New letter from Panayiotis Masouras
From Presxs A La Kalle! (September/October 2010):
On August 31, the final appeal hearing for comrades Panayiotis “Takis” Masouras and Harilaos “Haris” Hatzimichelakis was held in Athens. Their lawyers’ request that our comrades be released on probation was unanimously rejected. About 50 people gathered in front of the courthouse to show solidarity. According to the lawyers’ estimates, the trial of both comrades (imprisoned since September 2009), as well as that of Konstantina Karakatsani (at large since September 2009 and arrested in April 2010), will take place in November. All three are accused of participating in the Fire Cells Conspiracy.
Silence will be a thing of the past.
Prison, as an institution of correction and conformity, aims to set straight and bring reason to the stressed social group found within.
The goal of the systemic rule of the regime’s prison policy is to subjugate each individual’s spiritual, psychological, and physical desires and capabilities—individuals who, in accordance with the law, are isolated and marginalized by the regime’s machinery like so many cancerous tumors awaiting therapy. In the cells of democracy, jailers who are an extension of the disciplinary mechanism devote themselves to a shameless war against human decency and dignity. The disciplinary structures of Authority want us on our knees, cut off from all social contact, and mentally stagnant. Their objective is to defuse the struggle for freedom by attempting to confine the fight against power.
The imprisoned subject experiences a long-term internal war. It is a war of disciplinary punishments (which constitute a punishment within a punishment), new sentences received while one is already inside, suspended leave, bigmouth prosecutors, the permanent degradation of human integrity itself, and miserable and inhumane prison conditions (regarding water, food, heat, overcrowding, and a lack of medical care and medicine). It doesn’t require complex deduction to realize that someone who finally leaves the regime’s crematoriums in one piece would mistake the misery on the outside for opulence.
The subject herself rejects the idea that the act of individual self-realization can bring about change. Each prisoner has to escape the one-dimensional viewpoint generated by the System’s channels of information and realize that the possibilities of restraining the jailer of her soul are infinite. She has to reflect on the possibility that the bottomless abyss of misery engulfing the human beings around her might pose the fundamental question on insurrectional terms, through the search for and discovery of the limitless potentialities within each one of us.
In the world of the powerful, in the world of global capitalism, nothing is ever given away. The duty of the capitalist elite is to propagate acceptance and fatalism, which in turn breed inertia.
The duty of prisoners is to see themselves essentially as prisoners of war, with all the responsibilities, obligations, and expectations entailed by that step toward direct confrontation with Authority.
We ourselves must be the change we want to see. Everything we’ve achieved has been claimed with blood, struggle, and armed desire.
Our plans to oppose the politics of annihilation must consist of disciplined, combative structures formed by the captives themselves. Those of us “inside” and “outside” the walls will fight Authority’s information system, which classifies us as “long-term criminals.” We will thus establish an authentic connection between the discourse and practice of struggle—the struggle of dignity against submission.
With our heads high and our necks straight, we will claim freedom.
The act of continuing to live with pride despite being “behind” bars makes the concrete walls invisible. It makes them invisible because we are transparent. It makes them invisible because we are Fighters and we dare. And when the walls are nonexistent, our strength sings the songs of victory.
“Inside” and “outside,” we’ll form a fist to break their teeth.
Long live human dignity and the passion for freedom.
Our struggle is the fertile terrain of the past, the blank pages of the present, and the promises of the future.
Fire to the prisons.
Solidarity with Captive Fighter Vangelis Pallis.
The blood each Fighter sheds is our blood too.
—Panayiotis Masouras, Avlona Special Detention Center for Minors, September 2010