Athens - Kostantina Yatsou
Athens - Kostantina Yatsou

Exarchia, Athens. The warm dark heart of the Revolution: an underground acid tour with Yannis Z, hard core antifa militant

Yannis Z is a hard-core anarchist activist. He was born in 1977 and has always lived in Exarchia, Athens’ anarchist neighborhood. Yannis did participate in riots and barricades. “In Greece we still use molotov bombs, you know? It’s one of the few places in Europe where political street protests turn as violent as in South America”. 

Yannis Z is an underground RottenTrips reporter. He does not seek popularity or any unnecessary attention. He is a fighter but also a poet. Walking around Exarchia with him is a true experience. He dreams about a mass social upheaval, ready to erupt into insurrection any day.

The streets of Exarchia exude alcohol from every corner.

From one bar to another, from one squat to another, comrades get drunk while planning the next Action, the further step towards the Revolution.

Like a perpetual concerto of acoustic and electric guitars and bouzuki, in Exarchia music is outside, inside, everywhere. The lights of the neighborhood shine like a galaxy of stars. Wait a second: did we take acid?

We get to Platia Exarchion. Everybody is rolling blunts and sipping beer. From a distance, the square looks like a large everlasting bonfire. Smoking marijuana is an act of defiance in Exarchia, a free rebel zone that challenges in every way and everyday the law.

All I see around us is graffitis, posters, anarchist circles, lightning bolts. The walls are literally screaming and dripping with colors and they are part of a unique narrative made of artists, musicians, punks, dark and psychedelic figures, men in black sweatshirts and hoods with shining swords like ninjas lurking around the night.

The portrays of Nikolas Asimos, Pavlos Sidiropulos and Katerina Gogu, the sacred anarchist trinity of stray poets and street singers are the living and palpable symbols of this warm dark neighborhood.

The “Katalypsi”, as the far left collectives circles are called in Exarchia and all over Grece, appear to us as strongholds ready to stand any open confrontation against the State.

Yannis Z points at a black and red flag floating on the balcony of the “Nosotros” social center.  “This is where I live”, he says before disappering inside the building.

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