do not believe that there is an alternative, because
SYRIZA being a social democrat and having very little relation with the grassroots
movements, took advantage of those that had to stand in their representation and exploit
them for their benefit.
There is a teaching that the social base must learn, from our point of view. In Greece it
has happened again, after many years of PASOK's rise, although under completely different
conditions than at that time, in short, the institutional path is a dead end. Perhaps it
is the easiest, it may be the one that has the least consequences for those who fight.
Despite this, we are at the point where SYRIZA is approving measures that the right would
not dare if it were still in power. He has taken worse measures than the right, but he has
the social-democratic way of doing it and not being blamed for it. For society it is a lesson.
It is much more utopian to think that within the system you are going to change something,
to believe that by doing the same things you will have results, than to believe in
anarchy, for example.
Usually you do not accept requests for interviews and you have had many in recent times.
What is your relationship with the media?
Look, as I told you at the beginning, we are within the anarchist movement in Greece, we
are part of its continuity. The anarchist movement regarding the media had and has a very
clear position justified in time. It is extremely negative, rejecting any relationship
with the official media. We are opposites by default. With the international media we
choose when we can. Regarding you, for what we know from your trajectory of your channel,
how it works, what positions it has, who finances it and all that ... we have not seen any
proof that it is going to censor us. For example, for Fox News we would never give an
interview, I think that is clear. But here I want to make a point: as we give you an
interview today, our position with respect to the Greek media is a confrontational
position and in some cases of the pirate type. Sometimes we force them to do what we want
and until now this tactic has worked. Then, Rouvikonas is not the image that the media
give, it is the set of things that he does, he does many things. And if at some point the
media wants it to end, we believe that at some point they will stop taking us out, but we
will continue doing well without them.
And we will change tactics if necessary. But to say that we do not want any relation to
the image is to say that you do not want to have a relationship with typography in the
sixteenth century. Has no sense. The official media take us out because we are already on
the Internet and can not not broadcast something that is already being talked about.
A basic reason why we have given you an interview is the audience in Latin America, a part
of the world with a huge history of struggle, with an anarchist movement that has written
important chapters of struggle in History, and the context of the internationalism we are
interested in reaching this audience, reaching those people.
You are known above all through the actions you do. Your actions have a lot of impact
sometimes, both on social networks and in the Greek media. I would like to know how many
actions you have done during all this time and if there are some of them that you consider
to be more important, more iconic or more politically relevant.
I do not know how many they are exactly. More than 120 or 130. One of them is the doctor
who asked for bites in a public hospital relatively recently. The doctor asked for money
to operate on people, that is, he demanded that people pay him in a public hospital.
I am also interested in the way in which you combine both the local action and the
international or global perspective and I wanted to ask you, to what extent is
internationalism important for Rouvikonas?
For us, internationalism is something really important because, as the old revolutionaries
said, you have to act locally and think globally. We believe that comrades from all over
the world carry out important struggles, such as in Turkey or in Latin America. We believe
that the only way for the movement to get things is that we are in contact, that we speak,
that we know each other, that we find solidarity with each other in each place. There are
embassies everywhere, the States collaborate when they want to repress the resistance ...
This is how the fighters should fight because our ideas are for all humanity not only for
this corner of the planet.
It is important to understand that we are in the Balkans. It is a part of the world in
which much blood has been shed from wars in every square meter. Anyone who minimally
investigates what happened in the Balkans can quickly understand, and at this moment we
are in that situation in which the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean are at the center
of imperialist interests. The ghost of war has returned to the area and we, as
internationalists, in reality, the only response we can give to national and imperialist
confrontations is internationalist solidarity. Therefore, in addition to being interested
in international issues and that through our actions we have an opportunity to take a
position, we attach great importance to the issues of the Eastern Mediterranean and our
area. For example,
The local media say that you are violent and that your actions are violent. Is this true?
Or what is violence to you?
First of all, I want to say that violence is a bad thing. No one who is in their right
mind wants to resolve their conflicts with violence. On the other hand, violence is part
of politics since the policy exists. It is part of society, it is a double-edged sword. I
will say it in another way, on the one hand there is the violence of power, the violence
of the State and the capital and the most direct repression of the army, as well as the
indirect violence that is exerted through exploitation, and on the other hand there is the
violence of the oppressed, the class struggle and violence from the bottom up. How far
each of these violences from each of the sides has to do with the relationship of forces,
within power and against power. As for Greece and the Rouvikonas group, we have chosen the
level of violence, to what extent we arrive based on different reasons. One of them is
our security, another is the strength we have and a third variant is how much people can
assume from our social base. We are a movement with a social base, and that is how we act.
We use a certain level of violence and we do not go beyond that. And this is a long-term
political decision always consistent with the circumstances. The actions of Rouvikonas, in
these circumstances, go from the symbolic when we throw leaflets to protest in a public
building until breaking some crystals with a certain objective. So far we have arrived,
for the moment. So to your question, I answer that we do accept violence as a political
instrument and we believe that all political spaces accept violence, institutional or not,
as a political instrument and act as if they did not.
How do you face the repression of the State? Are you afraid, is fear part of the daily
life of a militant in a situation like this? What do you expect from the legal processes
that you face?
Who says he is not afraid or lies or is stupid? We do not want to lie and we are not
stupid. In spite of this, when you are an anarchist you know that, sooner or later, you
will have to face the repression of the State. We look for a balance. We know that we will
have trials, we know that we will suffer violence: we consider it and we expect it. From
the psychological, legal and grassroots point of view, our actions and what we decided to
do, we are ready to face it. Then, fear is in the essence of what we do and what we do not
do, and it exists and does not exist. Before we have named certain actions that have to do
with repression, one part of the equation is the State, the enemy. It is not the only one,
but it is a part of the equation. But we are not so afraid as to stop acting. What we do
we do with our name, with our signature, most of them bare-faced. We count on the State to
repress us and we take our measures.
As we said, repression is within the life of anarchists from the moment someone wants to
consider themselves an anarchist and have a certain level of action. The point is that we
have taken the decision to claim with our name actions that are illegal. That means that
automatically what we do can lead to repression. We do not do anything without
vindicating, we do not invent other names for the actions we do, this is a political
decision that involves inconvenience.
We have to raise an incredible amount of money for our political experience so far to
guarantee a lawyer in each trial. But it is something that we knew from the first moment
and we have assumed to travel this road knowing the consequences. Now, what will tomorrow
You have made a call to solidarity, I want to know what is the objective of this campaign
that you have launched and, among other things, for example, how are you going to face the
economic cost and how are you going to pay for all the judgments you have.
The last question is very good ...
There are certain networks of solidarity around here. We hope that there is international
solidarity, if the comrades send some money, even if it is little, it is very important.
But as I said, there are embassies everywhere, political pressure is a part that is
possible and we want it to happen. Just as we try to carry it out for other colleagues we
would like other colleagues to do it for us. In the context of solidarity, that is a path.
That they help us financially is another way. Being declared innocent in the trial is
another objective that has happened in many trials because the State exaggerates a lot
with the accusations. Sometimes they want to do judicial acrobatics in the mechanism of
repression, sometimes they condemn us and sometimes they do not.
We have to take into account that beyond the legal issues, Rouvikonas exists and moves
also in other fields, from supporting the existence of an antifascist social center in the
Agrios Panteleimonas neighborhood by participating in it and supporting economically for
the social center to exist. This has stopped the growth of the extreme right in that
neighborhood they wanted to turn into their political center. We decided as a collective
to make a public appeal and confront the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, which it was trying
to convert into its territory. We created a social center next to the square, which meant
a great challenge, we are part of the Social Center Okupado VOX, in the heart of the
neighborhood of Exarjia.
The idea with which the Distomo collective was created was to recover land from the Nazis,
not just do something punctual and direct confrontation as if Golden Dawn had wanted to
open an office right here, next to us.
We also participate in the Anarchist Federation and it also has its own actions.
Rouvikonas is a thing with multiple faces, beyond what is usually seen, which are the
actions recorded with the cameras and that have a judicial cost.
Sometimes activists lose hope. Sometimes watching the news is difficult to maintain this
hope, not only seeing what happens in Greece but in the world, what do you do to combat
depression? What do you do to continue fighting?
What you ask has to do with the philosophical and the sentimental. What's going on? In
recent years, most of the movements are young. In the West and, in general, in the whole
world, radical movements are youthful and that means that they tend to have the habits of
young people. But, on the contrary, we believe that the ideas and struggles that can mean
a change are a commitment of decades, a commitment of generations. The best medicine
against depression is to think that wherever we walk we have already walked giants of the
struggle, throughout History. And although they have failed, they have succeeded in the
sense that the world has nothing to do with that of its time. We owe this to their
struggles. We are militants with a commitment. We have a fight hypothesis. We travel this
road and whoever decides to cross it has to understand that it is a path that will not
bear fruit. It will not bring the victory that you immediately imagine. Although, on the
other hand, there is a historical reality and is that no revolution could be planned two
before it happened. Therefore, we do what we believe.
As a group, we think that this struggle is maintained with this form, at least since
capitalism exists and we could think that since the State exists, and we will continue it.
We do not expect that what we do will bring us tomorrow the revolution, human happiness
and that we will run naked happy in the countryside. It is a struggle in which we know how
far we are compared to the movements of the past that achieved much more than we do. And
only in these terms, if you are in this fight and you have the ability to understand how
difficult it is that you pursue, because what we pursue is really difficult. We do not
have the illusion that, although tomorrow morning the exploited and the oppressed would
rise up with the workers' struggle, things would be easy, they would be very difficult for
themselves. Being aware of all this, Knowing this truth, we realize why it is so difficult
to compromise. A problem that revolutionaries always have (it is a complicated issue of
the revolutionary term, one can not consider oneself revolutionary until we die and others
qualify us), it is that they do not understand that society understands the cost of
revolution. For that reason, the decision of the revolt has a very high price. Our job, as
anarchists, is to value that even if we are not the ones who achieve such a social change,
we will do everything possible so that our children can achieve it. one can not consider
oneself a revolutionary until we die and others qualify us), they do not understand that
society understands the cost of revolution. For that reason, the decision of the revolt
has a very high price. Our job, as anarchists, is to value that even if we are not the
ones who achieve such a social change, we will do everything possible so that our children
can achieve it. one can not consider oneself a revolutionary until we die and others
qualify us), they do not understand that society understands the cost of revolution. For
that reason, the decision of the revolt has a very high price. Our job, as anarchists, is
to value that even if we are not the ones who achieve such a social change, we will do
everything possible so that our children can achieve it.
We get older and we begin to believe that we will not be the ones to achieve it but the
basic thing is this: to leave better conditions than when we started to fight. If it is
not us, there will be others after us. That is the goal. I think that any person who wants
to be considered a fighter has to leave as a legacy better conditions than the ones you found.
Interview by Hibai Arbide Aza
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