Excerpts from Yiannis Dimitrakis’ statement to court- June 2007

[… Different questions have been raised, like the question of social robbery, what motives and what characteristics a robbery might have in order for us to characterize it as social and the biggest weight from what I can see falls on this: what are the motives for a robbery.

As you know and as has already become known I am an anarchist. As a consequence I have a particular political understanding and I also, as many others have said, place the role of the bank as especially guilty within our society. I consider the bank to play a significant role in economic affairs. It has been shown to act as a modern feudal lord, it has enslaved the great majority of workers, who due to economic weakness are forced to resort to banks in order to make ends meet or in any way so that they can also acquire the self-evident, a house which has become an elusive dream. This is what society has accomplished that a house for a worker is a dream which he/she will have to repay for 30 years.

On the television the largest part of what we watch constitutes advertisements for those who these gentlemen here are defending (he points to the lawyers of the bank). They brainwash the citizens of this country and in general this is the standard tactic carried out by the banks. Their background (of the ads) are people going to a bank to find a refuge. The incidents are not rare, we have even heard of people committing suicide, people that don’t have the money to pay and we have tragedies with households that are forced to the ultimate humiliation. That is, we came here to discuss what is self-evident? Whether a bank is sympathetic towards society or not? […]

Of course I have no illusions that by my action I would be able to abolish the existence of banks. I would be stupid or with my head in the clouds if I thought I could abolish banks by me robbing one. That is self-evident. On whether there are anarchist theoreticians  or whether incidents such as this have existed before through the years let us not bring here literature to see which people have supported such political ideas on whether we can commit a robbery and to what extent this is acceptable.

Also the question of selfishness and selflessness has been raised in regards to the money and what you do with it. I believe that it has become understood, and this is what I also intended on doing, that it is not a matter of acquiring riches. It is not a matter of me going around in a Ferari or popping over to the Bahamas to have a drink. This is self-evident. And to set it out in a few words, it is definitely refusal of work, in the way it is carried out today. In other words, I refuse truly to partake in such life imprisonment. I refuse to leave the years from 20 to 60-65 years of age, I refuse to leave them in the hands of a capitalist who will define me as the exploited. I refuse truly to do this. Of course I don’t underestimate the whole of society, which accepts this condition. Its largest part consists of the exploited. Let us not open such self-evident questions, that our society is divided into the exploiters and the exploited. Of course I don’t underestimate society. But me as an anarchist and with the particular characteristics I have as a human being, I am maybe particularly disobedient, maybe insubordinate, I don’t carry out orders. I don’t know maybe for others this is reproachable, for me it isn’t. I, as an anarchist am self-defined within society and as a role: neither exploiter nor exploited. I could never finish my university decree and become a superintendent, have workers under my supervision and earn a salary of 1500 euros while the worker earns 500 euros. I can’t understand something like that. I can’t understand what these privileges that place me above other people are. And I considered my action as an action of attack against this predatory system. Of course a very uneven attack, as it was proven. I chose to meddle with a system that crushed me in a military sense, as my soul and my mind at least cannot be crushed by anything.

In regards to the “selfish and non-selfish act”, since it has been mentioned often here. I perceive, view and name my action as this, as a revolutionary action. Amongst all those things that I have been doing for years, this was also one in an individual context. Anyway, I am an anarchist and as you can understand this milieu has many needs, although I can’t be precise in what amount I would have provided. I can’t say that I would have been a Robin Hood. We have reached now a moment where we are also opening our soul here… I have no illusions that I would have been a Robin Hood. I am also a human being who moves in this system and I would have definitely taken part of that money for myself, but only to the point of being able to live a life were my basic needs are covered for and that gives me the ability to be able to involve myself more with this milieu and the problems that our society has to face, without being burdened by work. Because if you want we can go to a factory and ask how many workers can join a strike in the private sector, how many workers would like to strike but can’t, because they have made their compromises. They can’t. How can they strike when they know that the next day they might be fired? It’s a form of terrorism.

You say here that the bank robber terrorizes. In my case an attempt was made to try and avoid that as much as possible. For people not to be so scared. That’s what I think. I don’t know about other bank robberies, they don’t have to do with me and I do not take a position on them. In regards to terrorizing I would like to ask them…I should have gotten up and asked one of the women or men who were in the bank to what extent their income ensures them a good life, if they have children and how would they feel if after 15 years of service they were fired. That is, what would terrorize them more? What if they were fired and rendered unemployed, chasing a few euros by becoming cleaners or looking for a day’s wage after 15 years? Because anyway bank employees are not in an ideal environment. I remember shortly before I robbed the bank there were mobilizations by OTOE (bank employees syndicate). I definitely scared these people and that is the only thing for which I could offer them an apology, but it is the only thing that you can’t prevent. I definitely would have much more preferred to scare the political rulers or the privileged or the oligarchy in this country and not ms x or y working at this cashier’s desk or that cashier’s desk, the customer, the citizen that appears, him who runs and panics because he doesn’t know what is going on. But I would like them to answer this: a visit by some bank robbers would terrorize them more? Or if it was announced to them that they are fired after 15 years, without having a pension, receiving only some small compensation and being thrown in the waste bin?

Coming back to the question of selflessness and selfishness which I have left in the middle, I view an action like this as being in some ways revolutionary, I don’t think it has humble motives, at least in my case. This logic of selflessness however has for me connotations of the ideology of a victim. That is, I understand that everyone would prefer a guise where the robber does it in order to give to the poor, a form of victimology, an extreme altruism where the robber is completely selfless. However I do view that there is some such disposition. Generally in a revolutionary action there is such a disposition and selflessness exists. The individual ego is that which, according to the elements of one’s character and the level of consciousness that exists within the subject, will add within society the reflection towards something widely positive. In my case, let’s say, since I am also active and I supposedly have some social awareness –unless you also want to deprive this of me- I believe some money would go towards a good cause. This is for me indisputable. Indisputable. […].

By protecting the bank’s interests you do not protect the peoples’ interests. Let’s not loose our minds completely. The wealth amassed by the bank with the thousands of machinations it commits, with its application of additional illegal interests, with Tiresias (data-base of financial behaviour- black-list). It has condemned whole families, people are going crazy out there, they don’t know what to do. Two million Greeks have been said to be below the poverty line and others are struggling with their credit cards and we have debt transfers from one bank to the other. Soon the debts will be transferred to the children and thus we will return to feudalism. Banks will play the role of feudal lords and we will have ready-made workers. A parent will have children who will be potential slaves, they will have to take on the debt. Because the loan they have taken out cannot be repaid. It has a stage payment of 60 years. The father dies and the child inherits it. We will also reach this point since we have already started with debt transfers from bank to bank… And in any case am I the enemy of society, I have to be arrested, I have to take bullets, I have to be in prison, I have to be reintegrated as if I am an estranged part of society. I am a fighting part and so I will remain. That in regards to the motives of the robbery.

[…] For me, the bank is a nebulous construction, completely faceless. We don’t know who these gentlemen are, we have never seen them. And if we see them they will have 8 jaws and a fin!