Since April 21st 2016, we have occupied an abandoned private house on 119, Zoodochou Pigis Street. It’s Cat’s spirit, where we want to have a base for anarchist people, especially new people arriving in Exarchia. The plan is to create an open space for both anarchists and refugee activists, but also for people in emergency housing need.
Squatting is always a political action. We are fighting against private property in a capitalist system that created it. We are trying to live in a different way: collective, dignified and self-organised.
After having abandoned the building for years, on June 6th 2016 a woman presenting herself as one of its owners threatened to call the police if we didn’t pay a rent in the next days. The reality is that we’ve expropriated one empty and destroyed house, and we are trying to live in it. So, we refuse any kind of negotiation with the owners.
We believe in solidarity with all self-organised places in Exarchia, in order to show to the system that we will continue to resist and fight for autonomy and freedom.
Let’s all be ready to support self-organised spaces everywhere!
On January 26th 2009, Athens Municipality crews on the orders of the then mayor N.Kaklamanis destroyed the park located on Kyprou Street, uprooting its perennial trees with a view to handing over the space to a private parking company.
Its cementing was prevented thanks to the immediate mobilisation and combative resistance of local residents and people in solidarity, who put in collective efforts to regenerate the park, planting 150 new trees and shrubs, and transformed it once again into an open public green space and a focal point of social struggle.
Six years after the park was destroyed, and despite the systematic machinations of the municipal authority and the state, we continue to resist in a collective, self-organised, anti-institutionalised and self-determined manner against its commercialisation, ghettoisation and antisocial use, and we keep defending its open, social character.
Nowadays, when the largest part of society suffers the consequences of an all-out attack by the state and the bosses, we continue to defend every focus of resistance against poverty, fear, exploitation, racism and repression, for a society of equality, solidarity and freedom.
On Saturday, nearly 6,000 protesters marched in the city centre of Berlin during the annual demo in remembrance of comrade Silvio Meier, who was killed by neo-Nazis in 1992. However, on the same day, approximately 150 thugs from the neo-Nazi scene held a rally in one of their strongholds, Schöneweide, against asylum seekers and a recent attack on a prominent Nazi (Björn Wild, who was beaten up by antifas on the street). The fascists waved Greek and Golden Dawn flags next to other nationalist emblems. The antifascist counter-demo on location was rather small in numbers.
In Berlin, the refugee camp at Oranienplatz has been in imminent danger of eviction already since late November 2013. Refugees and people in solidarity are determined to keep the square as the basis of their struggle against the German asylum policy. However, Kreuzberg mayor Monika Herrmann of the Green Party (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) asked the cops to prepare a raid on the entire camp. She also stated that leftist radicals try to take advantage of the situation… Following these developments, heavy police violence was unleashed at Orienplatz, however activists counterattacked on many occasions.
The refugee camp at Oranienplatz exists for over a year now, and is a point of exchange between residents of Kreuzberg and refugees. There were several political attempts to end this square occupation, with subsequent police attacks. In summer of 2013, there was even a racist knife attack on a participant in the protest camp. The camp began after people in isolation camps, trapped by the restrictive German residency laws, broke out in order to march to Berlin. Refugees have made the camp both a living space and a site of struggle, and have also occupied a nearby school building (that was previously unused), in order to have an inside space during the winter. Both the camp and the occupied school building had been given official “tolerance” by the supposedly pro-refugee Green Party government of the district, in the face of large-scale support. After a disused building in Wedding was offered as winter housing to the refugees by a charity group, the Greens took the opportunity to claim that both the camp and the school should be evicted. The eviction threat comes despite the fact that the building offered only has space for 80 people from the camp, not everyone, and that the residents of the camp made it clear that they have no desire to leave the central and visible location in Oranienplatz to be put away in a house located on the northern edges of the city. However the State is using the rhetoric of democracy and charity to make it seem as if they are helping the protesting refugees, even as they call the police to evict them.
On the night of the eviction attempt the camp at Oranienplatz released the following statement:
“Today 24/11 in the early evening the refugee camp was almost evacuated by the police. The district mayor – Monika Herrmann of the Greens – has ended the official tolerance of the protest camp and has asked the police for help with the eviction. Through a massive mobilization and a large crowd in solidarity at Oranienplatz, an eviction was able to be prevented for the moment. The district government and the police say that the eviction will take place neither tonight, nor tomorrow 25/11 in the early morning. But we cannot rely on that! It is clear that the camp is not protected anymore by the district and that the mayor is ready to destroy it. It is also clear that the camp is a disturbance to the government of Berlin. Even if the district government will not evict it, the mayor of Berlin might do it instead. Mrs. Herrmann was at the camp this afternoon and talked to refugees and supporters. She received the following information: The house that has been offered to some people of the camp as a replacement is only large enough for 80 people. At least 30 refugees returned to the camp because there was no room for them in that shelter. Additionally, some refugees have made clear since the beginning of the negotiations for a ‘replacement object’ that a replacement is not an option for them. Rather, they want to stay and protest at Oranienplatz until their demands (abolish restricted residency requirements, shut down isolation camps, and stop all deportations) are met. Even though the mayor already knew that a larger number of people want to, or have to, continue living at Oranienplatz, she called for a police action. The Green Party, which claims to act for the rights of refugees, has trampled on them in this case. Since the beginning of the negotiations, we have viewed the limited access to a replacement house as an attempt to separate us. Those who are responsible have been informed that it is not an option for some people to leave Oranienplatz. Mrs. Herrmann reacted with the accusation that the struggle of refugees in Berlin has been taken over by left-wing radicals and is being instrumentalized by them. Therefore she has denied the refugees the ability to act politically and in a self-determined manner, even though they have directed their criticism and their demands directly to her. She has also launched a media campaign to de-legitimize the protest. It is an often used procedure: divide and conquer – integrate those who are satisfiable with an emergency shelter for the winter, and deny and suppress those who attempt to change the system; those who fight for equal rights for everyone; those who have demonstrated for more than one year at Oranienplatz. (…) Mrs. Herrmann and all politicians should understand that it is the strength of the protest that refugees and supporters can come together. The protest camp breaks isolation. The demands for open borders and the right to asylum are not those of a small minority. They are unevictable, solidary, and international! (…) Viva la revolución! Viva el Orienplatz! Freedom of Movement for Everybody!”
When the word of the eviction spread, hundreds of supporters spontaneously mobilized to defend the camp and began arriving at Oranienplatz. The police backed down from the eviction, but those who had showed up to defend the camp launched a spontaneous demonstration through Kreuzberg. Between 500 and 600 people marched through the area and broke through police lines several times when the police attempted to stop the demonstration. As during the last several spontaneous demonstrations in Berlin, barricades were constructed as the demo passed through the neighbourhood. Eventually the cops, overwhelmed and facing kicks and punches from the crowd, used pepper spray heavily and at least 5 comrades were arrested and many injured. That night the nearby office of the Green Party was attacked with paint.
The same day, a solidarity demonstration took place in Frankfurt am Main with 80 participants, and in Leipzig a solidarity demo of more than 150 people took place.
Another, more pacified, demonstration of several hundred people took place in Berlin after the refugees gave a press conference declaring their intent to stay at Oranienplatz until their demands have been met: closing all isolation camps, stopping all deportations, the right to work in Germoney, and the abolition of restrictive residency laws. (Related announcement, from 29/11, here.)
Further solidarity actions took place in Frankfurt, where a demonstration of 100 marched to the local offices of the Green Party and the SPD (Social Democratic Party).
Over 250 people participated in an antiracist demonstration in Bochum. The march went through the inner city, where lots of people who were shopping on the Christmas market received flyers and listened to the speeches. In one speech, a refugee from Africa talked about the current situation in the camp in Heiligenhaus where she has to live. She thanked everybody for their support and invited people to come to the camp, take a look at her situation and to talk about how to organize the struggle in the future.
Red banner reads: “Borderless solidarity instead of narrowed nationalism”; white banner reads: “Our welfare is based on exploitation – Economic refugees welcome” (in response to a racist ‘argument’ claiming that most of the migrants are only seeking state welfare benefits, and naming them ‘economic refugees’). More pictures here.
This demonstration was called as a sign that the autonomous spectrum will never accept an eviction of the 24-year-long Rote Flora squat. However, the mobilization has had two other main reasons, too.
Gentrification in Hamburg, and other cities, is moving rapidly every day. In Hamburg’s district St. Pauli, the Senate wants to demolish the two Esso houses (named after the gas station on the main floor), home of over 100 people. Resistance within an initiative against the demolition of Esso houses has been diverse and strong.
The refugee struggle in Hamburg has been going on for many weeks (notes on the struggle here). Over 300 self-organized refugees keep fighting against the racial profiling and deportation threat. Numerous solidarity actions and demonstrations with thousands of participants, in solidarity with the Lampedusa refugee group, have taken place in Hamburg and beyond.
Now these struggles are coming together on the street for a large demonstration on the 21st of December 2013, to show that resistance against the Hamburg Senate politics can only intensify…
Shut down Fortress Europe! Right to stay for everyone!
No Border – No Nation!
Flyer in German here; call & flyer in English here: i, ii
If you’re planning to join the protest in Hamburg, and you need more info, please contact the Rote Flora squat at: flora-bleibt (at) nadir.org. If you’ll also need a place to sleep, please send an email to: schlafplatz2112 (at) riseup.net.
Demonstration in memory of Ramón Barrios and for all the kids who lose their lives in youth detention centres.
July 7th, 2013 at 6pm. From Ciudad de Los Ángeles to Agata Square. Metro: Ciudad de los Ángeles (line 3).
It’s been 2 years since the death of Ramón Barrios in the youth detention centre Teresa de Calcuta. Ramón Barrios was a kid from Villaverde (district in Southern Madrid) who was serving a sentence of 12 weekends for stealing whilst being underage. The second weekend, a psychologist from the centre went to his parents’ house to inform them of his death. Death due to cardiac arrest. The reason why? It’s unknown; he got anxious, he was restrained, and he died. It was in the morgue, when the make-up went away, that the signs of beating became visible.
Apparently, the circumstances in these prisons for children have changed significantly, as in the last few years several deaths and cases of abuse have been exposed, receiving much attention in the media. Nonetheless, the fact that the jailers are more careful when applying “restraint” methods, or that the judge pays “inspection” visits to the centres (generally, such as in the case of the juvenile judges in Valladolid, with previous notice given to the director of the centre) has not changed the fact that our kids are still locked up. They are serving sentences in prison, subjugated to the authority and impunity of those who are in charge of incarcerating and “reeducating” them.
That is why we want to remember Ramón with this demo, because his death was not just an “excess” of the application of a method, nor an error in the execution of the law of juvenile criminal responsibility, i.e. a law for children and adolescents below 18 years old. His death was the logical consequence of a society that locks its problems away, that looks away to avoid seeing that there are people, children among them, who are deprived of freedom. To remember Ramón is to remember that there are still young people locked up; it is to remember that the State robs us of our capacity to and possibility of managing our own lives and conflicts, and then locks us away. The State jails our children, our brothers and sisters, our comrades, our grandchildren, etc., stealing away their connections, affections, places, and lives.
We do not believe in their laws, nor in their Justice. The answer to the problems of our children is the answer to our own problems, those of our neighbourhoods and towns. The solution is not, neither can it be, prison at all. Prison is the solution for Power’s interests. Prisons, including those for children, worsens rootlessness, causes suffering and death, and perpetuates marginalization and exclusion.
They want to sweep the conflicts of society under the rug so they cannot be seen, to erase them, so that we do not think about the real problem and how to solve it for ourselves. They would love if no one ever talked about Ramón, that no one ever knew about a 19 year old kid who was serving a prison sentence and was beaten up to death. We will not let that happen; we will keep on fighting against them, against their prisons, and against their society. For Ramón, for us, for all the others.
Actually it was NOT totally unpredictable, but we somehow couldn’t see it was coming. What have people of Turkey being doing until this revolt? Students have beaten up the teachers who gave them grades lower than they deserved. People stabbed doctors who neglected their loved ones. They shot sergeants to run away, and deserted obligatory military service. They crashed police stations and beaten up abusive police officers. After courts gave their verdict, people gave a taste of their own verdict at the hallways of courts. Women brought their own justice to their violators. They committed suicides under the pressure of big exams, credit card debts…
Insurrection of individuals and revolutionary groups finally touched each other and got connected in Gezi Park Resistance (as of May 29 to date). So, we wanted to share some of our observations from behind the barricades with you:
• Roads were blocked, trunks and back seats are checked to see if they secretly sneak gas bombs to police. Because police used ambulances to sneak bombs, people carefully searched them; people stoned fire trucks because they were observed to be carrying water for the water cannons that put out fire barricades.
• ID checks for those who were suspected to be undercover police.
• CCTVs and cameras were dismantled and damaged.
• More than 40 outstanding barricades were set. Pavement stones, billboards, traffic signs, trash cans, whatever is in hand and lying around, were used.
• Banks, ATMs, billboards and bus stop advertisements were destroyed.
A few days ago, we received a letter from the court summoning us to a civil trial against the Expropriated Bank in the Gracia hood of Barcelona. We did not know that there was a civil process opened against our space (Banc Expropiat de Gràcia), and so we did not expect this letter. The oral hearing will take place next Tuesday, June 11th — that is, in less than two weeks.
Anyhow, we knew that this moment would come, because every squatted space must at some point face justice and the defense of private property. When we start to solve our problems by ourselves, when mutual support and self-organization motivate us, a cop or a judge will always knock on our door. This is why we refuse to just sit around doing nothing.
Walls across Attiki (Athens) and the city of Patras were pasted with 2,000 copies of this poster. The reason that kitchen and home delivery workers at ‘pizza fan’ stores (pizza franchise chain in Greece) made this flyposting was to speak about the death of Bulgarian-born Radka Nikolova at work in the Patras pizza fan store on Aghias Sofias street. Her death was largely and conveniently attributed to heart condition. However, the poster text describes the working conditions during the morning shift (i.e. when Radka lost her life).
Radka Nikolova, 38, was a kitchen worker in the pizza fan store in Patras. On Monday, January 14th, 2013 she was found dead at work, locked inside the store. Early estimates said the woman died due to heart failure. The story was covered up.
It is relatively known that a heart condition alone is not enough to cause someone’s death. But yes… with a job at pizza fan, our heart does not seem to last long enough.
As men and women employed in these stores, we have experienced first-hand what it means to work in the kitchen. Those of us who have worked Monday mornings for pizza fan know that one person bears an incredible workload. Too heavy deliveries of food products must all be placed in the freezers or refrigerators, supplies that often reach a weight of nearly half a ton. The store itself requires great preparation because it is left almost empty after the weekend, and additionally all spaces must be thoroughly cleaned. On top of all this, the worker has to run errands for the store’s supervisor on that day (i.e. accept deliveries, check the various products, sign paperwork, arrange payments, deal with bank deposits, pick up the phone that is incessantly ringing for different tasks). All the work is done by ONE person.
What’s more, the pressure from employers is equally unbearable. All this is often carried out under the eye of the bosses who monitor their entire store from their homes, through surveillance cameras, and make phone-calls to intervene with on-the-spot remarks.
At the time of her death in the workplace, Radka was probably an undeclared worker just like many of the workers in pizza fan chain stores.
Pizza fan is not the exception but the norm in catering businesses and restaurants as in many other sweatshops whose profits rely on our ever-tougher exploitation.
Demonstration on 27.4.2013, starting at 15.00 from Achidi-John-Platz, Rote Flora, in Hamburg
For the social uprising! Solidarity with self-organized struggles in Greece and worldwide! For the destruction of Power!
March against the economic crisis of the system, the rise of neo-fascism, the increased state repression, the eviction of squats and the crackdowns on migrants… but also in solidarity with self-organized struggles and attacks against the State, in solidarity with comrades who continue to fight by all means to destroy the civilization of Power.
We support self-organized projects, squats, imprisoned comrades, and the struggles against the State, Capital and every authority. When we look at Greece, what we share is the ideas against any form of domination as well as the passion for freedom. We want to break the monotony and oppressive normalcy that prevail in these parts, and fight together toward liberation from Power. Our purpose is not the sterile expression of solidarity with struggles taking place 2,000 km away from here. The enemy is common. Our aim is to attack structures that nourish this violent and decayed system; our aim is a social uprising that will overthrow the system.
The morning of the 28th of March, in the central part of the city of Gothenburg, a banner was posted at the entrance of a building where, among others, the Greek consulate of Sweden is located, as an action of solidarity to our comrades’ struggle but also as an attempt to diffuse information and resistance. The action was a result of our need to unite our voice with the voice of our comrades who give their everyday struggle in Greece.
We are going through a period characterized by repression at all levels as the selected policy response towards every form of reaction and every voice of resistance acting as opposition to the systemic deliberate decisions, which result to a further destruction of the economy and of the social fabric of the society. A period during which the attempts of misleading and manipulating coming from above lead to the isolation and to the targeting of any form of free will, expression of criticism and any consequent attempt to overthrow the existing political-economic structure. The suppression of autonomous spaces, the suppression of strikes, wanton arrests, the torture of political prisoners, the attempts to silence the free speech and culture, and the general targeting and vindictive practice hold by a fascist state – and its lackeys – against any form of resistance, only serve to rally us and our anger.
Self-organization is the only way we have; international solidarity is our only weapon.
The Self-Organised London (SOL) squatted social centre continues to resist eviction at Elephant and Castle despite a court of their Order awarding its corrupt owners a possession order three weeks ago.
In truth, the current occupiers never held any hope in the current State-Capital system to yield any justice to the local community, as the social elite push for more luxury homes for their own in the heart of London. To expect justice from a partnership which projects only to degrade everything public by converting it into a means for profit, which is the inherent desire of the ruling class in a world where the heads of the multinationals are the heads of State, is foolhardy indeed. And, like in Argentina, the majority of the population in the UK continues to live within the consumerist bubble without protesting, while people are being duped into the poverty of slavery by a lying Press which lives by the same axiom as the economists themselves. For the media, advertising is now the main form of revenue, and just take a look at any newspaper to see how many of these full-page spreads are occupied by multinationals. To think that any change will occur in these circumstances is foolish, so people sail on in the warm flow of ignorance towards a neo-feudalist State that destroys protest and manages dissent.
In this stale climate a war is declared against those whose only failing is to want the best future for themselves and their children. To appeal for change is against the interests of those in control, whose use of communication and transportation above board and below the table bribes and coercion leads to a situation of utter decline in the real standards of living and individual expression, to the extent people are not even living anymore but just existing as upholders of a system which seeks to exploit their labour and add to their frustration. This dissatisfaction is then redirected towards ethnic hatred of those below them on the social ladder, those who emancipate themselves from the conditions that strangle them in other countries and come to the wealthier States to do the same work for the same masters but at a higher rate and with less protest.
If and when a population comes to its senses it will realise that the only solution is self-organisation through structures created and organised by themselves for themselves, which is the principle promulgated by protest itself, where those who are directly influenced by certain measures take direct action to solve their individual situations. The only problem with reformist protest is that it directs discontent to those who are supposed to represent them, individuals whose interest is purely to protect their own —the ruling millionaire elite. This process is thus self-defeating and leads to a disempowerment, which results in acceptance of the social condition as a result of an inability to understand where to go next.
At this late stage of the democracy delusion, people are forced with the realisation that insurrection is their only option, but comfort and traditional faith in authority keeps them from taking that step. However, unknown even to them, this process is already being formulated in their minds, and only fear prevents them from them taking the necessary steps to connect actions to ideas, words to feelings and self-organisation to contemplation. This process can already be seen in the collapse of the democratic process as less than half of voters go to the polls, riots break out in even the most economically ‘advanced’ nation-states, and smaller groups go underground to fight those symbols of autocracy in individualised mutinies.
This can be the beginning of the end for a global system of control which holds that a minority knows the best for a majority, an incongruous principle which has only held true in the darkest of times. And the change cannot be held back by the media (misinformation), police (repression), or tradition (patriarchy). What we are all fighting against now is the myth that history repeats itself, a history which in effect is ‘theirstory’ and not ‘ourstory’, that everything is cyclical because it is in fact linear and shows a past which is in fact far from glorious, but is littered with oppression and domination. Whether it is the idea that women are inferior to men because they are generally physically weaker, or that white people are superior to other races because they crushed others by their self-machinated violence, or that heterosexuals are superior to homosexuals because they have standardised structures to dominate their partners, what we realise is that they only allow us to express ourselves when they can find a reason to regulate us, to control our discoveries and logic, to condition our freedom and imprison us in statutory boxes, which have been well-labelled and identified and which they know we will not escape from.
The current social and economic situation is another box and we have to be able to identify those sides of our boxes, those walls that contain us and know how to break them, realise that they are only there when we hold on to them with our fears and insecurities, and that our rage for justice and equality is greater than their prison. Now more than ever logic is on our sides, as billions are passed around between the elite while they place us at the bottom of the scale and do not give us even to eat.
How much longer before we wake up to this injustice, to this wholesale sellout of our individuality, to the branding of our discomfort, to the distaste of being seen as mere terrorists for speaking the truths we inherently understand and feel, when they terrorise with their irrationality on a daily basis? How much longer before we turn their control into smithereens and their love for domination into the fuel for our fires which burn in our hearts crying out for the dreams which embolden us into a future without State, without authoritarian scientifically justified domination, so that we can free ourselves from the oppression that they think we will take for the rest of our natural lives?
Meanwhile, we at the SOL and other such projects around the world, from Athens to Santiago, from Berlin to Buenos Aires, from Cairo to Amsterdam, will push forwards toward the future we know we can create and realise, as only these feelings of freedom will ever inspire us to live this dreary life day in day out and reinforce these dreams with direct action and constructive rational thought.
FOR FREEDOM! FOR ANARCHY! For the end to slavery, and complete self-organisation!
OUR SILENCE… THEIR GOLD: Video of the Open Coordinative of Thessaloniki against the goldminesthat was first screened in an event of counter-information at Aristotelous Square in the city of Thessaloniki (April 26, 2012) —press cc button to enable English subtitles (trans. by Contra Info)
In the first week of February 2013, 245 prisoners in Saluzzo decided to release an open letter reporting the abuses, ill-treatment and penalties to which they are subjected on a daily basis. The lack of food, heat and basic necessities, the denial of benefits and alternative measures, the exploitation through prison labour, and a general state of abandonment and misery characterize each structure of the Italian detention apparatus, but in that of Saluzzo prisoners decided to make themselves heard collectively. They did this by writing and addressing directly to comrades, who indeed responded with a gathering scheduled for February 16th.
Meanwhile, solidarians learned that Maurizio Alfieri (prisoner in struggle and one of the promoters of the 245 prisoners’ joint declaration) had been transferred a few days earlier from Saluzzo to the prison of Terni, in Umbria. From one prison to another, Maurizio has never stopped combating abuse and violence, promoting the self-organization of prisoners and breaking the murderous silence that surrounds the prison system. Whether this transfer was intended as retaliation against him or as an attempt to hinder solidarity expression with dignified prisoners, the first obvious response of supporters was their presence outside the walls of Saluzzo just as planned.
On the afternoon of Saturday, February 16th, nearly seventy enemies of every prison, who came from different parts of northern Italy, found themselves in a muddy field next to the prison, while repression troops were deployed on the entrance side. Radio Blackout 105.250FM transmitted the action from the ground.
For over two hours, comrades carried out a sound-system intervention and then started exchanging wild screams with the prisoners. The answer from inside was strong and loud: men were banging things, chanting along with the protesters, sharing their laughter and cries of rage, while lights were turned on and off to the music beat, and pieces of paper were set on fire from several cells, making this gathering a true moment of closeness.
Later on, a group of supporters decided to leave their mark by opening a hole in the prison fence. Fireworks lit up the sky and targeted the watchtower of the torturers who guard these walls, provoking the use of some tear gas by anti-riot squadrons that were lined up outside.
Before leaving, an inscription about three meters high and ten meters long, made out of welded metal rods and cloth soaked in gasoline, was set on fire so that the prisoners could read a simple message: FREEDOM.
Let’s get together this Sunday, January 6th, from 12pm at the Children’s Space in PIKPA squat, which is located on Timodimou and Antoniadou streets (in the vicinity of ‘Asyrmatos’) in the neighbourhood of Ano Petralona.
We want to have fun playing games and making children’s constructions. Later, we would like to cook and eat all together, and if the weather is good we can enjoy a short walk on Filopappou Hill. Most of all, we want to discuss with each other so that both kids and adults can share our desires and see how we can meet our needs collectively and creatively. Finally, let’s propose and organize further activities for the Children’s Space this year.
Main text for the demonstration in solidarity with squats, which was held on 1.12.2012 on the streets of downtown Athens, starting from Victoria square:
KEEP YOUR HANDS AWAY FROM THE SQUATS SOLIDARITY TO SQUATS AND SELF-ORGANIZED SOCIAL CENTRES
In a legality that is plundering our lives, we remain clusters of illegality.
Squats and self-organized social centres are parts of the liberated timespace. They are utopian cracks in the midst of a process of social desolation that the dominators are trying to impose. They are social bulwarks against fascism. Within them they harbor the seed of subversion. In these spaces we experiment with the structures that we dream about. We try to promote the anti-commercial and self-organized expression through gigs and theatre performances. We create zones of counter-information through radio stations and internet projects. We develop the collective self-education with open-for-all lessons. We develop social solidarity with infirmaries and collective kitchens. In this way we are slowly trying, in every city and neighbourhood, to create and promote the kind of relationships and ideas that will overthrow this reign of slavery that has been imposed upon us.
The suppression of Delta squat (in Thessaloniki), plus the attacks against self-organized projects throughout Greece (e.g. Draka squat in Corfu, Apertus squat in Agrinio, Aphroditis 8 occupied social centre in Veria)—and it makes no difference at all whether the attacks are part of the official government line or part of the paramilitary organizations’ activities—are just another addition to the long list of assaults against society, the crowning points being the anti-labour and anti-social measures that they have been enforcing these past few years. The continuous and exemplary attack of the State and the Capital against all those who resist has as its target the terrorization and the end of every subversive practice and voice. By using as their weaponry disorientation and fear, they are trying to transform us into tamed subjects, so that they’ll pave their way towards their goal, the totalitarian society.
coordination of squats, self-organized spaces and social centres of Athens, comrades
11 years of self-organized anti-commercial counter-information
We overthrow the communication structures of the existent
to open the way to a new society
On Saturday, December 1st, by 20.30pm, a DIY live concert will be held in the Polytechnic School (entrance from Stournari Street, Athens) for the financial aid of Athens IMC infrastructure. Bands that will be playing are the Lost Bodies, Antidrasi, Hot Trick, Grain, Speira, Propaganda and Hit&Rap.
Your factual support will enable our comrades from Athens IMC to keep the project alive and kicking!
Open Coordinative of Thessaloniki
against the goldmines
Here follows the callout for a demonstration and open assembly against the goldmines on the 24.11.2012 in the city of Thessaloniki:
‘The mines of Halkidiki are a golden opportunity that should not go wasted’
11.000.000 euro: The price that Hellas Gold paid to obtain the mining rights of an area of 317.000 acres in northern Halkidiki (also Chalkidike). The contract was signed with the Greek State after the intervention of Mr. Pachtas, the then under-secretary of Finance and now mayor of Aristoteles municipality. There was no competition prior to the contract. There was a direct commission instead to a company that had only been established two days before (a company with a stock capital of 60.000 euro!). Moreover, according to the terms of the contract, the company was exempt from any obligation regarding the reparations that were due because of the ecological damage that the Canadian TVX Gold had caused in the area (the latter company disappeared one night into thin air leaving 472 workers without pay; in total the company’s debt towards workers was 17 million euro).
95.700.000 euro: The profit that Leonidas Bobolas, Dimitrios Koutras and Frank Timiş (the main stockholders of Hellas Gold) made after they gradually broke the company in fragments and then sold them to the mother multinational European Goldfields.
408.000.000 euro: The market value of the mines according to the estimate that a global financial services firm gave six months after their signing over by the Greek State, which means that the value grew 37 times higher than the price paid. This did not stop the then government to subsidize Hellas Gold with 15.000.000 euro.
2.300.000.000 euro: Today’s value of the mines in the Toronto Stock Exchange, after the takeover of European Goldfields by Eldorado Gold Corporation, which now controls 95% of Hellas Gold shares. Eldorado Gold is a Canada-based multinational corporation and its main investors are funds and banks like J.P.Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
15.436.000.000 (!) euro: The value of the minerals that lie in the mines of Halkidiki.
On the morning of November 6th, 2012 three anarchist high-school students were taken into police custody in front of İsmail Erez Industrial Vocational High School in Istanbul, while they were passing out fliers against vocational training. Cops beat the three comrades and forced them into patrol cars.
In previous months, other comrades and students from the same school were assaulted by the police because they organized a boycott of the school canteen by establishing their own solidarity tables: they brought food from home to share with friends and schoolmates, thus protesting against the school administration over price increases.
The popular assembly of Petralona–Thissio–Koukaki stands as a collective activity since November 2002. After several interruptions throughout a journey of 10 years, in which we have dealt with various different matters, the assembly’s participants continue to meet, discuss, decide and act to date.
In these 10 years, we managed to resist and overthrow plans of the local and central administrative authority regarding smaller and bigger issues concerning our everyday lives, because some people always insisted on deciding for us without us.
The slogan ‘we take our lives in our hands’ took shape in different popular assemblies, depending on the thematic each time. We thus carried out interventions and actions that enabled us to prevent the commercialization and fencing of Filopappou Hill with railings (that was our first open popular assembly on November 3rd, 2002), we took action against the Sisser–Palco factory closure (it was our first popular assembly in a working area, in May 2003), we opposed to the installation of mobile phone masts and their effects on our health, we achieved the creation of the public park in the former Korean Market. We objected to the commercial ‘development’ that is taking place with all kind of night bars in Ano Petralona and Thissio, we protested against fare hikes claiming free public transport, we canceled the controlled parking system in Thissio. We took to the streets during the December 2008 revolt that broke out after the assassination of Alexis Grigoropoulos; we participated and co-organized a series of protests against the murderous attack on our immigrant neighbour and syndicalist worker Konstantina Kuneva.
On the occasion of the memoranda and plans of the IMF/ECB/EU Troika and its governmental partners, ever since the summer of 2011—and the period of the ‘indignants’—the residents’ assembly of Petralona–Thissio–Koukaki has come on strong with numerous actions at the local level, and has also taken part in the strike demonstrations in central Athens, always trying to re-determine the cause of its existence and keep up the fight.
In an attempt to face the increasing problems associated with food and health the assembly has been working in task groups that contributed to the operation of the ‘Social Space for Health’ since October 2011 in PIKPA squat (in the vicinity of ‘Asyrmatos’ in Ano Petralona), as well as the ‘Collective Space for Food’ since April 2012 in Ano Petralona.
Ten Years of Popular Assemblies and Self-organization in Petralona, Thissio and Koukaki
Image on the left: Residents and supporters demolish railings that separated ‘threes from other trees’ on Filopappou Hill in January 2003; several residents faced prosecution ever since these protests.
Image on the right: People’s assembly in April 2005 in front of the old vegetable market opposite of Gazi, formerly known as the ‘Korean Market’; a space of more than ten hectares which the Greek authorities were committed to expropriate, but intended to leave its expropriation incomplete so that owners would eventually sell off to corporations instead; however, residents managed to reclaim the space with a series of self-organized protests, until it finally became a park open to the public.
Documentary Screening & Discussion: The struggle of residents for free spaces on Filopappou Hill and in the Korean Market
Friday, November 2nd, 2012, at 20.00pm in the assembly’s Collective Space for Food, where people’s kitchens are regularly held. The space is located on Dorieon and Tantalou streets in Ano Petralona (very close to the metro station).
Although this call concerns a party at a local level, this sort of initiative can give an example of self-organization, especially in what concerns free radio stations and necessary infrastructure:
After years of self-improvement, ‘Radiozones of Subversive Expression’ (broadcasting on both 93.8fm and 98.0fm) aspire to advance our technical level concerning sound quality, audio recording, live streaming and, naturally, to increase our fm range.
Now that we’re transmitting on two different frequencies and maintaining two studios, the replacement and upgrading of our technical equipment becomes an even more difficult task. For this reason, we invite you on Friday, September 21st, to the radio station’s party at Lycabettus Hill ‘rooftop’ to exchange ideas about ways of factual participation in the radio station, but also to play the music we love.
Apart from financial aid, you are invited to bring any technical equipment you wish to offer us, from audio devices, PA systems, computer parts and radio broadcast equipment, to any sort of tools and material.
You try to bury it… but you forget that it’s a seed.
Counter-information cannot be silenced.
September 21st, Lycabettus Hill ‘rooftop’: Party of financial aid for upgrading the radio station’s technical equipment. We welcome any contribution of radio/audio and stockroom equipment (pc components, headsets, amplifiers, loudspeakers, microphones, etc.).
Greece’s private sector union GSEE called for a 24hour general strike against the upcoming devastating interventions [sic] of the government and the EU/ECB/IMF Troika in labour and social security issues. The public sector union ADEDY will also participate in the strike on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012.
Day by day the people’s psychological and physical misery grows, labour conditions and unemployment get even worse, and all this time the sold-out, bureaucratic syndicalism loyally serves the employers’ interests. It now seems that GSEE and ADEDY try to keep up appearances.
Let’s make the first post-election general strike and the demonstration in central Athens a beginning for the self-organization of people through grassroots unions and self-managed struggles. The yellow, collaborationist unionists and politicians will receive our response in the streets.
Next September 12th, the trial against the comrades known as “The roof 11” will take place in Zaragoza. These 11 people, on the day of the eviction of the CSO (Squatted Social Center) Kike Mur, went up to the roof and resisted there until police came up there to take them down; whilst in the streets, police violence was delighting in tormenting defenceless neighbours who were demanding the permanence of the space. Only three days after the eviction took place, the neighborhood of Torrero had given a joint impressive answer, in which every hit the streets to show their rejection to the eviction of the space, located in the old building of the Torrero prison, and named after the famous prisoner who passed away there. After the demonstration finished, the comrades, feeling strong, went back and re-squatted the space (despite the metal plates put there by the municipality), and police, overwhelmed by the supporting and resisting neighbours, did not have any other choice but to leave the place in humiliation, while the CSO Kike Mur was re-opened for more political activism (further info, in Spanish, onvozcomoarma).
Now, those 11 people arrested on the roof are facing a trial under charges of misappropriation of property corresponding to the Torrero prison, but we affirm the opposite saying that the council have been bribed to take us to court and they now claim to each of them a fine of 20,000 bucks.
In the frame of the solidarity campaign with these 11 people, there are the following calls:
Saturday, September 8th:
Demonstration in support of squatting. It will start at 7pm (GMT+1) from Sasera Square.
Wednesday, September 12th:
Trial Day. A protest gathering has been called, outside the Courts in Pilar Square at 09.30 am.
For all the folks from outside of Zaragoza who would like to attend, the CSO Kike Mur offers accommodation. However, the space is limited so, in case you would like to be present to support, it would be better if you contacted the comrades beforehand, in order to confirm the date when you will arrive and how many people will go with you or if you are going alone.
The squatted social center is located in the Memory Square, in the city of Zaragoza.
Furthermore, if you cannot attend, it would be nice if gatherings or demonstrations were held in your own cities to show solidarity, as well as carrying out individual solidarity actions.
In mid July we heard from the TV news bulletins that the police have arrested three correctional officers in Trikala prison on charges of importing drugs and other hard-to-find staples into prison. We are shocked by the lack of esprit de corps in the police force and particularly those police officers that cynically arrested their colleagues, without reflecting on the difficult and dangerous work they are asked to carry out… Without any shame, they arrested these beacons of policing heroism that daily come in contact with dangerous prisoners while leaving their sweet family’s warmth whenever it’s their shift. Caring with such zeal for the smooth operation of their prison… Struggling for survival to raise their kids, to pay tuition fees, loans, installments for the new car they bought to show off to their colleagues. Especially at a time when crisis has reduced wages, allowances for dangerous and unhealthy work, at a time when reserve employment is lurking around the corner…
But the joke goes blunt at this point.
The fact that once again the police stages a spectacular performance under the anti-terrorist law (or criminal organization act) is not something new; on the contrary, once again it confirms what has been written long ago by radical circles, i.e. that all kinds of “anti-terrorist” laws are made for widespread use. Nevertheless, the content of this performance presents a good opportunity to document what everyone suspects (except of course the constantly shocked parrots of the mass media), and this has its value, especially regarding the matter’s implications.
Prison is a first-class business for the administration (or prison service) and the inmates who collaborate with them.
Whilst prisoners are humiliated, beaten, and spend time in disciplinary isolation, the above-suspicion humanguards who impose these measures make a fortune by trafficking objects that they claim they are trying to prevent from entering the prison. It is also common knowledge that the harder the prohibition is, the bigger the gains are for those who have their way to override it.
With a large number of prisoners addicted to drugs before their imprisonment and even more inmates becoming addicted after confinement, the profits of drug trading in prisons are enormous. When Aravantinos, known as the padrino of humanguards, states that “to serve the needs of Koridallos prison a kilo of smack is needed daily”, it is easy to realize that we are talking of an approximately turnover of 200,000 euros. Daily.
And that’s just Koridallos prison, and it concerns smack only (preza, for heroin in Greek). As Koridallos prison has only 20% of the country’s prisoner population and a mobile phone fetches 2,000 to 3,000 euros, it is easy to deduct that we’re talking of a market worth millions.
Obviously, such quantities of drugs and other “commodities” are practically impossible to be imported by inmates. Besides, the arrests of humanguards with large quantities of drugs and mobile phones speak for themselves. The “correctional officers” that have occasionally been arrested, held quantities of pills, smack or cocaine, far beyond the capacity any prisoner has to smuggle in one pass. In 2011, at the beginning of May in Nea Alikarnassos prison (on Crete Island), a humanguard was arrested inside the prison with 250g of smack, 50g of cocaine, 50g of hashish, 30 Subutex pills, 4 mobile phones and 30 SIM cards. Later that same year, in July, in Patras, another humanguard was caught with 100g of smack. In April 2012, in Malandrino prison, another humanguard was caught with 213gr of smack and 2 mobile phones. And of course now in Trikala, with Papaioannou (one of the three accused humanguards) cynically admitting that in less than a year he smuggled “only” 2 kilos of smack and “some” mobile phones while he is accused of smuggling 6 kilos and 500 mobile phones. It goes without saying that we could not forget the resounding and notorious cases of Fotakis and Aravantinos, with 2 kilos and 800g of smack respectively, found in Koridallos prison safe.
Of course, no chief humanguard, deputy humanguard, low ranking humanguard or indeed anyone else from the prison staff indicted needs to worry much. History has shown that Justice, the patron and feeder of the prison system, is perfectly generous to its children gone astray.
If not acquitted during preliminary proceedings or at first instance, the penalties imposed on them are much lighter than those imposed on prisoners for much smaller quantities of drug abuse.
The aforementioned humanguard who was arrested inside Alikarnassos prison walls “got” 15 years’ imprisonment at first instance, and his sentence will undoubtedly go much lower on appeal. By 1994 the warden Fotakis, who was caught with 2 kilos, served just 3.5 years of his prison sentence, while in 1996 the ubiquitous Aravantinos for 800g was incarcerated for 6 months and was finally acquitted by decree. For four simultaneous deaths from heroin in Koridallos women’s prison in 2002, the director was sentenced to 8 months’ imprisonment while the warden got 1 year of unpaid leave. It goes without saying that, even if humanguards are imprisoned, their colleagues provide for their wellbeing in special conditions, which among other things means protection from any “warm hospitality” possibly afforded by other inmates. Continue reading Greek prisons: On the occasion of recent events in Trikala prison→