Call for action by Berlin solidarity assembly in solidarity with G. Michailidis.
Image above: More than 5000 people at the demonstration in solidarity with anarchist hunger striker Giannis Michailidis in Athens, on July 14, 2022. Image via Twitter account @risinggalaxy
Originally published by Indymedia DE.
The european lie of equality, justice and freedom
The european identity is based on a narrative of superiour culture. Superiority by respecting the inviolable individual rights and humanity through liberal-constitutional democracy. Superiority through equality and justice as the law is defined by the civil and criminal law. But this is a lie. Their laws only exist in order to constitute the power of the state, the hierarchy of the privileged and the favor of their followers. Justice and human rights do not exist when the “Other” is considered: the non-european, the dissident, the marginalized, the anti-statist, the anarchist. The laws deprive them “legally” of any right.
With the imprisonment and murdering of anarchist Giannis Michailidis and other individuals who stand as obstacles against the state’s and capital’s dogma of law and order, the right-wing government of New Democracy in Greece acts within that european frame of laws and the so called justice. Our comrade is officially kept in prison by the civil justice for the only reason that he is considered a “danger” and not because he is accused of a crime. He served his sentence but is kept as a hostage in preventive custody without accusation and without any hope to be released.
Τhe state presents itself as a neutral regulator of opposing interests. The arbitrary division of power into legislative, executive and judiciary makes the appearance of the neutrality of the system even more impenetrable in the eyes of the modern “intellectual” civil. It’s not needed to try the application of this theory in order to understand that it’s practically not working since the conditions of inequality and unfreedom that prevail around us are the rules rather than the exceptions.
The impunity of cops and rapists, that comes once more to the surface these days in the territories of the greek state, reinforces the perception that in fact the three principles are not only independent but that they function as protectors of each other and that their essential role is to strengthen and protect the existing order of things. In every european country, police are being called murderers for their obvious deadly practices. The case of the greek policeman Korkoneas, who killed Alexis in 2008 and was now released by the same court that decided not to set free G. Michailidis, is just one striking example for how the “justice” system in the superiour european culture works.
As a matter of fact the laws are simply unjust. They originate from people of a class that regulates the lives of millions of individuals, seeking on the one hand to keep in power and on the other hand to strengthen and reproduce the reasons that helped them to reach the top. Being one source of power, it is not possible that their laws have any relevance to the terms justice and freedom.
About the practice of preventive custody and preventive policing
The last years Europe sees a practice of consolidating a classical police state, where people are getting judged on the base of their estimated potential to be dangerous to the state and its order. The fact of keeping Giannis Michailidis imprisoned despite him having served the prison sentence that a court had decided for, shows exactly that same logic. By keeping him in preventive detention and by the agreement of already two courts to the thesis that he is a dangerous person, he is officially and legally deprived of the “right to be equal before the law”. Though the so called preventive custody is already for a longer time in use under greek state’s rule, it’s the first time that an Anarchist now faces an unlimited incarceration for his political identity and conscience.
The same kind of law exists in Germany under the term Sicherheitsverwahrung. It is a threat to revolutionaries and individuals following their ideas with consistency. With Thomas Meyer Falk as an example for somebody who’s being kept hostage for political reasons, the german state threatens everybody with this kind of punishment. Unsurprisingly, the specific german law originates from the NSDAP. After some facelifts in the aftermath of WWII it saw again strong improvement in the last two decades. Nowadays there is again no limit to preventive detention under the german state’s rule.
Parallel to such thrusts into yet unconquered grounds of society by the state, there are attempts to put well-known and established police and security service practices on a broader legal base. With the same concept of dividing people into different degrees of hazardousness that is used to expose our bodies to prisons, the european police forces are provided with ultimate tools to oppress our struggles outside. Independently from criminal investigations, individuals not only from political milieus are more and more confronted with preventive policing. By relatively new security laws (ASOG/SOG in Germany) the police started to rate people as dangerous persons or contactpersons to dangerous persons. This “allows” the state far ahead of any legal procedure to spy on individuals and social and political structures and even to commit physical interventions such as house searches and taking people into barely unlimited preventive police custody. The same law and its idea of preventing dangers is further used to put whole areas or neighbourhoods under the state of emergency, making the term of prison society more and more tangible.
The reason for mentioning all this is the fact that under the unspecific term of danger, Europe is continuously working on the suppression of any sign of life and resistance under this capitalistic system.
Giannis Michailidis has decided to set up a barrier against this steady advance by making a hunger strike. With him demanding his and all prisoners immediate release after having served their legal sentence he is fighting for a cause that concerns all of us -no matter if we are part of the anarchist movement or not. Examples for those prisoners who fulfill the conditions for release and are nevertheless kept detained are:
In Germany, Thomas Meyer Falk
Ιn the U.S.A., Mumia Abu-Jamal and members of the Black Liberation Army
Ιn Paraguay, Carmen Villalba
Ιn France, Claudio Lavazza and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah
Ιn Chile, Marcelo Vellarroel
Ιn Greece, Dimitris Koufontinas and Savvas Xiros
Ιn Turkey, Ali Osman Köse.
Those particular ones are under the repression apparatus’ attack for struggling inside the walls against the prison system, exploitation, colonialism and other forms of oppression. The fact, that these prisoners are continuing fighting, creates a danger for the ruling order, which motivates the state to do this extra-punishment. Their names are mentioned in an international call for action coming from Athens for the hunger strike of Giannis Michailidis and they have to be mentioned again and again.
Hungerstrike as a means of struggle under prison conditions
One of the prominent ways to continue struggle in prison conditions is hunger strike, which might be disconcerting for many people that are not close to revolutionary movements. Political prisoners are mostly held in conditions of solitary confinement, where they are totally isolated from other detainees and have very limited access to the outside world. The reason for solitary confinement has multiple faces. One of them is to detach the prisoner from the social production. A person is not a mere biological being: we, as humans, are social entities and we are only able to flourish in a social context. Solitary confinement is one of the most dehumanizing ways of torture. In the conditions of solitary confinement, hunger strikes and death fasts (indefinite hunger strike) are one of the most effective forces that a prisoner can have, where the body becomes the weapon. Today, all over the world there are continuing hunger strikes besides that one of anarchist militant Giannis Mihailidis: the revolutionaries Sibel Balaç and Gökhan Yıldırım in Turkish prisons, Palestinian fighters Khalil Awawdah and Read Rayan in Israeli prisons, Mapuche political prisoners Cesar Millanao Millanao, Orlando Sáez Ancalao, Óscar Pilquiman Pilquiman and Emilio Berkhoff in Chilean prisons are hungry for justice.
Özgül Emre, who is imprisoned in German jails, was on death fast for 44 days from 16th of May till 28th of June 2022 to protest against the attempt to force her to wear a prison uniform and ended her strike when she received her own clothes. During her strike, racist and fascist prison authorities did not provide proper amount of sugar and salt leaving her with a possible permanent damage to her health. She was hospitalized and threatened with force feeding. If hunger strikers are fed without consent it can result in permanent damage to memory and motoric capabilities or even death. German State already has blood in its hands from force feeding prisoners: both Holger Meins and Sigurd Debus were murdered by German state in prisons with force feeding in 1974 and 1981.
This time the German State was not able to murder another revolutionary; Özgül Emre with her struggle, destroyed this Nazi-era procedure of wearing prison uniforms and showed that this form of struggle can have material success. Although, beside the material gains, the core idea lies somewhere else: choosing death to preserve one’s identity, integrity and dignity is a victory for every human being and a blow to prison society.
Fight now – Call for solidarity actions
Giannis Michailidis’ struggle has been – as intented – a trigger for action not only in Greece but also internationally. The fight for Giannis Michailidis and our freedom should continue even more intensively and combatively in order to offer a perspective for all the prisoners who face the revenge of the state and capital. This perspective though has to be created and to be upheld beyond the immense efforts of that one fighter.
“[…] And finally, knowing that it is possible that this strike may be the last part of my journey, I wish to give it precisely that dimension which expresses me as a whole:
The struggle for the freedom of one, the struggle for the freedom of all…
…until the destruction of the last cage”
Hunger strikes & food absentions in solidarity with G. Michailidis from other prisoners in greece:
Solidarity hunger strikes:
- [6/7] D. Chatzivasiliadis
- [4/7] F. Daskalas
- [30/6] I. Rodopoulos (1 day)
- [13/6] 11 imprisoned fighters from Turkey (1 day)
- [11/6] G. Voulgari and Th. Chatziaggelou (circular)
Solidarity food absentions:
- [29/6]D. Koufontinas, F. Tziotzis and B. Stathopoulos (one week)
- [27/6] I. Rodopoulos (one week)
By this call we translate Giannis Michailidis’ demands as a call to everybody to resist against the states expansion of power over our lifes and our freedom and as a call to become a real danger to all those who oppress and exploit us.