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“(Un)hooding” a Rebellion

The December 2008 Events in Athens

Rania Astrinaki

On Saturday, 6 December 2008, at nine o’clock in the evening, a fifteen-

year-old boy named Alexis Grigiropoulos was shot dead by Greek police
in a narrow street of Exarcheia, a densely inhabited and much-frequented
quarter in the center of Athens. Exarcheia is also a highly politicized
and tightly policed quarter, considered the central territory of the “anti­
authoritarians,” groups of anarchists who cover their heads and faces with
hoods as they carry out small-scale hit-and-run attacks against police and
other state and capitalist symbols.
Before the government and TV news had the time to process the
event, SMS, mobile phone, and Internet communications flashed across
Exarcheia, Athens, and Greece, while people threw flowerpots from the
balconies at the police summoned to impose order. Within an hour, more
than a thousand youths, many of them “hooded,” had gathered at the
Polytechnic School near Exarcheia, symbolic center of resistance since
17 November 1973, when the historical rebellion against the military dic-
tatorship was violently crushed there. Shouting antipolice slogans, many
attacked police officers with stones and petrol bombs, made barricades with
burning garbage cans and cars, took over three universities in the center
of Athens, and marched in protest in the central streets, breaking into
and burning banks and big commercial firms. Similar eruptions occurred
simultaneously in other Greek cities as well. By midnight, private TV chan-
nels were transmitting an unreal spectacle of cities in flames.
For the right-wing New Democracy (ND) governing party, the
murder was deemed an arbitrary act by an individual policeman. For the
leading opposition socialist party (PASOK), it was proof of ND’s failure in

Social Text 101 • Vol. 27, No. 4 • Winter 2009

DOI 10.1215/01642472-2009-056  © 2009 Duke University Press 97
running the state. To political forces on the Left and to us older radicals,
the murder objectified the process of (re)building an authoritarian state
(launched in the wake of the 2004 Olympics and Greece’s international
engagements in the “war against terror”) that endangers the people and
their rights. Recurring police abuse carried out with impunity signals
institutionalized hostility to citizens and immigrants alike. Instead of
generating political dialogue, reactions and protests against government
policies are dealt with as problems of order; protesters are indiscrimi-
nately teargassed during demonstrations. Young people, political activ-
ists, immigrants, Gypsies, and other categories of population are viewed
as suspect criminals, often arrested, beaten up, even shot at by the police
for no reason.
Police abuse has always raised serious protests, but this incident
was different. In a pure show of wild power, a special forces policeman
shot a high school youth outside any context of serious confrontation and
then, before dumbfounded eyewitnesses, simply walked away, as if he
had shot a fly. That this “fly” was neither a marginalized person nor a
“troublemaker” but an upper-class adolescent having fun with his friends
illuminated the fact that all people living in this country are virtual “bare
life.”1 The bullet that flashed into the boy’s flesh flashed into the social
body of youths a corporeal knowledge that it could have been any of them;
of parents, that it could have been their own child. This insight triggered
processes of identification with and mourning for the dead (manifested in
the creation of a symbolic funeral shrine at the spot of the murder, where,
much like at the “real” funeral site, people placed candles, flowers, and
written fragments).
The immense “wrath”2 against the police that ensued exploded the
deeply and historically embedded antipolice sentiments among the majority
of Greeks and led to extensive violent confrontations. 3 The urban youth
rebellion, which lasted a month, transcended the initial incident and
became a political “event”: a creative moment, irreducible to the social
context that generated it, in which social imaginaries emerge and intense
potentialities for new sociopolitical forms are created.4
Greece has a long history of protracted and often violent political
struggles and conflicts, of resistance movements, and of youth movements
and uprisings.5 But “December,” as the December events came to be
named, 6 was without precedent. It astounded politicians and social ana-
lysts across the political spectrum and Greek society at large. Confusion
over its definition and meaning tried the managing capacity of the state
and provoked a government reshuffle. December reverberated worldwide
and tested the understanding and analytic competence of social scientists,
prompting a considerable scholarly response.7 To the more conservative
commentators, the “events” were an emotional outburst, blind violence

98 Astrinaki ∙ The December 2008 Events in Athens

without political content, inarticulate politics, the work of troublemakers — 
a problem of order. To the more radical, they were a mode of resistance
to, or contestation of, state (violence) and neoliberal capitalism in the cur-
rent metapolitical condition of the exclusion of political conflict from the
political and symbolic order, 8 a form of urban street politics partaking of
both national and global processes. Parallels were drawn with the 2005
events in Paris and (less often) with the 1992 events in Los Angeles, and
May 1968 served as the touchstone and ideal.
Debates concerned the political illegibility of the “events”: the
absence of a unified political subject and central political claims coupled
with a communicative explosion based on new technologies and the perfor-
mative inventiveness of loosely articulated communities of demonstrators.
Of particular concern was the ambiguous appropriation by the “rebels”
of a highly equivocal political sign, the “hood.” Many of the protestors
covered their faces and heads with hoods or kerchiefs, and this practice
at once obscured the identities of the subjects of the “events” and raised
questions about their will to identity and identification. Were they doing it
for symbolic reasons, in the manner of the Zapatistas, or for practical ones,
to avoid identification by the police? Was it an intentional nonaffirmation of
identity, or an identification with the Exarcheia-style antiauthority groups,
or a tactic that was ultimately pragmatic? Was it a metacommentary on, or a
parody of, the ongoing political debate on koukouloforoi, the hood-wearing
“troublemakers” showing up during demonstrations to break bank and
shop windows? Ultimately, “hooding” raised (or served to raise) doubts
about the fundamental identity of the “rebels”: who were they?
As an “event,” this rebellion was a space of political emergence, vir-
tuality, and liminality. It made sensationally tangible, in the public space,
the presence of silenced or voiceless population groups hitherto excluded
from it, clamoring to be heard, saying, “Enough!” Acts of violence, like
words, voiced a will to refusal, to metaphorical suppression of the natu-
ralized violent articulations of power, state, and society in the current
neoliberal order, making no other claim than life itself.9 (“Give us back
our lives!” was one of the slogans.) Thus, the heightened initial moment of
this unexpected outbreak of material destruction momentarily evoked Wal-
ter Benjamin’s “pure violence” — bloodless, redeeming, noninstituting.10
Its meaning was its “thereness”: the momentary virtualization of power
reality through the destruction of its key symbols (however conceived by
individual participants).
In the heated public controversy, the “events” were reduced to a
problem of order: burning buildings and broken shop windows became
the official hallmark of the “hoods.” Violence, disorder, and koukouloforoi
became the issues, offering the lens through which the rebellion was viewed
and lived even by radicals and leftists. This essay is a personally and politi-

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cally implicated account by a university teacher of anthropology, a member
of the cohort of Greek academics radicalized in leftist politics during the
Polytechnic School rebellion and the years of intense political struggles
before, during, and after the military dictatorship, who have remained
politically aware ever since. Though not an ethnography in the stricter
sense, it is an account in an ethnographic style of the “events as actively
lived” by myself and a large group of colleagues (hence the first-person
plural) participating in “street action” side by side with our students,
closely observing mass media discourses, and struggling for a definition
of the situation as well as debating the issue of violence among ourselves
and with our students in the classroom. It is an attempt to make sense of
the “events” while they were still in progress, and as such it reflects the
puzzlement, predicament, and ambivalence of the “moment.”

Of “Hoods” and Marginals

From the night of the murder, TV channels conveyed the “events” as the
work of the “hoods” — a media construction used to lump together a host
of discrete, even opposed, formations on the Greek political scene. Yet
the televised spectacle of smashing and burning was liberating for many
of us, even though we were against such practices. Fire satisfied our own
political wrath. “Hoods” acted out our own “structure of feeling,” all the
more so given our suspicion that had this murder occurred anywhere else
but Exarcheia, it would have been “hooded” by government and police.
For most journalists and laypeople, “hoods” are identified with
antiauthoritarianism: a fluid constellation of loose collectivities embracing
diverse versions of “anarchist” theory and practice, from the “classics”
of anarchism to the many varieties of post-1960s insurgency. These loose
groups deploy a conception of collective performative politics as (direct)
“actions” rather than structured movement. Difficult to map out because
they are viewed as an elusive “nonspace” by all other political forces, their
differences are blurred into a generic “antiauthoritarian” space and identi-
fied with practices specific only to some of these groups, who emphasize
quick small-scale attacks against symbolic targets of state and capital
(especially police and banks).
These practices both unite in action the “antiauthoritarian” group-
ings and conflate them (in the eyes of outsiders) with another set of fluid
formations to which they categorically oppose themselves: the bahaloi
(bahalo meaning “mess” or “jumble” in everyday parlance), attracted to the
anarchist space for its antisystemic orientation and performative violence
rather than its ideology. Both formations, although spread across Athens,
are conceptually associated with Exarcheia. Dense policing in Exarcheia
has only heightened violent activity there, which often exceeds the bound-

10 0 Astrinaki ∙ The December 2008 Events in Athens

aries of the quarter. At the margins of demonstrations, “hooded” youths
attack police with stones and petrol bombs, smash bank and shop windows,
giving riot police an excuse to strike hard against demonstrators and spray
the city center with poisonous chemicals. This “ritual of rebellion,” where
political agency is conceived as limited material antistatist action, has been
formalized in recent political culture into a theatrical performance that
captures TV news attention and is turned into a phantasmagoric spectacle
mediating the content of political struggles.
Established political forces of the Left are suspicious of these con-
figurations, since mainstream political parties and media discourses focus
on material destruction as a threat to the social order so as to undermine
the political claims of the demonstrations. In effect, the “hoods” occupy a
blurred space where they are lumped together with two other formations:
first, the “wild youth” and hooligans, who have nothing in common with
“antiauthoritarian” protestors except violence in the streets; and second,
the “hooded” agents of state power, suspected of inciting violent action in
order to create moral panic.

A Communitas of “Hoods”?

What occurred during the six days after Alexis’s murder was beyond any
anarchist’s fantasies, any politician’s nightmares, any leftist’s predictions,
and any social scientist’s perceptiveness. Wrath propelled thousands of
high school students (whom we had deemed apolitical) and university
students and other youths, as well as parents, teachers, and others, into
the demonstrations organized by the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA)
on Sunday afternoon and by SYRIZA and the Communist Party (KKE)
on Monday evening. But many of us who participated in the demonstra-
tions observed, felt, and lived something that exceeded our capacities
for understanding, as might be the case in all such moments of political
As the marches proceeded, the streets vibrating with loud slogans
against police (“cops, pigs, assassins”), hundreds of “hooded” youths were
smashing and burning banks, ATMs, theaters, hotels, shops, and cars on
both sides of the street, while a thick mass of others, forming a circle around
them, were applauding. “Same story,” we thought, stubbornly resistant
to what was before our eyes: “the bahaloi are doing the breaking, but the
police will now attack the rest of us. Aren’t we legitimating practices of
which we disapprove?” Unlike its televised version the night before, this
close-up view of destruction left us at a loss. We had never seen such a
huge concentration of bahaloi before. Neither had we seen bahaloi attacking
targets indiscriminately, like hotels and theaters with people inside.
When the march did not move on and, against our expectations,

Social Text 101 • Winter 2009 101

police did not attack, the atmosphere turned surreal, tuned to the violence
of these youths merged into a Turnerian communitas, albeit of violence, a
momentary community of and in destruction: electrified by the condensed
anger of so many people, reverberating with the sound of the sledgeham-
mers, the thunderous applause of the youths whenever a window broke,
the hollow explosions of cars and garbage cans set on fire, the sharp blasts
of Molotov cocktails, and the helicopter engines hovering above. The air,
suffocating with smoke and smelling of menace, was filled at once with fear
and wild joy. It was laced with an undercurrent of terrible danger, since the
police, the real targets of the crowd, lurked out of sight. Bewildered by the
spectacle, coughing and crying from the smoke, fearful of an imminent
attack by the police, apprehensive of the potential negative political con-
sequences of the destruction, we were struggling to understand what was
going on: where had all these thousands of “hoods” come from?
Soon, however, the sounds, smell, and taste of police violence spread
in the air. Tear gas and smoke bombs were shot right into the crowd, and
explosions sounding like real bombs caused panic even among those of
us who were experienced in confrontations with the riot squads. (Later
we heard it was a new kind of explosive: flash-bang grenades.) Chemicals
formed a thick cloud that obstructed both our breathing and our sight and
turned the center of Athens into an enormous gas chamber. Police violence
would reign over the city for the next two weeks; the sound of helicopter
engines became the sign of each successive conflagration.
In an atmosphere evoking memories of the 1973 Polytechnic School
rebellion, the demonstrators dissipated and then regathered closer to their
destination. On both Sunday and Monday, as demonstrators fled into the
surrounding streets in search of air to breathe, many youths were smashing
cars or burning garbage cans to make barricades, attacking police not only
with stones, sticks, and petrol bombs but also with oranges, lemons, and
empty bottles (signs of the utmost contempt in Greek culture).
It was only then that we noticed that these youths, many of them
under eighteen, were not the “hoods” we knew. They bore none of the
socially recognizable signs of “anarchists” or bahaloi (black clothes, masks
or kerchiefs, backpacks). These were literally our students, my friends’ (or
anybody’s) children, “ordinary” youths from all social strata, who, in their
wrath, put on a “hood” and adopted practices attributed to the “hoods.”
Unlike “hoods,” though, they were totally unprepared for the police’s
chemical attack — they had no masks, no antiacid solutions to protect
them. We were at once amazed and shocked: were the “antiauthoritarian”
formations taking the political lead?
This was a real “communitas in destruction” in the commercial
center of Athens. A whole array of people — bahaloi, hooligans, suburban
gangs, second-generation immigrants, well-to-do youths from the middle

10 2 Astrinaki ∙ The December 2008 Events in Athens

and upper social strata, and high school and university students — joined
in action. The violence, which lasted from Sunday afternoon to early
Tuesday morning, was replicated in many other Greek cities and abroad,
with strange and unanticipated feedback in Athens. The final tally: all the
ATMs in the city center were destroyed, and dozens of banks, government
buildings, businesses, and cars set on fire, along with the law school library
and, of course, a prominent symbol of the high season of consumerism:
the mayor’s Christmas tree at Syntagma Square.11 The police refrained
from protecting any of these sites. Then, late at night, came the looters,
emptying the shops — and the subsequent innuendo in the media that
immigrants were responsible for the looting, because immigrants were the
only people arrested by the police.
In the following days, there were large demonstrations organized by
high school students and parents’ committees, the confederation of Greek
workers and state employees, and the coordinating committee of high
school and university students. Alexis’s funeral was turned into a silent
demonstration as well. In the end, there were some direct attacks by youths
against the police and banks, although these seemed minor disruptions
compared to those of the previous days (there were carnivalesque assaults
on some forty police stations in Athens and elsewhere by students armed
with stones, bitter oranges, and empty bottles), and there were many more
beatings and arrests. On Thursday, 11 December, it was reported in the
newspapers that the police supply of chemicals had been exhausted; an
additional stock was expected from Israel. It was amazing to see thousands
of teenage kids attacking policemen with anything at hand, determined to
make their anger heard. Yet, according to the dominant political discourse,
the “events” were not an expression of general youth unrest but the doing
of a small group of “hoods.” Mainstream media imposed this regime of
truth, striking fear among its audience that society was at risk, their own
lives threatened. Rumors abounded about a declaration that the country
was in a “state of siege,” about obscure centers aiming to overthrow the
government, democracy itself.

“Unhooding” a Structure of Feeling

To name is to define and thereby to attempt control. But the sheer num-
bers of violent demonstrators all over Greece belied the script about
“hoods” creating the troubles. Youths themselves, furious at being iden-
tified this way, publicized letters contesting it: “We are not terrorists,
hoods. . . . We are your children.” How was this communitas formed?
What structure of feeling prompted these heterogeneous people to join
together? Were they truly “antiauthoritarians”? After all, the violence
shocked and far surpassed the methods of its “antiauthoritarian” initia-

Social Text 101 • Winter 2009 10 3

tors, who heatedly debated ways of limiting it to symbolic targets; some
even explicitly distanced themselves from violent action. And yet, when
the violence abated, youth unrest vanished altogether from TV news,
which only confirmed the emergent conviction that violence is the only
way to gain political visibility.
Youth violence raised disquieting questions about possible changes
in Greek society that have hitherto passed unnoticed: about its potential
for producing moral panics, extreme right-wing organizations, or even
(resurging) “terrorist” organizations; about politics articulating in and
through formations of violence;12 about politics vanishing in violent per-
formance. Older radicals, like me and my colleagues, were dumbfounded
and ambivalent. At once shattered by the murder, yet happy to see youths
exhibiting the old political culture of resistance to state violence, we were
fearful of a second death (this time of a policeman) that would explode
the situation into frightening authoritarianism and repression, and appre-
hensive that if the rebellion were crushed, many youths might be drawn
to the “antiauthoritarian” formations while the majority would be drawn
away from political action. Thus we opted to support “the rebellion” as
participants and witnesses, forming a symbolic shield during demonstra-
tions against police violence and trying to make this outbreak intelligible
to ourselves.
Was it a riot? Or was that impossible in a country with a tradition
of structured political movements? What started as an amorphous violent
protest was redirected against — but also further propelled by — police and
state violence, gradually transforming into a multiplicity of less violent
polyphonic, decentralized, imaginative, derisive collective acts. New grass-
roots committees, social networks, and collectivities were formed, while
alternative modes of news reporting, quick mobilization, and communi-
cation through modern technologies were invented. New voices emerged:
high school students reclaiming their lives and futures; immigrant youths
claiming their part in Greek society, voicing their own previously silenced
humiliation at the hands of the police. In the process, the outbreak started
to look like a rebellion — a diffuse, inarticulate, emergent political expres-
sion shaping wrath and discontent against the current regimes of power,
colored by “antiauthoritarian” political activism.
The rebellion popped out right when we had come to believe that the
absorbing capacity of Greek society in matters of authoritarianism, injus-
tice, state corruption, law violation, social cruelty — indeed, in all aspects
a state of exception13 — was unlimited. It emerged among a generation we
thought lost in cyberspace, consumerism, individuality, and competition.14
But unlike previous rebellions, guided by some vision, this one was inar-
ticulate, enacted solely against police and symbols of consumer society,
like machine destruction by the Luddites, like a “negative” May 1968. No

10 4 Astrinaki ∙ The December 2008 Events in Athens

explicit claim was formulated as the leading slogan in demonstrations or in
graffiti, no “We demand the impossible,” just a proliferation of fragments
of discourse expressing loss and refusal: “Give us back our lives, give us
back our time.” Moreover, the rebellion projected a terrifying image of
apocalypse: scrawled on the walls was the threatening message “We come
from the future.”
In the days after the initial outburst, the multiple agents who par-
ticipated in this discourse broke into decentered action against decentered
and unspecified enemies — state and private mass media, municipalities,
the church, and so on. In retrospect, it seems to me that the only moments
when these disparate groups merged into a unified subject, a community
(implied, to my sense, in the term rebellion), were the days of destructive
violence. Included in this body were not only those breaking things and the
circle applauding them, but also the thousands of us who were there paying
lip service to nonviolence, yet harboring unconsciously and momentarily
the fantasy of a coming change in the order of things, a fantasy created
by violence itself.
In the neoliberal reality of contemporary Greek society, basic social
rights have been abolished, crucial public sectors privatized, social insti-
tutions deconstructed, and corruption validated. Greek youths are faced
with a noncreative present, their lives compressed under the demands of
an absurd and expensive public education system that devalues knowledge.
They look ahead to an uncertain and precarious future: the official rate of
unemployment stands at 25 percent. Around them the rhetoric of democ-
racy masks an authoritarian practice that blocks political dialogue. They
grow up in an ambience of quietism, conformism, and cynicism, mixed
with constant grumbling (in public and private discourses alike) against
state policies or government corruption. Anything public and collective
(law, justice, politics, ethics, the very idea of society) is devalued by the
pervasive neoliberal ideology — a degeneration of ideals from which no
way out is visible, since so many comply with the existing articulations of
power through clientelistic loyalties. Below the surface, there is an explo-
sive frustration.
In this aspect, the Athens rebellion resembles the Paris and Los
Angeles rebellions in some of its violent repertoire and some of its mes-
sages, above all in the way the negativity of its violence was conjoined
with an affirmation of the presence of excluded subaltern groups, such as
immigrants and the unemployed. Yet it also differs in its initiatory agency
and social articulation, in which the part played by youths of the petit
bourgeoisie was decisive; in its occupation of the symbolic center of urban
Greece, paralyzing Athens for days; and in the overall vision it offered,
less a matter of a gloomy present than of a gloomy future, portrayed as
already stolen away, just as Alexis’s life had been snatched. This is what

Social Text 101 • Winter 2009 10 5

brought the communitas together in violence: a wrath tuned to and against
this antisocial reality, this “hooded” general state of exception made into a
“normal” regime of power. And this is what they refused. In appropriating
the “hood,” however, they signaled perhaps the victory of the “society of
spectacle,” where political action is identified with spectacular acts and
powerful images of violence deride the regime of power but do not chal-
lenge it.15

This article has benefited a lot from the close reading, critical remarks, and insightful
comments, at different stages of its preparation, of Allen Feldman, Dimitra Gefou-
Madianou, Kostis Kalantzis, and, last but not least, the anonymous reviewers of the
journal. I wish to thank them all from the heart. Of course, the responsibility for the
final text is all mine.
1. See Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Stanford,
CA: Stanford University Press, 1998).
2. Wrath is the term used to convey the situation; “mere orgis, Alexi zis”
(“days of wrath, Alexis you live”) was the dominant motto of the rebellion and the
discourse on it. My use of it does not imply a dichotomy of rational/irrational politics,
as sentiments are socially constructed. See Catherine Lutz and Lila Abu-Lughod,
eds., Language and the Politics of Emotion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
3. Antipolice sentiments in Greek political culture are associated with a long
history of authoritarianism and an established ambivalence toward state power.
4. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and
Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987); see also Kostas
Douzinas, “Ta nea Dekemvriana i timontas to onoma” (“The New December Events
or Honoring the Name”), Synchrona Themata (Contemporary Issues) 103 (2008):
107 – 10. Cf. Bruce Kapferer, “The Liminal, the Virtual, and the Problem of Rep-
resentation,” Victor Turner Lecture, 2008, Department of Social Anthropology,
University of Helsinki.
5. It suffices to mention here the strong resistance movement against the Nazis
(1941– 44); the civil war (1946 – 49); the Unrelenting Struggle (1963 – 65), demand-
ing the observance of the constitutional law by the government; the long student
movement for civil rights and the reform of education (1963 – 67); and the military
dictatorship (1967 – 74) and youth resistance movement against it, culminating in the
Polytechnic School rebellion in 1973.
6. In the Greek political imaginary both expressions evoke December 1944,
the time of armed confrontations in the wake of liberation from Nazi occupation
between the National Popular Liberation Army and state police (cum para – state
organizations) that presaged the civil war. See Douzinas, “The New December
Events.” They also echo November (the Polytechnic School rebellion in 1973) and
May (1968).
7. The December “events” have given rise to intensive reflection. Apart from
numerous articles in the daily and Sunday press, two special files have appeared in
journals so far: “#griots: Psifides ataktis skepsis” (“#griots: Tesserae of Disorderly
Thought”), Synchrona Themata (Contemporary Issues) 103 (2008): 5 – 33, available
at synchronathemata.wordpress.com; and “Ti synevi ton Dekemvrio 2008?” (“What

10 6 Astrinaki ∙ The December 2008 Events in Athens

Happened in December 2008?”), Nea Estia (New Hestia) 165 (2009): 195 – 324. A
collective volume has also been prepared in English by the Hellenic Observatory at
LSE and circulated by e-mail: Spyros Economides and Vassilis Monastiriotis, eds.,
The Return of Street Politics? Essays on the December Riots in Greece. Also, several con-
ferences have been or are to be held in Greece during 2009.
8. Douzinas, “The New December Events,” 107, 109.
9. Cf. Akis Gavriilidis, “[Greek Riots 2008:] A Mobile Tiananmen,” in
Economides and Monastiriotis, The Return of Street Politics? 15 – 19.
10. Walter Benjamin, “Critique of Violence,” in Selected Writings, Vol. 1:
1913 – 1926, ed. Marcus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings (Cambridge, MA: Har-
vard University Press), 236 – 52.
11. The Christmas tree was quickly replaced, only to become the target of the
youths again several days later. It ended up being guarded, with riot police forming
a circle around it, and youths forming a circle around riot police. Protestors offered
garbage instead of gifts and taunted policemen that they would have to spend Christ-
mas on duty, while dancing and singing in a surrealistic spectacle. See video.aol.com/
12. Allen Feldman, Formations of Violence: The Narrative of the Body and Politi-
cal Terror in Northern Ireland (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).
13. See Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” in Illumi-
nations: Essays and Reflections, ed. Hannah Arendt (New York: Schocken, 1968),
253 – 64.
14. In contrast to the 1990s, no major high school student protest occurred
after 2000. Among university students, however, a combative but very massive move-
ment developed in 2006 – 7 (also marked by minor attacks against police and abun-
dant police violence), which cancelled a constitution reform that would have officially
opened the way to the privatization of higher education.
15. See Guy Debord, Society of Spectacle, trans. Ken Knabb (London: Rebel,

Social Text 101 • Winter 2009 107