Writings from a Greek Prison:
32 Steps, or Correspondence from the House of the Dead
Tasos Theofilou, translated by Eleni Pappa
Preface by Ben Morea
ΔΙΠΛΗ / DIPLI imprint
a literary work of biting realism
Writings from a Greek Prison is a literary work of biting realism. Tasos Theofilou gives testimony on the brutality of prison life, and its centrality in contemporary capitalism, through a blur of memoir, social commentary, free verse, and a glossary of the idiom used by inmates in Greek prisons.
A political prisoner in Greece from 2012 to 2017, Theofilou’s work centers on exposing the conditions of widespread exploitation and social struggle that persist in Greece as a result of the debt crisis—in prisons as well as in mainstream society. Common Notions’ new imprint, ΔΙΠΛΗ / DIPLI, taking its name from the Greek word “double,” refers to the way in which prisoners from different prisons communicate by way of the double telephone line. With this strategy, two to five prisoners in different locations call the same telephone number at an agreed upon time and the owner of that telephone number, living outside prison, connects them together. Proceeds raised through the DIPLI imprint will support political prisoners.
Translator: Eleni Pappa
Publisher: Common Notions
Release: May 2019
Size: 5 X 7
Page count: 144
Subjects: Anarchism / Prisons / Fiction
About the Author
Tasos Theofilou is an anarchist-communist and a former political prisoner in Greece. He is the author of six books. Through speculative fiction, noir, and graphic novels, he illuminates the conditions of exploitation and social conflict in Greece. While in prison, Theofilou also authored a book on Attica as part of the international solidarity with the U.S. prisoners’ strike on the forty-fifth anniversary of the prison uprising.
Theofilou addressed the Court of Appeal on April 28, 2017 with the following statement in his plea:
“My prosecution is part of a comprehensive effort by the Greek political personnel to introduce, implement, and enforce a Law and Order doctrine over the past two and a half decades—an effort which has intensified from 2009–2015. This is a doctrine that entwines the Ministry of Public Order and the Ministry of Justice and is imported by the Greek government as a policy package from the United States.
I repeat once again, and conclude, that I did not commit the offenses for which I am accused. I did commit, however, the one offense that includes all others. I am an anarchist. In the class war, I chose the side of the excluded and the underprivileged, the prosecuted and the accursed, the poor, the weak, and the oppressed.
My imprisonment is, on the one hand, the only natural consequence of that choice, and on the other hand, one more field of struggle.”
About the imprint
ΔΙΠΛΗ [DIPLI] is a Common Notions imprint on social cannibalism. Funds raised go to political prisoners.
ΔΙΠΛΗ [DIPLI (/dip’li/): literally: double (from Greek)]: The double telephone line is the way prisoners from different prisons communicate. Two to five prisoners from different prisons call the same telephone number at an arranged time. The owner of that telephone number, living outside prison, connects them together.
Social cannibalism is the situation in which people, individually or in small groups, oppress and exploit others in their immediate social enviroment and within the limits of their daily action. The most powerful ones attack directly the weakest with any manifestation of domination, authority or influence; the lowest level of individualism and of a fragmented society. Social cannibalism does not manifest itself immediately and completely but develops incrementally. It is the zero point of counter-revolution from below (hierarchies, divisions, manipulations), as war is the zero point of counter-revolution from above (repression, assimilation, mediation). The term social cannibalism is used by anarchists in Greece after the robbery and murder of a man in Athens (Manolis Kantaris, 9/5/2011). Golden Dawn exploited that incident to do a pogrom against immigrants (10–12/5/2011) that led to the killing of one (Alim Abdul Manan, 12/5/2011). The term social cannibalism caught; a contradiction—people that denounce violence accept it against those separated from them when executed by those connected to them; a pattern—parts of the proletariat face off against one another by turning oppression on oneself into stigmatization of the other; the context of EU/ECB/IMF memoranda—the Greek-Government Debt Crisis/Eurozone Crisis is homogenized according to nationality and moralized, internalized into guilt of one's worth as a person through the relationship between self and other, the shared representations of action, emotions, and the body. To publish on social cannibalism is to account for both the previous cycle of struggle in Greece—the defeat of the anti-memorandum mobilizations (2010/12)—and the global capitalist restructuring today.