Revolutionary Struggle in Athens

Greece: Revolutionary Struggle claims responsibility for car bomb explosion in Athens city centre

In the early morning hours of Thursday, April 10th, 2014 —after two warning phone calls to the media— a car bomb with 75kg of explosives was detonated outside one of Bank of Greece’s offices, located at Amerikis Street in Athens, causing extensive material damages in the surrounding area (but no injuries).

Fifteen days later, the urban guerrilla group Revolutionary Struggle (Epanastatikos Agonas) claimed responsibility for the bombing. Below are just a few excerpts from their lengthy articulate communiqué (a complete translation is always welcome!).

As many of you may recall, three anarchists revealed their membership in the group four years ago, in April 2010: Nikos Maziotis and Pola Roupa, who have gone underground since the summer of 2012 (recently, the government placed a huge bounty on their heads), and Kostas Gournas, who is currently held captive in Koridallos prison.

You can read the article above for the English-language excerpts from the communiqué. However, here is their summarized revolutionary platform if you want to get a general idea of what they are about:

  • Unilateral termination of payment of the Greek debt.
  • Exit from the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the European Union (EU).
  • Expropriation of assets of the Capital, large companies, multinational corporations, of all movable and immovable property of the capitalists.
  • Abolition of the banking system, erasure of all debts to banks, handover of small possessions that were seized by banks, and socialization of bank assets.
  • Expropriation of state property and utilities companies; expropriation of church property.
  • Socialization of the means of production, industry, ports, means of transfer and communication, transportation, utilities, hospitals and educational institutions; the workers will engage in their managing.
  • Abolition of the State and the bourgeois parliament of professional politicians, to be replaced by a confederal system of popular assemblies and workers’ councils, whose coordination, communication and decision-implementation will be achieved through delegates elected and immediately recallable. At national level, in place of the old representative bourgeois parliament there will be a supreme Confederal People’s Assembly, whose members will be authorized members-delegates elected and immediately recallable by the local popular assemblies and workers’ councils.
  • Abolition of the police and the army, to be replaced by an armed popular militia, not a mercenary one.

A final thought — it is noteworthy that Revolutionary Struggle made two warning phone calls to the media. This seemed to ensure that the area would be clear of human casualty. And it worked. There were no human casualties. While in a modern context we might view this as an act of “terrorism” — and regardless of what we believe about Revolutionary Struggle or their agenda — the tactics draw many parallels to revered Western “heroes.” In the American Revolution, the destruction of property was an instrumental tool in the struggle against the Crown. The Boston Tea Party being one of the most famous examples of an act of “terrorism” targeting property. A failed attempt in the modern struggle for Israeli independence, the King David Hotel bombing 1946, utilized similar tactics. But the warning was ignored and it resulted in many fatalities.

I give these examples to distinguish motive from tactics.

The knee-jerk reaction is to condemn any act of violence, even an act of destruction that harms no human being. However, it is important to distinguish between acts of violence against random individuals and acts of destruction against infrastructure or property. This is important both in a clear historical context and a modern moral context. Americans accept drone assassinations, even if they result in innocent deaths, as long as the intent is perceived as good (to target terrorists). This is due to the state narrative of the United States of America as the “good” and the Pakistani or Yemeni as the “bad.”

An unbiased eye will have to view the actions of Revolutionary Struggle in Athens with some degree of nuance. And, imagining a future history, it is conceivable that the acts of Revolutionary Struggle today might be viewed in a future Greece as Americans view the Boston Tea Party, or as Israelis view the King David Hotel operation, in one hundred or two hundred years.

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