To the anarchist movement and everybody in the USA that participates in the struggle, to everybody that is out in the streets fighting racism and authority.
It is with excitement, suspense, hope and sorrow that we watch what is transpiring in the streets of the cities of the US after the racist murder of African American George Floyd. Our thoughts are with you, our solidarity will be expressed in action from here. You are the ones struggling in the heart of a superpower that, along with others, dominate the planet. You are in what the rest of the world sees as the “centre of the world”. So, the images and reports we receive from the protests, the clashes and the propaganda war have historic value and an effect much wider than just within the borders of the United States. You affect us much more than we ever could affect you, no matter what we did. We cannot talk in length about the direction of your struggle, nor suggest anything. The differences between the Greek and American conditions are such that they shape a completely different landscape. Here, there are no minorities with the same social characteristics like the African Americans are in the United States. Here, systemic racism is aimed towards refugees, Romani, and some ethnical minorities that are geographically isolated. We face repression from a state that is barbaric like any other but with fewer resources than the equivalent in the United States also lacking its “Imperial” pride. Here, we are but 10 million people with just two metropoles… The only reasonable thing for us to do is to share with you our experiences from similar events that, despite the differences in the circumstances, could contribute to the choices that the people in the struggle will be forced to come across, as they do in every such revolt in history. In the end, the Greek state is itself an advanced capitalist one, a western imperialist power with a bourgeois democracy, with media of similar degeneracy as the ones in America, and with plenty racists and fascists too. And so, in 2008 police officers murdered a 15-year-old in the historically radical region of Athens, Exarcheia. Throughout the country, we experienced a month of massive insurrection against the barbarity of the state, an insurrection lead by the youth and with other radical political forces – the anarchists first among them – on the tip of the spear. In addition, a few years later, during the economic recess and the over vision of Greece from the IMF and the EU, we again experienced important insurrections. A few years after these events, we are now at the stage of extracting our conclusions, some of which we think could relate to your struggle. We address them in a few words, hoping you will find them useful.
1) Events of insurrection make the people listen. Suddenly, thousands of people are not only willing to listen to new suggestions and ideas, but they ask for it. It is a once in a lifetime chance for the radical movements to address the people and convince them.
2) In times like these, the worst threat comes from within. Behind everyone fighting, everyone losing their sleep, getting injured or arrested, there are conventional political forces biding their time, seeking their own promotion. They are the first to try and undermine the fighting spirit, the first that will try to make people go back to their homes and isolate the more radical elements when the tension dies down. In Greece, after the events of 2008, the ultimate winner was a leftist political party that eventually became government and naturally dismissed their previous promises.
3) Insurrections die and often the question is what is gained in the end. The state will not hesitate to initially sacrifice its “unfortunate” servant who with their actions-which have often been repeated by others like them in the past and are unfortunately “normalized” by the state- in order to quench the public outrage. In Greece, the murderer of the 15-year-old boy was convicted and given life imprisonment. Depending on the duration and intensity of the insurrection, and apart from the- usually temporary- punishment of the perpetrator, some ground could be gained in the form of law reforms. This is good, but there are much better things to gain, such as confidence, the development of the political consciousness and the long-term organization of the people from the grassroots. After the 2008 revolt our movement came out much stronger but at the same time, much less so than it could have been had it had the readiness to engage in organized political work and develop new social structures, able to accept many more people.
4) Although the struggle against repression or racism are central issues, the insurrection will bring forward many more. In the end, this is the most important thing: organizing the people from the grassroots. In Greece, during the time of financial crisis and big popular movements, grassroots assemblies were formed. In our opinion, the anarchist movement lacked a strategy capable of continuing and expanding itself and so, this potential within the working class withered and died. However, while it still functioned, it displayed elements that allowed us to have very high hopes…
5) During revolts, as well as during revolutions, people from more privileged social classes may stand with the people of the working class. This is not a bad thing. Often, the social consciousness of a person overcomes their class or political interest. However, this cannot cancel the fact that in the end the working class must seek the causes of its suffering in class inequality and political delegation. Class analysis and its reference cannot be absent, and it is with joy that we hear the famous slogan “Eat The Rich” shaking the streets of the American cities. Apart from the streets however – this has become apparent to us – workplaces must also be turn into spaces of resistance, insurrection, and organization.
6) Slander, doom-mongering and the production of fear are beyond doubt part of the armoury of the media, every time a situation such as this arises. This is inevitable. It is a fear-producing strategy that tries to present an acceptable facade for the bourgeois. Poor people, immigrants and outcasts will surely loot the wealth which they are denied. However, the problem of organized crime hijacking the revolt requires diligent attention, not for the sake of the media, but for the sake of the soul of the revolt.We are the ones that produce wealth and there is no other action more deeply revolutionary than reclaiming it.
7) In 2010, during the peak of the struggle against the financial oversight of Greece, during the biggest and most militant protest in the centre of the capital, a bank caught on fire and 3 workers that were inside died. The sorrow that this caused to everyone as well as the fierce slander the media produced against the movement quenched its rage and dealt a blow from which it never recovered. Such events are either products of bad luck, criminal negligence or provocation and can become the tombstone of a movement.
8) It is a given that fascists will step forward, aiding the state in the slander and repression of the struggle, especially since the murder of George Floyd had racial motives. Such circumstances, when the fascists step forward while the state is struggling to keep them under its protection, are always a good chance to settle things with the most dangerous political infestation that plagues the working class.
9) Despite battling in the streets for decades, we cannot criticize the militant part of your struggle. We do not confront the same type of army you do. We can, however, share with you some experience from the 2008 revolt on a certain issue. Aside from the clashes during central, massive events, activism in different districts and throughout the city or country can intensify the general climate and disorient the state forces.
10) During these times, the main thing organized revolutionary forces must do is to be able to give answers on matters of operation, organization, and politics. It is not the time to follow ideological approaches by the book. It is 1000 times better to make a wrong decision than to make no decision at all. No revolt is a copy of another and hence each new revolt requires new approaches. Anarchists must be ready and capable to find what those are without hesitation or delay. Experiment, keep an open mind and unify (a revolt can drastically change the status quo within the movement, as we found out in 2008). We insist on unity and common strategy among anarchists, knowing well it is easier said than done.
In situations such as this, what is great and what is not, what is important and what unimportant is determined by the future, not the past. In no case it is our intention to give lessons. What we see happening in the US is bigger and more important than anything we have lived up to now in Greece. We will stand by your side to the best of our abilities, while maintaining our own struggle over here. Internationalism and unity among people of the struggle reflect the unity of the interests of the working class throughout the world regardless of colour, race, and culture. We remember the solidarity of the American movement to our struggles. The road we follow is common for all of us, no matter where we happen to be on the map. It is the road of the struggle against capitalism, the state, fascism, racism, sexism, and any kind of discrimination.
For equality. For freedom. For true and permanent justice. For social liberation.
Anarchist Federation (Greece)