Below is among my favorite of the many insightful, and beautiful, communiques to come out of the actions in Greece over the past month. Obviously the first paragraph resonates with the events there, but also at this very moment with the annihilation of Gaza, an assertion of authority and opportunity that is already being countered with assertions of authority and opportunity. It also may mark, I think, what Dionysus Stoned sees as a changed political idiom, one relatively unconcerned both with creating Leninoid new realities — in the form of unhostile nontakeovers of the state like universal citizenship and a guaranteed wage — and with the anti-imperialism focus that emerged after September 11. It’s probably no accident that this idiom was first so noticeably articulated at the fringes of Europe.
We won’t forget the night of December 6th that easily. Not because the assassination of Alexis was incomprehensible. State violence, as much as it might try to construct itself into more productive formations of sovereignty, will endlessly return to dear and archetypal forms of violence. It will always retain within its structure a state disobeying the modernist command for discipline, surveillance and control of the body – opting, rather, for the extermination of the disobedient body and chosing to pay the political cost coming with this decision.
When the cop shouts “hey, you”, the subject to which this command is directed and which turns its body in the direction of authority (in the direction of the call of the cop) is innocent by default since it responds to the voice reproaching it as a product of authority. The moment when the subject disobeys this call and defies it, no matter how low-key this moment of disobedience might be (even if it didn’t throw a molotov to the cop car but a water bottle) is a moment when authority loses its meaning and becomes something else: a breach that must be repaired. When the manly honour of the fascist-cop is insulted he may even kill in order to protect (as he himself will claim) his kids and his family. Moral order and male sovereignty – or else the most typical form of symbolic and material violence – made possible the assassination of Alexis; they proped the murder, produced its “truth” and made it a reality.
Along with this, at the tragic limit of a death that gives meaning to lives shaped by its shade, revolt became a reality: this incomprehensible, unpredictable convulsion of social rhythms, of the broken time/space, of the structures structured no more, of the border between what is and what is to come.
A moment of joy and play, of fear, passion and rage, of confusion and some consciousness that is grievous, dynamic and full of promises. A moment which, regardless, will either frighten itself and preserve the automations that created it or will deny itself constantly in order to become at each moment something different to what it was before: all in order to avoid ending up at the causalıty of revolts suffocated ın normalıty, revolts becoming another form of authority whilst defending themselves.
How did this revolt become possible? What right of the insurgents was vindicated, at what moment, for what murdered body? How was this symbol socialised? Alexis was “our Alexis”, he was no “other”, no foreigner, no migrant. High school students could identify with him; mothers feared losing their own child; establishment voices would turn him into a national hero. The body of the 15-year old mattered, his life was worth living, its ending was an assault against the public sphere – and for this reason mourning Alex was possible and nearly necessary. This sphere turned against a community us who revolted don’t identify with, exactly like Alexis did not identify. This is a community, regardless, in which many of us many have the priviledge to belong since the others recognise us as their own. The story of Alexis will be writen from its end. He was a good kid, they said. The revolt, which we would have been unable to predict, became possible through the cracks of authority itself: an authority deciding what bodies matter in the social network of relations of power. The revolt, this hymn to social non-regularity, is a product of regularity… It is the revolt for “our own” body that was exterminated, for our own social body. The bullet was shot against the society as a whole. It was a wound on every bourgeiois democr