On Anarchy and its Spectators, from the Occupation of Exarcheia
Much has been lost within the stream of content piling from Exarcheia and its defenders this past week. A constant barrage of images and text connected but impossible to arrange into simple stories for the curious. For those who resist, there was and never will be a question of clarity. These images complete the gaps between passive and aggressive. Between creeping and totality. Where the naked hatred polite society has for its devils is placed on a pedestal as a beacon of order. They gather around its warmth to feel the comfort of authority.
For anarchists, we only need history and experience to understand the conditions normality needs to function. We know that the uniform and gun is a symbol of authority for the uneasy masses that will often choose death over resistance, comfort rather than freedom. As anarchists we desire freedom! Our enemy authority, waits to emerge as our existence becomes unmanageable. And as the world moves into disorder, Exarcheia, a symbol of possibility for us turns to barricades for them.
Time may bring justice or at least an ounce of truth but within the fog of war there are only sides. Individuals having never questioned the need to act against authority cannot contemplate the scope of our situation. Some see armed men surrounding a neighborhood, checking IDs and attacking crowds as brutal occupation, others as an unfortunate need for order. Even the progressive journalist immersed in the intelligentsia can only see "both sides." Where the rioter, an individual against order must be punished, and if this takes collateral damage, so be it. After all, who wouldn't want normality to be maintained?
Although that normality, is anything but maintained. For an entire decade the world has been experiencing continuing degradation of living conditions. The economic collapse of the credit system in 2007 has persisted into a consistent form of austerity for the entire planet. This system is unsustainable, kept barely alive by cash handouts from wealthy nations. The clock has stopped ticking.
The world is heading back into recession. We face catastrophe. Exarcheia is a neighborhood that promotes self organization against economic efficiency. It should be obvious why they face us, authority doesn't need complex reasons, just continuity. And now that their comfort begins to recede, Exarcheia and its inhabitants have been cast as the undesirable enemies of order. As anarchists, we never denied it! The threat of anarchy grows as their order becomes tenuous.
The collective enforcement of this order is obsessed with undesirables. The hatred of the individual is a condition for the totality of control. And within that condition exists a sliding scale of criminality. There should be no surprise regarding increasing attacks on any undesirable individual. Not much has ever separated those who burn people and those who enforce the law. They are usually the ones to order it! Knowledge and difference breed dissension against order. For them the devil is never just an idea. Whether it is women, students, refugees, potential anarchists or others, individuals are always the objects of cleansing.
And so we sit locked in our homes much of the day, traveling in groups looking over shoulders waiting for what may come. Many who have work or school outside the confines of the occupation are checked and stopped daily. Facing harassment is now part of leaving and entering the neighborhood. Of course for polite society, those desirable in the eye of the law may pass freely. Individuals marked otherwise dodge a watchful eye.
So war comes to the streets and fills our nights and with it the eye of the world seeks to understand its conditions. But there is no lens other than our ideal. And that ideal, anarchy, is the reason we still fight! It is through these battles that Exarcheia, now boiling with resistance will spread back outwards. The question is, can it be stopped? Can total occupation defeat an ideal, never the less a neighborhood and its history?
The state believes that through constant occupation and brutality Exarcheia will be bled out of its desire. Although this plan never took into account the condition that allowed them to begin the attack in the first place. The coming economic disaster! So we should ask, who will wither? Those who desire freedom at any cost or a government already experiencing deteriorating conditions that negate their own plan for the area? How many more will we be in a month or year during a new crisis? Even if they take the occupations and beat and arrest hundreds what will become of their plans when the world itself falls into question?
The Future is Unwritten.
For Freedom, For Exarcheia.
September 2 2019