Although Syrianos already ended his hunger strike (which lasted from May 15–21, at which point he was finally transferred to Larissa Prison from solitary confinement at Nigrita Prison), and his trial also recently finished (he was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison), we present the following communiqué released by our comrades in the Fire Cells Conspiracy:
As a prisoner, there are moments when your patience reaches its limits and runs out. Moments when your strength and faith in your Ego intensify. Moments when your dignity and rage become a combative cry of freedom that escapes the walls, fleeing your cell and moving through spacetime in a perpetual search for comrades and accomplices. Restless spirits with unyielding consciences struggle to sustain the flame of attack, engraving new negations within it. Borders are being demolished, while words—now free—attempt to reach all anarchists of praxis. To declare that we’re not stopping. To say that, despite having fallen, we haven’t lost our desire for freedom, even in the least. We will get back on our feet once more and try again, again, and again.
We have often referred to the matter of our rejection of the body cavity search, which they try to perform in every prison they transfer us to. We have made our attitude clear, since it arises out of consistency with our anarchist perspective. At this very moment, our sister Olga Economidou and comrade Rami Syrianos find themselves under the severe regimen of solitary confinement, as each awaits the completion of a disciplinary transfer. Olga is locked up at Diavata Prison and Rami at Nigrita. The continual recurrence of similar situations makes us feel we must be even clearer regarding this matter, so that everything taking place here on the inside will be understandable to comrades who have never been “welcomed” by these garbage dumps of society.
Upon entering any prison, regardless of the reason for the transfer (court appearance, legal consultation, hospital visit, etc.), we first enter the control area. Located there are a number of specialized machines—detectors similar to those at airports, which scan us in order to see if we are carrying metallic objects. A handheld scanner then executes the secondary search, just in case we’ve managed to “fool” the first phase of the search. The exact same thing is also done to our personal belongings, which pass through an X-ray machine.
Regarding this point, we would like to clarify something. We know we are prisoners of war and anarchist urban guerrillas, and therefore power wants us imprisoned. Power mobilizes all its forces (special transfer teams, EKAM escorts, bulletproof vans, Antiterrorist Unit jeeps, etc.) to prevent any possibility of our escape. In this war we wage on the state and its society, it would be contradictory to ask the enemy for any concession. The fact that our personal dossiers contain the notation “prisoner particularly inclined to escape” is an honor to us. The search for metallic objects therefore doesn’t surprise us at all, since they obviously fear that we might have a knife, a pistol, or explosives on us in order to help us toward freedom. Also, we never said we’ve forgotten the art of war. However, what the guards and shift officers try to do afterward takes the conflict to another level that has nothing to do with the security of their prison.
Following the aforementioned double search, they demand that we undress for a body cavity search.
It’s a given fact that any metallic object or explosive would have been found during the initial process. Therefore, all that’s left is the so-called drug check. Naturally, power knows that we are fanatical enemies of every kind of drug, narcotization, and defeatism. Naturally, power knows that most of the drugs found in these prison-brothels are trafficked with the guards’ tolerance, since drugs represent a decompression valve for the sad majority of subjugated prisoners.
Everyone knows we have nothing to do with prison drug culture and its crowd. Of course, we also aren’t nourishing any hopes about the resigned throng of prisoners who willingly take entire fistfuls of psychopharmacologicals and go around demeaning themselves for a fix of heroin. We know we can create neither authentic nor self-organized initiatives of struggle with them. All we can expect from them is snitching and selling out to the prison administration.
The only thing that matters to us here on the inside is keeping our minds and bodies in shape for war, seeking out any opportunity to fight to gain our freedom again. Prison powders and pills, along with the artificial hallucinatory paradises they create, are alien to our combative perspective and our anarchist choices. This is also absolutely clear to the staff of the prisons they transfer us to. We thus come to the heart of the matter of the body cavity search. The guards aren’t looking to find anything, because they know they won’t. What they are hoping to do is break our posture. The control they want to impose on anarchist prisoners is the “welcome” to their world. It leaves you very aware that here, where you are, they have the power. It is an attempt to crush your psychology, to offend you with their contemptuous orders to undress in front of them. Under no circumstances will we allow that to happen. We will not obey, nor will we hand them our dignity. All who consider themselves consistent anarchists of praxis must understand that here inside there are certain things that are unacceptable to allow, no matter the consequences of such an attitude. Otherwise you lose the most important “belongings” one can possess here: your self-respect and dignity.
We reject this degrading process.
In each prison, the consequences of refusing the body cavity search can be different. Some guards may grasp the ridiculous pretext of such a search and only check for what they are in fact afraid of (e.g., metallic objects), while others may saddle us with disciplinary penalties or solitary confinements. Still others, together with their lackeys, will attack us in order to break our posture and perhaps simultaneously conceal the internal intrigues and disagreements that exist among them. In each instance, our attitude remains the same. We reject submission. We refuse to relinquish our dignity. The attitude and choices you adopt here on the inside create a legacy. These are situations so delicate it’s as if you were walking on the edge of a knife, situations in which one person’s inconsistency or fear can easily be turned against all of us. Prison, being a miniature of society, comprises a territory of concessions. Here inside you are a prisoner. Until you manage to regain your freedom, you move within a sphere of compromises. When your hour in the yard is over, you end up locked away in a cell. But that doesn’t signify resignation or defeat as long as you keep alive your passion for freedom and your unyielding anarchist perspective. You wait, you think, you prepare, and you pounce.
Refusal of the body cavity search seems like something small, but it is of enormous importance to our Ego. It reminds us of the negation of our captivity. Something apparently so small in comparison to the entirety of the conditions of our imprisonment winds up being a real crack in the monotony of the world of captivity. We are therefore going to realize our negations without worrying about the consequences they bring.
During the past two years, Greek prisons have accommodated dozens accused of anarchist practices. Compared to the past, this has resulted in a multiplication of ruptures with the Greek prison administration.
However, the Greek anarchist current hasn’t kept in step with this development. To the contrary, in many instances up to the present day it hasn’t been up to the level of circumstances and requirements. Someone with good intentions would perhaps assume that responsibility for the sickly, weak response of the solidarity movement lies with the fact that there are dozens of anarchist prisoners spread—due to transfers—throughout the entire country. We believe that what contributed to the situation, much more than the factors already mentioned, was a logic of indifference and desensitization that took root within a portion of the anarchist milieu because of the continued existence of such circumstances. The criminal prosecutions, imprisonments, solitary confinements, and disciplinary transfers thus became something ordinary and habitual, yet another article posted to Indymedia, in fact not all that interesting. Years ago, the matter of a consistent anarchist prisoner finding himself under the regimen of solitary confinement for two months was certainly confronted differently. Comrade Rami Syrianos has been in solitary confinement for that much time, yet anarchist solidarity has been totally disorganized. Nevertheless, in the end, one makes one’s choices and is judged by them. Just like we’ve said, every event or lack of events inside or outside prison creates legacies. It’s important for the Greek anarchist current to reflect on the cost of its indifference and inactivity regarding the situation inside the walls. This reference to the lack of solidarity with R. Syrianos is in no way an attempt to downgrade the dignified and comradely initiatives taken by dozens of anarchists who, in various ways throughout Greece and despite an era of generalized indifference, are supporting the struggle of prisoners against submission.
We felt strong listening your voices from behind the bars of the solitary confinement cell, we have seen the black smoke from the burning symbols of this society, we have felt you as if you were beside us, in our hearts and minds, even though we are separated by the prison walls that tower above us.
We, the imprisoned members cell of the Fire Cells Conspiracy/Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front, state very clearly: comrade R. Syrianos will not be left alone. We are beside him and we send him our solidarity with the difficult choice he made to go on hunger strike beginning May 15. We are sure that he will win.
As our first gesture of solidarity, today, May 18, we begin a boycott of prison food, knowing that it is the very least we can do. That doesn’t mean it will be the only thing we do.
SOLIDARITY with anarchist hunger striker R. Syrianos.
WHOEVER FORGETS THE ANARCHIST PRISONERS OF WAR WILL ULTIMATELY FORGET THE WAR ITSELF.
SOLIDARITY among anarchists of PRAXIS isn’t just words.
—Imprisoned members cell of the Fire Cells Conspiracy/Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front
P.S. Also taking part in the boycott of prison food is comrade T. Mavropoulos, while we were unable to contact and inform our sister O. Economidou due to her solitary confinement at Diavata Prison.