RUL Report#3: Unfair and Square

Antonis Vradis

RC21 Conference

A shorter version of this article was
used in the author’s keynote speech at
the RC21 conference in Athens,
August 24, 2022.

“I shall continue on the path of building more solid democratic institutions”.
– PM Konstantinos Mitsotakis, August 8, 2022
“The economic and military tyranny of today has been established”.
– John Berger, Hold Everything Dear, 2006

It is a moving occasion for me to be here in this room, not because of who is here–please do not get me wrong, it is wonderful to know and feel we are finally among friends that we have not seen for a while, for reasons only too obvious. But it is also a moving occasion because of the where and then when we meet.

The where, of course, we all know: we are in the historic campus of the Athens Polytechnic, right in the heart of the Exarcheia neighbourhood. And as for the when? We are here right when our neighbourhood is coming under attack. Those of you who made your way here through Exarcheia this afternoon will have surely seen that what was once its square is now a barricaded mass, a construction site for a new metro stop guarded 24/7 by scores of riot police. For those of you who have not visited Athens for a while, or those who may have heard so much about the neighbourhood’s past but only happen to visit now for the first time, this image must surely come as a shock. This is equally a shock to those who frequent Exarcheia more often: an unprecedented situation, and the reason why I have decided to dedicate this intervention to Exarcheia and its square in particular.

Click here to download Antonis’ full report (.pdf)

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