Political statement of anarchist comrade Andreas-Dimitris Bourzoukos, in the trial for the Velvento, Kozani double bank robbery case (Greece)
Background: Text by the 4 arrested anarchists concerning the double robbery in Velvento, Kozani + Anarchists sentenced for the double bank robbery in Velvento + Letter from Argyris Ntalios & Fivos Harisis
To begin, I would like to clarify the reason I am here today, by taking advantage of the procedure of statements. What will follow therefore, will in no way have an apologetic character, since my acts and choices are included in the wider anarchist struggle, the struggle for life and freedom. Consequently, they are acts that I support with every aspect of my being and I will continue to do so as long as this world remains as it is.
So, no, I am not apologizing, I have to nothing to say and analyse on a procedural level about my actions. I refuse the charges exactly because I refuse civil legality. I refuse to legitimize your role and your justice which is driven and instructed by those governing.
I therefore do not hope for your leniency, I will not bend before the threat of your laws and the many years of prison that await me, even in the worst of conditions that your state reserves for those who refuse to bow their head. These new prisons called “C- Type prisons”. I am here to highlight the characteristics of my choices and exacerbate the dispute between us. You, a part of the judicial authority, and me, a part of the anarchist struggle. And when I say “you”, I do not mean just you specifically, but all the people who hold positions of authority. It is a dispute that escapes the narrow frames of a inter-personal clash, it is a class and social war that spreads in the space-time continuum, it finds its roots in the initial forms of capitalism and the relations of exploitation and authority which for centuries now have defined the human race.
Therefore, although I am an anarchist and I do not recognize any court as competent to judge my choices, I cannot ignore the authority of this mechanism and not illustrate the perception and interpretation of the laws and justice. I cannot remain silent before this covered up firing squad and bow my head in fear that my turn has come.
I consider it therefore my obligation to bring the revolutionary counter-argument against the monolithic judicial authority, against the silence you are trying to enforce.
To take things in order, I am in a special room, inside a special court, I am tried under a special law and the future foresees special detention conditions for me, my comrades and any troublemakers that bother the smooth operations of this whole system.
Special categories of people amidst a mass of identical, docile and subjugated citizens, this is an easier way to interpret this whole intentional differentiation. On the other hand, all we have to do is see the role and use of the laws and justice, to fully interpret the reasons behind this intention.
Justice is by definition a form of social control, a way to conserve obedience and compliance in society through a system of rules that define what can happen and what not, what remains in the frames of systemically acceptable and what is out of this norm.
The state of justice that you claim, enforces the terms of subjugation in a system of exploitation and wretchedness. “Justice” is fair therefore, because it’s obeyed, but what happens with those who refuse to comply, those who deviate and escape the predefined social behaviours?
“Law and Order”, the dogma that covers the gap, securing the maintenance of civil legality with stricter laws, exterminating sentences and rigorous oppression.
Thus, the state enlists the judicial authority in order to stomp out any deviating behaviour, to maintain social and political stability.
Allegedly expressing the interests of society, basically however forcing the citizens to follow the laws, giving thus, indirectly the monopoly of violence to the state mechanism. Since the one who receives the state violence cannot and is impossible to respond with the adequate counter-violence, but only accepts the authority of the state and the enforcing of laws for the “common good” with docility.
A precondition of capitalist-political stability is the legalization of the system and the violence it produces, and of course, the custodians could not be any other than the judicial authority, which is called to “cover” all the structural unbalances of the system, so it does not collapse socially and economically.
Always, of course, executing the governmental orders and operating invariably in favour of the state interests. The ability of multiple interpretations of the law by the judges is the back door which always remains open for the ruling class to intervene and guide the juridical authority. Their role (your role) could be no other than the safekeeping of the economic and political elite, the criteria on which justice is served are deeply class orientated and therefore your violence is aimed at outlaws, poor-devils, immigrants and of course those who factually dispute your authority. On the other hand, the flexibility of your laws runs out in the cases of major criminals, just like in the recent case of Thessalonikis’ Mayor Papageorgopoulos, who although was sentenced to life in first instance for embezzling 17,9 million euros, after a year, the sentence is “broken” down to 12 years. Since probably, the 17.9m this gentleman took from the citizens of this country is a crime of a much smaller scale compared to immigrants, who for petty theft get 14-15 year sentences. And I cannot but mention another example of how extremely guided and class orientated your justice is. Of course, I am talking of the decision of the Mixed Sworn court of Patras which acquitted two of the four accused for the case of the shootings in Manolada. Where 35 immigrants were shot for demanding their wages.
Truthfully, what kind of society do you envision and what common good do you defend?
What is the social gain and the values you propose?
You envision a society in the dark, the whole of it frightened, where it will passively accept the violence of the state and capital, and you are accountable for this.
Who was convicted for the millions of euros the political authority has been robbing the public money of all these years?
Who was convicted for the thousands that were led to suicide because of the economic crisis?
Who was convicted for the uncountable (allegedly “isolated”) incidents of torture in the police stations?
Of course, I am not saying that you are not doing your job well, quite the opposite! This is your job, to cover up the daily crimes of the state. Even here, inside this room we saw numerous cops, who in a glaringly and excess tenacity covered for their colleagues from Veria police station for the torturing that took place inside there. The oxymoron of the case however is not the cover up by the side of authority, but the way torture is presented as the natural follow up of this application of authority.
Besides, the publication of our pictures served this exact target: on the one side the ethical legitimization of torture and on the other, the diffusing of fear through setting an example for all those who chose to attack the system and its structures.
We are talking of an “aponeurosis” of society in its entirety, an attempt to vanish and assimilate any reflexes it has left.
In the most blunt way, state and government form the terms of their enforcement, through extreme fascist legislations and special acts of legislative content. The most recent of example is the C-Type prisons legislation, the legalization that is, of special detention conditions, a permanent torture that restructures the correctional system on the standards of generalized oppression ordered by foreign and domestic capital, the biggest and best organized terrorist organization.
To make a synopsis, your intention to serve justice is exhausted in the maintaining of political stability and the class divisions which are lawfully created by the capitalist system.
But, since we are talking of terrorism, lets go on to the charges this court of yours attributes to me.
First of all, the terrorist organization one, article 187A of the penal code, or “the commission of certain offenses in a manner or to an extent or in circumstances which may seriously damage a country or an international organization with a view to seriously intimidate a population or compel an illegal public authority or an international organization to perform any act or to refrain from this or seriously damage or destroy the fundamental constitutional policies, economic structures of a country or an international organization”.
It is important to see this legal characterization and mainly what the law seeks in its entirety.
Firstly, 187A is basically an idiom, an upgrade of 187, concerning criminal organizations. The nature of the law contains a very important duality, not so much from a legal-technical point of view -which does not concern me anyway- as much as at a level of political feasibility.
In a nutshell, the judicial authority, in cooperation with the state and government, follow the wild dogma of neo-liberalism inspired by Margaret Thatcher, that “there are no more classes, only individuals”. Thus, there is no battle of classes, therefore no political crime, since the state and ruling class define the means and limits of political confrontation in the frames of legality. Authority therefore, cannot be disputed.
Because, obviously, this demotion or to be exact the equation of political crime with common crime means the penalization of every form of resistance, let alone when this is carried out with the use of violence.
We have therefore an idiom, which beyond discrediting the political characteristics of every act, it aims also to make every form of resistance vanish. An umbrella law whose range is constantly widening and recently we even saw a whole village in Skouries [against gold mining] being prosecuted with the 187A, inaugurating the tactic of mass persecutions in the frames of a terrorist organization simply because these people resisted the expanding mania of capital.
And it is a natural follow up of the systemic crisis, that authority will channel the fear to the resisting part of society, characterizing more and more acts as terrorist, in the hope of maintaining the fragile balances of the capitalist system.
Simultaneously, in the last 5 years we see an upgrade of the oppressive policy. The persecutory authorities in Greece, following the ‘Marini’ dogma and having to deal with an anarchist movement constantly increasing in dynamics, sets up a series of prosecutions from 2009 when they found a bomb in a house in Halandri. Thus, a legitimate house was baptised a “lair” and a “fresh” tank of prosecutions was created. Any anarchists who had their prints in this house were (and probably remain) possible terrorists, a theorem which the prosecutor in the trial for comrades Sarafoudis and Naxakis took a step further, claiming that it is enough to be an anarchist in order to also be a member of the CCF.
Using therefore the prosecution formula, the persecutory authorities loaded us with indictments seeking our lengthy imprisonment and exemplary punishment.
Your fairytale is nice, but the only terrorists are the state and capital. Historically, from the first appearance of terrorism as a political analysis, this identified itself with state violence.
Terrorism, is transcendence through violence and terror. And those who rush to condemn violence no matter where it comes from surely cannot perceive (or it does not suit them to perceive) the unmistakeable difference between primary and secondary violence.
Let’s not fool ourselves, violence defines this system, it exists on a daily level in the entire social web. As long as there are people who live in cardboard boxes while others in luxury villas, there is violence. As long as there are people killed in labour accidents and a few get rich, there is violence. As long there is exploitation of humans by humans, there is violence.
Since forever, violence was a basic structural ingredient of the capitalist system, it reproduces it daily in various ways and has multiple receivers.
It is a fact however, that there is a primary violence applied from authority and is expressed in the most vicious way, systematically, through the economic bloodsucking of the largest part of society in order to feed the collapsing banking system with billions. Through labour, which instead of being a way for everyone to express their creativity and cover their needs, its more like a punishment, where people are forced to work like slaves in the modern galleys of capitalism, through the vicious oppression towards the struggling part of society, through the 1,5 million unemployed who are indirectly sentenced to a form of slow death.
There are hundreds of expressions of this violence -state terrorism- hundreds of examples also, and there is no reason to speak further about this. The issue is that from state terrorism -which claims the monopoly of violence- there erupts also the only just violence, revolutionary counter-violence. Because even if the world we are fighting for is that of non-violence, solidarity and freedom, we know very well that the privileged ones will not voluntarily give away their authority, without the use of violence.
Against violence, we promote violence, against power, power, at any cost. Even at the price of our own freedom or lives. In order to save our lives, we must be ready to lose it. Revolutionary violence, therefore, has nothing to do with the use of terror. Terror was, is, and will be, the tool of the ruling class in order to enforce itself.
The unmistakeable difference of revolutionary counter-violence from state terrorism is summarized in the words of Malatesta: “If, in order to win, we must set up guillotines in the squares, I would rather lose”. Despite this however, we are also a part of this corrupt and alienated world and we inevitably carry it with us, and we also carry the need for revolution. We fight for a free future which, for good or for bad, we can see only through the prism of the present. And in order to equip our struggle in the present, expropriation is a revolutionary necessity.
First of all, in order to liberate time from our lives, to not be trapped in the web of waged slavery.
But mainly, in order to fund the wider anarchist struggle in every aspect. And the anarchist struggle is a course towards the total emancipation of the human being. A course towards the destruction of every institution that cowers the human existence.
The expropriation of banks, was, is, and will remain, a diachronic choice of revolutionary movements, an act of revolt against the economic stronghold of capitalism. Of course, we do not delude ourselves that a robbery will damage the banks, let alone the banking system in its entirety.
Either way, it is a revolutionary act, a crack in the omnipotence of the state and capital. Not, of course, by definition revolutionary, but always connected with the subject that defines the specific characteristics of this act.
You speak of a robbery in the frames of a terrorist organization, let me clarify, therefore, that I was never a member of an organization, but only an anarchist.
As an anarchist, I carried out the robbery and therefore it was a conscious act of resistance, a necessary means for the self-funding of my life and the struggle. A choice that I would make again and still support, since the reasons and motives that led me to this choice is the nature of capitalism, the relations of exploitation and oppression.
And of course, when we speak of a robbery in the context of the anarchist struggle, we speak of specific targeting and specific characteristics during this. For example, our target could not be the 44,3% of the population of the country that owes to banks and is led to forced liquidations in order to survive and not have their house repossessed.
We, contrary to the state mechanism, do not “tax” the lower social classes, the poor and unemployed, those who have nothing. We expropriate the places where state money is over-accumulated (and not only), we target those who steal 37,7 billion euros from society in order to “rescue” the banking system.
We target that 5% of the major families in Greece, who for years now have been oppressing the lower social layers of the country.
When we choose a robbery therefore, we choose a revolutionary means, an act of struggle, and like every revolutionary action, it is organized and executed based on the ethics of the subject. An ethic completely different from what the system enforces. An ethic in the frames of anarchist propositions.
Thus, exactly because our targeting is specific, just like our aims, we choose to arm ourselves and defend our freedom, tackle the armed and ruthless guards of capital, deputies of order and security.
Of course, as anarchists we are completely against the state perception of “collateral damage”. This is a term used by dominance to cover up its most hideous and repulsive crimes. Thus, for us during a robbery the weapons are not pointing at everyone, they aim at the expropriation of the money and the necessary enforcement demanded by our act. Despite all this, the same does not go for those who aim at depriving us of our freedom.
In this case we found ourselves in a peculiar situation during our pursuit. Our choice to steal the vehicle of a random driver who we found in our path added a factor beyond us.
We chose to stop the driver from calling the cops to report the stolen car and the only way was to take him with us for the time it took for our comrades to escape.
The dilemma we found ourselves in when the chase started was answered by us exclusively and definitely not guided by an uncritical humanism, but our own personal code of values. Therefore there was no disarming by the cops, I will not give them the pleasure to raise the work of the police once again. Whatever happened was clearly our choice, a decision of disengagement, based on our own criteria, considering all the factors that have come up.
You believe therefore that those choices are in the jurisdiction of a court to judge, evaluate or even stand objectively across them? Of course not, exactly because they are choices that consist a wider struggle, which we are up against. And I am speaking of the totality of the choices, not only the moment of pursuit.
A lot was said during this trial and you many times attempted to present a more “democratic” façade that gives room to the pluralism of opinions, that you allegedly comprehend what we stand for and promote.
Or, that you do not execute orders, that you are not the representative executioners of the system. That the decisions are not preordained and that your job is to apply the “letter of the law”. Truthfully though, where exactly do you apply the “letter of the law” since no law has a one and sole evident meaning?
Substantially therefore, there is almost no case of derogation of the judicial authority from the state policy. Even in the cases where the “human factor” prevails, or in a case where because of some judicial activism, either the initiative will be assimilated by the system itself, or the aim of the judicial activism will be the change of the state policy and not the opposition to the state mechanism.
Moreover, your direct implication in this consciously bonds you at a policy level also. Something that obviously cannot be hidden, comes to the surface when the stability and the democratic façade of the system is threatened. As for example, the exemplary devotion of the “chairman” to systematically dictate the answers to the cops aimed at taking them out of the tough position of exposing their colleagues.
You are accomplices therefore, in the numerous crimes of state terrorism, you share responsibility for the desperate situation we experience every day. Devoted defenders of a system of exploitation and decadence.
Murderers, with their hands soaked in the blood of all the free and disobedient moments. Branches of the “tree” of authority and corruption, you are obliged to wash off the blood in order to ease your conscience.
But, the vanity of your existence enforces more blood to wash off the previous one. And of course, an alleged lenience does not clash with your repulsive role. Our secured convictions and many indictments they have loaded us with leave you room for democratic “sensitivities”.
The state of emergency we are experiencing is based on the hypnosis of society, it continues to exist as long as fear prevails over militancy.
State and capital demand passivity, the only way to survive without becoming the target of vicious oppression is to simply close your eyes and let your life go, let History be written without affecting it the slightest.
A hibernation in a deep and endless “winter”. The “winter” of authority and exploitation. The “winter” of terror, violence, state, forces of oppression, laws, judges and capitalism.
And still, in this constant “winter” there are some who, defying the darkness of the times and the undoubted superior weapons of the system, fight for tomorrow’s “spring”. They carry with them the insistence of spring that always wins in the battle with winter. All these people were guided by a common thing, they were never satisfied with what was given to them allegedly open handed.
They collectivize against the ethical dictations of the time and make the step towards the impossible. The step towards the unknown, but simultaneously exciting, exactly because it’s unknown.
They threw themselves into the struggle first of all to change themselves, but also in the hope of diffusing the struggle in the whole of society.
It is all those people who refused the enforcement of authority and exploitation, which over time have fought giving even their lives for the dream of revolution.
People who fell in love with the Idea of subversion and the need for the destruction of the civilization of fortified misery.
Fortified behind the moments of oppression, behind the diffused fear, behind the continuous “murders” of disobedient desires.
A journey has started centuries ago, a path stepped on by hundreds of people in the course of History. A course towards the total emancipation of the human being. A course towards Utopia, towards freedom and anarchy.
And every step towards this direction -small or big- carries the weight of the history of all these people. Every step is a moment of struggle in the path for revolution.
We in turn give the promise that we will never betray the struggle, we will never forget the beauty of this journey.
I declare therefore to be an unrepentant anarchist, a part of a struggle that carries the special characteristics of each fighter, a multi-tendency struggle but with the same target, the revolution.
And if one thing is sure, it is that nothing is over, now more than ever we must continue to intensify our struggle, and be the revolutionary prospect for the final overcoming of capitalism.
EVERYTHING FOR FREEDOM, UNTIL THE REVOLUTION AND ANARCHY
Write to Andreas-Dimitris:
Dikastiki Filaki A’Pteriga
This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 3:22 pm and is filed under Prison Struggle.