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Anarchy in Greece - An Editorial
Picture this - a group of anarchists attack a police car, one of the policemen shoots dead one of the people involved - a 15 year old. What happens next?
When it comes to political violence, once in a while, an event transpires that serves as a reminder of what a different world it is outside the gold plated n' barb wired gated community we call the United States. Picture this - a group of anarchists attack a police car, one of the policemen shoots dead one of the people involved - a 15 year old. What happens next? In the good ol' U.S. of A, it wouldn't be too far fetched to say nothing short of hysteria - in the defense of the police department that is. The policeman involved would probably be called a "hero", the anarchists "terrorists" and conservative and liberal pundits alike would spend the next two weeks trying to out-do each other in describing the Draconian ways in which the said radicals should be punished. But in Greece, that isht don't get no play.
For almost four days now, Greek Anarchists, through the unabashed use of aggressive, violent tactics, have effectively started an insurrection of such proportions, it threatens to topple the government. Fire bombs, rocks, and sheer use of numbers have been employed to destroy property, seize buildings, and go toe-to-toe with riot cops in the streets. It's astounding to watch - Anarchists actually living up to all the talk about directly challenging authority by using the same violent methods employed by the state, and winning. As this is being written, the Greek government (a conservative one) is actually calling for the prosecution of the police officer who murdered the youth and may be teetering on collapse. Whoever said the language of violence is only acceptable when employed by the state, and can never yield positive results obviously isn't paying attention.
And if the previous sentence makes you uncomfortable, remember this - The last time Greece experienced this level of social upheaval was during the 1980s under similar circumstances. According to the UK Guardian, Greek police haven't killed a teen since then. Yes, you heard that right - the Greek police haven't murdered a teenager for almost 20 years, and when they did, Greece paid a very high price for it. Police officers in the United States in contrast kill people all the time - and for lesser crimes.
Take the city of Inglewood (Los Angeles) for example, in this year alone at least 4 people have died by police gunfire, almost all of them unarmed. http://articles.latimes.com/2008/sep/02/local/me-inglewood2
This is to say nothing of other high profile cases like Sean Bell or Amadou Diallo or Devin Brown - The latter of which, was only 13 when LAPD shot him multiple times. What justice was served to the police officer who committed the murder? a) none, b) zero, c) zilch, d) all of the above http://news.pacificnews.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=54b811d5b265984eeed3b4584cb38963
You know, an astute observer might infer that American police officers are more times than not, unaccountable for their actions, and quite possibly completely out of control. One might also infer that the lack of visceral public outrage each time a cop shoots dead another citizen (which is pretty often) leads to only more of the same behavior - either that, or Americans have a deep seated cultural deference towards authority, one that allows us to only acknowledge violence when it travels up the hierarchy but not down. (And honestly, why can't it be both?) To that end, American Anarchists have much to learn from the example set by the folks in Athens. Middle class liberals will probably be forever stuck in the pacifist tradition, but those of us who'd demand a leveling of the playing field with the state, might wanna learn how to "speak Greek."