No, I don’t mean the oportunists that destroyed and pillaged for fun or profit. I’m not about to equate anarchism with this sort of violence, since in my own way I am also an anarchist (of the individualist, free market or capitalist type, if you prefer) and since most of the greek people I know that call themselves anarchists are not the main kind of people that I saw doing the looting yesterday.
Let’s accept, for the sake of a “discussion” with greek left-leaning anarchists, that violence against public and private property (from trashbins to police cars and from newspapers stands to banks) is usefull as an attack on “the system”, sometime for symbolic reasons, sometime in order to force the authoritarians to display their authoritarian nature more evidently and other times as defence or revenge for state violence. This is a view many greek anarchists believe to some degree or another.
Taken the above for granted, I have a question to the real greek anarchists who participated in the demonstrations, people who know enough about the anarchist tradition. Apart from convincing people about the undesirability of the current status quo, what are you doing to convince people about the merits of an anarchist society, which presumably you (and me) are all pushing to achieve? Where is the efficient self-organization that can help the demonstration delivers on it’s goals? Where is an anarchist block, black block, or any other block for that matter, that will in effect channel the violent forces of the demonstration into concentrating on the police and other government organizations against which the block is supposedly struggling? Because the looting and destruction that was done yesterday, as I saw it first hand, was for fun and profit, not for demonstrating or fighting against authoritarianism in any of it’s forms.
The greek anti-authoritarian community has been loud in the past and the present but they have failed to follow with actions that can convince people both that, as a block, the anti-authoritarians are not to blame for the mindless violence of these days and, more importantly, that anti-authoritarian principles of organization can be applied and can provide what people today expect from the state. I, personally, am only consoled by the fact that at least the state is concurrently being discredited and so there will be more demand for security provided by market forces and with it a de facto erosion of the state.
On a side note, Asteris Masouras tweeted last night that he has
contempt for those who condemn the violent episodes from their couch and don’t try to make the demonstrations more massive and peacefull by their participation.
He has a point, people who believe in the demonstration’s peacefull purpose should do all they can to achieve that purpose. But I think he’s wrong to use the heavy word ‘contempt’ because there is no conclusive reason to believe that participation alone can bring about the desired outcome. It seems still that hundreds and thousands who wish the same thing, a massive and peacefull rally, are unable to produce it by their participation only and even when many of them are already organized by their political affiliations. I don’t care if the parliamentary parties that were represented in the demonstration were not able or willing to push the demonstration towards better directions, what I care about is that the riots discredit the anti-authoritarian movement and that the people that identify more or less with this movement have done nothing to prevent that. It seems that when the push comes to shove they don’t deem their principles worthy of application. On the other hand, my individualist principles state that mindless participation and herd-mentality cannot by themselves serve any meaningfull purpose. People need organization at a lower level first (starting at the personal) and then they can go out and demonstrate massively. Otherwise chaos will insue.