The statements of the comrades imprisoned in the activity : The speech in memory of the political prisoners.

On Thursday, June 9, within the framework of the Week of events for the restoration of the monument to the anarchist student Alexandros Grigoropoulos and in the presence of several comrades, an event entitled «Speech in memory of the political prisoners» was held. The event was attended by the following comrades: Giannis Dimitrakis, Giannis Michailidis (on hunger strike since 23/05), Fotis D., Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis, Panos Kalaitzis, Haris Mantzouridis and Thanos Xatziagkelou.

Below we provide pdf files of each statement separately, except that of Comrade Giannis Dimitrakis, which was purely telephonic and will be uploaded when the transcript is completed.

Anarchist Initiative Against State Murders

Starting a December post about how I lived through it, what positives I took away and how it all changed me as a person is a little uncomfortable. Whatever positives came out of it are still the loss of a young person. And since I’ve never looked for heroes in my life, I’d rather Alexandros and all Alexandros were here with us today and this whole thing hadn’t come about because of the murder of a child.

Fourteen years ago then…

December 2008. The news exploded like a bomb. A 16-year-old boy killed by a policeman’s bullet. Immediately the image comes to mind of me at 16 in the busy school in the Philosophy Department in the summer of 2003, in the laminar city of Thessaloniki. It could have been me, I thought, and my eyes filled with tears. Immediately the tears turned to hatred and a feeling of revenge pushed me out into the streets from the very first moment.

For me, December 2008 finds me a little bit punk, a little bit working class, a little bit stadium, a little bit with some microclimates. So all of that pushed me to the front line from the very first moment.

But today I’m not going to talk about confrontations, or fires, or catastrophes. Today I will try to talk about what December really left me with, and that is none other than the relationships that were created. People who found themselves side by side, who until then did not know each other, and who in those days pushed us so that even today, so many years later, we continue to maintain a friendly relationship and a common path in the social struggles of today.

For me, the person who was the cause of all this was my best friend, who grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same school. The conflicts were still raging in the city when he approached me and suggested that we convene the Open Assembly of the Western Neighborhoods to take the struggle outside the city center, to areas where at that time not even posters were being pasted up. Although I didn’t have much faith in the project, I agreed and we went ahead.

For those who don’t know the city to understand, the western suburbs of Thessaloniki are run-down areas close to the city’s large factories and inhabited mainly by low-paid working class families, both Greeks who moved there from the outskirts of the prefecture and immigrants due to low rents.

It was also at this time that the first attempts to form fascist groups through amateur associations timidly appeared. As you can understand, we had embarked on a difficult project. So the first meeting was called at the occupied theater school while the fighting was still going on. A few people, mostly friends and acquaintances. Second meeting two days later, with twice as many people. Third meeting at the film school, now in the west of the city, with triple digit numbers. People of all ages and from all progressive sectors of society.

By this time, and after the police suppressed the uprising, the neighborhood assemblies, both in Athens and in Thessaloniki, were growing in number. People started to look around, to participate in assemblies, to learn about self-organization.

By now we were in the process of finding a refuge in the west of the city and our presence in both local affairs and national struggles was constant. Culminating in our magnificent presence with a huge bloc in the big strike marches of 2010, which was savagely beaten by the police, even having many arrests.

As a result, December managed to bring together people who might never have met. People who, even being so different from each other, managed, through the assemblies, to unite and wage common struggles.

Even today, almost 15 years later, I am still surrounded by people I met in those days. People who were beaten together, who fought together, who fell together, but who even now continue to fight.

People – who, although I rarely use this word – I consider comrades. So what I keep from the December uprising are the comradeship that were formed and and by keeping them, we keep alive the memory of our struggle, the memory of our dead.

Panagiotis Kalaitzis(*)
Korydallos detention center,
Cell D

Panagiotis Kalaitzis, arrested on February 8 accused of having placed an incendiary device at the Foundation for National and Religious Reflection, along with comrades Thanos Xatziagkelou and Georgia Voulgari, is also accused of belonging to the group Anarchist Action.