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Dispatch / March 14, 2012

Click here for a photo essay of graffiti in Exarchia

(Photos by the author)
I arrived in Athens only hours after the February 12 anti-austerity riots, the acrid odor of burnt-out banks still lingering downtown, and checked into a familiar haunt, the Hostel Zorbas on Victoria Square. The last time I stayed there, in the summer of 2001, the place still took drachmas and buzzed with backpackers just returned from Piraeus, where the ferries fan out to the pleasure islands of the Aegean. A decade later, those memories felt like the flashback scenes in The Road. This time the hostel had only two other guests. There was Anas, a young Syrian refugee planning his way north to Sweden — “They called me up for military service, and I’m not going to shoot my own people,” he was telling the desk clerk when I arrived — and there was Guy, an 18-year-old anarchist from Brooklyn. Guy was in town to forge relationships with his brothers in black and study Greek riot tactics.

Welcome to the Austerity Athens hostel scene.

Just before my arrival, a hundred thousand Greeks made international headlines with a day of rage against the terms of the latest ECB/IMF bailout. The terms required Greece step inside a familiar Iron Maiden of structural reform: deep cuts to public services, wages, and pensions; major privatizations; some Constitutional edits. Sitting atop it all was a Eurocrat baby-sitter clause that will place veto-wielding EU monitors — shadow ministers — inside each Greek government ministry. This last bit seemed designed for humiliation. The riots occurred the day the unelected government signed the deal, and it’s hard to find Greeks willing to condemn without qualification the destruction caused by the kids who took their anger out on anything that reminded them of international finance, and a few things that didn’t.

YouTube clips of those street fights were dramatic by any standard. But none captured February’s most cinematic moments around Syntagma Square. What no cameras caught was Greek anarchists using Ewok tactics on the streets of Athens. More than one proud anarchist told me of the trip-ropes and oil slicks used to neutralize a new motorcycle-based riot police unit called the Zeus-Deltas. Such innovations straight out of the Seven Samurai are of a piece with the deep lore of Greek anarchist protest. Among the war stories I heard in Athens, my favorite came from a well-known veteran anarchist named Alex K. In the early 1980s, during the annual November 17 protests commemorating the 1967 colonels’ coup, anarchists lured seven cops down a dead-end street, surrounded them, made them strip, and frog-marched them out naked. Later that night the uniforms were burned in an oil-drum in the heart of Exarchia, Athens’ anarchist quarter.

This is the stuff that had drawn my Zorbas bunkmate Guy to Athens. Last August, Guy was among the handful who gathered at the Bowling Green bull and participated in the small assemblies that became Occupy Wall Street. There he met and was enraptured by the Greek-born artist and anarchist Georgia Sagri. He decided to experience for himself the culture of resistance that produced people like her. With Occupy in winter hibernation, he bought a one-way ticket to Athens just after the anti-austerity riots. Guy was a junior high school dropout, but his plan was to return to New York with a master’s in mayhem, ready for the series of actions he referred to collectively as the “Spring Offensive.”

Among the architectural victims of the February 12 riots was this old theater in downtown Athens

As a “Day Two” Occupy activist, Guy was a popular kid in Athens. It was strange to see how the movement has become the Greeks’ first connection to the States. Not Serbia, not Iraq, not NATO — but Occupy. It was a reminder that in Greece, Most Hated Foreign Power (MHFP) has always been a revolving honorary. After a long run, we’ve finally ceded it back to the Germans. When the CIA helped institute military rule in 1967, we displaced the Brits, who had themselves displaced the Germans by returning King George to power after the war and refusing to recognize the leftist guerilla government which fully functioning by 1944 in the mountains of central Greece. When the country began sliding towards civil war, British troops participated in the violent crushing of leftist demonstrations around the country and even deployed machine-gun squads in armed clashes in the center of Athens. Just to make sure everyone knew where they stood, the Brits shipped thousands of leftist anti-Nazi partisans to concentration camps in Eritrea and Libya, where most of them died.

In any case, now the Germans have regained MHFP status with force. There’s Merkel, of course. But the secondary figures associated with the most extreme austerity measures, such as delaying elections, also have names like Wolfgang Schäuble. The European Commission task force representative in charge of the shadow minister program is actually named Horst Reichenbach. And the German tabloids have been New York Post brutal.

Greeks are not in the mood for insult on injury. Everywhere you turn you see signs of a country in collapse. On the day I arrived, a state mortgage agency had just closed around the corner from my hostel, and an employee was threatening to jump from the top floor, screaming about losing her insurance and being unable to care for a sick child. A couple days later, thieves waltzed into the Olympia Museum in broad daylight and stole dozens of ancient artifacts. The Minister of Culture offered to resign, but nobody cares anymore about the Minister of Culture.

Walk around Athens with a local, and within a few minutes they’ll point at something and say, “That’s new — you never used to see that before.” Usually it’s a sight Americans have long grown inured to, but in Greece still causes pain and wonder. Like an old woman rummaging through garbage for food. Often these “That’s new” moments are the spark behind the new forms of mutual aid and self-organization spreading throughout Greek society. This was the case of a 47-year-old former Internet marketer that I met one afternoon named Kostas Polychronopoulus. I found him in a downtown park called Klafthmonos, or Square of Tears, while he was giving away food to the newly hungry.

In December, Polychronopoulus had been unemployed for more than a year when he came upon two young Greek boys fighting over scraps of rotten food in a garbage can. The sight was too much for him. He went home and made ten sandwiches and tried to hand them out in the streets. He discovered that hungry people were often too ashamed to accept the handouts, so he got some friends together and started cooking communal meals on the streets. Slowly, people began to gather and join. Now he cooks almost every day in different places around city, including overcrowded refugee centers. His kitchen is part of a widening network of street aid institutions.

“Poverty is more in your face than ever,” he says. “We are a team of unemployed and they can call us what they want — socialist, anarchist. But we don’t care about labels. We believe in social justice and employment.”

Like most Greeks I spoke with, Polychronopoulus thinks the threat of bankruptcy is a bankers’ bogeyman made of straw. “They try and threaten us with bankruptcy,” he says. “We’ve already gone bankrupt! What is bankruptcy if not hungry people in the streets? For years the banks and the politicians shared the profits with themselves, but now that there are losses we have to pay for them?”

Embracing bankruptcy is steadily becoming less of a radical position. The other week the influential Financial Times editor and columnist Wolfgang Munchau wrote in favor of bankruptcy as the only way to save Greek democracy, and criticized the other Wolfgang for suggesting Greeks postpone elections. But elections seem beside the point in Greece. Trust in institutions is depleted.

Take the media. When Greeks watch state television now, they see the aliens from They Live! mouthing someone else’s empty words. Blatant corruption has been uncovered inside every studio and under every signal tower. The financial editor of a major tv station promoting austerity medicine was recently exposed for being on the payroll of a company handling the privatization of state property. Athens municipal radio, meanwhile, has been tied to the press office of the Eurobank.

“There is a corrupt triangle of interest between the banks, the media, and the politicians,” says Maria Louka, a reporter with Eleftherotypia (Press freedom), the first leftist publication to emerge after the restoration of civil rule in 1974. Like many Greek media organs, the paper is currently striking, though staff has managed to publish two strike issues.

“Pundits are often on the payroll of political interests or the press minister, and they all press the message of ‘There is no alternative’,” she says. “But the measures have taken such a violent form that the propaganda has lost its power. The media has been discredited along with the unions and the parties. One-time celebrity journalists are now verbally attacked on the street.”

It is one of the few silver linings of the crisis that the Tom Friedmans of Greece now live in fear of yogurt. And the programming in some cases has improved. When striking workers took over the studios of ALTER TV, a private television station, they broadcast a radical documentary called Debtocracy. It got a 35 percent share in prime time, the highest rating in the station’s history.

* * *

Exarchia is the seat of anarchist power in Athens. Legend has it the name comes from the neighborhood’s first settler, a farmer who gave away food to the poor. Its modern reputation for radical activism stems from its proximity to the Polytechnical, Law, and Economics universities. The Polytechnical is where tanks rolled through the campus gates in 1973 and crushed the student democracy movement organizing under the banner “Bread, Education, and Freedom.” A large sign emblazoned with the same slogan continues to hang over a monument to the crushed gate.

Stencil History of Greek Dynastic Corruption

Along with squats and people’s parks built from abandoned lots, Exarchia is home to some of the hippest cafes and bars in Athens. It’s as if the Lower East Side had managed to keep rents down and maintain its 1910 traditions. It was in Exarchia that in December of 2008 the police shot and killed a 15-year-old activist named Alexandros Grigoropoulos. The murder sparked riots across Europe. In Athens, anarchists issued a warning that shops in the tony shopping district that did not place black ribbons in their windows in honor of Alexandros would have their windows smashed. There was near 100 percent compliance.

Exarchia has arguably surpassed East Berlin for the most vibrant graffiti scene in the world. Just about every wall in the neighborhood bursts with bubble tags of “A.C.A.B.” (All Cops Are Bastards), Greek accented neo-Situationist slogans, and well-crafted murals and stencils satirizing the political history of modern Greece. The unifying strand is anti-capitalist philosophy. A growing number of images feature gas-masked anarchists.

Athens is the new graffiti capital of Europe; and the gas mask has become a major motif

Among the artists whose work colorizes the walls of Exarchia is a 30-year old dentist named Petros, who is better known around Exarchia by his stencil signature, “Mapet”. Petros first encountered street art as a dentist in Bristol, where he passed early Banksy pieces on his way to work. He began stenciling a couple of years ago after he returned to Athens and his practice began to deteriorate as the crisis deepened. “My customers used to get whatever needed done,” says Petros. “Now they’ll get a tooth pulled rather than get it crowned. Whatever’s cheaper. I try to lower my prices, offer payment plans, anything to keep the patients I have. I got involved in stenciling and activism to work off my anxiety.”

I met up with Petros one afternoon at a new street art studio in Exarchia called Stigma Lab. He had just finished spraying a run of his most recent work: a Valentine’s themed piece that featured Cupid over the slogan, “Make Love and Class War.” As with all of his stencils, he cut the lines with an old dentist’s drill. After he sprayed some posters for me, we joined his friend in the Stigma offices and talked about the crisis.

“What they should do,” said his friend, “is put coffeehouses on the islands — turn them into floating Amsterdams. So many of them are uninhabited. Everyone in Europe would come.”

Petros said his girlfriend was beginning to talk about leaving Athens and trying subsistence agriculture on an island where her family had a small plot. “She just wants to get out for a while,” said Petros, who was beginning to warm to the idea. But he was worried about the rumored deposits of oil and gas in the Aegean, which he said companies were already lining up to prospect. “The Aegean would be so easy to destroy,” he said. “All it would take is one disaster and all of those coasts — I swear if they ruin the sea I will move to Africa and just never come back. I don’t care.”

Before I left, Petros gave me a few posters and made me promise to put them up on the streets of New York. I was struck by how he thought of the city as an important street art capital. He didn’t seem to know that graffiti in New York was a thing of the past; that in Bloomberg’s fiefdom, even the subway billboards get respect; that kids lack the common decency to drag a Big Boy across the face of Sarah Jessica Parker. I promised to wheat-paste his class-war cupids when I got the chance.

***

On demonstration days, police patrol the edges of Exarchia and conduct searches of anyone entering and exiting the neighborhood. On the Sunday after the February 12 riots, I was walking through Exarchia on my way to Syntagma Square, where a coalition of unions and leftist parties had organized something, though nobody really knew what to expect. I was stopped at the perimeter by a clutch of cops who searched my backpack and wanted to know what I was doing in Athens. “You’re on holiday? Anarchist holiday?” asked a cop whose eyes were disturbingly close to being on the side of his head. When he examined my Florida license, he grinned widely and started pantomiming a shotgun. A few long seconds passed before an embarrassed colleague explained, “He went duck hunting in Florida once.”

Guy, 18-year-old anarchist and riot-shield designer

My bag was clean, and half an hour later I met up with the Brooklyn anarchist, Guy, on the square. He had been waiting for the demonstration all week, was almost desperate to witness some action. The scene on Syntagma did not bode well. It was just a beautiful clear day with lovers strolling amid a few protestors and stalls selling meat on a stick. It was hard to imagine any action exploding out of such tranquil beauty, but then every Greek said the same thing: you never knew how a protest will develop. It can happen in a second.

Over a lunch of Greek rolls, Guy explained to me his plans for building riot shields for the Spring Occupy events. He was going to use giant traffic cones he’d picked up off the Long Island Freeway. Each cone could produce three shields, he explained, for which he had already sketched three different prototypes. Once he settled on the most efficient shield design, he was going to make peace signs out of electrical tape and spray paint the shields black. When he removed the tape, they would be branded with peace signs in the cones’ original reflective orange.

“This spring we’re going to stop calling ourselves the Anarchist Caucus and start calling ourselves the Rebel Alliance,” he said.

I told him the reflective orange would fit well with the Star Wars sound of it.

“Yeah, I know,” he smiled. “I thought of that.”

When Guy lay down on the fountain for nap, I struck up a conversation with two guys sitting near us. Their names were Michalis and Tasos, and I had been in Athens long enough not to be surprised when I learned they were Marxist-Leninists in their early 30s who had recently begun publishing a radical newspaper called Kontra. Like Guy, they had come ready to riot. They carried gas masks in plastic bags and a few other things they didn’t show me. “I just loaded up with fresh Israeli charcoal filters,” said Michalis. “They’re the best.”

Michalis and Tasos: faces of the radicalized Greek ex-middle-class

Theirs was a new organization, one of several young Greek revolutionary communist groups born out of hatred for the KKE, the establishment Communist Party often described as “Stalinist Bourgeois.” Michalis and Tasos had recruited about 60 members so far and were growing every week. Along with producing a newspaper, they had a space for movie nights, lectures, and social events. They had just launched a stencil art unit and a theater group. “We have many weapons, not just sticks and Molotovs,” explained Tasos.

When I asked their take on the crisis, Michalis did most of the talking. His words were familiar. He was a trained architect, unable to find work, and had been radicalized in recent years. “I have two master’s degrees and studied at Polytechnic and the University of Rotterdam,” he said. “Five years ago, I could have found a good job. I came back from Rotterdam and everything collapsed. Now I’m 30, unemployed and living at home with my parents. They’re just as angry as I am.”

“Their plan is to reduce the European periphery to a cheap labor zone,” he continued. “It’s not just us, but Ireland, Portugal, Spain. They tell us we’re lazy and must accept austerity or we won’t eat. It’s lies and blackmail. Our short-term strategy is to fight the austerity measures, take back what they took, and defend what we’ve fought for over the years. Long-term, our goal is the end of capitalism.”

He said there was a palpable sense of momentum toward this goal across Greek society.

“Last Sunday was the first time in my life I saw so many people so angry, radical, and fearless,” said Michalis. “Most of the people were simple workers, not professional revolutionaries or anarchists. And trust me, they supported the violence. When it comes to it, they’ll support breaking into supermarkets. Before austerity, everybody was still sleeping. They thought the coalitions in power mattered. Now they don’t. They’re conscious of class. The old ways of thinking are collapsing, it’s no longer possible to just look out for yourself and forget about the people around you. Our priority is to explain the structure and logic of capitalism. Without revolution, reforms of the system are just more Sisyphean rolling the boulder of reform — up and down, up and down.”

Guy woke up and walked over to join the conversation. Michalis and Tasos had no use for anarchism, but told Guy they welcomed them for the moment. “Right now it’s all about the united front,” Tasos said.

“But you’d shoot me against a wall after the revolution,” Guy said.

“Yes,” said Tasos without smiling.

Tasos went on to voice his disappointment with some of the younger Greek anarchists he had seen on the streets the previous week.

“A lot of anarchists hit-and-run even when they have the numbers,” he said. “When you have the numbers, you press the advantage — you stand and fight, you keep hitting. I’ve been in four sustained hand-to-hand battles with the police. My record is two and two. Two of them remember me, I am sure of that.” And he laughed from deep down for a long time, a Zorba laugh.

Nearby, a group of Critical Mass activists were joining the protest in their own way. We watched as they pedaled up in their clown wigs, rainbow stockings, and face sparkles.

“They make me despair,” said Tasos. “They’re skipping the revolution and going right to the celebration, acting as if they’ve won.”

“In the States we call them the ‘pink-and-silver bloc,’” said Guy. “They can be useful as distractions, you know, to block streets.”

Michalis and Tasos seemed to consider the idea but did not pursue it. After a long silence, Michalis spat on the stones of Syntagma Square.

“Soon we’ll be eating the pigeons,” he said.

Alexander Zaitchik, a former eXile editor, is the author of Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance

Want to know more: Read Zaitchik “River’s Edge Redux: Interview With Jared Lee Loughner’s Tucson Friends”


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85 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. euro-dude  |  March 14th, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Much appreciated, a great piece of journalism. Exiled at its best.

  • 2. Anarchy Pony  |  March 14th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    You know, that Guy kid is gonna get arrested now right? Soon as he steps back into the US.

  • 3. S  |  March 14th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    While the Greek anarchists are much more badass than their American pussy counterparts, they’ve been going at it for years like this, long before things got bad, and look at where they are now. No closer to breaking the back of capital then they were a decade ago when Greek anarchists used to plant bombs in rich fucks cars and rob banks to fund their activities.

    While rioting may be impressive to American eyes, it’s old hat in most places around the world. Once the smoke clears they’ll sweep up the broken glass hose down the streets and it’s be business as usual.

    America is about the only place where coordinated rioting with a political intent might change things, but you’d have to throw a half-dozen major US cities into chaos before you could get anywhere. Elsewhere in the world, rioting is the default method of protest, people are used to it.

    Ironically, it’s a great way to let people let off steam, get it out of their system. In the end it, helps the state. It’s going take a lot more than riots (or camping in parks for that matter) to take this filthy system down.

  • 4. Dammerung  |  March 14th, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    The anti capitalist bent terrifies me. I know, I know, it’s the eXiled and all glory to the hypnotoad. I’m all for taking back what was taken from us, but where does it end? An engineer isn’t the devil be ause he makes more than a garbage man and asks for a raise. Any idiot can die for a revolution and many too, but if the powers that be are just replaced with new bosses, as happens in Communism time and time again, then what’s been gained?

    The people in charge just love the rhetoric of class war. Turn the doctors and the day labored against each other while the government backed bankers get away with everything.

  • 5. Cum  |  March 14th, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    So many great quotes, it has everything I could want in an Exiled piece. Including hatred directed at Tom Friedman.

    Why Communists gotta act like such elitist snobs?

  • 6. RanDomino  |  March 14th, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Ahh poor Guy, letting himself be photographed- such terrible security culture!
    Otherwise, good article. Too bad there weren’t any actual Greek anarchists interviewed, although they probably have a better understanding that that’s maybe not the best idea.
    I eagerly await the day when the dreams of Marxist scum like Michalis and Tasos are crushed. I want them to get close enough to power to taste it, only to have it taken away.

  • 7. Fissile  |  March 14th, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    For whatever reason, the Greek police have shown remarkable restraint. A few words of warning to Americans thinking about employing the same tactics here in the USA: American police will not hesitate to bust caps in your ass over the slightest provocation…..not only will they follow orders, they’ll enjoy it.

  • 8. FilRebo  |  March 14th, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    No nationalist organisation there in Greece of the Limonov or statist/non-ethnicist type?

  • 9. allen  |  March 14th, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks for the dispatch, an interesting read.

  • 10. RanDomino  |  March 14th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    @4 These are Anarchists, not Communists (well, the Anarchists are, anyway). But for that matter the words “makes more than” and “(pay) raise” make no sense for ANY actual non-capitalist system. What would those phrases mean in systems that don’t use money?

  • 11. yeah  |  March 14th, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I say … fuck everyone! Even the anarchists. I mean EVERYONE!

  • 12. Hick  |  March 14th, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    #4 in what twisted Universe do you live, that an engineer makes more than a garbageman?

    The garbageman has a plum job because no one else wants to do it and it needs to be done. It’s physically taxing, generally, too. So they are paid uber-well. Plus, there are a lot of parks like the neat things people throw out. And being done with work by noon.

    High tech pays is shit because it’s clean work, not hard on the back, and it’s considered “neato”. Magazines like Make and Popular Electronics etc make it look cool. It really kinda is. So tons of people want to do it.

    Result: The garbageman makes about $30 an hour to start, and the most I made as a really rather good electronics tech was $11 an hour.

  • 13. Soj  |  March 14th, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    #4 if you think capitalism means some guy down the street receiving more Fiat Car dollars from a hypernational Corporate Personhood than you do, you got some reading to do.

  • 14. Neil Baker  |  March 14th, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    MY HUMBLE REQUEST TO ALL GOOD GREEK CITIZENS

    What’s the goal? What are you trying to accomplish? I hope I’m wrong but it might just be that you’re having fun. Does participating in a riot beat a humdrum job or a boring class? Like the Occupation Movement, the continuation of your protests might actually be the result of your Greek cause or Greek purpose staying intentionally vague. The moment a Greek goal was defined, distracting focus would most likely be placed on the debatable definition or the definer and that person would probably come under extreme attack.

    In my life, I’ve only once witnessed an example of effective American disobedience. The history of it has been greatly suppressed and slanted, I suspect, to prevent it from happening again. My tyrannical government doesn’t like it when Americans are organized by any force other than government.

    In 1999, a uniformed USMC Sgt. Brian Johnston on his way south from Camp Pendleton to pick up two Marines at the Tijuana, Mexico border crossing, accidentally missed the last San Ysidro, California I-5 exit causing him to enter Mexico. He did a U-turn to reenter the USA and was stopped by Mexican border police who asked him if he had any firearms. He admitted that he had two dismantled firearms in his toolbox that they confiscated prior to arresting him for illegal smuggling of illegal firearms into Mexico.

    After two weeks, he was still in jail. The Marines, Navy and Dept. of Defense couldn’t get him out. The U.S. State Dept. couldn’t get him out. His California Congressional representatives couldn’t get him out. President Clinton was about to have to get personally involved.

    Finally, Roger Hedgecock, former Mayor of San Diego and local KOGO AM radio host got involved. He used his radio show to ask everyone in the San Diego area with the time and ability to converge on the loop between the last two San Ysidro I-5 exits before the border. People showed up in 18-wheelers, trucks and cars towing boats or trailers, recreational vehicles, buses and cars all clogging I-5 for miles. It was a blockade of the border but done in a legal way so that nobody could get arrested since it was blockaded purely due to unusual volume of vehicles and not by anyone intentionally stopping to block traffic.

    USMC Sgt. Brian Johnston was released immediately by the Mexicans. Disruption of commerce is a big deal. Closing a major international border crossing is an exceptionally big deal. It’s big money!

    I tried once to organize a similar blockade at the intersection of I-10, I-12 and I-59 just North of Slidell, Louisiana to demand an independent, fully funded and fully empowered 911 investigation but without a big microphone and so many dumbdowned American dim still tightly clutching imperative lies and governement-fed delusions about 19 Arabs with boxcutters, it didn’t happen.

    I’ve been to Athens. You have great freeways. Perhaps I’ve failed in the United States because prophets are never accepted in their own land. Please benignly focus your righteous rage by entertaining the challenge of doing for the USA what pusillanimous Americans are obviously unable to do for themselves. Blockade your Athenian freeways San Diego style in demand for the long-overdue independent, fully funded and fully empowered 911 investigation. We’ll be gratefully in your debt forever. Please make the history be written that in her darkest hour, brave Greeks rescued the Americans from a slave’s pit of destructive delusion. Thank you.

  • 15. Steve  |  March 14th, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Zaitchik should read Eleni or see the movie. The ‘Leftist’ (Communist in Newspeak) guerillas were a swell bunch of guys, alright.

  • 16. Jessie  |  March 15th, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Amazing… Help make the world more aware of what is going on in Greece and how the people are trying to survive and fix their country? Even greeks in America have turned on their own people and claim them to be lazy- and very deserving of the current situation. That is ridiculous. There is slack of understanding of how the government has sold out its people so as to put hundred of millions of dollars in their own pockets.

    In the nex fifteen years, Greece is going to be owned by foreigners… Greece could profit on its own if it just used its own natural resources. She is full of them! Now, with the economy in the crapper, foreigners are going to invest and take everything in Greece for cheap, like the oil in the Aegean. This is one. Of the reasons as to why Greece was sold out- so the US and Israel and a bunch of asses could get their hands on greece’s resources. FUCK you all! It belongs to theGreeks! People need to protest and find ways to rebel against the government, and the youth is the most willing to do so. I. At not be an anarchist or communist myself, but the people are doing what they feel they have to do. Bravo Guy, Tasos, Mixalis etc… And thank you for writing this article. The people around the world don’t get the truth from the inside for their own media- just manipulation of the truth/lies overall!

  • 17. Eurotrash  |  March 15th, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Taking that yank kid’s photo wasn’t a great move even if he’s not called Guy.

    One slip and you’re down. Sabu messed up just once, too – a wrong url in the copy buffer.

  • 18. El Hombre Malo  |  March 15th, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Those Communist activist have not learn anything from history… you dont shoot anarchists against the wall after they’ve served their purpose. You shoot them first hand because they have no purpose or use in any movement that intends to improve things for the people. Anarchists are the snake in the grass.

  • 19. Michal  |  March 15th, 2012 at 6:40 am

    I shed a little tear for those brave leftist anti-nazi and pro-soviet fighters. Truly, think of just how much better off Greece could be, had it become a Soviet satellite. International finance didn’t trouble communist countries fer shure.

  • 20. shepherds calendar  |  March 15th, 2012 at 6:45 am

    maybe hotel was empty b/c it was winter?

  • 21. Michal  |  March 15th, 2012 at 6:56 am

    @16. Yes Steve, there are no communists, nor were there ever anywhere. Just a bunch of jolly working guys fighting the ev0l British and their aristocratic stooges.
    Wikipedia says there were, but I guess wikipedia is just a bunch of lies made up by capitalists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_Civil_War

  • 22. DtD  |  March 15th, 2012 at 7:24 am

    AEC let a truther through?

  • 23. Jefkka  |  March 15th, 2012 at 7:26 am

    In spite of its infrequent postings, the fact that I’m a fucking parasite too stingy and useless to give money to the eXiled, articles like this from Ames and Zaitchek still put the Exile(d) head and shoulders above any other reporting in the States—the stuff is too good for someone like me.

  • 24. SK  |  March 15th, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Neil,
    I really don’t want to touch the 9-11 thing, but you do have a valid point. Another good example of what you bring up is in how the IRA conducted the latter part of their campaign for independence. For a long, long time tactics usually involved shooting British cops in Northern Ireland, and, for whatever reason, the general public and plutocrats don’t give a shit when one of their lackeys gets wasted. When the IRA started blowing up buildings in London (and they always gave forewarning so the building could be evacuated and civilian casualties minimized), the British government came to the negotiating table with Sinn Fein and gave them some representation. Nobody cared when a cop got shot, but as soon as the insurance premiums on corporate real estate shot up, many a damn was given. Recognizing Sinn Fein was a shrewd move on behalf of the British because they effectively bought off the IRA’s leadership instead of giving them the independence they had spent generations fighting for.

    Moral of the story: Making demands and a lot of noise don’t get you anything unless you want something the plutocrats don’t really care about (for instance India’s independence and the US civil rights movement). Once you break a company’s cash flow, though, shit gets done.

    Protest only to the extent it gets you followers. Disrupt commerce and steal to get policy changes.

  • 25. Cum  |  March 15th, 2012 at 8:15 am

    @14: the roadblock – a classic third world resistance tactic. Good idea.

  • 26. Greast  |  March 15th, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Great article, thanks. Keep ‘em comin’.

  • 27. Greast  |  March 15th, 2012 at 8:35 am

    @15 Steve,
    Yes, the status quo really is excellent. Thanks to you, I now see the value in getting your degree in History from Hollywood.

  • 28. internetguy  |  March 15th, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Great piece, thank you, can’t wait for the next update.

  • 29. drugstoreblonde  |  March 15th, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Salient and bold as always, Zaitchik.

  • 30. Patricia Cuntwell  |  March 15th, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Why bother?

  • 31. dominic  |  March 15th, 2012 at 10:35 am

    seems a lot of commentators here dont understand the violent hatred anarchists and communists have for each other.

    Also, good article. Not as good as it could be, but i suspect that is actually more the fault of the Greek anarchists, not the authors. As far as I know, they are very unwelcoming to journalists of any kind, so again, not the authors fault.

    Also, kudos to the commentor who called American anarchists pussys. They sure as fuck are, always have been. You know why? No matter what anyone says, Americans are too fat, happy, and pascified to be real revolutionaries. The only people who came close were black and Indian, but the Indians were all killed, hooked on alcohol, and sterilized, and the blacks were enfranchised just enough, or esle thrown into jail, to not be a problem anymore. America will never be Greece cuz we are like fat, lazy hogs, always expecting the next bucket of slop from the owner whose waiting to slit our throats…its all in the War Nerd. Where the fuck is he!?!?!? We haven;t needed him this bad since the invasion of Iraq. He’s a pussy too.

  • 32. dominic  |  March 15th, 2012 at 10:51 am

    i take back my criticism, however minor. This article is fucking awesome. I re-read it just now, and I think i missed the point the first time. I hope you guys are trying to get this published eslewhere as well, its really fucking good. And communists are lame. The Greek communists are fucking over the movement in Greece.
    Glad they dont have much traction around here.

  • 33. Hick  |  March 15th, 2012 at 11:01 am

    #14 that was outstanding. No wonder I’ve never heard of that wonderful act of collective action, and I live in California.

    To all: Most of the actions the Greeks are doing will get you imprisoned or killed in the US. Feeding the poor is generally punishable by fines or jail time now. Try enclosing a bunch of cops and having ‘em march out naked? Not a chance, the cops who are out on the street seem to be roided-up and on God knows what drugs, they’ll shoot all of your asses or call in a napalm strike, flip a coin. In general, kindness is a criminal act in the US, only sanctioned if done through a church because the churches skim off 90+% of donations “for the poor” they get and pay their regular bribes to politicians.

  • 34. DeeboCools  |  March 15th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    @ 2! My thoughts exactly. It shows some solid stone guts on Guy’s part to be photographed and identify himself, but I worry he’ll be marked as an “agitator” or “terrorist” on some federal list now.

  • 35. whyawannaknow  |  March 15th, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    [QUOTE]
    I promised to wheat-paste his class-war cupids when I got the chance.
    [/QUOTE]

    Pont of information: Don’t use wheat paste. It remains water soluble, all they need to take it off is a pressure washer, even a rainy windy day takes down such posters. Wall paper paste product = made to be easily removed when people re-decorate, capiche?

    USE CANNED CONDENSED MILK. The protein turns into a permanent cement, slather the back AND THE FACE of the poster using a wide brush soaked with canned milk and squeegee it onto the target surface, once it dries it’s incredibly durable and very waterproof. Anyone who’s ever tried to strip old fashioned milk based paint will understand…

  • 36. Svaha  |  March 15th, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    @ #7 & #33 This sort of sentiment is exactly why American leftists are considered toothless eunuchs by just about every other leftist in the world. “Oh no! the government soldiers might shoot me, guess I better stay at home and complain instead”

    If you lack the conviction to die or be injured for your cause, then you never really believed in it in the first place. Not to mention that shooting into a crowd of protesters is just about the stupidest thing the police could do from a public relations standpoint.

    I’m not even talking about violent resistance. Gandhi himself would call you a coward. If you don’t believe me, look up what he had to say about people who use passive resistance to pretend they are taking a stand “safely”.

  • 37. Damn Red  |  March 15th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    @4 As a programmer I would like to ask where you live, the garbage men around here earn more then me.

    Not to mention they don’t have to find employment every few months when the contracts are up.

    Pretty sure they also have health benefits since they actually have a steady employer.

    Fuck I should become a garbage man and hang out with Oscar the Grouch.

    @14 that is a good idea

  • 38. Patricia Cuntwell  |  March 15th, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    i dunno i thought the comment was kinda funny/cute in a totally puerile way

    thought about it while shitting myself

  • 39. super390  |  March 15th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    #15:
    The Communists were bastards. Now will you be ready to be an equally vicious bastard to save your children from serfdom? If not, you’re on the road to Athens.

  • 40. FilRebo  |  March 15th, 2012 at 3:13 pm







    So are there any nationalists there in Greece of the Limonov or non-ethnicist type?

  • 41. blimeybruv  |  March 15th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    wow, two hipsters making out like they’re macho as fuck with their ‘yeah, we’d have you shot’ comments. Why are people like that tolerated? after kronstadt, free territory and the spanish civil war I’d have thought anarchists would be unwilling to put up with that shit, unless I’m mistaken and they aren’t the dominant faction there.

  • 42. Patricia Cuntwell  |  March 15th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    actually do like shitting myself; it’s a teutonic thang, baybay!

  • 43. Alex  |  March 15th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Great article. That comment about turning parts of Europe into cheap labor zones rings true. Greece really should just default and walk away.

  • 44. Neil Baker  |  March 15th, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    @24SK-Please enlighten me as to why you and possibly so many others don’t want to touch the 911 (thing?).

    If your family was murdered and the cops removed and destroyed the forensic evidence and then blathered out some lame absurd explanation about who did it that was quickly embraced by all of your coward neighbors dedicated to lazy comfort and easy convenience, wouldn’t you want an independent investigation?

  • 45. John Drinkwater  |  March 15th, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    @15 Steve, you should try reading history books instead of relying on a Hollywood movie for your information. The communist guerillas were far from perfect, but they were much better than the fascist-riddled, western backed Greek government.

    As for the KKE becoming a shitty Stalinist party today, we should remember that they *were* the communist guerillas in the 40′s who nearly took over Athens. And they were independent of Stalin, who had in fact ceded Greece to Churchill when the two infamously carved up Europe in the “percentages agreement”.

    Also, the Americans displaced the Brits in 1947 and took over British ‘imperial responsibilities’ with the Truman Doctrine. The Brits were a spent force after WWII and had to withdraw due to lack of resources. They literally asked Acheson and Truman to take over for them.

  • 46. John Drinkwater  |  March 15th, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Forgot my last line: So, it is more accurate to say the Americans took over for the Brits in ’47, not ’67.

  • 47. RanDomino  |  March 15th, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    45. John Drinkwater
    http://roarmag.org/2011/10/anarchists-communists-strike-riots-violence-greece/

  • 48. Patricia Cuntwell  |  March 15th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    mike elk rips… uhuhuh

  • 49. Fissile  |  March 15th, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    @36. Svaha,

    Police shooting into a crowd of protesters may be bad PR in most of the world, but it would make your average American Tea-Tard cum in his Walmart brand underpants. All over the world peasants know that they are peasants, and tend to have some kind of solidarity with other peasants. In the US of ‘Merica the peasantry has been thoroughly brainwashed into believing that it’s really not part of the peasant class. As John Steinbeck once said of the American poor, “they regard themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

  • 50. John Drinkwater  |  March 15th, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    @47, It’s hard not to side with the anarchists. The communists started the goddamned war when they began killing Russian anarchists after the October revolution. And even as far back as the International when Marx kicked them out. This is particularly maddening for anarchists since they helped Lenin obtain power and were willing to work with the Bolsheviks; and to some extent Lenin co-opted anarchism in 1917 by disingenuously embracing factory committees and workers’ control, not to mention ‘all power to the soviets’ – yeah right. More like all power to the fucking Bolshevik Central Committee.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, then they went out and purged Makhno’s army, which had basically defeated the Whites and the civil war for the Reds. And then there was Spain, where the communists saw it fit to crush yet another social revolution since it would’ve threatened Moscow. The Communists’ performance in relation to the anarchists is an absolute disgrace, and anyone who endorses violence against the anarchists (like the guy in this article) is a fucking idiot.

  • 51. Thaelmann  |  March 15th, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    @50 I guess you guys had better get started killing us Reds, then. :-)

    Later days.

  • 52. Strelnikov  |  March 15th, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Kind of funny that 51 is a prime example of the kind of shit we’re talking about, these fair-weather warrior blowhard types who need to stop fancying themselves urban guerillas. Pathetic.

    Although I suspect in this case it’s just some severely mentally ill person who comments here to elicit angry responses/righteous punishment by the AEC.

  • 53. Svaha  |  March 16th, 2012 at 1:12 am

    @ 49. Fissile
    Oh I’m sure they would, and I don’t disagree with the rest of your points, but my point was that “the cops might hurt me” is a pretty shitty excuse.

    Especially when the actual reaction of American police to protests has been relatively mild when compared to, say, Greece or anywhere in the Middle East.
    Somehow they manage to keep protesting despite suffering far worse than any American since the civil rights era.

  • 54. Anton  |  March 16th, 2012 at 1:32 am

    @ 50. I might be mistaken, but didn’t Marx in his later years change his views on anarcho-syndicalism? Even up to a point where he thought that maybe a violent revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat might not be the only way? And wasnt’t the reason for this Marx’s reconsideration at least partly these anarchosyndicalist workers unions that you mention? If so, that’s pretty funny from a Soviet / bolshevik / stalinist perspective: First Marx says that the revolution won’t make sense in Russia since they are still in the feodal phase, and THEN he says that since the Russian anarcho-syndicalism works so well, maybe the whole idea of a violent revolution isn’t a given.

  • 55. hazey  |  March 16th, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Red the promise, black the threat.

    Yes mistakes were made in the past. But shit is never as black and white as your ideological loyalty leads you to want to believe.

    Learn from history, but look forward. In fighting over the past is a dead in street.

    Marx had some major faults, and so did Bakunin. Let’s Take what they got right and get over the rest.

  • 56. DtD  |  March 16th, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Is anyone else beating off to the yogurt attack large print photo at the top (and is there any crossover with the people that beat off to the koch mouth pic)??

    Cause I, uh, totally don’t think it’s hot.

    But it would be nice to know if anybody else. . .er I mean, if anybody was that sick.

  • 57. John Drinkwater  |  March 16th, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    @54 Anton,

    You may be referring to this episode. In his book on Bakunin, historian Mark Leier argues that Marx himself was not as rigid a “Marxist” as some of his followers would have it:

    Interestingly, Leier notes that later in his life, Marx all but abandoned his commitment to economic stages by coming around to the anarchist view of pre-capitalist revolution, at least in relation to Russia. Marx wrote to a Russian newspaper indicating that the country’s peasant communes could conceivably lead directly to a socialist society bypassing capitalist development. Would he have gone so far as to support all rebellion, like Bakunin, all of the time? Probably not, but Leier points out these facts to demonstrate that Bakunin and Marx were not as far apart in their beliefs as many imagine.

    Also later in life, Engels admitted, “Marx and I ourselves are partly to blame for the fact that the younger people sometimes lay more stress on the economic side than is due to it”. Engels explained that they felt the need to place so much emphasis on the economic side because their adversaries denied it. Leier concludes that anarchism and Marxism were “not necessarily antithetical” and “could have contributed creatively” to each other, arguing that mutual misinterpretation along with the bitter personal feud between Bakunin and Marx precluded the possibility of such collaboration.

  • 58. John Drinkwater  |  March 16th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    BTW, anarcho-syndicalism, either in theory or in practice didn’t exist when Marx was still alive. Syndicalism is when workers take over factories and entire industries. Industrialization in Russia didn’t really begin until the end of the nineteenth century. It seems like Marx showed support for a version of what Kropotkin advocated: anarcho-communism.

  • 59. Anton  |  March 16th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Interesting. It seems to me that Bakunin comes out looking better as far as his general principles are concerned, but in actual deeds and character he does come across as a quite shady type, a kind of a closet totalitarian. That of course has very little to do with their so called followers, who are a super varied bunch. It would be hard to imagine any novelist using Chomsky as a model for a thoroughly evil character in the way that Dostoyevsky used Bakunin – a fellow anti-semite – in The Demons.

  • 60. FilRebo  |  March 16th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    So are there any nationalists in Greece of the Limonov or non-ethnicist/statist type?

  • 61. Mark Flames  |  March 16th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    imagine chomsky wringing a load out of his freckled yiddish wiener

    a few milliliters of viscous, yellow-brown stuff dribbling like old gravy

    aw hell yea

  • 62. RanDomino  |  March 16th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    @59 Marx fucking sat out 1848 and then spent years jerking off in the British Library; Bakunin was imprisoned for a decade for fighting in the Czech theater, escaped from Siberia, circumnavigated the planet, and was still joining insurrections across Europe when most people back then were dead of old age. Which one do you want to have your back?

  • 63. wengler  |  March 16th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    #58 Perhaps not when Marx was still alive, but anarcho-syndicalism was very much a part of the 1917 Revolution. The workers took over the factories, but instead of using their new power to their full effect, they generally horded what little they had and got levied into the Red Guards.

  • 64. Hick  |  March 16th, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    OK I’m a fairly clueless bastard, and am still not sure if “Invisible Children” is a band, a child-soldier mercenary army, or simply one of those creepy-ass charities that take in homeless kids and use ‘em in snuff films.

    But seeing on Drudge, yes for those of us who have shitty old computers, Drudge is IT for news because it’s actually readable…. anyway on Drudge just now I saw that some “Co-founder of Invisible Children” was arrested for jacking off in public, and I dunno, raping a cat or something, and it jogged my memory: A few days ago, I was going Southbound on I-101 south of San Jose and saw …. the most unsettling-looking pedo-van I’ve ever seen, with 1980s type “heavy metal” lettering on it, on the back and side, saying, “INVISIBLE CHILDREN”. At which point I really wondered what the hell “Invisible Children” could be, a shitty band maybe? And decided they’d sure become invisible after the nice man lured them into that deathtrap with an ice cream cone.

    So, if the San Diego police busted him just now for spankin’ it down there, was this the same guy up here in the “general San Francisco Bay Area”? Ha he been driving up’n'down California in a lascivious way for the last few days?

    Yes I *am* clueless, I guess Kony isn’t a West Coast FM station, and this has absolutely nothing to do with the Greeks and their troubles, but the Internet is becoming so paywalled and fenced-off that this is one of the few places a guy can put a nugget of interesting info out for others to say “Hmm” about.

  • 65. John  |  March 17th, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Hey, what happened to the Horde Guild of Rexxar?

  • 66. Tyler  |  March 17th, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Dear Ames,

    Where the fuck is the article on this soldier going postal in Afghanistan and wasting a village of helpless civilians?

    I read your book. Now I want an update.

  • 67. DeeboCools  |  March 17th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    It figures that the ex white-collar workers would turn to Communism. Some people always pick wrong.

  • 68. Hick  |  March 17th, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    #66 hopefully War Nerd weighs in on that one.

  • 69. Hick  |  March 18th, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Aha, I found a picture of the van! Someone *else* took a picture of it. So, sighted a few days ago, I present…. the pedo-van!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunspotstef/6639618071/

    I remember the van being of a darker color, but I guess it was dark grey …. I’ll never forget the “rad” lettering style, and huge letters. It has that same icky logo pasted on the side even huger, at an angle.

    I guess when you go around boffing kids, you have to keep on the move.

  • 70. Cum  |  March 19th, 2012 at 3:59 am

    So the latest thing about KONY 2012 that I hear about from my girlfriend is that Invisible Children ends up giving a lot of money over to the govt of Uganda so they can wage their own genocide and rape.

  • 71. Jedi Mind Trick  |  March 19th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    You know Tasos, if you read 1984 and don’t think of Big Brother as the hero of the story, you may not be ready to be a Communist.

    Because I mean seriously, Big Brother only wanted what was best for Winston. But he learned to love Big Brother in the end.

  • 72. internal exile  |  March 19th, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    “let the weak fight among themselves” – plutocrats everywhere, all the time

  • 73. super390  |  March 20th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    #71:

    Apparently you’ve never heard of Leon Trotsky.

  • 74. Numerius Negidius  |  March 20th, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    @69: When you said “rad” lettering, that wasn’t precisely what I expected – I had something like the Spinal Tap title typeface in mind, frankly. Also, I’m disappointed – that van doesn’t have the air of sheer moral and physical decrepitude I was expecting, although I suppose it’s no slouch in that department either.

    The other stuff in that Flickr photostream is a hoot, by the way.

    Anyway, what precisely do the Invisible Children people have in mind with this Kony 2012 business, hm? I’ve gathered it’s something like this:

    1. Create a bunch of righteous indignation among a bunch of lily-white North American sheltered over-privileged college students
    2. ???
    3. Profit! – err, get Kony in the Hague or whatever.

    Cf. the South Park underwear gnomes.

    Mind you, apparently some of the Kony people want US troops there or something – so there might be some additional sleazy dimension to this. Certainly wouldn’t be surprising.

  • 75. Janet  |  March 21st, 2012 at 10:39 am

    @AlexanderZ

    I hope his name is not Guy and the pic is not of him. That would mean you are just guilty of poor journalism. If he is called Guy and that is his pic then you are guilty of turning in a well meaning 18 year old to the police state. Which would shame you and the editor of this blog.

    Either way you need to review how you handle concern-o-trolls like me.

    Personally, I think that under no circumstances should you allow rad security-culture anarchists like me to post here. Sure I use a false name but the security state is hot on my trail, and you could be found guilty by association. I won’t get caught, but you might be nacho-sauce-boarded…

    Janet

  • 76. .  |  March 21st, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Why are Communists always just cryptofascists?

  • 77. darthfader  |  March 21st, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Anarchists and communists peg each other as the enemy in America too, and that’s pretty fucking funny.

  • 78. darthfader  |  March 21st, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    So what happened to Guy? Did he go to jail?

  • 79. Jedi Mind Trick  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 1:30 am

    #73.

    Communism is as much a Religion as it is a System.

    Serve the Greater Good, and the Greater Good will serve you.

    Those who dissent are both traitors and heretics. Humans are simply not fit to function without strict oversight.

    I simply think the best way to advance is to place a Demon behind people, and force them to move forward.

  • 80. NoPast  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 4:18 am

    #79.

    Capitalism is as much a Religion as it is a System.

    Serve yourself and your Enlightened self-interest, and the Invisible Hand will serve everyone.

    Those who dissent are both traitors and heretics. Humans are simply not fit to function without strict oversight.

    I simply think the best way to advance is to place a Demon behind people, and force them to move forward.

  • 81. Cole  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Yo, attempts at revolution like this make me think that humanity isn’t dead.

  • 82. super390  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    It won’t be the first revolution in Athens that changed the world.

  • 83. Peter Warren  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 5:44 am

    I’ve to hand it to you. I’ve just read a bunch of your articles. If you don’t get paid for this, it’s because cheapskate suckups are just garbage that somebody fooled. I will be donating now.

  • 84. gyges  |  April 1st, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Check out this [WHY SHOULD THE AEC ALLOW YOU TO ADVERTISE YOUR BLOG HERE? HAVE YOU MADE A GENEROUS CASH GIFT CONTRIBUTION TO THE AEC FUND LATELY?] for the use of the expression, ‘middle class proletariat’.

  • 85. gyges  |  April 2nd, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    It isn’t my blog …


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