1. The “Innocence” of the Victim and the “Guilt” of the “Hunter”
The second trial directed by the state against the Fire Cells Conspiracy anarchist revolutionary organization is scheduled to begin on December 14. The trial will cover three separate Fire Cells Conspiracy attacks carried out with explosive devices (on the home of Interior Vice-Minister Hinofotis, the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, and the apartment of politician Louka Katseli), as well as the possession of another explosive device.
The first trial covering the same incidents ended in the summer of 2010. Two Fire Cells Conspiracy members—H. Hatzimichelakis and P. Argyrou—were sentenced to 37 years each, while lengthy prison sentences were also inflicted on other defendants who had nothing to do with our organization. Now, four Fire Cells Conspiracy members will be tried (D. Bolano, G. Nikolopoulos, M. Nikolopoulos, and C. Tsakalos) who were at large during the first trial.
This trial is the next episode in a series of trials to be directed against us—trials that form a Gordian knot tied around us by the prosecutor’s office.
Our opinion of justice is already well-known. We have it written beneath the soles of our oldest shoes. We proudly declare our “guilt” before their system.
We are enemies of laws, power, police, courts, prisons, borders, exploitation, and—in general—this civilization of submission and compromise. For us, the innocent don’t exist. Only choices exist.
Insurgent or conformist, guerrilla or subordinate, human being or slave. In this life, we have chosen to be wolves, not prey. We therefore relinquish the “innocence” of prey and hold fast to the “guilt” of the hunter.
With this idea, we want to invert the rules of the trials they have created. Whether through our scornful absence from some or our completely hostile presence at others, our objective is to cause a number of small and large short-circuits within the judicial machine. In devising our strategy, we have designated the trial for the 14 incendiary packages our organization sent to international embassies and police and judicial organizations as the centerpiece, as it is to that trial that all nine Fire Cells Conspiracy comrades who have admitted their membership have been summoned.
Nevertheless, we feel that the trial beginning on December 14 also has its own unique importance and stature.
2. A New Anarchy Within Anarchy
The “Halandri Case,” as it’s been dubbed by the mass media, represents a decisive point in the trajectory of the new urban guerrilla war.
To illustrate its importance, it’s worth referring back to the state and conditions in which the anarchist current and urban guerrilla warfare found themselves at the time.
About two years had passed since the appearance of the Fire Cells Conspiracy and—more generally—the new anarchist urban guerrilla warfare. Quite a few groups in Athens and Thessaloniki were taking uncontrollable action, setting the night on fire and destroying the structures of power. The fabric of diffuse incendiary guerrilla war was also expanding to provincial cities like Kavala, Chania, Heraklion, etc. Of course, anarchist groups engaged in propaganda by the deed were collaborating with one another in some cases, coordinating arson rampages on a national level. In many of the texts/communiqués accompanying those attacks, a new perception was being documented, settling the crosshairs of its critique on social inertia, people’s passivity, and the complicit silence that allowed power to define our lives.
In parallel, and for the first time in Greece, words and concepts like anarcho-individualism, nihilism, and antisocial anarchy were escaping the immobility of theoretical texts and seeking their place within the communiqués of practice.
The fact is that a new anarchy was being born within anarchy, and it was reflected in posters, pamphlets, stickers, street slogans, and friends.
Meanwhile, the Fire Cells Conspiracy shifted from arsons to the strategy of placing explosive devices in churches, politicians’ homes, and ministries.
At the same time, the method of political executions once again appeared on the stage of revolutionary practice, as undertaken by the Sect of Revolutionaries in their actions, beginning with the execution of a pig from the Antiterrorist Unit.
All of this was naturally taking place upon the foundation laid by the revolt of December 2008. The marks from that revolt, even if they were scarring over after the sparkling repairs made to damaged shopping mall display windows, were still deeply inscribed on the consciences and hearts of dozens of young comrades who chose the riots as their home address. It was at that precise moment when the possibility of gradually creating and organizing more and more autonomous anarchist action groups became a primary commitment for many comrades in the new urban guerrilla war.
3. Antiterrorist Operation “Halandri”
The state and its police chose that period to strike. It was at the end of September 2009 when the Antiterrorist Unit operation involving the raid on our comrade’s home in Halandri was carried out—an operation that had already been “advertised” since the summer of that year in a number of lengthy television reports and newspaper articles, which subsequently began to talk about “striking at the heart of neoterrorism.”
What followed was a police gala—a fashion show of balaclava-wearing EKAM and Antiterrorist Unit agents parading in front of the television cameras, leading handcuffed comrades to the courthouses alongside other people who had nothing to do with us, yet who had unluckily kept up social relations with some of the arrestees.
Concurrently, the persecuting authorities issued arrest warrants for a few more people (five of whom are Fire Cells Conspiracy members) while police chiefs and political leaders congratulated one another on their “success.”
The arrests and warrants further reinforced the security dogma that was then playing an investment role during the pre-electoral campaigning of the period, with elections just around the corner.
Likewise, the police considered the issuing of arrest warrants—for people who thus automatically found themselves on the most-wanted list, connected to the ploy arrests of others who had simply visited the Halandri apartment—to be a guarantee that would curb the activity of the remaining Fire Cells Conspiracy cells as well as the new urban guerrilla war in general.
The police and the state hoped that the propaganda of fear and the creation of an intense climate of distrust and suspicion would be successful and bear the desired fruit. Their aspiration was for their walkie-talkies to fall silent, putting an end not just to the Fire Cells Conspiracy, but to the entire phenomenon of diffuse anarchist guerrilla warfare.
4. Rekindling the Fire from the Ashes
But laws were made to be broken, and plans were made to be foiled.
Ten days after the Halandri antiterrorist operation, the Fire Cells Conspiracy showed that those who were rushing to celebrate their funeral were quite mistaken.
Fire Cells Conspiracy comrades stealthily infiltrated a pre-election rally of tens of thousands of sheep voters awaiting a speech by prime minister C. Karamanlis and placed an explosive device 50 meters from the main rostrum. The device exploded, causing as much material damage as as moral injury to the propaganda then being tossed around about the dismantling of “neoterrorism.” The prime minister’s speech was somewhat delayed, and the Fire Cells Conspiracy had issued a provocation from within the new fabric taking shape.
The Fire Cells Conspiracy was the first organization in Greece to not suspend its actions for even a single moment after taking a repressive blow and while most of its members were either underground or in custody. Instead, it stuck to its foundations and even advanced its practice by beginning to use high-powered explosive devices.
The rest of the story is already known. Subsequent Fire Cells Conspiracy attacks were met with still more arrests—retaliation taken against people who had nothing to do with the organization (Antigone H., Nikos B., Nikos M., etc.).
The Antiterrorist Unit’s vindictiveness was so brazen, especially at the beginning, that in its bewilderment it made a number of blatant legal mistakes, even for itself. It’s no coincidence that some of the people arrested on suspicion of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy were never even summoned to court, since it was objectively understood that they were unconnected to the organization. Also typical were the arrests of a number of AEK fans in the Kallithea neighborhood of Athens—including the mother of one of them—and their initial presentation as another Antiterrorist Unit success, with the arrestees being labeled Fire Cells Conspiracy members. The ridiculousness of those arrests was confirmed very quickly, and the people were released.
5. Memory Brings Perspective
Nevertheless, to call things by their name, without timidity but also without defeatism, the truth is that most groups and comrades within the new urban guerrilla war haven’t shown themselves to be capable of working the situation out and devising an offensive strategy.
Naturally, with the exception of a certain minority of TRUE COMRADES, just the opposite has occurred: lots of people have withdrawn and allowed the fear of repression to define them. As a result, many groups have disappeared from the arena of the endless insurrectionary night they had proclaimed in their communiqués.
In any case, what remains is certainly an important wealth of experience: practical experience, known mistakes, self-critique, memory, and therefore also perspective.
What began four years ago in Greece is now expanding on an international level. An international conspiratorial network that supports and promotes the principles and values of the INFORMAL ANARCHIST FEDERATION/INTERNATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY FRONT is spreading throughout the world’s metropolises. New Fire Cells Conspiracy cells are being assembled by anarchists of action and fire in Greece, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Russia.
After our arrests, the State wanted to put an end to the unpredictable project that began with the emergence of the new urban guerrilla warfare.
Now, the trials and sentences directed against us aspire to neatly write the official epilogue of a story that is nevertheless unwilling to end.
One thing is certain. Everything to say still hasn’t been said, and there are undoubtedly many actions still to come.
All of us, the comrades who took part in the wanderings that realized anarchy through the Fire Cells Conspiracy, have proudly stated that it is our honor to participate in the Conspiracy project. We have therefore taken political responsibility, disregarding all the consequences and years of prison that such a decision will “cost” us. Because more important things exist than a mutilated freedom that presupposes selling oneself out and regretting the choices that define our lives. In no interrogator’s office or courthouse will they get even the tiniest word of remorse out of us. What they will get will be our extreme hostility toward the system and its dignitaries.
We obviously aren’t inspired by the logic of holy martyrdom that requires “heroes” to sacrifice themselves for the revolution. Instead, we know that a free anarchist urban guerrilla is much more useful to the spread of anarchist revolution than one who is imprisoned.
Simply put, from the moment we found ourselves captives in the hands of the state, by revealing our membership and through our attitude in prison as well as in court, our objective has been to once again launch the commitment to anarchist urban guerrilla warfare into battle—a battle that never ended.
Let’s go again, from the beginning. The “Halandri Case” trial is our own return to the start, to our point of departure.
We need that point of departure in order to recommence more potently, more decisively, and more collectively.
While awaiting the days when we will confront our persecutors, we are making plans, engaging in our self-critique, discussing, thinking, and preparing new defiances in our uninterrupted war on power.
Miserable judges who hide behind your well-pressed robes,LONG LIVE THE FIRE CELLS CONSPIRACY. LONG LIVE THE INFORMAL ANARCHIST FEDERATION/INTERNATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY FRONT.
we clearly see who you are.
Petty, inadequate, wretched little men
who vomit years of prison from your mouths.
But while you recite the charges,
our minds wander free and untamed.
They journey to secret meetings, to plans of attack,
to weapons caches, to pages from books, to laughter,
to disappointments, to pleasures and sorrows.
They travel to every corner of the Earth where
the rejection of Power blooms and anarchists of action live.
They wander, remember, and await a glance, a thought, a noise, a moment.
The moment when everything collapses because
of successive explosions and the rules are reversed.
At that moment the judges will be judged
and the guards will have to protect themselves.
Such moments, you must know, are always in the palms of our
—Imprisoned Fire Cells Conspiracy members: Olga Economidou, Michalis Nikolopoulos, Giorgos Nikolopoulos, Christos Tsakalos, Gerasimos Tsakalos, Panayiotis Argyrou, Damiano Bolano, Giorgos Polydoras, Haris Hatzimichelakis