The Anarchy town of Athens

The Anarchy town of Athens

3 minutes to read

​I made an article about the anarchy area of Copenhagen. Which is located in the most egalitarian, open-minded, and dare I to say the 2nd most successful country there is (after Norway of course). So how does the Greek style of anarchist society compete with the standards of Scandinavian living?

Zlata Golaboska is also writing about Athens from her unique view. If you are into Athens, then check out ''Big Hearted Athens''

Urban expression

When you enter the area of Exarchia inside of Athens your eyes will be attacked with amazing artwork and not so amazing artwork. The message they present is usually about racism, police, migration, and businessmen. Here's a good in dept article about the street art

The police doesn't enter the center of Exarchia so much anymore because of a shooting of a 15-year-old there in 2008. There has been a lot of riots in this area and throwing of molotovs and such. This has cooled down quite a bit lately. So please don't be too scared. This place is the alternative place of Athens. All kinds of people go here except conventional people. The guys here have something obvious about them that is out of the ordinary. Be it a haircut, clothing, sexual preference, recreational activity or living space.

I talked to one guy on a bench in the square in the coldest times in February once, and he said:

"Exarchia has changed. Before it was about anti-imperialist people and anti-fascists. Now it is full of chaos and criminals."

He's right that the people hiding from the police are going to the right place by going here. Even though there are tons of people who come here for the rumored tax-free beers and medicine; it still holds its philosophy of a self-governing commune. That means no police.

The philosophy

It is against ''the market'', where you exchange money for something you want more than the money. One gorup of anarchists I talked to believes in Reciprocity. Which means a non-market exchange of goods or labor. It advocates to take away money (the medium of the exchange). To take away the concept of currency. For example, Giannis wants to protect Dimitris and be his security against the drug lords because then Dimitris will return him some cake. Dimitris can't give him money instead of cake because money is not allowed. It has to be an object that is directly valuable, and no in-between objects like money. That's what separates it from Anarcho-Capitalism. This was a basic explanation of their philosophy from my side.

Anarchy is very individuality based. The beliefs of the anarchists is very different from one to another.

Exarchia is cheaper than the rest of Athens and it doesn't have a lot of normal tourists. Exarchia is very multicultural still. There's a trend of young Europeans from countries like France, UK, and Germany to come to Greece and Exarchia to volunteer and to get a radical change of their lives. They are adventurers of life.

Dealing with problems

There's a wide variety of nations here and you can sometimes hear gunshots and see people getting into fights in the square. Sometimes even in front of everyone. The fights often reoccur in waves because there is not really anyone who has the obligation to make it stop. The community takes care of itself. During the day there are kids playing around and they recently made a playground in the square. How wonderful it is that someone would give their hands to make something beautiful like this fun place dedicated to the young.

Please note that an anarchist society is not a genuine anarchist society when there is a full-blown socialist state surrounding it (If Greece is socialist is also up for debate). It's like those animal programs when there's a guy going into the wild and surviving by himself and on the other side if the camera there is a buffet and a massage therapist waiting for him to finish recording. There is so much to see in this area, it's for sure my favorite place of Athens.

What you will find here

Cheap drinks  

People wanting to talk with you and exchange ideas

Social workers

Peculiar people

Alternative punk music and shops

Vegan restaurants

Graffiti

Incredible artists!

Not so incredible artists but with a strong message!

Recreational people

So many different nationalities

No police (usually)

The author

Kai Bonsaksen

Kai Bonsaksen

I'm Kai from Norway. I always follow that little voice in my head that tells me to go and explore new places … and on itinari, I talk about the ones I know the best!

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