Burning Their Fortress to the Ground

Fire destroys the Attikon theater block in Athens as protests raged... above, a building housing the first Starbuck’s in Greece, was also destroyed

Athens in flames… again

The news tells us that the riots are about austerity measures. But here at the Earth First! Newswire, we suspect there’s something more to it. Having gotten to spend some time in Greece last year, we think that many of those bold wild-eyed anarchists setting fire to the city have something more than mere economic reforms in mind.

While there is a beauty and ecological value to a city in flames which stands on its own, the value is so much deeper when those fires represent a domino effects taking place in the whole of Fortress Europe. The empires of western civilization are falling, and every environmentalist should be cheering it on.

Last year, when the fuel in London caught a spark, we had some thoughts on the deeper meaning of the riots and urban ecology. We think the same applies in Athens:

“…[T]he best metaphor for most urban riots, especially in the so-called first world, is a forest fire. 

Wildfire has always been a necessary part of most forest ecology. For millenia, human societies lived with fires, learning to work with them, and even light them on occasion, to improve hunting and local agricultural endeavors. But with the fear of fire, and the capitalist desire of a planet under industrial control, natural wildfires burn hotter and more destructive. And the newly planted tree farms after a clearcut are the worst.

There is much to burn off in the modern urban setting. Like in a native forest, it may be the only way for biodiversity and any semblance of real harmony to return. And like a forest fire, its well worth the carbon footprint.”

In 1992, the Chicago Surrealists, several of whom were also Earth First!ers, said it even better in an essay on the LA riots, “Three Days that Shook the New World Order,” which closes with these lines [this rant never gets old to us!]:

“…As eco-activists, radical feminists, point-of-production rebel workers and ghetto/barrio street-fighters begin to understand each other, to find their common ground and to pool their resources in united struggle and mutual aid, we shall begin to see a movement that might just be capable of toppling the inhuman structures that are killing us all…

The struggle for wilderness is inseparable from the struggle for a free society, which is inseparable from the struggle against racism, whiteness and imperialism, which is inseparable from the struggle for the liberation of women, which is inseparable from the struggle for sexual freedom, which is inseparable from the struggle to emancipate labor and abolish work, which is inseparable from the struggle against war, which is inseparable from the struggle to live poetic lives and, more generally, to do as we please.

The enemies, today, are those who try to separate these struggles.

In April-May ‘92 the world witnessed one of the traumatic first flights of this revolution which must go farther than any revolution has ever gone.

Outsiders of the world, unite! Freedom Now! Earth First! These three watchwords are for us but one.”

—Chicago Surrealist Group, 1992

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