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On nihilism and racism

Written by Effie Lambropoulou on .

nihilismWhen youth violence is directed against the State and its agencies, e.g. against the police force or against a police officer, against symbols of a nation by its own members etc, is called "nihilism"” or "anarchy".

On the other hand, we call "racism" types of violence exercised by young people and directed against other groups of society, which, in their majority, are socially or economically disadvantaged, such as illegal immigrants.

In our country, the first form of violence is underestimated, while the second one is usually overestimated. Nihilism is considered to be occasional and contemporary, but racism is treated as a dangerous and threatening phenomenon. Thus, the first one becomes object of sophisticated analysis for its understanding in order to deal with it, while its rationalization and ideologizing is also attempted. The second one gives reason for sermons and admonitions though, for growing revulsion and rejection.

Scientific research indicates that the "chaotic" people (as often young anarchists and anti-authoritarian collectives are called), in their majority, come from the middle-upper social strata, whereas "racists" come from the lower-middle and low socioeconomic strata. Middle-upper strata can disapprove and blame the middle-lower for racism, since they usually are at no risk of finding themselves in their position. Moreover, they do not share the same space with the "Third World" immigrants, they do not send their children to the same schools and nurseries, they don’t even go to the same (public) hospitals, they don’t have a common claim for a share in the limited opportunities that exist, and they are not in imminent danger to lose their jobs and be socioeconomically downgraded. 

Whilst young men and women using the destructionist violence have the luxury of reproving and questioning the State and its institutions, despite its generosity to them, the second ones’ reaction ("racists") is a result of fear of becoming worse their situation, it is the outcome of systematic neglect by the state and insecurity as to the opportunities and quality of their life. Both of them, express their anger attacking with words, insults, deprecating characterizations etc but also with gestures, threats (symbolic aggression) or acts; the first have this attitude against any form of power, the second one (significantly less) against those who regard them as a threat. Both seek our attention and understanding, with the difference that only the first one has the right to do so. 

Although there is no evidence, let us hope that relevant forms of violence taking place more and more often during recent years will make those who decide from their own safe and sterile environments, from their socially homogeneous "paradises" for the fate and future of their fellow citizens, especially young people, reflect for what they are doing. These are who exercise the worst form of violence, the structural (i.e. inequality), reinforcing it ideologically and cognitively.

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