Text written by the three imprisoned members of Revolutionary Struggle about the trial of the organization which will start on October 5, 2011 (Greece) CLIK ON Poster…


Revolutionary Struggle trial solidarity zine


‘Revolution is the only solution
for the complete exit from the crisis’

A collection of letters, texts and communiqués from the armed group Revolutionary Struggle and their accused. Released during their current trial in Athens and intended to be one more nail in the coffin of the legitimacy of the State and the capitalist system.


by Actforfreedomnow – BoubourAs

Tuesday, November 11, 1997


Anarchist Circle, November 1996

Not a long time after the elections that confirmed the centre-left administration of the modernizing barbarity, the first signs of social explosions that this administration brings about are already visible.
The restructuring of economic, social and even cultural structures that is prescribed by the “ecumenical” logic, causes intense vibrations and faces strong resistance, as it imposes not only the economical miserization and social expulsion for wide parts of the society, but also the shattering of every local special particularity, the strangling of any local autonomy -however elementary it may be- the destructuring of any bonds of social solidarity which continue to exist in local societies, as much as they consist an obstruction to the imperative plans of the state and the bosses.
To the wild resistances of local societies during the last years (Kalamas, Aravissos, Chania, Pouri), now we can also add the resistance of the residents of Varvara and Olympiada and of all the other villages of Strymonikos bay (in North-Eastern Halkidiki), against the installation of gold metallurgy in the land of Olympiada. It is a struggle that has started in 1989 and on October 17th led to wild clashes with the riot police, who were saved from being lynched at the last moment, thanks to the appeasing intervention of the community authorities. A struggle which, despite the compromising attitude and the recoils of the coordinating committee (which is formed by representatives of the local authorities), goes on until today.
But let’s take things from the beginning. The region of NE Halkidiki is an area especially polluted by Madem Lakko’s and Olympiada’s mines, which for decades now have been producing sulfide lead, zinc and ironpyrite, whose separation is carried out with the use of dangerous chemical substances (cyanogen, blue vitriol etc.), releasing quantities of arsenic which are included in the ore. Of course all these substances are concentrated, after the ore dressing, in huge waste basins (until now, 3 million tons of solid toxic waste have been deposited), polluting the air and water just like it happens with the acid waters from Madem Lakko’s underground galleries, which often overflow during their transport from the galleries to the factory, destroying the land and polluting the water horizon to end up in the sea. At the late 80’s, the state, through the Mining Company of Industrial Development, plans the installation of gold metallurgy (the gold is contained in the arsenopyrite of Olympiada), but after the reactions of the residents of the village the investment is canceled.
In 1992, these mines (in the galleries of which many miners were buried and many others ended up suffering from pneumonokoniasis, resulting to become one of the most important breeding-grounds of worker’s revolts at the post-dictatorial period in Greece) are undertaken by the state because they are considered “problematic” (not able to survive financially) and come into a liquidation status, as their function stops being profitable for the capital. In December of ’95 the state sells the mines to the canadian multinational TVX Gold, assigning to it the mining legal titles for an area of 314 Km2 , with the purpose to develop the mining workings, to install gold metallurgy in Olympiada and to construct unknown number of quarries and factories producing limestone in the mountains of Varvara, that will definitely transform the area into a desert. The reaction of the people was immediate. In the beginning of February residents of Varvara and Olympiada and from the rest of villages in Strymonikos bay gather and block the national road Thessaloniki-Kavala for two days. They also pitch guardhouses that all-day long check the entrance to the mine of Olympiada, obstructing the transport of the machinery. This situation goes on for nine whole months, including a lot of unsuccessful efforts of the company to pass the machinery in the mine. The residents are determined not to allow the installation of gold metallurgy in their region. At the elections, Olympiada and Varvara decide to cast a blank ballot -since the selling agreement of the mines and the installation of gold metallurgy was ratified by the overwhelming majority of the parties in the Parliament-, expressing this way their rage and mistrust towards a political system hostile to the interests of local society.

“On October 17th was our own Polytechnic”*

[*This phrase as all the rest which are in quotation marks, belong to the residents and are indicative of the climate in the area.]
Right after the elections the government states determined to immediately proceed to the assignment of permission for the installation of the gold metallurgy. The residents are on the alert. In the beginning of October two trucks of the company carrying drills succeed to enter secretly through a forest road. When the people find this out, they gather at the mine. After small conflicts and in front of the residents’ wild mood the trucks leave. In the meanwhile time passes by and the margins for “consensual” solutions shrink. The Canadians give an ultimatum to the government till the 23d of October: if the road won’t open till then, the mines will shut down sine die, firing hundreds of workers. The moment of the conflict is close.
17th of October: It’s early in the morning and at the guardhouse there are only about thirty people, mostly women and pensioners. Suddenly, riot police vans and a truck of the company appear in the street. In Olympiada the churches’ bells don’t stop ringing, informing the people about the cops arrival. Immediately, about ten men from Varvara come to reinforce the guardhouse. The riot police commander “warns” the people to open up the street. They refuse, women scream. The riot police are drawn up and the clashes begin. Seven people are arrested and, after being brutally beaten up, are taken to the police vans. The women lie on the street so that the truck cannot pass. The cops drag them by pulling their hair. The men, understanding that they are not in position to keep the street, go to the fields nearby and start throwing stones, in the beginning against the company truck that succeeds to enter the mines with its windows broken, and then against the riot police who moves back to the vans. Someone climbs up the telephone company post and cuts the wire. After the riot police retreated the people barricade the street with rocks and sticks.
In the meanwhile the news have arrived to the nearby villages and more people start gathering. The riot police find themselves surrounded by an enraged crowd, armed with sticks and stones, determined for everything. The people attack the police, smashing windows and windscreens. About 30 young people rush at a police van and lift it in the two wheels, ready to overturn it along with the driver inside. The latter is finally saved thanks to the soothing intervention of the community presidents who arrive gasping in order to begin negotiations with the cops. Invisible peasants, hidden behind the trees and armed with shooting guns start firing in the air... The cops, terrified hide inside their vans. The coordination committee gives a time limit of 15 minutes to the riot police commander: if till then the arrested ones, who in the meanwhile were led to Polygyros village, won’t be released, then the conflicts will culminate. In the same time, the shooting behind the trees increase, the people still hit the vans with crowbars. Finally, the seven people arrested -some of them seriously wounded- are set free (after they pressed charges on them) and the situation begins to calm down.
The negotiations start, as well as telephone-calls between the community presidents and the ministry who “promises” that the issue will be “reconsidered”.
In the meanwhile the hours go by, it’s getting dark... The people are not leaving but remain gathered demanding that the truck of the company comes out of the mines. Facing the refusal of the cops the crowd gets enraged, the shootings start again. The people move towards the entrance of the mine. Under the threat of extended damages the company is forced to let them take the truck out.
The people begin to disperse but still remain on the alert. The shifts at the guardhouses are supported and in the next days everyone is ready for war, waiting for a new riot police operation.
In front of the danger of new and wilder clashes, a governmental group arrives in the area. They start repeated negotiations in order to calm down the situation, in other words to make fade and undermine the struggle in such a way that will not leave the community presidents completely exposed to the people. And the “magic solution” is found. The government binds itself to start research for alternative areas to install the gold metallurgy and promises that in the final decision areas outside the borders of Varvara and Olympiada
will be preferred. The community presidents are also bound to unblock the street. In the general assemblies that take place in the villages, they don’t stop saying how dangerous and threatening could be the consequences of an eventual bloody conflict, in order to justify their attitude. In front of the mistrust, the rage and disappointment of the residents, it is decided to continue keeping guard at the guardhouses, although the road will be open, and as soon as they notice any move of the company trying to enter machinery for mining research or for the construction of the gold factory, they will stop it, informing again the residents of the nearby villages.
The compromising tactics of the local authorities is one of the problems that always appear in social resistances with local characteristics, but in this specific case it is not the only one. The division that the installation of gold metallurgy causes in the wider region is also a serious problem, as a number of mountainous villages in NE Halkidiki (known as Mademohoria) and Stratoni (coastal village in Ierissos bay), where the mines of Madem Lakko are settled, are directly depended on the continuation of the mine’s function. The same goes for a small number of residents in Varvara and Olympiada who work there. The company pressure for suspension of mining workings find a convenient ground as it exploits the fear of hundreds of workers whose fate was one way or an other doubtful and uncertain since the mines have passed, due to debts, under control of the National Bank; and it still is doubtful and uncertain, as long as the new company “guarantees” the maintain of the existing employment only for the next three years.
The lasting submission of the wider region to one of the most cruel and inhuman kinds of exploitation by the capital (Madem Lakko’s mine work since 1927) -as the mountainous and barren land don’t offer many other alternatives for the survival of the people- creates dividing situations not only between the villages but in many cases inside each person himself, as the identity of the resident who fights against the destruction of his village is in conflict with that of the worker who fights for his “right” to salaried slavery as the only way of survival.
In a social reality ruled by the state and the capital, the revolt of the residents in Varvara and Olympiada certainly cannot give solution to these contradictions, what it may do is to accentuate them; but it can also be an example for all those who will probably be tomorrow, from a different position, confronting the modernization attack of the capital in the area.

“The television lies”

In the times of media dictatorship every social resistance that threatens the fragile balances of the power is condemned to face either the silence or the distortion and the castration, if it goes beyond the limits of established legality. It is mostly through the image that an acute ideological war with many receivers is carried out.
The image that the residents of Olympiada and Varvara receive through the television about the events they lived, is completely different from what has really happened; and if for many of us this conclusion is a common place, for them it’s not the same.
The camera, despite the fact that it was there, does not show the brutal beating up at the beginning, it doesn’t show how massive the arrival of the people was afterwards, nor the defeat of the riot police. There is no particular reference to the dangerous results of a gold metallurgy in the area; on the contrary there is an extensive reference to the “harmless” methods of gold finishing that are going to be used and also to the “suspicious interests” of those who “instigate the disturbances”; all means are mobilized to calm down the irrational fears of the residents, who as “primitives” and “rude” do not comprehend the beneficial consequences of progress and modernization, which obviously are understood by the rest of “society” in the form of the silent television majority. The purpose is obvious: physical violence is not alone capable to discourage, to create a sense of isolation and weakness, in contrast with ideological violence of the power that is more noiseless and effective to the shrinkage of freedom limits, in which the local society was used to live until now.
Nevertheless, given the continuous accentuation of social contradictions, the effectiveness of ideological violence is doubtful, as far as it concerns not only the residents of this specific area, but also all these parts of the society that are obliged -due to their position- to resist against the modernization attack of the power.

The dialectics of resistance and repression

The 17th of October was a culminating point of the struggle, a moment of freedom emerging from the temporary rupture with the constraints that are created by the role of citizen-state’s servant; it was the violent awakening of the local society that felt the elementary confines of its -till then- given freedom of movement being suppressed, and reacted with the fierceness that the sense of dignity imposes in such cases; it was a revolt beyond and out of every institutional framework, and at the same time the probable limit of re-confinement and submission of the social resistance to the logic of legality, as it is expressed by its local representatives.
It was a moment of attack that took by surprise not only the state and the repression forces, but also the local society itself which didn’t expect to be found confronting the brutal violence of the state, although the latter didn’t stop declaring long before and with every means its determination to proceed to the realization of its plans. In the existing conditions of isolation and fragmentation of social resistances, this surprise seems to express also the objective limits of each local society that resists, as this latter cannot -by definition-consider the repression it suffers in the framework of the wider repressive policy of the state, exactly because it cannot place automatically itself in the framework of similar resistances that either have happened in the past, or will burst out in the future. Besides, given the social and class structure of any local society, there are parts of it that no way would want something like that.
If for the residents of Varvara and Olympiada, the critical point of their struggle (even more than the environmental destruction itself) is their collective possibility to decide for themselves and for the place they live in -no matter how alienated and distorted this possibility is inside the borders of the ruling social reality-, for the state and the capital the critical point is not only the realization of an investment, but the total investing credibility of the country, that will also define the terms of its integration in the international system, as long as such a wild resistance, even if locally restricted, cannot but constitute a harbinger for other -maybe wilder- future resistances in points sensitive for the restructuring.
It is in these times of fluidity and of accentuation of the struggle, where a subversive political discourse and practice can be attempted through the contact with the more anxious parts of the local society and the mutual influence that this contact can breed, in order to encourage any revolting dynamics existing inside the local society and to actually promote self-organization in every moment of the struggle and especially in the moments that it faces the danger to be enclosed in the limits of institutional legality.

“What we live in is a dictatorship”

The acquired consciousness of the fact that “what we live in is a dictatorship” can finally lead, according to the situation, either to the final recall to “reason”, to the “inevitable realism” of the rulers, or to the radicalization of parts of the local society through the realization of the inevitable counter-institutional characteristics of the struggle that is carried out, as the last illusions for negotiating solutions collapse and will more and more collapse.
On the other hand, the close personal bonds of the local society, which at the moments of rupture, consist the base of social solidarity -by the real meaning of the term-, consist also a source of weakness up to the point that not only they suggest the limits of the local authorities maneuvering, but also consist the safety valve that absorbs the inevitable vibrations that this maneuvering creates inside the society, so that the distrust, disagreement and rage usually follow underground courses.
Nevertheless, the dynamics of resistance are neither linear nor can be measured beforehand. In the explosive conditions of the situation, given the absence of any ground of negotiation, the instinct of freedom and dignity finds uncountable individual or collective ways of expression. From this point of view the social “tranquillity” that was succeeded by the cooperation of the state and local authorities is extremely fragile and doubtful. The social war against the restructuring plans of the state and the capital goes on...
Anarchist Circle, Athens, November 1996
This small chronicle of the struggle was based on exact descriptions given by the residents that participated actively in the events.

The following texts distributed one year after

Today, after the last defeat of the riot police by hundreds of residents of the area in the 9th of November of ’97, after the massive assault at the mines of Olympiada where drills and vehicles of TVX and of the police were destroyed, after the culmination of repression up to the point to blockade and put in a state of siege Varvara and Olympiada villages, this struggle that was going on for 20 months within the ignorance and indifference of the wider society, now, occupying the media front pages, it effected and inspired many environmental and democratic sensitivities... This phenomenon is expected and maybe useful to the struggle up to a point, but it does not escape a critical view concerning the quality and sincerity of some disposals of that kind, as they are reflectively depended on each time’s media current actuality.
Though it’s not weird at al that finally some of the recent supporters of the struggle in NE Halkidiki are tired out in a rather insipid denunciation of the “dictatorial deviation” of the democratic state, passing at the same time in silence the essential point of the struggle itself, a point to which it owes its actuality and brightness as well as its dangerousity: the fact of the revolt, of massive social violence and sabotage. Events that even though they consist component elements and messages of this struggle, with a use of a distorting logic, -where “friends” and enemies of this struggle seem to meet-, are either silenced or hypocritically separated from the struggle and are charged to irresponsible “hot-headed” persons or provocateurs!! It’s the well known logic of manipulation, that after the enraged and unpredictable burst outs of resistance, follows the state’s repression, causing self-restriction, defeatism, discouragement and enervation of the struggle.
Support the social resistances everywhere and with every means, develop social solidarity against the attacks of the state and the capital and counter-attack!
On Sunday the 9th of October at 11 in the morning, there is a public meeting of thousands of residents from the villages of Strymonikos and from Olympiada. It is decided to start immediately a demonstration to the mine. The demonstration, with participation of men, women and children is hindered and provocably stopped by police forces in the road Olympiada-Varvara. The police forces are being subverted and the residents get to the entrance of the mine, where they start skirmishes with the cops. The people unretreated and unrestrained by anyone are confronted with globs and tear-gas to be dispersed and then two-hours clashes follow, where many are hurt, among them 9 policemen. For the third time within two years the police forces are crashing defeated by the locals who occupy the mine by assault. They burn and destroy two drills which belong to TVX and police vehicles. TVX Gold estimates the damages to be 800.000$. As the residents leave there are shots in the air.
The same night, at four o’ clock at dawn, secret police invades the houses of community presidents of five villages and arrest them (the sixth was not found). In the morning the residents block the national road Thesaloniki-Kavala until the community presidents are set free. Their trial was settled to be on the 11th of December. This way the state, unable to subject the locals and to eliminate the most “active” among them, keeps in a state of hostage, as “instigators”, the community presidents, who are members of the Residents Coordinating Committee, so that they themselves will be responsible to control and restrict the disobedient residents. After the events on the 9th of December, police forces surrounded the area. Hundreds of cops, helicopters and armored vehicles. In the 23d of November the police office of Halkidiki announces that the region is in a state of emergency, it forbids public gatherings and demonstrations (in the next days this prohibition was taken back). Special police forces occupy the streets that lead to TVX installations and obstruct any communication between the villages Varvara and Olympiada. It is an intense situation. Against the occupation of the region and the terrorism by the repression forces, part of the residents answer back attacking police cars and with sabotage at the installations of TVX.
In the 15th of December the five community presidents were finally convicted from 2 to 16 months of imprisonment with a 3-year suspension.