Tag Archive | Panayiotis Argyrou

Panayiotis Argyrou: Political Statement to the Court

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 beganthe 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 surprisein 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 dominationwithout being a vanguard and without having followerswhile 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 painpain 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 surveillancea 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

List of anarchist and other political prisoner comrades in Greece (August 2011 update)

From Liberación Total (August 9, 2011):

Our comrades are transferred frequently. Therefore, this list will continue to be updated as needed. The mailing addresses of the prisons where our comrades are being held are written in Greek, but with Latin letters in order to make it easier for those showing solidarity from other countries to send letters, postcards, etc. The way the addresses are written should make them understandable to Greek postal employees and civil servants.

Three comrades from the anarchist milieu are at large: Marios Seisidis and Grigoris Tsironis, fugitives since January 2006 (with prices on their heads since October 2009) and accused of the same bank robbery as Yiannis Dimitrakis, plus a comrade accused of belonging to Revolutionary Struggle.

For the first time on this list we have included prisoners from the leftist November 17 urban guerrilla group, who have been in prison since 2002 (the year the group was “dismantled”). Despite enormous political differences, most anarchists and antiauthoritarians support them. We also want to point out that Dimitris Koufodinas is perhaps the only political prisoner in Greece who is fluent in Spanish (he actually translated Xosé Tarrío’s Huye, hombre, huye into Greek).

There are also a number of “social” prisoners (Vangelis Pallis, Ilias Karadouman, and Spiros Stratoulis, among others) who always show solidarity with and are very active in struggles on the inside, but they haven’t been included on this list. Additionally, several weeks ago a young comrade was sent to Korydallos Prison after being brutally beaten by riot police (leaving him with a bunch of missing teeth, a head wound, and back injuries) while on his way home from a DIY concert in Exarcheia one morning. The pigs apparently identified him as one of the people who had carried out Molotov attacks on riot police units stationed in the neighborhood just a few hours earlier. However, the young man hasn’t yet decided if he wants his name to be released.

Yiannis Dimitrakis
Geniko Katastima Kratisis Domokou
TK 35010 Domokos
Fthiotida
Greece

On January 16, 2006, Dimitrakis was arrested after being seriously wounded by police bullets during a bank robbery in downtown Athens. Arrest warrants were later issued for three comrades alleged to be his accomplices. Two of them, Marios Seisidis and Grigoris Tsironis, remain at large. The third, Simos Seisidis, was arrested on May 3, 2010. In June 2007, Dimitrakis was sentenced to 35 years and 6 months in prison. At a December 2010 appeal hearing, he was acquitted of several charges (one of which was attempted homicide of a security guard) and his sentence was reduced to 12 years. He is now able to go on leave from prison every other month.

Vangelis Chrysochoidis
Dikastiki Filaki Komotinis
TK 69100 Komotini
Greece

Polykarpos Georgiadis
Kleisti Filaki Kerkiras
TK 49100 Kerkyra
Greece

In late August 2008, Chrysochoidis and Georgiadis were arrested in Thessaloniki and charged with the kidnapping of powerful industrialist Giorgos Mylonas, which took place earlier that summer. Chrysochoidis and Georgiadis denied that they participated in the kidnapping, but they did declare their solidarity with Vassilis Palaiocostas (Greece’s “most-wanted” and the country’s most famous bank robber, who has been charged in the same case). In February 2010, Chrysochoidis and Georgiadis were each sentenced to 22 years and 3 months in prison. An appeal hearing is scheduled for February 2012.

Members of the Fire Cells Conspiracy:

Panayiotis Argyrou
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

In October 2009, a warrant was issued for Argyrou’s arrest on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy. On November 1, 2010, he and Gerasimos Tsakalos were arrested for mailing incendiary packages. After their arrest, Argyrou and Tsakalos revealed that they are Fire Cells Conspiracy members. He was tried in the so-called “Halandri case” (for three specific Fire Cells Conspiracy attacks) and sentenced to 25 years in prison out of a total sentence of 37 years. He is currently awaiting future Fire Cells Conspiracy trials.

Damiano Bolano
Geniko Katastima Kratisis Domokou, D1 Pteryga
TK 35010 Domokos
Fthiotida
Greece

In September 2009, a warrant was issued for Bolano’s arrest on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy. On March 14, 2011, he and four other comrades were arrested in Volos. After his arrest, he revealed that he is a Fire Cells Conspiracy member. He is currently awaiting trial.

Olga Economidou
Katastima Kratisis Ginaikon Eleonas Thivon
TK 32200 Thebes
Greece

On March 14, 2011, Economidou and four other comrades were arrested in Volos. After her arrest, she revealed that she is a Fire Cells Conspiracy member. She is currently awaiting trial.

Haris Hatzimichelakis
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

On September 23, 2009, Hatzimichelakis was arrested and charged with belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy. In November 2010, after Panayiotis Argyrou and Gerasimos Tsakalos were arrested for mailing incendiary packages, Hatzimichelakis revealed that he is a Fire Cells Conspiracy member. He was tried in the so-called “Halandri case” (for three specific Fire Cells Conspiracy attacks) and sentenced to 25 years in prison out of a total sentence of 37 years. He is currently awaiting future Fire Cells Conspiracy trials.

Giorgos Nikolopoulos
Dikastiki Filaki Komotinis
TK 69100 Komotini
Greece

In September 2009, a warrant was issued for Nikolopoulos’ arrest on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy. On March 14, 2011, he and four other comrades were arrested in Volos. After his arrest, he revealed that he is a Fire Cells Conspiracy member. He is currently awaiting trial.

Michalis Nikolopoulos
Kleisti Filaki Trikalon
TK 42100 Trikala
Greece

In September 2009, a warrant was issued for Nikolopoulos’ arrest on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy. On January 26, 2011, he was arrested, after which he revealed that he is a Fire Cells Conspiracy member. He is currently awaiting trial.

Giorgos Polydoras
Kleisti Filaki Kerkyras
TK 49100 Kerkyra
Greece

On March 14, 2011, Polydoras and four other comrades were arrested in Volos. After his arrest, he revealed that he is a Fire Cells Conspiracy member. He is currently awaiting trial.

Christos Tsakalos
Geniko Katastima Kratisis Grevenon
TK 51100 Grevena
Greece

Since mid-November 2010, Tsakalos had been at large, as a warrant for his arrest was issued shortly after the arrest of his brother Gerasimos. On March 14, 2011, he and four other comrades were arrested in Volos. After his arrest, he revealed that he is a Fire Cells Conspiracy member. He is currently awaiting trial.

Gerasimos Tsakalos
Geniko Katastima Kratisis Domokou, D1 Pteryga
TK 35010 Domokos
Fthiotida
Greece

On November 1, 2010 Tsakalos and Panayiotis Argyrou were arrested for mailing incendiary packages, after which they revealed that they are Fire Cells Conspiracy members. Tsakalos is currently awaiting trial.

Other prisoners sentenced in the “Halandri case”:

Giorgos Karagiannidis
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

In September 2009, a warrant was issued for Karagiannidis’ arrest on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy. On December 4, 2010, he was arrested during an antiterrorist operation that gave rise to the so-called “Nea Smyrni case” (Nea Smyrni is the Athens neighborhood where Alexandros Mitrousias and Costas Sakkas were arrested in possession of numerous weapons while leaving a garage where explosives and more weapons were found). Karagiannidis denies being a member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy, but he was nevertheless tried in the so-called “Halandri case” and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He is currently awaiting trial for the “Nea Smyrni case” (on charges of forming an “unnamed terrorist organization”), and it’s very likely that he will also face further charges for attacks carried out by the Fire Cells Conspiracy.

Konstantina Karakatsani
Ginaikies Filakes Koridallou
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

On September 25, 2009, a warrant was issued for Karakatsani’s arrest on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy, and she was ultimately arrested on April 22, 2011. She denies being a member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy, but was nevertheless tried in the so-called “Halandri case” (for three specific Fire Cells Conspiracy attacks) and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Panayiotis Masouras
Geniko Katastima Kratisis Grevenon
TK 51100 Grevena
Greece

On September 23, 2009, Masouras was arrested. He was finally granted a conditional release on March 23, 2011 (given that he had already been in prison for 18 months, which in Greece is the maximum amount of time one can serve without having been sentenced). He denies being a member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy, but was nevertheless tried in the so-called “Halandri case” (for three specific Fire Cells Conspiracy attacks) and sentenced to 11 years and 6 months in prison. He was taken back into custody and returned to prison immediately after the sentences were announced on July 29, 2011.

Alexandros Mitrousias
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

In September 2009, a warrant was issued for Mitrousias’ arrest on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy. On December 4, 2010, he was arrested during an antiterrorist operation that gave rise to the so-called “Nea Smyrni case” (Nea Smyrni is the Athens neighborhood where Mitrousias and Costas Sakkas were arrested in possession of numerous weapons while leaving a garage where explosives and more weapons were found). Mitrousias denies being a member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy, but he was nevertheless tried in the so-called “Halandri case” and sentenced to 11 years in prison. He is currently awaiting trial for the “Nea Smyrni case” (on charges of forming an “unnamed terrorist organization”), and it’s very likely that he will also face further charges for attacks carried out by the Fire Cells Conspiracy.

Other prisoners in the “Nea Smyrni case” (there were six in total, but in May 2011 Dimitris Michail and Christos Politis were granted a conditional release pending trial):

Stella Antoniou
Kleisti Kentriki Filaki Ginaikon Koridallou
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

As part of an antiterrorist operation that gave rise to the so-called “Nea Smyrni case,” Antoniou was arrested  on December 4, 2010 in an apartment she shared with Costas Sakkas. She is currently awaiting trial for the “Nea Smyrni case” (on charges of forming an “unnamed terrorist organization”).

Costas Sakkas
Dikastiki Filaki Nafpliou
TK 21100 Argolida
Greece

On December 4, 2010, Sakkas was arrested  during an antiterrorist operation that gave rise to the so-called “Nea Smyrni case” (Nea Smyrni is the Athens neighborhood where Sakkas and Alexandros Mitrousias were arrested in possession of numerous weapons while leaving a garage where explosives and more weapons were found). Sakkas is currently awaiting trial for the “Nea Smyrni case” (on charges of forming an “unnamed terrorist organization”).

Members of Revolutionary Struggle (although only three have revealed their membership, similar charges are being leveled at an unnamed comrade who has been at large since April 2010, Maria Beraha (Costas Gournas’ partner), Christoforos Kortesis, Sarantos Nikitopoulos, and Vangelis Stathopoulos (in April 2011, after spending a year in prison, the latter three were granted a conditional release pending trial):

Costas Gournas
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, ST Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

Nikos Maziotis
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, ST Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

Pola Roupa
Kleisti Kentriki Filaki Ginaikon Koridallou
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

On April 10, 2010, Gournas, Maziotis, Roupa, and three other comrades (who are currently on conditional release) were arrested on charges of belonging to the Revolutionary Struggle organization. On April 29, 2010, via an open letter, Gournas, Maziotis, and Roupa revealed that they are in fact members of Revolutionary Struggle. They are currently awaiting trial, which will most likely begin in October 2011.

Alexandros Kosivas
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

Michalis Traikapis
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga
TK 18110 Koridallos
Athens
Greece

On September 17, 2010, Kosivas and Traikapis were arrested (along with a female comrade, who was granted a conditional release) on the island of Evia on charges of robbing a bank in the town of Psachna that same day. They deny the charges and are currently awaiting their October 2011 trial.

Christos Stratigopoulos
Dikastiki Filaki Larisas
TK 21110 Larissa
Greece

On October 1, 2009, Stratigopoulos and Alfredo Bonanno were arrested in Trikala on charges of robbing a bank. Stratigopoulos admitted full responsibility for the robbery. Nevertheless, both men were tried on November 22, 2010. Bonanno was sentenced to four years in prison for being a “common accomplice,” but he was granted a release (along with a ten-year ban on entering Greece), while Stratigopoulos was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Yiannis Skouloudis
Eidiko Katastima Kratisis Neon Avlona
TK 19011 Avlona
Attica
Greece

On October 13, 2010, Skouloudis was arrested in Thessaloniki while torching two Public Power Corporation (DEI) vehicles. He has admitted responsibility for the arson. After his arrest, four more comrades were named as his accomplices and went into hiding.

The “Vyronas Four” (Vyronas is the Athens neighborhood where they were arrested):

Dimitris Dimitsiadis
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

Dimitris Fessas
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

Haralambos Stylianidis
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

Sokratis Tzifkas
Eidiko Katastima Kratisis Neon Avlona
TK 19011 Avlona
Attica
Greece

Dimitsiadis, Fessas, Stylianidis, and Tzifkas were charged for the same October 13, 2010 arson of Public Power Corporation (DEI) vehicles that led to the arrest of Yiannis Skouloudis in Thessaloniki, so they chose to go into hiding. After spending three months underground, they were arrested on January 13, 2011 in an apartment in the Athens neighborhood of Vyronas, where a number of weapons were also found. They are currently awaiting trial for the Thessaloniki arson and for forming an “unnamed terrorist organization” (on account of the weapons they were found with). Some time ago, they released a lengthy letter as a contribution to the revolution.

Simos Seisidis
Nosokomeio Kratoumenon Koridallou
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

On January 16, 2006, a warrant was issued for comrade Seisidis’ arrest on charges of taking part in the that day’s bank robbery during which Yiannis Dimitrakis was arrested. On May 3, 2010, Seisidis was shot by police during his arrest and suffered a serious injury to his leg, which later had to be amputated. He is currently at Korydallos Prison hospital. At his trial, which began in late March 2011, he was acquitted (due to a lack of evidence) of the January 2006 bank robbery as well as charges of having participated in another six bank robberies between 2006 and 2008 (since Seisidis was at large during that time period, the authorities “generously” charged him in a number of unsolved cases). Nevertheless, Seisidis remains in prison awaiting two more trials. On September 16, 2011, he will be tried for “attempted homicide”of the same police officer who shot him from behind on May 3, 2010! Then there is a pending trial for arms theft involving an incident that took place over three years ago, when someone snatched a semiautomatic from the guard watching the home of a Supreme Court judge. Neither the weapon nor the perpetrator were ever found, thus making it easy to charge Seisidis.

Rami Syrianos
Dikastiki Filaki Ioanninon
TK 45110 Ioannina
Greece

On January 31, 2011, Syrianos was arrested in Thessaloniki after a robbery at an auction of vehicles seized by the police due to their connected to smuggling or customs violations. He has admitted responsibility for the robbery and is currently awaiting trial.

Dimitris Hatzivasiliadis
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

On the morning of February 11, 2011, while walking through the Athens neighborhood of Kypseli, Hatzivasiliadis was arrested in possession of two pistols. Despite the fact that carrying weapons is in itself not (yet) a felony in Greece, Hatzivasiliadis was nevertheless locked up because the judges at his hearing increased the degree of the charge in accordance with the antiterrorist law, intimating that Hatzivasiliadis “intended to use the weapons for indeterminate ends” (?).

Theofilos Mavropoulos
Kleisti Kentriki Filaki Ginaikon Koridallou, Eidiki Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

On May 18, 2011, Mavropoulos was arrested in the Athens neighborhood of Pefki after being seriously wounded during a shootout with two patrol officers. The comrade who was with him managed to escape. Mavropoulos is being charged with two counts of attempted homicide, among other charges. After spending a month in the hospital, he is currently in a special solitary confinement wing located on the premises of the women’s prison at Korydallos. Members of November 17 are in the same wing.

Sentenced in the November 17 case (the third Xeros brother, Vassilis, was released on July 20, 2011):

Dimitris Koufodinas
Iraklis Kostaris
Christodoulos Xeros
Savvas Xeros

Kleisti Kentriki Filaki Ginaikon Koridallou, Eidiki Pteryga
TK 18110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

First Fire Cells Conspiracy trial ends with severe sentences [UPDATED]

From Act for Freedom Now! (July 19, 2011) and Liberación Total (July 21, 2011):

The verdicts and sentences were announced today in the first Fire Cells Conspiracy trial (the so-called “Halandri case,” which began on January 19), and the end results are not good. The three-member Athens Felony Court imposed even longer sentences than those requested by the prosecutor. The breakdown is as follows:

Haris Hatzimichelakis: Guilty of forming and belonging to a terrorist organization, manufacturing and possessing three explosive devices, and causing explosions with those devices 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. Sentenced to 25 years in prison out of a total combined sentence of 77 years.

Panayiotis Argyrou: Guilty of forming and belonging to a terrorist organization, manufacturing and possessing three explosive devices, and causing explosions with those devices 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. Sentenced to 25 years in prison out of a total combined sentence of 77 years.

Giorgos Karagiannidis: Guilty of belonging to a terrorist organization, manufacturing and possessing the explosive device used at the home of former Interior Vice-Minister Panayiotis Hinofotis, and being an accomplice to the explosion at the home of PASOK ministers Louka Katseli and Gerasimos Arsenis. Sentenced to 20 years in prison out of a total combined sentence of 32 years.

Panayiotis Masouras: Guilty of belonging to a terrorist organization, manufacturing and possessing the explosive device used at the home of former Interior Vice-Minister Panayiotis Hinofotis, and being an accomplice to the explosion at the home of PASOK ministers Louka Katseli and Gerasimos Arsenis. Sentenced to 11 years and 6 months in prison out of a total combined sentence of 19 years. Submitted an application for a suspended sentence, which was unanimously rejected despite the prosecutor’s willingness to accept it.

Konstantina Karakatsani: Guilty of belonging to a terrorist organization, manufacturing and possessing the explosive device used at the home of former Interior Vice-Minister Panayiotis Hinofotis, and being an accomplice to the explosion at the home of PASOK ministers Louka Katseli and Gerasimos Arsenis. Sentenced to 11 years in prison out of a total combined sentence of 19 years. Submitted an application for a suspended sentence, which was unanimously rejected despite the prosecutor’s willingness to accept it.

Alexandros Mitrousias: Guilty of belonging to a terrorist organization, manufacturing and possessing the explosive device used at the home of former Interior Vice-Minister Panayiotis Hinofotis, and being an accomplice to the explosion at the home of PASOK ministers Louka Katseli and Gerasimos Arsenis. Sentenced to 11 years in prison out of a total combined sentence of 19 years. Refused to submit an application for a suspended sentence.

Manolis Yiospas: Guilty of three misdemeanors: two counts of robbery (stealing an official hospital stamp a Special Guard fines ledger) and one count of fraud (falsifying a student ID card). Sentenced to 2 years and 9 months in prison. Yiospas’ charges were based solely on objects found in his home, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the Fire Cells Conspiracy. The prosecutor initially requested that Yiospas be acquitted, and after the prison sentence was announced the prosecutor then proposed a three-year suspended sentence, which the court accepted.

Nikos Vogiatzakis: Acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence.

Errikos Rallis: Acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence.

Excluding Yiospas, these are the very first sentences ever handed down under the so-called “Antiterrorist Law 2.” It’s also important to note that the sentences apply to ethical/intellectual responsibility for the bombings in question, not physical responsibility. The actual physical perpetrators of the bombings are still considered to be unknown.

An extenuating circumstance in the sentences of Masouras, Karakatsani, Mitrousias, and Yiospas was that their “crimes” were commited before reaching the age of 21, and a further extenuating circumstance in Yiospas’s sentence was his “good behavior” during the six months he spent in prison, given that he didn’t release a single statement or open letter.

Our comrades’ friends and relatives, as well as their defense attorneys, were stunned by the severity of the sentences, especially considering the Court’s finding that most of the accused were only involved in the Fire Cells Conspiracy for the span of a few months.

We will fully update our comrades’ contact information as soon as it becomes available.

Fire Cells Conspiracy prisoner address update

From Act for Freedom Now! (July 15, 2011):

For correspondence and communication with the imprisoned members of the Fire Cells Conspiracy Revolutionary Organization, their updated postal addresses are as follows:

Christos Tsakalos
Grevena General Detention Facility
51 100 Grevena
Greece

Gerasimos Tsakalos
Domokos Prison
35 010 Domokos
Fthiotida
Greece

Damiano Bolano
Domokos Prison
35 010 Domokos
Fthiotida
Greece

Panayiotis Argyrou
Korydallos Judicial Prison
18 110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

Haris Hatzimichelakis
Korydallos Judicial Prison
18 110 Korydallos
Athens
Greece

Giorgos Nikolopoulos
Komotini Judicial Prison
69 100 Komotini
Greece

Giorgos Polydoras
Corfu Closed Prison
49 100 Corfu
Greece

Olga Economidou
Eleonas–Thebes General Detention Facility
32 200 Thebes
Viotia
Greece

Michalis Nikolopoulos
Trikala Closed Prison
42 100 Trikala
Greece

For improved, more direct communication, a general post office box will soon be set up, and its address will be published on Athens Indymedia.

Fire Cells Conspiracy: The Sun Still Rises

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 planpositions 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 beastthe bankswith 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 canif she wantsuse 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 beginningwhich was almost imperceptiblewe 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 impregnableso 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.

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