Conspiracy of Cells of Fire – Metropolitan Violence Cell
A Theoretical Contribution In Proposal for an Informal Anarchist Platform
Disobedience is a virtue
“You are obliged to pretend to respect people and institutions that you consider irrational. You live by fashion in a cowardly era, attached to ethical and social conventions you despise, that you condemn and you know they lack of any background. It is this constant contradiction between your ideas and desires and all the dead formalities and conceited spearheads of a culture that makes you sad, disoriented and unbalanced. In this unbearable struggle you lose every dance for life, all sense of your personality as every moment they oppress, they limit and control the freedom of your strength. This is a poisonous and deadly blow caused by the civilized world.”
We have long since opposed the world of authority and its countless projections and impositions on our lives. We have toed the line with the world of anarchy seeking to find accomplices in the “crime” of anarchist insurrection as a living stance towards the barbarism of modern times.
So far we have attempted to realize smaller and bigger mutinies, always on the principles of self-organization, anti-hierarchy and horizontal structures. Seeking through collective processes to achieve our personal self-education in order to acquire experiences, becoming familiar with anarchist procedures while making our “possessions” more and more forms of struggle, we came to meet each other based on common objectives and aspirations so as to continue wandering on the paths of anarchist action, walked or not up to now.
With this political culture as a vehicle, we armed our denials and decided to move from the spontaneous impulse to organized action. We have always felt part of a multiform anarchist front that fought against authority in various ways and we, from our part, felt that we contributed in this way to the war for the destruction of power and its civilization.
Enemies of every state, country, religion, social, racial and gender discrimination, enemies of an authoritarian machine that crushes entire populations and kills others in the clamp of exploitation. A machine that rampages against nature and destroys wildlife on the altar of capitalist development. We sought both to attack the murderous tentacles of sovereignty and to reprimand, through our words, the society that tolerates and reproduces it in millions of ways.
But the story begins earlier …
Starting from the periphery of the anarchist milieu, from our first participation in conflicts in demos, in Exarchia or elsewhere, we started feeling that the spontaneous and the non-organized does not suit us anymore. So we passed by anarchist hang-outs (students or not) where we got more or less involved, we took part in central assemblies, in student occupations, while slowly we got to know each other and created organized street groups applying aggressive practices in the period 2006- 2007 during student mobilizations – while some others had already met previously through our presence in anarchist groupings at school.
Every one of us was looking for a way to organize and act, and that’s why we all looked for our way through smaller or larger groups of comrades that promoted practices of direct action. We moved within solidarity assemblies for political prisoners that promoted the value of multiform action, electing — amongst other things — on a consistent basis, to include the dimension of aggressive solidarity (for example the Coordination of Action for Imprisoned Fighters).
By our individual and collective need to promote the intensification of anarchist attack against authority through organized collectivities of direct action, we all met again in the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire.
In December 2008 we went down to the streets flooded by the anger of the insurgents seeking to get lost in the crowd in order to contribute to the diffusion of metropolitan violence. Following this, we tried to sharpen the direct action and the diffusion of the new anarchist urban guerrilla (which, as semiology, claimed in a political way the guerrilla tool as an anarchist practice, which was something really new up to that time).
So these are our roots and we’re never going to renounce them. Many times, in order to see how to move forward you have to look at who you were before and where you started from. So for us, the anarchist current (which has come to be described as a “space”) with all the good and evil in which we have contributed more or less, is our womb. Within the processes of this “space” we met, we came to know each other and we reached today and that’s why we do not see any necessity for a self-exile. Since the anarchist current is a synthetic construct where many ideas and also practices mix, since the space has no longitude and latitude to splinter from, it was unnecessary to found another of our own. Moreover it has been proven historically that it is neither productive nor feasible to do so. This mosaic of many different schools of theory and practices that make up the “space”, promotes the development of political competition. It is up to us all, however, to ensure the quality of the characteristics of such a competition. In any case self-exile does not contribute nor does it cover us personally.
Anything one can see as negative elements in the so-called “space” it’s also one’s own responsibility to contribute to their elimination. Bureaucracy, hegemonism, informal hierarchies, intrigue, false friendships and “fellow” stabbing in the back, are there for as long as anarchists exist, because they are human elements of our contradictions that constantly come into conflict with each other. All these pathologies are due to attitudes that do not belong to a single anarchist tendency but in all, and if not dealt with as they are, we will find them in front of us again and again.
This does not mean we have to compromise and make concessions to avoid any confrontations. Besides, as we wrote above, the anarchist “space” is at the same time a political competition arena where various strategies intersect. It is a bet, if they can not go along, to walk on parallel paths without necessarily being in direct conflict with each other. Such an event will be a condition of mutual political maturation, which may allow anarchy to escape its introversion and acquire characteristics more dangerous for authority. In any case it is advisable to bear in mind that any criticism of anarchist procedures should be separated from the component subjects, as the value of a political project or attempt, may be different from those involved in it, otherwise criticism of a squat for example, might be as sterile as criticism towards an armed struggle organization, when all that’s hiding behind it is personal emotions. Because people come and go, but the value of the projects is timeless.
The right belongs to insurgents
“Indifference is a lack of will, is parasitism, it is cowardice, not life. That’s why I hate the indifferent. Indifference is the dead weight of history. It acts passive but it’s active. It is fatalism. It’s what you cannot calculate. It is what upsets the programs, and tumbles the plans made in the best possible way. It is the brutal matter that chokes intelligence. What happens, the evil that falls on everyone, is because the mass of people renounces its will, lets laws be issued, that only the revolt will be able to abolish, [the mass] allows the ascendance to power by people that only a mutiny could overthrow.”
We are not opposed to the concept of organization and if this surprises some people then we make clear that our aim neither was, nor is it to become a literary and philosophical individualists’ club of intellectuals and artists who will spend their time self-admiring their singularities and praising their ego.
Our conception of individualism does not come from the belief that we are a nihilistic avant-garde, but has clear anarchist origins. First of all we are anarchists. Our difference with other anarchists, among others, is that we believe anarchist action must be defined by itself and not by the social consensus and that we stand against all those political views imposed as a “directive” of a supposedly orthodox anarchist political line which believes that the only good anarchist action is one that enjoys social legitimacy. We have always considered — and still do — such views as narrow-minded because in fact they are political attitudes which trap anarchy solely within the context of a public presence, under some conditions of course, since in order to be liked it gets self-castrated, it smooths the picks of its radical character and the most aggressive corners of its words end up being no different from the words of other political spaces (usually of some political party) who also for reasons of entrism hide their political identity, using in fact the same tactic. Needless to say who the winners are every time in this game of politics. Furthermore we believe that the revolutionary commitment of each and everyone is above all a very personal issue covering one’s consciousnesses, existential and political needs, not a duty that has to be fatally carried out because it is imposed by some class or other social role.
This very important difference of ours with other anarchists has made it easier for us to focus on everyone’s individual choices. Thus the delineation process of the social machine functions and the condition recorded as apathy and indifference towards the continuous crimes power imposes in any possible way on every corner of the globe, has also formed a large part of our analysis on society and therefore a large part of our strategy.
We have got rid of guilty syndromes such as “why do people not come with us?” or “why are our proposals not being understood?” We don’t live in an era where writings expressing subversive and revolutionary statements are delivered to fire along with their authors. In modern societies, access to libertarian and subversive ideas is free. There are books, magazines, essays, analysis, historiographies, biographies and all of them can freely be found in bookstores or by clicking a button on the computer. Therefore we must admit away from any kind of obsession, that it’s not that people do not know or understand our ideas and proposals but that they do know (or can easily learn) and simply either ignore them for multiple and various reasons, or, having bad intentions already, consider them to be hostile.
So the way we’ll act and what we will say cannot be determined by depending our estimation on the opinion of an — in any way — indifferent society. Furthermore we believe that reaction against the inequalities, violence and repression produced by authority does not derive from academic research nor from a thorough training in various ideologies and programs, but from each person’s deeper sensitivity which can not be reconciled with the idea of injustice that exists all around us.
This deeper sensitivity as a human instinct does not make the insurgents superior entities but people who want to stand up and attack any form of authority. On the other hand there are those who are accustomed to not having quests, not being interested, closing their eyes and ears where circumstances require it, and end up arguing with all those who disturbed the order and the false peace of their indifferent society.
In our times however, the surgically calculated violence on which the edifice of sovereignty is built can no longer be hidden. With the explosion of the technological era and the development of the industry of the spectacle, we’re being bombarded daily with audiovisual stimuli of extreme crimes of power. It is not only what is happening in our backyard but also all the major events that take place around us. We watch the bombing of modern crusades that build onto the piles of thousands of dead as the new status quo of Western prosperity, while in the same time we are familiar to scenes of torture and murder by an Islamo-fascist nation that was nurtured, trained and equipped by the West itself to serve its own strategic and geopolitical interests. Alongside, we see the extreme right gaining ground everywhere in Europe, since the eruption of the refugee and migration issue makes the leaders of the neo-Nazi parties everywhere increasingly popular. The whole of Europe is armoured, creating an iron-clad continent, at the borders of which thousands have been sacrificed in recent years, among them many children. The safety of every European is painted with the blood of the desperate.
We therefore believe that it would be preferable for anarchists, through our action and words to try to talk first of all to those few who feel themselves revolting against the ugliness of this world.
One does not need to wear any ideological glasses to understand this ugliness. That’s why we’re not ever going to approach the indifferent, the apathetic, the neutral, or adapt our words so that they like us. Because today more than ever, neutrality is not just a luxury but a provocative and conscious indifference concerning the thousands of forms of power’s oppression, and it is therefore complicity.
Whoever does not arm themselves, dies in their conventions
Social war will make imperative the need for an organization, which will be the essential progress of the real movement. The constant antagonism of active minorities is the path of attacking the structures of sovereignty and everyone who staffs it, here and now, it will highlight how vulnerable the enemy is and let our comrades who are hostages of the state know that they are not alone and we support them with our solidarity.
Any critique that does not correspond to a certain proposal is neither motivational nor really antagonistic. It is well known that the concept of organization can cause an allergic reaction to anarchists because it is usually identified with arteriosclerotic forms similar to authoritarian structures (which is true even to a small degree) and it is logical to have this strong reaction especially when a sufficient number of anarchists driven fanatically by structuralism develop structures like that. But what is the meaning of a critique that doesn’t aim to practically overcome problems that we meet in these kind of structures?
First of all, it is important to start on common grounds: Anything that deviates from the context of complete opportunism and spontaneity tends to be a form of organization, whether it is in cases of political groups with characteristics of companionship, either a collective, a meeting, a group of direct action. If we think about it, the thing that matters is the political and qualitative characteristic of the organization. The need for organization occurs from the desire of pursuing collaboration with each other with the goal of uniting their denials in a way they believe is better.
The fact that we are individualist anarchists does not mean that we don’t have perspectives and goals in our action. This is a mistaken view usually attributed to us from those who want to undermine us. To embrace these opinions ourselves just because of reactivity to this criticism doesn’t allow us to evolve. We personally want to contribute to an anarchist action that tries constantly to achieve some objectives:
The provocation of circumstances and potent conditions (because of their intensity, dynamics and nature) to disrupt the smooth function of sovereignty. We desire to incriminate social neutrality and to constantly create a polarized condition which will force everyone to pick sides and lay out the dilemma : being an accomplice of authority or being with the law of rebellion. There are no middle ground solutions, no intermediate states. Neutrality must die because we have war.
Our intervention in social space-time in a way that can cause smaller or bigger social short-circuits. With any kind of imaginative action we want to contribute to social paralysis and destabilization because these opportunities constitute cracks in society, and whether they have smaller or bigger durations, they set the basis for an open road to radicalization, which expands through generalised experience with chaotic multiformity.
The overall sharpening of the anarchist war against authority. We want to constantly intensify the fight with sovereignty using all the tools of struggle without any kind of ranking. It would be good to avoid persistence in specialization which is a result of even subconscious adherence to specific tools of struggle, but on the other hand though, we should not hesitate to interfere more and more dynamically in as many fields as possible. Moreover, different types of struggle should not be condemned because this is something unacceptable. The experience of conflict can eventually lead to conscience awakening, overcoming our fears and weaknesses. In this way we can be sure about ourselves, we strengthen more and more our desire for fighting and realise that we can trust our power. The conflict opens the way.
Our consistency will meet with other political affinity groups, regardless of the form of action that represents them the most, after common willingness for an informal coordination of their struggle. This consistency can result in an automatic upgrading of the above goals because the wider possible spread of the anarchist action can reach these goals or even exceed them, placing bigger bets every time. Moreover, the targeting-result sequence must be fluid so to avoid maximalistic aspirations which can result in disappointment of some when the goals are not fulfilled. Because no matter how much we are in love with the idea of the final destruction of the world of authority, we know that this target might be so far away that we may never experience it. For us the journey of the everlasting rebellion itself, the perpetual insurrection, is what matters the most. To live and fulfill daily our denials here and now. That is why we want to set open bets with qualitative terms always negotiable. In this way we ensure a durable flexibility of anarchist action, which avoids stagnation and inactivity. Naturally a critique towards our goals is acceptable but it should not be based on imaginary standards that we haven’t even placed. It sure is better to approach our goals even a little, than not at all. So critiques that are about the numbers of burned ATMs do not contribute to anything, and may just be heard as the echo of a distant nagging. In this consistency we have to make it clear that some forms of action are not here to result in some others.
Every collectivity of the anarchist struggle that is public or conspiratorial, be it squatting, arson or carrying out armed attacks and bombing, is part of a mosaic of polymorphous actions where every method complements and supports the others without hierarchical grades. All together it represents an international informal coordination against authority. We don’t believe that theoretical differences can be an obstacle for this consistency. We recognize that among anarchists with different theoretical beliefs there are people who serve their ideas with consistency and despite our differences that is something respectable. So as long as our words and actions are not treated in a hostile way, we do not intend to treat other perceptions with hostility either. Except for those who with an ideological and political sign stand against multiformity because they carry a settled and enduring disagreement with the illegal forms of struggle. Their polemic sometimes openly and other times covertly (disguised in a critique about result, targeting, strategy, ethical merit — or not — of goals) is a sterile form of non-violence that legalises an idealized pacifism, a concept foreign to anarchy (at least in the way that we see anarchy), and does not correspond to a minimum of our values. It is a concept with Christian roots influenced by a radical liberalism that even partly reproduces the dominant ideology and hides its fear behind it. We were and we will be opposed to this trend of anarchy that has the historical tradition to slander and condemn practices of direct action as well as the anarchists who use them. And because memory is not trash, we don’t forget the condemning libels (which would easily be envied even by city tabloids) that followed the execution of the two fascists of Golden Dawn by the Revolutionary Organisation – Militant People’s Revolutionary Forces. It would have been better for the aphoristic libels if that action had been made by individualists or nihilists, but despite their effort to hide it, their real problem is not the ideological context of the action but the practices of armed violence itself.
The internationalization of anarchist action in the same basis as explained above. We want to promote the idea of an international anarchist polymorphic coordination. A Black International which is about action (there is the live example of FAI/IRF and we are a part of it) but also about the propagation of subversive anarchist ideas by informal networked groups that will carry forward the anarchist conflict in every part of the world.
The remembrance of our dead through the anarchist action itself, so as not to let them disappear into oblivion. It is true what they say that the fight against oblivion is a fight against authority therefore by trying to feel our lost comrades next to us is a part of the fight that they left unfinished. That is why it is important to remember them in a proper way and not in a way more touching to the petty bourgeois, who are dying for drama and victimization.
The connection with our imprisoned brothers and sisters from all over the world, from the cells of Korydallos to the high security prison of Santiago in Chile. It is given that our comrades in captivity have lost the advantage of political fermentation with others so as to collaborate, promote with words and actions the destruction of the existent. They themselves have many times declared that they will not compromise with their exile from the anarchist action, that they don’t accept the game is over for them and they refuse to internalize the repression, searching for ways to connect to the struggle against authority given outside the walls. That is why it is in our hands to make this connection possible.
Black December – Assessment and Prospects
Just as in the framework of the strategy explained above, comrades Nikos Romanos and Panagiotis Argyros called for a month of coordinated action proposing as its theme a campaign of memory for the murdered anarchist Alexandros Grigoropoulos. At the same time, Black December was the first attempt to test the objectives and strategies described above. To what extent, however do we believe that these goals were reached?
Black December, mainly through the negative projection caused (by the media), has contributed to the creation of — even to a small degree — a divisive situation for a section of the people.
Some comrades participated and contributed to clashes of the days 4, 5 and 6 of December in Exarchia and other cities while many direct action activities were carried out in the framework of Black December.
There was a wide diffusion of means of conflict (always in comparison with what was happening in the past few years where admittedly there was a stagnation, if not regression, in this part) as many direct action projects have taken place in different cities of the province (Rethymno, Heraklion, Komotini, Volos, Larissa, Thessaloniki, Mytilene) while nuclei of the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI) supported the call with attacks in Athens, Komotini, Larissa.
We saw a consistency of political affinity groups that exceeded theoretical preconceptions, as they came from different tendencies of anarchy, which rather than focusing on their differences with mutual accusations, they managed to contribute to actions that highlighted the richness of anarchist multiformity, demonstrating in practice that public anarchist activity may be perfectly consistent with the illegal one. Of course there are those who consider this as a negative legacy as they rather prefer the sterile theoretical preconceptions which prevent joint actions and consistency. We cannot explain in another way the fact of a public negative valuation of Black December, coming from an anarchist hangout, that values as a drawback of the whole thing the fact that some people decided to find out more what it is that unites rather than what divides them. If this is the dialectics they prefer to contribute to, then they didn’t pioneer in anything: this dialectic prevails in the anarchist “space” for decades.
There was a huge international response to the call of Black December from abroad, since from Chile to Italy and from the US to Australia there really developed a polymorphy of actions: sabotage in pet shops, arsons at several targets, conflictual demonstrations in Holland, Switzerland and Chile, street blockades with flaming barricades in Peru, events in hangouts and occupations both in Greece and in other countries, public propaganda actions with banners, posters, flyers, slogans, stencils, subversive book and magazine publications and all kinds of sabotage such as placing explosive devices in Italy and Mexico.
The truth about our comrade Alexandros Grigoropoulos, has been restored. What really insulted his memory was the focus, even by anarchists, on him being “young” and “innocent”.
The fetishism of victimization can find other dead to spend its time with from now on, as the others will remember Alexandros for what he was in reality: a young rebel anarchist who paid with his life for his choice not to comply with the dictates of a uniformed servant of legality, who in turn judged him as guilty and executed him on the spot. Alexandros was not killed during some social struggles, so as to be connected only with them, but during a spontaneous insurrectionary action in Exarchia, one of those that usually some slander with the worst words. Moreover 6th December 2008 is a proof that such actions are not always on the safe side (as many like to say) as it was neither the first nor the last time a cop pulls gun and shoots against comrades attacking him inside and outside Exarchia. The fact that Alexandros was who he was, does not serve the political agenda of some and it’s not at all by chance, that while many knew who the comrade actually was still insist after seven years on commemorating him as an innocent 15 year old student.
And finally there was the connection of comrades inside and outside the prison walls, since both in Greece and abroad anarchist prisoners supported Black December with public texts, while in Greece anarchist prisoners put some banners in the A and D wing of Korydallos prison and there was a public call for a rally outside the Korydallos prison on 31st December.
We believe that one of the things that helped in spreading Black December so much was that the two comrades’ call was open enough for everyone to be able to shape it. Also, the perspective of multiformed action without prioritizing one means over the other, we believe freed up even more possibilities which became understood. Of course, comrades Nikos Romanos and Panagiotis Argyros, together with the other members of the Conspiracy from the A wing that accompanied the proposal either theoretically or in practice, had originally declared that they perceived Black December as an experiment, practically a “pilot” to test in practice the possibilities of an informal anarchist action coordination platform, on the principles of political autonomy of collectives and individualities and on those of polymorphy.
We from our side are searching for a substantive way of connecting with our captive comrades, a way that goes beyond the hitherto narrow concepts of solidarity and tries to transform them into relations that move onto those of comradely collaboration. Where this is possible in any way, we submit this theoretical contribution supporting the proposal of comrade Nikos Romanos.
We know that the texts aren’t sufficient enough to replace the beauty of live communication, but on the other hand we understand that the condition of confinement does not allow many options beyond the written contribution of thoughts, ideas and proposals appealing to anyone who believes he can get something out of them. Such proposals are certainly not some kind of Holy Bible and obviously we do not think that it is a technique of attracting “believers”. So for our part we will support and promote such theoretical propositions coming from our captive comrades considering that in this way we abolish even just conceivably the prison bars that separate us, while moreover we want to develop as much as possible a healthy interaction with those who believe that there could be a common comradely way. That’s the way we understand the importance of the proposal for an informal anarchist platform itself.
We have noticed by our own experience that there are no recipes for anything and that continuous experimentation, continuous effort for self-development, fighting our own inner dogmatic thoughts, by which we’re pretty much overwhelmed from time to time, is the way to practically test ourselves and our ideas. Ideas which should not be petrified because they lose their dynamics and most of all they lose the possibility for transformation. That’s why in our suggestions we welcome those critics that will contribute positively to any ameliorative development. Our will is the opening of dialogues that promote the development of the anarchist war against any form of authority creating an informal anarchist platform of theories and practices without necessarily letting political and social actuality erase our self-determination. An informal platform of minimum agreements in constant motion, where every collectivity and individuality will preserve its political autonomy as a whole, while promoting action as concerted as possible.
Finally we send our warmest greetings to all comrades around the world that gave life to the Black December experiment.
It’s now that everything starts…
With our dead always present in our memories…
For the constant Anarchist Rebellion and the Informal Coordination of the polymorphous Anarchist Action.
“Until it’s day we will stay
with our head held high
and all that we can do
we will not let others do it before us”
Nothing less than everything…
CCF – Metropolitan Violence Cell
PS: A few days ago the anarchist group from Volos city “Saboteurs next door / Memories in Motion” claimed responsibility for the sabotage of 52 security cameras in many areas of Volos, in the period from early December to mid-January (an action that was enrolled in the concept of Black December) addressing in turn a call for actions against the society of control and surveillance. The initiative and the words of the comrades who made this call, practically strengthen the experiment for coordinating the multiform anarchist action, therefore we can not but express our full support.