In Athens, Violent Neo-Nazi Aggression in the Subway
The following was originally published in French by La Horde on November 3, 2023, translated and published here with kind permission of the author and La Horde.
Yesterday, November 2, in the Monastiraki subway station, right next to the Acropolis and the touristy Plaka neighborhood, a group of 40 neo-Nazis ambushed a small group of anarchists and refugees as they were returning from a demonstration. Our comrade Yannis Youlountas shared information about it on his website, along with numerous videos. He then analyzed what happened in order to deconstruct the far-right propaganda about what happened. You can find that analysis in another article here.
The element of surprise had a terrible effect: five people were injured, one of them seriously. Despite the fact that several subway passengers sounded the alarm, and that about 15 MAT [“riot control” division of the Hellenic Police] cops were standing guard right at the top of the stairs, right at the entrance to Monastiraki station, it took a strangely long time for the police to intervene. The officers only came downstairs when the neo-Nazis took out a can of gasoline to burn people alive while they were stuck in the train car and started to spread the flammable liquid on the ground.
Something else that was strange: although it was a blatant attack that could have killed people who were trapped (as the telephone alerts from other passengers on the train confirm), the police deliberately chose to let the neo-Nazis go, while stopping photojournalists from filming them as they fled.
In the video below, you can even see a police officer helping a neo-Nazi to recover his helmet as he passes without even pretending to chase him.
It’s a double standard, given that police officers were racking up acts of violence against left-wing and anti-authoritarian activists, going so far as to threaten teenagers at the same moment on several nearby streets.
In the video below, filmed at Viktoria Square (2 kilometers from Monastiraki), you can see a group of police officers going wild on an antifascist who is lying on the ground as they take turns beating him continuously.
Once again, it isn’t hard to see who are the real enemies of power and who cozies up to it. The government is again singing the old song about how “the extremes are coming together”, but in reality, we clearly see that there is a big difference between the two. Above all, we’re questioning the words that have been used on the TV news for a long time: what’s “extreme”? Wanting authentic liberty and real equality in a welcoming and mutually supportive society? Or the opposite: piling up laws that destroy freedom, monitor our existence everywhere, and eternally make capitalism more rigid while exploiting “human resources” and the Earth in its entirety?
No, of course it’s not us who are “extremists”, but rather the leaders who oppress us and pursue a scorched earth agenda. The capitalist businessmen are no better than the neo-Nazis. They cause the most precarious people to suffer and die with a predatory smile and a three-piece suit or in hipster casual. The capitalist leaders secrete fascism into society without showing their real face, with propriety and demagoguery, while overt fascists are stupid and violent, brutally attacking our squatted welcome centers for people in exile or disrupting our free solidarity kitchens.
It is not helping Greeks and migrants in precarious situations that is extreme, it is constructing and defending a society based on inequality and discrimination at any price. It is not wanting to take control of our own lives and determine our futures for ourselves that is extreme, it is continuing to obey the diktats of political leaders who are chosen and promoted by economic leaders.
We do not live in a democracy in the original sense of the term, which is to say a direct democracy. It’s not even a parliamentary democracy, given that, in most of the country, elected officials only follow the line imposed by the party in power, rather than risking controversy or debate. Even worse: in France, the government uses Article 49.3 at every opportunity, prohibiting its parliament of local leaders — from whom it has nothing to fear — from even having discussions. In short: we are back in humanity’s political prehistory.
Nor do we live in a society that wants to make good on the slogan Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, as the State and its police regularly prevent the people who are actually fighting for that objective from creating projects that are perfectly in keeping with those three words: housing homeless people in empty buildings, combating social inequalities, demonstrating against injustices, and spreading a different social imaginary.
It’s true that capitalism doesn’t want to burn us alive in a subway car, but it is trying to boil us slowly in a devastated world.
It doesn’t matter. As Durruti said, we are not afraid of ruins. We have a new world in our hearts.