19 January 2010

Greek riots: "Democracy Shall Not Win"

In the so-called motherland of democracy, Greece, democracy has, once again, come under severe attack.

Youth riots and anarchist violence and bombings have been shaking the capital, Athens, for over a year. On 9 January 2010, a bomb exploded outside the building of the Greek Parliament. The attackers had warned the media of the imminent threat, so the area was cordoned off by police at the time. No injuries were reported.

The "Guerilla Group of Terrorists – Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire" took responsibility for the bombing in a communiqué titled "Democracy Shall Not Win" of which a translation in (bad) English has now become available at this link:


Excerpt: "If it sounds unthinkable in our days for anyone to speak against democracy without being labeled a conservative or a fascist, it is because propaganda resides in the houses and in the minds of [democracy's own] subjects. Democracy's totalitarianism has otherwise nothing to envy from previous totalitarian regimes. Nepotism, aristocracy, men of the court, favoured men, businessmen, mediators, contractors and publishers still rule social life, while down 'below' remain unjustly treated and at the same time, always willing to be 'fooled'.

"Society continues to passively tolerate them and wants to take their place at the same time. The ambitions of becoming easily rich, of spectacularly advancing to a higher social class, of having a career, accumulating property, securing material objects and double-locked doors is what democratic prosperity comes to promise. And so, the willful subjects surrender to the totalitarianism of capitalist sovereignty placed against a democratic background. The exploitation of our labour and our lives intensifies, social disparities grow, the world's police become militarised, spectacle rules – material, and at times intellectual and emotional decadence becomes the choice of the many.

"Most of this is not new. This has been, more or less, the state of social life under any authority. Yet today, democracy sugars the pill. Democracy is the coup d'etat that doesn't bring tanks out on the streets but TV cameras and reporter microphones instead. Democracy rules with the power of its propaganda. Labour is protected in the constitution as a supreme right, social disparities are the achievement of the free market and of competition, the police protect and serve the social demand for security, the spectacle protects the freedom of expression and your next-door neighbour might come to a plight, but it's not you, so why bother ...

"Democracy's new social contract is ratified across western capitals: in-between confiscated cars, endless queues forming outside social security services, the torturing take place inside police stations, new cell phone special offers, flat-screen TVs, unemployment benefits, psychological problems and loneliness, upsurges of nationalist pride and unpaid loan installments. And most importantly, non of this was forced upon anyone, nor was it carried by the order of some junta generals. These are 'the people's grand achievements'.

"This is why we claim that democracy is technique and the ability of power not to be understood as oppression. Capitalism is the boss and democracy is its spokesperson. We are not naive to believe that 'the chosen few' the people have elected are really in charge. They obviously comprise bearers of state orders, 'men and ladies of honor'. Most of them are not to be taken seriously anyway. Democracy's main role is to function as the smokescreen for the monstrous capitalist machine. It is the systemic shop-front, modeled upon the mafia economy. It 'launders dirty money', it keeps the 'profile clean', sees that everybody gets 'paid' (from those working in parking lots up to singers) it has an army of bouncers (from formal police force to para-state agents) and the clients (i.e. the proud people) always pay on time.

"It would be a mistake on our side if we did not at this point mention the upgraded role of journalists in these dealings. Nowadays, in the democracy of our time, the media have taken on the role of mediators traditionally reserved for political parties. [...] This is part of democracy's advanced communication strategy. It now becomes clear how politicians and journalists work side by side. Their rhetoric might seem differentiated on TV news and on talk shows, depending on who might be speaking and whose interests are served – however, they have one common direction: to justify and to defend democracy.

"All talks and disagreements end up there. In order to achieve this, they invent an imaginary dialogue between society and politicians, using journalists as mediators. This is why they use the truth of a democratic 'public opinion'. They construct the 'immovable' truth of a majority that nobody dares to question. The truth in opinion polls and numbers. This is how public opinion becomes a client of political parties and vice versa. This is how politicians and journalists shape social relationships, and transform them at will. At the same time, relationships change as opinion polls that supposedly derive from society eventually return and come to shape society through the spectacle. And so the people, just like consumers, are always right.

"In this odd clientelist relationship, democracy, allied with the media comes to shape social behaviours. Especially nowadays, the epidemic of fear is spreading. On the one hand are the American-fed employees of the ministry of police, with their imaginative statements and the 'leaked information' about ruthless terrorists, and on the other hand, the journalists' cutting headlines and stories on an 'upsurge of violence' and 'violence and insecurity'. In this way the squeeze and mix together different cases and contrastive incidents – bank robberies with pick-pocketing, arson attacks with mafia dealings, kidnappings of rich people with trafficking [...]

"In this way, the demand for security is restored and the ideology of terror is produced. We bring up these examples, because with them as a guide we can perceive a percentage of the operation of democracy. All the statements and announcements above are in reality not made in order to face the problem of 'criminality'. 'Criminality' partly serves certain state interests. The objective therefore is not exactly neither safety neither order, but their spectacular reflection. [...] Because in reality democracy is the spectacular reflection and the substitute of freedom. No freedom can exist for as long as democracy exists. [...]

"[W]e would never understand an axiom that invokes the 'objective' right of the many over the few. History has proven we should have no confidence in the opinion of the masses. The persons that willingly adopt for themselves the term of 'the people' and who speak as part of 'we the people, who pay for it all', abandon every creative self-confidence and let themselves drift in the fallacy of their leaders. This is the people. A noisy mass with lowered heads, incessant moaning, misery and crowd mentality that degrades life to repeated operations and sequences of rules. No good reason exists for us to respect its judgement and its choices. We wish for a world in which each one individually will undertake their responsibilities, will communicate their thoughts, exchange arguments, will have the courage of their opinion even if questioned by the majority, without hiding behind representatives and mediators.

"Voters in democracy are never satisfied with their lives and their environment. They always have a complaint about something, they exasperate, they are angry and protest – but every four years they wrap their conscience in a ballot and support, once again, the system. They postpone crucial decisions about their life until the next elections, believing as they do that someone more suitable, more correct and more fair than the previous one will come to power. They stubbornly refuse to admit that no one is more capable than themselves to manage their own life, as otherwise they would be confronted with the void of their life, the years of resignation, an entire life of captivity – and they would have to admit that they have been slaves. That they were victims of fallacy – and no one is ever willing to degrade themselves in this way, by admitting something like this.

"They prefer to always blame others, the incompetent politicians, the foreigners, the terrorists, everyone but themselves. No one offends his ego, even if for the rest time, they will let themselves be trampled by the system. For us however, the issue is the questioning and the rupture with any dominating system, never mind how liberal they may be presented to be. We understand that the power for the management of our lives lies within us – and the decision of how we shall live belongs to us. Which is something that the voter refuses to understand: the power of their self to exceed set barriers, the prohibitions, moral values, ideals and to define their Ego by themselves. [...]

"To begin to fight means to stop seeing yourself through the eyes of the system, to allow no more for yourself to be determined by coercions, to be freed from fear. [...] The conscience and the determination of certain persons to terminate the habit of survival are enough in order to pass from resistance to attack, to place the question of liberation – not in a vague future for the following generations, but in the permanent present; here and now, for their own selves – and this is how a guerrilla group is born. [...]

"[Parliament,] the temple of democracy, surrounded by the most cutting-edge systems of surveillance and a large number of policemen did not stand as an obstacle to our choice. The choice, that is, to offend this symbol, the prestige of democracy without any moral hesitation. Each place has its vulnerable point and the satisfaction of finding it will never cease. [...]

"To democracy we shall show no respect, only rage and attack."

One of the most sensible and clear-sighted indictments of democracy I have read. That is precisely why even bombs will not get it the attention it deserves.

The original communiqué, in Greek, was published here:


1 comment:

  1. Democracy is a self-supporting system that delegitimizes all criticisms of the system. In Bangladesh, we never had lynchings under military rule: now, around 80 occur every year.

    We have hartals where people are burnt to death: we live in terror of the government, the opposition and the mob that might lynch me on a mere suspicion.

    But none of this gets blamed on democracy, where two rival parties, headed by two queens their flunkies obey unconditionally, creates anarchy and violence.

    Anarchy and violence are themselves seen as legitimate aspects of democracy.