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(en) Greece, Interview of the Anarchist Initiative of Saints Anargyro - Kamaterou in "Ediciones Pensamiento y Batalla" (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Mon, 27 Nov 2023 09:07:49 +0200

Following a proposal from the publishing scheme from Chile "Ediciones Pensamiento y Batalla" (Thought and Battle Editions) we granted an interview answering 8 questions posed by the comrades, with the aim of including them in a book to be published regarding anarchism in GREECE. The interview was conducted in English and will be translated into Spanish for publication by Ediciones Pensamiento y Batalla. ---- Here is the Greek translation ---- 1) Could you briefly describe what the neighborhoods in western Athens are like where you intervene politically?

The western suburbs of Athens are our main field of activity, but without limiting us in our action at a central level. The western suburbs are predominantly working-class neighborhoods, the poorest suburb of the capital, where mostly working-class people live. In various municipalities there are several "blocks" of workers' apartment buildings and there are also various marginalized groups of the population, such as immigrants who experience brutal labor exploitation and Roma communities, where the majority of them live in squalid conditions and in camps.

2) Are you part of an Anarchist Federation? Do you coordinate specific actions and mobilizations with other groups, organizations or collectives of the anarchist/anti-authoritarian movement?

No, our political core is not a member of any Anarchist Federation. Nevertheless, we are advocates of the necessity of the organization of anarchists, which goes beyond the level of the "affinity group" and crystallizes into a federally organized political body. The issue of the anarchist organization has concerned us since the beginning of the establishment of our political nucleus and within the next period we intend to publicly state our positions on it, ending up in our proposal. Our plan has a dual character. At an initial level, we look forward to the formation of an anarchist organization of the western suburbs, which, as stated in our constitution, is a strategic goal and the goal of organizational evolution of our core. But already now, we are fighting for the necessity of general anarchist organization to gain ground.

At this point we should point out that, unfortunately, in the anarchist space in Greece, organizational fragmentation dominates in small affinity groups, which are basically not governed by the relevance of political positions and goals. Mainly, they act detached or cooperate opportunistically on specific topics or under the weight of extraordinary circumstances. We should also say that some years ago, there was an attempt, on the initiative of some anarchist collectives, to form an Anarchist Federation. Within the pre-conference dialogue, a split occurred and two federations were formed, of which today one is inactive and the other consists of a few collectives.

Our political core, despite criticizing the existing model of the formation of the anarchist space in Greece, is trapped within it, just as all the anarchist forces either agree or disagree with it. So we also, mainly, collaborate on some struggle disputes with some anarchist collectives or comrades/equals, which we consider to be points of political and value convergence and have been politically fermented over the years in the struggle. We recognize, of course, that this kind of occasional partnership cannot replace the stable and organizationally, politically and ideologically coherent political body that we are fighting to create. What we at least try to ensure now, is respect and camaraderie with those we work with, away from various problematic logics that exist within our political space, whether they concern the exploitation of individuals for the implementation of a political agenda by collectives, or the instrumental treatment of other collectives.

3) Realizing that you are in favor of the theory of organizational dualism, under what principles is it built? How do you make your decisions? What historical accounts of revolutionary anarchism are adopted?

Organizational dualism is a concept that in the Greek anarchist movement does not have much appeal and is largely unknown. The majority of comrades/equals do not understand the difference between joining an anarchist group, a neighborhood assembly, an occupied park or a student body. For us, indeed, organizational dualism is a key feature of our political and organizational view of revolutionary movement development.

Very briefly, organizational dualism means distinguishing levels of organization.

Politically, we support the existence and action of a special anarchist organization, i.e. a political organization of anarchists with a clear identity and elaborated tactical and strategic plan of action, accepted by all its members on the basis of voluntary cooperation and ideological and programmatic unity. On a class-social level, we support the participation of anarchists in the labor-union movement, regional popular assemblies and other forms that originate from below, without requiring the maximum ideological and political agreement, for participation in them.

The task of anarchists is not to guide social-class movements "from above." The role of anarchists within movements is to exert influence without aiming for a political hegemony like the communist parties and their arbitrary "fronts", who just want to fit the movements into their party plans. Our own role in the direction of the formation of what could be defined as a "revolutionary vanguard" concerns the contribution to the autonomous development of the movements and the interconnection of the individual claims they put forward, with the aim of their integration and the transition from the protest to the revolutionary perspective .

For us, the revolutionary movement is essentially a joint articulation of these two levels of organization. Historically, we trace organizational dualism from the beginnings of anarchism, in the theory and action of Bakunin and the Workers' Union called the First International. The first anarchist organization in history is the "Alliance" founded by Bakunin, which was governed by a clear revolutionary program and constitution and operated alongside the Workers' Union (the class-social level). On the one hand, the Alliance had "tight" positions, and on the other, the Union aimed to rally all the workers without looking to their guidance from above or setting strict ideological prerequisites. At least that was the line of the anarchists within the International and it was fully competitive with the Marxist wing. A form of organizational dualism, albeit controversial, can also be seen in Spain in 1936 with the parallel action of the CNT-FAI, while this concept is central, especially in the platformist current and subsequently in the current of specifism.

4) What does your "Anthology of Texts" bulletin consist of? What kind of texts does it include? How do you distribute it?

The anthologies of the initiative's texts, which are published every 4 months, are publications that include all the actions and texts we publish, as well as photos, within this time period, as well as a preface analyzing the current juncture in which they are published. So far we're up to our 11th anthology issue and we're in the middle of our 12th. Anthologies are distributed either hand to hand, or in political spaces sent across the territory, by free contribution.

5) In your self-presentation you clearly and forcefully defend a class anarchism. Why this emphasis? Have individualist, nihilist or postmodernist currents gained any weight today in the Greek region?

Anarchism is a child of socialist thought and the labor movement of the 19th century . It does not exist as a movement outside of its class and socialist base. Therefore we do not perceive the existence of any non-class anarchism or any liberal anarchism which has as its center the individual and not the society, the working class and the oppressed popular strata. As we say in our constitution, anarchism is the revolutionary worldview of the working class, its libertarian culmination. And as our classics would say, be it Bakunin or Kropotkin, the free individual or the free man cannot exist outside of a free society.

Regarding the second part of the question it is very difficult to answer in just a few lines. Indeed in the previous decade there was a flourishing of the nihilism and anarcho-individualist current in Greece, clustered around the "New Anarchy" current, the "new urban guerrilla" and the FAI-IRF (Informal Anarchist Federation - International Revolutionary Front). Although this tendency was temporary, it tried to develop an autonomy and a distinction from anarchism and the anarchist space in Greece by exercising harsh criticisms, both ideological towards anarchism and towards the movement.

Despite the existence of structural differences and the existence of competing and even hostile viewpoints, we perceive this current as the result of the disillusionment of large sections of comrades and comrades with society, even with the errors of the anarchist space at that time. It was the time shortly before the assumption of political power by SYRIZA that many anarchists were demobilizing and turning into supporters of the left-wing government and the struggles as a whole were in a retreat phase, after the great aggravation they experienced in the two years 2010-12, marked by massive and dynamic mobilizations against the anti-social memorial measures, in which the forces of anarchism had a significant presence. If we look at history, the current of anarcho-individualism has always gained ground in periods of retreat of struggles and in periods of kinetic disappointments.

However, this current has weakened over the years and today it almost does not exist. Most were decommissioned and others completely overhauled. Now, in relation to the influence of postmodernism, this has been gaining ground in recent years and is a complex phenomenon that has not been analyzed much. In Greece there is not exactly a self-conscious "post-modern anarchism" or "meta-anarchism" but a general influence of post-modernism on a large part of anarchists of all tendencies, who may not even know the main representatives of this current or the general principles of. Rather, the adoption of elements from postmodernism is done uncritically and unconsciously because in Greece there is no developed anarchist revolutionary consciousness in the majority of anarchists and therefore our ideological formation is fluid, fluid and tolerant of admixtures from the entire spectrum of bourgeois and Marxist thought. We could really give a multi-page interview about all this and fully develop our criticism at another time, because in this interview it is impossible.

6) We learned that at least one member of your organization was accused of beating a former Syriza finance minister (current MeRA25 "leader"). Could you tell us about this case? As anarchists, what do you think of the Syriza state administration a few years ago?

Indeed, last May one of our comrades was arrested for participating in the beating of Varoufakis. In fact, he was personally targeted for this attack by the former minister, who pointed to him as the main perpetrator. It is of course difficult to say more about the action, as it was not an action organized by us, nor in general an organized action, in which there could be an assumption of political responsibility or some collective position of those present for what happened. In reality it was a spontaneous rebuke of the former minister, from a motley crowd that happened to be there.

Collectively we supported both this spontaneous action and our partner, with announcements, with solidarity gatherings in the courts and with a gathering outside the headquarters of MERA25. Unfortunately, most of our political space disapproved of the action either because of political sympathy and tolerance towards the criminal former minister, or because it depoliticized the events. We did our best to support the action but we could not speak on behalf of the participants.

As for the refusal of many comrades/equals to support the attack on Varoufakis, it is something that did not surprise us. This brings us to the second part of your question. The SYRIZA government was a government that implemented a harsh economic and political agenda and its tenure was disastrous for the movements. But it was disastrous because, among other things, the movements were deceived by her, and instead of fighting her, they waited in vain for her to abolish the memorandums and follow a pro-worker and pro-people agenda, something she neither desired nor was possible in the heart of the global crisis which rages even Greece found itself at the center of it to happen.

Our collective was founded, in a different form than the existing one, during the period of SYRIZA rule by members of the anarchist movement who clashed bitterly with those who harbored delusions and acted as defenders of the government within the movement. The first formation of our collective in 2016 was precisely the birth of these intra-kinetic processes and ruptures. They were comrades who organized the first anarchist anti-state demonstration against SYRIZA in February 2015, who occupied the Athens law school in the spring of the same year, who organized pro-abstention rallies in the July 2015 referendum and participated in the organization of the anarchist bloc in the demonstration against the passing of the 3rd memorandum as well as the conflicts that followed.

7) Why is it argued that the current crisis conditions are ideal for the development of a revolutionary movement?

We believe that the crisis that capitalism is going through worldwide is a structural crisis and it is an insurmountable crisis. There are no systemic tools to overcome the crisis, nor is this crisis related to a temporary recession like the one in 2020 or to the cyclical crises that capitalism goes through over the decades. Capitalism has completed its historical cycle and is in a phase of decline, in which there will be setbacks, there will be bloodshed and wars, and of course there will also be social uprisings and revolutions. We cannot accurately predict how long this phase will last, although it will be the norm until the existing socio-economic system is overcome.

As we have been writing for years, the way out of the crisis is either generalized imperialist wars and the rapid impoverishment of societies, which, however, will not solve the inherent problem of capital, or social revolutions. There is no middle ground. We see the conditions as ideal for revolutionary movement building with anarchism at the vanguard of the struggle for overthrow as there is no other political force capable of fulfilling this mission. Marxism historically went bankrupt and its implementation in a set of countries failed, while the bourgeois forces, of all shades, which dominate at the moment, will not remain forever immune to the people and the working classes. That is why our basic slogan, which is also the real dilemma of the times, is: anarchism or barbarism!

8) What do you think are the most urgent tasks that the anarchist movement must develop today in the Greek region?

If we could answer epigrammatically, then we would say: a) creation of a pan-Hellenic anarchist political organization with nuclei of action in every region and every possible corner of the country, b) mass entry into the labor movement, strengthening of grassroots unions, creation and formation of new ones, in basis of a strategic plan, a Free Labor Federation, c) establishment of regional popular assemblies, socialization committees and mutual aid networks. Very broadly, these are the three points that we consider to assume the character of historical political duty for anarchists today. The ultimate goal is the creation of a libertarian revolutionary movement to overthrow capitalism and the state. Nothing less - nothing more. The anarchist organization is the one that must open the way, inspire with its action and convince with its revolutionary program. The labor movement is the one that will claim, fight and organize the working class, from a dependent class, to a class for itself and overall it is the social-popular factor that will implement and make the social change a reality by building, already from today, the new society inside the shell of the old one. The new society to rise will need to go through armed struggle with our oppressors, the bourgeoisie and the state and crush them.

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