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Yannis Youlountas: The authoritarian shift in Greece and France

Greece. The social movement faces strong police repression and pays respect to the resistance against the “Global Security Law” in France.

Originally published by Blog YY. Written by Yannis Youlountas. Translated by Enough 14.

Tonight (December 6, 2020, Enough 14), the Exarcheia neighborhood was hit by a flood of weapons and uniforms. To prevent any revolt, the Greek state has set up a massive army of cops, supported by two helicopters and several drones. Here and there screams and explosions can be heard. An abandoned building is in flames. For a year now, the Greek police have been trying to weaken the neighborhood by evicting many squatted buildings, but some are still resisting, especially Notara 26 and K*Vox. Since this morning, however, the new police action has reached an unprecedented scale. Not only in terms of numbers, but also in terms of particularly shocking actions.

On the anniversary of the killing of the young anarchist Alexis Grigoropoulos by a policeman in Exarcheia on December 6, 2008, the forces of law and order of the ruling class initially prevented us from going to the site of the memorial where the plaque is located, where he was murdered at the age of fifteen! Even worse, dozens of people were arrested for trying to pass. In a few hours, more than 160 arrests have been counted! One of the cops even tore down a bouquet of roses that had been left at the scene before destroying it in front of running cameras. The footage quickly found its way through Greece and already caused a scandal tonight (2nd tweet below, Enough 14).

In addition, Journalists were prevented from continuing to film in the neighborhood and were kept as far away as possible from “police operations”. Some had to watch their equipment being damaged, others were forcibly pushed out, including my friends, freelance journalists Alexandros Katsis and Mario Lolos (who took some of the pictures in this article), sometimes with batons!
The dozens of arrested companions and comrades did not lower their heads and when they could, in agreement with the shocked but steadfast crowd, raised their fists.

Once again, openly neo-Nazi police officers were spotted among the “troops” that were sent to prevent a “December 6 revolt” (see images below with the identification marks on their helmets).

Nothing new under the sun: fascism remains the zealous guardian of capitalism. It is not a real opposition to the current political and economic system. On the contrary: it is the ultimate stage in every crisis situation, in the course of authoritarian excesses.
Today, no one has succeeded in getting into exarcheia without being checked, not even in cabs! In Athens 31 metro stations have been closed down! Several points were blocked, sometimes with activists inside, without food and water during the whole day. Companions inside the district were hunted by police forces who dared to detonate one of their grenades inside a building, risking the death of the targeted persons.
In view of this difficult anniversary, some wanted to demonstrate two days earlier, on December 4, but even that was very difficult, especially in front of the Parliament, on Syntagma Square.

At the same time, in five places of state power, the Rouvikonas group has taken retaliatory measures against government policies, particularly the treatment of bankruptcies and catastrophic situations caused by the current crisis. A crisis that is above all that one of capitalism itself, once again highlighting its economic, social and environmental absurdity. Capitalism is death. To resist it is to participate in saving lives while there is still time.

In their communiqué and on leaflets, Rouvikonas mentions the example of resistance to the Global Security Law in France, which, despite a very difficult situation for mobilizations, succeeds in getting the government to withdraw:
“Like in France, where the state tried in the same dirty way to guarantee the right of absolute repression, and where the French social base took to the streets and forced them to retreat.”
The complete press release (and more images) can be found here (Greek): https://rouvikonas.gr/archives/4710
Like other collectives in Athens, Crete and elsewhere, Rouvikonas is omnipresent in the field of solidarity during these difficult months. In partnership with several people’s kitchens, the Exarcheia and Keratsini (We got information that not Keratsini, but Kaisariani is the 2nd location, Enough 14) based anarchist group actively participates in the self-governing solidarity initiatives of the social movement.

The same is currently being tried in Crete, on a more modest scale, on an island where resistance to both major damaging projects and the political and economic system as a whole continues as good as people can. Places are born (we will talk more about this later) and actions multiply. Among other things, last night, on the fortress of the port of Heraklion, in front of the eyes of the inhabitants, sailors and passengers, a big banner was hung up: “No police will be able to protect you from your immense responsibility for the consequences of this pandemic”.

Full communiqué with images (Greek): https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1608943/

In fact, this pandemic once again reveals the profound inequalities of containment and its consequences. Even worse, Covid19 offers a new excuse for the ruling class to rob us of what remains of our freedom in this increasingly authoritarian society. After terrorism, this is the time of the virus. Breaking news is endlessly flowing. All means are good to keep turning the screw and brutally lock us up in a dystopian society where the state dares to interfere in everything that makes up our lives, from the smallest cracks to the boundaries of our intimacy.
Those who have not yet understood what the state is should open their eyes for it: No matter what war it declares in our name, against this or that, it is always us who suffer under its whims, arbitrariness and orders that have come out of the blue.

Conversely, Exarcheia is one of those places where we have shown in recent years that it is possible to take our lives into our own hands, through self-management, mutual aid, creativity, resistance, direct democracy and even anarchy – which, as Elisée Reclus pointed out, is “the highest expression of order” and not chaos, as the media claim.

It was a sad day for this district in Athens, which was suffocated by the ruler and his minions. But the grain is sown, and while we wait for it to spread again in Exarcheia, it is already growing in new places in Greece 😉
I wish you all the best. Hang in there. And congratulations again for the struggle against the global security law, even if it is not over yet!

Yannis Youlountas




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4 thoughts on “Yannis Youlountas: The authoritarian shift in Greece and France

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