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Barricade and history / Notes on the intensification of bourgeois antagonism

The greek version of the text below was distributed in the occupied Economics University of Athens (and elsewhere, I imagine) in the first week of the revolt. The photo is from Athens yesterday, posted on Indymedia. At first sight the image and the text might seem to clash – yet this is one good reason why I wanted to put them together… Do hold in mind that Greece has no historical memory of May 1968 as such; at the time when France was looking under the paving stones, Greece was entering military rule.

fuck 1968

Barricade and history/ Notes on the intensification of bourgeois antagonism

The violent clash is first and foremost a clash within the latent level of the enactment and the assignment of meaning to space and time. It is the clash between the objective structure (the dog) with its knowledge and practice-based assignments of meaning (the dog’s tail), some assignments critiquing the conditions of objectification of these very structures “arming the tail with teeth so that it can bite the dog”.

Every social class tries to use or transform the space of the city for its own gain. In this way we see the inscribing, in an elliptic trajectory, of a tradition of the oppressed: some tradition that holds the barricade as its visible material expression. The barricade represents on a spatial level what already exists in the social: The rupture with the assignment of meaning to the city as a unit that is supposedly whole and equal. A rupture with a definition of society as a permanent union of equals. From the part of sovereignty, it is this very unity of space that guarantees its continuation in time. The verge-esque state of the barricade reveals the radical division of the urban space. This division seems no longer solid, functional, inescapable - and becomes the main component of unity instead. It becomes a (national) unity (an ideologically constructed identity) that is divided. The propositional rupture of the social fabric comes to confirm the theoretical observation of a process of social change. The theory and practice of the oppressed come together in a materially effective cosmology. It is this very practice that accelerates the rhythm of the flow of historical time and it is this theory that conceptualises this acceleration.

The historical genealogy of the contemporary process of gentrification of “deprived” areas can be traced to the “strategic embellishment” of cities. Same like then, the contemporary target is met in its duality: 1) The prevention of possible revolts or their effective dealing with the literal flattening of their epicenters and 2) the production of a space with no properties: of a city with no memory. Capital, in its tight embracing of urban practice, turns towards this speculative field during periods of underdevelopment of other traditionally more profiteering fields of investment activity. As for the other side (that is, the side of the oppressed), its hereditary nature is reflected upon the urban geography of struggle. Topographies of clashes are soaked with historical memory; the past is a field of non-accomplished opportunities and capacities and our dead comrades are potentially vindicated in the historical future.

The dominant ideology perceives the capitalist model to be insurmountable, natural, eternal: the arrow of history is circular and thus the future is a recycling of the past. And since the past, as a sum of results, has nothing to show other than temporary elements of freedom, we can easily set things straight – seen, as they are, from the viewpoint of an inunequivocal evolution heading to the theological telos of progress. An End, in other words, in the sense of a conclusion and a goal since what is targeted is not that which becomes but that which is repeated. This understanding is the metaphysical carrot and we are the mules pulling the carriage of the bi-historical king richards – being, at the same time, the carriage’s last wheel.

What overshadows the meaning of modality in the activity of the philosophy of history is the pragmatic definition of truth. The conception, that is, of truth as a result.

In our attempt to reach the utopia of freedom we see that freedom is a concept that one cannot easily define yet everyone can understand.

Comradely, plebeian.


  1. medusa wrote:

    I can’t for the life of me understand why nearly every communiqué coming out of Greece is written in this terribly dense and utterly inaccessible language. It seems like political analysis and texts from there are obsessed with this pseudo-psychoanalytical form. The irony of which being that this particular text is signed “plebeian”.

    Is it so difficult to write statements that clearly and simply state one’s position or analysis? Something that isn’t alienating or sleep-inducing to the vast majority of people?

    Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 3:50 am | Permalink
  2. confused wrote:

    I’ve read this twice over now and I still barely know what this text is trying to say.

    Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 7:41 am | Permalink
  3. ReadBetweenTheLines wrote:

    This text is a translation and a reflection of social struggle.

    Can you imagine freedom from the oppressor one?

    Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  4. simpler than itseems wrote:

    i think what this text is trying to communicate is that the flamming barricade comes to break two conceptions/coventions: one, the linear conception of history (some teleological idea of “progress”) and two, the idea that the city is populated by some homogenous population. The barricade nicely marks it out: I am the barricade, and you either stand behind me, or against me.

    I agree that this text is dense, but I liked it. It does seem like texts coming out of Greece are very dense, but then again the country does have a rich political tradition – and perhaps the density of these texts and its frantic political activity, on the other hand, do once again prove that theory and action can only go hand-by-hand. Dunno, perhaps something to think about…

    Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  5. erik wrote:

    hi. i’m from sweden and would really like to get in contact with someone to get information about if it’s possible to get into greece as it is now and how the public transportation is working/if there’s some other way to get from the greece border to athens alt. thessaloniki. write me, thank you

    Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 6:56 pm | Permalink
  6. Anarchist Solidarity wrote:

    Remember this is an english translation from greek. However this is a text which was circulated among comrades?

    Personally I think the communiques and texts are representative of a strong and long-lived anarchist movement in greece.

    All power to them if they can not only talk the talk but walk the fucking walk as well!

    Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
  7. medusa wrote:

    I’ve read the original texts in greek and they are just as obtuse as the english translations.

    And although you may be right about this text being intended for comrades, the same can be said of nearly all of the texts published for the general populace as well (plus, we’re assuming that somehow comrades are somehow of a different breed than the general public and that they are all able to easily comprehend this form of writing which I believe is debatable); the fact is that they are just as dense and inaccessible as the the text above.

    No, rather I hold the (likely unpopular view) that there exists a rather elitist strain in the greek anarchist movement. That is my worry. As an anarchist of greek origin, this is upsetting to me on both a political and personal level.

    Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 11:43 pm | Permalink
  8. Struggle is a School wrote:

    How to Organize an Insurrection

    This is a pretty interesting interview with the Void network published by CrimethInk.

    I think we should celebrate all kinds of theorizing, discussion and debate at this time.

    The anti-intellectual strains in the anarchist movement can be, in my opinion, just as worrying!!

    Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 11:52 pm | Permalink
  9. Santeri Satama wrote:

    Yes, Greek language is dense. Every Greek is a fucking poet.




    Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 3:14 am | Permalink
  10. medusa wrote:

    Ego den sou milaw gia poihtika. Milaw gia to giati o kosmos den grafei sxedon katholo pragmata pio apla na mporei opios na’ne na ta katalavei. H epanastash den einai mono gia tous mathites sto panepistimio kai gia tous “intellectuals”, einai gia olos o laos. Prepei loipon ta logia mas na einai pio apla kai na einai efkola na ta katalavoune oli. Pos alios na mporei opios na’ne na esthanete kalesmenos i kalesmenh sti kinisi?? Oti ayti i kinisi einai kai diki tous???

    Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  11. medusa wrote:

    Struggle is a school, I am not promoting an anti-intellectual movement. What I am saying is that the message has to reflect the audience. Therefore, when a group publishes declarations which seem to me clearly aimed at the public at large (not theoretical texts aimed at deepening our analysis in some way, shape or form) with the hope of mobilizing greater numbers of people to join, then the form of that text has to reflect that as well. In other words, there is a time and place for dense and complex analysis or exchange and a time and place for accessible statements that can actually be easily read and understood by all. I have seen nearly none of the latter in the last 2.5 weeks. This, I believe, is problematic and demonstrates an important failing in this movement’s capacity to broaden itself. Clearly, in order for it to spread, there needs to be some serious thought about the way we choose to conveys our message can have a significant impact on doing so.

    Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 10:32 am | Permalink
  12. prop wrote:

    good points, medusa.

    Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  13. ReadBetweenTheLines wrote:

    The revolution -is- the message and the system proves the points by being repressive.

    Stand up and fight for your rights. It’s the only way.

    Monday, December 29, 2008 at 6:55 am | Permalink
  14. pixilated wrote:

    Medusa, I think we (the non-Greeks, but I understand you are Greek) should be learning from what the Greeks are and have been doing, because obviously, whatever it is works.

    So in my view if they produce dense texts it’s probably a reflection of their own dense work and revolutionary organizing.

    Elsewhere, maybe what the “general public” would be more receptive to is how we actually talk or communicate ideas to each other. I personally feel more invited into something when I join an ongoing conversation as opposed to when I’m being talked down to. And I also really appreciate their style of writing communiques.

    Monday, December 29, 2008 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
  15. pixilated wrote:

    Every anarchist group has their own way of communicating too I think. Some collectives I know explain things in terms of witch magic and wizardry. It can get kind of confusing to people at first, because you’re not sure what parts are REAL and which parts FALSE, ex.g. is this the limit of your imagination or is this really possible? But that’s their point – insurrection is so fucking possible. And once you get the idea, it all starts to make sense, not to mention it’s funny because anarchists are witches and wizards. The people who are reactionaries are referred to as muggles like in, yes, Harry Potter books. So kids like to read it too.

    Monday, December 29, 2008 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

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