Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

May 6, 2010

Is firebombing a bank an acceptable tactic?

Filed under: anarchism,Greece — louisproyect @ 3:08 pm

Yesterday three workers in Athens died of smoke inhalation on the second floor of Marfin Bank. It had been firebombed during violent protests by anarchists who had hijacked a peaceful demonstration of workers just as had been the case a decade or so when the Black Bloc was in its heyday. An open letter by one of their co-workers has been circulating widely on the Internet. It blames the government rather than the anarchists for the tragedy and even points to a police conspiracy:

No member of security has any knowledge of first aid or fire extinguishing, even though they are every time practically charged with securing the building. The bank employees have to turn into firemen or security staff according to the appetite of Mr Vgenopoulos [owner of Marfin Bank].

The management of the bank strictly bared the employees from leaving today, even though they had persistently asked so themselves from very early this morning – while they also forced the employees to lock up the doors and repeatedly confirmed that the building remained locked up throughout the day, over the phone. They even blocked off their internet access so as to prevent the employees from communicating with the outside world.

While it is important first of all to recognize the high level of class consciousness that would allow such a worker to put the blame on the government, we still have not heard that much from the anarchists themselves. They are in something of a quandary it would appear. While they certainly would not want to be blamed for the death of innocent workers, they have trumpeted such tactics in the past. Infoshop, a key website for the anarchist movement, carried one of their proclamations:

We stand opposed to all authoritarian mechanisms and to all snitches that assist their task and we directly take the counter-offensive for now and forever. On the night of 25th of April in Thessaloníki we attacked with fire a news agency delivery truck of “Evropi (Europe)” company in the area of Evosmos and a branch of OTE (National Telecommunications Organization) in Stavroupoli. We continued the next night again with an arson attack on a Eurobank branch in Kalamaria.

While an arson attack on a bank at night might indicate Weatherman-type solicitude to avoid casualties, one must wonder how they could be sure that security guards and janitors were not inside the building. I suppose that they would be sorry for the collateral damage to someone slinging a mop, but perhaps the security guards would be regarded as a pig. This anarchist communiqué on the OccupiedLondon blog reveals their attitude toward such lowly bank employees, written as a justification for a bank robbery in 2006. The security guard apparently deserved to be shot because he was  “overzealous” and a “pig” in their eyes, who “thought he must run and stop the evil doers”. The fact that they could describe this as a “terror-crazed thriller of epic proportions” with zero hint of introspection illustrates how detached from reality these people are:

On January 16th 2006, a group of four people rob a branch of the National Bank, on Solonos St. in the center of Athens. A completely calm robbery, as all eye witnesses there that day confirm, was in the end turned into a record breaking, terror-crazed thriller of epic proportions, a breach in time that dramatically overturned the lives of tens of people, a critical point in the history of an entire political milieu. And that, thanks to the unique “heroics” of that bank’s security guard, who thought that he must run and stop the doers at all costs, because in his code of values the insured money of a bank is more important than anything. Even human life… or otherwise, as Einstein had said, two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the first.

The result of the overzealousness of that guard and a few other pigs who rushed to help in his “pious” cause was the midday transformation of Panepistimiou St. into a shooting range for cops on live targets, in contrast with those being pursued who didn’t use their weaponry… A nearly dead street vendor and a blood soaked, dying bank robber on the ground receiving kick after kick, close the curtains on act one.

Today the anarchists have released a statement about the death of the three bank workers that appears on OccupiedLondon. This dodgy phrase sticks out: “No anarchists would ever purposefully endanger other peoples’ lives.” So if a firebomb accidentally kills three workers, it’s okay? What a bunch of assholes.

Given such a stupid and adventurist orientation, we can certainly expect the cops to infiltrate the anarchist movement in order to propose ever more “bold” tactics that will result in the injuries or deaths of innocent bystanders. The bourgeoisie does not give a shit about such “collateral damage” as long as the provocation results in the further isolation of the ultralefts. An article in today’s NY Times illustrates the line of attack that will be mounted both in Greece and internationally:

The deaths shocked many in Greece, where demonstrations have been a way of life for decades and played a pivotal role in the overthrow of the military regime in 1974. In December 2008, thousands of rioters across Greece clashed with security forces for weeks over the fatal shooting by the police of a 15-year-old boy, without any further deaths.

“A demonstration is one thing and murder is quite another,” Mr. Papandreou told Parliament in an emotional session on the proposed cuts that was suddenly overshadowed.

I first got a sense of the problems of the Greek ultraleft in a talk given by Stathis Gourgouris at the 2009 Left Forum. He was part of a panel discussing the youth revolt that took place before the wheels came off the Greek economy. I wrote:

Stathis Gourgouris introduced a cautionary note, drawing attention to the fact that for the rioters rage played more of a role than politics. Sparked by the cop murder of a high school student in a “bohemian” neighborhood sounding like Athens’s East Village, they moved against the 3 C’s: corruption, cops and commodification.

Gourgouris warned that there was a nihilist streak in the uprising that could not be ignored. It was fueled by a sense that all politics was rotten, including that of the left. He said that it was possible that under certain conditions the movement could shift to the right. But for the time being, it was shaped by three equally important factors: nihilism, spontaneism, and anarchism. During the discussion period, I commented that it sounded like the Argentine piqueteros who also had a fetish against politics. Considering the fact that Greece has powerful anarchist traditions, this outcome might be expected to some extent.

I confess to being something of a hard-liner when it comes to Black Bloc adventurism. At the age of 65, I saw firsthand the bitter fruits of ultraleftism in the 1960s and 70s. While there was not much of an anarchist movement back then, I saw the consequences of “off the pig” rhetoric and “exemplary” actions. American workers who had begun to develop the first signs of class consciousness would not identify with a left that seemed to have walked out of a Godard movie. I also saw how the cops infiltrated ultraleft groups with the same intention as they have today in Greece, namely to encourage tactics that will only backfire and isolate the left as a whole.

I thought I had seen the end of such stupidity as the 80s trod its weary way into the 90s. But as the “oughts” began, you saw a new spasm of anarchism. In 1999, the black bloc showed up at Seattle and set a precedent for “anti-globalization” protests that would be repeated over and over. During a massive peaceful demonstration, the black bloc and its friends would stage an assault on some stupid fence or building in order to demonstrate how rrrrevolutionary they really were. If the cops used this action as a pretext to tear gas or beat the other demonstrators, that was no big deal to them. Hearkening back to Bakunin, they believe that the bold action of a dedicated minority could bring communism or who knows what. I know that sounds stupid but that’s what they believed. Essentially that is what we are dealing with in Greece but on a much larger scale.

Apparently I am not the only person concerned about these developments. This morning I learned from a comrade on the Marxism mailing list that other voices are being heard:

Regardless of who is responsible for the fire in the bank, there’s discussion on what one contributor calls the Greek anarchist scene’s “macho-militarism” on Libcom.org:

The comment by JH on macho militarism hits exactly to the point. The truth is that, even if the left wing press like Eleftherotypia are right in pointing out that the tragedy might have been a result of parastate or fascist groups that were seen to have penetrated the mass rally, the possibility of it happening today or tomorrow as a result of the rising militarism and nihilism of anarchists in greece has always been very high.

I do not want to exploit my position as a contributor to articles here, but the situation is very serious and no one can keep silent any longer: since December the anarchist scene has been characterised by a mass quantitative increase and a critical qualitative leveling. As a result it is verging on the dangerous limits of what one could call “an unprincipled struggle” where violence has acquired an almost totemic dimension. That is not to say that there are no groups which have engaged critically with the issue of violence in the last year or so, but these efforts have been brushed aside as either too academic or too pacifist or whatever, and marginalised.

The only thing that can save the anarchist scene in the eyes of the much wider social and labour movement in greece is at last some trace of self-criticism. Anarchists should develop a sense of public responsibility and realise the consequences of “playing war” on the backs of others. If the anarchist believe they are the vanguard of society that need give word to no one because they embody some historical necessity, they are no better than the Stalinists in the KKE.

I want to conclude by stating what I think a truly “exemplary” action would be. In 2003 a coup was organized against Hugo Chavez of the same kind that had occurred so many times in Latin America. This time, however, the working people and those on the margins of the capitalist economy rose up en masse and confronted the coup organizers with their bodies and their hearts. Their force was irresistible even though they were unarmed. This is the kind of mass action that the left should be emulating, not the temper tantrums of the infantile left. Fortunately we can see what took place in Venezuela now that “The Revolution will not be Televised” is online. This is must viewing for anybody seeking to understand how revolutions take place.

77 Comments »

  1. Lou, I agree with the substance of your criticism about insurrectionism. I sympathize with your motivation too.

    Yet why it is necessary at this moment?

    The attempt to draw an analogy with Venezuela — a social formation with different specificities — is entirely besides the point. We would have been much better served by a “concrete analysis of concrete conditions.”

    Instead, the reader is left with the impression that you are settling a political score with a particular fraction of the anarchist movement in the U.S.

    Comment by epoliticus — May 6, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

  2. As an aside, I would urge readers of this blog to read the following:

    Nicos Poulantzas
    Crisis of the Dictatorships
    New Left Books (1975)

    Comment by epoliticus — May 6, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

  3. My focus is on a segment of the Greek left but it is also directed to Marxists who have adapted to anarchism. In 2000, I battled with members of the Marxism list who refused to denounce the black bloc even after the cops exploited their stupidity in Genoa. Furthermore, I am writing about this now because an attempt is being made to use the Marfin Bank incident to attack the left *as a whole*. As long as anarchists hijack peaceful demonstrations made up primarily of working people, we have a big problem on our hands.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 6, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  4. Proyect is completely correct on this. We shouldn’t cpnfuse our own discussion on tactics within the uprising to suggest those critiquing the “black block” dilettantes and their provocateur behaviour are therefore forgetting the main issue, which is of course how to uprising can succeed. The issue is secondary, yes. But we need to discuss it because it has the potential to avert the revolt, just as these same “anarchists” have been doing to every revolt in greece for the last 30 years. Every time I can recall, including 4 years living in the country, that the masses came out into the streets, by nightfall the focus had been turned into another night of theatrics between the cops and the self-appointed “vanguard” who carried out highly intelligent, political actions such as overturning whatever cars happened to be nearby (no, it wasn’t even anything as intelligent as a misguided protest against the car, it was just that, well, it is an object and it was there), burning public buses, smashing shop windows (no, not only luxury shops etc, just whatever was nearby), lighting fires etc. Exaggerating? Believe what you want. It degenerated into farce. The reaction of the masses was “here we go again.” Sure, that is going to be a lot different now, given what appears to be a revolutionary situation. But such a situation is all the more reason that the state and cops are going to try to use whatever “forum” these knuckleheads provide them. Yes the issue is how the uprising can be directed to take power; therefore everything that is an obstacle to this, that gives openings and ammunition to the state, that in any way divides and confuses sections of the masses, must be criticised and, where possible, removed by the movement.

    Comment by Michael Karadjis — May 6, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

  5. There is a problem with the theory of the hijack. It seems to posit that must exist an abyss between various political formations (I hesitate to use the term “left” for the Greek context because mainly it appears to refer to SYRIZA) and sections of the masses. The idea of the “propaganda of the deed” is premised itself on such a distinction and this is the main difficulty faced by the insurrectionists. They wish to guide the masses to revolution when no such guidance is required. The theory of the hijack suffers from the same problem. In Greece, the masses are ahead of the political premises of the theory of the hijack and the “propaganda of the deed.” Witness the widespread occupations of television stations that took place in December 2008 and the occupation by the teachers of Greek state television; there also were occupations of various municipal offices by the workers themselves. The key problem is the emergence of organizations that matche the politicization of the masses.

    Comment by epoliticus — May 6, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

  6. Don´t like your piture of anarchists hijacking peaceful demonstrations.
    Many people could have commit this crucial act of arson, even a greec communist.
    Would´nt it be much better to just clearly speak against each act of violence in the name of anything, instead of blaiming so called anarchists to be the source of all problems in the so called left.

    Comment by KROete — May 6, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

  7. Let me hasten to add that KKE does not strike me as a political party that behaves in accord with the politicization of the masses.

    Comment by epoliticus — May 6, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

  8. Wasn’t it in Canada that some black blocquistas were exposed as cops in disguise? So long as the black bloc does exactly what the capitalists want–making protest look like the action of thugs–it really doesn’t matter whether they intentionally or accidentally hurt our cause. We need to look unflinchingly at the effect, and condemn it, and realize that anyone who employs those tactics is the ally of the bourgeoisie.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — May 6, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  9. Oh, but of course. You almost forget the obligatory kick at the local communist party. (I think you can assume we assume it.)

    Comment by Rosa — May 6, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

  10. Setting fire to banks is crackpot politics.
    The general idea is that bank employees need to be unionised.
    Which is hard if they’re dead.
    Banks need to be amalgamated into a single state bank.
    Which is hard if it has no branches.
    Then the workers need to control the movements of money in and out.
    Which is hard if there are no records, the cash is a heap of ash and the computer cables are frazzled.
    Provocateurs thrive in a milieu of anarchist stupidity

    Comment by prianikoff — May 6, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

  11. Bullshit article. As if you can control passions at times like this, as if revolutionary situations are like turning a tap on and off. Greek workers have taken to the streets to protest, they have called general strikes. Workers in other European countries are sitting on their backsides doing fuck all. Give me ‘left infantilism’ anyday.

    Every revolution in history has resulted in death, usually of the poor fighting for the wealthy. A mass movement of the people, fighting for themselves is to be welcomed. If you can’t accept collateral damage then you can’t ever accept any revolutionary action – that is infantile leftism.

    Comment by Steve — May 6, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

  12. You can organise the bank employees.

    It should also be noted that the managers of the bank in question threatened its employees with losing their jobs if they didn’t turn up for work on the day of the strike.
    They were locked into the building, which had no fire brigade operating license, no record of safety drills and was unfit for purpose.

    See this letter from a Greek bank employee:-

    http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2010/05/05/an-employee-of-marfin-bank-speaks-on-tonights-tragic-deaths-in-athens/

    Comment by prianikoff — May 6, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

  13. True Anarchists would never show such contempt for the people, even the ‘pigs’. Anarchists believe that all people, even the oppressors, are fundamentally decent but we are all trapped within the capitalist system. The bourgeoisie are enslaved as much as we are, (as Bakunin wrote, “the freedom of all is essential to my freedom”) so our efforts to destroy capitalism are aimed at improving the lives of all. It is impossible to justify murdering the oppressed in order to destroy the system which oppresses them.

    Furthermore, the structure of capitalism is intangible, it cannot be destroyed by violence against individuals so those supposed Anarchists who would commit such violence are as ineffectual as they are immoral.

    Comment by George — May 6, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

  14. Steve, you sound like a troll, but in case you’re not, I have a question: Do you know that the firebombers weren’t disguised cops? More importantly, the firebombing was not the result of “a mass movement.” If it was, Greece would be burning. Only the protests are part of a mass movement. The firebombings are the actions of a few violent individuals who care more for violence than communism.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — May 6, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

  15. Will,

    “Do you know that the firebombers weren’t disguised cops?”

    Am I missing something or does this have a point?

    Whether this is a mass movement is incidental, though with tens of thousands out on the streets I wonder how you can say that, the general point is that incidents will happen in revolutionary situations that cannot be controlled. To imagine a perfectly conducted, purely noble, no one bad ever gets killed or injured revolution is the very definition of infantile.

    Comment by Steve — May 6, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

  16. That should read no one who isn’t bad ever gets killed or injured revolution is the very definition of infantile!

    Comment by Steve — May 6, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

  17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8664161.stm

    Comment by epoliticus — May 6, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

  18. Another perspective on the deaths of the bank workers here:

    http://www.permanentrevolution.net/entry/3032

    Comment by Steve — May 6, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

  19. Urban guerilla warfare sometimes becomes a neccessity, maybe this action was linked to the actual movement of the mass, maybe it wasn’t. In any event, it’s short-sighted to glorify violence. Just because it might be needed doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

    Comment by Michael Hureaux — May 6, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

  20. You said
    “No anarchists would ever purposefully endanger other peoples’ lives.” So if a firebomb accidentally kills three workers, it’s okay? What a bunch of assholes.”

    Who said it was ok? Did anyone say it was ok? You are twisting words to suit your agenda without much regard for the truth.

    Comparing Greece today with american black blocks & summit-hopping activists only shows how incapable you are of grasping the context at hand.
    “we still have not heard that much from the anarchists themselves.” you say, who is “we”? You mean “you” who doesnt read greek.
    And you talk about “the anarchists” and “the anarchist movement” as if it is one united thing where everyone agrees with each other & makes common statements. This really shows how you really have no clue as to what the anarchist movement is like in greece. It is decentralized with many different tendencies, and already there are plenty of texts about yesterday on the internet, just 24 hours later. But it doesn’t look like you are interested in presenting an objective analysis here so why should you bother.

    In Greece it is not at all uncommon at demonstrations to destroy things. Anarchists tend to target banks, multinational companies, police cars, TV vans, etc. But of course it is not only anarchists who do it, and in e.g. december 2008 there were many thousands more on the streets together with the anarchists doing just that.
    Of course when there are thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands on the streets there is no chance of anyone controlling them, and there are bound to be crazier fuckheads as well as provocateurs on the streets. In general greek anarchists tend to target specific things and when there are people e.g. burning and looting small shops then anarchists (as well as others) tend to pull them back & stop them. This is not absolute but it is the tendency.

    It looks like what happened is that those who set fire to the bank had no way of knowing there were workers inside. Up til now, in athens, setting fire to an empty bank during a demonstration was quite normal and not something that would raise eyebrows. Hundreds of banks have been burned in the last few years.And it is really quite ridiculous to expect a bank in the center of athens to not be burned down on a day like yesterday. All the other banks had armored rolls over the glass to protect them. This one didn’t.

    from here http://libcom.org/news/war-zone-athens-three-people-dead-many-buildings-burning-general-strike-march-turns-battle-#comment-374240

    “It is a common practice in Greece to attack banks in marches. In a march that the anarchists participate, If the police isn’t defending a bank it is more than certain that it will be attacked and even burnt down. So when a big march is taking place all the banks close down and employees leave the place and if they don’t anarchists never start a fire. Such think happened in this situation. The bank was closed and there was nobody in. Alongside with the march a small group of black blockers was moving. When they reached the bank a guy shattered the front window, threw flammable liquid in and started a fire. What they didn’t know was that the bank had also offices in the same building and people were working in. The workers went on the windows and shouted people to stop the fire. People tried to put out the fire and go into the building out the doors were locked. Also the building didn’t have an emergency exit. ”

    You talk about an “anarchist vanguard” “hijacking” a “peaceful” workers demonstration as if you are very sure that that is what happened. There are a lot of workers (whether they identify themselves as anarchists or not) who had no intention of being ‘peaceful’. And of course those are the ones the state is most afraid of.
    There are plenty of workers who might not burn banks but also accept that others will, without condemning those others as “hijackers”.
    So what is it exactly that makes the more destructive demonstrators a vanguard? Are they in some way trying to lead the others? Or should they call a vote and see if 51% of demonstrators agree with smashing up banks?

    Your pseudo-criticism of anarchists at the end of the day is no different from that being made by the greek state. Really quite disgusting. Its no wonder that rioting people want nothing to do with politics. You are not honest, like a politician.

    Comment by costas — May 6, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

  21. Steve, I just took the quickest google and confirmed that in 2007, the Quebec police confirmed that their officers disguised themselves as demonstrators. And I came up with a similar case in Pittsburg in 2009:

    http://www.infowars.com/provocateur-cops-caught-disguised-as-anarchists-at-g20/

    There’s also mention of the same thing happening in Genoa in 2001. Capitalists love violence by protesters so much that they do their best to provide it. Anyone in a mask should be suspected of being a provocateur. As Dylan said, to live outside the law, you must be honest.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — May 6, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  22. Your pseudo-criticism of anarchists at the end of the day is no different from that being made by the greek state. Really quite disgusting.

    Actually, there are many Greeks who share my views, including someone who posted this to the Occupied London blog:

    SOMEONE FROM GREECE wrote:

    Amongst you ‘greek anarchists’ there exist people who justify violence and call for acts like burning banks (or the offices of ‘Tiresias’, for that matter). Who have been saying that such acts can be justified in “some cases”, when they are “symbolic”, when they target capitalism and its symbols. And supporters of such “symbolic actions” have been increasingly vocal after December ‘08. Any visitor can just browse this blog and read your previous posts – scripta manent.

    If these 3 people had not been killed today, you would be feauturing pictures of the burnt bank on your blog. Along with triumphant slogans, trying to convince the world that the ‘collapse of capitalism’ is imminent and that it will start from Greece. Along with a the description of a little chat you had with a taxi driver, on your way to your friend’s house, to prove your point.

    But this time 3 people have been killed.

    They were killed because the bank was set on fire. Because someone thought: “Let’s do something symbolic”.
    And he/she did it – a person set the bank on fire; neither capitalism, nor its management.

    When Kougias is defending the cop who murdered a 15-year old boy, his arguments are pathetic. When you try to change the subject (“translate this, instead of thinking about the anarchists’ stance on violence and what this stance has caused”) your arguments are pathetic. You are using plain-old shyster tricks, Kougias’ tricks.

    Never mind, we got it. Korkoneas never apologised for Grigoropoulos’ murder. The unknown hooded person who set 3 people on fire will never apologise for their murder.

    PS1: Let’s see how much time this comment stays up!

    PS2: The above is my personal opinion; I’m not brainwashed by Papandreou, the media or anyone else. And I don’t think anyone has the right to call me brainwashed, just because they happen to disagree with me.

    PS3: I hate anonymity; but I don’t want to reveal my identity to people who might one day “symbolically” beat me or burn me, just because they happen to disagree with me.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 6, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

  23. The spread of nihilism is accelerated by the ‘governments of the people’ that fail to provide anything material for the people to believe in, to contribute to, and be acknowledged by.

    Governments, of both the public and the private corporatist spheres, rely, in part, on the power of propaganda to capture the minds and hearts of the people they so profitable exploit. The “Stockholm syndrome” doesn’t happen only in Stockholm.

    The denial of this exploitative realty is somewhat easier to maintain while one is not personally confronting the harsh material reality of those who are relegated to membership in the disposable class of the ‘surplus population’.

    Military operations today, for the most part, are not conflicts between highly organized units on battle fields, but between highly capitalized and organized militaries in opposition to civilian populations. The ratio of military to civilian deaths in modern asymmetrical war exceeds 9:1. The common response to this modern expression of war is indifference.

    The dominant modern nihilism is the adherence to an ideology serving privilege and power combined with the willfully blind indifference to the reality of its consequences. The highly militarized police forces of the USA and the people’s fears of public participation in protest are not indicators of the existence of a healthy democracy.

    “The Revolution will not be Televised” shows the result of coup when two contentious parties are actually different from each other. The “velvet coup” of the 2000 USA election could not bring revolution to the streets, in part, because the consequences of having either a Bush or Gore presidency were not anticipated having as pronounced a difference as would having, or not having, a Hugo Chavez presidency in Venezuela. The Kerry and Obama candidacies make this point by their promotion of a ‘smarter’ war rather than the termination of a costly and illegal war.

    Once again, the growing presence of nihilism is a result of the failure of the so called ‘governments of the people’ to actually provide something to believe in that is more than illusory.

    Marches and street actions without the potential for violence, at least in the mind of the powerful, are without effect on the powerful. The violent actions of the sixties and seventies contributed to the success of the having the government end the draft and move to the use of mercenary forces for maintenance of empire.

    The well behaved anti-war movement has had no effect on the Middle East wars: the wars have expanded and the size of the crowds and the costs of security to local governments have declined. Army Reserve units are brought into active duty instead of being kept at home to protect the government oligarchy against expressions of disapproval from the suppressed democracy.

    Anarchy is only a word used by oligarchy in its disdain for democracy. Elections are fraudulent in the USA because the two viable parties write the laws of party viability.

    Comment by Glenn — May 6, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

  24. Of course there is a very strong mass feeling of anti-anarchism in Greece right now. Most people can identify with the dead and not with the ones who threw the molotovs.

    Mass feeling though is not a measure of truth and is no excuse not to reply to the points I raised.

    Remember also that in the past few weeks leading up to this anarchists have had a very hard time in the media which has been on an anti-anarchist witch hunt with many blatant lies being used. Its quite well documented on the occupied london blog and the libcom.org news from greece.

    The guy you quoted – his last PS scared about being “beaten or burnt” by anarchists for making one criticism on an internet blog is excessively paranoid. I would doubt he has ever met any anarchists or marched next to them.

    Comment by costas — May 6, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

  25. “The ratio of military to civilian deaths in modern asymmetrical war exceeds 9:1.” – Should have been 1:9.

    Civilian deaths are very common and met with indifference.

    Comment by Glenn — May 6, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

  26. “True Anarchists would never show such contempt for the people, even the ‘pigs’. Anarchists believe that all people, even the oppressors, are fundamentally decent but we are all trapped within the capitalist system. The bourgeoisie are enslaved as much as we are, (as Bakunin wrote, “the freedom of all is essential to my freedom”) so our efforts to destroy capitalism are aimed at improving the lives of all. It is impossible to justify murdering the oppressed in order to destroy the system which oppresses them.”

    The only thing worse than a philistine defending “true anarchism” is one defending “true Marxism.”

    Comment by epoliticus — May 6, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

  27. Not wanting to wade into this conversation, simply wanting to clarify a (purposefully?) misleading “fact” some people are referring to: the infiltration of the black bloc at Montebello by Quebec Provincial Police in 2007.

    i was at the demonstration in question, saw the cops in question, and know some of the various folks who exposed them.

    The black bloc is a tactic developed by european autonomists in the 1980s. It was introduced to North America by anarchists in the 1990s. It’s a tactic, and one which remains controversial within the anarchist movement itself, for better or for worse.

    In Montebello in 2007, the police dressed up like as if they were part of the black bloc, but were unable to infiltrate it. They were identified by black bloc demonstrators as likely cops (both coz of their demeanor, and just stupid mistakes on their part, like wearing t-shirts with right-wing slogans!), were hounded by the black bloc, and then by trade unionists who were informed by the former that “these are cops”. They then allowed themselves to be “arrested” in order to flee the demo.

    To use this as any kind of evidence against “black blocs” (which are a tactic, not an organization) is ridiculous: to the degree that the cops infiltrated anything, they infiltrated a diverse demonstration, not the black bloc itself. To the degree that one could say there was a cohesive black bloc at Montebello, it was members of the black bloc who initially outed the cops.

    There is a dishonest attempt being made to confuse the issue – i.e. point to the fact that undercovers at a demonstration attempt to pass themselves off as anarchists (which didn’t even happen at Montebello), to then claim that anarchists (an ideological current) or black blocs (a tactic) as a whole are being politically manipulated by the police.

    Ponder the fact that the main folks making these claims in recent months have been the libertarian and conspiracy-theory nuts in the tea party circuit, who also point to myths of Montebello to “prove” that anarchists and others confronting the current right-wing populist upsurge in the u.s. are “really working for the state”.

    That this conversation is also using the opportunity afforded by a very heavy situation comrades are currently facing in Greece to try and score points with North American anarchists betrays a real lack of solidarity. That this is being done in the form of “preaching to the choir” is all the more sad.

    For something i wrote at the time about Montebello: http://sketchythoughts.blogspot.com/2007/09/classes-cops-and-liberal-spin-thinking.html

    Comment by kersplebedeb — May 6, 2010 @ 10:22 pm

  28. Those deaths could have been prevented yes, but it is clear that this post wasn’t aimed at mourning them, but rather a wholesale denunciation of anarchism. I still have yet to hear a Marxist-Leninist apologize for their entire ideology, which was not only theoretically-flawed, but killed millions of workers and enslaved millions more.

    Comment by dialecticalyricist — May 6, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

  29. Actually, my main interest is not in mourning one way or the other. I am trying to persuade people that firebombing is not an acceptable tactic because it can lead to the death of working people and the loss of respect for revolutionaries whatever their ideology. Ordinary working people don’t make fine distinctions between one kind of militant and another. The best way to avoid this from happening is to declare a permanent moratorium on firebombing. By doing so, the cops will have fewer opportunities to stage provocations as was likely the case with the Marfin Bank.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 6, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

  30. Should we then go to Greece and lecture these folks on the dangers of petrol bombs? Uprisings are never clean affairs, to borrow a Maoism: “Revolution is not a dinner party, not an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly and modestly.” If these three deaths meant the entire dissolution of rioting leftist Greeks, condemned by “ordinary working people” then any ideology on the left is pretty much doomed from the start. So then why limit your criticism of anarchism, when it has probably been the so-called Marxists who have done innumerable harm to the working class? Let the anarchists apologize for their killings rather than see this as an opportunity for any ideological slandering.

    Comment by dialecticalyricist — May 6, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

  31. In a genuine uprising, there is lots of violence. The Sandinistas used molotov cocktails against the guardia. But there is no uprising in Greece as long as workers continue to have illusions in the reformists. The anarchist lack the patience and the political acumen to win the workers to the revolutionary cause so they go above their heads. Despicable.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 6, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

  32. kersplebedeb, that some provocateurs were exposed does not mean all provocateurs have been exposed or will be exposed. As you note, black bloc is a tactic. Specifically, it is a violent tactic that, in every case I know of which has not (yet) been exposed as the work of infiltrators, only makes the general populace feel the cops are protecting them from people whose sole concern is to blow up things.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — May 6, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

  33. The corporate media in the USA appears almost tearful at the loss of three worker’s lives.

    I assume this new found compassion for these working dead will also bring to the public eye the 45,000 who die from lack of health care insurance in this country every year. This number will only increase under the austerity measures to be imposed in the coming years.

    Of course, maybe the only proper murders are those committed in banality and outside of the public gaze. Maybe murder is not intrinsically contrary to US cultural norms. Maybe murder done so publicly is taken as evidence of bad manners and only in that case is it found deserving of censure.

    Comment by Glenn — May 6, 2010 @ 11:48 pm

  34. Glenn, you are a total fucking idiot. This post was not about shedding tears but about how to move the left forward. Have you ever read Karl Marx or VI Lenin? You really must get up to speed on what kind of struggles they endorsed. Like the Paris Commune or the Bolshevik Revolution. These working class revolutions were made by the masses, not a bunch of pimply adolescents engaged in street theater.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 7, 2010 @ 12:06 am

  35. Louis, you might consider my response to the situation, grounded in a more historic anarchist perspecive, of interest.

    Yes, the question is how to move the left forward. My belief is that it can be more effectively done through anarchism, as my post, as well as one that I wrote awhile ago about the crackup in the British SWP, indicate, but the notion that you can effectively do so by claiming that the victims of the bank attack were killed by the state and the bank owner, as was done in the OccupiedLondon statement that you reference, strikes me as rather odd.

    Comment by Richard Estes — May 7, 2010 @ 12:54 am

  36. here is the link for the SWP post, in the unlikely event anyone is interested

    Comment by Richard Estes — May 7, 2010 @ 12:56 am

  37. Oh Christ, again with the ‘Marxist-Leninist is epitomy of all evil and encompasses all marxists’ crap. Hey dia, ever heard of Stalinism? maybe you might want to look it up sometime.

    Comment by SGuy — May 7, 2010 @ 2:23 am

  38. Fuck you Louis Proyect. You’re a honkey piece of liberal, leftist shit. I hope you choke on your own vomit

    Comment by Fuck you asshole — May 7, 2010 @ 2:41 am

  39. @SGuy: Sorry, Stalinism became a reality only because of Leninist ideology. Can’t go around spreading class consciousness like a priest does at mass and then subordinate the working class to the demands of party bureaucrats. Too much religion, in my opinion.

    Comment by dialecticalyricist — May 7, 2010 @ 2:57 am

  40. Hi Louis,

    In response to 34.

    Did I touch a nerve? You made your point in post 29 about not mourning one way or the other. I take you at your word. Perhaps you identified too closely with the corporate media in my criticism of it. That happens. Powerful propaganda there. Once it grabs your heart, it rules your head. I try to avoid too much of that stuff.

    I’m not for or against the bombers. It’s not like what I think is going to change the behavior of the bankers or the bombers. It’s like a sport: If you are not involved you’re only a spectator. The anarchists aren’t going to take over the government. The bankers get bailed out and the workers get starved out. I’m interested to see if it plays out differently this time. I don’t see the mental power floating around to form an intelligent resistance getting involved in any meaningful way. Maybe a few rock throwers is all there is.

    I have read the three volumes of Capital and few bits of Lenin. I’m sure your reading list is longer than mine. I think Marx’s political economics stands head and shoulders over any current economist’s. And Lenin made a splendid effort but it seems no revolution avoids devolution back into a self-serving hierarchical structure as described by Robert Michels in his “Political Parties”. A means is organized toward an end and then that means evolves into being an end for itself, and then the original end, its original reason for being, is lost.

    Any group of Communists you can put together will not defeat the capitalist armies as they now stand. Too many pimply and developmentally arrested adolescents in green uniforms with their vulgar understanding of Marx and capitalism are fighting against their own interest.

    The revolutions of Hugo and Vlad aren’t going to happen here. Consider this a challenge. I would love to be wrong.

    I would have bet before his election that Obama would restart the draft. Ending the draft was probably the last significant accomplishment of pimply faced adolescents. Rumsfeld discounted the value of pimply faced adolescents in Vietnam. They couldn’t keep their attacks focused on the authority’s designated enemies. Things got a bit anarchic.

    Comment by Glenn — May 7, 2010 @ 3:01 am

  41. Ooooh Bolshevism as religion! Ive never heard that one before (if you can’t tell Im being sarcastic). Yes lets just ignore the concrete situation in Russia at the time and just go forth with an intellectually lazy ‘Lenin was a bad, bad man’.

    Comment by SGuy — May 7, 2010 @ 4:08 am

  42. On a much smaller scale, a coterie of anarchists smashed up downtown Santa Cruz California recently.

    The immediate response of the state was to hire more cops, despite the fact they ‘didn’t have the money to pay for it.’ (to quote the mayor)

    Comment by purple — May 7, 2010 @ 7:21 am

  43. Did I touch a nerve?

    Yeah, the one next to my cloaca.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 7, 2010 @ 11:34 am

  44. I don’t understand why the death of three people is such a matter. I mean seriously, the forces of the imperialists are killing THOUSANDS daily. We live in a world where 30,000+ children are dying of preventable causes DAILY. 1.5 mil killed in Iraq. Afghanistan, Gaza, Sudan, Eritrea, on and on.

    3 bank workers die and it becomes necessary to publish an apology? I recognize that the outcome on the movement in Greece may be negative, but certainly there are better things to do than to spend energy apologizing. Don’t ensure that the outcome is negative by tip toeing and being weak. Yes it may bother some to accept “collateral” damage, but I’m pretty sure any changes are likely to come with broken eggs. We’re not dropping bombs from predator drones on weddings here…it’s mainly the fault of the bankers and the bosses who locked employees in.

    Those of you who have beef with “anarchists”, stop focusing on the wrong issue…when a revolution comes, they’ll be marginal at best, but I think you’ll be thankful they got us through the tough times in the beginning…like when the risk of killing three bank employees didn’t matter to them.

    Comment by Woods — May 7, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  45. Woods, I’m not going to be thanking anyone who thinks killing workers doesn’t matter.

    I’m also having trouble understanding the anarchist position here. You don’t like vanguardists (I have problems with vanguard theory too), but you defend people who bomb buildings and kill workers in the hope of sparking a revolution? Either a revolution is the honest expression of the people, or it is not.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — May 7, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

  46. 3 bank workers die and it becomes necessary to publish an apology?

    No, it becomes necessary to avow firebombing. This tactic gives agent provocateurs the handle that they need to stage further Marfin incidents. The more overriding question is what such adventurists contribute to the movement by throwing a molotov cocktail. The bourgeoisie is actually thrilled to death by such stunts since it allows them to escalate calls for “law and order”. If a coup comes to Greece, it will have been enabled by such idiocy.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 7, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

  47. “Anarchists” having it both ways as usual. If they step forward with the direct action found in Greece, it is because they posess the courage the stupid mass organizations lacki.,e. workers are clearly too stupid to act in such a manner on their own behalf, so if a few workers get killed during one of their “direct actions”, well, it’s an acceptable cost, since someone had to lead the way. But anyone who builds an organization actually rooted in the mass, as Lenin did, well, they’re authoritarian, because such people worked in an organization limited by the contradictions of the working class at its actual level of consciousness.

    Of course, Spain put the lie to all the anarchist formulas, since once the CNT FAI was modest enough to work alongside the working class at the class’s own contradictory levels of consciousness, anarchists who fought for the Republic found themselves working with a liberal capitalist government and alongside the stalinist international. But that still gets clean by the anarchist theorists, who merely place a libertarian gloss on the experience, and who now still tell us they can stand outside the actual movement of the working class and lead it.

    Probably the best example of the bankruptcy of their ideas can be seen in the terrible loss of Che Guevara in Bolivia, a man who, despite his many virtues, stepped outside of everything he understood when he wrote Guerilla Warfare in order to lead an anarchoid campaign that had insufficient support from the Bolivian masses. Though far from an anarchist, Che’s last stand was not far down the road from that philosophy, and the world lost his penetrating insite into the imperium as a result of his error.

    Comment by Michael Hureaux — May 7, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  48. Important to point out there are anarchists and there are anarchists. Anarcho-syndicalists and anarchist communists want no part of these minority actions, seeking instead to build mass movements of the working class. The firebombers are about as representative of anarchists in general as the Spartacist League is of Trotskyism in general. Check my May 6 blog posting to see what class struggle anarchists think about the Greek situation.

    Comment by Larry Gambone — May 7, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

  49. Will,

    I get your point, yes the cops could have done it and have in the past.

    Whether throwing firebombs is the correct tactic or not is beside the point, in a revolutionary situation (forget whether Greece is a revolutionary situation or not) people will get killed or injured. If you can’t accept that then it’s time to retire to spend more time with the family.

    Comment by Steve — May 7, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  50. @SGuy: You give me one example of a Leninist revolution that actually succeeded and didn’t degenerate into A) Stalinism or B) Some Third World-style fascism. I’m not the one being intellectually lazy, but you, who seem to forget that Lenin was completely off the mark in “Imperialism” and vacillated his position on the National Question. Leninism, to borrown Loren Goldner, has become the historical midwife of reactionary regimes wherever the Leninists were in control. Wake up, Leninism was and is a failure, this tendency is one of the biggest stumbling blocks leftists must overcome within themselves and each other.

    Comment by dialecticalyricist — May 7, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  51. Leninism, to borrown Loren Goldner, has become the historical midwife of reactionary regimes wherever the Leninists were in control.

    Well, what can compete with the idea of a classless society that exists in Loren’s mind. On one side you have the reality of Cuba and on the other you have his Platonic ideal. No competition. This reminds me of my uncle Abe who never could find a woman that could match what he was looking for, someone with the looks of Sophia Loren and the brains of Simone De Beauvoir. He died a bachelor.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 7, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

  52. Is no one else shocked that “Steve” has actually used the phrase “collateral damage” as a leftist excuse for killing workers and then insistently and gleefully repeats the necessary killing of innocents as though this is so much spilled milk?
    I find that utterly repulsive.

    Comment by ish — May 7, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

  53. How was Cuba or the USSR classless societies? Sorry but I would hope for a more democratic future ahead, that’s why I am a Marxist, but I don’t want one where the party dictates and controls political life, which is why I’m not a Leninist. Loren pushes the theory to its limits and at least is willing to drop Leninism. Luxemburg and Pannekoek were at least able to recognize it for what it was, nothing more than just autocratic state capitalism.

    Comment by dialecticalyricist — May 7, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  54. Dumbalecticalyricist:

    Should we then go to Greece and lecture these folks on the dangers of petrol bombs?

    Another fucking moron like Glenn. In my most recent post, I forwarded self-criticism from the anarchists on this very question. Drooling imbeciles like you give ultraleft communism (ie., petty bourgeois idealism) a bad name.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 7, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

  55. Steve, when violent idealists are tossing bombs in the hope that they might start a revolution in advance of the people’s will, damn straight I’ll be with my family. In part, to do what I can to protect them from those few violent individuals who haven’t a clue how revolution works.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — May 7, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

  56. Easy there commissar I didn’t see the other article. Where did you get the “petty bourgeois idealism” crack? That was great! Can’t even say anything critical, just regurgitate something a Moscow court stenographer would have written from the 1930s.

    Comment by dialecticalyricist — May 7, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

  57. dialectilyracist, that’s not what Luxemburg said about Leninism at all, and if you actually read what she’s written as opposed to what is said about what she wrote by people who read selectively. She broke with Lenin on the national question, but then, she never understood the national question, which always varies in the manner that Lenin tried so methodically to capture.

    And you’re not a marxist, because marxism begins its critical analysis from the worker’s movement that exists, not the one that ought to.

    Comment by Michael Hureaux — May 7, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

  58. Where did you get the “petty bourgeois idealism” crack

    From your bullshit about a “classless society”. Cuba lacked the material conditions to create such a society and you have the nerve to badmouth it as some kind of quasi-capitalist dictatorship. No communists, including the ghost of Pannakook, could have created a classless society. Meanwhile, you think that you are pure as the driven snow because in your mind you have an idea of what Cuba should be. This is called petty bourgeois idealism.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 7, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

  59. No you are! way to go dia, more intellectual laziness. I think youll find out that those regimes were stalinist not leninist, i raised this point already but you’ve decided to sidestep it. By the way nobody has a successful revolution to produce, certainly to adhere to the high standards of people like yourself. Not the anarchists, not the marxists, not the bordigists or the trotskyists or impossiblists, when you start throwing this mud around it gets on everybody.

    Comment by SGuy — May 7, 2010 @ 6:27 pm

  60. @Hureaux: I’m talking about Luxemburg, Pannekoek and the left communist tendency in general. “You’re not a Marxist…” what is this, primary school? Give me a beak. You want to chastise a few anarchists who screwed up, fine, but this has become an entire condemnation of their movement.

    @Proyect: There might be some redeeming qualities in Cuba, but it sure isn’t the socialist paradise we’ve been hearing about. So i’m skeptical about it–and? Since when were condemnation and critiques become erased from the analysis? You seem to have a few armchair criticisms of what’s going on in Greece yourself there.

    @SGuy: I didn’t deviate from any of your points. You bring up the historical context of the times, but conveniently avoid discussing opportunistic vanguardism or war communism. You criticize me for believing in a pure revolution, yet I’m not the one trying to “beat some sense” into the anarchists by rejecting their ideology. Mistakes are made, yes, something which I am recognizing, and it seems that there are plenty of voices posting similar complaints.

    Comment by dialecticalyricist — May 7, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

  61. Dumbass, any marxist worth his salt actually does reject anarchism. War Communism? what? That was a necessity born of the situation, what does that have to do with stalinism? What does opportunism have to do with Lenin? Stalin may have opened up the party to opportunists after Lenin’s death and called it the Lenin Levy but a more accurate term would be the Stalin Levy. To be honest I dont know why Im bothering with you, your ignorant and your arguing tactics amount to ‘I know you are but what am I’.

    Comment by SGuy — May 8, 2010 @ 12:23 am

  62. Will said,

    “Steve, when violent idealists are tossing bombs in the hope that they might start a revolution in advance of the people’s will, damn straight I’ll be with my family. In part, to do what I can to protect them from those few violent individuals who haven’t a clue how revolution works.”

    So when all is said and done you are a complete waste of space. I wonder why you even bother with left politics at all. This confirms my view that Proyects focus on the failings of ‘anarchists’ and tactics is a mistake. In a revolutionary situation you can all you want to guide tactics but now and again events will be beyond your control. When this point is reached we now know a number of so called leftists will go running back to mummy! Christ the left is even weaker than I imagined.

    Comment by Steve — May 8, 2010 @ 8:25 am

  63. Question: Is there a difference between throwing the petrol bombs at the belligerent police forces versus a bank?

    If so, why? What if a police officer dies? Does this change the analysis?

    I’m interested in opinions here. The Leninism debate, the debate about “anarchists” and their character, accusations of ultraleftism and speculations (so interesting to see) as to what the bourgeois like/dislike to see in protests actions…I don’t think this is relevant right now. What is before us is a firebombing, death, and the impact it will have on the movement.

    Clearly, an argument can be had about the tactic of firebombing a bank with potential deaths as an outcome – regardless of what labels you apply to actual/speculated/perceived perpetrators.

    Comment by Woods — May 8, 2010 @ 8:30 am

  64. Is there a difference between throwing the petrol bombs at the belligerent police forces versus a bank?

    What a fucking moron. We are not concerned with a “bank”. We are concerned with working people in a bank who might die because of an “exemplary” action. Maybe you missed the latest post to this blog. It was a statement by Greek anarchists along the same line.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 8, 2010 @ 11:28 am

  65. Steve, shall we continue this discussion in a comment thread at youtube? I confess, I’m bored.

    But if you wish to advance your cause, step up your game. Not the insulting part, which anyone is capable of, but the informational part, which is the only thing that will ultimately bring about change. If the people don’t have a basis for action, anarchists killing workers are no different than the US bombing Afghanistan in the hope of making the Afghanis love them. But if you share knowledge that the people can use to act on their own, then there’ll be change.

    Woods, it’s not what the bourgeoisie likes that matters. It’s what the proletariat likes. Hint: They don’t like masked thugs who kill workers in the name of revolution.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — May 8, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

  66. What tactics I favour are beside the point, in a revolutionary situation people will get hurt, people we don’t want to get hurt. That will not stop me carrying on, you on the other hand will return home.

    The difference between the US in Afghanistan and the protests in Greece is that I support the protests in Greece and don’t support the US in Afghanistan.

    “It’s what the proletariat likes. Hint: They don’t like masked thugs who kill workers in the name of revolution.”

    No they like people in uniforms killing in the national interest right?

    Comment by Steve — May 8, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  67. Steve, most people only approve of killing when it’s clearly in self-defense. That’s why empires jump through hoops to define aggression as self-defense. Much as some anarchists are currently doing to make light of killing workers in Greece.

    As for your attempts at insulting me, you only sound like you value posturing more than reason. The revolution needs the latter. If you wish to succeed, rethink your tactics.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — May 8, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

  68. Woods, I agree with your comment, re: 63. What could have been a discussion on denouncing firebombs quickkly became an anarchist-bashing fest. Denounce the bombing–absolutely, but then keep it at that. To use the killing bank workers as proof of an ideological flaw is absurd, given that all leftist tendencies have done their fair of spilling blood. In addition to a moratorium of petrol bombings, is it not at all possible to have one for leftist infighting?

    Comment by dialecticalyricist — May 8, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

  69. Thanks for calling me a fucking moron Louis, I must have misread the title of your post “Is firebombing a bank an acceptable tactic?”. OF COURSE I’m talking about the “workers” inside the bank vs. firebombing police. I’ve also noticed that no one has answered this very simple question.

    Wow – people really have an aversion to dialog, I see.

    Comment by Woods — May 8, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

  70. Woods, I did make a tentative effort to address some of things that you emphasize, through my post at American Leftist. As someone who strongly identifies with anti-authoritarian movements, I sought to engage the situation in that light. You might also find the comments to the post of interest.

    Comment by Richard Estes — May 9, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

  71. Meanwhile, what are your thoughts about armed KKE protests? The KKE actually says their protests are armed in defense… against anarchists! [The Guardian quickly called this “Orwellian Catalonia,” since the KKE has a habit of harassing anarchists and isolating them towards the police.]

    Comment by Jacob Richter — May 11, 2010 @ 5:05 am

  72. I don’t know enough about what the KKE is up to in order to make a comment. I do know that the anarchists have crowed about disrupting trade union meetings, however.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 11, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

  73. Even if that is true, it would depend on the trade union whether the anarchist action is a bad thing. Here in the US, some disruption of SEIU meetings is justified, in my view, given the neoliberal collaboration of Andy Stern, and it’s treatment of its own members out here in California. Some trade unions are trending right these days, and should be challenged on that.

    Comment by Richard Estes — May 11, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

  74. […] Is firebombing a bank an acceptable tactic? https://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/is-firebombing-a-bank-an-acceptable-tactic/ […]

    Pingback by #329: Hammer the Pokies « GPJA's Blog — May 12, 2010 @ 8:06 am

  75. Finally, and not least, anarchist bands have the worst drummers I’ve ever heard in my life. We used to call ’em “the budda budda thunder kids”. I can see being for the abolition of the state, but abolishing music is a whole other thing.

    Comment by Michael Hureaux — May 13, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  76. This is pseudo anarchism, and almost all this strained thread is untenable. Reads like an internal debate between evangelicals. Is it is supposed to be about politics? Because I can scarcely see any grounding in reality.

    Yet Louis does makes a valid, albeit obvious point.

    FYI Louis, the cop that killed the kid in Athens a while back had of course one too many loose screws, and his behaviour was beyond unacceptable. That said, the kid, was one of the worst type of violent football hooligans, and I am not pulling that out of an orifice of mine, it’s documented. Martyrdom isn’t well fitted to young thugs. The issue of a moronic criminal pig with a gun and the sad fate of a young thug, leaves me utterly apathetic.

    There are far more tragic encounters in life, where the players of the tragedy actually have some merit to them too. To elevate this, as the Greeks have to some national symbolism (and an impetus for repressed violence to come out – much of it directed by all sorts of centres of power) is the real bankruptcy of a culture which has come to be increasingly vapid.

    Of course most people are out cruising for easy symbolism, oversimplification, anchorage for their preconceptions and ideologies and excuses for avoiding self change. But the truth is never plain and very rarely simple.

    I did however thoroughly enjoy this comment:
    “Finally, and not least, anarchist bands have the worst drummers I’ve ever heard in my life. We used to call ‘em “the budda budda thunder kids”. I can see being for the abolition of the state, but abolishing music is a whole other thing.”
    It’s hard to hear the drums with all that drumming going on in their heads it seems.

    Ah, and:
    Costaki, to koytoxorto poy soy dinoyn na masas sa katsika, den einai anagkh na to ftyneis kai sto internet. Synexise apla na masas gia na megalwseis.

    Comment by Ethan C. — June 1, 2010 @ 4:19 am

  77. […] May 2010 I wrote an article titled “Is firebombing a bank an acceptable tactic?” that considered the consequences of an anarchist fire-bombing of a bank that left three bank […]

    Pingback by Do the Greeks get it? « Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist — February 9, 2012 @ 6:10 pm


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