January 20, 2009
by Noah Cohen
As news came out recently that the United States would be sending a new shipment of bombs to "Israel" from the Greek port of Astakos at some point between the middle and end of January, Palestinians sent out an urgent call to organizers in Greece to stop the shipment. Within a day, several organizations and individuals in Greece responded to the call. Perhaps most significant in the current context was that of the Greek Anti-authoritarian Movement, centrally involved in weeks of rebellion against the repressive forces of their own government:
"The Anti-authoritarian Movement calls for a Pan-hellenic gathering on Thursday, Jan. 15th at Astakos at 1:00 p.m. to block the departure of boats with American weapons which are destined for Israel.
DON'T LET THE CARGO OF AMERICAN WEAPONS LEAVE THE PORT
SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
RESISTANCE TO GLOBALIZED STATE TERRORISM..."
As pressure began from below, even members of the parliamentary left began to raise questions. On January 12th, the "US" announced that it had canceled the shipment of arms through Astakos because of "concerns" expressed by the Greek government.
The prefect of Aitoloakarnania (where the port lies) announced that they would be sending instead a ship with material aid to Palestinians and expressed the sentiments of the local people:
"The people of Aitoloakarnania do not accept that Greek ports, and especially this port of Platygiali, constitute places for the transfer of weapons and ammunition which are used in belligerent circumstances and in the slaughter of the peoples of our region. ... we are sending medicines and medical material to the beseiged people of Gaza instead of weapons [to Israel]..."
Resistance to Globalized State Terrorism
"Resistance to globalized state terrorism" is a call that relates the rebellion of youth and anti-authoritarians in Greece over the last several weeks to the slaughter of people in Gaza. Their opposition moves beyond the usual limits of "solidarity:" stopping a "US" arms shipment to "Israel" becomes a part of their own struggle.
State terrorism is globalized. The "US," Greece and "Israel" collaborate not just against Palestinians, but against Greeks. It was the "US" that set up Greece's repressive police structures: the MAT (Monades Apokatastasis Taxis)--"riot" police--are a special branch of political police that have their origins in "US" police training programs. Through the "Public Safety Program" in the 1960s and 1970s, the "US" supplied Greece with weapons and trained police in methods of repression--including torture--as part of the global "war against communism." Just before Christmas, it was revealed that "Israel" was supplying Greece with a new harsher form of tear-gas to use against demonstrators. Protestors have described it as "asphyxiating."
People in rebellion find their solidarity in a struggle against injustice which they know directly. It is solidarity in resistance. One can see this reading the statement of high-school students from the Coordinated Struggle of High-Schools in Athens, who chose to re-organize their national mobilization on education rights in Greece on January 9 into a mobilization for solidarity with Gaza:
"...Everyone must take a position:
--either with the victim or the executioner
--either with the Palestinians or with their murderers
--either with the peoples who fight or with the imperialists
...We are on the side of our student comrades in Palestine who have been murdered over these last days by Israeli fire.
Victory to the Palestinian people!"
The ties are concrete that link the police murder of Alexis Grigoropulos in Greece, the murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland, and the genocidal zionist assault on Gaza. The central role of the "US" and "Israel" in developing a global system of police repression has everything to do with their common history as colonial settler-states. As Aimé Césaire, Franz Fanon and others have written, it's in the colonies that the methods, apparatus, and ideology of fascism developed. Concentration camps, special laws that expropriate whole populations based on "race," and the systematic annihilation of peoples: Europe did this to Africa, the Arab world, and the Americas before turning to the interior. It's in the settler colonies that whole new classes emerge whose livelihood depends on repression: the various military and paramilitary formations of the settler garrison become the police, mercenaries and prison guards of the totalitarian state. Germany, Italy and Spain recruited their own repressive forces from the colonies. The Algerian settlers became the most fascistic bloc of political power within France and threatened to seize control of the country and impose a military dictatorship as France began to back away from its colony.
Wherever the "pioneering frontier" is most active so also is the development of genocidal repressive power. The "US" contracts zionist mercenaries and companies to develop its own domestic security state. Elbit Systems--the "Israeli" company that designed and built the wall that is intended to starve communities in Palestine--was contracted to develop the "US" border wall with Mexico and flight security systems in airlines. Instinctive Shooting International--now renamed Security Systems International--provided "Israeli" mercenaries for "security" in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina, and now regularly organizes trainings in "Israel" for "US" police and Homeland Security. Repression is now "Israel's" most important global industry--all it really has to export.
The failure to confront zionism as ideology and as material power is a failure to confront a bloc of repressive, white-supremacist power within our own society. This has been a major weak point of social justice, anti-racist and anti-war organizing. To take the most obvious example, the strength of zionism within labor unions has been a major force for turning them into pro-imperialist institutions.
The Greeks have understood that solidarity means recognizing the concrete points of intersection where the fight becomes serious.
The US is dead center of the system of genocide and global repression. The physical apparatus is here in every major city and across the country in small towns: munitions factories, military bases, recruiting centers. Virtually every major university has its research institutions to develop instruments of mass murder, and its theoretical institutes to develop strategies of repressive power.
But this extensiveness is also its weakness. The main strategy of security is depoliticization: there is simply no way to defend so many nodes of violence from a movement that is serious about intefering with them.
The Greeks have given a small example of what such a movement might look like. Let's stop the flow of weapons at the source.