In late 80s and early 90s, the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and other left parties and organizations in Turkey run big campaigns against tourists’ visiting in the particular State. Their concept was simple: tourists from wealthy European countries or North America cannot come and lay their money down in a State where there are thousands of political prisoners, immense repression in the streets, minimum of basic civil rights and unspeakable poverty for a large part of the population. Gradually, this campaign receded, and the flourishing tourism industry in Turkey found thousands of clients — mostly Westerners — who seek to visit even the degraded agricultural areas of Southeastern Turkey.
Far from the Mediterranean, on the other side of the Atlantic the tourism industry of the Mexican State consists one of the main pressure levers for the Zapatista indigenous movement’s extermination. In an area where the natural beauty and the archaeological spaces are in abundance, the organized state violence and its paramilitary branches attack Zapatista communities trying to uproot any form of resistance, and gradually forcing the indigenous population to sell amulets and souvenirs to tourists.
Incomes from the tourism industry also flow in the pocket of the relevant repressive mechanisms in order to remove any form of effective social resistance from a whole area or even a whole society.
The case of the long-term strike of taxi owners/drivers, after the major clashes during the general strike on June 28th–29th, brings back to the forefront the issue of ‘blows’ against tourism. Journalists talk rabidly about the ‘evil’ caused by marches and gatherings; for they want via memorandum policy to transform the country into a place captured by local and foreign bosses of the tourism industry, and to turn employees into little slaves who shall beg for a bone.
The legal framework that the current Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change Giorgos Papakonstantinou prepares is typical: with incredible shamelessness, he essentially invalidates their obligation to submit an environmental study for a range of new building projects, so as not to obstruct ‘development’ through cancellation requests of projects to the Council of State (Symvoulio tis Epikrateias, StE).
Mouthpieces like the corporate journalist Aris Portosalte rush to applaud investments made for wealthy passers-by tourists which are located in ‘filets’ —in the best plots of land, not only on famous, already constructed Greek islands, but also in regions such as Central Greece (Sterea Ellada) and Thessaly.
While they play the dirtiest game against us all, while they try to tear to pieces even those who have been their elections and favoritism clientele since decades, TV channels talk about ‘blows’ against tourism; and these are just a few…
In a country (Greece) where the State seeks to sell out everything, cancels labour legislation, smashes protesters’ heads without considering human life, suffocates the streets with chemicals, unleashes everywhere an even greater number of cops for intimidation, sentences young fighters to imprisonment for dozens of years on non-existent evidence; in a country where bosses are having a blast firing employees, cutting wages and terrorizing; what’s worth visiting in a country such as this? Who has the nerve or the indifference to visit this place without experiencing the war that a whole society suffers from the political and economic elite?
We are not interested in any tourist; we are merely interested in people who wish to visit this land in order to find out how we live and which situation we’re facing. We are interested in people who wish to stand in solidarity with our struggle, and can tell us how to stand in solidarity with their struggle.
The tourism industry is an industry that has ruined the country. It has brought money but destroyed every social tissue and moral value, submitting everything far below the value of money. But this land, the country — not the nation-state — belongs neither to state rulers, nor to mega-investors.
That is why any blow against tourism (not in the sense of threatening people’s lives, but in the sense of blockading its production chain) is an act that weakens the governmental choices and its corporate mandators.
There’s no use having expectations from their economy model. One of the issues that lie before us is its disorganization, as well as the self-valorization of our labour via new networks of communalized economy —in which the choice of touring and traveling will be an additional, rather than the main aspect of life in a society.