This report gives a bit more of the background to the recent anarchist riots in Athens, but not much.
Having walked through Exarchia last spring, I have to laugh at the story’s description of it as a “dense warren of concrete”; if all that means is that there are lots of narrow streets criss-crossing between tall concrete buildings, okay, that would describe most of the city.
You probably didn’t go around preaching the virtues of anarcho-capitalism I’d wager, considering everybody in Exarchia hates capitalism! Hint: Bring Kevin Carson pamphlets, not Walter Block pamphlets to this place.
but the shops did seem marginally more bohemian and the appearance of the residents exhibited a mild hippie or punk or goth sensibility (though far less so than in, say, the Little Five Points area of Atlanta). Surely there’s more to it than this?
Yeah you probably just didn’t visit the day they were rioting against “the system” and smashing windows. As one commentator put it, “They don’t see the cops as legitimate over there. The folks in Exarchia see them as the occupying army of the rich. The word ‘fascism’ is used a lot.” Apparently the current situation comes out of past conflicts in WWII and a military junta which ruled until the 70s. Since there were a lot of socialists and the police were the tools of the junta people generally (and leftists especially) came to view them with distrust which carries over to the present day.
To give you an idea of how different the culture is over there compared to U.S. culture, they will riot in the streets when an illegal Nigerian immigrant is shot by police. In the U.S. such events barely register as news, or are dismissed on tv talk shows if they do register.
The discussion in this five-page thread is very illuminating if you want to learn more:
I started reading that thread, but I got too disgusted. I’ve been reading that board for a good time now and I know Something Awful is full of posers, but they were even more bigoted than usual. Stupid capitalist Americans…
I agree most of the criticisms in the SA thread were unfounded, but there was one that is probably valid, namely that many of these rioters don’t really have a clear idea of how an alternative to capitalism would work and instead just look for opportunities to smash windows and burn trucks. Don’t get me wrong, righteous indignation is great, but what good is burning everything if the only thing to replace it is poverty and fear?
If Exarchia starts to blossom with cooperatives and democratically-run businesses I’ll admit I’m wrong, but they’ve had since the 70s and apparently haven’t accomplished much in the way of “building the new society inside the shell of the old”…