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(en) acracia.org: INTERVIEW WITH THE GREEK ANARCHIST GROUP ROUVIKONAS by CAPI VIDAL (ca, en, it) [machine translation]

Date 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 prison sentences.

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 hold?

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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