Athens. Greece. At two thousand kilometres distance. A nearly bankrupted Greek state and an economy that doesn’t function anymore. On the advice of the European Union, the ruling socialist party calls for a series of economic measures and restructurings. The ministers swear it will take “blood, sweat and tears”, but “it’s the only option”. Roads, harbours, airports, borders, factories, railroads,… have frequently been blocked since January, blocked by those who know they’re the ones who’ll pay the price. Manifestations follow each other up and not a single politician seems capable of calming down and canalising the protest. Heavy rioting with the riot police frequently occurs and hundreds of destructive acts, arsons and bomb attacks point their destructive energy towards the state structures and the economy, towards all expressions of the authority.
“Blood, sweat and tears”. While the police wades into the demonstrators in an increasingly violent way, at every assembly, breaking the bones and arms of hundreds of people, deadly blood is drawn at the daybreak of the 12th of March 2010. A police patrol catches two anarchist comrades stealing a car. After a gunfight, one comrade manages to escape, while the other one, Lambros Fountas, is deadly injured. Critically wounded, he still tries to escape, but gets caught up by the police and bleeds to death in front of their eyes. Lambros Fountas had the age of 35 and was since years fighting in the struggle against all forms of authority, alone or with a few comrades as well as at the sight of other oppressed and rebels. He was fighting with all weapons he thought useful: with pen and paper, stone and fire, barricades and manifestations, guns and grenades. Revolt was the rhythm of his breath, as it was freedom that made his heart bounce. That is why we will not forget him, even if we might not have known him. That is why his death can only fasten our breathing, gasping for life, clearing a path towards freedom by insurrection.
Mountain massifs and big rivers, extensive plains and the parched earth of ex-Yugoslavia separate us from Greece. But everywhere in Europe and here in Belgium as well, the states sense that something’s up. Do they feel that it might, that it is possible their citizens all of a sudden throw off the yoke of their resignation and stop accepting? Everywhere it is becoming clear that more and more people will get thrown overboard. It’s not a coincidence that the cops are now pulling the trigger over faster and in a more decided way, that a new closed centre is being built and 7 new prisons will be built. They are safeguarding themselves against the possibility of anger.
It could frighten us. Scared of prison, scared of getting beaten up by cops, scared of dying by the bullets of power, scared of loosing the little bit that’s still ours. However, at a certain moment you’ll have to confront the question: living a life on your knees, used and thrown away in function of the economy and control, squashed by social hierarchy, killed by endless waiting rows, the routine of food-work-sleep or… living a life in which your heartbeat of freedom makes you clash against all authority and makes your hands grab to all weapons in order to hit her.
Nothing is granted, everything is possible. The revolt which spreading more and more in Greece used to be almost unimaginable a few years before. Politicians and journalists no longer know which false talks to use in order to deafen her. Because the language of this revolt was not fabricated inside the belly of the state, but in the refusal of being dragged through the mire any longer. Let’s appropriate this language, let’s study her vocabulary and grammar, let’s use it to forge our own dialect.
It’s about time to alter the paralyzing attitude of concentrating too much on the ocean of submission and resignation. To no longer see this reality, this seemingly continuous repetition of always the same, as a horizon, but to look at what’s behind it, at the unforeseen possibilities.
Time to stir up some smouldering fires.
[Published in Hors Service, issue 3, 22 march 2010]