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November 3, 2013
November 3, 2013

The objective and the subjective

Source: Red Notebook  Category: Antifascism
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The objective and the subjective

George Fountoulis and Manolis Kapelonis [

The execution of George Fountoulis and Manolis Kapelonis [1] is an event with two different meanings:

From the standpoint of relatives and friends, it is the overwhelming loss of two young people: a zero point of no return. As leftists and antifascists, we do not feel any vindication or satisfaction whatsoever for the fact that two opponents of ours are dead. We’d rather have them politically marginalised or in prison, had they committed any crime. But we’d rather have them alive. During the Spanish Civil War, the fascists were identified by the cry “Viva la muerte!” (long live death). The response of the antifascists-anarchists, communists and democrats was (and always will be) “Viva la vida” (long live life). This existential difference did not and does not mean any kind of withdrawal from the (whichever) fight, a naive pacifism, that is. It meant and it means that the fight from the standpoint of life uses every time the instruments that protect life effectively – not those that become an end in themselves.

In terms of policy, it is the execution of two members of Golden Dawn by unknown perpetrators at a time of depreciation, of judicial response and political decline of the neo-Nazi criminal organisation- but also at a time when the survival of the government is being seriously tested. From this point of view, it is a political intervention unfriendly towards the antifascists-anarchists, communists and democrats – to the extent that it is already politically exploited as early as the next moment: First of all, by Golden Dawn, as an opportunity of self-victimisation, restoration and counter-attack but also as a possibility of self-assertion as a force of stability. And of course, by the government, in order to equate again anti-fascism and fascism cunningly, and to “prove” that the political crisis is not but a matter of public order, of tackling the murdering extremes.

These are the two different perspectives, that of the private and the human on the one hand and that of public policy on the other, that the emotionally loaded TV “reports” deliberately confuse today. And while we, the antifascists, do not feel absolutely no justification for what happened on Friday, according to the logic of the media the dead are vindicated (unconditionally). So, in the same way that last month Fyssas’ s [2] murder was presented as a tragic event – always within the limits of a purely domestic loss (that is, depoliticising it and domesticating Pavlos so that he is harmlessly consumed by the peace-loving television audience)- it is essential for us today to find out that Fountoulis and Kapelonis were some sort of boy-scouts: they loved life, travelled, made plans for the future etc. Thus, the complete laundering of Golden Dawn turns out to be for all weather: whether murdering a fascist or having two of its members murdered.

However, if these are the results, if, that is, the Friday incident saves temporarily the neo-Nazis from the predicament (and allows them, possibly, to negotiate their political future and their accused executives’ fate with better terms), is it possible that they also indicate the perpetrators? In my opinion, the answer is negative. Nikos Voutsis [3], speaking on Saturday morning on the radio, put the discussion in the right dimensions. While no one can formulate valid certainties about the identity of the perpetrators, a distinction has to be made between an action that, by result acts as a “provocation” and an action designed and implemented intentionally by “provocateurs”.

So, while it would be naive excluding the involvement of para-state mechanisms having their own plans and their own pursuits, it would be equally problematic indulging in the irresistible charm of conspiracy theories – the zero point, that is, of political thought. The beneficiary is not necessarily also the perpetrator, because if one counts those who benefit “objectively” from Friday’s incident, one will probably come up with a list of dozens. The political activity -whether we are talking about the conventional political practice, or the armed leftist or extreme right-wing / para-state violence- always has unintended consequences. And it is exactly the limitation of these unintended consequences that finally determines its effectiveness. There have been times when the activities of the left or the movement prefaced, “objectively”, the state and para-state reaction: under the logic of who benefits, “objectively” we should not even go out to the newsagent.

In this sense, the job of antifascists -anarchists, communists and democrats- is not simply revealing who benefits “objectively” from the disgrace of last Friday. It is something more, it is about preventing them to benefit: eliminating fascism from the political life and deterring the laundering of the neonazi mafia, while fighting so that the current power – a power that acts with the cynicism of a criminal organisation over life and death- stops familiarising us with the “Viva la muerte“. Operating, eventually, as the subjective factor that does not allow definitive judgements about what is happening “objectively”.

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[1] The two Golden Dawn members that were murdered last Friday, 1st of November 2013, in Athens in front of the party office.

[2] Pavlos Fyssas is the rapper and antifascist activist who was stabbed to death in Athens on the 18th of September 2013 by a member of Golden Dawn. His murder caused riots in many Greek cities that lasted for days and lead to the arrest of the leadership of Golden Dawn, many MPs as well as numerous members

[3] Nikos Voutsis is a left-wing MP, member of Syriza.

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