Today on Blogcritics
Home » Love in the Ruins of Democracy – The Greek Uprising of 2008

Love in the Ruins of Democracy – The Greek Uprising of 2008

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

"We chose this monument to democracy, this global monument, to proclaim our resistance to state violence and demand rights in education and work. (We did it) to send a message globally and to all Europe." — Protestor to Reuters reporter on December 17th, 2008.

Protesters stood atop the Acropolis. Huge banners draped the stone wall in front of the Parthenon. One proclaimed in four languages: RESIST! Another requested solidarity demonstrations throughout Europe. That was on day 12 of the 15 days of insurrection in which the citizens of the ancient birthplace of both democracy and anarchism sent the government and people everywhere a message. The catalyst of these events was the death of an anarchist teenager at the hands of the police.

On December 6th, 15 year old Alexis (Alexandros) Grigoropoulos was enjoying the evening celebrating a friend's birthday outside a shop in Eksarhia, Athens. The neighborhood of Eksarhia is one where shop owners and residents are known for their love of freedom and self-regulation and their disdain for the often brutal hand of police authority. It is an area where the police presence is minimal and suspect. Alexis met his friends to eat and talk as teenagers do, but somehow this evening of comraderie ended with Alexis shot dead by an officer a Greek policeman. Accounts of the officers and witnesses vary on the circumstances of the shooting.

According to news reports, two special guard policemen exchanged insults with a small group of young people outside of a shop. The officers contacted their superiors and were apparently told to leave. The two guards left the scene, but returned on foot. The officers say they were attacked by an angry, violent mob. Epaminondas Korkoneas, the 37 year old policeman who killed Alexis, claims the crowd assaulted him and his partner with rocks, and other items including molotov cocktails. He testified that he fired warning shots into the air while his back was turned to the crowd in fear. He claims that one of the bullets must have ricocheted, killing the boy. His partner, at some point, threw a concussion grenade at the crowd. Discrepancies in information available regarding the ballistics and forensics reports makes it unclear whether the bullet was a direct hit or a ricochet. Both officers were arrested in connection with the shooting. Korkoneas was charged with murder, while his partner was charged as an accomplice.

Eyewitness accounts are uniform in their failure to report an attacking mob. Some eyewitnesses say the officers confronted and verbally provoked the group. Some report that the officer who fired took aim at the young people. Most recount a strong verbal dispute. In an interview, Alexis' friend says that the he and Alexis moved to the center of the street to get a better view of a disturbance after hearing a loud noise, which may have been the concussion grenade. He says that someone located behind them threw an empty water bottle toward the police. This is when, he says, one of the officers turned and fired a shot toward them. As Alexis lay in the street, the two officers turned and walked away without offering assistance. In a video, captured from a nearby window with a limited view of the area, no mob is apparent. We see the two officers, unmolested, calmly walk away from the scene, which is not visible.

The Outraged Response

Personal accounts say that within minutes of the boy's shooting, protesters, including many cell-phone-networked students and anarchists activists, began arriving in the streets of Athens and cities all over Greece. Mere hours later, their molotov cocktails arced through the darkness and set the capital alight. In the hours and days that followed Alexis' death, banks, police stations and vehicles, government buildings, and shops in the city were set aflame or damaged. What began as a reaction of fury at the unjust death of one of their own children grew into a national uprising. The anarchists and students were joined by other political activists, workers, marginalized gypsies, immigrants, and other community members. As the protesters' outrage exploded in a three-week long clash with riot police, supportive residents threw water to them from balconies. The flames and heat helped to disperse the chemical fog. The country nearly ran out of tear-gas. This was a stand of oppressed against oppressor.

During the insurgency, the rebels took brief occupancy of radio stations and a government TV station urging people to leave their televisions and come to the street. A major union was peacefully occupied by workers. Approximately 1000 high-schools and universities were occupied by students. Peaceful protests and demonstrations were held daily throughout the country by tens of thousands of protesters and students, joined by parents and teachers.

Counterinsurgency tactics were employed by the state, "Even during the height of the insurrection, in its effort to create a climate of terror and uncertainty, the state had been spreading rumours about busloads of anarchist (sic) and immigrants traveling to provincial towns with the intention to burn their commercial centres down." A popular television program exposed police officers, dressed like Anarchists, destroying property.

The response was further protests, demonstrations, and some occupations across Europe and beyond. A website details a map of protests in solidarity with the Greek insurrection as activists responded throughout the world. Even here in the U.S., students occupied the New School in New York d anblogged messages in solidarity with the Greeks.

The "Hooded Youth"

One blogger observed that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. He recounted witnessing two of the hooded, masked anarchists, holding molitov cocktails, waiting to set a bank on fire. A woman at the ATM didn't seem to notice. The rebels waited politely and patiently for the woman to be safely clear before continuing their mission. He saw an elderly woman admonishing some protesters for the destruction. They were joined by more rebels, and all engaged the woman in a passionate plea to explain their cause. In this video, a tourist gives an outsider perspective of the Athens revolt. It's a walk through the scene. The observer initially shows fear of the protesters and later decides it's safe to be there.

Wanton Destruction?

Police brutality has become widespread in Greece. "Shootings, beatings, intimidation and torture – it sounds like the script for a Tarantino film. But in fact it is the kind of treatment the Greek police are accused of using, especially when dealing with minorities and immigrants", wrote BBC Greece Correspondent Tamsin Smith in 2002. The same is true today. Violence against students, immigrants, and the homeless are caught on video and played over the news or posted to websites. A British expatriate businessman contacted the BBC with a report of brutality against peaceful demonstration participants, reporting strip searches and handcuffing. The witness stated that police told the students, "We have you now. You are out of your universities now… We are going to kill you." Journalist James Horrox writes of the wave of violence and racism unleashed by police and courts against immigrants since the revolt. Just two weeks ago, police were investigated in connection with the "Abu Ghraib" style torture of up to 30 Afghan immigrants at a police station in Athens.

It is against this backdrop of state brutality, along with deepening despair over the economic crisis and diminished prospects for the future that the uprising occured. Students are faced with enormous debt for college degrees that cannot be expected to result in a living wage. But the nature of the discontent is larger than these things. It is a rejection of a way of life that brutalizes and divides. It is the demand by citizens to determine their destiny and own their own lives. It is a stand being taken to reject what is corrupt and dehumanizing. The uprising is a rejection of democracy, with its rule by the oligarchy. The revolt is a movement toward anarchism, which offers the possibility of a community based on cooperation and respect.

The mainstream media speculated, with some confusion, about the reasons for the extended eruption. In the U.S., Time Magazine reported on December 18th that, "No one is certain yet why the riots continue to flare up." The Economist's take: "Perhaps because it is easier to say what Greece’s malcontents are against than what they are for, the word 'anarchist' is an accepted catch-all term for the anti-establishment rebels who form the hard core of the Athenian protesters." One can only wonder if the reporters for these publications do not have access to the internet. What can be said of the investigative skills of their journalists? As the media seemed to bumble in the dark, occupied universities published communiques detailing their positions, which the mainstream press ignored.

Students of the occupied Athens Polytechnic University pronounced in a communique entitled "Their Democracy Murders":

"Lethal violence against the people in the social and class struggle is aiming at everybody’s submission, serving as exemplary punishment, meant to spread fear."

"It is part of the wider attack of the state and the bosses against the entire society, in order to impose more rigid conditions of exploitation and oppression, to consolidate control and repression. From school and universities to the dungeons of waged slavery with the hundreds of dead workers in the so-called “working accidents” and the poverty embracing large numbers of the population… From the minefields in the borders, the pogroms and the murders of immigrants and refugees to the numerous “suicides” in prisons and police stations… from the “accindental [sic] shootings” in police blockades to violent repression of local resistances, Democracy is showing its teeth!"

Students of the occupied Athens School of Economics stated:

"The democratic regime in its peaceful façade doesn’t kill an Alex every day, precisely because it kills thousands of Ahmets, Fatimas, JorJes, Jin Tiaos and Benajirs: because it assassinates systematically, structurally and without remorse the entirety of the third world, that is the global proletariat. It is in this way, through this calm everyday slaughter, that the idea of freedom is born: freedom not as a supposedly panhuman good, nor as a natural right for all, but as the war cry of the damned, as the premise of civil war."

In Athens alone, one thousand Anarchists spent New Year's Eve forsaking clubs and parties to gather outside prisons where their comrades were incarcerated. Throughout Greece, they remained close to those who were alone and locked away, trading chants of solidarity with the prisoners.

Much, but not all, of the insurrection activity has settled for now. Further student demonstrations in Greece are set to renew in early January. The rebellion is expected to continue and may take on new forms. The starting gun has been fired.

"And by anarchist spirit I mean that deeply human sentiment, which
aims at the good of all, freedom and justice for all, solidarity and
love among the people; which is not an exclusive characteristic only
of self-declared anarchists, but inspires all people who have a
generous heart and an open mind…"
Errico Malatesta, Italian anarchist, agitator & theorist.

Powered by

About Tolstoy's Cat

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    I’m not clear how democracy is the problem here. The abusive police in Greece aren’t elected and their government still retains lots of characteristics and traditions held over from its fascist antecedents. Seems to me it’s that fascist/statist legacy which is the problem and more democracy could be part of the solution.

    And why anarchism? Anarchism is fun and all when you’re 15, but it’s no way to run a country or even a decent revolution for that matter. So often it seems like anarchists get the ball rolling in opposing the state, but then get pushed aside by radical groups whose agendas end up being just as bad as the state their overthrowing.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    Eek, crowd crowd crowd. There was no crowd.

  • Cindy D

    Yikes, remind me to ask for a review after an edit. It changes the careful point.

  • Cindy D

    The guy was a special guard. He was a low-ranking guard duty officer. Not even trained like a regular officer.

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    Here is a photo. It explains why Democracy with a picture.

    I like pictures they explain everything without a lot of words.

  • Cindy D

    Anarchism: It’s no way to run a country.

    I like it Dave! You have something there!

  • Cindy D

    Thank you Ruvy for your inspiring idea. :-)

  • Cindy D

    One last thought before I retire Dave,

    Anarchism is fun and all when you’re 15

    What did you mean? I’m not sure.

    Anyway thanks for everything. You were so helpful. :-)

    nite nite

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    I like pictures they explain everything without a lot of words.

    So do kindergarteners.

    Sorry for minimizing the bit about ‘special guards’ in the article, but you didn’t explain it adequately and it was confusing. He was an armed policeman, regardless of how he was trained. It says a lot just by itself that they had relatively untrained idiots running around in uniform with guns at all.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    No problem Dave. I explained it here.

    You’ll have to answer my question about what you believe Anarchism is before I can answer yours. If it was fun when you were 15 then I assume you knew something about it then?

    Or, you can just make wisecracks instead if you like. They’re fun. :-)

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    I think this will fall on deaf ears but I’ll try it anyway.

    In another thread I asked you how you could be for freedom and liberty and yet support a government that would, say, do what the U.S. did to Greece in the 60s (installed a dictator and crushed their democracy).

    You said it’s not the form of government, it’s the people who voted for the government officials.

    That implies to me Dave that you believe people have much more power to effect government than reality dictates. Voting every so often doesn’t effect much of anything.

    Look at the history since the cold war of, for just one example, foreign policy. Whether you voted for tweedledum or tweedledummer you still got about the same thing.

    That’s simply not freedom and individual liberty. It’s just not.

    Do you think people can’t really handle actual freedom Dave?

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    You’ll have to answer my question about what you believe Anarchism is before I can answer yours. If it was fun when you were 15 then I assume you knew something about it then?

    Yes, I thought I was an anarchist for a while, but on studying anarchism and learning more about human nature, maturing and studying history, I realized that anarchism is essentially an ideal which cannot exist in the real world in any form where it does not break down into tyranny, oppression and autocracy.

    Anarchy is not a social system, even though the term is used that way. In reality it is an objective which you can travel towards, but never reach. In that sense I believe in it – society without government – but I realize that we have to be prepared to accept as much freedom and as little government as we can achieve within the limits of practicality and keep working on it.

    I think this will fall on deaf ears but I’ll try it anyway.

    Always a good idea to start with an insult.

    In another thread I asked you how you could be for freedom and liberty and yet support a government that would, say, do what the U.S. did to Greece in the 60s (installed a dictator and crushed their democracy).

    Because I understand that government is not perfect and that choices are not black and white. While I may not support a specific action of the government, I can still support the government when it is based on a system which comes as close as any in the world to providing a structure under which individual liberty has the most potential to flourish.

    As for the specific practice during the cold war of replacing democracies with dictatorships, I understand why it was necessary and see the validity of the reasoning behind it, even if I have concerns about it. Democracy is an unstable and inequitable form of government. Historically the more democratic a society the more vulnerable it is to mob rule, abuses of power and degenerating into dictatorship. The Romans understood this, which is why they established a republic, NOT a democracy. The same is true of the founders of this nation and of the leaders of early modern Britain who struggled for generations to protect the people from the excesses of democracy and the threat of autocracy at the same time. It helped that they had the object lesson of France where too much democracy and too much power in the hands of the mob led to a cycle of revolution and collapse and chaos and tyranny which went on and on for a hundred years and more.

    You said it’s not the form of government, it’s the people who voted for the government officials.

    That implies to me Dave that you believe people have much more power to effect government than reality dictates. Voting every so often doesn’t effect much of anything.

    How much power the people have depends on all sorts of factors and characteristics of the government and society.

    Look at the history since the cold war of, for just one example, foreign policy. Whether you voted for tweedledum or tweedledummer you still got about the same thing.

    This is because foreign policy is determined by the needs of the nation as a political entity, not the will of the people. It is almost entirely an expression of the national will to survive and dominate. What’s amazing about the United States is that from time to time we’ve actually managed to let altruism and our liberal inclinations hold sway against the natural urges of national self-preservation, sometimes in a postive way and sometimes with disastrous results.

    That’s simply not freedom and individual liberty. It’s just not.

    I don’t see much of a relationship between foreign policy and individual liberty within the nation. We could be off conquering and oppressing the world and still allow our own citizens a great deal of liberty. Conversely there are plenty of countries with neutral foreign policies which oppress their own people mercilessly.

    Do you think people can’t really handle actual freedom Dave?

    I think that most people can handle freedom because they understand that freedom comes with certain responsibilities. In any society there is going to be a small element of the population which does not choose to accept the responsibilities which come with freedom and that is why any functional society must have some basic laws and mechanisms to enforce them and protect the liberty of the citizens from potential abuse.

    Let me ask you a question. In a true anarchist society where there are no laws and no government, what protects the fundamental rights of the individual to live, be free and have property? And then what happens when a majority of the population decides irrationally that the practices of a minority group such as homosexuality or judaism is unhealthy or dangerous and must be suppressed?

    Keep in mind that humans are not perfect, rational beings. And since they are not, how can you have a society without laws and structure which does not become oppressive? All men are born free, but it takes more than a birthright to keep them free.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cindy,

    I don’t know how I inspired you, but thank you anyway. Maybe you would like to explain it to me.

    Clever nom de guerre/plume. I’ve having trouble feeing my cat, Flash (money troubles afflict all of us), and I’m grateful he is nowhere as articulate as you. His steady drumbeat would be about his food-bowl. Learned essays about being unfairly starved would follow long declamations of manifestos calling on all cats to unite in overthrowing the human oppressor!

    I remember the Greek dictatorship – they haven’t gone away and the “liberties” of the EU are not liberties at all.

    We’ll see as to whether there is a chapter 2 to this rebellion or not. Kids are often easily distracted.

  • Doug Hunter

    Wow, the article itself explains how the people are openly hostile to police then wonders how an incident such as this occurred. Maybe if the anarchist dipshits would treat others with a bit of respect they’d see it returned.

    Maybe their running around destroying people’s livelihoods with their firebombs shows that they deserve to be shot. Try and burn down one of my buildings and I might just do it myself

  • Cindy D

    Ruvy,

    The title. I read the book in college. I know it was good. Just can’t remember why.

  • Cindy D

    But, that’s okay. You can’t even remember that you mentioned the titled to Walker Percy’s novel just about a week ago :-)

    P.S. Flash–an unfortunate name for a rebel cat. Keep the matched away from him.

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    Holy smokes. A lot of thought in that answer. Thanks. I’ll have to reply tonight when I come home.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Hah! You never know when something you say/write will inspire someone!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com Roger Nowosielski

    Cindy,

    I thought a part of your title referred to Walker Percy’s novel. Since we’re on the subject, you’ve got to read “Lancelot.”

    Great job at investigative reporting. Your piece could well be published by any of the major papers and magazines. I must agree with Dave somewhat that your use of the word “democracy” to describe the political regime in Greece may be somewhat loaded; (Is that what he meant?) From your account of the events, it resembles a fascist state. Other than that, great job.

    One other reference for future reading. See if you can get hold of “Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction,” William Kymlicka, ed. There’s an excellent essay there by a Greek writer on autonomy (can’t remember his name now but it will come to me; I have the book but can’t find it now). Also, Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” is a good account. Again, great job!

    I’ll keep you in mind when it comes to perfecting my own novel, if you’ll be interested of course and think it has potential

    Roger

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com Roger Nowosielski

    Dave,

    “I don’t see much of a relationship between foreign policy and individual liberty within the nation. We could be off conquering and oppressing the world and still allow our own citizens a great deal of liberty. Conversely there are plenty of countries with neutral foreign policies which oppress their own people mercilessly.”

    Dave, you may be right about the facts of the case. But what kind of message it sends to others who (still) might look to America as an example, not to say a good part of its own populace. We can’t afford such a callous attitude, not in this day and age when everyone’s watching and the future of the West, culture and civilization (in my opinion) hangs in the balance.

    Roger

  • Baronius

    I think that intuitive support of anarchy is part of being 15. Everyone wants later bedtimes and free beer. By the early 20’s, most people figure out that life is hard and actions have consequences. (By your mid-20’s, if you were in a fraternity.)

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    I agree that we ought to lead by example, Roger. And that could certainly start by increasing liberty at home. As for our foreign policy, there’s more than one way to look at it, and what has become the dominant attitude promoted by the left and the media may not always prevail.

    What you see as a ‘callous’ attitude today some might see in a much more positive light a few years down the road. Things are changing. Our radical left tends to look towards Europe for leadership, and Europe is waking up. They’re looking for ways to restore capitalism and entrepreneurism and deal with their immigration issues. As they go through a paradigm shift they’re going to reluctantly admit that maybe the US isn’t the bad guy.

    Watch and see.

    Dave

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Good point, Baronius. I can think of no greater concentration of anarchic thought than my fraterinity house on a Saturday night. But then my fraterintiy was about as close as you could get to Animal House in the real world.

    At one point our equivalent of Dean Wormer told us he wanted to see us all “hanging in the wind.”

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com Roger Nowosielski

    Dave,

    Re #22, I’m slowly beginning to see your way, as per present piece (under submission)and more to follow, the menace of “the Left.”

    Roger

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com Roger Nowosielski

    Cindy, where are you?
    Are you so wiped out by your first piece that you’ve fallen into dogmatic slumber? We miss you.
    Roger

  • Mark Eden

    This ‘death by cop’ — I use the concept loosely — the failed ‘takes’ at the University, and the destructive violence were instances more of Durkheim’s anomie (see Morton and strain theory) than of an applied anarchy.

    Nice work, Cindy.

    Mark

  • Mark Eden

    Merton, that is.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com Roger Nowosielski

    Wow, Mark. Another fellow sociologist. You mean Robert Merton? Could never get through his Social Theory . . . Such an obtuse language.
    Roger

  • Mark Eden

    You mean Robert Merton?

    That’s the guy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com Roger Nowosielski

    Durkheim was cool, though, especially the concept of anomie. In US of course, we don’t have any of that. We have consumer goods to keep us happy. Perhaps you have to be an intellectual to be subject to that disease.

  • Mark Eden

    Perhaps you have to be an intellectual to be subject to that disease.

    Nah — I suspect that just as suicide and other destructive behaviors are not restricted to the intelligentsia, anomie is pretty wide spread and just below the surface even in the good ol’ USA. Students do seem to make a party of it, though, as in the Days of Rage.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Yeah, once you realize there ain’t no future. But for that, you’d have to reach a higher level of consciousness, no? Of course, there are always pills.

  • Mark Eden

    So, you think that the intelligentsia has a lock on higher levels of consciousness? ‘Events on the ground’ bring this consciousness that our ‘system’ has no future for them to lots of people.

  • Cindy D

    Wow, I met Lenin’s cheerleaders in Philly.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    No, Mark! I was being somewhat sarcastic. Besides, I was speaking of individuals qua individuals. Personally, I despite “intellectuals,” especially in America. Because they’re powerless here (compared to Europe, e.g.), they’re also irrelevant. It’s against the populist tradition anyway. People like Emerson or Whitman, or Twain have always had a greater appeal. But I don’t regard them as intellectuals.

  • Mark Eden

    Did they whip everyone into shape?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Hey, Cindy! You’re back. I thought your last piece had exhausted you.

  • Cindy D

    Mark,

    I learned something. Never tell a Marxist you have reservations about Lenin. If they wanted to be convincing, they should have not all three, began a passionate defense with clear love in their eyes.

    Frightening!

    They were awfully nice though. :-)

  • Cindy D

    Ha! NO but they had something great to say.

    (Hiya Roger :-)

  • Cindy D

    They said they thought the Greek Communists are falling down on the job. (They are spending time disclaiming the riots and separating themselves.)

    They felt if the Communists want to occupy factories they should contribute by doing something, instead of standing aside and criticizing.

  • Cindy D

    It was an Anarchist bookshop. Volunteers run it. Absolutely excellent experience.

    I might write a news story tonight as I have news.

  • Cindy D

    I have to send them the quote where Lenin says that a dictatorship of one person works fine as a representation of a dictatorship of the proletariat.

    Apparently in their extensive reading they never heard of that quote.

    (wonders if Leninist’s aren’t a bit of hero worshipers)

  • Mark Eden

    I might write a news story tonight as I have news.

    Yes, please.

  • Cindy D

    hmmmm, anomie strain theory..I just took a look. I’m not familiar with it.

    Here is my take, so far. They are putting pressure, pushing in a direction, to counter the pressure by authority.

  • Cindy D

    I met a young woman tonight who had gone there. She says they regularly will take over a building, for some cause., for, say 4 hours. The police don’t arrest them. They come, watch, then it’s over. She was shocked.

    They said, they won’t arrest anyone because they don’t want to deal with a riot.

  • Cindy D

    They send a message that says, don’t kill our children. (you kill immigrants, prisoners, etc.) Never kill our children.

  • Cindy D

    Okay, I’ll write the story, after I investigate lol.

  • Cindy D

    Roger,

    “Lancelot”??

    (thanks for the kudos, you too Mark)

  • Cindy D

    Bah, intellectual snobs :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Yes, Cindy. Perhaps one of the best that Percy had written. It’s like a diary of a madman; will remind you somewhat of The Stranger. Anyways, some of my work you have is patterned a bit on that. By the way, “Love in the Ruins” is the one book I couldn’t get through; everything else he had written I read. Do also look at the other references I gave you: Nozick’s is a counterbalance to anarchistic thought; but the other volume has a great article on autonomy you should read.

    Anyways, it’s good you’re back. You do know that you imbue this site with energy, don’t you? So when you’re gone for a stretch, I happen to miss it.

    Roger

  • Cindy D

    (wonders if roger shouldn’t better be spending his time locked away in a fortress far from the internet pondering deep thoughts :-)

  • Cindy D

    Roger,

    Do you like Lawrence Block?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Never heard of him. But what was the penultimate comment – a stream of consciousness.

    By the way, I have a new idea for a novel. It had occurred to me only today. I’ve been dry and uninspired for a year. The BC may yet safe the day, or the life as the case may be!
    RN

  • Cindy D

    I recommend this.

    Block likes to write about the bad guy that you have to like. Think you can’t like a hitman?

    His other character is a burglar.

    No Roger, not a stream of consciousness. It was an allusion to our first conversation.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    The problem with my writing, even fiction, I can’t get insane enough. Even at the depths of depression, I’m rational to the core. It’s a curse and debilitating too. I crave for insanity.

  • Cindy D

    lol, here you need a lesson from this woman on youtube. I love this woman she’s a stark raving lunatic.

    I’m off to write or sleep or read. cya later Roger :-)

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    …I thought I was an anarchist for a while, but on…learning more about human nature [first hand], I realized that anarchism is essentially an ideal which cannot exist in the real world…

    Changing your statement, that’s basically my experience. So, you rejected it from a reasoned position, whereas I did so simply became disillusioned with people and blamed them.

    …anarchism is essentially an ideal which cannot exist in the real world in any form where it does not break down into tyranny, oppression and autocracy.

    Some of these may be successful examples of arnachist-like communities. I would add the Inuit social model to that.

    Anarchy is not a social system, even though the term is used that way. In reality it is an objective which you can travel towards, but never reach. In that sense I believe in it – society without government – but I realize that we have to be prepared to accept as much freedom and as little government as we can achieve within the limits of practicality and keep working on it.

    For me it’s a guideline of principles and practices that can be used to create a number of different social systems. I can imagine them taking various shapes. Therefore it is difficult to say what it is that can’t be achieved. I could support a number of social systems that follow the guidelines of anarchistic principles, like anarcho-syndicalism. One interesting model is participatory economics (parecon).

    As for the specific practice during the cold war of replacing democracies with dictatorships, I understand why it was necessary and see the validity of the reasoning behind it, even if I have concerns about it.

    I’m glad you have concerns about it.

    Democracy is an…inequitable form of government.

    By this, I think you are alluding to the “tyranny of the majority”. I don’t think this applies as much to anarchism as much as Marxism. Maybe I’m wrong. This is what I think–by eliminating a state and making local communities the focal point of decisions, people could be free to move about to communities with like interests. I’m not opposed to direct democracy.

    We could be off conquering and oppressing the world and still allow our own citizens a great deal of liberty. Conversely there are plenty of countries with neutral foreign policies which oppress their own people mercilessly.

    I do understand your position. I don’t feel like I have a great deal of liberty. I may have more or less liberty than someone in some other government. I can’t say it’s good enough. I sure couldn’t call it freedom.

    I think that most people can handle freedom because they understand that freedom comes with certain responsibilities.

    I do too.

    In any society there is going to be a small element of the population which does not choose to accept the responsibilities which come with freedom and that is why any functional society must have some basic laws and mechanisms to enforce them and protect the liberty of the citizens from potential abuse.

    Let’s say there always will be these people. Inuit, for example deal with them this way: “The laws which governed the Inuit were simple. The most basic law of every settlement was that ‘no one may without reason avoid the struggle for food and clothing. He who does so is not allowed to starve; but he is despised and looked down on by everybody.’ ” (quote from the link above). We don’t really know though, how most people would act under real freedom. There are inclinations created in a non-free environment that might be alleviated by actual freedom. I have found this to be true 100% of the time in my dealings and experience working with children, for example.

    Let me ask you a question. In a true anarchist society where there are no laws and no government, what protects the fundamental rights of the individual to live, be free and have property?

    In a true anarchistic society there are laws. They may be written, unwritten. No society can exist without rules, no household, no relationship. It is the way the rules are determined that is different. Rule-making is from the bottom-up. Society based on like-minded communities in smaller groups. Some suggest federating upwards as decisions effect a larger portion of the population.

    And then what happens when a majority of the population decides irrationally that the practices of a minority group such as homosexuality or judaism is unhealthy or dangerous and must be suppressed?

    I can’t think of an example where this majority could arise. How could they even become a majority of a free country based on communities organized at local levels? How would they be able to pull this off without a huge propaganda system in place? Since the principles of anarchism (in whatever form) might become an inherent part of such a society there might be a different consciousness. How many freedom loving people would want to join such a group? I cannot imagine that any group that would try to take over wouldn’t be put down by the majority of communities. I would relinquish pacifism to protect that kind of freedom.

    Keep in mind that humans are not perfect, rational beings. And since they are not, how can you have a society without laws and structure which does not become oppressive? All men are born free, but it takes more than a birthright to keep them free.

    Of course again, there are laws and structure. Just no rulers.

    I was very unhappy accepting things as they are, to the extent that I became a reformist only, in a system I can’t tolerate. My nature makes it intolerable. It led me to reject people in general and I eventually got rid of most people I called friends. Now I don’t have to. And if even if I don’t accomplish much, I think I’ll manage to feel human again.

    Thanks Dave. I really appreciated your respectful dialogue. I understand a bit more about your view of freedom and liberty.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Nancy, more later, but let me make this point.

    What you are basically saying is that we can be anarchists if we live like the Inuit. I agree. However, I don’t want to live like the Inuit. I like having a society that’s larger than family bands and not having to work my ass off just to get enough blubber to keep me warm.

    That’s the problem in a nutshell.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    Nancy who?

    Me neither Dave. No that’s not what I’m saying. They were merely an example of a social system had/has(?) anarchistic sort of structure.

    I want the same things we have now–technology, medicine, science, and you know–IMAX. I need roller coasters too, I’m afraid

  • John

    Response to the comments:

    I’ve been an anarchist since I was 17, I am now 31, I have drank maybe a handful of times and never done drugs or been into the party scene and worked my way through college. Many people discover new ideas and philiosphies in their teen years because that is the point where we are more mentally capable of thinking, and have more exposure to ideas that would be new (ever meet an anarchist toddler?).

    I first started learning about anarchism when I was in high school and reading through my history book (I’m a history buff) and looking more into the Spainish Civil War. The Spainish Civil War (or Revolution) was an example of a working anarchy in the province of Catalonia where the anarchist trade union (CNT) had its stronghold in Barcelona.

    Hell we have Noam Chomsky, it can’t all be drunken 15 year olds.

  • Cindy D

    Mark,

    “…an individual suffering from anomie would strive to attain the common goals of a specific society yet would not be able to reach these goals legitimately because of the structural limitations in society. As a result the individual would exhibit deviant behavior…

    Anomie as a social disorder is not to be confused with anarchy. Anarchy denotes lack of rulers, hierarchy, and command, whereas anomie denotes lack of rules, structure, and organization. Many proponents of anarchism claim that anarchy does not necessarily lead to anomie and that hierarchical command actually increases lawlessness…” (source)

    Is that sort of what you meant?

  • Cindy D

    John,

    I’ve been an anarchist since I was 17, I am now 31…

    The whole time?

    Many people discover new ideas and philiosphies in their teen years because that is the point where we are more mentally capable of thinking, and have more exposure to ideas that would be new…

    That’s a good point. And, I wasn’t a party person either. And worked to go to college.

    My nephew (almost 16) adds grown-ups have forgotten what’s important.

  • Cindy D

    Noam Chomsky :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Cindy,

    Did you get answer from Dave re: Nancy. I’m looking through the thread but can’t find no reference to any such person. Nancy who?

  • Cindy D

    He forgot my name, got distracted, etc. He meant my post.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    No Cindy,

    He’s got my synopsis and a couple of chapters. It’s slip of tongue. Apparently, I messed with his mind.
    I be darned!

  • Cindy D

    Baronius,

    Everyone wants later bedtimes and free beer. By the early 20’s, most people figure out that life is hard and actions have consequences…

    My nephew just wants to not have his creativity killed (his words). Wants people to stop denigrating him about his hairstyles. Wants to be a fair-minded person. Wants a world without racists. Loves justice. Wants not to be labeled ADD, with the huge burden that comes with.

    He doesn’t drink. His parents love him. And yet, he reached a point last year (thankfully briefly) where he couldn’t imagine this is a world he could want to live in. So, about life being hard. I think anyone who has some empathy or stands up for anything their peers don’t value, already knows life is hard.

    I never hung with the party-hardy frat people. I’m not sure what values they have. If they are touched by injustice or much of anything. Maybe they dream in dollar signs. It’s no wonder they don’t feel angst though.

  • Cindy D

    Roger!

    Unbelievable. That is too funny.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    No, Cindy,

    I kid you not! He must be exercised by it. By the way, I myself picture you along similar lines.
    You haven’t asked me, I wonder, about the book project I had in mind. I know you were sleepy or spent by yesterday’s rally, so it’s all forgiven.

  • Cindy D

    Roger,

    I don’t think you knew Nancy much better than you know (with limited view) me.

    Tell me about your book project. I have a project in mind now too. I hate writing. Ughhhh.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Well, at least we had person-to-person. To truly know the other you’ve got to live with them a long while and even then there are always surprises.

    By anyway, I was thinking of imagining the voices I hear on BC, dress ’em up, imbue them with flesh and blood, to make them into real persons. I think it;s kind of hilarious. All we have to go by is a written page. But who are they, really? It’s not only hard to tell. The results, I’m willing to bet, would be quite surprising. And would we be responding differently once we knew who we were talking to. I wonder.

  • Cindy D

    To truly know the other you’ve got to live with them a long while and even then there are always surprises.

    That sounds true. But, even b4 that, I think one has to be able to see what someone else is, not what one desires them to be.

    I think that sounds like fun. Do you think you’ll do it?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    For sure. My problem with NG we never got to the point so I did’t have much of an option other than to picture her in my own liking, like Pygmalion and Galatea.

    As to your other question, I’m not sure whether it’s feasible. It would take a great deal of imagination but I think it’s worth a try.

    I’m disturbed however by what I perceive as certain resignation, about knowing the other person, that is. I’ve never had that problem in my personal life, although it’s always been a bumpy road, live and learn.

    But in light of what you seem to be implying, it’s like a lost cause. What good are all our communications in terms of ideas, improving the society, making things better, if underneath it all there’s no person-to-person knowledge. I find it depressing. And if that’s mind-to-mind, consciousness-to-consciousness is all about, it’s not good enough for me. There’s got to be a point to it all, a climax of sorts, coming together.

    Sharing of consciousness and no personal knowledge? It’s not my idea of bliss. It’s not only sterile but also futile.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I’m done for today.
    Talk to you tomorrow.

  • Cindy D

    But in light of what you seem to be implying, it’s like a lost cause.

    You think so? I don’t think so. People are not necessarily what one needs them to be is all. Imagining they are only makes it impossible to actually know them.

    Relating to one’s imagined, desired, or projected image of another, blocks the view of the other. It can get one in trouble too.

    This is all abstract stuff. I’m sure I missed your point.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Still busy with work, but just to clear one thing up, we used to have a frequent commenter named Nancy. And check the similarity of the names. Consonant, vowel, consonant, consonant, y. Easy to confuse when underslept and overworked.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    Mark Eden,

    Since you didn’t answer this #61. I’ll tell you what I’ve been thinking about your assessment in # 21.

    Resistance means pushing the status quo back.

    In this country we are pushing back against having a permit for a demonstration. A PERMIT! We are struggling against not being locked in a cage to demonstrate (you have seen the fenced in cages for protesters at major demonstration sites?)

    In Greece, they are pushing back against the whole of authority. If there is an Anarchist principle more worthy than resistance. I’m sure, as someone who would only hold a sign, I don’t know what it is.

  • Cindy D

    the winner of the most inept president ever award is…

  • Mark Eden

    Cindy, you say, Resistance means pushing the status quo back. But we become what we resist.

    If cooperation is the way in fact, then anarchy is pushing hands with the status quo and moving forward.

    Now don’t get me wrong; I loves the monkey wrenching and jamming…and there must be a place for a good riot now and again, I guess.

    But better graffiti for a better world, I say.

  • Cindy D

    Mark,

    I don’t much know what I think. I’m confused. Thanks for that reply. It adds to my confusion. Not a bad thing.

    Here is the latest occupation FYI:

    Occupation of news editors union HQ in Athens
    Submitted by taxikipali on Jan 12 2009

    ESIEA, the Union of News Editors HQ have been occupied by radical journalists and transformed into a counterinformation center and anti-spectacle forum.

    On Saturday 10/1/09 in Athens radical reporters and journalists have occupied the HQ of the Union of Athens Daily Press Editors (ESIEA) which functions as a control institution regarding journalism across the country. The squatters have called for a series of open assemblies to discuss the nature and problems of broadcasting and reporting December’s insurgency and its aftermath. On Monday the Assembly of Free ESIEA has called for an open discussion on the Spectacle and ways of confronting it in journalism. What follows is the founding brochure of the Free ESIEA:

    The workers will have the last word – not the media bosses

  • Cindy D

    Someone liked this article. They posted it to another site.

    Love in the Ruins of Democracy
    Submitted by hpwombat on Sun, 2009-01-11 14:55.

    From Blog Critics Magazine

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Hey, that’s good news for you. How did they find out about it – Google search engine?
    By the way, four of my consecutive pieces “The Case for Fraud” were features among the top picks in the Solari website (Geopolitical section, 12/01/08 week).
    Roger

  • Cindy D

    Nice Roger. The top 4.

    Who knows how people find anything. I don’t even know how to apply tags.

  • Cindy D

    Mark,

    Thanks for that comment (#79). My confusion is apparent in the book title I chose.

    Things are a bit clearer now.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Tell you the truth, though. Watched a couple of movies yesterday, The Merchant in Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream – all Shakespeare of course. He’s so deep. I’m really having serious doubts as to whether cranking out these little pieces is good enough. I should be working on a new novel: only then you can see with an all-seeing eye and can consider every point of view. Jane Austin was great at that. It’s all about human nature, and there’s nothing more interesting or intriguing than that. So perhaps talking and writing about politics and other subjects is only at second remove – secondary and subsidiary to true works of literature. That’s where my heart is.

  • Cindy D

    Roger,

    I can only say you inspired me. I probably would never have been exposed to one of your novels.

    And Dan(Miller) is waiting to engage you on your piece.

    I’m not sure how many people can be reached. On Znet, for example there are brilliant thinkers, like anthropologist David Graeber. I might be the only person on the site who even read his two articles. No one’s commented on them. That’s at a site where there is some sort of community.

    A novel might work better. But, I’m glad You’re writing on a blog.

    I’m going to work now.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Later and thank you.

  • Cindy

    Johnny,

    Have a look a this.