On the 13th of June, the poet, writer, philosopher, film maker (Lets Not Live Like Slaves, I struggle therefore I am, Love and Revolution) Yannis Youlountas was attacked by neo-nazis in the Piraeus, the port district of Athens. He remains in hospital recovering.
In the wave of State repression against anarchists, and dissidents more generally, in greece and elsewhere, the attack on Youlountas cannot be simply dismissed as an exception. We therefore share, in translation, a statement by him, to inspire the on going struggle (posted on Youlountas’ blog).
Thank you for your many messages of support, following the neo-Nazi ambush that I suffered on Thursday evening, near the self-managed social center, Favela, in Piraeus (1). I am slowly recovering from the violence of the blows, weakened but determined. Far from being shot, I’m happy to announce good news for Rouvikonas.
DO NOT CEDE TO FEAR
There is only one thing we have to fear, it is fear itself. This is the hackneyed trap of those who claim to be superior: authoritarian or fascist, legal or factious, with their pack of cops or militiamen. The fabric of consent not only passes through an imaginary construction, a symbolic representation, an illusory rank to which submission is presented as an evidence, a rule, a duty. This servitude is, moreover, the product of the feeling of helplessness and insecurity that arouses fear. It does not matter whether the threat is direct or indirect: to look down when it occurs is to resign oneself; to look elsewhere when others are oppressed is to be prepared to suffer the same fate.
On the other hand, not to give in to fear is to remain resolutely outside this vicious circle, this infernal cycle, this accumulation of things not said. It is to shout no, loud and clear, when silence equals consent. It is to surprise those who thought to make us obey, to run or to ask for pity.
To not give in to fear is to refuse to look down, to look in the eyes of those who want to dominate us, to exploit us, to molest us, and to show that we will not give in, that we will stand up to the end. Last night, the four neo-Nazis (2) who gave trapped thought that they could impress me. But they soon realized that cold blood and determination do more than just numbers. Certainly, I am still suffering now, but I have probably escaped worse. I also have to thank the arrival of a tram at the nearby station, after the start of the attack, for their giving up. This unexpected crowd may have saved my life. A life that sometimes hangs by a thread: the thread of social bond, presence, solidarity.
To not give in to fear is to not to back down from attempts to intimidate. The neo-Nazis of Piraeus are raging these days at the sight of the free social space Favela celebrate its second birthday and succeed what seemed to be impossible: to hold on in a difficult neighborhood where fascists and other nationalists have established themselves. With exemplary courage and many great ideas, my Favela comrades have shown, once again, that the only struggles lost in advance are those we do not dare to lead. That is why I call upon all those who are in Attica tonight to go to the anniversary of Favela and to show their solidarity by their presence in numbers at this meeting, in the heart of Piraeus (3).
To not give in to fear is also not to allow others to suffer injustice and repression. This solidarity, however, has to be equal to the level of the overwhelming force that sometimes falls on the victims. In the face of the recent reprisals by the Greek state, carried through with an unprecedented severity, exploiting legal loopholes, the Rouvikonas group has been stopped now for a month, with the imprisonment of two of its members (4). ). The sum to be collected as a security deposit (future repair costs and day-fines) seemed impossible to meet: € 30,000 for Nikos and as much for Giorgos, the co-founder of the group, or € 60,000 in all, that is to say say ten to twenty times more than usual. Well no ! Yesterday we managed to bring Nikos back from the court! While the media of power already announced the imminent imprisonment of our comrades, we managed to collect and deposit the first huge bag of 30 000 euros, with support from all over the world, young and old, to migrants who though very poor, insisted in participating modestly: “You have defended us so many times! It’s our turn to defend you!”
Tonight, I will not be able to participate in the celebrations of my comrades of Favela, not only because of my convalescence, but also because I planned to be, in the evening, with my comrades from Rouvikonas, to summarise the situation, before returning to rest. So where exactly are we? It is very simple.
At the time of writing, the common defence fund sits at 26,700 euros, that is to say, in reality 22,400 since 4,300 had already been withdrawn for two previous trials. Counting everything (common defence fund + paypal + transfers + cash payments on site or on the Spiros tour), we are more than doubled: 47 850 euros in all! In other words, we have already exceeded half the amount needed to prevent the Greek state from imprisoning Giorgos. 6 days remain to find 12 150 euros. 2000 per day until Friday, June 21, when the sum will have to be deposited to allow the co-founder of Rouvikonas to leave again in his turn (5). 12,150 equals one quarter of the amount collected in three weeks. This seems almost impossible, given the very short time, but it is still possible, provided you do not give up so close to the goal. With 47,850 out of 60,000, we made it 80% of the way. It would be a shame to fail, a stone’s throw away from a formidable demonstration aimed at power; this power that reigns in dividing us, isolating us, making us indifferent and even jealous of one another.
To not give in to fear is to remember our ability to change the course of things, joining actions, ideas, means. The fact that support sometimes arrives from the other side of the world perfectly symbolises the horizontality of this global struggle against the paper giants who still claim to govern us, to judge us and to lock us up.
This is why the struggles against capitalism and against fascism are inseparable. They are in fact the two sides of the same struggle: the struggle for individual and social emancipation, in freedom and equality, in love and revolution, in the joy of participating in an impulse that will overturn one day the authoritarian old world.
Times are hard. Yes, certainly. The Nazis prowl, strike at night and sometimes even in daylight. My body testifies to it. Capitalism hardens, smashing past social conquests and deepening inequalities. It is an undeniable fact that only the haves dare to contradict. Power is stiffening, with new weapons, new tools to monitor and new laws to punish. Certainly, considering the number of victims. The fact is harsh, but it should not lead one to give up. Because it is precisely because times are hard that they are open, that nothing is finished and that we have the vital, cerebral, visceral constraint to get out of it.
It is because this society is profoundly deadly that we have no choice but to leave the political prehistory of humanity to save life and share it differently.
It is because they threaten me, they hit me and they want to steal my life that I’m all the more determined to put an end to those who attack me and to the society they want to impose on me.
Where our enemies try to arouse fear, they only increase the revolt: every threat floods me with adrenaline, every stroke whips my blood, every new trial makes me shake my fist ever higher.
They will not have us like that. We are still standing. And, to stay the course and to have the strength to continue, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
(1) Maud’s statement, following my assault:
(2) Three who attacked me and a fourth, who was watching during this time the port side, the only possible exit (a rather regular and well-lit crossing point).
(3) Tonight in Piraeus, go, as many as possible, for the two years of Favela:
(4) How the Greek state managed to trap Rouvikonas, and why now in particular:
(5) To participate in the call for financial support (before June 21), the common defence fund, with all the information is at: https://www.lepotcommun.fr/pot/mjj83sy2
To proceed by paypal or transfer (or check, but it is a little long and complicated compared to the other possible forms), go to contact in French: [email protected]
If you go to Athens before June 21st:
Rendez-vous at K * Vox every day, from 16:00 to midnight, Exarcheia Square.