June 29 2002, a bomb exploded in the hands of a person in the port of Piraeus, injuring him seriously. Next to the place of the explosion police found a weapon that has been used in previous actions of "Revolutionary Organization 17 November", a group of armed struggle that was active for the last 27 years, without any previous arrest. After this incident, operations of state terrorism become daily reality. Helicopters fly over the city, greek, usa and british agencies investigating houses and people, police and media ask citizens to "cooperate" by making phone-calls to turn in anyone suspicious. After S.Xiros, the bomber in hospital, has recovered the police invade in two apartments, where the most part of 17N weapons are found. The following days 14 persons end up in Koridallos prison, under "special conditions". Some of them have admitted to be members of the group and also talk about others, while three deny everything. Until September 5, the most wanted person is D.Koufontinas. Then he appears to the police hq. voluntarily, stating that he takes responsibility for all 17N actions, that his motives are political, his purpose was the building of a revolutionary movement and that in times like that a revolutionary has his dignity... In the meanwhile, the media present everyday that the next move concerns the arrests of other armed group' members (such as of ELA, 1st May), describing people mostly coming from the anti-authoritarian and anarchist movement.
Kante kati gamo to stanio sas!1
George Tenet, CIA chief
September 11 as a starting point...
September 11 became a milestone in the entire procedure of global sovereignty advancing and confronting its multiform enemies. As a response to the internal shock and the global effect the strikes in Manhattan and the Pentagon had caused, September 11 became the date when "war against terrorism" was solemnized as main priority for the USA and dozens of ally states, taking the shape of a gigantic campaign all over the world.
A campaign that according to the place it is developed activates the entire ideological, political, legal, economic, military and police armory the bosses have at hand. The presidential motto: "those who are not with us are against us" was quite eloquent for the binding and urgent character of each participation in this campaign, that targeted all opponents of "new world order" as "terrorists" and was addressed as a threatening warning to all those who were not attending the camp of the "forces of the good". Neo-McCarthism and the hysteric hounding of "internal enemies" in the U.S., the bloodstained military campaign in Afghanistan and Guandanamo concentration camp for the prisoners of war, have signaled the atmosphere of terror spread by the bolting "anti"terrorism.
The greek state, as part of the ally-states complex, didn't need any special invitation to participate in that international "crusade", and it did what it could, enjoying the transatlantic tokens of merit. But it always remained accountable for its inefficiency in confronting the "internal enemies", in that extent that it was placed second, after Colombia, in the list of states overrun by "terrorism". [this definition is used by the transatlantic bosses not only for armed struggle and sporadic symbolic attacks, but also for spontaneous events of social violence, like the night of Clinton's visit in Athens, in 19 Nov. 1999]. It's true that before S11 the local authorities were not showing the necessary unity and agreement in the way to confront all these aspects of the phenomenon described as "terrorism". Their internal antagonisms, that had already lead to the abolition of one "anti"terror act in the beginning of the 90's, made the voting for a new terror-law in 2000 quite difficult, and it was signed at the last moment. But despite all ominous forecasts, even this new act was not immediately and spectacularly enforced. It remained as reserve in the legal armory, until the proper chance would appear.
Because of the "war against terrorism" being mainly a political cause, apart from its police-juridical aspect, it was really disappointing for the local and foreign bosses to find out again the lack of any social mobilization against "terrorism", in spite of all the relevant propagandistic efforts. In contradiction with the allegations expressed by the local authoritarians for reasons of international consumption, all that heart-breaking propaganda around the execution of British military attache St. Saunders (which was the pretext for the voting of the new "anti"terror act) had not created any social consent against "terrorism". And how could it be differently, when it is very difficult to get any social identification with that "innocent" british brigadier, and all those other "innocent" of the same kind. It is indicant that until recently -March of 2002-, even in the middle of the colossal propaganda after S11 and the "anti"terrorist hysteria imposed globally, only 2,5% of the people asked in Greece considered "terrorism" to be a social problem.
It is also true though that September 11 was a milestone for the formation of a new atmosphere in this country as well. That imperative one-way saying "those not with us are against us" didn't leave much room for differentiation inside the authoritarian block, and of course even less could it tolerate any social objections to the "anti"terrorist campaign. What if the "anti"terror act was only recent and its voting so full of adventures? After S11 it was outstripped and thus -without badgering this time- we saw the start of a process to replace it by the new and even worse European "Anti"Terrorist Act, which is based on the british one, passed after S11 and defining as "terrorist" any activity that opposes the existent sociopolitical status.
June 29, the unstable accidental factor...
But what could never be achieved by the existence of terror-laws and propaganda alone, as long as the local and U.S. agencies (together with the british after Saunders' execution in 2000) hadn't any success, took place in one and only moment. The explosion of June 29 came to be the greek "September 11", relatively speaking and respecting the differencies of course, in the sense that it became the starting point for a rapid acceleration of state terrorism, with the absolute recruitment of the media in the task of extracting the maximum possible consent and imposed social silence in front of tele- terrorism.Certainly, the cops acted like prepared from long time; besides, that was the case they were working in, following many different paths. But the way was opened due to a mistake - which they were waiting for many years- revealing the role of accidental factors in history. So, there's no reason for anyone to exaggerate their police genius, which is usually exhausted in murdering and torturing defenseless people, immigrants mainly. Let's not forget that the same american agencies, for many years could not track down Unabomber, and managed to do so only when his brother turned him in!
Of course that example is not accidentally mentioned. The attitude of some of those arrested for 17 November was far from being exemplary. On the contrary! The new special laws, special imprisonment conditions ("white cells") and tomorrow's special courts are not legitimate and consolidated in social conscience only because they 're voted and decided; they are specific points of confrontation and resistance for the wider social-class struggle. And definitely, this struggle is impeded when the first persons to receive all those repressive means are becoming tame prey to their hangmen.
The symbolic end of "political change era"2
In a symbolic level, 17N's "dislocation" proves the end of a whole era, that long time now seems to have finished in many more levels: the Political Change period, when this organization appeared and without doubt has put its mark on.
If the whole post-war period is stigmatized by the central character of the divisive conflict between the Left and the Right -where the Left was shattered from the civil war and the Right was prevailing, with half of the population in the role of outcasts-, then the controlled end of the military Dictatorship and the "normolization", giving over the power to the politicians of bourgeois Democracy, meant the beginning of a reverse way. The legalization of KKE (Communist Party) which was before considered "treasonable" was the first step in that course, and surely this defeated -since decades- and capitulated remnant did what it could to serve the regime. We should not forget that the main demand it supported in those crucial years after the Dictatorship was "democratization", that is the establishment of bourgeois Democracy.
"National Reconciliation" and "oblivion" were the other two mottos of that time, and were "justified" by the accession of PASOK (socialist party) to the power. "National reconciliation" had its reference to the outset of the sociopolitical division in the period of Occupation3, and it was symbolically achieved by the institutional recognition of "National Resistance" (a resistance which was despoiled of its class background and characterized "national", including "Hites", "Tagmatasfalites"4 et.c). "Oblivion" was referring to a mutual silence for the zenith of the division between the Left and the Right: the civil war5, where these two forces fought to the extremes. The ideological construction that appeared then, saying "it's the foreigners that made us kill each other", had no other purpose than convince both that there were no real social and class reasons that made them have an armed conflict, but they were imported from abroad!Naturally, there was a part of the left that didn't look upon favorably the change of 1974 and didn't have the perspective of a profitable compromise. So, it came to antagonize it in many levels. Massive class struggles that took place in the 70's, for example in many working places, but also a series of dynamic and violent actions show that there were more ways attempted than that of conciliation and assimilation. And if this antagonistic part was defeated and weakened in the massive places due to state repression, counter-revolutionary KKE activity and the advance of PASOK to the power opening the gates of assimilation in the beginning of the 80's, there was also another part, more a minority but less visible and much more offensive; this was impossible to be neutralized despite all efforts and neither the endless police frameups against many militants nor the profuse nonsense about agent-provocateurs expressed by KKE and other institutional lefts managed to succeed it. (And since this mud-slinging has been completely ridiculed today, the revolutionary/anti-regime character of this type of action that opened in that period and continued for longtime remains indisputable).
In any case, the strategic goal of the political change era lies in the end of the civil war and post civil war division and in the removal of those (needless in modern times) discriminations it was bearing, so that maximum social and class pacification would be attained and the "political game" between the Left and the Right would be limited in the frames of the parliament and the other institutions of liberal bourgeois Democracy.
The deepening of this process and the absence of a more contemporary and less dogmatic analysis of the greek reality these last 25 years, rather brought to a dead-end concerning their prospect, enfeeblement concerning their support and discouragement concerning their continuation those who kept fighting being orientated by the Left, its political culture and symbols, like Aris6 and Che, and moreover lending this Left a sosialpatriotic anti-imperialist rhetoric and a national liberation character!!
For better or for worse, whatever this bipolar figure of Left and Right meant in a social and class level, it was clearly declining in the Political Change and long time now means nothing or almost nothing. This doesn't mean that there are not deep social and class contradictions today. On the contrary! It means that today's social and class contradictions, as formed the last 25 and mainly the last 10 years, don't correspond to that old and archaic bipolar sphere and in spite of all generous efforts of those interested to maintain it, it doesn't work. Aris, December7, Grammos8, Makronisos9, the Junta belong to the past and now the left is almost entirely incorporated in the system. Left are the political and economic bosses that govern since 1981 and left is the eminent "intellingencia" of the country.
Obviously this is the reason why the political supervisor of "Coutner"terrorism was months before barking with all his authoritarian arrogance that "17N has been ideologically and politically defeated and the only thing left is the operational defeat". This is why now KKE stigmatizes them as "agents" and almost the entire non-parliamentary left turns its back to them.
The new era that symbolically began with the operational end and the attempt to criminalize and mainly to declassify ideologically and politically this group that has been humiliating the state for almost three decades, appeared with unrestrained cries of triumph by the bosses, the politicians, the cops, the media, the snitches and "intellectual"-lackeys. They are so drunk with the unexpected "success" against 17N that are now setting more expanded aims, targeting especially the anarchist-antiauthoritarian milieu and having in view to arrest dozens more militant people and to drag society crawling and paralyzed behind the chariot of "counter-terrorism". And they won't just limit themselves to "do something gamo to stanio tous"!, as the greek-american asshole who's in chief of the CIA said; they intend to "overdo it", literally! It's up to the social resistance if they will succeed and if criminalizing militant people will be just a walk for them.
Finally, the reality of these last two months, at least as it appears, is certainly interior to the 27 years "myth". But all those now rejoicing over this fact should remember that today's predominance of the state is not retrospectively valid as no story can be read from its last page, but from its first...
As for the story of social and class struggle, this one never ends because the struggle continues... and it will continue until the State and Capital belong to History. ...
what if a storm calmed down yesterday; tomorrow there's hurricanes coming!
PS. This text was written before D. Koufontinas who was wanted by the police turned himself in taking the political responsibility for all actions rivendicated by EO 17N. What can be added is that NO MILITANT who takes the responsibility of his political action and stands with dignity against the State IS ALONE.
1"Do something, you fucking....!!!" (Un-translated! greek invective by greek-american CIA chief G. Tenet, advising his fellow greek officials to take care of their business, that is to fight "terrorism".
2The period after 1974, year of the fall of the military dictatorship that started in 1967.
3German army occupation.
4Paramilitary greek fascist corpses to confront communist guerilla in the mountains.
51945-1949. The communists were the losers of the civil war...
6Aris Velouhiotis, captain of the communist guerilla.
7December '44, army and police open fire at a demonstration of 600.000 people in central Athens.
8Battle of the civil war in the mountain Grammos, 20-21 August 1948.
9Island which was used as place of exile for political prisoners.