Greek authorities are trying to prepare for possible violent altercations planned by local anarchists in collaboration with economic migrants and their supporters from other countries, as the tightening of border controls in Macedonia, and a somewhat more determined EU policy, has forced an abrupt u-turn in the chronically passive policy of Greek authorities towards migrant outflows.
However, the divisions within the ruling Syriza party and competing groups within the security structures, combined with the fluid migrant situation and the unpredictability of the anarchists themselves is making it difficult to know whether planned violence will actually materialize, and how.
Situational Assessment: A Changed Dynamic
This is a fight anarchist groups have been looking forward to for our over three months. As the following analysis will show, concerted and long-term preparation, made together with international ‘comrades’ and pro-migrant groups, has gone in to preparing for ‘direct action’ at the time of most acute pressure on the authorities.
That time has come. With the restriction on economic migrants by Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia since 18 November angering migrants and their supporters, and the EU increasing pressure on Greece to deal with the situation, symbols of alleged anti-migrant forces (such as the expanded Frontex operation on the Greek-Macedonian border) provide tempting targets for symbolic attacks. It cannot be excluded that further, and more violent attempts will be made to breach the border, as first happened when Macedonian police and army were attacked by migrants- first in summer, and more recently while trying to build a protective fence.
At that time, the Greek police stayed out of the way and Frontex had not yet arrived. Now that Greek authorities are starting to take a more active approach, however, arresting migrants who refuse to leave the border while bussing back scores of them to Athens, they (and not their Macedonian peers) represent the initial target.
While even the most spectacular attack would not affect a Macedonian side that is soon to be supplemented by police from several Balkan and Central European countries, the issue within Greece is more sensitive.
Who Are the Anarchists?
Roughly 90 percent of Greek anarchists are non-violent, though many are less than open with outsiders. The younger ones could be mistaken for college students seeking a cause and championing a certain style in outerwear. Like members of any other movement, anarchists are most fundamentally people who seek their full personal realization in being part of a group.
In Greece, most self-proclaimed ‘anarchists’ seldom engage in any more anarchic behavior than discussing leftist ideas at a local café, handing out leaflets or going to the occasional protest or concert. Of course, there are others – the 10 percent – who are the mobilizers, some of whom are more violent; their behavior sustains the image factor that makes it ‘cool’ to call oneself an anarchist in the first place.
As in general Greek society, there is a tendency towards cliquishness and a sense of superiority over other groups (and society at large). But many anarchists are involved in genuinely good and benign causes such as caring for the poor, animals, the environment or combating drug dealing in communities like Exarcheia in Athens- where ironically, other anarchists are involved in narcotics consumption and possibly distribution. Their ideas tend to sound good on paper but be rather impractical. There are some exceptions, of course, such as the community health clinic run in the K-Vox basement in Athens, visited recently by Al Jazeera.
Anarchism’s Deep Ideological Roots
Greek anarchism has existed since the 1860s and has always had close ties with movements elsewhere in Europe. In its modern incarnation, it looks back to the leftist student movement against the 1968-74 military junta, and the seminal moment of the police attack on the occupied Polytechneion in Athens on November 17, 1973, the symbolic date for which the country’s most famous terrorist group was later named. (The best study of this and similar groups is John Brady Kiesling’s Greek Urban Warriors: Resistance and Terrorism, 1967-2014, which we have reviewed here). Unlike terrorists in the modern sense, 17 November’s ambitions were rather modest: they saw a utopia of self-managed factory workers as the ideal remedy for Greece’s problems. While the group (which was unraveled in 2002) embraced other causes in its later years, like environmentalism, violence associated with Greek anarchism in the years since have not become as radical or as indiscriminate as in Western countries.
Greek anarchism thus has a long and colorful history that makes its worldview and ideologies very specific to the country’s collective experience. This sometimes makes it difficult for Greek and foreign anarchists to truly understand one another; only the vaguest and most general definitions of ideological concepts are mutually shared. Greek anarchists are less effective than they could be, since most do not view their ideology outside of its native context, or they assume that foreign anarchists understand concepts within the specifically Greek experience and context.
Greek anarchist thought is thus characterized by a tendency towards rigid and dogmatic ideology garnered from the Greek experience, and at the same time, a need to find meaningful expression in connection with a larger global movement. This also means that causes can nevertheless shift to match the evolving situation, whether it be economic controversies, wars, or geopolitical issues. This also exacerbates the characteristic of all Greek leftist movements to be internally fractious and devoted to a very few issues specifically, others more generally or not at all.
Paradoxes of Anarchy, the ‘Armed Struggle’ and Greek Society
Amusingly, the very dogmatism of Greek anarchists (and leftists in general) makes them the mirror image of conservative Greek dogmatism, which has been famously attested since the days of the Byzantine churchmen. And, with their fixation on commemorating symbolic anniversaries, Greek anarchists practice the same kind of ritualistic behavior as do Greek conservatives. Only the particular anniversaries and methods of commemoration differ. Similarly, Greeks of all ideologies (and none) enjoy a certain pace of lifestyle that makes mutual tolerance – all rhetoric aside – much easier than in the Western world, where alienation between left and right is much more severe. Thus few people mind things such as student occupations of university buildings and occasional victimless attacks on banks and government offices; it comes with the territory.
It is thus important to note that even the most extreme proponents of the ‘armed struggle’ – such as the infamous terrorist group 17 November – were very risk-averse. They chose their targets for assassination very carefully, and on the few occasions in which a non-targeted individual was killed or injured, the groups were genuinely shaken. This again derives from the social mores of a country where violence against the general citizenry is not supported.
Thus any group wishing to gain support for its ideology had (and has) to be careful about its targeting. This also explains why through today the most prevalent form of anarchist and other leftist violence consists of attacks against symbolic structures representing ‘Western capitalism’ and ‘government authorities’ after they have closed and emptied for the night.
In fact, it was only the current Greek economic and financial crisis, and now the migration one, that have given the movement a new and more violent impetus. Still, unlike the old days, assassination attempts are less frequent, and extremist groups have been more easily rounded up in recent years. Experts like Kiesling, a former US diplomat in Athens who was present during the 17 November trials, do not believe any armed militant cell in Greece can last for very long undetected. Improved policing, the march of technology and surveillance, less dedication to ideological ‘progress,’ and less tactical patience mean that groups are less professional than they once were. This also means that contemporary leftist violence is more sporadic and unpredictable. (For chronologically documented examples of left-wing violence in the post-17 November world, see our 2013 article here).
Current Common Ideology
At present, it can be said that most anarchists share a communist-libertarian ideology, modified to fit in the modern context of globalization marked by neoliberal capitalism and the advancement of surveillance technologies. The ideal society, for Greek anarchists, would be “non-hierarchical” social organization based on local and decentralized authority, consensual decision making, and a common understanding of “solidarity.” Anarchist groups refer to themselves as “autonomous groups” who are in natural opposition to the “authorities.” It is not specified what place such a society would allow for people who do not agree with this order.
The adaptable nature of Greek anarchy means that small groups concentrate on specific issues with fellow travelers from abroad. For example, those troubled by fascism in Ukrainian nationalist structures might be drawn to Ukrainian (tacitly, pro-Russian) networks in the ‘Free Donbass’ movement, whereas others might liaise with Turkish anarchists when both support Kurdish Communist fighters in Syria. Cooperation with Western European and North American activists often centers on the anti-capitalism and anti-surveillance movements, while localized historic Communist struggles (as in Latin America) provided common cause for other groups.
While this means that not all Greek anarchist groups share the same pet causes, it does mean there is a general overlapping worldview that can provide a united interest in certain causes. In 2015 and beyond, that cause is migration.
Origins of the Current Migration Interest
The 2015 migration crisis came as a boon for anarchist groups, which found common cause with similar activists across Europe: supporting migrants has been commonly understood as a fight against ‘racism.’ According to them, anyone who does not support mass uncontrolled migration must be inherently racist; these groups have developed very critical attitudes towards the Greek and European handling of the crisis, which represents a casus belli for ‘direct action.’
Perceiving the issue through Greek eyes, charges of racism automatically lead to charges of fascism, as personified by the presence of the far-right Golden Dawn in parliament- the arch-enemies of the anarchist movement. Moving on from this is the anarchists’ (sometimes true) perception that Golden Dawn enjoys tacit support from members of the Greek army and police. For there, it is a natural leap for anarchists to then regard the latter as key executors of an alleged racist-fascist plot against helpless migrants.
All of this ignores the fact that most migrants see Greece as a mere jumping-off point on a longer trip to Europe, And, while grateful for support, these people are largely not interested in anarchist anti-capitalist ideology- rather, they are seeking to get to the European capitalist countries as soon as possible. The anarchist view on migration also conveniently ignores – as do almost all European leftist movements and even governments – the fact that persons from conservative Muslim countries do not agree with anarchists on such celebrated issues as gay rights and the place of women in society. But in the pick-and-choose ideological basket that is Greek anarchism, these paradoxes can be overlooked.
The year 2015 in Greece has seen a wider cooperation between anarchists, pro-migrant NGOs and the migrants themselves. As anarchists are by definition alienated from all political options and largely atheist, the basis of their morality is rooted in the ideology of left-wing ‘comrades’ fighting for the common good of society, as they see it. As is the same case with the wider European left in post-Christian Europe, one’s attitude to migration is fundamentally perceived as a test of one’s orientation towards human rights – rather than, say, a logistical issue – and thus a test of one’s humanity. For the many activists and anarchists who have flocked to different spots along the migrant route to lend assistance, combat authorities or simply take pictures, the migrant crisis has offered an opportunity that daily life does not, the chance to bask in their own morality.
While many in the anarchist community take part in simple humanitarian actions, such as collecting items for refugees, food, or providing language or medical help, the hardcore activists see migration as a new issue for mobilization whereby the can expand their power and bragging rights. It should not be forgotten that Greek anarchism is a competitive game, and the person or group enjoying the greatest street cred is the one most in the press. And the fastest and surest way to get into the press is by committing violent acts.
This pattern is considered more likely because of the current atmosphere of tension created, through focus on the other major issues of loaded anniversaries and jailed activists.
Recent Events and Commemorations
Late autumn/winter are always high points on the anarchist calendar, as this is the period both when they are back from vacation and government is back in session, and when several potent anniversaries occur. Following the 17 November Polytechneion Uprising anniversary, there is a more recent addition to the calendar, the 6 December anniversary of the killing of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a policeman in 2008. As such, anarchist mobilization in Exarcheia last Saturday night continued into clashes with the police on Sunday, following a 3,000-strong demonstration on Syntagma Square against police violence.
This year’s commemoration season has been supercharged, however, as it “was preceded by a statement issued by Grigoropoulos’ friend, Nikos Romanos, who is in jail for armed robbery he committed to finance his anarchist group,” reported Kathimerini. According to the paper, “Romanos called all anarchists to declare war against the state and middle class, in what he called a ‘Black December’ of ‘blood and fire.’”
In fact, Romanos co-authored the text with jailed comrade Panagiotis Argyrou, member of terrorist group Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire. “Let’s smash the windows of department stores, occupy schools, universities and city halls, let’s distribute texts that spread the message of rebellion, blow up fascists and bosses,” they urged, as Greek Reporter relayed. The message had been initially announced on the Athens Indymedia website, a leading anarchist platform.
This platform also releases broadsides from other jailed comrades, most notably the Revolutionary Struggle leader Nikos Maziotis. Indeed, an event that helped add fuel to the fire in the lead-up to this season of commemorations was the beginning of Maziotis trial on 16 October. According to Kathimerini, Maziotis would be tried “for a series of crimes he is alleged to have committed while on the run from authorities between the summer of 2012 and the summer of 2014 after violating the terms of a prison furlough.” However, as is also the case with Conspiracy of Cells of Fire and 17 November, as we will see, associated members of this left-wing guerrilla group remain at large.
While in jail, Maziotis has become a political commentator, stating earlier this year that Revolutionary Struggle had expected, one year before Syriza took power, that the party would betray its radical roots and be exploited by “neoliberal” Western capitalists. This is not a particularly radical observation, and most people would agree that this is what has happened. But the conflation of logical observations with radical violence is an interesting aspect that further gives anarchists and militants some amount of cultural acceptance, or at least an understanding of their position and right to comment about society.
Specific Strategy Development
Long before the recent turbulent events, a strategy was being developed for incorporating migration into the overall anarchist portfolio in Greece and the wider Balkans. The interactions of such persons and groups, and subsequent network development since the beginning of the year, propelled the movement forward. Strategy was developed further at a series of meetings and events in mid-October, during which time a plan for assisting migration and resisting authorities along the Balkan route was decided.
These included an anti-racism event in Athens and several meetings in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and Crete. A “Balkan Anarchist Meeting” was organized in Thessaloniki by the 3Gefires (Three Bridges) movement between 11-14 October, which attracted participation from Greek, Balkan and other European anarchists. These included members of the “No Borders” movement from Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria, as well as other representatives of the anti-fascist and pro-migrant cause from Romania, Slovenia, Macedonia and so on. It took part under the auspices of a nationwide “Mediterranean Anarchist Meeting” from 9-18 October.
One proposal from these meetings was that those “autonomous groups” possessing squats or other free space would take in migrants when the weather got colder. Since last week, when the Greek police finally started to take action on the Macedonian border, some 80-100 migrants have been resettled by anarchists in squats in Thessaloniki, while others have gone to Athens. In Thessaloniki, relatively more anarchist resources can be allocated to migration-related logistics, since the need to counter Golden Dawn is much lower in this liberal society. In fact, according to one anarchist at the Kinimatorama squat, “they are afraid to enter the city center, because they know we can instantly mobilize our friends and beat them up.”
Another proposal mentioned during the events was that, in the case of border restrictions, anarchists in the relevant countries should take part in violent protests at the borders, and abet migrants seeking to travel further or find shelter. The capacities for this have since been assessed as highest in Greece and southern Serbia. Other countries, like Macedonia, have insignificant anarchist communities tainted by perceived leftist political party relations. Other countries do not have much ‘traffic’ in terms of migrant flow. However, the Macedonian government’s restriction on economic migrants since 19 November is bound to make the flow go in a different way, with Bulgaria the likeliest recipient of new migrant groups. Therefore, we can expect a larger role for Bulgarian anarchists and their Greek colleagues in Drama and Xanthi particularly.
However, there is a problem for the anarchist groups. While they would like to use the migration issue to foment discontent with the larger system, a non-affiliated structure of more ordinary citizens and NGOs has been active in refugee relief, for example the Oikopolis NGO in Thessaloniki and the related grassroots “Refugee Solidarity Movement Thessaloniki-Eidomeni,” connected with the large German donation solicitor Betterplace.org. Since anarchist groups for ideological and logistic reasons do not have capacity or interest to do significant refugee relief services, they can only have impact in the militant aspect, if at all.
The convergence of the radical left and pro-migrant groups was seen a week before the Thessaloniki events, during an “anti-racism anti-fascism” day of activities in Athens that brought together anarchists, left-wing personalities, and representatives of ethnic groups in the country that champion migrant rights.
Organized by KEERFA (the ‘United Movement against Racism and the Fascist Threat’), it featured speeches by esteemed figures in the general movement, the most important being the group’s coordinator, Petros Konstantinou, and the head of the Pakistani community in Greece, Javed Aslam. Sprinkled among the events were representatives of other ethnic communities, pro-migrant groups from Western European countries, politicians, lawyers in court cases against Golden Dawn members and more.
To understand the future convergence of anarchist/leftist and migrant causes in Greece, it is necessary again to understand the common worldview which brings both together, despite the diametrically opposing beliefs on other liberal causes.
An example was the previous year’s anti-racism event in July. As is always the case with such events, there is a lighter side (ethno-music, traditional cookery and children’s activities) that draws in casual observers, as well as political overlap and a harder core of activists. Some have interesting connections to the established militant scene. Thus an eclectic range of causes and personalities are gathered, ranging from Afghan traditional music and Syriza’s youth wing to cleaners for the finance ministry, trade unionists, and experts on the ‘global economic dictatorship.’
For the present assessment, most are insignificant for future mobilization, but rather just ideological sympathizers who can provide numbers for protests and communications networks for publicizing wider causes across the country (and world). But there is a certain overlap with those more sympathetic to the ‘armed struggle.’ For instance, the July 2014 panel on “citizenship, political, social and religious rights of economic and political refugees in Greece” was led by human rights lawyer Gianna Kourtovik- the longtime lawyer for 17 November’s most famous founding member, Dimitris Koufodinas. When the latter (who has written a controversial autobiography about his role) turned himself in to police in 2002, he stated that he “accepted political responsibility” for 17 November’s attacks.
This is the blueprint by which Greek anarchist perception works: comrades accused of violent acts claim to have acted out of political motivations, and thus are political prisoners, after which the full weight of the sub-culture swings into action, from students handing out leaflets in Syntagma Square to punk concerts that collect money for relatives of incarcerated ‘political prisoners’ to high-level NGOs, lawyers and academics.
Anarchist Mobilization and Migration
Migration has led and will increasingly lead to more violent incidents between anarchists and a wide range of targets. On 25 November, one of the best-known anarchist squads in Athens, Rouvikonas (Rubicon) entered the grounds of the German ambassador’s home in Halandri, northern Athens, “to express solidarity with refugees,” reported Kathimerini. This choice of target would seem strange to Germans and others who are angry with the Merkel government for the exact opposite reason- its invitation for migrants and refugees to come in the first place.
Apparently, “protesters climbed over the fence surrounding the residence and scattered fliers featuring slogans supporting refugees. They also raised a banner calling for solidarity with refugees and condemning European leaders’ response to the crisis, accusing them of ‘Orwellian propaganda’ for using terms such as “hotspots’ and ‘reception centers.’” Seven arrests were made.
In September, Rouvikonas had previously conducted ‘direct action’ when it went into the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED). There, according to Kathimerini, it “entered the organization’s offices, where they destroyed computers, printers and other items.” In the usual benevolent anarchist style, the building’s guards were “restrained,” not killed. The group struck again on 30 November, when it occupied the Italian Consulate in Athens, in protest against the extradition of five Greek students to Italy, regarding the latter’s involvement in protests at Milan’s No Expo May Day strike on 1 May. Again the motivation for this occupation was social justice; the group claimed that the students had been detained and released without charge and were being unfairly dealt with through the pan-European arrest warrant system.
After the Paris attacks of 13 November, the trend towards increasing ties between police in various European countries and reliance on international police cooperation is going to put more anarchists (and related parties) in the crosshairs of law enforcement, thus raising the likelihood of similar incidents in retribution.
Anarchists have in fact started to mobilize for protests against border fences, calling for a world of ‘no borders.’ For example, on 31 October another group, Kiathess in Thessaloniki, organized a trip to Evros on the Turkish border, to protest the fence that has been there for several years. That fence has been so successful that it led to the dramatic surge in sea crossings this year. In the anarchist worldview, Greece, Frontex and the EU are thereby guilty of the deaths of migrants crossing by sea due to their defense of land borders.
In this context, it is not unlikely that anarchist and other activist groups will seek to make symbolic and perhaps physical protests against other border fences, such as in Macedonia (and we predict a new fence) in Bulgaria as well.
Anarchist Views of Politicians and the Big Picture: Troubles for Syriza and the Greek Leadership
Although many of the ideals championed by anarchists trickled up to the development of Syriza, once Alexis Tsipras came to power in early 2015, the anarchists instantly became a headache for him. While in opposition it had been easy to criticize alleged police brutality, once in government Syriza was responsible for enforcing public safety- from people who had been among its left platform’s original supporters.
Furthermore, right-wing coalition partner Panos Kammenos of the Independent Greeks (ANEL) pressed for a sub-ministerial role in control of the police at northern borders. Currently, in the second Tsipras government, the interior ministry is led by a former Pasok insider, Panagiotis Kouroumplis. This has reactivated old Pasok intelligence networks and created an intriguingly complex internal situation for an already divided government.
Further complicating the situation for Greek politicians is new intelligence received by Balkanalysis.com, about the role of the Orthodox Church towards migration. Sources indicate that church representatives have privately warned all MPs representing the Macedonia and Thrace border regions that they should not expect support from the influential Church lobby in the next elections if they do anything to promote a pro-migrant policy. Further complicating this issue is that while these regions are administered by the Greek Orthodox Church, they are technically directly under the Ecumenical Patriarchate (in Istanbul). While the order to MPs is not commonly known, it will have a subtle effect on how the issue is handled.
On the higher level, Greece’s ability to negotiate its own policy on the EU level in recent months has reportedly been compromised by the blocking power of Dimitris Avramopoulos, the powerful Home Affairs commissioner (nominated by Tsipras’ conservative rival, Antonis Samaras, who supported Jean-Claude Juncker’s bid for leading the Commission). According to one official who took part in recent negotiations between the EU, Greece and Balkan route countries, “Avramopoulos’ representative personally changed the wording in Greek government proposals on the paper… so it is reasonable to consider whether Greeks in Brussels or in Athens are actually in control of Greek policy.” Avramopoulos, it should be remembered, has great influence over the funding decisions that can make or break Greek government capacities to deal with migration.
The refugee and migrant issue has been problematic for Tsipras since the beginning of his tenure, and his party’s past in revolutionary politics as well. In fact, in early March some 50 anarchists associated with Rouvikonas invaded Syriza’s headquarters as party spokeswoman Rania Svingou was concluding an interview. They were protesting against the government’s failure to make progress on a law for clemency that would benefit comrades in jail.
In the invisible hierarchy of the ostensibly non-hierarchical anarchist milieu, comrades in jail have always enjoyed a certain level of reverence, irrespective of how they got there. This goes back to the earliest days of the movement. In addition to written calls to action, convicted anarchists tend to go on hunger strike (as Romanos did in 2014, in order to gain furlough for study). Media outlets such as Athens Indymedia frequently broadcast the missives of such people, as with the recent hunger strike of 150 inmates at Korydallos Prison’s hospital. They have complained of poor conditions and specified the non-implementation of the law that Syriza passed a month after the occupation, under Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos. It envisioned the release of inmates suffering from serious illness.
This is an important case because this prison care issue has revolutionary overtones. In October 2014, the lawyers of convicted 17 November member Savvas Xiros appealed for his house release, as he had multiple sclerosis and other health issues. After the government changed, a law (passed on April 20, 2015) allowing for “the compassionate release of elderly and severely disabled inmates” was passed, according to the Wall Street Journal. It was the new Syriza government’s answer to its left-wing base, but it also severely angered American and British diplomats who recalled the victims of the group’s many attacks. It thus became one of those no-win issues that alienated the government from important foreign powers at a time when strains were already showing inside Syriza due to differing approaches to the Troika and financial issues.
As is well known, Syriza is already fractured and divided into different wings, and in coalition with the right-wing ANEL. Analysts have often said the two parties only agreed on anti-austerity and financial ideology. Yet neither would like to take a hard stance on migration either, as it goes against the leftist views that oppose restrictions on freedom of movement, while also going against conservative views of migrants as a domestic security threat.
The result is a no-win situation for Greece. Tsipras’ attempts to show that the situation is under control have only increased skepticism among anarchists and worsened relations with other countries. For example, in advance of Tsipras’ 6 October visit to Lesvos with Austrian chancellor Werner Feymann, journalists on the island noted that special ships had arrived to rapidly remove thousands of migrants in a bid to make the government look better. This caused a sudden surge of migrants at the Macedonian border, where Greek police continued to have no communication with their Macedonian colleagues about arrival numbers and times. This kind of incident, which has occurred repeatedly throughout the year, definitely influenced Macedonia’s decision to restrict inflows and to build a border fence late in November.
Now, the following months of protests against austerity measures are going to weaken the government’s hold even more. Even before the most recent developments, intelligence sources indicated that the anarchists are not happy with Tsipras for several reasons in addition to the delayed prison clemency law; one was a promise he apparently made to them before coming to power, about reopening certain anarchist squats in Athens and Thessaloniki that had been closed during the police’s comprehensive sweep in 2013. It is less likely than ever that this will happen in the current situation, and that police conflict with anarchists will increase over the latter’s expected increased use of such buildings to house migrants.
All of the events of the past few months indicate that Greek anarchists, with their foreign comrades, are preparing to enter a new phase of activities in the migration battle. Knowing that they cannot compete with larger groups (or even local grassroots groups) in refugee relief, their self-appointed role is going to be the one of protests, rallies and even attacks against state infrastructure connected with migration and justice. Frontex, which is establishing a presence on the northern border with Macedonia, could also become an attractive target.
Already, indicators of anarchist behavior are emerging, as several stories on the leading Thessaloniki pro-migrant website Clandestina show. This group was also involved with the organization of the October events for creating a regional anarchist migration strategy with Balkan peers, and all of them with the somewhat opaque W2EU (Welcome to Europe) group that has been active on Lesvos and elsewhere during the crisis. On 1 December, a protest in Thessaloniki attended by roughly 1,000 people was called by various anarchists, demanding the right for migrants to cross the border.
Until Macedonia took charge of its national security on 19 November, together with Slovenia and Croatia, Greek authorities had largely been insulated from domestic pressure. They had done nothing to stop illegal crossings or interfere in migrant attacks against the Macedonian side which, like the Greek coalition’s worldview to the Troika, is oddly enough a response that benefits both sides for their own ideological reasons.
However, now that the migrant bubble has been restricted to the Greek side of the border – something that has taken both Athens and Brussels by complete surprise – the Greek government will be left to deal with the consequences, which will at some point lead to a convergence of activities between already interlinked anarchist and migrant activists.