Back in the year 1981, exactly 40 years ago, in the heart of what remained from the former British Empire, a harsh ruler called Margaret Thatcher introduced the ideology of neoliberalism to the European continent. This ideology was to become the new theology of late capitalism and spread across the whole planet, but first it would make its ruthlessness clear to everyone who might seek to challenge it. The dead bodies of 10 Irish prisoners on hunger strike, among whom the most famous is Bobby Sands, were the showcase of a system that ignores its own laws without trouble.
Today we live through the same story again, where a neoliberal government denies the legal rights of a prisoner who in the past fought this system of injustice. Dimitris Koufontinas, an old man now, member of the urban guerrilla group 17 November and imprisoned since 2001, is on the verge of death after a 53-day hunger and 6-day thirst strike. The chances are that he will die in the next 24 hours. His only demand is transferal to the prison cell built for him, and where he has spent 19 years of his sentence.
Not far from Greece, in the prisons of the Turkish state and the fascist AKP-MHP regime of dictator Erdogan, hundreds of political prisoners, members of PKK and PAJK, have been on hunger strike since November 2020. Their aim is to end the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan and to improve their own conditions of survival in these hellholes.
In the midst of a pandemic that challenges universally all human rights won in the last century with pain and blood, we face a huge struggle. Our challenge not least is to not despair, and to take on the fight under conditions of a futuristic totalitarianism, of censorship, violence, warfare, poverty, and madness.
The near death of Dimitris Koufontinas would be a great loss for the revolutionary resistance . But, it is Dimitris Koufontinas‘ will and the determination that he carries, and that many other comrades had carried in the past, that is a source of strength and power for us, and that keeps us insisting on being human and resisting. Throughout his life until today Dimitris has stayed true to his anti-imperialist politics, and struggle for a free, liberated society. His resistance embodies the same revolutionary spirit seen in the Kurdistan Freedom Movement’s hunger strikes in 2019, and both of these are bright lights in the river of democratic struggle that has always fought the assaults of state-civilization and capitalist modernity. We honour Dimitris for his clear-sighted and lifelong revolutionary commitment and discipline. Like the martyrs of the Kurdistan Freedom Movement, he knows that resistance is life, and loves life so much that he is willing to die for it.
We call upon everybody to make a decisive step, it is never too late!
1st March 2021