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Anti-anarchist pogrom launched by Socialists in Greece
10/09/2009, 4:16 PM
Filed under: war-machine

“One day after assuming power, the Socialists launched a massive invasion of Exarcheia, the Athens anarchist enclave, with mass detentions and brutal intimidation of locals.

On the early hours of Friday 9 of October, four days after the landslide victory of the Socialists in the greek national elections, and only a day after assuming power, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) proved its intentions towards the social antagonistic movement that has swept the country since the December Uprising: brutal repression.

Almost one thousand cops of all corpses, riot police, motorised police, secret police and usual uniformed officers swept Exarcheia, the anarchist enclave of the greek capital, at 01.30 am. The mass invasion of the police-free area was orchestrated by the new Minister of Public Order (or as the Socialist newspeak has it Minister of Citizens’ Protection) Mr Chrisohoidis, infamous for his unorthodox methods in capturing and interrogating members of the November 17 urban guerrilla group in the summer of 2002 – i.e. torture. On his side the genius of repression has as of yesterday Mr Vougias, a well-known ex extreme-leftist eager to share his knowledge of things revolutionary with the State.

During the invasion, which came only a day after the new PM, Mr Papandreou the 3rd, announced that his government is “antiauthoritarians in power”, hundreds of people were stopped and harassed by cops who broke into 26 bars, camped in the liberated park of Navarinou street and generally portrayed a most avenging and brutal attitude towards anyone who just happens to be within the invisible boundaries of the radical area.
Reports claim that several young people were seriously beaten during the operations.

According to the press more than 60 people were detained during the pogrom. Mr Vougias announced that “anomy will be abolished” and connected the invasion with an attack launched the previous morning by more than a dozen activists against banks and a fascist bookshop in the centre of the city as an act of solidarity to the 3 boys arrested under the anti-terrorist law.”


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Comment by anon.

That’s what the article says.

Defined by wikipedia:

“A pogrom is a form of riot directed against a particular group, whether ethnic, religious, or other, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes, businesses, and religious centers. The term was originally used to denote extensive violence against Jews – either spontaneous or premeditated – but in English it is also applied to similar incidents against other minority groups.

Does it not apply?

Comment by toutniquer

I don’t think so. It seems to be sensationalism rather than a sober analysis of the situation. A pogrom is an attack on a racialized community (most often against Jews). Very similar to white racial violence against African-Americans in the early part of the twentieth century. What’s happening in Greece seems to be a different form of state repression. There’s no way that the Greek state could pull off a massacre of Anarchists because it is not strong enough and Anarchists are not weak enough, at least at the moment. After all, just think about what happened when they killed Alex. Beyond terminology, it’s fucked. That it was a massive offensive maneuver waged by the state against Greek Anarchists is what probably matters most in the final analysis. But pogrom mystifies more than it conveys.

Comment by Abiezer Coppe

I wouldn’t disagree that it’s sensational. I’m not in Exarchia, but I’m sure it’s an emotionally distraught situation for those who are used to having the area exist relatively autonomously.

Regarding the word pogrom, obviously its usage is racialized, but what basis is there for the claim that it is necessarily racial as opposed to often racial? My major disagreement with the use of the word is my understanding of it being more of an unorganized and popular activity, which is something that the state’s actions can’t usually be described as.

Comment by toutniquer

I wholeheartedly agree with the second point and would add that the lack of losses of life is significant as well. On the first, I would say that it wouldn’t necessarily have to be considered racial but that there is almost always something that is thought of by the attackers as immutable within the bodies of the community that is attacked.

Hypothetically, if the police would have been killing people within Exarcheia indiscriminately, I doubt that I or others would question using the term “pogrom.” But, it seems that what actually did happen is something else. Maybe purge would seem slightly more accurate?

Comment by Abiezer Coppe

At this point we can only speculate as to what is even really happening. As it is reported, police have been in the area in large numbers, stopping and searching people, taking people into custody, raiding spaces, etc. They’ve done this all before, but this is presented as a more extreme version of what has already happened and with justification by the new socialist government.

The state acts not surprisingly within its role and the terrain of modern biopolitical combat – which is continuous discipline and control of the life of populations (most importantly its own subjects). The area of Exarchia and the category of the whatever anti-authoritarian combatant represents competing alternative forms of politics not so defined by the state (or a form of life not so produced by a collectivity relating to capital and state) and are therefore seen as enemies to this social relation. It’s all an issue of how this disciplining can be justified, while maintaining the justification for its own rule.

Comment by toutniquer

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