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Responsibility claim for the burnt ballot box in Exarcheia

Greek original

Responsibility claim for the burnt ballot box in Exarcheia, Athens on the night of the election of June 17th, 2012.

Everything around us seems to unwind in coercive binaries: memorandum/anti-memorandum, drachma/euro, fascism/anti-fascism. Perhaps even among our ranks it is necessary to take a position, to take a stance in this liminal conjuncture. Yet we don’t for a moment forget the only real binary: Revolution or consistency with the existent.

We refuse consensus, their dilemmas, social peace. Security concerns the profits of local and international capital; freedom concerns everyone else. The state and capital, the fascist and the banks are no invisible forces. They have names and addresses. They’d better begin to count down their days of plenty.

We look behind, in the past few years, at tough struggles. How can the barricades and the fires of February 12th fit in ballot boxes? How can the voices shouting “Enough!” fit in these boxes, voices raised by the few, the dignified proletarians at the times of wage fear and subordination? How can the struggles fit in those boxes, the struggles fought city after city, neighbourhood after neighbourhood, with the scum of GD? How can our brothers and sisters fit, those who are missing from our side, yet they are always next to us, even when in the cells of the regime?

At these liminal times, which have no space for reservations we attempt the unthinkable and we make the above ‘fit’. The 1000ml of petrol that we placed in the ballot box of the 18th polling station in Exarcheia at the June 17th elections are our 1000 votes, they are our 1000 challenges in an unpacifiable war.

The revolution first and always

P.S. A raised fist for the comrade Olga Oikonomidou

5 Comments

  1. Maria wrote:

    What happened, was extremely unfortunate. Let me illustrate what is going on in Greece this year:

    Thousands of people commit suicide, poverty rates are rising high, according to the official statistical rates, there are 1500000 unemployed people (mostly young people), common meals is the only way for many men and women from former middle class and poor people to feed themselves, children faint at schools out of starvation, several families in the countryside provide their families with cooking oil form the cemetery candles, pupils had no books at schools until April, thousands of families could not afford to turn on the heating during one of the most fierce winters ever in Greece and children having just a flue were staying ill for weeks. There are tens of thousands homeless people on the streets for the first time after the political changeover, wages for young workers do not exceed 350 euros per month, unemployment benefit has been reduced to 370 euros, the vast majority of young people have no social security, pensions have been reduced, we are forced to pay for our medicines, etc… etc…

    Within this context, neo-nazism is rising, social violence as well. What we are facing now, is a radical-centre right wing government and its parastate, Golden Dawn, in full unfolding. The latter, celebrated its “victory” by stabbing immigrants and attacking members of SYRIZA in Piraeus.

    To conclude with, what those “anarchists” did, thankfully, was not representative of the Greek anarchist movement. The “funniest” thing of all, is that they chose to burn ballot box in Exarcheia, a historical district in the city centre of Athens, where people would never have voted for the conservatives.

    In any case, I state that I find this attitude 100% authoritarian and antisocial. Anti-authoritarians fight for and serve freedom with all our power, we don’t patronise, we respect and we are struggling to make people understand that our values are the only ones that serve people’s needs. From both the perspective of anti-authoritarianism and our values, as well as from the perspective of effectiveness, this was an action to be fiercely criticised.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  2. Babeouf wrote:

    Arguing that voting is useless then proving it by burning the ballot box is not an act to be commended. But it was supported by many comments,now disappeared , on this site yesterday. I had intended to post a reply. For Maria I don’t blame the Greek Anarchist movement for this isolated act in a sea of poverty and despair.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink
  3. debris wrote:

    I wouldn’t that easily condemn such an act against the State functions as authoritarian and patronizing. Quite the contrary: voting in principle equals to arming the government by disarming the proletarians.

    I find a bit stunning the argument that this particular box shouldn’t have been targeted, because here ‘people would never have voted for the conservatives’. Leftists, liberals, conservatives are all about the political management of capital and alienation. It should be clear the target was not ‘anti-conservatives’ (I would expect such a ridiculous idea from the bourgeois media disinformation) but the political system as such.

    You might perhaps say the act was antisocial, but then again, what does Society have to do with the human community we are striving for? What comes to the economic agony and neo-nazi terror… You don’t combat fear in the privacy of the ballot booth.

    The State simply shouldn’t be trusted. The left democrats are not as obvious a counter-revolutionary force as the conservative right, but that is exactly what makes them all the more dangerous. We should put our trust and hopes elsewhere.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  4. Babeouf wrote:

    Debris ‘ It should be clear the target was not ‘anti-conservatives’ .Really and is that how the anti conservatives will see it who voted only for someone else to eradicate their choice with flames. And the fraudulence of bourgeois democracy or otherwise does not legitimise this form of political buffoonery. You want to burn a ballot go down to the voting both get yours and burn it in front of the those waiting to vote. Instead you promote a tyranny of political knowledge. One which determines those political expressions of the working class that are to be taken as valid. And those which can be dispensed with irrespective of what the workers think.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  5. JackCommon wrote:

    MARIA wrote: “To conclude with, what those “anarchists” did, thankfully, was not representative of the Greek anarchist movement. The “funniest” thing of all, is that they chose to burn ballot box in Exarcheia, a historical district in the city centre of Athens, where people would never have voted for the conservatives.”

    What’s up with you? Although fighting evictions, electricity cut-offs and all the other things hitting the Greek working class is probably more useful than destroying a ballot box, it was still a good action, and Debris is right to say: “I find a bit stunning the argument that this particular box shouldn’t have been targeted, because here ‘people would never have voted for the conservatives’. Leftists, liberals, conservatives are all about the political management of capital and alienation. It should be clear the target was not ‘anti-conservatives’ (I would expect such a ridiculous idea from the bourgeois media disinformation) but the political system as such.”

    Elsewhere (http://blog.occupiedlondon.org/2012/06/17/anarchists-set-ballot-box-in-exarcheia-on-fire-possibility-that-incident-will-delay-election-result-tension-in-the-area-mounts/#comments ) , MARIA revealed her illusions when she commented:
    “If SYRIZA won the elections, it’s not that we would suddenly see the materialisation of our anti-authoritarian vision, but it would stem the austerity policies against the working people.
    Furthermore, it would be a way to intercept the rise if the Golden Dawn, which reproduces its power through the tyranny of the implementation of austerity policies.”

    As I’ve already said , if SYRIZA had come to power, there’s no guarantee that the world capitalists would have avoided punishing Greece by destroying all its financial credit globally; or they may have forced SYRIZA to rescind on its anti-austerity policies. You talk as if Greece operates in a vacuum, that looking towards a partial illusion of hope through a change in the personnel of the national State, and inevitably an (even if temporary) evasion of an international social movement, could somehow ameliorate the condition of the Greek working class. It follows, therefore, that austerity, in one way or another, would have continued and so would the basis for the increasing power of Golden Dawn. ONLY an intensifcation of class struggle, the progress of a community of contestation, could undermine the ability of Golden Dawn to challenge the discontent with austerity into racist and other forms of brutality. And even then, I’d guess there will always be significant sections of the ruling class prepared to use direct violent terror to undermine class struggle.

    The only reason it might have been better to have had Syriza win a majority would have been to disabuse people of their illusions in such an external hope. But those who persist in hoping to be saved would almost certainly transfer such a “religious” attitude to some other hierarchy.

    MARIA – if you can’t come back with some arguments against all this, then you clearly show that your attitude is like so many people’s, is just another way of avoiding the obvious, that you consider voting as a “temporary” way of sidestepping what in fact has to be constantly and consistently pursued: acting and thinking for yourself and for your class.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

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