From Culmine (September 21, 2011):
To all anarchist prisoners:
Prison is the country of prisoners. From here inside, we want to send greetings to our comrades imprisoned around the world, as well as set a proposal in motion.
In the country of prisoners, the days go by one after the other, slow and indifferent, while everywhere cement and an immense boredom prevail.
Nevertheless, our minds often escape and secretly visit our brothers and sisters imprisoned in Chile, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, England, Russia, Denmark, and wherever else there are cells full of people who haven’t lost the desire for freedom.
Comrades, we talk to you even though we don’t speak the same language. We see you even though we’ve never met face-to-face. We smile at you even though we don’t know one another.
The enemy believes it can break our morale by locking us up in its cells for months and years. Power thus expects to receive a declaration of remorse, a renunciation of direct action, a revision of our anarchist values.
But the only thing it will receive is our utter contempt and our most potent rage. All of us who have assumed responsibility for belonging to the first phase of the Fire Cells Conspiracy expect sentences of many years—condemnation by a system we have declared war on because we will not tolerate it governing our lives.
We want to transform the upcoming trial of the Fire Cells Conspiracy into a trial of the system.
By way of our discourse and our attitude, it won’t be us defending ourselves in front of the judges, but they defending themselves in front of us for the crimes committed by the power they serve.
At the same time, we want to draw attention to the fascist mechanism constructed to persecute us via the collaboration of the police, the judiciary, and the mass media.
A mechanism that launched an unprecedented antianarchist campaign whose goal was not just our arrest, but also the creation of a climate of widespread fear in which even the possession of previously published texts by anarchist prisoners could lead to a date with the prosecutor.
This was preceded by numerous detentions, the issuing of arrest warrants, the publication of photos of those of us who were at large, mass media screenplays about connections between all the guerrilla organizations, reports about the revolutionary fund and our participation in bank robberies, “specialist” analyses of each of our psychological profiles, and many other methodical schemes whose objective was to isolate us morally and marginalize anarchist urban guerrilla warfare.
The state wants to wipe the choice of anarchist direct action off the map of values held by subversive circles.
It wants to portray direct action as a futile decision that leads directly to prison, changing nothing.
However, when you choose direct action, you choose to take your life into your own hands.
Through direct action, we break away from stagnant thinking, we negate spineless movements, and we sabotage the clocks of discipline, creating free time and space within the hostile environment of the metropolis.
There, where surveillance cameras record our every move, uniformed police pigs memorize our faces, and the screens of the spectacle fabricate our desires, we once again don our masks. Our hands grab hold of stones, Molotovs, bombs, pistols, and we pour into the streets in search of freedom.
Now, even in prison, we don’t ever forget that feeling, and we’ll do exactly the same thing again the first chance we get.
We therefore don’t want intellectuals, university professors, or any of the well-known hacks from leftist cliques defending us at our trial.
What do any of them know about the adventure of direct action and its values?
What can be said by those who spend all day firmly seated in their comfortable offices, chitchatting against the system from the vantage point of their leftist salon culture while that very system feeds them?
No, let them keep their “sensitivity” and the guilt they feel for having sold out to the power that wants to portray us as “troubled, socially impressionable youths.”
We’re not looking for fake sympathy or support from the left. Far from it. We seek accomplices to the same crime: the fight for anarchy and freedom.
There can be no more appropriate place for our search than the prisons that constitute an obligatory stop on the path of many anarchist comrades.
Therefore, comrades, we present you with a proposal/invitation.
In a few months the second Fire Cells Conspiracy trial will be held.
Even now we know that they will sentence us, and not for one minute will we take a step back, nor will we lower our heads or our voices in order to benefit from some extenuating circumstance.
Therefore, there can be no better or stronger argument for our defense that your own voice, comrades. It’s from your expressions of solidarity and the attacks carried out by anarchist direct action groups that we draw the courage to look our persecutors directly in the eye. Surely you’ve felt the same thing, imprisoned in other countries and paying the same price for our shared passion for freedom.
More specifically, what we’re thinking about and proposing is to release, ahead of the trial, a pamphlet containing your international words of solidarity with the Fire Cells Conspiracy case.
At the same time, given that solidarity is a reciprocal concept to us, we’d like it if those of you who want to contribute something—thereby giving us strength and support—accompany it with an introductory text explaining your own case.
The pamphlet we want to release will thus include summaries of each of your cases, carrying your own experiences of struggle to Greece and the other countries where the publication will be distributed, creating new opportunities to instigate hostilities with the system as part of international solidarity.
Together we will create an international experience of struggle that far exceeds our specific case, since we don’t view the Fire Cells Conspiracy as the simple calling card of an organization. We view it as a way of being that describes and comprises the features and trajectory of the anarchist struggle we’re all engaged in, another part of which is our time spent in prison.
This is an experience we want to share with all you comrades who find yourselves prisoners in the hands of the state, and it’s simultaneously a proposal through which we can also be accomplices to your experiences.
It thus becomes possible to reach, within international anarchist circles, a level of unity and coordination that isn’t vague, but essential.
Contact between comrade prisoners at an international level transforms solidarity into a revolutionary workshop, revealing the different perceptions that shape a joint anarchist action front.
The first contact between us will be capable of creating the preconditions that open up an international dialogue among prisoners as well as comrades on the other side of the prison walls—a dialogue in which each person’s specific perceptions and analyses can be discussed, thereby promoting coordinated attacking actions against the state. Of course, this doesn’t mean the fusion or the dismissal of different opinions
Additionally, such differences cannot and must not be obstacles to reciprocal support.
This is about trying to move from sympathy, which has developed among us through letters and shared textual references, to international coordination. It’s about trying to become accomplices, together forming the Black International of anarchist prisoners and supporting—if so desired—our Italian comrades’ proposal regarding the strengthening and broadening of the Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front.
The potentialities opened by this commitment are enormous, since it concerns a process of intensifying hostilities between revolutionary anarchists and the system.
It’s worth imagining the strength gained by something that, for example, begins in Chilean prisons, crosses borders, and winds up in the cells of Greece. International solidarity campaigns can thus be initiated from prison, just like in the past when it was a matter of supporting comrade Gabriel Pombo da Silva.
At the same time, the formation of an autonomous network of communication among prisoners creates the appropriate preconditions for the existence of a permanent flow of information about what’s going on in each prison, the conditions of imprisonment, upcoming trials, potential sentences, and ultimately the preparation of a counterattack plan by comrades outside prison.
For each sentenced comrade, for each disciplinary measure, for each prohibited letter or visit, for each vindictive transfer: no guard, no embassy, and no police officer should feel safe. When prisoners have the potential to communicate in their hands, there will be decisive comrades everywhere responding with action, sabotage, and fire.
We consider the proposal to release the International Words of Solidarity with the Fire Cells Conspiracy pamphlet to be the first step in that direction.
There will certainly be many more steps to come, but at some point one must simply begin.
In conclusion, we salute and stand beside—with our thoughts as well as our hearts—the Chilean comrades charged in the Bombings Case and also comrade Tamara, who is facing state persecution for sending a letter-bomb.
From the prisons of Greece we send anarchist smoke signals to Mónica Caballero, Andrea Urzúa, El Viejo Loco, and the rest of the comrades charged in the Bombings Case; Gabriel Pombo da Silva; Thomas Meyer-Falk; Marco Camenisch; Silvia, Billy, and Costa; Braulio Arturo; Walter Bond; Villarroel and Fuentevilla; Thomas Blak and the English antifa; the imprisoned Italian insurrectionists; the Russians and Belarusians; the Danes; and all those we’ve forgotten or whose names we simply don’t know but want to know, because all of us have together chosen to sail against our epoch, using anarchy as our compass.
The following excerpt is dedicated to us all:
One day of prison. Two days of prison. Three days of prison. A month of prison.
The door closes and opens, then closes and opens again. Three months of prison. A year of prison. I need to know if others are thinking about me as much as I’m thinking about them. The days can’t go by fast enough now. Four-hundred-eighty-two days of prison. Four-hundred-eighty-three days of prison. Four-hundred-eighty . . . I’ve lost count. Fuck. It’s better that way. Counting is no good in prison. The arithmetic makes no sense whatsoever. Prison has its own smell. A smell that gets all over you and follows you around. I’ll never manage to get it off me. Yesterday marked two calendars in prison. Two fucking years. I don’t get any sleep. I’ve forgotten how to smile and now I can’t dream. Clink clink in the night. They wake me up for a search. Maybe they’ll find the knives? Seven-hundred-fifty-one days of prison. Are you satisfied, my dear judges? Pigs. Seven-hundred-fifty-two days of prison, pigs. Seven-hundred-fifty-three pigs. Coming and going and off I go. Coming and going and off I go. My cell is three meters by three meters. From the second floor window I see two-tenths of the sky over the top of the fucking prison wall. I walk through the yard like an automaton. I walk kilometers in a yard measuring just a few meters. Boredom and boredom again. Today I vomited up my very soul. I vomited bars, walls, solitary confinements, years of prison, judicial sentences. I vomited three years of prison. I don’t want to count anymore. I close my eyes completely and think. I think about my comrades, whom they’re keeping far away from me in other prisons. I think about fires on the prison roofs. I think about everything prison has tried to make me forget. I think about a smile, a caress, a journey that doesn’t end over there where the wall ends, a glance that isn’t trapped behind the fucking prison bars. I stop thinking. I open my hand. I look at the metal file I have. Now I know. I know exactly what I have to do. Let’s go then, once again. This time with feeling. Until the end. Long live Anarchy.
—An altered excerpt from the text signed by J. and V.
LONG LIVE THE FIRE CELLS CONSPIRACY. LONG LIVE THE INFORMAL ANARCHIST FEDERATION/INTERNATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY FRONT.
P.S. The current proposal to release the International Words of Solidarity with the Fire Cells Conspiracy pamphlet will be mailed to all our imprisoned comrades around the world. In order to counteract potential difficulties (censored correspondence), and due to the lack of information regarding certain comrade prisoners (unknown prison mailing addresses), our proposal will be also posted on anarchist Web sites. Those who have the interest and desire can take the initiative to inform our comrade prisoners. All responses, texts, comments, and critiques can be sent by e-mail to sinomosiapf [at] yahoo [dot] gr and by conventional mail to:
Post Box 51076
Post Code TK14510
—Imprisoned Fire Cells Conspiracy members: Panayiotis Argyrou, Michalis Nikolopoulos, Giorgos Nikolopoulos, Gerasimos Tsakalos, Christos Tsakalos, Giorgos Polydoras, Damiano Bolano, Haris Hatzimichelakis, Olga Economidou