Athens: Letter of captive anarchist Spyros Mandylas from Koridallos men’s judicial prison

September 4, 2013

“Others unthinkingly followed the paths learned once and for all, to their work and their home, to their predictable future. For them duty had already become a habit, and habit a duty. They did not see the deficiency of their city. They thought the deficiency of their life was natural. We wanted to break out of this conditioning, (…) in search of new passions.”
Guy Debord

A short chronicle of my arrest

On Thursday night, July 11th, 2013 cops of the anti-terrorist force barged in the anarchist hangout Nadir, in Thessaloniki, once again. I was arrested and immediately transferred to the anti-terrorism headquarters in Athens where I got the news that, three hours prior to my arrest, my comrade and friend Andreas Tsavdaridis was also captured outside his home in the district of Stavroupoli, Thessaloniki. I was asked to give fingerprints, DNA sample and photographs but I refused to collaborate, and they took those by force. Shortly afterwards, they notified me I was being charged with all of the attacks that had occurred in the context of the Phoenix Project until that point (Acts 1, 2, 3, 4). I refused to sign any police paper, or talk about anything. Six days later, I was able to communicate with Andreas, who told me the exact same things had happened to him. What’s more, the police announced that the ten imprisoned members of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire were also charged as instigators in the Phoenix Project case.

Operation “Armed Joy”

From the moment I was transferred in Athens until the early hours of the next day, cops were conducting a search in Nadir… They confiscated the squat’s server, among other items. However, they focused their attention on the library, as they “discovered” the book Armed Joy with a gun holster depicted on its front cover (a Greek edition of La gioia armata by Alfredo M. Bonanno was published by Nadir squat in June 2013, and the proceeds will go to support imprisoned anarchists). That’s when a large house search began, both in the library and the rest of the squat. They collected fingerprints, cigarette butts for DNA analysis, empty beer bottles and other small objects from the entire library space, in an attempt to find the pistol itself which is depicted on the book cover…

“Covert surveillance”

The Phoenix Project was initiated on June 7th, 2013. It was a call of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire/Consciousness Gangs/Sole–Baleno Cell/FAI-IRF for the regeneration and dynamic resurgence of urban guerrilla warfare. From that day to the 12th of July (the day of my formal indictment), various cells of the FAI-IRF network claimed four attacks.

During the same period, I was tailed by cops of the anti-terrorist force. This infamous “secret surveillance” by anti-terrorism units was everything but secret. Well before my arrest, cops had “warned” my comrades from Nadir that “the police are on their way”, “you tell that to Spyros,” and so on. As a matter of fact, in the course of a “discreet” surveillance along Aghiou Dimitriou central street in Thessaloniki, the cops had mobilized more than five vehicles to let me know that they have allegedly “found out what I’m up to”, insinuating things and thus showing how much they wanted to inactivate me. The fact that they wished to inactivate me so badly and make me their target was also demonstrated by another incident. In mid-June, I travelled to Athens in order to visit the CCF member Christos Tsakalos in Koridallos prisons. The ministry of Justice intervened and blocked me from visiting my friend and comrade, issuing a clear prohibition order at the last minute. Ever since that moment police stalking was even tighter, and I oftentimes spotted plainclothes just outside the Nadir squat.

I am merely emphasizing these incidents to demonstrate also that a person who undertook action publicly (during that period, I went out several times flyposting, I participated as speaker in a book presentation, and so forth) and was monitored so closely (as the cops themselves have admitted) would nearly be impossible to take part in four bombing attacks. Both the leads in the accusatory instrument and common sense imply that it just can’t happen this way. Moreover, the day when the incendiary parcel was sent to Chorianopoulos (the 1st of July 2013) I was in Athens for my visitation in Koridallos prison. The fact that my pretrial detention was ordered without a shred of evidence doesn’t surprise me, nor should it really surprise anyone else. The State recognizes a war between two sides acting accordingly, and we ought to know that they conduct war without any morality whatsoever. It is the other side that has yet to realize this.

I don’t ever want my case to be publicly presented in a way that other cases have been disclosed, with prisoners labeled “innocent fighters.” I am obviously referring to cases in which the so-called movement does whatever is necessary for the release of an innocent comrade from prison, leaving individuals who have taken responsibility for their action caught in the jaws of the State.

In regards to repressive operations of the anti-terrorist force against Nadir squat, to me it is clear they have one and only goal. It is essentially a state effort to tear down the bridge between “public” and “clandestine.” Over the last years, the squat in which I participate has dealt with the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire case among others, and has clearly supported the tendency of new anarchy, carrying out activities, conversations, book presentations, interviews and benefit gigs, and hosting open events that featured interventions by imprisoned comrades, toward the perspective of constant anarchist insurgency. This is also the reason why this anarchist hangout has been targeted by mass media, political parties and cops more than once.

Squats, repression and “formal anarchy”

Lately the issue of squats has come to the foreground because the state apparatus has chosen to invade such structures.

Anarchist squats are structures-projects which can be a valuable insurrectionary tool if used aggressively. If they become an end in itself, however, they end up being laboratories of alienation and alternative subculture, thus relegating the “milieu” to a level of mediocrity. Squats are bases of operation towards insurgency, instead of a place where “students” and “workers” can seek refuge. It is both disgraceful and degrading to claim one’s worker or student status as ideological identity. Squatters don’t need to try so hard to reassure society that anarchy is not this or that, going as far as to offer guarantees about “what comes next.” The truth is that revolution doesn’t guarantee anything…

In addition, one can easily observe the cast of anarcho-holders within the same milieu. No anarcho-paternalists should be allowed to use squats and assemblies for the purpose of creating a circle of people, which they can cash first chance they get by setting up a “café which pertains to the milieu,” or a cooperative with “anarchic” clientele. This is a method favored by other people, with other backgrounds. These PR anarcho-paternalists should leave anarchy aside, and preoccupy themselves with public relations. Anarchy can do fine without them.

Over the past few years the “milieu” has had the worst relations with the notion of offensive solidarity, and preferred to ramble in misery from one crowed assembly to the other, whining about repression at university auditoriums. As a matter of fact, in the case of squatted buildings it is well known that some “anarchists” started to empty their squats after the Public Order minister, Nikos Dendias, issued announcements to warn of evictions…

Over the past four years, and after members of the two main anarchist organizations of the last decade (the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, and the Revolutionary Struggle) were arrested in Greece, the majority of the “milieu” proved their cheapness in an outright manner. In truth, people from the “anarchic space” have endorsed declarations of legitimacy by keeping their distance from, or even by isolating, armed formations. As long as those identified with the “movement” think in juridical terms, as long as their responses are defined by repression, as long as they try to split the inseparable nature of theory and practice, they will surely continue to lose potential dangerousness, infrastructure, participating people… Several anarchists will land on rough ground when they fall off their cloud of “appeal to society”—lost in the dream of “popular revolution”, as nowadays the “milieu” embraces adopted views of leftism with a touch of alleged anti-statism, standing as a kind of opposition.

In contrast to this parody, the tendency of new anarchy talks about direct, constant anarchist insurgency; about anarchist diffusion; the here and now; an insurrection without compromises or truces. New anarchy offers neither guarantees nor an acceptable social role, and is clearly miles away from the cowardice and rigidity of an anarchist/antiauthoritarian space that only has to do with lifestyle.

My greetings to all indomitable combatants of the Negative

Strength to comrade Andreas Tsavdaridis, the CCF members, and the dozens of FAI-IRF cells

PS. Several days ago, some unknown brothers and sisters from the International Conspiracy for Revenge in Indonesia, and the Ryo Cell/Conspiracy of Cells of Fire in Greece dedicated their attacks to us. Comrades, be sure that your gesture gave us great strength.


Spyros Mandylas
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga, 18110 Koridallos, Athens, Greece.

Source|Translated in collaboration with Parabellum