Who are, after all, the hoodlums?
Savas Metoikidis is the 45-year old teacher who hanged himself as a form of political protest in the evening of April 21 in his hometown of Stavroupoli, in northern Greece. What follows is a translation of a text he had penned for the uprising of December 2008 (greek original).
“Who are, after all, the hoodlums?
Violence is to work for 40 years for crumbs and to wonder whether you will get to retire.
Violence are the financial bonds, the looted insurance funds, the stock exchange scam.
Violence is to be forced to take out a mortgage which you end up paying as if it was made out of gold.
Violence is your boss’ right to sack you at any moment they please to do so.
Violence is unemployment, precarity, the 700 euros [monthly wage] with or without insurance contributions.
Violence are the labour “accidents” because bosses cut down their running costs at the expense of the safety of the workers.
Violence is to take psychiatric drugs and vitamins in order to cope with the exhaustive schedules.
Violence is for you to be a female migrant, to live with the fear that you might be kicked out of the country at any moment and to live through a constant insecurity.
Violence is for you to be a worker, housewife and mother at the same time.
Violence is for you to be groped at work and for them to tell you, ‘smile dammit, is that too much to ask?’
What we lived through I call a revolt. And just like any revolt it looks like a Civil War rehearsal; it smells of smokiness, tear gas and blood.
It cannot easily be harnessed or controlled. It ignites consciousnesses, it reveals and polarises contradictions, it promises, at least, moments of camraderie and solidarity. It traces paths toward social emancipation.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the metropolises of chaos! Install secure doors and alarm systems to your homes, turn on the TV and enjoy the spectacle. The next revolt will sure be fiercer even, as the rottenness of this society deepens… Or, you can take out to the streets on the side of your kids, you can strike, you can dare to assert the life they are robbing you of, you can remember you once were young people who wanted to change the world.”