ilrovescio.info Translated from Italian to English by Act for freedom now!
The intervention of G. Dimitrakis at the Solidarity Fund for prisoners and persecuted fighters event on 30/10/2020, at the faculty of Nomiki, (University of law) in Athens
Good evening comrades, I send you my complicit greetings from the D2 wing of the prison of Domokou, which unfortunately is close to the area where the 27 fascists of Golden Dawn are detained, and is separated from it by a high cement wall and barbed wire. All contact is excluded, even visual, but not acoustic. Once again I want to thank one of the longest-running solidarity structures – in modern times – the Solidarity Fund for prisoners and persecuted fighters, for inviting me to today’s event.
Congratulations to those who – over the years – have kept this structure afloat, especially today in extremely adverse conditions, both because of the pandemic and the prohibitions that have come into force, and the negative political situation caused by the regime’s repeated attacks on the anarchist movement. In a suffocating context of economic crisis aggravated by the pandemic and the State’s choices of management, the moral, material-financial support to imprisoned comrades, as prisoners of the bourgeoisie, acquires even more importance. Pseudo-democracies are in a particularly vulnerable position. And obviously solidarity with our comrades, qualitatively intended, with all means, is another crucial point to highlight a movement’s political character, memory and coherence. It is encouraging that in spite of the numerous arrests we have had in this year of Nea Democratia government, the financial requests for bail, lawyers, legal expenses and basic needs of accused comrades have been fully covered by the financial assistance/support of the movement. In a world constantly driven to individualism, silence, compromise and resignation, I know nothing more precious than political mobilization in the struggle against this authoritarian and capitalist dystopia, and the solidarity that unites and keeps alive the human values and characteristics of the people who give them meaning. In fact, the feeling of solidarity can be – much more – the matrix of political mobilization – rather than the opposite – and this makes it an inestimable human ideal but also a weapon in the battle against the armies of the powerful.
Let’s raise this ideal and develop it even more, now that the time and the difficulties it carries with it call for mobilization, concentration of the movement’s strengths in order to face the incessant and violent attack against us. There is no other solution.
It is true that clouds are gathering on the social horizon, signals are darkening the future of the oppressed. Every day a terrible communication war is being unleashed in a coordinated way by State and private media trying to embellish the neoliberal poisonous flame of development, i.e. selling everything at any cost. A terrifying activity of brainwashing which with ridiculous hoaxes (see the propaganda around the project “The Great March”; illumination of the Acropolis rock; bulldozers everywhere; news of the arrival of big investors-predators like Microsoft and others for the purchase of ports and other public infrastructures) is trying to prepare the country for the new great era of modernisation and green capitalism. At the same time, the ND plan of the doctrine “law and order” is developing, and its realization is turning against anyone who challenges the neoliberal junta. Workers, unemployed, students, demonstrators, doctors, nurses and all the social sectors in difficulty who have chosen the road of the struggle have already felt the iron fist of repression. And naturally the control and weakening of the anarchist space of struggle is once again an absolute priority because the development of capitalist and state power requires the formation of an adequate environment with “security” as its main characteristic. All the factors that can obstruct it must be reduced. So there is the denervation of whatever source of resistance. As concerns the “movement”, this is being realized by levelling the possibilities of striking and reducing right of assembly, while for the anarchist movement by dismantling its physical structures, evicting squats and occupying Exarchia day and night and of course with arrests, extraditions, searches, creating a climate of fear and terrorism. The State is therefore legally, materially and technologically equipped and has human resources. And it seems omnipotent. On the other hand I feel a heartbeat that is still fighting in daylight or in the dark of the night, and it is these forces that are continuing the social and class war, it is the comrades who are confronting the resignation, frustration and futility that prevent action, with a readiness for conflict with every way and means, without overlooking the fact that the goal, theoretical analysis and therefore the public discourse they develop must never be misplaced or weak in the face of criticism. If we are self-aware in the struggle against the State and Capital, this is an escape from a slow and tortuous death and from a decomposition that conceals immobility, surrender and isolation. In the face of the order given to the single individual to find their “road”, alone and alienated from others, our response is solidarity, it is the continuation of the struggle, it is looking after qualitative interpersonal contacts created on the basis of political closeness and affinity between those who fortify their conscience with the libertarian ideals of anarchy and communism, and those who keep their human characteristics alive.
Comrades, we belong to the vanguard of society which is still fighting against the rulers of this world. And looking at the democratic-bourgeois party of the trial and the court decision concerning the members of Golden Dawn, I remembered and saw yet again how many light years’ distance we are from these disgusting people, who have often come up against us with hostile and homicidal intentions. Against immigrants, workers, unionists, men and women, youths and those they consider “different”.
What a difference there is between comrades proudly dragged into trials by bourgeois class justice and the terrorized puppets of Golden Dawn crouching shamelessly with their ridiculous excuses to avoid ending up in (short) imprisonment. Imprisonment which their political affiliates of New Democracy (ND) managed to keep at low levels, by building the case in such a way that the worms – usually covered by the police – for years responsible for dozens and dozens of serious attacks on individuals, groups and collectives were released on bail or got a maximum of 3-4 years’ privation of freedom. Once again I saw that the fascists being taken to GADA or the courts by the antiterrorism police and special squads (EKAM) at the time of their arrest, were allowed to shout, swear, walk at a normal pace, whereas our comrades on trial with similar charges were violently beaten, creating an atmosphere of “war”. Far from the shameless worms of the extreme right, the neoliberal followers of submission and plunder, the left in Cubism or hypnosis and old stray parties, there remains the social base of the institutional and extra-parliamentary left, the only ones that uphold any morals. Let’s not underestimate ourselves or our points of strength and above all let’s not lower our thoughts and dreams. As a hero of one of the stories in “The great social inclusion” says, “those who resist barbarism are few”. We lost the battle, we were defeated, some will say. “I decide to answer that the war starts now”.
To conclude, *, I’d like to say a few words on the occasion of the death of the fighter and comrade Vangelis Pallis. The historical law that tries to detect the time when revolts and revolutions might break out in the fluid social becoming says that when subjective and objective conditions combine and mature, then these events are fertile and favourable. Obviously the equation where these two conditions are necessary doesn’t exclude that one can be behind compared to the other.
There might be objective conditions but individuals, their thoughts, their will are not on a level where they can respond to their time, or there might be individuals with the will to create a strong subjective factor but stumble or find obstacles in objective conditions. It can also happen that in this equation, objective conditions influence and accelerate the creation of the necessary subjective factor, or – on the contrary – the strong charge of the collective consciousness of a few individuals can act as a catalyst in the maturation of objective conditions.
Vangelis Pallis was the rare case of a man who in the restricted reality of prison was part of the subjective factor that could, with his determination and energy, create the right balance in the equation of the necessary conditions that culminate in conflictual explosions.
Now, at a time when the prisoners’ situation, the right to regular permits, to live in human conditions of detention in normal or type C prisons, seems – for the moment – to be deteriorating because the prisoners’ reactions do not show any particular dynamic, the loss of figures such as Vangelis Pallis is felt even more. Someone who steps forward without calculating personal risk and cost, someone who engages their qualities to promote the collective struggle with clarity and generosity.
Whatever happens, no matter how many steps towards barbarism are taken inside and outside the walls, the answer comes from a phrase from the book of a Red Brigades and NAP member, Pasquale Abatangelo, when he talks about the hell he experienced with others imprisoned in the horrible conditions of detention in the prison of Asinara in the 1970s and he repeats to himself: “endure, be patient, endure, be patient”.
Keep going and good strength to everyone.
Giannis Dimitrakis, prison of Domokos, 30/10/2020
*Vangelis Pallis: bank robber and social prisoner. During his many sojourns in the Greek prisons he was protagonist, often promoter, of numerous prison protests and revolts. He was shot and killed in the Athens neighbourhood of Kallithea on 5th October 2020 in circumstances never clarified.