Interview with Conspiracy of Cells of Fire members
Ten comrades currently incarcerated in Greece
What is your view on the practice of squatting?
Squats are a timeless means of anarchist insurgency. Comrades who occupy a building in the metropolis are in fact liberating a space within it, and disrupting the militarized uniformity of urban planning. A squat can be a hostile point against the domination of merchandise, advertising, and against the spectacle itself. It constitutes a zone of war directed against fascists, cops, and law-abiding citizens. It is in reality a space where ideas, emotions, creativity and solidarity are liberated. There, time is defined only by our desires, and not by the clock of coercion and mandates.
However, a squat in itself is not the center of the struggle. Really, anarchy does not have centers; it is comprised of circles in constant motion…
To us, squatting is a means of anarchy, and not its purpose. Unfortunately, some squats in Greece proclaim themselves as islets of liberty and marginalize other forms of direct action. So, within the metropolitan desert, they create an apparent oasis of freedom around themselves. In this way, the maintenance of a squat’s mere existence becomes an end in itself for several anarchists. The result is that every so often squatters, faced with the potential risk of a crackdown against their squatting project, come to terms and reconcile with the State and the municipal councils in a deliberate and reformist way, with the sole aim to save their building from repression.
Recently, in the case of the eviction of Villa Amalias squat in Greece, the left-wing party Syriza issued statements of sympathy and support to the squat, and no squatter reacted to this fact. On the contrary, there was a great deal of tolerance and acceptance towards reformist circles that like to present squats as alternative cultural centers.
To us, an anarchist squat is a living workshop of subversion, rebellion and war against the existent. It is a meeting point for comrades to communicate, exchange ideas with each other, organize, and plan new attacks against the State and its society.
Therefore, a squat is not the four walls of a building, nor its doors or windows. It consists of the persons involved in it; it consists of their desires, their concerns, and their various projects. None of this is lost with an eviction or demolition of any building.
Which is the reason that you contribute with all our strength from within prison to the dissemination of anarchist ideas and editions?
Considering the fact that the conditions of our captivity have imposed numerous constraints on us, and deprived us of equally many possibilities to act aggressively as much as we would like, we have given weight to the diffusion of anarchist aggressive discourse, which depending on its form and content may become sharp as a razor knife.
The masks of anonymity fell because of our arrests. Therefore, by claiming responsibility for our participation in the anarchist direct action group Conspiracy of Cells of Fire we now have the chance to put forth and speak about direct and by all means attack on the existent, thus opening a lively ongoing dialogue with all those comrades who act in hostile ways against domination. We feel in this way, and despite the limitations we have as captives in the hands of Power, that we are contributing to the shaping of an offensive front of the black international of anarchist of praxis. Our contribution in all this brings us a ‘step’ closer to freedom, as we mentally escape and our minds and hearts accompany every attack of direct action against the civilization of authority. So we feel more alive, more vigorous and stronger, and our morale is reviving in thinking that the shackles of captivity cannot quell the momentum of our rebellious soul. This is why we contribute with all our strength to the dissemination of anarchist ideas and publications.
What, for you, are the simplest forms in which anarchist solidarity can be expressed to the prisoners of social war?
As we have said before, prison is not a monument to defeat for an anarchist, but an intermediate stop on the voyage, where each comrade gains knowledge of their own self as well as the enemy. Anarchist solidarity breaks the walls of solitude and isolation, and gives us internal strength against our captors. When solidarity is authentic, then it can neither be weighed nor prioritized. Far from experts and specialists who turn the notion of solidarity into a silly farce of humanism and victimization, mutilating all of our aggressive characteristics, anarchist solidarity neither conforms to norms nor infallible recipes. What is essential to solidarity is the continuation and sharpening of the anarchist attack by any means necessary—from a sacrilege and aggressive poster to an action employing bombs or gunshots against the dignitaries of the existent.
Solidarity transmits the firm message that everything goes on and, as other comrades have said before us, ‘solidarity among anarchists is more than just words…’
Are there disagreements between your own individualities? That is to say, within the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire? If so, how do you resolve them to make decisions together?
Conspiracy of Cells of Fire is a group of individualist anarchists and nihilists whose relationships are based on collective desires, choices and actions. Each one of us, individually but also all together at the collective level, promotes the values and characteristics of the new anarchist urban guerrilla warfare. We believe that, often, actions speak louder than words. What’s more, we are people who have came on different paths, from different experiences, and different social circles, but what unites us is the fire of praxis and the constant existential insurrection of anarchy.
The new anarchist urban guerrilla war is a choice to never retreat. We continue advancing, burning the bridges that attach us to the order and tranquility of the world of normalcy.
Of course, even among us, in our encounters and our debates, disagreements sometimes explode, creating new debates, new agreements and disagreements. But that is the only way in which evolution takes place, through contrast and rupture. The unanimity of mass agreements is conducive of a uniformity that is fascist as well as boring, since it drowns the special and unique characteristics of our individualities.
Our decision to act against the existent leaves space for our disagreements to be expressed creatively, towards a perspective of sharpening anarchist attack—rather than the emergence of charismatic personalities who float to the surface of the stagnant water that is the endless theory talk at assembly rooms and the indecision. We don’t want to convince each other in our disagreements, but rather to listen as much as we talk. For us, this is anarchist communication, a form of expression with no guarantees or certainties. All of our relationships are put to the test daily in order to determine whether they are worthwhile and if they are still an option that is not sacrificed on the altar of habit.
What’s more, Conspiracy of Cells of Fire has no central committee or invisible official line. It is the meeting of our desires, far from the ‘it must be’ of forced unity. So, when a disagreement turns out to be stronger than a perspective in agreement, this is creatively liberated through an autonomous initiative. The concept of initiative is not only without any disruptive sentiment for the Conspiracy but, to the contrary, renews our relationships toward a comprehensive creative plenty and freedom. It is one more step towards the sun of anarchy…
How much important of projectuality is it to you that work be abolished?
The tyranny of work and its ethics haunt our very lives. To overcome labour through the negation of work is an essential first step in order to reach our individual autonomy.
We refuse to become yet another passive statistic in the production process.
Waged labour expropriates our creativity and imagination, and turns us into mindless cogs in the social machine that devours flesh, blood, dreams and desires. We despise the orders from supervisors and the clock indicators set by managing directors. A job is the dead time of our lives that keeps us hostage, shackled by habit.
However, the work ethic is even more insidious than the coercion of labour itself.
Waged labour is no longer considered slavery but a right, and the masses of volunteer serfs get dazzled by their own chains. Furthermore, the bureaucratic societist tendency within anarchism traps itself with workerist reasoning and the sanctification of the proletariat. Thus, this tendency turns timid and unable to defend and promote the anarchist practice of armed robberies-expropriations. The formal-civilized anarchy prefers to promote tactics for the self-management of misery and oppression through autonomous labour unions, instead of projecting very clearly the practice of robbery and total negation of work.
To us, armed robberies of the financial temples of Power are an integral part of the new anarchist urban guerrilla warfare; they combine individual liberation from the oppression of labour with the collective projectuality for the abolition of waged slavery.
However, we must be constantly vigilant at this point. A bank robbery in itself is nothing more than a beautiful moment of adrenaline. If the robbers simply refuse to work but maintain the dominant civilization inside their heads, if they worship money and are fascinated with the consumerist mania, then their act may be illegal, but does not reject social ethics.
To us, robbery is not an act of easy riches but a conscious choice to steal back stolen time, and to liberate it by attacking the false idols that prevail in the existent. For this, we have to throw away excuses, workerist moralizing and inhibitions, to start a meaningful debate within anarchist circles on the armed anarchist insurgency and the abolition of work once and for all.
Do ‘alliances’ with leftist components fi t into antifascism in your opinion?
To us, antifascist struggle is either an anarchist struggle or it is nothing. The differences and points of divergence that exist between anarchist and leftist sectors are of fundamental importance in every theoretical and practical aspect, and as such, it is impossible to create points of convergence; only breaking points and disagreements.
The essence of anarchist attack lives far from defeatism, victimization, and denunciations, features that prevail in left-wing formations. Any alliance with such leftist schemes in the name of an antifascist front can only achieve a deliberate compromise of anarchist discourse and praxis.
To us, antifascist struggle means first going on the offensive against the fascists, using every means against them, from brass knuckles and knives to bombs and bullets.
What does one need to wait in order to step for the first time to ‘self-defense’ (or, said in another way, counter-violence) and counter-attack?
We believe that each person makes up, for themselves, an entire universe. From this lens, everything is subjective. Our very life is our personal narrative, through our own eyes. This is why we do not believe in objective conditions that assimilate and accept a single and exclusive objective and revolutionary truth. There is not one reality, but countless realities. We do not accept mass production of revolutionary consciousness, subversive experiences, or liberating gestures. We burn the calendars and sabotage objective time. Every one of us has their individual internal ‘clock’ that can bring them to explode against the existent.
There is no need to wait for the magic moment of mass awakening, nor reason to slow down and match step with a multitude that seems to adore its own chains.
We should get going on the attack from the moment we feel the dissatisfaction that weighs down our own existence. We should flee from the victimized position of constant defense, and storm the infinity of anarchy.
What is, for you, the ‘true north’ of the anti-society current and the very battle against the existent?
Subversive anarchist thought is regularly mutilated by the tyranny of social morality and self-evident dogmas. We constantly run into the arbitrary bipolar worldviews of good and bad aligned against us. The despotic State appears in the role of the bad, and the oppressed society appears in the role of the good and the perpetual victim. However, Power is not simply a clique of directors, leaders, and high commanders, but a diffuse social relationship.
Power exists in the barrel of police guns as well as the orders given by a father within a patriarchal family. Authority does not differentiate between tyrants small or great. It is present in every aspect of social life, from the iron fist of the law to the simplest gesture in personal relationships.
Thus, we consider society to be the transparent dungeon of Power. Besides, the maintenance of Power is not due solely to repression, but also to its acceptance by many individuals.
This is why, as antisocial anarchists, we wish to destroy society and its dominant morality. When we say ‘war on society’ we do not mean mass death, but the death of social norms.
Still, mass society is the offspring of Power. Social cohesion is constructed over authoritarian mass culture that lionizes the icons of the spectacle, speaks the language of publicity and advertising, incites racial segregation, and creates the faceless solitary multitude. Or, as it is written somewhere over the societies of the metropolis, ‘I never saw people’s houses so close together—and, even still, people who are so far from one another, and so alone.’ Antisocial anarchism strikes against the authoritarian pyramid of society and promotes anarchist community circles. The human community, as opposed to society, promotes communication, creativity, imagination… Society devours the uniqueness and singularity of the individual within the faceless multitude, while community enhances the collective comradely attitude based on free associations of individualities.
It is the expression of life according to our desires, and the abolition of rules.
Haris Hadjimihelakis, Panagiotis Argirou, Gerasimos Tsakalos, Michalis Nikolopoulos, Giorgos Polidoros, Christos Tsakalos, Damiano Bolano, Giorgos Nikolopoulos, Olga Ekonomidou, and Theofilos Mavropoulos
currently receive letters here:
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga, 18110 Koridallos, Athens, Greece.
You can also send letters to: P.O. 51076, 14510 Nea Kifissia, Athens,
Greece, or email them at sinomosiapf[at]riseup.net