July 22, 2011 This Is Our Job
From Culmine (July 22, 2011):
Theofilos Mavropoulos was arrested two months ago after being wounded
during an armed confrontation with two police officers (who also got their
share) in northern Athens. He spent several weeks at Red Cross Hospital
before being transferred to a prison hospital and then to A Wing at
Korydallos Prison. Below is his first full-length open letter.
The rebel is a kamikaze—someone who simply won’t accept the fate the
machine has dealt her. That’s how you seek a life worth living. Those
who completely reject this society have already faced the risk of
death head-on. The struggle against the existent is an armed farewell.
War or suicide.
—People Collaborating to Achieve Negation (Toward the Outside)*
On May 18, 2011, a comrade and I accidentally bumped into a mobile police
unit in the Pefki neighborhood. They wanted to stop us and we tried to
run, but we got fouled up (a police officer pounced on my colleague and
immobilized him while he was trying to escape). Thus, wanting to extricate
ourselves, I made the choice—the political choice—of armed confrontation.
Wanting to flee from democracy’s armed mercenaries, since we couldn’t
allow ourselves to surrender without a fight, I myself decided to take
that risk, giving my comrade—who was unarmed—a chance to escape. He did so
successfully, using the police patrol car itself, but I was unable to
because of my wounds.
The reason why my comrade and I didn’t stop for a police ID check was
because we had consciously chosen revolutionary clandestinity—the final,
obligatory choice of those who refuse to allow the “Law” to imprison them.
Being underground means living on the edge of a knife, making complicated
choices, and assuming a high level of risk. “Legality” is therefore of
obvious use to a revolutionary entity.
Nevertheless, for revolutionaries who reach the dilemma of “whether to
surrender or not,” how easy or difficult it is to “sell your own skin”
depends on your previous experience with disobedience. Like the case of
the “robbers in black,” who just a few years ago chose freedom underground
over arrest and imprisonment, and especially Simos Seisidis, who refused
to stop for a random ID check and lost his leg to police gunfire. Examples
like theirs, among others, fill all our hearts with pride and strength.
Right now, I define myself as yet another revolutionary anarchist
political prisoner in the hands of the State. A State that, in view of the
gestating possibility of social unrest, is tightening its hold on its
subjects and directly or indirectly abolishing many of its democratic
pretexts (doing away with telephone anonymity, requiring that citizenship
papers be carried, putting prices on certain peoples’ heads, releasing
photos of those in struggle and imprisoning some of them on the basis of
completely insubstantial evidence, making it illegal to mask up, etc.)
However, these measures are incapable of intimidating the generalized war
of conscience that is underway. A polymorphic war, here and now,
continually developing toward the goal of demolishing the existent. A
revolutionary war. Without a beginning, middle, or end, but with many
fronts. From open public assemblies to fiercely combative marches, from
armed guerrilla attacks to the little everyday occurrences that make us
evolve on an individual and collective level.
But for the anarchist/antiauthoritarian movement to be effective against
the methodical maneuvering of the enemy, is must not be divided. False
friendships, personality conflicts, maliciousness, and especially
tolerance and acceptance of such behaviors and attitudes have to be
replaced by unity and continual rejuvenation within the
anarchist/antiauthoritarian milieu. At the moment, of course taking into
account attempts at an organized internationalization of subversive action
from Latin America to Europe, that urgency is more necessary than ever.
Additionally, the fact that the number of political prisoners has quickly
increased as of late leads us to several conclusions. Apart from the
matter of our solidarity, which has depth and substance when it is
interactive and attacking, we must stress the need for revolutionary
forces to always be one step ahead of the enemy. Winning a war doesn’t
just require will and certain essential abilities. It also requires
strategy. When your adversary is moving her pawns, you should be moving
yours as well.
The way each one decides to fight is an individual choice and
responsibility. Accordingly, starting from the individual, it’s enough to
simply collectivize the common desire to fight Power. Political stability
certainly has its part, but it’s also important to attempt to subvert that
stability in order to reach something better.
The spread of anarchist/antiauthoritarian ideas plays a key role.
Intensifying it quantitatively as well as qualitatively is essential.
Also, in war, losses are a statistical certainty. However, potential
revolutionaries aren’t solely motivated by their undesirable origins in
the lower social strata. The complex of capitalist relationships and
perspectives so dominates everyone’s life that the “worst off” can be
found within every social and economic class. When human life has become
just another product on the shelves of the market and its marketing,
what’s the point of talking about cheap or expensive products when
anything and everything has its price? Among the impoverished and
exploited classes, there will doubtless be sound revolutionaries, but
there will also be submissives, plenty of submissives.
All of you watching your children happily enjoying themselves in
playgrounds and schoolyards today shouldn’t be surprised when you see
them forming revolutionary alliances or taking part in armed attacks
on Capital and the State tomorrow.
Thus, with coherence and persistence, as well as inexhaustible fighting
spirit, you can achieve many things. Degrees of reconciliation may be
different, but the goal remains the same, whether it sprouts up at
assemblies in university auditoriums or comes blasting from the barrel of
a gun: REVOLUTION FIRST AND FOREVER.
My fingerprints were found at the apartment in Kallithea and the apartment
in Nea Ionia in Volos. I can’t take historical and political
responsibility for belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy revolutionary
organization because we never created that organization’s political
discourse together. I also had certain disagreements with that discourse.
Therefore, I am very clearly stating that I was never a member of the Fire
Cells Conspiracy revolutionary organization.
But in no instance did those disagreements obstruct the path we walked
together. I and my comrades in the Fire Cells Conspiracy evolved
side-by-side, learning from one another and then—now stronger—taking
action from a revolutionary perspective for the cause of freedom.
For those reasons, I proudly declare that I was PRESENT at the apartments
in Kallithea and Volos, and I was also present in the lives of the members
of the Fire Cells Conspiracy.
Recognizing their revolutionary activity, I stand in solidarity with all
the imprisoned members of the organization, and I send them my comradely
May the pamphlet The Sun Still Rises be the prelude to a new, more
relentless, more destructive, and more unyielding cycle of attacks.
Comrades, whatever the cost, we will keep our heads high.
HONOR TO ANARCHIST LAMBROS FOUNTAS, MEMBER OF REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE
SOLIDARITY WITH ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS
NO ONE WILL BE FREE UNTIL THE LAST PRISON IS DESTROYED
—Theofilos Mavropoulos; July 18, 2011; A Wing; Korydallos Prison
*Translators’ Note: This quote comes from a pamphlet published by four of
our Thessaloniki comrades (Sokratis Tzifkas, Dimitris Dimitsiadis,
Haralambos Stylianidis, and Dimitris Fessas) during their brief period
underground (October 2010–January 2011) before being arrested for the
arson of several Public Power Corporation (DEI) vehicles.