Yesterday, March 11, 2021, we smashed the windows of the entrance area of Siemens in Zurich Altstetten. By doing so, we participate in the worldwide solidarity wave with the hunger and thirst strike of the Greek political prisoner Dimitris Koufontinas.
The Greek state is in the process of murdering Dimitris. But the fight will not be won by the Greek bourgeoisie. For Dimitris' entire life story, including this perhaps final chapter, embodies like few others the inevitable victory of the revolution.
With a determination that will guide and inspire generations of young militants to come, Dimitris placed his entire life in the unconditional service of that victory. As a child in mind of the partisan struggle against the Nazi occupation, incited by the brutality of the Greek military junta of NATO and driven by the power of the people to overthrow that very dictatorship, Dimitris decided early on to confront the power of the state and imperialism with weapon in hand. As a formative militant of the urban guerrilla “November 17,” he was for two decades part of a military counterforce that taught the Greek bourgeoisie and its imperialist allies to fear. With countless attacks and the open sympathy of broad sections of the people, November 17 managed to become an independent factor in Greek politics, masterfully evading the grasp of the assembled British-American-Greek counterrevolution.
The historical success of the politics of 17N can be seen not least today: when the bourgeoisie takes such great political risks to liquidate the traces of a movement whose last action was 20 years ago, when on the other hand, tens of thousands take to the streets night after night in defense of Dimitris and the protests generalize in no time at all into an actual uprising and drive deep fissures through the whole society - yes, then, 17N and the antagonistic movement encompassing it obviously did something right.
Today - after the failure of the reformist Syriza project, which was as foreseeable as it was huge - exactly that clique of rich families is back in power, which was disturbed by the actions of November 17 25 years again and again in their power clashes and enrichment actions. Thus, it was the father of today’s Prime Minister Mitsotakis, who as head of government in the early 1990s wanted to pardon the leading perpetrators of the bloody military dictatorship (but had to refrain from doing so due to massive protests), and his brother-in-law, who was executed by the 17N for his involvement in the looting of the Cretan Bank in 1987.
The latter’s widow, Dora Bakoyannis, and her brother, Mitsotakis, do not seem to have sufficiently understood the warning. Another gang that has not (yet) taken the warning seriously enough is the German multinational Siemens, whose Athens branch was attacked with missiles by the 17N in May 1991. A few years later, one of the biggest corruption scandals Europe had ever seen began in those same Siemens offices in Athens and with those very members of the Mitsotakis family who had survived the “clean-up campaign” called by 17N in the 1980s in leading roles.
The story is about hundreds of millions of euros that Siemens paid to Greek politicians and political parties in order to obtain lucrative contracts from the telecommunications company OTE (then state-owned, now Deutsche Telekom), as well as to upgrade police surveillance before the Athens Olympics in 2004. At the forefront: widow Dora Bakoyannis - then mayor of Athens, her father Konstaninos Mitsotakis - then head of today’s ruling party NeaDemokratia, as well as her brother Kyriakos Mitsotakis - then parliamentarian and now prime minister, and his wife Mareva Mitsotakis - owner of numerous suspicious offshore funds and close friend of then Siemens Greece CEO Michael Christoforakos. The latter managed to flee to Germany in 2009, where the case against him was dropped, thanks to the help of Dora Bakoyannis, who has since become foreign minister. He is still on the Interpol list, but owns a vacation villa on the Greek island of Tinos - on the neighboring plot of land owned by the government couple Mitsotakis.
When we attack Siemens today, we are not attacking a greasy, enriching ex-manager. We are attacking a global power and exploitation structure whose exponents are sitting at Zurich Paradeplatz just as they are sitting in Athens or Munich. A system in which enrichment and corruption are not rotten apples, but the normal case, the very fundament of it all.
With this action against Siemens we take up the red string that Dimitris and 17N have laid: Namely to attack and pull out of anonymity those rotten sons and daughters of the bourgeoisie who gorge themselves in their vacation villas at the expense of those who have to work every day for their food. We owe it to Dimitris, who is held between life and death by the vengeful Mitsotakis family and their allies, to continue this struggle. We owe it to all those who, like him, are and have been willing to give their lives for a better world for all.
Long live the struggle of the peoples, long live the revolution!
Much strength to Dimitris and the revolting people of Athens and Thesaloniki!
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Note: Photo from solidarity action for Dimitris Koufontinas at Greek consulate in Zurich