Greece: Public Statement of fugitive anarchist comrade Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis
Since Saturday 9th of November, following the police raid at a man’s home, which has been his declared residence for many years, this man and one more, a persecuted fighter and political prisoner in the past, have been incarcerated in the cells of the Greek state, facing heavy charges. The regime’s propaganda media, which take on the job of spreading the scenarios of the repression mechanisms, portray the two arrested as well as myself as members of the armed organization Revolutionary Self Defense, who have been preparing, according to the suspicions of the “counter”-terrorist agency, new attacks. Starting from these arrests and with the added excuse of the search for me, the state has unleashed a mass operation of terrorism against anarchists and the wider social movement. Such efforts, which are pillars of the timeless counter-revolutionary strategy of the rulers, have been dealt with several times by the movement, by its stamina, its broad solidarity and by continuing and intensifying the struggle. Being at the epicenter of this operation I ought to make a public statement about my political stance and the characteristics of the regime’s current aggression that is directed against society and the movement.
In addition, the condition of the two imprisoned persons (who are now political prisoners since they are persecuted in the framework of such an operation), my personal responsibilities, and justice urge me to speak publicly about the real background of the facts.
By definition, an organization of armed resistance needs arms. However, the weapons by themselves do not constitute an organization. Even a weapon that has been identified as a tool of a specific organization and which, as such, carries a symbolic value on top of the practical capacity of every weapon, is not sufficient, by itself, to maintain an organization of political activity. Rather, what is necessary is a collective body that carries on the public presence of the organization through its deeds.
It is an objective fact that the organization Revolutionary Self Defense has been inactive for years. By reading its public texts and particularly its specific political goals, one comes to the undoubted conclusion that for a long period the particular organization has abandoned its field of struggle. For sure, there has not been a lack of occasions to act. The capitalist aggression has been ceaselessly intensified, by all governments. The subordinate classes are sucked dry for the sake of the banking system for over a decade. Killings continue at the hands of state murderers and bosses. Just like the police murders of Zak Kostopoulos and Ebuka Mamasubek, or the indirect killings of prisoners in the prisons and of migrants at the borders and in the concentration camps. Squats, which comprise the open bases of the anti-capitalist movement, spaces in which the world of solidarity, equality and freedom is built here and now, are receiving one attack after the next from the beginning of the SYRIZA government until today. Throughout the globe, the oppressed are revolting and fighting, having to face the murderous counter revolutionary state mechanisms. In Latin America, anarchists and indigenous peoples are abducted and executed by order of multinational companies.
For many years now, the increasing state violence has not found against it the organization Revolutionary Self Defense. There is nothing to indicate the the Revolutionary Self Defense continued to exist as an organization. The amount and variety of objects that the repression mechanisms discovered by chance on the 9th of November, are not sufficient, without the presence of politically targeted actions, to constitute an organization, neither can they prove that a preparation for specific acts was underway. Besides, the description given by the ‘counter’ terrorist agency itself, the hasty transfer of the supposed infrastructure to a legal house due to the possible recognition of one person, when this legal house might have already been exposed, does not correspond to the care, security measures and meticulousness that characterize an organization. And certainly no organization would plan a minor robbery next to a house where, according to the scenarios of the ‘counter’ terrorists, the said organization maintained some activity.
Certainly someone has the responsibility for the possession of these objects. It is exclusively I who took the decision and the practical responsibility to keep these objects, knowing what I had in my possession. It was a personal political decision for the safekeeping of the history of social resistance and the contribution to the needs of defense of the social struggles whenever that would become necessary and feasible, in the midst of the raw murderous attack that is endlessly inflicted on the exploited, the excluded and the movements. The tools of resistance, even in times of retreat, decay, fragmentation and stagnation, cannot be surrendered, neither thrown into the ocean. Someone must take on this duty. At this time, it was I, exclusively, who took on such a duty for keeping various material which came to my possession. Such is my political perception and ethics.
From the position of someone who took the responsibility of keeping a weapon flag of a resistance organization, I inform the movement that Revolutionary Self Defense had ceased to exist as a political body, organizational structure and practical activity already from 2017. It is not my place to personally speak about the presence and end of the particular organization. As to its actions, its public texts speak for themselves. As to the history of its construction, its development and its conclusion, this is a political discussion that belongs to the resistance movement and particularly those who will continue the armed struggle. Certainly, this discussion cannot take place within the context of the scenarios created by repression.
The person in whose house the aforementioned weapons and other material were found, had no political commitment nor any relation to previous or future illegal political activities. His involvement is tragic. He is a personal friend who accepted to help in a difficult moment. After taking me in, he accepted as an unavoidable necessity due to my difficult situation, without any gain, instead only taking great risk, to temporarily transfer my things to his house, without knowing the exact content of the luggage. All the material was transferred by my own initiative to his house after my injury, because it is where I found myself and where I received this inestimable solidarity towards a wounded person by a friend who was from then on persecuted. Unfortunately I did not achieve to disentangle in time, the person who risked his freedom for me.
The other person, the comrade former political prisoner, also did not know what had been transferred to the house of my friend. Neither of them, nor anyone else was aware nor bears any responsibility for any of the objects in my keep, for their origin, or for the political history of a particular weapon which had been used by an armed resistance organization. Had there been even one person who shared with me the responsibility of the material that I was storing, even more so, had there been an organization, there would be no need to transfer all that to the house of the person where I went to seek medical care.
Especially regarding the situation that my friend is now facing, from mistakes that were not his, I bear a personal burden. My choice to transfer the material that I was storing, implicated, in the hands of repression, persons who had neither knowledge not responsibility, and moreover it worsened my own position in the face of counter revolutionary repression, by providing the organs of repression with an excuse to concoct scenarios about an organization. It is a dirty tactic for the state to invest politically on such a condition.
The sole ‘mistake’ of the person who hosted me was his friendly devotion. The one who had the most pure intention to protect a friend despite the risks should not be written off by the movement. On the contrary, he is an example of social solidarity, and those who sense this should support him.
The repression mechanisms, aware of the difficulty entailed in finding evidence for participation in an armed resistance organization which remains inactive and without any event to suggest that preparatory actions were taking place, are attempting to create scenarios of planned future attacks. But their efforts are tenuous to such a degree that they must resort to the most ridiculous propaganda in order to create a climate. They reached the point of supplying the journalist mouthpieces with the ‘information’ that the last time I signed on at the local police station, I was aggressive and I threatened the police officers! This is how armed attacks are prepared! A supposed member of a clandestine political organization, during the preparation of an armed attack, addresses a personal warning! Who is convinced by such an incredible narrative?
However, these soap-opera scenarios are not at all funny. The profiling of an anarchist on the run as a person who is determined to shoot at any moment, while it holds no reasonable ground, creates the foundation for a potential execution as a normal and preemptively legalized possibility. The ‘counter’ terrorist agency, its mouthpieces and their political supervisors are pushing the organs of repression towards a political execution and they take on this responsibility in advance.
This obvious, unfounded attempt of the state to portray the arrested persons along with me as an armed political organization is an expression of historical revisionism. Despite the fact the the Revolutionary Self Defense has not given signs of its existence for a significant period, the persecutors eagerly want to show their might over the past, now that they got the opportunity, an opportunity which in no way was a product of their own labor. Because the legacies of resistance are dangerous symbols for the future. The political aim of authority is to project the ‘dismantling’ of a revolutionary organization that until today had not received any blow, but also to prolong the captivity of fighters who fall into their hands for as long as possible.
The current juncture makes it all the more urgent for the state to fill us with awe about its military and judicial power, to immobilize those who resist, to disarm the social movement, to prevent the emergence of new collective structures of combative struggle. It is the time when murderers like those of Zak and Ebuka, do not get identified, although those who are politically responsible are known, but also a time when the identified and known murderers of Alexis Grigoropoulos walk free. It is the time when, at the same time as the islamic fascist Erdogan accuses the christian fascist greek state for armed attacks against migrants in the Aegean sea, the greek government advertises such attacks. It is the moment when the anniversary of the revolt of ‘73 is celebrated by the junta agents, by military occupation of universities and neighborhoods, by beatings on camera, mass arrests, lectures at the schools and announcements on the media. As if they are saying: “Don’t fool yourselves! Back then, it was us who won!”
Consequently, what comes to supplement the political target of the ‘success’ against an armed organization, is the revisionism against a former political prisoner, who had been accused of participation in another revolutionary organization, the Revolutionary Struggle, an organization with great history and active prisoners today. All the fighters who have been at any point held captive, remain for ever hostages. This is part of the counter revolutionary strategy of the state that seeks ways to crush those who do not give up the struggle.
The worst, the most immoral and antisocial practice that the state chose in order to blackmail me, was the arrest and prosecution of my partner and the detachment of our child from her parents, even if it was for three days, even just as a threat. This is shameless hypocrisy. The comrade was found captive and charged with possession of weapons, because “knives were found” in our home (I am guessing they are referring to tools for outdoors activities that were in storage). These same tools were inspected by the state security police that had searched my house, with the presence of a public prosecutor on the 26th of August, after the first invasions against squats by the new government. Back then these were not deemed as weapons. Now, given the recent search and my recent flight, who can believe the scenario that there were weapons in this house? What else can the persecutors invent in order to press me and my social environment?
Such practice are not new. There is a long history of extortionate prosecutions against family members. The intimidation and break up of families is a historical legacy of greek fascism. From the civil war until today. A recent characteristic example was the abduction of the child of anarchist prisoners and members of Revolutionary Struggle, Pola Roupa and Nikos Maziotis, an event worthy of the mass kidnapping of children in the times of queen frederice.
Of course, the mass house searches that followed the two arrests, and which are still going on, are an expression of this same totalitarian terrorism. Aside from my social environment, an entire political scene of resistance is at the target of terrorist operations. The fascist service minister of Novartis who got a visit from anarchist comrades who threw fliers outside his house, is reporting the ‘violation of the family sanctuary’, while the state is invading dozens of homes and abducting comrade fighters. Can the hunt for one person give an alibi for the invasion into the social life, for the abductions, the threats and prosecutions of the many? Nazis have also passed through here. The entire village up against the wall. Since then, their methodology remains.
It is in this same context that the media make references to GARE squat. This is an upgraded criminalization of the social movement. I remind that GARE squat has got raided by the police three times. The first one took place in November ‘17, shortly after the last political action of the organization Revolutionary Self-Defense and the next one in February ‘18, along with two other squats that were raided.
At this point I ought to comment on the reemergence of the umbrella accusation regarding the ‘revolutionary fund’. This is a charge that has been invented in the recent past in order to put different court cases in the same bag, to blend together political actions and organizations with activities of private interest, and to burden persecuted fighters with extra charges and more years in prison. In our case, this is yet another cherry on top of the scenario about the ‘dismantling’ of a revolutionary organization.
On the occasion of this comment about the appropriation in a casino store of OPAP in Cholargos area in Athens, I must declare that I injured myself. Besides, it is clear from the video footage that the gun was passed to my hands, something that would not have been done had I already suffered an injury. The responsibility of this clumsy handling is exclusively mine. The scenario that one injured the other aims at bolstering the charges and at sowing mistrust among fighters. And certainly, there is nothing that connects the comrade V. Stathopoulos with the robbery.
The repression mechanisms seized an opportunity that was given to them unexpectedly. However, a new operation of political annihilation of fighters and more broadly of the social and anarchist movement had began already from the first days of the far right government. Aside from the general legal and executive measures (abolition of university asylum, new penal codes, squat evictions, repression and arrest at mobilizations, military occupation in Exarchia and the center of Athens, prosecutions and detentions without any pretexts, lengthening of prison sentences for political prisoners), there has been a series of personalized attacks. I had made a public statement directly after the threat I officially received by the security police and prosecutor on the 26th of August, that they would pin on me, at given chance, ‘drugs and weapons’. Since then, they have not ceased to send me the message that any time now ‘my turn is coming up’. Clearly, these threats were not about the objects that were found now, and about which had the ‘anti’ terrorist agency known anything, they would have acted immediately. It was a political directive.
The state does not hesitate to implement paramilitary methods. They will do anything on order to crush resistance, to immediately crack down a coming insurrection, to not let any roots for revolutionary prospects. The deepening of the generalized capitalist attack is the condition that leads to the unleashing of repression. In these circumstances, it is to be expected that the repression mechanisms will try to construct a ‘dismantled’ organization, using whatever they can to make their concocted connections.
This same condition pushes fighters into clandestinity. Vis a vis the onslaught of the regime’s fascism, maintaining the capacity for combative resistance, despite the weaknesses and mistakes of my own effort, is an expression of prudence.
Clearly, mistakes were made that became gifts for the vultures of repression. Independently of the details, I personally have the political responsibility for all the mistakes made since the event of my injury, because it was I alone who knew all the risks involved. An analytical self critique will take place publicly in the movement in due time. Anyway, the scenario of the all-mighty state that has everyone trapped from the outset, and which attacks when the ‘bad’ ones make a move, is unreal and should not be believed. It is a scenario that serves arbitrary charges, sweeping prosecutions and generalized intimidation.
We are facing an oligarchic system that is moving steadily towards the final pillage. Fascism is unfolding bare of any pretenses. If we do not hold high the flag of freedom and solidarity, everything will be left to the corruption and the looting that begins from the top of the capitalist pyramid. We bear a responsibility for the world we create for the children of this earth. Anarchists have, throughout their history, been at the first line of social resistance. And this is how we should remain. For the only purpose that unites mankind.
For the social revolution that will abolish exploitation and the cannibalistic bourgeois civilization, for a world where people will sacrifice themselves for each other.
The battles at the rear front that we have given in the greek territory these past eight years are lit up by the insurgents of the planet who do not retreat in the face of the murderous forces of the states, like today in Chile, in Iraq and Iran, even in France, always in Palestine and in India,
They are lit up by the new zapatista communities in Chiapas,
They are lit up by the thousands of martyrs of the con-federalist social resistance in North Syria, in Bakur, in Bashur and Rojilat, by the locals and solidarian internationalists who defended Serecane against islamic fascists, supported by all the imperialist states, and who departed free with their guns held high.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 at 3:44 pm and is filed under Prison Struggle.