Theofilos Mavropoulos was arrested two months ago after being wounded during an armed confrontation with two police officers (who also got their share) in northern Athens. He spent several weeks at Red Cross Hospital before being transferred to a prison hospital and then to A Wing at Korydallos Prison. Below is his first full-length open letter.
The rebel is a kamikaze—someone who simply won’t accept the fate the machine has dealt her. That’s how you seek a life worth living. Those who completely reject this society have already faced the risk of death head-on. The struggle against the existent is an armed farewell. War or suicide.
—People Collaborating to Achieve Negation (Toward the Outside)*
On May 18, 2011, a comrade and I accidentally bumped into a mobile police unit in the Pefki neighborhood. They wanted to stop us and we tried to run, but we got fouled up (a police officer pounced on my colleague and immobilized him while he was trying to escape). Thus, wanting to extricate ourselves, I made the choice—the political choice—of armed confrontation. Wanting to flee from democracy’s armed mercenaries, since we couldn’t allow ourselves to surrender without a fight, I myself decided to take that risk, giving my comrade—who was unarmed—a chance to escape. He did so successfully, using the police patrol car itself, but I was unable to because of my wounds.
The reason why my comrade and I didn’t stop for a police ID check was because we had consciously chosen revolutionary clandestinity—the final, obligatory choice of those who refuse to allow the “Law” to imprison them.
Being underground means living on the edge of a knife, making complicated choices, and assuming a high level of risk. “Legality” is therefore of obvious use to a revolutionary entity.
Nevertheless, for revolutionaries who reach the dilemma of “whether to surrender or not,” how easy or difficult it is to “sell your own skin” depends on your previous experience with disobedience. Like the case of the “robbers in black,” who just a few years ago chose freedom underground over arrest and imprisonment, and especially Simos Seisidis, who refused to stop for a random ID check and lost his leg to police gunfire. Examples like theirs, among others, fill all our hearts with pride and strength.
Right now, I define myself as yet another revolutionary anarchist political prisoner in the hands of the State. A State that, in view of the gestating possibility of social unrest, is tightening its hold on its subjects and directly or indirectly abolishing many of its democratic pretexts (doing away with telephone anonymity, requiring that citizenship papers be carried, putting prices on certain peoples’ heads, releasing photos of those in struggle and imprisoning some of them on the basis of completely insubstantial evidence, making it illegal to mask up, etc.)
However, these measures are incapable of intimidating the generalized war of conscience that is underway. A polymorphic war, here and now, continually developing toward the goal of demolishing the existent. A revolutionary war. Without a beginning, middle, or end, but with many fronts. From open public assemblies to fiercely combative marches, from armed guerrilla attacks to the little everyday occurrences that make us evolve on an individual and collective level.
But for the anarchist/antiauthoritarian movement to be effective against the methodical maneuvering of the enemy, is must not be divided. False friendships, personality conflicts, maliciousness, and especially tolerance and acceptance of such behaviors and attitudes have to be replaced by unity and continual rejuvenation within the anarchist/antiauthoritarian milieu. At the moment, of course taking into account attempts at an organized internationalization of subversive action from Latin America to Europe, that urgency is more necessary than ever.
Additionally, the fact that the number of political prisoners has quickly increased as of late leads us to several conclusions. Apart from the matter of our solidarity, which has depth and substance when it is interactive and attacking, we must stress the need for revolutionary forces to always be one step ahead of the enemy. Winning a war doesn’t just require will and certain essential abilities. It also requires strategy. When your adversary is moving her pawns, you should be moving yours as well.
The way each one decides to fight is an individual choice and responsibility. Accordingly, starting from the individual, it’s enough to simply collectivize the common desire to fight Power. Political stability certainly has its part, but it’s also important to attempt to subvert that stability in order to reach something better.
The spread of anarchist/antiauthoritarian ideas plays a key role. Intensifying it quantitatively as well as qualitatively is essential. Also, in war, losses are a statistical certainty. However, potential revolutionaries aren’t solely motivated by their undesirable origins in the lower social strata. The complex of capitalist relationships and perspectives so dominates everyone’s life that the “worst off” can be found within every social and economic class. When human life has become just another product on the shelves of the market and its marketing, what’s the point of talking about cheap or expensive products when anything and everything has its price? Among the impoverished and exploited classes, there will doubtless be sound revolutionaries, but there will also be submissives, plenty of submissives.
All of you watching your children happily enjoying themselves in playgrounds and schoolyards today shouldn’t be surprised when you see them forming revolutionary alliances or taking part in armed attacks on Capital and the State tomorrow.
Thus, with coherence and persistence, as well as inexhaustible fighting spirit, you can achieve many things. Degrees of reconciliation may be different, but the goal remains the same, whether it sprouts up at assemblies in university auditoriums or comes blasting from the barrel of a gun: REVOLUTION FIRST AND FOREVER.
My fingerprints were found at the apartment in Kallithea and the apartment in Nea Ionia in Volos. I can’t take historical and political responsibility for belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy revolutionary organization because we never created that organization’s political discourse together. I also had certain disagreements with that discourse. Therefore, I am very clearly stating that I was never a member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy revolutionary organization.
But in no instance did those disagreements obstruct the path we walked together. I and my comrades in the Fire Cells Conspiracy evolved side-by-side, learning from one another and then—now stronger—taking action from a revolutionary perspective for the cause of freedom.
For those reasons, I proudly declare that I was PRESENT at the apartments in Kallithea and Volos, and I was also present in the lives of the members of the Fire Cells Conspiracy.
Recognizing their revolutionary activity, I stand in solidarity with all the imprisoned members of the organization, and I send them my comradely greetings.
May the pamphlet The Sun Still Rises be the prelude to a new, more relentless, more destructive, and more unyielding cycle of attacks. Comrades, whatever the cost, we will keep our heads high.
HONOR TO ANARCHIST LAMBROS FOUNTAS, MEMBER OF REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE
SOLIDARITY WITH ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS
NO ONE WILL BE FREE UNTIL THE LAST PRISON IS DESTROYED
—Theofilos Mavropoulos; July 18, 2011; A Wing; Korydallos Prison
*Translators’ Note: This quote comes from a pamphlet published by four of our Thessaloniki comrades (Sokratis Tzifkas, Dimitris Dimitsiadis, Haralambos Stylianidis, and Dimitris Fessas) during their brief period underground (October 2010–January 2011) before being arrested for the arson of several Public Power Corporation (DEI) vehicles.