[BAI NOTE]: The following is a conversation between a Bay Area Intifada admin and a comrade engaged in the anti-authoritarian scene on the ground in Athens, Greece. Anna, whose name was changed to protect her identity, is an unemployed geologist in her early 30’s. The primary focus of Anna’s political work is around migrant justice.
The BAI admin is a refugee in his early 30’s who has been living in the Bay Area off and on since the early 1980’s. He has been active in many struggles in the Bay Area over the past decade.
The following conversation took place on September 13th in Oakland, CA/ September 14th in Athens, Greece, following a brazen Golden Dawn attack against KKE (Communists Party) members in Athens. BAI has made very few edits in the text below and aspires to keep things raw, human and unapologetic.
BAI does not see itself as separate, neutral or sitting-on-the-sidelines in regards to liberation struggles. On the contrary, those who contribute are long-time participants in these struggles themselves.
Athens, Greece / Oakland, California
[BAI]: Hey Anna! Hows it going??? Wtf is going on over there??? I’ve been reading that Golden Dawn beat the shit out of the commies last night?! What happened? I had a really poor translation…
[ANNA]: This is a total confusion! Actually, now well few minutes before I find you! A friend from the anti-authoritarian scene was saying how happy he is the communist people were beaten up by the nazis!!!!
[BAI] Damn, that’s cold! I’m not a huge fan of them either, but I’m pretty sure the nazis would’ve attacked any lefty they found on the street last night. What happened?
I heard like 8 people are in serious condition… ?
[ANNA] I find this act completely disturbing! But more disturbing is the reaction of the anti-authoritarian people, well some, who are gloating satisfaction (if this is the correct expression)!!!
Forty nazis attacked people from the communist party who were sticking on posters and banners on the street.
It doesn’t matter if i agree with the communist party. As an anti-authoritarian I should be fucking angry nazis have this power in our streets!
[BAI]: That’s some crazy shit. That just couldn’t happen in Oakland. (Gangs of nazis attacking people). Ahhahhaha Oh man! We’d be smashing on some nazis. Might actually get people on the same page for once!
Is that the general sentiment amongst the anti-authoritarians? They’re kinda laughing at it?
[ANNA]: Maybe, but it was funny for some! This is a huge problem of the left here (communists, lefts, anti-authoritarians, etc). Concentrating in their differences rather in their similarities
Even in protests and rallies, there are huge arguments, even clashes!
[BAI]: Over here, the only people that get attacked are the RCP (those ridiculous Bob Avakian people) and they pretty much deserve it hahaha!
So even right now, with Golden Dawn gaining strength and clearly unafraid to kill migrants and leftists, people are focused on hating on each other? Their hasn’t been any kind of statement/communique or retaliation???
[ANNA]: Ok let me explain it with a very vivid example… The nazis’ official site posted a picture of one of the communist guys who was beaten today. The photo was from an old protest and showed him beating an anarchist. The nazis used that in their defense!!!! is this fucked up or what!!!! The caption read, “The alleged victim of the Golden Dawn is a communist bully.”
[BAI]: Wow! So they posted this on the Golden Dawn’s official website? Like the political party website???
[ANNA]: Yeaaaah!!!! Of course they don’t say that the person this communist beat up then was an anarchist, They refer to him as “a fed up Greek citizen!!!” The problem is that in protests and rallies, the communist party actually forms a human shield refusing entrance to any anti-authoritarian, in case of clashes (between anti -authoritarians and police).
[BAI NOTE : For more info on the tensions between communists and anti-authoritarians in Greece, click here]
[BAI]: I’ve heard of this happening. I guess I could see why some folks wouldn’t care if the communists caught a beating…
I could be way off, but it seems like the a-team (anti-authoritarians) out there aren’t taking this shit as seriously as they should. I mean, I see videos of
anarchists smashing on nazis in Greece all the time (love those by the way), but I also hear of Pakistani , Afghan, Nigerian migrant/ refugees being attacked and killed nearly every day. Obviously, being a refugee myself, this makes my F’ing blood boil…
[ANNA]: Exactly! I am not a refugee and I am devastated by this… crashed! So is this really a time where we should think of our personal disputes or conflicts as anti-authoritarians?? I don’t think so.. we actually have a very active antifa scene in Greece, but should focus more on the enemy, the nazis, and the people blindly supporting and helping this party grow. Should have a better tactic.
[BAI]: Ok, I’ve got like a billion questions here. Wtf is more important than stopping nazis from killing refugees? I mean these people are living in some deplorable-ass conditions there already and so many die just trying to get there. They drown at sea or suffocate in shipping containers. The ones coming from Afghanistan are risking their lives crossing through Iran while they try to escape being murdered by the US military.
And wtf is going on with that psycho path nazi/GD member who attacked that communist party lady ON LIVE TV running for mayor of Athens??????? WHAT. THE. FUCK?!
[ANNA]: First of all, slow the fuck down!!!!!
[BAI]: I DEMAND ANSWERS ahahahahah
[ANNA]: NSA has corrupted you all over there i see… ahhahahahahahaa
[BAI] HA! I’m a Muslim. This shit is only news for white people…
We beeen dealing with that since I can remember….
[ANNA]: The problem is in tactics. We should be focusing and work continuously into a certain goal… Not only reacting if a certain incident occurs! But instead of that, people are all over the place! Evictions and raids into squats, its a big deal, arrests of anti-authoritarians etc! So as you understand police is doing a damn good job of turning attention elsewhere…
As you know, many of the police force are members or supporters of the Golden Dawn or have worked/teamed up with them in many occasions.
[BAI]: Yes, been hearing that for years. I hear that, like, 75% of police are Golden Dawn?
[ANNA]: Well.. Don’t know the percentage but yeah, majority of them.
[BAI]: Damn… So what I’m hearing is that the a-team is being distracted. They got their bases taken (the squats) and the polytechnic was raided a couple weeks ago for the first time since ’74 (Greek military junta of 1967–74). Hella people were arrested in Thessaloniki a few days ago at that summit/conference on the economy thingy and you have GD gaining political power, getting elected in parliament and now running for mayor of Athens…
Ummm I’m pretty sure those tactics are counter-insurgency 101, no? 101 meaning basic, I’m not sure yall use that terminology there…
[ANNA]: No. USA terminology doesn’t apply!!! ahahhahahaha
[BAI]: I’m colonized! Leave me alone!!! hahahaha
This all does not sound like a coincidence Anna….
[ANNA]: ENJOY YOUR VACATIONS IN GREECE!
Of course is no coincidence! and its been going on for far too long
The worst that could happen is to have GD for mayor. And elections for mayor are in May… this is very soon! We should be concentrating in that!
Police, state, media try to weaken the anti authoritarian movement when meanwhile they grow the fascist regime
And many people still just find it funny, the entire GD deal… laughing with them being bullies towards the politicians and journalists! People are angry by the economic crisis and get satisfaction by seeing someone bullying the politicians! But that’s not what the GD does, that’s the least of all!
The GD candidate for mayor was accused of brutally attacked a university employee. there was also a witness. the trial was recently and he was found not guilty! And of course there are countless incidents of GD MP’s bullying, beating and stabbing immigrants, destroying their merchandises in public open market… There is also a case in a neighborhood of Athens where the GD forbid the immigrants living there to walk on the street after sunrise!!!
[BAI]: So what is being done to support the migrants??? Is there any type of relationship between the a-team and them?
[ANNA]: I should be clear, because i don’t know what you mean when you say relationship -semiotics fuck everything sometimes- there is small room for co-working between anarchists and immigrants, don’t forget that things are not the same here as there, I am not talking about refugees who are having a house, family, drinking coffees in cafes etc. I am basically talking about those refugees who have no paper, ghosts often living like 10 and even more people together in a single room with no power and water, no papers no fucking idea how to get out of this shit hole… so they are powerless to act or struggle in the sense you might think!
Their priority is survival!
Of course the anti authoritarians help! For example, many squats organize and give away free meals, provide shelter, help with lawyers, support when immigrants are under attack, organize rallies etc. And also we have an active antifa group BUT things must go beyond these.
[BAI]: There was a huge riot at the migrant detention center. And escape! I heard there was a great deal of anger directed towards migrants after the rebellion (I’m sure the hostility was already there). What happened in the days following the rebellion and escapes?
[ANNA]: Migrant detention center! HA! What a joke! Horror conditions, these are
concentration camps, prisons! Inhumane conditions! And as far as I know they plan to make much more! They put people in there while they are waiting their asylum papers, they are not criminals or charged with anything. However, they are living in containers like the ones used in ships, no air conditioning operating. The air conditioning remark might struck like a luxury to you, but it is not, For example, the riots happen during summertime with temperatures in Athens reaching more than 40C outside daytime. Imagine inside they’re making it literally an oven for them! The migrants refused of getting into this oven and this was the triggering event for the riots! Many had escaped, some were arrested and others–according to the police– fled Greece. This is actually very hard to verify since most of them have no papers, no ID: they officially do not exist so it’s kind of scary to assume what might have happened to them in reality!!!!
[BAI]: I heard there was a great deal of anger directed towards migrants after the rebellion (I’m sure the hostility was already there). What happened in the days following the rebellion and escapes?
[ANNA]: The escapees who got arrested were led immediately to court where you
could see they were beaten up, they were barefoot and with ripped clothes. For many days afterwords any access to telephone or other means of
communication for those inside the camp was forbidden. Many immigrants reported brutal attacks from the guards/police after the event. None was investigated. Meanwhile, back in the city, there were random attacks on immigrants living by members of the nazi group. More raids in squads and more severe surveillance systems. Raids in lodges where immigrants with no papers were settled! Police state, fascists and nazis found another great excuse to operate.
[BAI]: Ok so, the general public right now doesn’t see an issue with letting a NAZI run for mayor of Athens? Especially a guy who ATTACKED A WOMEN ON LIVE TV?!?!?! And to top it off, this guy might win and be able to make laws and shit that his Nazi-affiliated police force can implement… LEGALLY?
[ANNA]: Most of the anti-authoritarians do not accept the voting system and elections and dismiss the entire system of elections, so everything is happening in the street.
And the general public is the issue here! Most anti-authoritarians are not concerned in persuading the general public, which is totally understandable… Still, at this point, we are in a dangerous turning point. The general public here is in depression state basically!!!! Around 400.000 to 500.000 voted for this nazi party, and hearing the polls have been grown! And please ask the million dollars question: do we have half a million nazis in Greece?!?!?
[ANNA]: Don’t dare to ask the question, do you????
[BAI]: Anna… How many nazis are there??? And how the hell did it come to this?? This is very telling actually. Kinda makes some sense out of the dumbass sh*t I see people do here… They’re just in LOVE with Greece!!! Ugh, so f*ct.
[ANNA]: Not all the voters are nazis. Most of them are not. Actual nazis are not that much, thank God!
Well, technically, voters are nazis since they vote for a nazi party, but many of them are result of the nazi propaganda and the nazi campaign which was very clever if you ask me…and we didn’t do sh*t to stop them! For example, they were helping old people go to the banks or super markets, protecting them from “criminals,” “thieves.” etc.–specially in the city center. If Greek people had problems with crime or anything, basically they would help…and especially if Greek people had any problems with immigrants, they were acting immediately! They gave away free food to Greek families (only Greeks, I emphasize) and did many sh*t like that, so they were consistent in their strategy!
Many voters just think it’s funny, while the GD is swearing towards the politicians. I told you we are on depression as a nation for the past two years at least….
I should add one more issue here, that the sudden migration rising (last 10 years) causes a huge problem and all the European laws that don’t allow immigrants to get official papers that could made them leave Greece and enter Europe (so they are stuck here with no papers). But no one blames the EU about this, or the Greek state. They blame the immigrants for being stuck here!!!!
Hey by the way, we see all this happening for years! This is no surprise! And we did f*cking sh*t!
[BAI]: It sounds like the GD is straight up out-organizing the A-team. Using mutual aid and stuff to gain popular support, like we should be doing!!! What a mess!!!
[ANNA]: This is a mess to you! imagine living in it!
What did you mean earlier saying “This is very telling actually” and about the people over there? This was kind of confusing. Could you clarify?
[BAI]: Well it’s a long story, but we see a lot of anarchists doing some pretty dumbass things that pisses off most of the town (Oakland). Everybody been writing too much stuff and giving their interpretations of recent events like what happened during Occupy Oakland and during the Trayvon Martin uprisings.
I was there for all that stuff and what I’m reading is definitely not my experiences during those events.
I think I been writing too much myself, but it was absolutely crucial that we (folks of color, radicals) write and put out our own narratives. Write our own histories because we’re getting erased.
I mean, when I read that stuff it makes it very clear why things keep falling apart over here. It’s as if people don’t even care that they sound like a white vanguard in a community which is majority black and brown.
During the Trayvon uprisings, things took on a very decolonial type of direction with many militant people of color. Rich white gentrifiers were getting beat up and robbed left and right. Basically white radicals didn’t even realize that they might just be looking at their own future…
In short though, what I mean by “this is very telling” is that it seems like the a-team both here and there get fixated on certain things and become completely unaware of their surroundings. And honestly, they don’t even seem to give a shit what people of color are trying to convey to them. Very frustrating! I have to emphasize that this isn’t ALL of them– we have some really great, on-point comrades who are white, but since the collapse of Occupy Oakland our relationships are definitely strained.
During the Oscar Grant rebellions I felt like we were all on the same page. We all fought together, but with the huge influx of white anarchists during Occupy, tensions started to rise. The politics of these people came to the surface in many writings around that time. That’s when it became super clear that we didn’t see eye-to-eye.
Theres a ton of more stuff, but it’s a longer conversation…
[ANNA]: This is so sad! and we love you guys over there… watching your struggle! thought you would be much more united against white supremacy! White anarchists should be aware of the white privileged society and fight with you guys! this is bs!
[BAI]: They have this thing where they “negate” race which kinda just means that they don’t know how to deal with race. hahahahah
[ANNA]: Yeah in theory I agree! Practically, race exists and everybody should be proud of their roots!
[BAI] Well, I think they’d probably be more effective going back to their hometowns and organizing their racist-ass communities so we don’t end up having the same problem as you with this rise in fascism… which is slowly, but surely happening.
It’s a hot mess homie
Anyway, sorry I digress…. haha
Ok, so you have a nazi about to take over as Mayor of Athens (probably) and you have GD members who are under investigation for brutal attacks getting elected into parliament, a nazi-oriented police force and the what seems to me as the only viable challenge to them (the anti authoritarians) completely knocked off balance and scrambling to “get their house in order” because of repression/raids… This sounds a lot more urgent and dangerous than people know???
[ANNA]: Well, actually you didn’t get off subject! We should finally understand that we are not alone. What is happening over there will happen here. See our advanced police surveillance technology! Thank you guys!!!!!
Things are international and all connected! For example, fascism is rising everywhere, maybe not as a nazi party but def as a regime and notion!
this is exactly the case here, not only members of GD but the man (thug!) running for mayor was arrested and got trial recently for stabbing a student outside the Uni… he has a swastika tattoo on his arm and also slapped a woman mp of communist party on live tv! what more do people need to understand he is a thug, dangerous thug?!?! well… people do not get it! because they are angry with the state, the system, their own mistakes.. some are ignorant, some are fascists! but we need to act quick!
I am not sure actually if its too late now… we are all idiots to let this happen! i wanna choose to believe we can still act and change things!
[BAI]: To be completely honest I think it is probably too late. Its the same here (well, different, but maybe too late). After 9/11 nobody really did much to challenge racist policies directed at Muslims. It was just fine to illegally spy on us and drone bomb us and lock us up indefinitely and just say “Look! Terrorists!” and now its abundantly clear that that was just a way for them to open the door to these practices they use against everybody now. I mean EVERYBODY! It could be too late. The surveillance/ police state is completely steamrolling us and is practically unchecked. The police forces in every city are completely militarized and even small broke ass towns have machine guns and tanks. We all fucked up.
But of course that just means we need to act now and fight even harder.
For us, people of color, especially Muslims, this is a matter of survival at this point in the US and in our homelands. But the majority of people–white people–are too comfy and are clearly either not ready or unwilling to start moving on some shit. There are practical things we could be doing…
[ANNA]: It’s not too late! As they get technologically advanced, so do we! We can access education (education is free over here – not for long though) and get as advanced as they are! We luck men/women power of course but they luck passion!
[BAI]: I’m glad you’re optimistic, I suppose we have to be to continue this struggle.
Can I ask what people are doing about Syria? And the fact that the US is using bases on Greek land for the impending bombing campaign?
[ANNA]: More things we did fucking nothing! This conversation makes me be deeply embarrassed about us here! Absolutely nothing done over that! I could
hear the American military planes over my house! this is scary stuff! 2 million people fled Syria! 2 million people refugees! We let Americans use the bases over here without a single fight, saying “What else could we do? We didn’t send men power or army!” It’s the same you fucking ignorants!!!!!!
Again, these days the raids in squats were happening and many arrests followed these so anti-authoritarians were focusing on that! But this is a serious problem. They are our neighbors. Refugees are gonna come from Syria and we are gonna welcome them with a nazi mayor?!?! Aren’t we obliged as people, humans, to stop being close-minded? Because most of the anti-authoritarians have a place to live and some a great place to live!
To be fair, the anti-authoritarians are fighting hard, but are distracted!
[BAI]: I agree with that. Same here. I don’t think many others on the left, outside of the A-team, are doing any better. The anarchists at least don’t mind engaging in street rebellions. I just expected more…
[ANNA]: So shouldn’t we start fight for others who are not as privileged as we? Fight to have alive family members, place to stay, food, water, education, their choice of religion?
People take things for granted because they have all the above! Nothing is for granted!
[BAI]: YOU SOUND EXACTLY LIKE WHAT WE ARE SAYING TO ANARCHISTS HERE!
I swear, trying to get people organized against the wars in our home is almost impossible. I have been called liberal for doing this work!!! For f*cking acting up against the genocide of my people… Man. With comrades like these, right…?
I want to ask you if it’s safe (or relatively safe) for people like me to go to Athens? I have been thinking/discussing taking some time away to travel and do some documentary work around migrant issues, displacement, the effects of war. etc–specifically with refugees in danger of getting murdered by nazis
[ANNA]: Nazis attacking refugees who are basically living under badly conditions, stuck with no papers, homeless. It’s so often, it starts to become a normal thing! It’s scary! It should be reported, documented and publicized abroad! There are not enough people doing this work. It needs more people!
Well, my country’s situation might be the sad beginning of a catastrophic end, internationally!
[BAI]: Anna, would you be ok with our conversation being published? I think it’s crucial, actually. Let the chips fall where they may.
Sorry, I keep using American-speak. hahaha
[ANNA]: You have my blessings!
[BAI]: We should translate this!
[ANNA]: I dig! See? I can use American speak!!!! Damn you, America!!! hahahahahahahaha
[BAI]: Σας ευχαριστώ τόσο πολύ! Αλληλεγγύη από Oakland!
[ANNA]: Αλληλεγγύη και συμπαράσταση από την Αθήνα στο Όκλαντ! Καλή δύναμη!
[BAI NOTE]: The BAI admin engaged in this previous conversation is asking for support in the form of donations to work on a documentation project to help highlight the current refugee struggles taking place in Europe. Any amount is helpful. DONATE HERE: WEPAY
For more on the plight of migrants in Greece click here.
For more on Golden Dawn click here.