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It’s our decision on which side to stand – Solidarity with Dimitris Koufontinas

Statement by Antikoloniale Aktion on the hunger strike of Dimitris Koufontinas.

Originally published by Indymedia DE.

A few weeks ago, we received a call for solidarity that again would unfold the imperialist agenda of the US in Europe, in front of our eyes. The greek political prisoner Dimitris Koufontinas is back again on hunger strike, his condition is serious and the Greek government has more impunity than ever due to the severe lock-down and increased state repression the country is going through.

It is in such moments where we must act if we consider ourselves revolutionary forces. Ignoring Dimitris, just because this is happening in another country, is not to consider yourself seriously fighting against repression and capitalism.

As a group fighting against colonialism, we feel inspired by the fight of Dimitris Koufontinas. But we also feel threatened by the same structures that prohibit him to see his family, that are trying to erase his political subjectivity, and torturing him; willing to break his conviction.

It is in such moments where we must act if we consider ourselves revolutionary forces. Ignoring Dimitris, just because this is happening in another country, is not a consider yourself seriously fighting against repression and capitalism.

“This is an attempt to bring down a human being. Not for what he is but for what he symbolizes”, says the declaration he wrote the day before entering his 4th hunger strike in prison.

 We feel inspired by his fight as a member of RO17N and the attacks against the agents of imperialism. But moreover, we feel encouraged by the way he stands by his actions and continues to fight in prison.

We will not pretend to be fully aligned to his ideology, but we refuse to discuss such a thing at this very moment. The fight against repression, the fight against prisons, and the fight for political autonomy are constitutive of our anti-colonial revolutionary position. We consider this should be constitutive of all leftist fights, therefore our contribution to the call of solidarity with Dimitris.

The obsession of the Greek State, the US, and the British state towards his person is not for him using weapons, but for his fight being politically consistent. It is consistency perhaps what makes the capitalist and repressive systems break out in a sweat more than anything. Because consistency requires conviction and caring: Isn’t resigning to one’s liberty, the biggest proof of love this society can expect from its peoples?

Through Dimitris, we feel the connection to the thousands of revolutionaries that were/are imprisoned, tortured, and killed to maintain the global hegemony of the so-called “west”. The intentions to destroy him as a person as well as the disinformation spread by mainstream media that discredits his fight are a clear attack not only against him but against all social revolutionary forces. Over and over his case is reported without stating the political intentions that motivated his actions and those of RO17N. Calling him a “terrorist” (well, we are used to this one) or worse a “murderer” trying to erase the fact that these political interventions were a counter-attack against imperialist and fascist political structures.

Dimitris -even in prison, even in isolation- represents a danger for the repressive system we live in. It was not by chance that in 2017, after 15 years of imprisonment, the US Embassy launched a tremendous media campaign against Dimitris after he was granted the right to a two days prison leave. Turning a national legal procedure into a matter of international politics, putting US interest over the Greek constitution.

All over the world the US has overthrown foreign governments, killed political leaders, and maintained extensive collaboration with fascist dictatorships and “democracies”. Having experienced this in our own lives and territories, we feel connected to Dimitris and his fight. We know colonialism and imperialism are not bastions to be destroyed in isolation but all our worlds. Let us not fall into the Neoliberal understanding of “acting local” by mistakingly ignoring our responsibility towards our comrades and our common struggles.

As part of the consolidation of its colonial politics, the US turned to the biggest deliverer of military education. Military and polices forces in the global south have been relentlessly trained by the US as proxy forces in the fight against their own populations.

Far from its self-promoted image of democracy and liberalism, no means are too repugnant for maintaining US hegemony. So-called “American exceptionalism” (the idea that the US is somehow a morally superior nation and has, therefore, more rights than any other country) justifies interventions in any region in which the US has political and economical interests. Together with the construction of “the western society” as a universal project towards global “development”, it conforms to the ideology for designing the military structure of current colonialism. US embassies play an important role by deploying CIA “consultants” that would give classes in the newest applications of torture and counter-insurgency strategies.

The military education provided by the US serves a specific interest, as all educational programs do. Carpenters learn how to manipulate wood to build furniture Teachers learn how to turn-off children’s insurrection flames. Anthropologists learn how to contribute to the white-supremacist myths of “developed cultures”. Military officers trained by the US learn how to torture, murder, and control its countries population. All this, to respond to the commands of the US embassy in the name of global capital and sponsored by the local bourgeoisie.

Some scholar came to the conclusion that the United States was the only country where there were no coups d’état because there was no U.S. embassy there” – Eduardo Galeano.

It is not a causality that the military and police officers that staged coups in Venezuela, Honduras, Haiti, Bolivia, Brazil just to name the more blatant examples of open military intervention in Latin America in the 21st century, were all trained by the US. So were the ones that staged the Greek dictatorship between 1967-1974. It is also no causality that revolutionary movements all around the world have targeted US military and intelligence personal as part of their fights for liberation.

RO17N fought against the militarist interventions of the US directly targeting CIA agents military personnel, nato state diplomats as well as the best greek students, who would turn into local US personnel e.g. Evangelos Mallios, a notorious torturer during the dictatorship. Then why do some keep on being surprised when people react to such an authoritarian structure with armed struggle? Why do some feel outraged in the face of revolutionary acts rather than in the face of systemic dominance?

It is in such moments where we must act if we consider ourselves revolutionary forces. Ignoring Dimitris, just because this is happening in another country, is not a consider yourself seriously fighting against repression and capitalism.

In Dimitris’s words: “From the beginning, I followed the path of solidarity in the struggles. On these paths, even now in the years of imprisonment, I meet with the people who carry the meaning of these words with dignity”1

All around the world, people are joining the solidarity movement with Dimitris. Because of the conditions of imprisonment and political torture he has been pushed into, concerns all of us, no matter where we are fighting at the moment. This short text is our small contribution towards reconstructing an internationalist understanding of the anti-repression and anti-imperialist fights. We call all activists in Germany not to turn their backs on Dimitris. Let us not be indifferent only in the name of geographical distance or ideological puritanism. It’s our decision on which side to stand, either supporting the torturers through silence or joining the path of solidarity.

WE DO NOT FORGET HE GAVE HIS LIBERTY FOR THE REVOLUTIONARY ANTI-IMPERIALIST CAUSE.

Until all are free, we are all imprisoned!

Antikoloniale Aktion, February 14, 2021


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