Christos dared, but didn’t get away. Alfredo was in the wrong place at the wrong time and also lost his freedom. Fair play, some have exclaimed. And who more than an anarchist accepts individual responsibility for his or her actions. Who more than an anarchist can look the enemy and above all his comrades in the eyes and claim the ethical premise of his choices. If something goes wrong and he finds himself in the hands of the enemy, he doesn’t cry scandal, he knows that capital’s acolytes and guard dogs are always ready to denounce, arrest and imprison anyone caught transgressing the code of submission and obedience. However, the moral and physical strength that comrades muster when they find themselves suffering at the hands of the hangmen of repression does not come from an old-boys’ concept of ‘fair play’, which implies a logical basis of equality and impartiality such as the playing fields of Eton or a friendly match between Oxford and Cambridge. Old Christian teachings such as ‘an eye for an eye...’ are hard to die, but they don’t fit into the context of freedom and revolution anywhere at all. The seeming objectivity of the law: a (the crime) = b (the punishment) only exists in the daydreams of the bourgeois. Accountancy is comforting, it induces sleep.
For the professional bank robber some level of calculation might exist: yes, robbing banks can also be a job, one where the risk factor can be more easily calculated than days on end enduring boring slave-labour, being slowly poisoned by toxic substances, risking falling from a building under construction or having one's hand cut off by a circular saw. He can use the law (nothing to do with ‘justice’ in the real sense of the word) to estimate his potential losses and gains in terms of dignity, free time and quality of life. So long as he is discreet, doesn’t start wanting too much, become extrovert and disdainful of capital and the State, or shoot a cop. Then the balance swings and he must defend his freedom at all costs. In the case of the contrary the best he can hope for is a volley of bullets, the worst, decades behind bars in segregation units. Power must defend itself against folk heroes too, and once the media have done their dirty work, the rest is easy.
For the anarchist the discourse is different. He or she who refuses to exploit others or to be exploited in exchange for a wage has put themselves in another logic to that of capital in order to be better equipped - in terms of time and and a mind free from the burden of compromise and self-loathing - to enter the qualitative versant of reality. Money loses its godlike omnipresence to become a mere expedient, which is often reduced to a minimum. The comrade doesn’t save money, nor does he save himself. Liberated from the logic of exchange work, study, play and attack intertwine as components of a revolutionary projectuality that overflows without measure. In that dimension, in a consciously chosen life without guarantees, the need for money is not eliminated but it is removed from the pivotal position that it holds under capital. Not that one can live outside capital. But one can have a different, unsuccumbing relation to it, the better to fight it. Freed from the brutalisation of work, one’s thinking and powers of observation become more acute. For the revolutionary, lack of money is never an excuse for not facing up to one’s responsibilities in life and in the struggle. When it becomes a necessity in order to move forward, one can also decide to look around, take stock, observe the workings of the enemy and also, why not, to find the means necessary to confront some concrete necessity. This is not so difficult once the ‘moral split’ imposed upon us since birth has been healed and we are at one with our conscience.
A comrade becomes a real danger to capital and a target for its guard dogs and good citizens from the moment in which he stops selling his strength, ingenuity and intellect to a boss in exchange for a wage and turns them against the whole system of exploitation and plunder, aka capitalism and the State. It’s not a failed robbery to give him the status of public enemy - so much flaunted by the Greek media in the case of Alfredo following his arrest, - but the fact that he has had the affront to turn his knowledge and ideas against the State and capital and, even more perverse, to share them with others in a dimension of complicity.
Because the anarchist does not conceal his knowledge in secrecy in order to raise its quota on the shelves of the grocer’s shop of Academia but spends hours, days, nights over books, malfunctioning printers, improvised collating tables, interminable post office queues, to disseminate versions that any comrade can have access to. That’s the last straw. Confirmation of a diabolical mind that must be destroyed at any cost. And this destruction mustn’t come about in a open dazzling manner. ... Please. We are civilised! We are against the death penalty. The Junta were overthrown on November 17 1973 by our brave students and worthy citizens, a fact that we celebrate every year on that day, peacefully of course... don’t believe what you read in the press about police beating up hundreds of young people mercilessly. We are a democracy... No, we are the home of democracy, the foundation of civilisation..
So, what was that story about the giant and the fly? How many fleas and lice does it take to drive a man insane? How many men can you lock up in a cell before they all go crazy? How low do sanitary conditions have to go before all succumb to sickness and disease? What did you say? Concentration camp? Crematorium? Who do you think I am, Hitler? We are socialists and we have a social war on our hands...
No, here we are not facing objectivity, equality, impartiality. We are facing the enemy, the servants and structures of a murderous system based on the submission and exploitation of millions of people all over the planet.
All of our imprisoned comrades, no matter where they are and under what circumstances they were arrested, are being held hostage not for the ‘crime’ on the arrest warrant, but for their real crime, the crime of freedom, the crime of being anarchists, rebels and revolutionaries. And that is why we must not abandon them.