Letter by Panayiotis Giannos

Thursday, October 7, 2010, 8:40 p.m.: After being followed on motorcycle for about a kilometer by pigs from the DIAS squad, I inadvertently got stuck in a dead end. I was immobilized, restrained, and brought to the nearby police station on Bournazi Street in the Peristeri neighborhood for identification, since it was impossible to confirm my details on the street due to the rain. During the pat-down at the station, they found an incendiary device I had on me.

The theatrics that followed are well-known by now: threats, advice, and attempts to “talk things over as friends” from every rank of neighborhood pig guarding me at the time. This went on until 11 p.m., when they transferred me to the sixth floor of Police Headquarters. Almost immediately, I was brought to the office of the head of the department (Security and Order), who—alongside another high-ranking official—bluntly proposed a collaboration: If I promised to snitch, they would release me immediately and the charges would be forgotten. After they got the response they deserved, they stopped talking to me, and the treatment I received from then on became more “crude.” Later, accompanied by the prosecutor, about 20 undercovers searched the house where I live with my parents—the inside as well as the backyard and surrounding area. We ultimately returned to headquarters, where at 2:10 a.m. they informed me that I was under arrest. During this entire period, I was isolated with my hands cuffed behind my back, unable to communicate with anyone. Despite asking them repeatedly, they wouldn’t tell me what was going on. At 4 a.m., I was finally allowed to speak to a lawyer. I remained locked up in the seventh-floor cells until noon on Monday, October 11, when—escorted by a horde of undercover and counterterrorist agents—I was brought to court to plead before the duty judge and the prosecutor. The two of them had a disagreement over whether or not to stick me in pretrial detention, so they released me on probation and referred my case to a judicial committee. Quite a while later, the committee reached its decision: “pretrial detention for being a danger to public safety.” On November 17, I was brought to Korydallos Prison, which is where I am now.

I have no doubt whatsoever about what led the judges to their decision. It wasn’t a question of evidence (or the lack thereof). Rather, it was my lengthy presence in the antiauthoritarian milieu, where my activities have been known to the pigs for years. From the 1998 student movement that occupied schools in protest against the dumbing-down of education, to the November 17 march that same year, until today: Even in times of expensive consumer goods and cheap ideals, I took part in most of the important moments of the social struggle. Of course, those activities led to quite a few detentions at Police Headquarters—some of them “circumstantial,” others less so. Once they even came for me at my house. All this, combined with my “bad little habit” of frequenting the Exarcheia neighborhood during those years and the “coincidence” of the currently prevailing antiterrorist hysteria, formed a set of prior conditions used to criminally persecute me on the basis of an additional charge—the legal instrument that criminalizes political ideas and friendships with a vengeance that only the dregs of inhumanity are capable of legitimizing and applying.

All of the above would already constitute sufficient analysis to explain the reasons why I was imprisoned, but in my opinion the thrust of my case is different. The imbeciles of legality speak the language of Domination, which aims to subjugate and lower the standard of radical discourse, distancing it from its natural habitat in order to declaw it and turn it into easy “prey” for the sterilized analysis of “specialists.” The scientific perversion of Justice, after imposing rules whose object is to delineate and define the personality of the individual and/or her acts, condemns subjective dialectics to the malice of the aforementioned language of Domination, which by definition excludes and eliminates anything foreign or alien to its terminology as “too insignificant to mention.” Keeping in mind this idea, which has always been considered immutable, I will make no further reference to the legal aspects of my case, nor will I use terms like “innocent,” “guilty,” “set-up,” or others that might leave room for Power’s words to assert and impose themselves over my own words. I take active responsibility for my foundation of values and I will uphold those values until the very end, because through them I take a stand as a fighter, not as someone who infringed on a few paragraphs of the fundamental rules of conduct decreed from above called the Penal Code. I accept no one’s Right to judge me unless that Right is conferred by prolonged revolutionary combat, which is nothing less than the impetus for the Struggle against capitalist gangrene; the impetus for all who, each in their own way, contribute to the destruction of authoritarian subjugation and act in the interest of popular emancipation. I therefore consider myself a political prisoner, not to disassociate myself from “criminals” but because—from my point of view—I am where I am because of my political decisions and my tactics, which are consciously hostile toward those of my mortal enemy: the regime. At the same time, I am paying the consequences for an error I made (understood by the many whom it’s a pleasure to consider my comrades, and the few who happily consider me their friend), about which I don’t want to divulge anything more.

Regarding the generally repressive climate of the times: The state is most certainly preparing its defenses in view of the growing popular rage provoked by the fierce oppression—especially on an economic level—battering larger and larger social sectors, and the best proving ground for the state’s repressive methods is the antiauthoritarian milieu. Plus, past experience has shown that the only real “danger” capable of creating situations that are literally subversive lurks within this milieu. However, these facts shouldn’t excuse inactivity or shackle rebels to the beginning of a campaign of victimization and defeatism. Now more than ever, reorganization is required in order to create an indivisible attacking front capable of demolishing the crumbling edifice of Order that tyrannizes our daily lives. The Struggle always continues, even from inside prison cells, and each person can contribute to it from their own barricade. Subversive ideas will invariably be forged on the Streets, which is above all where those ideas are reflected in each of our liberatory experiences. Nevertheless, even prison and its unique conditions can be a point of resistance where Dignity is preserved by opposing the barbarity of imprisonment.

I declare my solidarity with every self-organized and collective project that supports comrade prisoners, like the Solidarity Fund for Prisoners in Struggle and the Solidarity Assembly. I also declare my solidarity with every individual or group that—through its practice and discourse—wishes to express its solidarity, however it may choose to do so, on the sole condition that its attitude isn’t hostile toward the general theoretical core of antiauthoritarian revolutionary processes.

With combative greetings from the cells of “Democracy”,

Panayiotis Giannos
Korydallos Prison, D Block
November 19, 2010