We know that the process of planning and carrying out attacks changes our immediate social relations and our relation with our own sense of self and personal power, so that gradually our actions become bolder, wilder, harder to ignore. This process also changes the general atmosphere, creating an environment where more is possible because less is impossible.
Potent, passionate stuff from an Informal Anarchist Federation current out of the UK. Read it here.
For the first time in history, an informal organization—a federation of informal groups on a global level—has become flesh by bleeding and drawing blood.
This key document by certain Italian cells of the IAF/IRF has seemingly been given a further edit to make it more understandable in English. It is, of course, essential reading.
From Culmine (July 13, 2011):
On November 1, 2010, Panayiotis Argyrou was arrested in Athens alongside Gerasimos Tsakalos during the wave of incendiary package mailings initiated by the Fire Cells Conspiracy. Both comrades willingly admitted to their participation in the organization. Argyrou had been named in an October 2009 arrest warrant charging him with participation in the Fire Cells Conspiracy, and he was also awaiting trial for setting fire to a city bus.
On January 17, the first Fire Cells Conspiracy trial began—the so-called “Halandri case”—and Argyrou was one of the nine defendants. In protest against the trial conditions, he and three other defendants walked out of the courtroom at the end of January and never returned.
On July 19, the trial ended with the announcement of the verdicts and sentences. Argyrou was found guilty of forming a terrorist organization, manufacturing explosives, possessing explosives, and causing explosions at the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, the home of former Interior Vice-Minister Panayiotis Hinofotis, and the home of PASOK ministers Louka Katseli and Gerasimos Arsenis. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison out of a total combined sentence of 77 years.
About two weeks before the trial ended, he released the following public statement:
The following is the political statement I intended to make at the Fire Cells Conspiracy Revolutionary Organization trial that began on January 17, 2011. Due to the way things unfolded, I decided not to participate in the proceedings and was thus tried in absentia. Nevertheless, I am still releasing this statement because I believe that revolutionary discourse shouldn’t just be limited to courthouse interference. In addition, my abstention from the trial wasn’t a passive act of silence, but a form of political intervention against the measures imposed by the law on political prisoners and those who show solidarity with them.
I have been locked up for the past several months as a prisoner of revolutionary war—a war that seethes relentlessly; a war between revolutionary forces and the decrepit, criminal, authoritarian society we live in; a war that will continue to seethe as long as there are active revolutionaries full of hatred for this world, full of the raging desire for its destruction, full of the passion for freedom; a war that I myself chose to take part in on the side of rebellion against everything that enslaves our conscience and devastates the very foundation of our existence as individuals.
The modern, now global, authoritarian-capitalist structure has reached the heights of an absolutist reality we supposedly must accept. The almighty Western capitalist democracies are moving east and legitimizing their contemporary crusades as the “war on terror.”
They are strengthening their empires, condemning millions of people in the so-called third world to a life of barbaric misery. Those who manage to flee such conditions by immigrating are packed together in the ghettos and shantytowns of the Western metropolises, where they seek their fortunes in environments and situations that are often hostile and dangerous to them. Police repression and fascist violence, as well as the racism they suffer and the poverty they live in, usually lead them to violence—a violence directed mainly against other oppressed people, whether or not they happen to be immigrants. Protecting the capitalist prosperity and well-being of native populations requires the creation of the modern metropolis-fortress. The military-police complex is modernizing and evolving to provide order and security, confronting the violence that happens within the same social class—violence among the poor—as well as the always considerable threat of the internal enemy.
At the same time, capitalism is spawning different industries everywhere, thereby carrying out the most brutal attack ever on nature. Field by field, it is destroying the entire surface of the planet in order to benefit various corporations and satisfy the consumerist instincts that contemporary lifestyle has instilled in the civilized people of economically developed countries.
In such a climate, life assumes its emptiest dimension. The feast of capitalist promises, materialist euphoria, and consumerist happiness; the behaviors and roles imposed on us as truths; the lifestyle; the wage-slavery exalted by technocratic think tanks in order to keep our hearts content—these are the defining features of that life.
Even as a student I was against that life. I became politically active within the anarchist movement and then gradually entered the wider revolutionary milieu. At first I took part in the student protests of 2005–2006 and the accompanying confrontations and disturbances. Later on, as part of my personal trajectory of political evolution, I participated in most of the anarchist movement’s open initiatives, among which were assemblies and committees that coordinated solidarity actions for imprisoned comrades. The student marches of 2006–2007 and the fierce clashes that took place then were the catalysts that personally influenced me as well as numerous other comrades with whom I was fortunate to later share many moments of genuine comradeship.
Over the course of several months, riots and the subsequent attacks on state and capitalist targets created a permanent state of tension, fervor, and unrest. The occupied schools, the people standing guard to defend against fascist attacks, the expectations for the next march, the plans for confronting the pigs—all these things comprised, or better yet tended toward, an intensely insurrectional situation. However, it all ultimately came to an end, almost quietly. The thousands of students abandoned the streets, pacified that their diplomas and careers weren’t in jeopardy, while the political party dogs and the hard-line bureaucratic Left took stock of the struggle at the voting booths, as usual.
As a result of my participation in that movement, I realized that without individual conscience, without a clear orientation toward freedom and revolution, the masses could only offer seasonal fireworks instead of social explosions—simply creating a cloud of dust that, once it settled, was more likely to cause confusion and defeatism than radicalization. Naturally, there were also those minorities that orchestrated wild instances of insurrection, turning them into flames that warmed our hatred for the existent. We had to keep those flames burning, reigniting them at every moment and every opportunity. And it was better to seek out those opportunities, to hunt them down, than to await them solely in the mass mobilizations of different social sectors or branches of employment, which were exclusively concerned with settling and solving their own problems without caring the least bit about what was happening around them.
Gradually, together with other comrades who shared the same concerns, we prioritized the issue of our imprisoned anarchist comrades. Those abductions had to permanently cost the social peace. Revolutionary action would make it clear, using every means, that the state’s isolation of revolutionaries in the galleys of democracy would not be permitted. That was our goal, and the intent of our struggle was to show that everything hostile to revolution deserved to be targeted and struck as an immediate response to each day of our comrades’ imprisonment, regardless of the reason for their arrest. Also among our objectives were the proposal of more widespread and pluralist thought and action, a more general approach to the issue of prisons, and the highlighting of enemy social behavior (apathy, indifference, broad fragmentation).
But more than anything, our goal was to view action as a nonstop revolutionary journey in opposition to the existent, and as an inseparable part of revolutionary war. Solidarity would thus assume vital importance, escape the shelter of complaint and protest, and acquire attacking characteristics that we would spread continually within an irreducible tension.
Because if we forget the prisoners of revolutionary war, we forget the war itself. To the contrary: we must avenge our imprisoned brothers and sisters, with the final goal always being their liberation from the hands of torturers and jailers.
However, I was possessed by the urge for direct action within a solidly organized political framework, as well as the desire for a consistent presence and potent intervention in social reality. These things ultimately led me to get organized via the Fire Cells Conspiracy Revolutionary Organization, which seemed to have a well-honed political conception and was dynamically making its presence known through an extended series of arsons. The group had specifically chosen to continue taking action using the same name, which I could tell was unusual for arson groups at the time. Yet it was consistent with the views I had developed on how direct action commandos should be structured and organized. In my opinion, a permanent name makes an organization and its political framework known to “the public,” which can then become interested in and eventually inspired by its actions and discourse. It also creates a historical continuity that yields coherence at the level of the organization itself as well as the level of the individuals it comprises over time, generating a wealth of experience from which to evolve the revolutionary discourse the organization wants to projectualize while increasing the visibility of a staunch minority that maintains a presence in the fortresses and trenches of revolutionary war.
Through our activity as the Fire Cells Conspiracy, we chose to create a permanent state of war, trouble the waters of normality, and foster a new urban guerrilla mentality. We felt that this guerrilla warfare needed to spread and become the method of struggle for those minorities that rejected the existent and chose the path of revolution and violent societal destruction, turning revolutionary action into a key position.
The new urban guerrilla warfare advances a generalized version of conspiratorial action, far removed from the fetishism of means and any unproductive regurgitation of armed struggle’s spectacular fixations. It espouses the organization of conspiratorial structures that continually attack the System’s bases, mechanisms, and administrative human resources in a polymorphy of attacking actions that include vandalism and arson, expropriation and robbery, sabotage and bombings, as well as political assassinations.
Urban guerrilla warfare has not been vanquished, because neither the years of captivity nor the murders of our comrades around the world can be pulverized by the grindstone of oblivion and the defective, purely mathematical logic that wishes to see the defeat of certain forms of rupture from the existent. No form of struggle or rupture can be historically or materially vanquished as long as free-thinking rebels of conscience are prepared to rot away in sinister dungeons or even sacrifice their own lives.
Revolution is war, and like each war it means the destruction of people and things. We will also surely lose comrades, and that will increase our hatred and rage, channeling them toward the destruction of Power and its system. We draw strength from each lost comrade’s hidden story, we are inspired by their lives and their work, and we methodically carry on with undiminished intensity. Therefore, nothing is over and no struggle has been lost. If achieving one’s final goals or not were measured only by victories and defeats, that what struggle could be said to have been won up to this point? Perhaps not a single one. Guerrilla warfare is another option within the struggle, another expression of revolutionary war. As the Fire Cells Conspiracy, that’s how we define the new urban guerrilla warfare—not because we want to contextualize it historically, but because we feel that what we are proposing is a new philosophy, a new framework, and a new redefinition of methodology. Because only from a permanent position of attack are we able to breathe through the organized suffocation we experience in this society, which reeks of silent death and the stench of resignation, submission, and betrayal. We refuse to live in the manner it has predetermined for us, we take our own lives into our own hands, and we sharpen revolutionary theory and praxis. Our proposal is to create a revolutionary anarchist front with self-organized antihierarchical direct action infrastructure that strikes and attacks by surprise—in short, an anarchist urban guerrilla warfare that has no desire to be a vanguard or steer the masses, the people, or society in some correct revolutionary direction.
Additionally, in my opinion, society is the creation of a broad complex of relationships that conform to prevailing political and cultural norms. In capitalist democracies, those relationships are authoritarian—they are relationships of exploitation. The capitalist fantasy trains society and is reproduced within it, constituting the institutional framework and basic pillar of domination. Consequently, society isn’t a sum total of a given people. Rather, it’s a reflection of political systems through institutions, values, standards, and behaviors. As such, viewed from a revolutionary perspective, it must be completely destroyed to the point where nothing is left to remind us of what came before.
It’s ludicrous to still think that most people who live under Power and exploitation are deceived and incapable of realizing the crimes of capitalism and Power. Each person’s individual choices determine what we are and what position we take in this world. As revolutionaries, we can’t generally ignore the individual responsibilities of all those who—whether through their silence and acceptance, their apathy and total indifference, or finally their active participation as law-abiding citizens in the service of Power—constitute an enormous barricade that impedes the storming of the heavens. And while those active participants certainly deserve to be targeted by revolutionary forces wherever they appear, the others also merit our direct, harsh critique regarding their attitude and the choices they make.
But that critique is not the same thing as the rupture we make from Domination. The two approaches are not equivalent. The act of condemning enemy behavior can’t be considered identical to that of attacking the system’s mechanisms and personnel. The distance between the two practices should be distinct.
I am deeply convinced that we are all mirror images of our choices, decisions, and actions. In my opinion, the theory that our social environment is the basic, fundamental, exclusive axis around which each of us forms our personality and characteristics constitutes a fatalistic interpretation of the human condition—a surplus of logic. Such transgressions lead to the arbitrary formulation of “historical truths” that appear to be indisputable prophecies (e.g., “society will advance toward revolution and the destruction of Power”).
If every issue is personal, and if resolving those issues satisfies us as individuals—whether because we determine that it’s in our interest or in accordance with our code of values (which pushes us to struggle, make sacrifices, or even offer up our own lives)—then anarchist revolution must certainly be the personal concern of each person who aspires to it (keeping in mind that each one who defines themselves as a revolutionary can’t have interests that diverge from, or a code of values contrary to, their revolutionary point of view).
Therefore, revolution is an existential struggle. Existential because we struggle to assert our existence in the face of every potential enemy of our goals, our aspirations, and our selves. In the face of everything that oppresses, dominates, and suffocates us. Existential because it’s not a matter of duty or obligation. It’s a matter of the very meaning of our lives: the absolute negation of the existent.
Each of our individual insurrections wouldn’t be enough to completely dismantle and destroy prevailing social relations and Power’s civilization. A prerequisite for that taking place would be the collaboration of individuals on a collective level—in other words, groups of people of conscience who want to collectivize their negations and conspire to take action against the system.
Revolutionaries don’t just aspire to an explosion of rage. They want to methodically use their rage against the complex of domination—without being a vanguard and without having followers—while opposing the fetishization of “we are many” and the persistent attachment to the opinion that “the multitude is the heart of the revolution and the quantity of people (not their quality) is its soul.”
Often, in order to focus that mass on diving into the flow of revolutionary history, the social position of the oppressed and exploited is arbitrarily hijacked simply because the oppressed and exploited are many. Their condition is moralized and revolution is presented as a need that is righteous and just. Society is thus defined as a victimized social body while the State becomes an absolutist abuser.
As a revolutionary individualist, I don’t accept that bipolar orientation. To me, revolution isn’t a battle between good and evil. It’s a struggle between those who reject the plague of authoritarianism and those who defend and revere it. I view each person of conscience as a revolutionary subject as long as they oppose their chains, love freedom, and hate all authoritarian pigs. It’s to those revolutionary subjects that I direct my call to become our accomplices in the cause of “revolutionary crime.” Only when more people join together, each one as a totally willing individual on the side of revolution and anarchy, will a subversive force appear that is capable of making social revolution—in other words, a daring transformation of political and social relationships. Otherwise, the insurrections that break out will continue to be revolutionary vanguards, which will never be able to even nudge the possibility of social transformation in an anarchist direction.
I set revolutionary action apart from its common interpretation, and I don’t care the least bit about the opinions of Power’s subjects. Rebellion will do them some good, if they ever get around to it. If they don’t realize that, then they will spend their entire lives crawling behind educated speakers and demagogues who massage their egos to make them feel in control. All the while, those very lives will be passing them by without them doing anything about it, without them taking any initiative to act. Our role as revolutionaries isn’t to flatter them, but to rub the naked truth in their faces. Let them make their own decisions about their lives. It’s better for us to tread our path without waiting for them, refusing to accept the blackmail and compulsions of this society.
The fact that most of my political positions and views corresponded to the political position and strategy of the Fire Cells Conspiracy Revolutionary Organization was the most important factor that drove me to join them, to join a collective that was structured antihierarchically, without divisions and roles—an anarchist collective. Within the organization, we fostered our own initiative and self-education in order to devise actions and forms of struggle whose framework was the continual evolution of revolutionary thought and praxis. We had many heated arguments about that framework, about how we could heat things up and become ever more dangerous to our enemies.
The result of these internal processes was the continual evolution of Fire Cells Conspiracy actions—an evolution that immediately posed new challenges, like the qualitative change in the targets of our attacks, the development of our technical methods, and our cooperation with other conspiratorial groups.
As has already been said, the Fire Cells Conspiracy organization truly attempted to determine the necessary attainable level of development for conspiratorial revolutionary groups. The Fire Cells Conspiracy didn’t make the shift to armed struggle in a single day. It proposed and undertook—openly and publicly—to heat things up and evolve different levels of revolutionary violence, without having a snobbish or disdainful attitude toward other forms of direct action. It restricted itself to a guerrilla network that could be construed as broad because the Fire Cells Conspiracy considered and still considers all expressions of revolutionary Violence to be urban guerrilla warfare—everything from window-smashing to executions. In the communiqué released after the arsons we carried out on February 11 and 12, 2009, which were dedicated to the unrepentant revolutionary urban guerrilla Dimitris Koufodinas, we said:
Urban guerrilla warfare is a perception, a mentality, a means of organized direct action. Armed struggle is one part, but only when it is free from dogmatism and fetishization. In addition, the revolutionary potential of each attack isn’t determined by the degree of violence or the methods used. Rather, the methods are determined by their effectiveness and the conscience of the people using them. If you want to destroy a luxury car dealership, you obviously won’t be shooting at the cars, and if you want to rob a bank, you won’t be going in armed with a Molotov cocktail.
During its evolution, the Fire Cells Conspiracy went from using incendiary devices to planting explosives. After one such bombing at the Kolonaki home of Louka Katseli (who is now a government minister) on September 23, 2009, the pigs raided an apartment in Halandri. However, it’s important to examine the events prior to the time period we’re talking about.
After December 2008, an extensive dynamic of direct action developed within the revolutionary milieu.
Many people who disrupted the peaceful days and nights of 2009—seeing that the uprising was losing its impetus, spirits were calming, and people were gradually returning to their homes—wanted to keep alive and spread the flame of revolt. A polymorphic subversive discourse accompanied attacks by guerrilla groups, each of which—for their own reasons and from their own viewpoint and perspective—ushered in a fierce new phase of urban guerrilla warfare. Arson and vandalism were on the menu, while bombings, armed attacks, and even executions enriched the intensification of violence. It was a mosaic representing the broadly combative and attacking wing of the revolutionary milieu. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before the repressive machinery answered back, and its response signaled the beginning of the State’s and the police’s revenge. The prestige of those entities had been greatly diminished, accentuating the esteem and fear they once inspired, but their response was carried by the same wave as the heightened violence that preceded it.
The raid on the Halandri apartment was no ordinary operation. Many were captured and some are still in custody, while others took the murky path of clandestinity. The apartment was presented by the mass media, the snitches who serve it, and the pigs from the Antiterrorist Unit as a Fire Cells Conspiracy safe house. In actuality, it’s the family home of my comrade and brother Haris Hatzimichelakis, who lived there with his cousin. His aunt lived on the upper floor. In no way was it a safe house (which the persecuting authorities know only too well given the dozens of different fingerprints found during the search). The apartment was intentionally presented that way in order to blame an entire collection of people from a broad milieu of friends and comrades that has nothing to do with the Fire Cells Conspiracy Revolutionary Organization. Friends, acquaintances, relatives, as well as people who doubtless participated (and publicly said so) in the broad revolutionary anarchist milieu were targeted and charged in the context of a generalized campaign whose objective was to terrorize anyone possibly connected to my comrade Hatzimichelakis. The wide range of people who found themselves in the crosshairs of the persecuting authorities reflects the State’s zero tolerance of anyone suspected of negation directed against it, which became all too clear after it put prices on the heads of the three fugitive anarchists known as the “robbers in black.” The State’s appeal to its subjects’ basest, filthiest instincts—snitching and informing—in order to arrest revolutionaries whose photos it incessantly shows off reveals the panic that has seized the repressive organs confronting the internal enemy. But there will come a time when that garbage—which views itself as an honorable, respectable citizenry that snitches, collaborates with the authorities, and contributes to their work without hesitation (for a cash prize to invest in their miserable, insignificant existences or for five minutes of fame to satisfy their arrogant vanity)—will feel the payback on their own skin for the choices they made. They will feel it in the worst possible way.
So the police operation in Halandri has bunched together, specifically as hostages, quite a few people who were arrested after almost every attack by the Fire Cells Conspiracy organization. This is an attempt by the police to link more and more people to the group in a Machiavellian blackmail designed to stop the group from operating. As a revolutionary and a member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy, I owe it to those being charged without having any knowledge of, relationship, involvement, or contact with the organization, its structure, or its activities, to restore the truth in an open, public context. Members of the organization are the only ones who can openly, publicly, and proudly assume responsibility for belonging to it, without calculating the cost they will pay: all those long years ahead in democracy’s dungeons.
I myself, having a friendly but above all a comradely relationship with Haris Hatzimichelakis, was often in contact with him and spent time at his apartment. Knowing that my fingerprints were all over that apartment, and realizing that a range of criminal charges had been filed as a result of the pigs’ raid, in no way was I going to wait for my turn to come. Going underground was an obvious choice for me. I was thereby able to ensure not just that I would avoid having to negotiate my freedom in court, but also that I would be able to continue my armed struggle and urban guerrilla activities. Despite my disappearing on September 23, 2009—the day of the raid—the warrant for my arrest on charges pertaining to the case was only issued a short while later. That shows the manner and method in which the authorities are handling this case. They go around drawing names out of a hat as if this were a lottery and then signing arrest warrants after a few minor formalities. I’m clearly not going to suggest how they should correctly fulfill their duties, as that would entail my asking for the more efficient criminal prosecution of revolutionaries and those in struggle. Besides, there’s no question of whether the authorities did their jobs well. They did their jobs very well, just like they did in other cases in which friends, acquaintances, comrades, and relatives of arrestees were charged by the authorities on the basis of relationships they might have had. The goal of this strategy is to isolate revolutionaries and distance them from any relationships they maintain. Thus, anyone who dares come into contact with them also risks being charged with terrorism. While I was a fugitive, I realized that as difficult as it may be for a revolutionary to be apart from family, friends, and comrades, the project of actually living without a fixed name, address, or job, is nevertheless quite helpful. You become more flexible, unpredictable, and dangerous because you alone are dedicating yourself solely to your goal and the revolutionary cause, without worrying anymore about the legal ramifications of your decisions.
My experience of clandestinity was a stern test of my psychological endurance. You must continually confront your own limits, and you often need to exceed them. Now that I know the sensation of being hunted, I feel the need to send my greetings to all fugitive comrades, regardless of the reason why each has chosen to experience the trenches of clandestinity. I wish them better luck than my own.
I also want to say a few things about taking responsibility for declaring myself to be a proud member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy Revolutionary Organization. My attitude isn’t that of a holy martyr. I don’t want to spend many long years in prison, nor am I even flirting with the idea. My attitude is the result of a coherent political position, stance, and viewpoint on life and struggle.
I feel that the act of taking responsibility honors and strengthens the position, activity, and history of the organization I am a member of, as well as every other revolutionary organization if their members adopt the same attitude in similar circumstances. This political strategy demonstrates that urban guerrilla groups are not ghosts that appear out of the void to later disappear just as imperceptibly. Rather, they comprise people like me and many others—flesh-and-blood people with names, who don’t hesitate to take their responsibility when the time comes, without worrying about the consequences. This is how we demolish the legends and fantasies that have surrounded armed groups for so long, legends based on nonsense about “agents.” We demolish the similarly foolish and baseless arguments used by the Left, loyal to the regime, that all guerrillas are provocateurs. At the same time, the act of revolutionary urban guerrillas claiming their membership shows that such options of struggle are chosen by people who, as revolutionaries, simply do not waver when it comes to risking everything for freedom. Because what’s at stake is even greater. When the masks of anonymity fall, it becomes clear that such options can be appropriated by each one who expresses themselves as a revolutionary and a negator of the existent. The rest are nothing more than feeble excuses (made in hindsight) that promote revolutionary “inertia.”
Finally, the act of claiming membership leaves behind a wealth of experience and creates points of engagement with past and future elements that make up the revolutionary movement. There are comrades just like me who are inspired by the unyielding, proud attitude of prisoners of the revolutionary guerrilla war, and they aspire to eventually play a larger role in the intensification of that war.
In this era, the capitalist system is again facing another of its functional crises, which has to do with—what else?—the economy. But instead of reinforcing collective solidarity, resistance, and rebellion in opposition to the system, phenomena like discord, deregulation, and conservatism are being further cemented. Despite it becoming more and more obvious that access to everything the system so generously promised is no longer expedient, free-market mythology has nevertheless been rooted in social life’s prevailing consciences, relationships, and behaviors for years. Capitalism is still breathing through society’s lungs, while the culture of social Darwinism is now so well-consolidated that it has become the main ideology bubbling just below the surface. However, the system is always changing. The flexibility with which it assimilates and incorporates the changes it causes is the commitment to its perpetuity. The economic crisis, as a consequence of the system itself, arrived like a Christmas bonus—not for the scum that run our lives, but for those who were nourished for so long on the hopes they were being fed and for those who were keeping up a fantasy lifestyle, deliberately ignoring and avoiding any kind of rupture from domination. Now that the veil of the so-called free market is falling, their only reward for years of subjugation and voluntary slavery is to be tossed into the dustbin of history. Isn’t anyone getting angry? Capitalism again dons its iron mask. The mythology is bleached out and the hopes become images of a nightmare future. Yet even now, when the economic dictatorship is baring its sharpest teeth, there are still calls for “voting with your wallet.” An entire generation on the streets insists on protesting for their salaries, pensions, and benefits when the most precious thing they have stolen from us is our freedom and dignity. And even though the concessions that are now being taken away were conquered after wild social conflict (in which the most radical elements also took part), they ultimately wound up just being agreements that choked us, ensuring social peace and balance.
Therefore, if history teaches us anything, it’s to leave behind the begging for handouts that the bosses are perhaps pushing us toward, and instead assume a combative position to break our chains and take revenge against every authoritarian pig. May we once and for all leave behind the negotiations over the terms of our own slavery and instead assemble a firing squad that will take aim at all those who made the decision to dominate us.
May we take advantage of the crisis as an unsettling, destabilizing factor that contributes to the system’s mutation. Such variables can be fertile ground for the actions of revolutionary forces whose goal is to spread dissidence and hatred of the existent, sowing terror among the powerful and their subjects. Revolution is violent, harsh, and blood-soaked. It is fire and battle-axes. It is pain—pain for our friends, brothers, and sisters, but also pain for our enemies. It is vengeance for the life they have forced on us. It is a war in which many will be lost and many others will take their place.
I think it is our obligation, our duty as revolutionaries, to once again bring about revolutionary terrorism. To scatter and spread fear and terror in the enemy’s ranks, lashing out at its infrastructure and exterminating all the scum who have crucial positions or ranks within the system. To give back a bit of the terror they invoke for us day after day with their prisons and courts, their mass media and the spectacle it offers, their security forces and their society of control and surveillance—a bleak, persistent terror, as imminent as the sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of those professional terrorists of Power and capitalism.
We have a duty to become agents of that terror, agents who operate conspiratorially, and our tools will be all manner of weapons, from dynamite to the bullets that will rip into the heads of our enemies. We will play the role of demolition workers and prepare the final ruin of this rotten world we live in. And if it so happens that we aren’t able to experience that destruction and see it with our own eyes, we will pass away knowing we did what we could and never lowered our heads.
You as judges and prosecutors are from the privileged class, which is a reference to the share of terror you will receive because you have had a dominant position within the system for so many years, inflicting your terror contained in the pages of the prosecuting indictments that sentence who knows how many people to those garbage dumps for the human spirit you call prisons. You, who so comfortably talk about sentences and punishments that devastate people, calm and composed as if it were a natural everyday activity. We have your names written and bullet-pointed on the lists of our enemies. Sooner or later we will also write judicial indictments, and they will be written with your own blood. We will at least have mercy and not make you feel the same horror you have sentenced so many people to. One at a time, that’s how we’ll put an end to each one of you. You filthy maggots, you servants of the most abominable class ever engendered by Power to legitimize its crimes and wash its hands of unpleasantness: prepare yourselves to live your entire lives on the alert. Prepare yourselves to meet the long arm of revolutionary justice.
As for myself, I fear nothing from you. I knew and know the consequences of my decisions and the path I chose to follow. I am not alone on that path. Many people are now rejecting your civilization and your system, devising their conspiratorial plans for future attacks, just like others did a long time before me. I’m not the least bit concerned about the basis for your charges, nor am I concerned about the sentence you’re going to inflict on me. Revolutionaries don’t worry or care about such things. As for the matter of which Fire Cells Conspiracy actions I took part in and which I didn’t, you’ll never learn that from me.
Comrades, facing us is the obligation to cultivate the terrain and create the preconditions that will bring us to a situation in which we won’t retreat or stray from the path, because we won’t be able to.
And may the word “vengeance” be written everywhere, because it is vengeance that we will take for our brothers and sisters—for the captivity and torture they have suffered, for all the murders committed by Power.
And may the flame that burns inside us burn everything around us.
We will not be at peace until our blades are dulled and drenched in the blood of our enemies, and the squares are filled with piles of their heads.
NOT A SINGLE STEP BACK.
WAR UNTIL THE END.
REVOLUTION FIRST AND FOREVER.
LONG LIVE THE INFORMAL ANARCHIST FEDERATION.
LONG LIVE THE INTERNATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY FRONT.
LONG LIVE THE FIRE CELLS CONSPIRACY REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATION.
The warmest of greetings to all who—wherever you are, in whatever corner of the world—make the revolutionary cause your most important priority, whether inside or outside prison. From behind bars, I raise my fist as a pledge of struggle.
—Panayiotis Argyrou, Proud member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy Revolutionary Organization
From Liberación Total (August 8, 2011):
Responsibility claim for arsons. Vindication for the actions of our comrade Luciano Pitronello. Our reflections.
We are the seed of a tenacious plant. And it’s because of the road we’ve traveled and the need to keep fighting that today, although bruised, we feel somewhat more mature than yesterday. We are thus undertaking, with all our hearts, to let loose some reflections and claim responsibility for our actions as well as those of our comrade-in-ideas Luciano Pitronello, so that they might spread and be discussed in any corner of the world.
These days, it seems that a negative idea has taken root: thinking that everyone involved in the struggle goes through periods of advance and retreat, ups and downs. And although we may think that way, feeling that times are dark for us right now, there still exists the need to regroup, ensure that the unpleasant experiences of the past aren’t repeated, learn lessons, and use every possible means to avoid the bottom of the pit.
We’ve now written something about this, through which we hope our point of view comes across as clearly as possible. We don’t want to overlook any comrade’s practice. This is only what we are thinking and doing, but we are always open to discussion because the struggle is nourished by diversity. It’s the different types and ways of understanding the war that allow us to pave our way.
Firstly, we recognize the existence of an inexplicable quality born within our hearts, that drives us even to risk our lives. It’s the need to be free that makes us hurl ourselves into the void, often without thinking of any consequences. That valiant warrior spirit keeps conflict alive in its most brilliant (but neither its only nor its principal) splendor: our violence against their violence.
Through this text, we mainly want to call for new methods, materials, and knowledge to be incorporated into the violent struggle against authority. We would never dare to judge or oppose comrades who launch themselves into attack without better knowledge or infrastructure. We’re not interested in becoming professional at anything, but we are motivated by the need to intensify the war while preserving our lives and the lives of our comrades. So even if actions always involve the possibility of accidents like Mauri’s death or Luciano’s situation (which are clearly indicative of heightened conflict against authority), to us those accidents also represent a giant step backward because each attacking individuality is in itself an act of liberation, and we must use every means to avoid losses in the course of antiauthoritarian action. It’s not good to treat those tragedies as normal, even though fighters have to learn to live with them.
Secondly, it thus follows that when an individual decides to get organized and make the shift toward violent action—whether that organization takes collective or individual form—the more deeply one gets involved in the battle, the more one needs a certain minimum knowledge of methods and materials to allow for increased, sustained impact. We must be clear that said infrastructure is constructed in relation to the goals of autonomy and liberation, and it never should be considered an end in itself. Building up infrastructure is crucial to our safety, which allows us to perpetuate our actions as much as possible, thereby advancing the struggle.
We need a cushion to land on when situations get complicated, and we need to appropriate methods and knowledge that will improve our mobility, but both needs shouldn’t for any reason nullify our present. The struggle continues, and part of this war involves advancing with regard to materials. While we can’t obsess over it, we also shouldn’t overlook what we still lack.
We will continue to attack authority, maximizing our safety measures and choosing from among the enormous range of existing possibilities for attack, always increasing the diversity and breadth of our actions. Right now we choose to use fire. What will you choose?
We claim responsibility for the following actions carried out just last week:
- Leaving a homemade incendiary device, quick and easy to prepare, at the entrance to the Local Police Courthouse in La Cisterna on the chilly evening of Wednesday, August 3 (we don’t know how much damage was caused).
- Torching a Banco de Chile near the Plaza de Armas in downtown Santiago on the blazing evening of Thursday, August 4 (damaging the facade).
- Setting fire to a Banco Santander in the same area on the same evening of August 4 (damaging the interior, which the press said had been looted).
- Carrying out an arson at the Olavarría Ltd. luxury car dealership in La Reina during the early hours of August 9.
FOR POWER, FIRE.
FOR LUCIANO, OUR HEARTS.
—International Revolutionary Front (Southern Fire Columns)
P.S. We send warm greetings of solidarity to our comrades around the world, especially those being charged, tried, or sentenced by the authorities, like our brothers and sisters in Greece and Switzerland and the Chilean comrades involved in the “Bombings Case.” We won’t forget them.
From Culmine (June 14, 2011):
May 30 saw the publication of The Sun Still Rises, a pamphlet containing a complete chronology of Fire Cells Conspiracy attacks and the following new text by the group:
The Sun Still Rises
Knowledge chooses its project,
each project is new and chooses its moments,
each moment is new, but simultaneously emerges from
the memory of all the moments that existed before
—The Interior of the Absolute
1. The Beginning
The Fire Cells Conspiracy revolutionary organization didn’t begin its activity from out of nowhere. It wasn’t as if a straight line had cut through space and time. It was a future crying out from the past. The Conspiracy comprised a collective synthesis, connecting the backgrounds and viewpoints of all who participated in it and drawing valuable conclusions from past experiences of subversive projects and attacks we took part in.
It represented our desire to take a step further, not to climb some ladder of informal hierarchy that fetishizes violence and its methods, but to simply advance, move forward, and explore new perspectives, making the shift from a “bunch of friends” to an organization, from the sporadic to the consistent, from the spontaneous to the strategic.
Along the way, we assumed a critical stance toward the past, but we never went out of our way to be hostile. We are anarchy’s misfits, born from its potent moments and gaping voids. Additionally, the goal of critique and self-critique is not to put an end to something, but just the opposite: it’s an aspiration to evolve something. The fact that we’re not going to elaborate a corresponding critical review right now doesn’t mean we’re afraid to recognize our mistakes. Rather, it’s because that kind of examination is better served by distance and cool nerves than by impulse.
During no phase of our brief, intense history did we lose our collective memory of the anarchist milieu we come from. We also feel we discovered something we have in common with comrades who began the struggle before us, engaged in their own battles, were arrested and imprisoned, but never lowered their heads. We discovered the unrepentant passion for revolution that connects histories and realities of struggle from different decades in a shared context of individual and collective liberation.
In that context, we forged our own alphabet. Speaking the language of direct action, we openly raised the issue of creating organized infrastructure. As anarchists, we often distance ourselves from the concept of organization because we equate it with hierarchy, roles, specialization, “you must,” and obligations. However, words acquire the meanings given by the people who use them. As the Fire Cells Conspiracy, we stormed into battle over the meaning of revolutionary anarchist organization.
2. The Path from Spark to Flame
From the very beginning, we rejected the idea of a centralist model and chose to start from the basis of individual initiatives that wanted to collectivize. What emerged during organizational meetings were issues of coherence, consistency, individual and collective responsibility, and direct action as a means of transforming our words into deeds. At group meetings, each comrade had the opportunity to propose a plan of attack, thereby opening up a debate on planning, timing, political analysis, and operational problems posed by a given target’s location. During these discussions, there was no guarantee that we would reach agreement. Opposing arguments sometimes developed into a powerful dialectic, especially regarding the strategy and prioritization of timing, and quite often there was more than one proposal, so we then had to choose which we were going to select and which we were going to keep in “storage” to be refined in the future. It was a process that allowed us to open our minds; broaden our horizons; learn from one another’s different experiences; vigorously defend our opinions; figure out how to recognize our mistakes; understand the concept of shaping something together; become conscious of the need for strategy; and—most important of all—create relationships not in the name of some “professional” revolutionary goal, but based on friendship, true comradeship, and real solidarity.
We love what we do because it contains our entire essence. Therefore, the “Conspiracy” isn’t just all of us together, it’s also each one of us apart. Even in cases when there wasn’t collective agreement on a particular action, we didn’t resort to “begging” from the prevailing democratic majority. Instead, the minority of comrades who insisted on carrying out the attack took the autonomous initiative to move forward with their choice. That happened in parallel with the rest of the collective, which supported them at specific times if necessary, naturally playing a part in our overall organization.
That’s why a number of communiqués were signed by groups (Nihilist Faction, Breath of Terror Commando, Terrorist Guerrilla Unit) that arose out of each separate initiative. During the second phase, after reaching agreement, whether as the entire collective or as a separate initiative, we planned the attack. Each one of us contributed our knowledge; information was culled from newspapers, magazines, and the Internet; the area where the action was to take place was reconnoitered and mapped; the approach to and withdrawal from the target was laid out (avoiding cameras and police checkpoints), including alternate routes in case something unexpected happened, and of course keeping in mind the eventuality of a confrontation with the pigs. There were also support groups, “hideouts,” ways of asking for help, etc. (In a future manual, we will analyze and explain our experiences, which are related to how we perceive what is going on while an attack is being carried out.)
During the third phase (which was never far removed from the initial proposal about target selection), we worked on the text of the communiqué. When a topic was suggested (for example, attacking the police), the comrade who made the proposal argued for its content. Then a discussion began, during which each person fleshed out the concept, expressed disagreements, pointed out problems, and offered other ways to approach the topic. As soon as the debate finished, no matter how many meetings were needed to finish it, the collective brought together the central themes of all the meetings and shaped the main axes around which the communiqué would be written. The writing of a communiqué on a specific topic was usually shared out among those who wanted the responsibility, and after it was written, we got together to read it and make corrections, additions, and final touches. If the communiqué was connected to a separate initiative, then the comrades involved in that separate initiative were responsible for writing it.
The same process held for our Thessaloniki comrades, and when we collaborated as the Athens-Thessaloniki Fire Cells Conspiracy, comrades from both cities coordinated those actions based on principles of mutual aid and comradeship.
3. “Everyone Does Everything”
Of course, we’re well aware of the dangers lurking within each collective project that aspires to call itself antiauthoritarian—the appearance of informal hegemony and the reproduction of corrupt behavior, of which we are enemies. We feel that the purpose of power is to divide. To eliminate the possibility of the emergence of any informal hierarchy within our group, we struck directly at the heart of specialization and roles as soon as they surfaced. We said: “Everyone does everything.” Everyone can learn and devise ways to steal cars and motorcycles, fabricate license plates, forge ID cards and official documents, expropriate goods and money, target-shoot, and use firearms and explosives.
Therefore, it was and continues to be important to us that the means and methods we use for our actions be straightforward and relatively simple to obtain and prepare, allowing them to spread and be used by anyone who decides to move toward the new urban guerrilla warfare. These include gasoline, jerry cans, camping gas canisters, and candles that can easily be obtained at a supermarket, but also improvised timing mechanisms that—after the appropriate “research” in technical manuals and guides available on the Internet, plus a little innovative imagination—anyone is capable of fabricating.
We certainly aren’t forgetting that, while “everyone does everything,” each person also has their own separate abilities and personal inclinations, and it would be a mistake to gloss over those differences. With desire and mutual understanding as our guide, each of us undertook to do what we felt most capable of. For example, if someone was a good driver or a skillful thief, or perhaps had a knack for writing, that didn’t mean their creative abilities would be suppressed in the name of some false collective homogeneity. It was up to each comrade to offer their abilities and methodologies to the other comrades without making a “sacrifice” of their own participation, and it was even better if that happened in the broadest possible way, going beyond the narrow context of the collective and facilitating access by the entirety of the antiauthoritarian current—for example, through the publication of practical guides like those released by some German comrades, which contain a number of different ways to make explosive devices.
Additionally, our actions never involved fixed, immutable roles. Without resorting to the cyclical rotation of tasks, which recall compulsory work hours, all the comrades took advantage of a common foundation that allowed them to be able to execute any task at any time during an attack. The process of improving your ability to use materials and techniques is naturally a continual process of self-education. Along those lines, we want to emphasize how crucial it is to simultaneously develop a group’s operational capacity as well as its revolutionary viewpoint. At no point should the level of sterile operational capacity intensify without a corresponding intensification of thought and discourse, and the same obviously holds true for the converse. We had no central committee to designate roles. There were only particular tasks within a specific plan—positions that changed according to the desires of the comrades who took part.
4. Guerrillas for Life
We’ve always felt that an organization doesn’t necessarily have to be exclusive to the comrades who are part of it. Our action neither begins nor ends within the context of the group. The group is the means to revolution, not an end in itself. Because when the means become their own raison d’être, “diseases” begin to appear, like vanguardism, the armed party, and exclusive orthodox truth.
Through the Fire Cells Conspiracy, we say what we believe in, who we are, and what tendency we represent, but in no way do we say that someone has to precisely follow some so-called correct line or participate in our group in order to be recognized as a comrade.
Thus, we ourselves have also taken part in processes apart from the Conspiracy, like joining coordinated action networks, attending assemblies, participating in marches and demonstrations, supporting attacks and acts of sabotage, putting up posters, and painting slogans. But we never thought one thing was superior to another. That’s because the polymorphism of revolutionary war consists of an open and permanent commitment that has nothing to do with fetishized spectacle (embracing armed struggle as the only thing that matters) or accusatory fixations (insisting on the quantitative characteristic of “massiveness” as the criterion for revolutionary authenticity). On the contrary, we position ourselves as enemies directly against the “polymorphism” of café gossip, speeches in university auditoriums, leadership roles, followers, and all those conservative fossils of dogmatism and habit that act as parasites within the anarchist milieu, wanting only to control young comrades, sabotage them, and prevent them from creating their own autonomous evolutionary path through the revolutionary process.
We believe that the concept of the anarchist urban guerrilla isn’t a separate identity one assumes only while engaging in armed attack. Rather, we feel it’s a matter of merging each person’s private and public life in the context of total liberation. We aren’t anarchists only when we throw a Molotov at a riot police van, carry out expropriations, or plant an explosive device. We’re also anarchists when we talk to our friends, take care of our comrades, have fun, and fall in love.
We aren’t enlisted soldiers whose duty is revolution. We are guerrillas of pleasure who view the connection between rebellion and life as a prerequisite for taking action. We don’t believe in any “correct line” to follow. During the past two years, for example, new urban guerrilla groups frequently posed the issue of robberies and expropriations from the banking machinery as yet another attack on the system. Their communiqués and claims of responsibility are powerful propaganda for the rejection of work via holdups and robberies directed at the belly of the capitalist beast—the banks—with the goal being individual liberation from the eight-hour blackmail of wage-slavery on the one hand, and collective appropriation of and direct access to money for infrastructural needs and revolutionary projects on the other.
We are exiting the scene of urban guerrilla warfare’s past ethical fixations, which rarely took a public position on the issue of revolutionary bank robbery. We feel that there is now plenty of new urban guerrilla discourse and practice that opposes—in a clearly attacking way—the bosses’ work ethic as well as the predatory banking machinery, proposing armed expropriation as a liberatory act, and obviously not as a way to get rich.
Nevertheless, we don’t consider the expropriation of banks to be a prerequisite for someone’s participation in the new guerrilla war. There is one revolution, but there are thousands of ways in which one can take revolutionary action. Other comrades might choose to carry out collective expropriations from the temples of consumerism (supermarkets, shopping malls) in order to individually recover what’s been “stolen” and use those things to meet each person’s material needs, thereby avoiding having to say “good morning” to a boss or take orders from some superior. Still others might participate in grassroots unions, keeping their conscience honed—like a sharp knife—for the war that finally abolishes every form of work that enriches the bosses while impoverishing our dignity.
We feel the same way about voluntarily “disappearing” to go underground. The fetishization of illegalism doesn’t inspire us. We want everyone to act in accordance with their needs and desires. Each choice naturally has its own qualities and virtues as well as its disadvantages. It’s true that when a group voluntarily chooses to go underground (“disappearance” from the environment of family and friends, false papers, etc.), that certainly shields them from the eyes of the enemy. But at the same time, their social connection to the wider radical milieu is cut, and to a certain point they lose a sense of interaction. Of course, the same doesn’t apply when there are objective reasons for going underground (arrest warrants, a price on one’s head), in which case clandestinity is the attacking refuge of those caught in the crosshairs of the law. This creates a parallel need for the existence of support infrastructure, both among guerrilla groups themselves as well as within the wider antiauthoritarian milieu, that will “cover” the tracks of wanted comrades. Prerequisites would be a certain complicity and discretion, which concepts are frequently seen as “outdated” but in our opinion should once again be launched piercingly into battle. If comrades from a guerrilla group engage in regular above-ground interaction—participating in movement meetings and processes, taking part in debates, and creating projects with others that address shared concerns—then the hermetic nature of the guerrilla group should clearly be protected from open ears and big mouths. Therefore, it’s general attitude also must be one of discretion in order to circumvent the deafening exaggerations that can turn it into a “magnet” for bastards from antiterrorist squads and the police. Taking a page from our own self-critique, we must mention the fact that many of us behaved completely opposite to the above, which—along with the viciousness of certain conduct originating within the anarchist milieu—“guided” a number of police operations right to us. In any case, self-critique lays down solid ground from which to develop oneself and offer explanations, but the current text isn’t appropriate for that. We’ll return to it in the future.
5. The First Phase of the Conspiracy and the Proposal for the “New Conspiracy”
The guerrilla has finally escaped the pages of books dealing with decades past and taken to the streets with ferocity. Because the urban guerrilla doesn’t offer utopian freedom. She allows access to immediate freedom. Accordingly, each person begins to define herself and liberate herself from society’s passivity.
There is now noise everywhere—the marvelous noise of widespread destruction—as well as the requisite revolutionary discourse to follow bombings against targets that serve domination. A determined armada of anarchist groups is setting fire to tranquility in the middle of the night, groups with names that reflect the “menu” they offer the system (in Athens: Deviant Behavior for the Spread of Revolutionary Terrorism, Warriors from the Abyss/Terrorist Complicity, Revolutionary Conscience Combatants, Lambros Fountas Guerrilla Formation; in Thessaloniki: Chaos Warriors, Attacking Solidarity Cell, Arson Attack Cell, Schemers for Nighttime Disorder, Fire to the Borders Cell, Combative Conscience Cell, Revolutionary Solidarity Cell, etc.). Many of these groups are also experimenting with a new international liberatory project as accomplices in the alliance known as the International Revolutionary Front/Informal Anarchist Federation.
Those of us who have taken responsibility as members of the Fire Cells Conspiracy are not intimidated by the dozens of years in prison the courts have in store for us. To begin with, we are creating an active collective inside prison.
We know that, for us, the opening phase of the struggle has been completed. However, we also know that nothing is over. The Conspiracy will not remain disarmed. It will continue to be a valid commitment in prison, as well as an open proposal to the antagonistic sector of the metropolis.
The Fire Cells Conspiracy proved itself as a network of cells, just like its name suggests. Right now, we’re not attempting to go over its operational record. We simply want to clarify its political perspective.
We feel that committing to a new Conspiracy most closely approaches the essence of the word, so we are opening up that possibility by making a proposal for a new Conspiracy comprising a diffuse, invisible network of cells that have no reason to meet in person, yet through their actions and discourse recognize one another as comrades in the same political crime: the subversion of Law and Order. This Conspiracy would consist of individuals and cells that take action, whether autonomous or coordinated (through call-outs and communiqués), without needing to agree on every single position and specific reference point (e.g., nihilism, individualism). Instead, they would connect on the basis of mutual aid focused on three key points.
The first point we are proposing in this informal debate is agreement on the choice of direct action using any means capable of damaging enemy infrastructure. Without any hierarchization of methods of violence, comrades can choose from rocks to Kalashnikovs. However, direct action on its own is just another entry on the police blotter, so it should be accompanied by a corresponding communiqué from the given cell or individual claiming responsibility and explaining the reasons behind the attack, thus spreading revolutionary discourse. The pen and the pistol are made from the same metal. Here, let’s note that the Conspiracy of the period that is now over never dismissed any incendiary method in its arsenal. It would be disingenuous of us if some young comrade thought that using the name of a new “Conspiracy” was conditioned by the use of supposedly superior methods (e.g., explosives). The new urban guerrilla warfare depends much less on operational methods than it does on our decision to attack power.
The second key point of agreement is to wage war against the state while simultaneously engaging in a pointed critique of society. Since we are revolutionary anarchists, we don’t just talk about the misfortune caused by power and the ruling oligarchy. We also exercise a more comprehensive critique of the way in which the oppressed accept and propagate the promises of happiness and consumerism offered by their bosses.
The fact that we engage in struggle against the state doesn’t mean we blind ourselves to the diffuse complex of power that administers contemporary interpersonal relationships. Antiauthoritarian discourse frequently alters and generalizes a concept like the state, relieving the rest of the people who constitute society of their responsibility. In doing so, it creates a sterilized viewpoint that treats entire social sectors as revolutionary subjects, whether called proletariat or oppressed, without revealing the individual responsibility each one of us assumes in the enslavement of our lives.
The state is not a fortress. You won’t find any door that leads you to some kind of machine or engine that can be turned off by throwing a switch. The state is not a monster you can kill with a stake through the heart. It’s something quite different. We could compare it to a system: a network comprising thousands of machines and switches. This network doesn’t impose itself on society from above. It spreads throughout society from within. It even extends to the sphere of private life, reaching into and touching our emotions at a cellular level. It molds conscience and is molded by it. It connects and unites society, which in turn nourishes and sanctifies it in a continuous exchange of values and standards. In this game, there are no spectators. Each one of us plays an active role.
—Costas Pappas, No Going Back
The enemy can be found in every mouth that speaks the language of domination. It is not exclusive to one or another race or social class. It doesn’t just consist of rulers and the whole potbellied suit-and-tie dictatorship. It is also the proletarian who aspires to be a boss, the oppressed whose mouth spits nationalist poison, the immigrant who glorifies life in western civilization but behaves like a little dictator among his own people, the prisoner who rats out others to the guards, every mentality that welcomes power, and every conscience that tolerates it.
We don’t believe in an ideology of victimization in which the state takes all the blame. The great empires weren’t just built on oppression. They were also built on the consent of the applauding masses in the timeless Roman arenas of every dictator. To us, the revolutionary subject is each one who liberates herself from the obligations of the present, questions the dominant order of things, and takes part in the criminal quest for freedom.
As the first phase of the Conspiracy, we have no interest in representing anyone, and we don’t take action in the name of any class or as defenders of “oppressed society.” The subject is us, because each rebel is a revolutionary subject in a revolution that always speaks in the first person to ultimately build a genuine collective “we.”
The third key point of agreement in our proposal regarding the formation of a new Conspiracy is international revolutionary solidarity. In truth, our desire to apply all of ourselves to creating moments of attack on the world order may cost some of us our lives, with many of us winding up in prison. “We” doesn’t refer to the Conspiracy or any other organization. It refers to every insurgent, whether they are part of a guerrilla group or taking action individually on their path to freedom. As the first phase of the Conspiracy, our desire and our proposal to every new cell is that the full force of revolutionary solidarity be expressed—a solidarity that cries out through texts, armed actions, attacks, and sabotage to reach the ears of persecuted and imprisoned comrades, no matter how far away they may be.
The solidarity we’re talking about doesn’t require those showing solidarity to express absolute political identification with the accused. It is simply a shared acknowledgment that we are on the same side of the barricades and that we recognize one another in the struggle, like another knife stuck in power’s gut. We therefore also propose support for the Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front, so that it can function—as demonstrated by the Italian FAI comrades—as an engine of propulsion.
From this point on, any comrade who agrees (obviously without having to identify herself) with these three key points of the informal agreement we are proposing can—if she wants—use the name Fire Cells Conspiracy in connection with the autonomous cell she is part of. Just like the Dutch comrades who, without us knowing one another personally but within the framework of consistency between discourse and practice, attacked the infrastructure of domination (arson and cyber attacks against Rabobank) and claimed responsibility as the Fire Cells Conspiracy (Dutch Cell).
We feel that a network of such cells, devoid of centralized structure, will be capable of far exceeding the limits of individual plans while exploring the real possibilities of revolutionary coordination among autonomous minority structures. These structures—without knowing one another personally—will in turn be able to organize arson and bombing campaigns throughout Greece, but also on an international level, communicating through their claims of responsibility.
Since we live in suspicious times, we should clarify something. Actions claimed using the Fire Cells Conspiracy name that aren’t consistent with any of the points we’ve laid out and don’t take the necessary precautions to prevent “damage” to anything other than the target of the sabotage will definitely arouse our suspicion, given the likelihood that they will have been hatched by the state.
Returning to our proposal, “anonymity” with regard to personal contact will reinforce the closed nature of the autonomous cells, making it more difficult for the police to “compromise” them. Even the arrest of one entire cell that forms part of the new Conspiracy wouldn’t lead the persecuting authorities to the other cells, thereby avoiding the well-known domino effects that took place in our time.
In the past, the fact that that we first-phase comrades may not have been involved in certain incidents never stopped us from publicly expressing our support or our critique, and the same applies to the present if new comrades choose to use the organization’s name. Without needing to know one another, through the communiqués that accompany attacks we can begin an open debate on reflections and problems that, even if viewed through different lenses, are certainly focused on the same direction: revolution.
Consequently, we first-phase comrades are now assuming responsibility for the discourse we generate inside prison by signing as the Fire Cells Conspiracy, followed by our names.
The new “Conspiracy” will maintain and safeguard its customary independence, writing its own history of struggle. This significant continuation will surely connect the dots on the map of rebellion, sweeping them toward the final destination of revolution.
6. The Epilogue Has Yet to Be Written
Through our actions, we are propagating a revolution that touches us directly, while also contributing to the destruction of this bourgeois society. The goal is not just to tear down the idols of power, but to completely overturn current ideas about material pleasure and the hopes behind it.
We know our quest connects us to many other people around the world, and via this pamphlet we want to send them our warmest regards: the Fire Cells Conspiracy in the Netherlands; the FAI in Italy; the Práxedis G. Guerrero Autonomous Cells for Immediate Revolution and the ELF/ALF in Mexico; the ELF in Russia; the anarchists in Bristol, Argentina, and Turkey; the Autonome Gruppen in Germany; the September 8 Vengeance Commando in Chile; the comrades in Switzerland, Poland, Spain, and London; and everyone we’ve left out, wherever the rejection of this world is in bloom.
This text has no epilogue, because praxis will always continue to nourish and transform itself. We’re just making a quick stop, concluding with a few words someone once said:
It’s an astonishing moment when the attack on the world order is set in motion. Even at the very beginning—which was almost imperceptible—we already knew that very soon, no matter what happened, nothing would be the same as before. It’s a charge that starts slowly, quickens its pace, passes the point of no return, and irrevocably detonates what once seemed impregnable—so solid and protected, yet nevertheless destined to fall, demolished by strife and disorder. . . . On this path of ours, many were killed or arrested, and some are still in enemy hands. Others strayed from the battle or were wounded, never to appear again. Still others lacked courage and retreated. But I must say that our group never wavered, even when it had to face the very heart of destruction.
—Fire Cells Conspiracy: Gerasimos Tsakalos, Olga Economidou, Haris Hatzimichelakis, Christos Tsakalos, Giorgos Nikolopoulos, Michalis Nikolopoulos, Damiano Bolano, Panayiotis Argyrou, Giorgos Polydoras
Translators’ Note: Costas Pappas was a beloved anarchist comrade who died in a traffic accident four years ago. A selection of his writings was released posthumously as a pamphlet entitled No Going Back.
From Culmine (April 7, 2011):
In the early hours of Sunday, March 27, fire completely destroyed the Halandri offices of Eurocopters, whose subsidiary Aeroservices supplies helicopters to the Greek army and police. As our comrades explained in their lengthy communiqué, after breaking in through the front door, a potent incendiary device was left inside the offices. The action was dedicated to the Fire Cells Conspiracy members arrested on March 14, and the communiqué was signed by the International Revolutionary Front: Deviant Behavior for the Spread of Revolutionary Terrorism (Anarchist Action Cell).
In the early hours of April 1, the following targets were torched in Thessaloniki: the headquarters of the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe (an NGO) in the Ano Poli neighborhood, and the local office of the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce downtown. Apart from it being a capitalist gang, there was another reason to attack the Chamber of Commerce. Its key executive is Rigas Tzelepoglou, who is also the honorary consul for Chile in Thessaloniki. The NGO in question, like most NGOs, has its hands covered in blood and shit due to Greece’s policy toward the Balkans. Plus, there is a surprise: The treasurer of the NGO that was attacked is none other than Mr. Tzelepoglou! The arsons were dedicated to the Chilean comrades on hunger strike, the five recently arrested Fire Cells Conspiracy members, and other prisoners. The communiqué, which can be read in Greek here, was signed by the International Revolutionary Front: Fire to the Borders Solidarity Cell.
It would be impossible to keep track of every sabotage that has taken place during the past few weeks in Greece, and we are therefore limiting ourselves to details about attacks that have been claimed.
In the early hours of February 20, a Piraeus Bank in the Athens neighborhood of Votanikos was attacked with hammers and then set on fire. The action was dedicated to those being charged with membership in the Fire Cells Conspiracy, but the accompanying communiqué was unsigned.
In the early hours of February 21, a gazaki (camping gas canisters plus a flammable liquid, like gasoline) exploded at the Treasury Office in the Thessaloniki neighborhood of Touba. The action was claimed by the International Revolutionary Front: Arson Attack Cell and dedicated to “those being charged with membership in the Fire Cells Conspiracy, social bandit Rami Syrianos, and all dignified prisoners in struggle.”
On March 1, a Zografos driving school was torched in the Athens neighborhood of Kaisariani. The accompanying communiqué—simply signed “Action”—explained that Zografos was attacked because of its collaboration with the pigs, as evidenced by its participation in the Police Day celebrations at the Hellenic Police Academy’s Officers’ School last October. Like many other communiqués connected to actions commemorating the one-year anniversary of the death of Revolutionary Struggle member Lambros Fountas (shot and killed by the pigs on March 11, 2010), it ended with the slogan “Honor forever to Lambros Fountas.”
A group called Shadows for the Instigation of Nighttime Sabotage claimed responsibility for a series of arsons that took place in Athens on March 2. A Eurobank EFG branch in Kaisariani, the Treasury Office in Holargos, and the local New Democracy party headquarters in Tavros were all set on fire. These actions were dedicated to anarchist prisoner Christos Politis and the five others being charged in the same case (all six comrades were arrested on December 4, 2010), anarchist prisoner Aris Seirinidis, and the hunger-striking Chilean comrades being charged in the “Bombings Case.”
In the early hours of March 6, the Lambros Fountas Guerrilla Formation set fire to an Emporiki Bank branch located right in the middle of the bourgeois Athens neighborhood of Kolonaki. The action was dedicated to the “captive Guerrillas of the Fire Cells Conspiracy, Revolutionary Struggle, and November 17,” as well as the Chilean comrades on hunger strike.
That same morning, a KION construction site was torched. KION is one of the companies that constructs prisons and courthouses in Greece. The unsigned communiqué dedicated the arson to Aris Seirinidis and “all dignified prisoners of the war on the regime.”
In the early hours of March 14, the local PASOK party headquarters in the Thessaloniki neighborhood of Sikea was set on fire. The accompanying communiqué was signed by the International Revolutionary Front: Incendiary Plans for Nighttime Disorder. It mentioned the Chilean comrades caught up in the “Bombings Case,” the imprisoned Fire Cells Conspiracy members as well as the other prisoners being charged with membership in the group, and the five imprisoned Thessaloniki anarchists (Yiannis Skouloudis, Dimitris Fessas, Dimitris Dimitsiadis, Haralambos Stylianidis, and Sokratis Tzifkas) being charged with the arson of Public Power Corporation (DEI) vehicles.
In the early hours of March 15, the Chaos Warriors torched two Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) vans parked in the city of Gerakas, just north of Athens. The arson was a display of solidarity with the five comrades arrested the previous day and charged with membership in the Fire Cells Conspiracy.
During the afternoon of March 18, a gazaki exploded on the doorstep of Health Minister Andreas Loverdos’ office in downtown Athens. In the accompanying communiqué signed by Revolutionary Liberatory Action, the arson was dedicated to Aris Seirinidis, Christos Politis, and the six prisoners being charged with membership in Revolutionary Struggle (three of whom deny the charges). The communiqué also made reference to Loverdos’ vile career as Labor and then Health Minister, the recently ended hunger strike by 300 illegal immigrants in Athens and Thessaloniki, and the revolts sweeping through the Arab world.
Additionally, there have been a number of solidarity protests in front of prisons. On March 13, 100 comrades demonstrated in front of Grevena Prison (photos), where Christos Politis has been locked up since his December 4, 2010 arrest during an Antiterrorist Unit operation. And on March 19, there was a demonstration in Ioannina in support of Rami Syrianos, who is imprisoned there (photos).
Apart from the above, there have been several anarchist “invasions” of Athens metro stations, during which ticket validation machines were destroyed (last month, the price of a trip on public transportation rose from 1 to 1.40 euros). There have also been a number of semi-organized stone and Molotov attacks on riot police in Exarcheia, as well as a few clashes with Nazis. In addition, the Keratea residents’ struggle against the construction of a local garbage dump continues in full swing, with support from a large portion of the anarchist milieu. Finally, several luxury cars have been torched in immediate response to the arrests of certain comrades, and there have been numerous protests and demonstrations in solidarity with anarchist prisoners Aris Seirinidis and Simos Seisidis, whose trials are both currently underway.