Monday, 22 December 2008
Anarchists, immigrants, hooligans, gypsies, the mad, the curious and the unbalanced
A little while ago, Hermes and I got into a debate with a couple of Greek revolutionaries regarding the philosophy of Cornelius Castoriadis and its implications for Hellenism. I wrote about the encounters here and here. Because it crossed my mind that those we were debating would be just the sort who would welcome and support the continuing Athens riots and protests, I checked out the blog they write for, Autonomy or Barbarism, and below is a translated extract from the last predictably ecstatic entry, eulogising the ‘struggle’ and urging its intensification.
‘The murder of Alexi by the cop Korkonea shocked us all. It was the pretext for the expression of all the discontent, outrage and fury that has been piling up. Anarchists, immigrants, students, pupils, leftists, hooligans, gypsies, the mad, the curious, the unbalanced – all came out on the streets. Individuals from all classes, from all social layers. From Ilion to Kifisia, from Grava to Arsakeio. Mostly youngsters, but older people too. A vague and confused but at the same time mass and widespread discontent hangs in the air, along with the tear gas of the riot police which tries to suffocate it. A loathing and rage for the cops, politicians and school, for the daily routine, for everything that until now constituted our everyday lives.
‘The slogan that unites all parts of the movement is «cops, pigs, murderers».’
So there we have it, from the horse’s mouth, those who would destroy Athens, whose ‘discontents and fury’ the Greek state and society are supposed to urgently address, are teenagers, anarchists, hooligans, immigrants, gypsies and the crazed, who are united by… what noble cause and vision? – hatred for the police.
I still find it hard to believe that non-citizens, demi-citizens and ‘other flotsam of society’ (Marx) are being allowed to so brazenly challenge the Greek state, which by not being able, for whatever reason, to crush the disturbances has revealed the full extent of Greek society’s sickness, not that the mob are a solution or a justified response to this sickness; they are in fact its most prevalent symptom.
And here’s a quote from WR Burnett’s crime novel, The Asphalt Jungle, which I’m currently reading, that ties in with the argument I tried to make in my post Castoriadis and Thucydides on the Greek riots about the need for social constraints to prevent a surfacing of man’s natural tendency to barbarism:
‘The worst police force in the world is better than no police force. And ours is far from the worst – no matter what you may believe. Take the police off the streets for forty-eight hours, and nobody would be safe, neither on the street, nor in his place of business, nor in his home. There wouldn’t be an easy moment for women or children. We’d be back in the jungle…’