On December 6, 2008 the streets of Athens, Greece exploded. The police shot and killed 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropolous to death in the neighborhood of Exacheia, the symbolic center of the antiauthoritarian movement since the revolt against the dictatorship took place there in 1973. For almost two months, but especially during the month of December, every city and small village rose up against the police. Workplaces, high schools, and universities were occupied everywhere. Thousands of banks, boutiques, police stations, municipal buildings and car were trashed, vandalized, looted and burned. The insurrection had the support of millions of Greek workers. Solidarity demonstrations spread to 70 cities around the world.
The methods and tactics used for decades by the famous Greek anarchist movement were suddenly appropriated by everyone. Even small children and the elderly participated attacks against property and police and not only in the university and neighborhood assemblies which were taking hold in many cities.
The events of December 2008 revitalized the imagination of insurrectionists all over the West. The interventions of anarchists, anti-authoritarians and autonomists in Europe, Latin America, and North America in the years that followed 2008 cannot be fully understood without grappling with what occurred that winter in Greece.
Similarly, one cannot understand the way the Central European Bank, the IMF, and the World Bank have engineered a crisis in that country without seeing how, for a moment, it seemed that Greece might actually plunge into permanent revolutionary flux. The subsequent rise of neo-Fascism and social democracy must be seen as the tragic consequences of a failed uprising. Many workers and youth feel as though they no longer have options, having already failed at revolution once. We must strive to see the limits of this revolt without forgetting the tremendous power it conjured.