An Interview from TOP B3rlin with AK – Antiauthoritarian Movement on Syriza, the Referendum and what is to be done.
Who are you and what is your relationship to the extraparliamentary
movement and to Syriza?
AK is a network of antiauthoritarian assemblies founded in 2003 which
are based on antihierarchy, direct democratic decision making and the
abolition of power. We are struggling against parliamentary
totalitarianism and we never had any relations with parliamentary
parties whatsoever. We have created social and political alliances with
numerous collectives , citizens, popular assemblies and political
organisations that struggle for an emancipated autonomous self organised
society against State and Capital.
Syriza was „the party of the movement“. What kind of relationship does
Syriza have to the movement now?
Syriza was the party of the defeat of the movement and the inability of
it to pose viable alternatives during the cycle of crisis struggles.
The nearer SYRIZA got to the chance of seizing parliamentary superiority
the more it distanced itself from movement practices. The adoption of a
lot of ex-PASOK populist politicians into the party made clear that
SYRIZA is a product of the defeat of the squares to pose a direct
democratic alternative rather than a dialectical blooming of a socialist
movement. The members of SYRIZA behaved as true inheritorsof the
Stalinism that characterizes all the left parties in Greece , defending
every absurdity of their leadership, instead of criticizing and
promoting a more movementist agenda. This became even clearer after the
recent developments , where we have a part of Syriza members that flee
the party because they cannot cope with the consequences of their
choices, and others supporting the government with TINA arguments. The
truth is that whoever stands for SYRIZA now has declared war against the
Did you have any hopes or expectations when Syriza came into power? Did
it change after the referendum?
As an organisation we struggle against the politics of assignation and
parliamentarism so we had no false hopes on what Syriza would do when in
power. There was a part of Syriza discourse that aligned with the
movements ambitions and in these fields we believed that we could
blackmail the government to proceed to some reforms that they themselves
had declared (abolition of high security prisons, abolition of refugee
detention camps, abolition of Sunday labor in the commercial sector),
but we only achieved some minor changes. In fact, the recent measures
are also cancelling some of the reforms done in the last semester and
replacing them in a neoliberal direction.
How is greek society dealing with the hopes it hat put in the
possibility of change?
We had warned the Greek society that „under a big hope lies a deep
dissapointment“ and this turned real. The Greek society was largely
convinced under the populist patriotic discourse of Syriza that just by
voting for them their wages and jobs would be protected and everything
will be fine. Today the biggest part of the Greek society lies on
desperation and anger, and a significant part is preparing to take
matters into their own hands, organising struggles against the measures
to come and promoting self-organised structures that have the ambition
to fulfill future social needs.
The greek referendum concerning the austerity policy of the EU has been
answered by the great majority with a „no“. Which sections of society
were mobilized for either yes or no?
As things got really polarised , one could argue that „Yes“ supporters
were the large and small greek capitalists ,middle classes and a part
of the lower classes that were panicked with the idea of a GRexit. The
„NO“ supporters were definitely the lower classes, supporters of
Syriza, people of the movement and the far right.
How did Syriza try to mobilize their voters? What were the common
arguments that were used?
Syriza tried to make a negotiating weapon out of the referendum. They
strongly emphasized that they didn’t want a GRexit and that a strong NO
would send a message to the EU that austerity politics will no longer
apply. They also emphasized the „european values „ of solidarity and
democracy that need to be respected.
How did the antiauthoritarian movement react to the referendum and its
The referendum was a difficult issue. The major part of the
antiauthoritarian movement did vote for „NO“ , because in this way the
lower classes could show that they oppose the extreme neoliberal reforms
and also there could be the start of a movement reboot. Another part of
the movement opposed the referendum as a parliamentary procedure and a
false dilemma. All parts of the movement now are analysing and
discussing the problems and opportunities that lie ahead since SYRIZA
declared war on the people , continuing what the previous governments did.
How did greek society react to the fact the the government is now
implementing austerity and in this way negating the result of the
Desperation is the general feeling. This is an ambivalent process that
could either turn to apathy and surrender to the TINA dogma, or the
building of a consciousness that there is no hope in parliamentarism and
party politics, so we should take matters in our own hands.
How is the Situation with Golden Dawn – are they profiting from the
recent developements within the government and syriza? Or has the
crackdown on its leadership made it impossible for them to react?
It is a common fear that Golden Dawn will capitalize the collapse of the
social image of the government. It is not an absurd fear , having in
mind that the patriot populist discourse of Syriza the last years has
legitimized such rhetoric that Golden Dawn can serve with discipline and
with no contraddictions. It is true though that Golden Dawn as a party
–and as a movement one could say- is still dizzy and disorientated by
the judicial hits it has suffered and internal fractionist tensions. No
one could predict the political results of the judicial outcome of the
nazi trial – a trial that is expected to last more than 1.5 year-, but
until now the party hasn t been able to convince anyone else other than
the 5 % of their electorate basis. I personally think that far right
populism could be and will be expressed by other parts of the political
spectrum, from ex members of New Democracy party. The main gain from the
loss of the political Capital of Syriza will be in the hands of the
“extremists of the center”, the coalition of Potami, Pasok and New
Democracy, that promote themselves as a “responsible political force
against any extremism, left or right”.
Parts of the european left hoped that developments in greece would open
the possibility of a break with the neoliberal „block“. Is this still
realistic? After all, similar hopes were placed in south america 10
We think that the recent developments speak for themselves. It was never
our dream or goal to resemble Latin American populist projects, so you
should ask those who were supporting these policies and theories. The
European Union was a child of conservative Right parents and cannot
change fundamentally. We believe that the emerging European
totalitarianism cannot be fought in its own institutions but on the
streets and through the structures of a transnational antiauthoritarian
emancipatory movement that struggles for social and individual autonomy.
In Germany the Grexit was mainly a right wing (nationalist) idea but is
increasingly put forward by Parts of the radical left. They are
critzising Syriza for not adequately establishing a Plan B as a means of
negotiating but also as a real (emancipatory) option, therefore leaving
the architecture of capitalist europe intact. Could you Shortly describe
the discourse around the Grexit in Greece and outline your position as a
Group focussing on selforganisation against the state?
Grexit was always adopted by a broad part of the Left, inside Syriza ,
KKE, ANTARSYA and also some anarchist-communist collectives, as a first
step of emancipation from the EU neoliberal hegemony. Of course, all of
these positions speak about national currency and abolition of debt. A
lot of people of the movement also believe that the bankruptcy of a
GRexit would be a fruitful period of social intervention for the
movement. The truth is that this position overestimates the potential of
a state to promote social change. Although it is clear today that there
cannot be any serious social transformation under the EU institutional
totalitarianism, we should keep in mind that the choice of monetary
system and the establishment of relation with other states is a choice
made by the bosses for the bosses and society is never asked (or , even
when asked through referendum, it s opinion doesn’t count!). Argentina,
the UK and a lot of other countries have a national coin but they are
far from being a libertarian project! So instead of arguing on what a
state could do to promote freedom –which is absolutely nothing less than
commiting suicide to its institutions, something that will never happen-
we should argue on our real potential , which is the generalization,
strengthening and defence of self organized institutions in our
societies that through a process of struggles and constant self critique
and improvement, will be able to enforce their interests against the
national and transnational state apparatus. Just to give an example of
this perception, imagine if we had not one VIOME , but 1000 self
organized enterprises that would coordinate production through social
center networking and a self organized coin system that would replace
the national one in a smaller or bigger part of the transactions; in
such a context ,both Grexit or no Grexit, financial collapse or
organized bankruptcy would be outcomes that would not affect us much.
This is a project far from being realised today, but the foundations
have been built and there is a slow but steady route towards this kind
of constituted movement reality.
Does the extra parliamentary opposition still have the ability to
mobilize now that reformism has seemed to fail again? Will there be more
selforganisation and a focus on movement politics again? Or will this
lead to political depression?
The question describes the main political bet of the coming period. Our
aim is to transform desperation to anger, loss of hope to creativity and
assignation to engagement. The movement is awake again and the world of
self organisation and management is ready to take their historic
Where do you go from here?
There is an important initiative that we will
put all of our effort the following days to answer this new capitalist
attack. It is called „No means No, you cannot/ we can“ , inspired by
the main slogan of VIOME. The aim is 1. To produce massive and militant
resistance against the austerity measures and promote social self
defence to state attacks (evictions, Sunday labour etc). 2. To promote
self organised , self managed projects , social care inititatives and to
bring all these into communication and coordination. 3. To coordinate ,
unify and intensify both projects of resistance and self organisation
and grassroot social reproduction. 4. To promote transnational
cooperation and solidarity against patriotic poulism that arises in the
greek society. The Beyond Europe Camp against the destructive gold
mining in Chalkidiki is a very important opportunity for the
international movement to discuss, analyse and organise the first steps
of the strategy of self organisation against State and Capital.