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New, old men in Greece Part 1 – The repressive attack

A piece by Sebastian Lotzer about the repressive attack against comrades on the Greek territory and the inability (on a transnational level) to establish tactical and strategic alliances with each other.

Originally published and written by Sebastian Lotzer. Translated by Enough 14.

Four and a half years after SYRIZA inherited the nationwide revolt against the IMF austerity dictate and an agony settled in the country, the right, under the leadership of Nea Dimokratia, once again holds the levers of political power in its hands. In the immediate “six pillars” government programme , the “restoration of public order” plays a central role. For days now, heavily armed police units have been demonstratively patrolling downtown Athens.

By the end of the year, 1500 new jobs for extra cops are to be created, which will primarily benefit the counter insurgency units. The DELTA units, which are notorious for their brutality, will also be reassembled. Their dismantling was one of the few election promises kept by SYRIZIA. Additional funds for police logistics will be made available on an ad hoc basis, and a comprehensive modernisation of the vehicle fleet is on the agenda for next year.

These measures go along with a “declaration of war” to the antagonistic milieu in the Greek capital, which uses exactly this militarized form of expression in its wording. The new Minister for Public Order, Michaelis Chrisoxoidis, publicly boasts that he wants to eliminate all the occupations in the Exarchia district. Moreover, the new government wants to eliminate the Greek peculiarity of the university asylum, a legacy of the resistance against the fascist military dictatorship in the 70s. Since the fall of the fascists, the repressive forces have been prohibited from entering university campuses. In the end, all previous governments had not dared to touch this historical legacy of the Athens Polytechnic uprising of 1973. For decades, the important universities in Athens, but also in Thessaloniki, have been the primary meeting point for spontaneous left-wing mobilizations. Not only on anniversaries such as that of 17 November do they offer spaces not only for debate and organization, but also solid tactical advantages in confrontations with the cops.

Further points in the immediate programme of the government will be the extensive cancellation of prison leave for detainees, no more possibility for people sentenced to life-long imprisonment to be released “prematurely”, new high-security prison facilities of the Gamma type will be built. All these measures are aimed in particular against imprisoned political prisoners; in recent years there have been numerous fights by imprisoned political cadres, quarreled and weakened in themselves, which have brought together the antagonistic factions in support actions.

There is no doubt that the antagonistic milieu in Greece, despite all tendencies towards sectarianism (nowhere else political disputes between each other are so bitterly and also so fiercely fought out) is probably still one of the “most powerful” factions in Europe. Not only every year on the 6th of December, the anniversary of the murder of Alexis, hundreds of Molotov cocktails illuminate the night sky of Athens, Thessaloniki, Patros,…

To stay in the picture: Whether and how the Greek comrades will be able to counter this attack materially, and above all politically, is written in the stars. What might not be really useful is the further expansion of riot tourism, especially on the 6th of December, which has taken on dimensions that in Exarchia already graffito can be found in reference to this undesirable tourism. After all, one has enough to do with all those who invade the district in search of the last remnant of authenticity that the disintegrating empire still has to offer.

Now it will be avenged that our complicity in all those years was again and again limited to events like G20 Hamburg, we were never able to establish tactical and strategic alliances with each other. But perhaps the coming months will also offer an opportunity to make up for these mistakes. The struggle for Exarchia will be a long and hard one, at this point there is no room for illusions. For our Greek comrades, the immediate issue is nothing less than everything. And perhaps we will remember those days and nights in December 2008 when our hearts were in Greece but we didn’t really got anything relevant set up here. Winter Is Coming. We should finally prepare for it.

Sebastian Lotzer, July 23, 2019.


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