Translated by Actforfreedomnow/boubourAs
Dimitris Koufodinas was received with a warm cheer from the audience, while the cheering when he was leaving the court room was even warmer, accompanied by the chant “The passion for freedom is stronger than all cells”.
He greeted the people in the room with a warm smile and raising his fist to salute. We would like to note that there were no special police measures like the known terror-show with hooded cops and automatic weapons, while the chairman of the court handled the situation calmly and without hysterias.
He limited himself to a formal introduction to the audience.
Also, the conditions of testifying of D.Koufodinas as well as the other defence witnesses were relatively comfortable. Without interruptions, without recommendations to hurry up, without efforts of litigation and ideological confrontation, but also without questions from the judges (few questions were made by the chairman and a bit more by the prosecutor).
‘A Revolutionary’, answered D.Koufodinas to the question of the chairman what was his occupation before his imprisonment.
To the question, if he knows Maziotis-Roupa-Gournas he answered that he knows them well, in the way he knows the all the fighters which the system tries as terrorists, in the way he knows the fighters of armed counter-violence and mass counter-violence in the streets, although soon –as he said- this distinction will be abolished. Because the modern middle-class state will equalize the throwing of a stone with the throwing of a grenade. These are the choices to which the state of emergency that has been established, will be lead to take.
After that Koufodinas referred to the common values and ideals shared by the two big traditions of the workers movement, the Marxist, from which he comes from, and the libertarian-anarchist. Valuably these forces are against violence., they visualize a society without violence, but they choose violent action because that’s what reality imposes.
Their violence is secondary rather than primary. As he characteristically said, we would all like to sit at home and change the system with a vote, but this cannot happen. The ruling class will not surrender its authority peacefully. Besides, capitalism also open they way with violence, with the guillotine they would cut off the heads of the royals. He mentioned the social war taking place now and Marx who said that only the war of the working class is historically just.
He read, to end, an excerpt from statements of the great shark of wall street, Warren Buffet, who cynically states that there is a class war going on, but it is his class that started it and is winning so far. Koufodinas referred lengthy to today’s reality internationally and especially in our Greece, but also to the history of the communist movement, which from a revolutionary movement was transformed -a crucial point being the 20th conference of the CPSU communist party of the soviet union -into a movement of peaceful coexistence and subjugation of the working class to capital. He mentioned the great gap of revolutionary policiy created and the tendencies developed internationally and in Greece in order to close this gap.
Then, he mentioned the historical course of the N17 group from the years post junta until 2002 when it closed its historical cycle. He spoke of the shrinking of the urban guerilla in the 90s, when what started to dominate was individualism, consumerism, life-style, the urbanization of the syndicates.
The cycle of the R.S., said Koufodinas, opened when the cycle of the 17N had closed, in 2002. The people who created it made their analyses and gave all their soul for the revolutionary struggle. He condemned the logics concerning “executives” in a revolutionary organization let alone an organization of anarchists, who visualize a horizontal organization of society and it is logical that in their organization they apply at a embryo form the social organization they visualize. He referred to this matter more analytically answering a relevant question by the chairman.
Answering a question by the prosecutor, Koufodinas analysed the matter of political responsibility.
He spoke of the meaning given to this term by the ruling class politicians and addressing the judges he said that they have their own personal responsibility.
Either they will accept to be utilized or through the narrow margins they have they will hear their conscience and judge according to the truth. Claim of political responsibility means: this is me, I accept the program of the organization, but not the charges. The political responsibility is something that goes beyond the defence of the organization. Organizations have a beginning and an end, but political responsibility goes beyond.
He concluded with lyrics by Tasos Livaditis (greek poet), It is a responsibility towards all the children of this world. When the prosecutor asked him (politely), if after so many years there is something which he regrets, Koufodinas answered that a characteristic of the revolutionaries is the continuous critique and self-critique and told the prosecutor to be sure that it what is happening. But it cannot happen in a court room. It happens in society. If 17N contributed to something, he concluded, was that it kept the flame lit, the faith for the revolutionary subversion, so the time of the Human comes.
Aris Sirinidis who followed, characterized the prosecution of Nikitopoulos, Stathopoulos, Kortesis and Katsenos a police method, which collapsed together with the charges against them. He claimed solidarity to the R.S. and spoke of the need of total confrontation with the ruling class. Referring to the quote from Lenin “with no revolutionary theory there is no revolutionary movement”, he said that R.S. contributed to the revolutionary formation of the proletariat. Generally Aris Sirinidis mentioned the matters of pioneering which give meaning to the revolutions.
A question by the prosecutor cause laughter, when he pointed out that Sirinidis testimony sounded like a presentation of the action of the R.S. from a person who represents it. (!) and asked him if he has any relation to it! You can imagine the answer.
Answering to questions of defence advocate (D.Vagianou) Aris Sirinidis had the opportunity say more about the action of the R.S. and characterize the motives of its members political, which include the most polite values and ideas, while he explained why in an anarchist organization there cannot be a leader model.
Third defence witness in line was the editor of “Kontra” newspaper Petros Giotis, who opening clarified the two reasons which led him to testify as a witness. The first reason is that “Kontra” as a newspaper and as an organization saw and sees as positive the actions of organizations such as the R.S., a fact which is proven by the many positive publications after actions of the R.S., despite whatever political and ideological differences.
The second reason is also personal. Fighters such as N.Maziotis, P.Roupa and K.Gournas, who take the political responsibility of their actions and bravely face their prosecutors deserve every honour. Why do we consider the actions of organizations such as R.S.? Continued P.Giotis. Because these are actions which came from within the people and happens for the people.
There is nothing selfish, nothing self-seeking in these actions. Because the monopoly of state violence must be confronted with the popular violence, no matter what form it takes. This violence is politically and socially legitimate.
Because the targets of the R.S. were capitalist businesses, state buildings, hated symbols such as the american embassy and the oppression forces. R.S. did not terrorize the greek people and the greek people know this very well.
It terrorized people of the economic and political authority. There is of course the ruling response, which concerns violence, continued P.Giotis.
Lets stop being hypocrites. Civil society was born with violent procedures. Remember the infamous speech of Robespierre at the National Constituency Assembly, who defined terror and ethics as inseparable foundations of the new authority.
I, he said, remember Marx who said that violence does not only play the role of the villain in history, but also plays a progressive role: it is the midwife who gives birth to the new society from the bowels of the old. I remember a reactionary politician and writer Klauzevic, who inherited us with the infamous phrase, that the war is the continuation of policy with other means.
Politics and war are the two sides of the same coin, the two faces of Janus. Besides, violence arises from every pore of civil society. And there is not only physical violence, but also what is called symbolic violence. You, he concluded, are a court and you will say that you try criminal act. Wrong.
They ask you to criminalize a social and political phenomenon. You lost the chance with your decision to follow the trodden path in the objection for the “political offence”. You have a chance with you decision to reach a balanced solution. To recognize the noble motives, selflessness to the members of the R.S. To not accept the outrageous statement concerning the executive roles in the organization.
To reject the Nazi inspired principal of collective responsibility, as did the judges in the second trial and the appeals court of ELA (revolutionary popular struggle), acquitting Christos Tsigaridas who took the political responsibility for his participation in the organization.
Testified also Athanasios Farsakidis and Kostas Diavolitsis, who referred to their course in the anarchist movement, their personal relations with Maziotis-Roupa, to the physiognomy of the RS and the importance of its actions, not only to the anarchist movement, but wider for the greek society, to the dangers and deprivations faced by those who join organizations which develop armed revolutionary anti-violence, to the anti-hierarchical character with which the anarchist collectives operate.