Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Graffiti of football hooligans


or comrades in the streets? 


     Graffiti of AEK football fans

Although this has to be confirmed, it is said that Anarchists do not sharply delineate themselves from football hooligans. Apparently quite the opposite is the case. Whenever there are skirmishes in the streets, the two groups discover that they have as well one common 'enemy', namely the police. Consequently the graffiti of supporters of the AEK football team is quite revealing for once a football is transformed into a bomb, a close proximity to a certain part of the anarchist movement is made explicit.



    "Fuck the police"

To embrace the common cause, the graffiti of the football hooligans or those belonging to the fans of the AEK football team underline likewise their hate of the police. Naturally the term 'fuck' is not only a sexual term, but within the 'slave language' something linked to hate since the very opposite of making love is meant. Expelled in such gestures are any sign of love. No compassion. 


     "The masked face" with link to 911 as "ORIGINAL KORIDA"

Korida stands for 'steer fight', so when the claim is made this is the original one and linked to 9-11, then all kinds of wild associations are set free even if they do not really seem to care what is implied. It does state, however, what sort of hard confrontation with reality is intended especially when the figure is painted against a background of not black and white, but yellow and black: the symbolic colours of AEK fans. That this split replicates what is shown above as balcony scene may be more than a mere coincidence, but nevertheless bears in mind what troubled times these entail. Moreover balcony speeches have it in them whenever there took place a power grab. It may explain the need to be masked as if it was already dangerous to reveal one's personal identity, but to associate that with a steer fight may be rather obtruse. Some further and rather strange connections may be implied with the voices in the streets saying but who cares what any passer-by may think when seeing such a graffiti. Rather this is our own domain and we use a code as language in order not to be fixed to the images everyone associates when seeing a masked face as if to signal here comes only more trouble. 

Poetically speaking, the sense of ever more hate stalking in while all human emotions flee the scene, it can transform an experience in the street into an allusion as if walking through theatre play in which no one knows any longer who plays what role. Imagination and reality collide. At best, negative generalizations make the round. Hence a typical expression as to what is being lived 'here and now' can be heard quite often, for all this amounts to just a 'fucking life'.

Often the acting out of hatred cannot be distinguished from what can be seen repeatedly on television in countless police films. In many of those films the gangsters and hard sotten strong men use that same language of the street. The tendency is anyhow to reach the level of 'reality shows'. In places where poverty and squalor is mixed in with those who live on welfare cheques, there prevails a tendency to exhaust the days by just doing nothing. For in idle times life is spend either in front of the television or else in just sitting around with a bottle of beer in the hand. That stillstand may lead to a peculiar form of philosophy about life,  but as an ethnologist in Liverpool testified, the semi gangs which are created end up usually imitating what their parents have been doing all along, namely to get drunk on a Friday evening and never wake up until Monday when it is time to go back to the same rotten job, if at all. The only ones who break out of this negative ritual of getting 'stoned' are the ones who join football clubs and therefore have to stay sober enough to make it onto the football pitch the next day.


   "Just kicking around a bomb"

What the graffiti of the hooligans depicts in no uncertain terms is that instead of a football being kicked around, it is a molotov cocktail or a bomb. This graffiti is all reminiscent and highly astute in the use of a symbolic language. At the same time, it shows a kind of political synthesis in the making. For long, hooligans were considered to be apolitical, while Anarchists would first of all claim their identity to be highly political. If these two sides approach each other and find a common cause when a matter of fighting off the police, then these different forces replicate what has been learned in the streets of especially in Exarchia. For once they share similar spaces in the same neighborhood or squares, then two kinds of group identities will blend into one common trend and therefore no longer care about what the others think when pointing a gun at someone.


      "Fucking modern football"

When it comes worse to worse, the night is overturned. And instead of the centre of Athens being the focal point, 'down town' becomes Exarchia. That area allows for quite another blend of characters and personalities, streams of thoughts and ways of adjusting to how difficult it can be at times to just come by or to make it. There are no simple equations. More and more it means the initial anarchists had been mainly students while over time this left wing movement has extended itself beyond the walls and borders of the university even though the latter was considered for long to be a safe haven. This was because the police was not allowed to move in. That legal border was erected after the experience of tanks moving in at the Polytechnique in 1974 when students risked their lives to undermine the authority of the military junta. That extension of freedom, equals protection from police intervention was meant to apply to the entire area at least of Exarchia but the football hooligans took up this cause and made it into their own theme. Accordingly it did not make halt in front of football stadiums and confronted the fans of other football clubs with this implicit request to become more political rather than merely give in to 'fucking modern football' with its highly overpaid football stars.

Text and photos by Hatto Fischer

Athens February 2014

Note: the photos were taken in Exarchia, very close to the memorial plate of Alexandros in 2012

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