Solidarity is an act of mutual aid between friends, comrades, or simply people who might not even know each other in person, but share the same affinities. It is an act of help or support when there is a need for this, and this can be expressed in many different ways.
While practicing acts of solidarity, and also being in situations where others have shown their solidarity to me, I was able to experience the joy of breaking the walls that divide me from other comrades (no matter whether they are they my friends, or simply people I share affinities with), but it also opened up new questions.
While doing this, am I actually helping someone—because it is not so hard to make a wrong move and instead of helping do absolutely the contrary—,and how can I make my action more effective?
Solidarity is a weapon.
There are a few reasons why I see solidarity as a weapon.
First of all, it is exactly what is not expected of us by authority. By the rules of the system and capitalist reality that impose domestication and alienation upon us, we are supposed to be passive observers of our own misery. Just another brick in the walls that divide us and make it impossible to develop real honest relations between each other. By practicing solidarity we take another step into nonconformity and directly attack these rules, breaking down the walls that divide us. Let’s not fool ourselves, these walls are many, some of them are obvious but there is still so much that we should take into consideration, because we are all affected by our particular surroundings...
Also, by solidarizing with other comrades, be it with comrades in the clutches of State repression or with comrades working on some project, we help them to make their struggle possible or more effective. While trapped in the dungeons of the State, they can maybe continue some of their activities, or find another ways of struggle from inside, but without help from outside, I’m afraid that’s hardly possible. Comrades working on some project are very often limited financially or by the infrastructure that is available to them, so helping them by raising money or by giving them space or infrastructure to use helps them to lose less energy and time in that direction and concentrate more on the project. It also helps them not to abandon their ideas through feeling weak or isolated from other comrades.
Since I live in surroundings where the struggle for mere existence is an activity that takes up most of people’s energy, and where infrastructure is not available unless you are highly privileged, (which reflects the number of active people) and there is little space for activities that attack the existing order and the rules imposed by the system, I see a need for solidarity. And I can say for sure that without communication and support from comrades that are in “better” position I would be forced to stop most of my own activities. This simple and honest communication and support of comrades who recognized the need for it not only helped me in a technical way to be able to carry on the projects I’m involved in, but gave me additional motivation and energy. This is needed (believe me) when you live in narrow-minded surroundings where there are only a few people that you can count on, (or discuss with, to arm your desires, and articulate your beliefs and needs) where you are openly endangered not only by the repression of the servants of authority, but also by other political enemies such as nazis or other fascists by whom you are outnumbered, in danger just because of the way you look, and especially your political (anti political) engagement.
This kind of reality is most common in east European countries where anarchist activities and the mere existence of the idea itself barely survives, and its survival in many cases depends on communication and mutual support (solidarity) between comrades very often placed at a great distance apart.
This kind of reality also attracts something that I certainly do not consider solidarity, that is demonstrated by so-called comrades.
Eastern Europe is the destination of many travellers, many from western European countries and the US and Canada, where the “movement” is much more “developed” and bigger, and some concrete signs of its existence are visible on an everyday basis.
From my experience, most of these people come with the attitude “we know better’ and they act and behave according to that attitude. That is something which I absolutely don’t see as solidarity, even though many are trying to call it such.
“We have come to show you how things should be done...” without trying to understand the situation of the surrounding area, (they are visiting at that moment) which is certainly very different from the one they are coming from where they have gained their experience. This kind of approach is not simply stupid and naive as it seems at first glance. It is a pure expression of racism. The same idea is taught in school, that people from economically developed countries are worth more because of their education and better living standards, and that they should be on a mission to “help” those less developed.
No, we don’t need any anarchist experts, anarchist organizers, anarchist missionaries... , we need comrades and friends with whom we can act together, discuss, and learn from each other, and we can help each other if it’s needed and possible. But these relations must be free from any kind of hierarchy and false morality. It has to be spontaneous and based on mutual understanding...
Very often solidarity is expressed in situations like imprisonment of comrades, or threats of evictions of squats, or other forms of repression imposed by authority.
Should we wait for these things to happen in order to start to solidarize with each other? To improve solidarity as a weapon we should not let ourselves to be timed and guided by the actions of authority, this is something that will constantly keep us back. For sure I do not mean that those affected by the dirty hands of the repressive apparatus (whatever way it is demonstrated) should be forgotten at any moment.
To end my observation I quote the Italian comrades “Il Silvestre” who explained this very well in their periodical “Terra Selvegia”: Repressive plans brought about by the Italian government against anarchists aim not only at stopping the many acts of sabotage that are continuously carried out all over the country, but they are also and mainly aimed at destroying any internal enemy of the State and securing a long period of social peace.
Article 270bis is the most effective means they have to achieve this goal. Moreover repression, besides striking hard, is also taking a series of preventive measures.
The huge investigation used by judge Marini is now split into a great number of small investigations resulting in preventive arrests, closure of anarchist places, etc. It is no longer a question of 270bis, but of a great number of smaller investigations conducted in many towns, which are apparently different from one another but actually come from the same source and have only one goal, to inflict the greatest possible damage on the anarchist struggle.
To consider the question of article 270bis as a unique repressive project, however, would represent a partial and quite dangerous approach. In fact, if we remain stuck to a defensive strategy, we risk running behind repression and inevitably remaining behind it. Furthermore, to focus all our energy on anti-repressive campaigns would result in neglecting the struggle. This does not mean to forget the solidarity towards those hit by repression. It means, on the contrary, that when a squat is closed down or a paper is persecuted, instead of organising gatherings among anarchists, we should try to conquer that squat back and to support that paper.
Solidarity is a weapon, not a shield behind which to hide oneself.
DID ANYBODY TALK ABOUT KIDNAPPING?
The proletariat of the industrial countries has completely lost the affirmation of its autonomous perspective and also,in the last analysis,its illusions, but not its being. It has not been suppressed. It remains irreducibly in existence within the intensified alienation of modern capitalism: it is the immense majority of workers who have lost all power over the use of their lives and who, once they know this, redefine themselves as the proletariat, as negation at work within this society.
Since the nineties different people who’ve expressed themselves about post-modern typology wearing a different mask each time (the neo-liberal, the middle political scene, the social democrat, the ideologist of tepidity and confused multi cultural neo-leftism that mixes everything up, ‘anti-authoritarian’ new-hippie lifestyle) ruminate/brag about the ideology of the end of history: there is no more proletariat, there is no class war, we can at last without fear head towards the Market Paradise, where honey and milk flow abundantly. And hamburgers and ketchup too...
Unfortunately for the apologists of legality, the facts are stubborn: a handful of capitalists has organized a criminal gang and kidnapped proletarians demanding ransoms, their working power, the commercialization of human activity, their time (that transmutates into money), even their whole existence. Wage slavery is a permanent crime against human dignity. It’s not just because of the usual ‘casualties’ of work ‘accidents’ of the class war. It’s not just because of the dead, wounded and amputated people of work ‘accidents’, but also because of the diseases related to the working environment and space. It’s not just because of the strawberry fields, that show us we’ve never escaped the time of slavery. It’s not just because of the sacrificed workers (locals and immigrants, ‘expensive and cheap’ labor hands) at the altar of every ‘American dream’ or ‘Greek miracle’. It is the very existence of waged work that constitutes the permanent crime! And the criminals, the kidnappers and the blackmailers are all Mylonas. Even if the rats of the media present the leader of thieves Mylonas (the boss of the gang of common thieves of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece) as an ‘innocent’ victim, as a misunderstood neo-liberal Christian child, as a pain-resistant worker, who makes efforts night and day for the common good.
As for the illusionist tricks that different vampires like Mylonas invent to show their ‘human face’ (for example green capitalism, socialised industry, etc.), only one thing can be said:
SATIRE HAS ITS LIMITS...
Mylonas is no more than the brain of a gang of exploiters. Like all capitalists he too is a parasite: a weight on the earth and an obstacle for the winds.
So the Mylonas couple should stop pretending to be raped virgins .
‘O gentlemen, the time of life is short! ...
And if we live, we live to tread on kings’
The first duty of the proletariat is consciousness of itself, of its position and its role. The consciousness of being a prostitute in the hands of a capitalist, of producing wealth for the bosses and misery for itself.The consciousness on the other hand that produces the whole material life of society. That it is nothing but CAN BE EVERYTHING.The second duty of the proletariat is the denial of its imposed role, the denial of work, the denial of alienation.
The third duty of the proletariat which arises naturally from the first duties, is revolutionary action for it’s own suppression.
Only subjects can ignite the objective conditions and cause the revolutionary explosion for the destruction of the authoritarian/class society.
From: ‘The art of war’, 6th issue of ‘Asymmetric threat’
Unfortunately in the wild west of capitalism the proletarians lullaby with trash-eating over-consumerism. Life has evolved into a necrophilic survival between cages of cement, cars, billboards, surveillance cameras and cops. The route of survival is assigned: from one concentration camp to another. From school to university, from army to wage slavery. And there the proletarian crosses the same streets of alienation as the night walker: work, home, shopping mall, work. From production to consumption...
Behind the iron curtain of virtual prosperity and spectacular misery lies an unadmitted truth: the miracle of the west treads over corpses. Not only of those in the third world (either way this constant exploitation is the most gigantic crime of human history), but also of those in the third world in the west.
Behind a glance of being high on consumption hides the rot of a slaughtering civilization. But from inside this rot one possibility springs up. A possibility that not even the think-tanks of the existent system, not even the bureaucratic certainties of Bolshevism, not even the paleolithic determinism of ideologies can repress: the social entropy, the revolution, the constant struggle for the destruction of the state, of private property and of waged work.
Comrades! Life is short. If we live, we live to step on the heads of bosses and their slaves.
For anarchy and communism!
P.S.1 As in the past also now, in my public speech I will not speak about issues of the penal code. Moreover ‘innocence’ and ‘guilt’ are fake distinctions that concern only the legal armory of the state.
The only thing that I want to say about the case, is that I was and I am in solidarity, as anarchist as well as a friend, to an outlaw and hunted man, Vasilis Paleokostas. From there on, what I say will be a continuity of my pre-arrest position and not a whine for ‘innocence’.
P.S.2 Economical and legal support is good. So are wishes for freedom, but the strongest form of solidarity is the continuation of revolutionary action.
from Terra Incognita