Below is a communiqué that was published in early February 2013 by the Assembly for the Antispeciesist Action in response to statements by an MP of the main opposition party Syriza (so-called ‘Coalition of the Radical Left’).
About the role of the Left – parliamentary or not – and our struggles for freedom
Over the past few days, a lot is being said in the mainstream media about a recent statement of the Syriza party’s MP in Kastoria, Vaggelis Diamantopoulos, who in his attempt to ‘stand beside the squats under attack’ had the audacity to declare he is an anarchist because, in his own words, ‘anarchy is identical to direct democracy’.
As if the state, parastatal and media propaganda which is targeted against anarchists was not enough, now comes the party of Syriza that is seeking to play Robin Hood and guardian of ‘the weak’, and rushes to defend squats and anarchists – naturally, only in words. This is a regular tactic of the aforementioned parliamentary party, a practice which was also applied during the rebellion of December 2008.
Syriza party is pretending to be on the side of anarchists in an attempt to take advantage of our ongoing fight, for their electoral purposes, but also to assimilate our struggle within their state and legal framework.
In regard to the statement of MP Diamantopoulos, we have the following to say:
First: an MP, meaning an integral part of the state apparatus, cannot claim to be an anarchist. Anarchists neither vote in elections, nor are candidates, nor would they ever hold a parliamentary seat.
Second: anarchy is not identical to direct democracy in any way. To us, anarchy is the total liberation of humyns, animals and nature from the shackles of State and domination. We are not fighting for a direct-democratic State; we fight for the life and freedom of every living being, within a simple communal life in unison with nature.
Third: this life and freedom stands in stark contrast to the activity of Diamantopoulos, who, since the beginning of his parliamentary term, in June 2012, has openly stated his interest concerning the development of the fur industry in the region of Kastoria (in northern Greece), going as far as to meet with the SEG (League of Greek Fur-Manufacturers) and agree with them upon the necessity to enlarge the livestock population in the region – meaning that they will capture, slaughter and excoriate even more animals.
Diamantopoulos is the embodiment of what we are talking about all these years. He represents the State through an interweaving of interests with which the fur industry manages to survive at the expense of animals. Diamantopoulos is a worthy continuer of the former MPs of Nea Dimokratia and PASOK in the same region, namely Tzoukalagias and Petsalnikos, who blatantly supported the fur trade. He makes an indicative part of the chameleon tactic that Syriza applies in every matter, if we consider the fact that before the elections another Syriza MP, Iro Dioti, submitted an interpellation to the Greek parliament aiming against the fur trade. Right after this, the local chapter of Syriza in Kastoria held a convention in support of the fur industry, while at the same time they organized pre-election events about animal ‘rights’ in Athens, in an attempt to collect the votes of animal friends, and not only. Hypocrisy at its finest. However, after the elections, the masks were dropped.
The attitude of Diamantopoulos in particular and Syriza in general is not a single blunder by the specific person or the specific party, but fully reflects the firm positions and tactics of the Left in its totality.
The Left was always unable to incorporate into their projectualities the struggles for animal and nature liberation. Ideologically accepting the historical materialism, they consider the subjugation of the Earth and other living beings a precondition for human welfare. Having a historical and highly anthropocentric view of the world, they consider the techno-industrial system as panacea for handling all human activities, but also capitalism itself as an essential historical step for ‘the transition from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom.’ To them, nature and animals are productive resources in the service of human needs. Their only difference with the capitalists is that the latter are willing to kill anything alive in the name of profit, while the leftists would kill only to cover human ‘needs.’ This is exactly the case with Syriza and the local society of Kastoria: the lives of animals are devalued for the sake of the region’s economic growth.
At the same time, the leftists use any means to grab power, since they obviously do not deny it when they speak of workers power and the dictatorship of the proletariat. On the one hand, they participate in partial struggles wherever they can fit into what’s happening each time, making always sure that the outcome of their participation amounts to electoral votes; on the other hand, they distance themselves from other struggles when they believe they have nothing to gain from them. But when a struggle gets past their own administration, or they discover that some struggle was successfully conducted and they were left out, they immediately release their own public statements or use other communication tactics in an attempt to take credit for it. These days, leftists use the state repression which has been unleashed against anarchists in order to play it safe and act in opposition to Nea Dimokratia (the party which received the highest number of votes), looking ahead to their participation in the government after Greece’s next elections.
Nevertheless, we do not forget the pre-election big talk of Syriza delegates about the good policemen that will keep the neighbourhoods safe. Also, we do not forget that whenever the Left took over power or gained a foothold in politics, they made sure to crush in every way possible those anarchists who resisted either the absolutist regimes that were established (e.g. USSR – Kronstadt), or the betrayal of entire peoples’ struggles against fascism, because they stood in the way of foreign policy plans with the West (e.g. the case of Spain in 1936, or the case of the ‘Organization for the Protection of the People’s Struggle’/OPLA in Greece).
We do not expect anything else nowadays. It’s just that Diamantopoulos should be a little more informed as to whom he shows his alleged ‘solidarity’: to those who will not rest until the last furrier is hung from the entrails of the last politician.
You cannot ever stand beside both the oppressors and the oppressed; you cannot ever stand beside both the State and anarchists; you cannot ever stand beside both animals and skinners.
In this world, every one chooses whom s/he stand with.
We fight proudly on the side of animals and wild nature because we’re anarchists and antispeciesists.
They stand pathetically on the side of furriers bargaining over votes because they’re politicians and slimy authoritarians.
They are thus our enemies in this fight for the defense of life.