Greece: Text by Nikos Romanos that was read during a solidarity event by VOX squat (09-01-2015)

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Inter Arma received and translated:
Good evening comrades.
I am glad to be here with you today in this event that takes place in particularly difficult times especially for political prisoners who are targeted by repression. It has been said many times but it’s worth to say it again that such events are some of the very few beautiful moments for those in captivity because they feel that even for a few hours they are connected with their comrades outside the walls in a vibrant conversation that brakies the isolation imposed on us by the state. This is why I want to thank all the comrades who contributed in making this event happen. I also want to send my solidarity to the people arrested from Distomo [1].
For me, since the situation has changed [2], the cental issue of this event will not be a conversation about the hunger strike excusively. Let this be done too but now as we speak there are political prisoners that experience the isolation and the phsycological violence of the special detention conditions, so for me this would be an insult to these comrades, because it’s our duty to support them by all means and this should be the challenge for all those who place themselves in the multi-form struggle we are trying to create. What is important to come out from today’s communication between us is to manage to create a field of exchanging experiences and perspectives that won’t give food to another inner confrontation but will promote the same struggle, the struggle that will search and find ways to erect barricades against the repressive attack and deliver fire behind enemy lines.
It would surely be more pleasant for all of us, if today’s event was to take place during a relatively neutral period, during, let’s say, a “dead time” in terms of movement activity, where we would have the comfort to make the critical assessment we try to do today, without having second thoughts. But unfortunately we do not have this luxury, a luxury available for the state, which is quickly folding and at the same time quickly transforming its political rhetoric as it did at this stage.
The government, regardless of the point of view some comrades may have, knew that after the hunger strike it was exposed in political terms to the far right public that flirts with it and wanted to show its iron will and decisiveness by hitting its imprisoned opponents, which means the political prisoners. This is why its election campaign is based on a far right political agenda, identical to the one of the Golden Dawn, which refers to the repression of political prisoners, the anti-immigrant campaign and the attack against every radical expression of resistance.
At this point, I will open up a big parenthesis in order to address the initial issues raised by the comrades who organized today’s event. I am talking about a parenthesis, because, as I said before, I think that for all of us here the question is how we are going to react, how are we going to hit back repression and at the same time expand the context of the struggle.
I will begin by saying a couple of things about the attitude of the state during the hunger strike, which is the one I shortly described in the communique I published today. It went through four phases, from indifference to arrogance, then to a macho-like attitude and finally to panic. I believe that this particular hunger strike created a breach concerning maximum security prison (type C) that happened individually maybe to the rest of the comrades that took part in the hunger strike too. We should just mention this, nothing more, nothing less. I imagine all of you have before you the text which explains my views on this subject and on the central issues of this event.
But I would like to refer to a specific part of the hunger strike which concerns its publicity. It was maybe one of the few times that a hunger strike became a central political issue for the regime by receiving huge publicity. It makes sense that when such an issue hits the news, all the parts of the systemic scene involved, will take a position in order to serve their own political interests and their own political ends. Whether we are talking about political parties or systemic and “anti-systemic” journalists, intellectuals, artists, professors, actors and syndicalistic and social institutions everybody expressed an opinion. When this happens in public, it is natural for the context of the struggle to be perverted. The spectacle has this ability of forging the meanings and presenting them in its own way, but this the reason why we exist with our texts, our own counter-information projects, our own interventions in radio and television stations and give our own mark, trying to create short gaps in the unceasing flow of information of the television democracy. I will mention a relevant example, in order to clarify the situation in the best way I can, when a revolutionary group carries out an armed attack or when for example large riots take place in the city streets, doesn’t this also happen? Isn’t the context of the struggle perverted in the same way and does anyone criticizes us for taking the streets? No and this is what happened on this occasion as well and with the characteristics we all know.
Let us now move on to the subject of my personal activity during the hunger strike; at first, I want to say that I have read two kinds of critiques, some of them were notable and set substantive concerns which are worth to be taken into account and critiques by people who I literally think to be snakes of politics and who make regular war against me, with irony and insults, using my family and lawyer. To all this rubbish, that as I see it, do all these to be given some attention and remind us they exist, I have nothing to answer; it’d be like answering to a critique made by Eleni Louka [3]; this is their quality, I’ll just say that life is a wheel, turning for all of us.
Now for the rest, all those who believe that criticism is meaningful as a dialectic attempt to analyze possible mistakes, deficiencies and omissions in order to create those political deposits which will act promotionally for the struggle itself, I will give some answers. Starting with self-criticism, first of all, I recognize as an omission the fact that the comrades outside the walls of prison were not informed until some time before the start of the strike; if that had been known earlier, it could have lead to a strategy of action with even better results.
In addition, another problem was the lack of effective communication with the comrades outside the walls from the time I was hospitalized but I can say that the conditions of detention in the hospital were stifling, visiting was only allowed to my parents and lawyer, with limited duration, and in general, it was a particularly difficult situation if one takes into account that I was not at my best because of the strike. Now, regarding my father, I will not put myself into the process of fighting at public with a beloved person of mine, he is here today so anyone can ask him whatever they want.
Finally, as for the lawyer, as everybody understands, when you face a communicative war in certain ways and it’s possible to answer communicatively, it’s good to do it. It doesn’t matter if what he says is true or not, either way we talk about instant virtual impressions. My opinion is that what was done was well done; I also want to say that Frangiskos is not just my counsel but a man with whom I have a very good personal relationship and has supported me more than many others. Regarding the characterizations attributed to him by many, I suggest them to turn their attention to the “official” lawyers of the anarchist milieu and then talk. I will not say more unless I have to, because as I said, I don’t intend to create another internal conflict.
Let us now say some things about the prison transfers (of prisoners to type C prison in Domokos) which should not be seen isolated from the current social and political conditions which depict that the Greek state is in an election period that will determine the administrative model of Greek capitalism. The so called “zero tolerance” doctrine is applied as the basic strategy of the government.
In my opinion, a possible government of SYRIZA, taken into account that its life will be short, should serve as a challenge for the people of the struggle. With action which will be what we call “anarchist provocations” against the leftist rhetoric of SYRIZA, we should force them to reveal their true face which is no other than the face of capitalism that can neither be humanized nor rectified but only destroyed with constant struggle by all means.
That’s all I wanted to say comrades. I wish you all good luck and strength because it seems we’ll need it.
Notes:
1. The comrade refers to the arrest of antifascists, members of Distomo collective, during an intervention with posters in the center of Athens, after an attack that took place against the offices of Golden Dawn at Larissis street. The incident happened a few days before the solidarity event.
2. You can read the update about those prison transfers here.
3. Eleni Louka is a cult person that intervenes in television live coverages with fanatic christian lectures. She is used here as a symbol of ridiculousness.

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