International call for solidarity actions – 13th-17th April 2015 Against repression at the University of Quebec (UQAM) and everywhere
On March 21st 2015, students from Quebec (Canada) launched a political strike against austerity measures and hydrocarbon extraction. Our social movement takes place in the context of generalised repression, where demonstrations are forbidden and brutally clamped down upon through various municipal by-laws. Thousands of people have thus been arrested in the last three years, receiving $640 of fines for the luckiest and criminal charges for the rest.
For weeks now we have been confronted with even greater repression, inside the walls of our university. The movement as a whole has shown great courage, responding blow for blow to this repression, but now we need your help.
These last days a sequence of events has weighed us down:
– At the end of March, nine students were summoned from UQAM’s executive counsel. Without the possibility of any appeal, and bypassing normal procedures, these students are threatened with the university’s most severe sanction: their definitive expulsion. In some cases, they are accused of acts that go back to winter 2013.
– UQAM has ordered a court injunction forbidding us to prevent courses from being held, as well as ANY activity related to the strike.
– On April 8th, after students had interrupted courses, UQAM’s administration called the police, who arrested 21 people inside the university. They are now forbidden from approaching the university and also face criminal charges.
In reaction to all this, since April 8th, general assemblies from various departments have decided to continue the general strike, adding these demands:
To cancel the court injunction and of the judicial repression of the social movement.
To forbid police on campus
To abandon prosecution against the nine political expulsions
We need your help!
This is a call for an international week of solidarity actions from April 13th-17th 2015. Our university, UQAM, cares a lot for its public image, so we invite you to take action, to the extent of your means and possibilities.
Whatever you plan to do, don’t hesitate to recount your events, by writing to us at the following address: solidariteactionuqam[at]gmail.com Against repression, by all means necessary!
Signed: Students and student employees from UQAM
Student problems as such, as specific problems, don’t exist. Problems that students have are closely related to the totality of society, that is, the totality of what represents the life of every student. Inability to pay tuition is not only caused by (ever increasing) amount of university fees, but also by other processes within society of which we are passive observers: privatization and mass layoffs, terror of the market and exploitation which also manages university reforms. In short, by the totality of our miserable lives.
In such a context, the context of the totality of our lives, the idea that one can be apolitical is idiotic.
This idiotic idea is based on “real” (miserable) demands that the student movement delivers.
Such demands, entirely student-specific, aren’t understandable to the rest of society and cannot serve as a basis for connecting with other parts of society, though the causes of the problems which “others” face (so also “students” themselves in other non-student related functions, that is, in the totality of their lives) have the same roots as the causes of “student” problems.
If we would stay within “politics of demand” and narrow student identity, and at the same time decide to radically (at root) look at the problem, we would come to the conclusion that the only rational demand is: gratis and free education.
Probably it is immediately obvious that fulfillment of such demands are not realistic. So much the worse for the reality.
During the occupation of the faculty in 2006, when a student was asked what he thought about the current situation in the faculty, he answered: “For the first time I feel as if this is our space. Suddenly, the atmosphere in the building is completely changed and now I really enjoy dwelling here.”
Faculty occupation is a limited and temporary breaking with the imposed reality; such experience is in itself liberating and can become contagious. The essence is exactly in the experience of that break, and not in adapting to the imposed reality through realistic demands.
If this experience and its contagiousness is understood as the primary goal, then whether the struggle is formulated through the “maximalist” demand for free education, or heads towards its logical consequences and gives up demands as such, becomes secondary.
Rather than pleading for free education (to say nothing of current miserable demands), isn’t it more logical to start from a different consideration of the already existing practices at previous occupations? Since the occupation of 2011, students in the occupied Faculty of Philosophy organise discussions and lectures themselves. What is this then? Is it not perhaps free education? And what we as free people, autonomously, bring back to the faculty ignoring the reality that convinces us this is impossible?
Isn’t that a good start? Sufficient to convince us we have more strength and autonomy than we realize?
Furthermore, isn’t this the free education that students proclaimed at the occupied faculty, a good basis to look at the root of the problems in our miserable lives, to talk with other people and hear about their struggles, and thus to work on strengthening and better connecting on the basis of solidarity and mutual aid? And all of that while the bureaucrats and politicians are shocked at the “frivolousness” of students who do not demand anything? Nothing other than the total transformation of life.
A good start?
Unfortunately, for now we must put aside the first part: those who are always willing to see things “realistically” and adjust at any cost to this miserable reality imposed on us problems so miserable, that until yesterday we considered them unexpected, if not impossible.
Something disgusting happened. At the student assembly, Nazis declare love to the student movement, distance themselves from previous attacks and promise to join the protest in a dignified manner. And then the greatest disgrace in the history of the students of the Faculty of Philosophy: applause by the student assembly.
With the student assembly as it is, even the nationalist-Stalinist organisation of NKPJ/SKOJ/SF (New Communist Party of Yugoslavia/League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia/Student front) seems almost as antifascist.
Of course, this unspeakable abomination didn’t just “happen”. It was preceded and directly caused by an atmosphere which was nurtured. And that’s the atmosphere of apoliticism and realism. An atmosphere of conformism and gutlessness of good children.
This atmosphere was in good part contributed by the most opportunistic parts of Belgrade student Left, primarily members of the CDA (Centar za društvenu analizu/Centre for social analysis) and people close to them.
From before, this group of apologists for nationalism and fascism perceives every critique of nationalism and fascism as a “liberal story” of the 90s, and de facto rejects critiques of nationalism and fascism as such.
After this disgusting episode, which unfortunately we cannot call an incident as it passed in an atmosphere of poignant love, some members of the CDA state that they are even willing to cooperate with Nazis “on anti-capitalism,” although they “don’t like it (fascism) so much.”
Anti-capitalism which is not antifascist and antipatriarchal can only produce a society worse than the existing one.
However, this cannot be a surprise, because previously “moderate” fascists from Dveri were also welcomed in the “blockades”.
Such a high amount of conformism and opportunism was unable to produce anything else: at the root of every dominance of fascism lies the spinelessness of those who don’t oppose it.
People were trained in this spinelessness and conformity from before, not only through a “realistic” perspective but also (since the 2011 occupation) by withdrawing and condoning a bully (former anarcho-syndicalist, now Stalinist) who was prepared to harass those he perceived as weaker than himself, but ran away from Nazis and locked himself in the amphitheatre. The student assembly, who bent the spine before him, can easily do the same before Nazis. The mechanism is the same.
A result of the aforementioned apoliticalness was the fact that other students behave similarly during Nazi attack. Establishing a community based on solidarity and resisting attack still require taking a clear stand beforehand.
Another cause can be found in the emptying of “direct democracy” and “self-organisation” of radical content, which is a global trend. Thus fetishized “self-organization” makes it possible to enter the “direct democratic process” with those who argue against Belgrade’s “gypsysation” (“ciganizacija”) and those who organise protests against asylum seekers and “sexual deviants”.
From all the above we think it follows that it’s necessary to dismantle this attempted student protest.
Efforts must be established on new grounds that include abandoning imposed student identity and egotistical self-infatuation of students, as well as apolitical conformism and real demands.
The essence of the problems in our lives must also be viewed radically, that is, at root, starting from a criticism of exploitation, capitalism, patriarchy and the State.
Based on the principles of solidarity and mutual aid, and with mandatory active rejection of fascism and all of its derivatives and constituent elements.
First of all, it’s necessary to grow a spine. And wipe the shitty student ass.
Finally, the most radical act is to bring into question one’s own position and role in the system of reproduction of this miserable life.
A few years ago, in one of the student protests, an old man approached an anarchist who carried a banner reading “Down with tuitions” and cheerfully said: “No kids, not down with tuitions… Down with the schools!”
Nina Simonović, Milka Radić, Pavle Dimitrijević October 2014
In an attempt to implement its plan for the fascistization of society and the imposition of modern totalitarianism, the State has repressed and continues to repress every struggling sector of society, and every form of resistance, opting to unleash a crackdown also on students from the beginning of the school year.
Carrying an official document issued by the Attica General Police Directorate, police officers across the country arrested students who participated in occupations of schools, and sent the detainees to investigating judges. Students from the high schools of Keratsini (Piraeus), Igoumenitsa, Lamia, Volos and other regions were brought before an interrogator to be questioned regarding their involvement in the “criminal act” of occupation. We are witnessing a great effort on the part of the State to suppress the student movement that nowadays acquires more antiauthoritarian characteristics. The blunt repression against the student march on the 6th of December 2013, when arrests and detentions occurred randomly, the extensive use of tear gas and the brutal violence show that fear is on the opposite camp, and not among high-school students.
They want us to bow our head down to the new educational system, to constantly be in a classroom reading a school textbook. Our schoolrooms are similar to prison cells, surrounded by bars, each of them housing a huge number of students, in addition to the reduced number of teachers; these conditions form the backdrop of an already degraded education which is “donated” by the State. The exhausting school hours, the enforced private lessons outside of school, the sterile knowledge have turned our schools into factories of standardized people, already for so many years.
Authoritarians would like us to finish school having become slaves destined for the big bosses; without having a political point of view, nor being able to fight for our rights.
We fight for a school and a society without competitiveness, with structures of solidarity, equality and self-organization. We will constantly stand up against them, with occupations, demonstrations and clashes.
Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 at 7pm in Propylaea, Panepistimiou Street, Athens
Christmas at home, the fatherly home, as it is known, distinguishing the authority that gives name and meaning to things. I wake up with difficulty from mom’s entreaties, “to eat all together.” I also hear the grandfather’s voice from inside, so I know. I know precisely what I will face. I’ve lived it in almost identical manner as far as I can remember myself. I get out of bed, and indeed everything is as supposed to be: dad is well-dressed and receives greetings on the phone, mom is also well-dressed with the classic hairstyle for the holidays, and my siblings, rather wearily, gaze passively at the whole scene, apparently having the same feeling of tedious repetition. Guests are expected in the afternoon for dad’s name day, uncles and aunts, colleagues, friends, cousins and nephews. They all more or less share a performativity of the same class, they are heterosexual couples, the man wears shirt/tie, and the woman is dressed in suit or another women’s costume depending on the class position, education, etc., however they all look the same. If they have small children they may bring them along, too, so that guests can be in a silly, playful mood around them, and manifest just how much everyone loves them kids while they’re grownups themselves.
It is here that I grew up, within this much theatrical performativity of masculinity, in this realm of small property and coercive heterosexuality. Here everyone is “as they ought to be,” and they gather every so often throughout the year, as they’re about to do today, to confirm that they are “as they ought to be,” as the others: men, family leaders, with decent incomes, with “good children,” diligent, each of them with a good woman, housewife, mama. They may even discuss politics, and yet there won’t be much talking beyond what “the whole world” believes; that is, what’s reproduced on television. Basically what they’re going to say doesn’t matter so much, if they even have something to say doesn’t matter so much; what matters is to be there for the ritual, to reaffirm their position, their gendered-class position. That’s why my parents invite me extorsively in these circumstances; I must also undergo the control, and assure that I am one of them, that I am normal, educated, smart, formal, and a worthy member of (their) society. It doesn’t matter that my parents know I am not all too normal, the extended silent drama played ever since my adolescence for the fact that I am queer; nor the fact that they know my “extreme” politicization.
What really matters is the role I must perform in the specific place and time, that of the son, the student, the youth–future of the land, etc. And I say to myself, okay, I’ll perform the role in the least painful way for me, with proportionate cynicism: I do not have any respect towards my parents and their rituals but I depend on them financially, thus I simply follow the contract terms. On the other hand, I think they both have this cynicism on their mind, so it’s not like I’m doing something so terrible. What I mean to say is that masculinity, as an expression of one’s self, is not just the theatrical performativity of man but performativity in the sense that it constitutes a system of Power that goes far beyond mere intentions or instantaneous pressure valves. I was born and raised here, and I am also emotionally, rather than only economically, supplied from the here, and I am compelled to be the family’s son beyond the material bit. Even if I completely cut ties with the family, I will continue in one way or another to carry this self that was created here, and to judge things on the basis of my representations here. I think of all this somewhat tangled, somewhat differently every time I visit my parents. These rituals of identity confirmation, and hence material-emotional safety, attest precariousness and division at the same time, and I believe this characterizes my masculinity to a certain degree, as it has shaped itself in recent years, a constant feeling of rupture, and a discontinuous route through guilt, insecurities and various different unstable identifications.
Still feeling sleepy on my way to the toilet, I heard my mama talking about me on the phone, from what I found out later, to some female relative in another city. She spoke of me with pride, referring to my faculty performance, my skills. At that very moment I got that feeling again, I wanted to attack her, tell her to stop having hopes of me already, to stop being proud of anything that has to do with me. I wanted to tell her about the moments I’ve participated in anarchy, the vandalisms, the demonstrations, the December ’08 period, and the work of destruction in which I was morally and practically involved. I wanted to tell her that I get picked up in the parks and fucked with men that I don’t even know the first letter of their name, that I’m a lost body, and I’ve nothing of mine to make anyone proud. But I never said anything of the sort, and I went and sat down at the table to eat, “as it ought to be.” And this “defeat” was only partly a result of the emotional and material power of my family over me. It had much more to do with the fact that all the things that I wanted to project onto her are largely not a safe place for me, some place where I recognize myself steadily, but rather escapes from a warlike condition, and pressure valves. Situations where the ruler of regulatory masculinity is most often present, where tension towards the policing of heteronormativity is there and I just temporarily forget about it by drinking alcohol and losing myself into parties. I realized that beyond shocking my mom I did not have much to tell her, except what she more or less suspects already. My mom simply made use of my official, let’s say, masculinity, my identity not just as she would like it to be, but ultimately as it is. It may be that at times I perform the lost body and I don’t know what else, but faced with my parents, the university and the cops, I manifest the identity that says I’m the son of petty bourgeois people from the province, student, Greek, male. And these social data is regulating my social existence, the way I am recognized by others.
I come to this conclusion not (necessarily) to whip myself into shape but to raise the issue of politics. Starting from the assumption that gender is an almighty mechanism of Power, in the sense that the genderization process lasts for all our life, and in fact provides us the right to our life or not, I find it difficult to look down upon masculinity, from a completely external position, and therefore I go into the process of looking for it in my own experiences. To what I constantly tend to come, but try to avoid, is the conclusion that my identity is not continuous but rather fragmented in various different fields and slightly schizophrenic. I look at my training into a boy and the whole of class-national context, on the one hand, and the different social spectra with which I’ve come into contact after I left the parental home, on the other, and I can see that this training has been the most decisive for my social existence, since it constitutes the most regulating factor in the continuum of Power and surveillance to which I am subjected. It is neither the gay culture, in which I more or less partake, nor the student habits that ensure me an identity; these are factors that likely exist to help me escape from the weight of pressures. And I say this because I get incredibly pissed off at the dominant discourse of anything goes, where every white middle-class individual ensconced in their comfort zone proclaim themselves queer, or whatever works.
Nevertheless, social data does not remain steady, nor does the way we recognize and are recognized by others. And it is these relationships, the people I have met and known over the last years, the political processes and the movement’s becoming that produce shifts inside and outside of me, and are my “weapons” in this warlike condition against my petty bourgeois masculinity and what represents it.
Finally I want to say that, as much ambivalence and insecurity my return to the home where I grew up may cause in me, it can’t take away the hope given by relationships which help me to identify myself differently. Because our gender and our sexuality are produced by establishments of violence with extremely strong and deep regulatory force, however they are characterized by the same momentum that’s found in all human relations, the human condition. And I would like to hope that I will experience the happiness of days when I will not think at all about how much of a man I looked and if my mom truly loves me for what I do and for what I have (not) become…
 I add the class origin and social context of the province because I consider them contents of my gendered identity. Besides, I’ve heard from anarchists who defended an unacceptable homophobic band that “they are from the province these folks,” a phrase that attributed another dimension to their gendered identity, that of the young horny macho homophobes, and constituted a “mitigating factor.” This, of course, is a classic imaginary representation of the province as a haven of pure and innocent heterosexuality, where homophobia comes natural from within, or whatever.
Greek original text retrieved from Queericulum Vitae Qvzine.net, “Masculinities” #4, Athens, November 2010
In the night of August 13th, a ticker inspector inside a moving trolley bus pressured a 19-year-old to hand over his identity card and pay a fine for not having a ticket, threatening to take him to the nearest police station should he not comply with his authority. After some moments, the bus driver intervened in the argument in favor of the inspector. The passenger resisted the bullying, and there was a scuffle. Then suddenly, the bus door was opened and the young man either jumped off, or (more likely) was shoved out of the vehicle. He was fatally injured from the fall on a sidewalk. Despite the teen’s body lying on the ground covered in blood, the ticket collector went on threatening other passengers who were furious at what just happened, and he even demanded a woman be arrested by the cops.
The following is a communiqué by the open popular assembly in Peristeri district, where the deadly incident occurred:
Monday, 19 August 2013
The State, SS, cops, inspectors take someone’s life for a ticket.
On 14 August 2013, news of the death of Thanassis Kanaoutis caused a spontaneous gathering in Peristeri, where the tragic incident took place. The 19-year-old lost his life during inspection on a trolley bus of route 12, after he was bullied from a ticket inspector because he had no valid ticket —what resulted in the passenger’s fatal leap from the moving vehicle. People who gathered nearby, at Dimarchiou Square, decided to call for a protest march on the same day.
On 16 August 2013, the 19-year-old’s funeral took place at the Peristeri cemetery, and the ceremony soon became a protest in the neighbourhood. More than 2,000 people took to the streets shouting slogans, and factually showed their opposition to the plans of Domination seeking to turn the whole of society into an inspection camp, a jungle where even the loss of human life is treated as collateral damage.
After the burial ceremony, the gathered crowd returned to the place of the fatal incident. When the demonstration arrived in Dimarchiou Square, large numbers of protesters remained there. Approximately 200 people (most of them school students) continued to march toward the Aghios Antonios metro station, expressing their anger with direct actions, erecting barricades and setting dumpsters on fire. Continue reading Athens: Bus fare evader dead after scuffle with ticket inspector→
Finally the Brazilian metropolises are living the moments that they haven’t seen since long ago. Since the beginning of June 2013, hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of dozens of cities in the context of a struggle against a fare hike for public transit, as well as the devastating consequences of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.
The protests did not just emerge spontaneously, but are the fruit of a struggle that is nearly ten years old, from the massive demonstrations by the student movement against the fare hike in the bus system in the city of Salvador (in Bahia) in August and September of 2003 (also known as the Buzu Revolt) and the June 2004 protests, with the same goals, in the city of Florianópolis (known as the Tourniquet Revolt).
These 21st century revolts also have historical antecedents, assembled in the end of the 19th century with the popular revolt in Rio de Janeiro between 1879 and 1880 (the Vintém Revolt), when mules still powered the streetcars, or the Boats Revolt that took place on May 22nd, 1959, when the populace burned down buildings attached to the locks that allowed boats passage in the city of Niterói in Rio de Janeiro state, or the student strike of Fall 1979 in the city of São Luís (Maranhão state), which won a 50% reduction in tuition for the students.
The TV channel CNNtürk broadcasted a documentary about penguins at the same time that thousands of people were clashing out on the streets, so somebody made this video to mock them:
In the morning of June 3rd, after two days of heavy clashes in the district of Beşiktaş, police presence there was huge. Cops were deployed in Abbasağa Park and Dolmabahçe in huge numbers, and around the Beşiktaş Square in smaller groups.
In the afternoon, high school students were gathered in the entrance of Çarşı, all dressed in black in order to show their solidarity with Gezi Park resisters. They were chanting slogans, while police kept away from them. At about 9pm, people in all of the surrounding neighbourhoods appeared on windows of the houses and made noise with their metal pots and spoons, or whatever they were able to find to join the noise protest. This went on for maybe half an hour.
Thousands of people assembled in Taksim again, in the 6th day of the occupation of Taksim Gezi Park. Police forces were located on Dolmabahçe Gazhane Road, east of İnönü Stadium. Resisters on İnönü Road (Gümüşsuyu) built new barricades all the way down to the stadium. There were 7 to 8 barricades along that road. Clashes on this avenue continued for hours, starting in the evening and lasting till late at night. Repression squads were using tear gas of course, but this time it was heavier and denser, because even people far away from the area where the tear gas bombs fell were badly affected. Continue reading İstanbul: Reportback from Beşiktaş and Taksim→
My name is K.M., and I am a student in the first class of secondary school, at the 10th Lyceum in Drapetsona, Piraeus.
I decided to write this text because I wanted to express my outrage, my indignation, at the nerve and hypocrisy of those who govern us and all those journalists and the mainstream media who help them to impose their lawless and immoral plans at the expense of the pupils, the students, and the younger generation.
My reason for writing is the intention of my teachers to go on strike during the university entrance exam period, and the politicians and journalists who shed crocodile tears about my future, which is “at risk” because of this strike.
What are you saying? What kind of future do I have, because of you? And who is it who has really put my future at risk?
Let’s look at who has constructed the future, and all of our lives, for a very long time already:
– Who made the future for my grandfather? Who dressed his future with the cast-off clothes of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), and forced him to immigrate to Germany?
– Who has misgoverned and ripped off this entire country?
– Who has forced my mother to work from dawn till dusk, all for 530 euros a month? Money that, after paying food and bills, is not even enough for a new pair of shoes, let alone a book I might want from a flea market table.
The Greek Federation of Secondary Education State-School Teachers (OLME) proposed a 24hour strike for the 17th of May but also a 5day strike from the 20th to the 24th of May (first week of the nationwide university entrance examinations that take place at public secondary education schools). In response, the Greek government banned the workers from going on strike. On May 11th, the Prime Minister Antonis Samaras ordered the civil conscription of all the school teachers that are currently employed in the public sector. Nevertheless, teachers called the students and parents as well as all those in solidarity to support their strike actions.
On January 25th, 2013 in Witzenhausen, Germany, we organized a concert featuring the band Guts Pie Earshot in solidarity with squats under attack across Greece. We placed a banner in our self-managed student club which read: You can’t evict an idea. Hands off all squats. Solidarity to Villa Amalias, Skaramaga and LK37. Even though the town is small, by the end of the night we raised 835 euros which will be sent directly as financial support to the 152 comrades who were arrested during the recent evictions of squats in Athens. During the gig, we also shared a text explaining the facts of repression against Delta squat in Thessaloniki, as well as Villa Amalias, Skaramaga and Lelas Karagianni in Athens.
Revolutionary greetings to our comrades in Greece!
I know I owe you a lot. You gave birth to me, you fed and watered me, and you took care of my upbringing. You even loved me, too. Or at least you say you grew to love me. Because things are slightly different.
You brought me out in a world where you were forced to leave me somewhere each day, and run off to do your errands and your job. You gave birth to me, and then you always looked for a place to dumb me. You took me to school, and as if that weren’t enough, you took me to a bunch of tutorials and lessons, and planted in me the anxiety about my uncertain future. Since my future was so uncertain, since you have made even this planet such a dangerous place to be, why did you bring me out in this world then? What exactly is my life? Two hours of television and electronic games a day?
I wanna get to know of the world, to open wings to fly and see everything in just a brief moment. I wanna go out to meet with others, to play and have fun, to feel happy and not care whether tomorrow I’ll go to school without my homework done. I wanna dream of a world where they won’t be looking for a place to park me, where they won’t always have to work, where it won’t feel dangerous to meet other people, and the future will not frighten me, and there will neither be masters nor slaves.
I see your misery but I haven’t gotten used to it, and I don’t wanna get used to it. You will not bow my head just because you have bowed your head. I don’t wanna be the slave or the boss of anybody; I want you to leave me alone.
I’m not afraid of these watchdogs in uniform that you’re scared of. You see some order and security in them. Stop mocking me already, because I know very well that this order is hypocrisy; as for public safety, they themselves are the biggest danger.
They’re symbols of Power; of your own authority, the teachers’ authority, the politicians’ authority, of all the grownups living that way. You are the ones who learned to live like that, not me. If they wanna mess with me, they’ll have a rough time. They stand no chance against me, so they better bear that in mind. I am angry and dangerous. And we are many, we are everywhere, we can even be found in the homes of the murderers. Wherever they stand, they can’t hide from us. In one way or another we are the ones who will remain standing, not them.
Don’t be mad at me, I’m only doing what you taught me. You said that the uprising is bahalo, a mess and destruction. Now that I rise up, mess and destruction is what you’ll get.
I love you. In my own particular way, but I do love you.
However, I have to build my own world in order to live my life free, and to do that I must destroy your world. It’s the most important thing for me. To say it in your own words: this is my job.
Story of a clear defiance played out before our eyes. Esperanza, why are you hiding? (How direct action and struggle is the only way forward.)
September 3rd. Inaugural ceremony of the academic year at the School of Medicine of the Madrid Autonomous University (UAM). The ceremony is annually attended by a who’s who from every public university in Madrid, as well as many other important highly-placed political figures of the State. Esperanza Aguirre (president of the of the Madrid regional government) was scheduled to appear but, thanks to the pressure created, she did not dare to show her face.
Everything started in the morning, at 9am, as people met at the closest subway station, Begoña. From there, a large group headed to the faculty building; at the entrance we met more people, apparently, around 100 people. Banners were opened: “No to the privatization of health and education”, a couple with the signature of the unions CCOO-UGT (yellow unions) with slogans for public schooling, and another one breaking the mainstream thinking: “Burn politicians. Espe (for Esperanza Aguirre), don’t go away; Espe die”, carried by a group of comrades from different collectives brought together for the occasion.
The morning started quite oddly, it seemed that an “assembly” was being held, with a leader from the CCOO mainstream union at the UAM presenting his boring speech. At this point it was not clear whether we would enter the auditorium, but finally it was decided that we would enter “peacefully”. Is it pacific to attend an event to which you have not been invited in order to prevent it from taking place? Anyway…
The decision to go in was taken and there was no opposition from the security guards while two national policemen watched from inside the university premises but outside the aforementioned school. We passed through the doors into a corridor leading to the auditorium. People talked among themselves, but no slogans were chanted. Demonstrators dispersed among the attendees of their own accord, and a man in a suit asked:
—Will you let the act take place?
—No, I mean, if you won’t, I’m leaving.
—Then, you better go…
A few meters away, among all those people, a comrade made out Arturo Fernández (vice-president of the Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organizations, CEOE), one of the biggest and toughest businessmen in Spain. The comrade told his comrades about it, and the storm started with “Arturo, bastard!” repeatedly and catchily, followed by the classic: “Companies out of the university” or “The bosses only understand one language: boycott, strike and sabotage.” Arturo got the hell scared out of him and hurried to get shelter under lock and key in a near room. He would not attend the ceremony, the chair reserved for him remaining empty. For once, it was the businessman that got scared.
We were already inside, the whispering continued and the banners are unfurled again. We moved on to singing slogans: “Espe don’t go, Espe stay. Espe, just joking, Espe die”, “Politicians out of the university”, “Esperanza, get your veins cut”, “Our cuts will be done with a guillotine”, “Struggle is the only way”, and many pamphlets were thrown into the air… People wearing togas arrived (yes, with togas from two centuries ago, they call it progress…), and as they took their seats, the rectors got on the stage trying to get the ceremony started. As they tried. the crowd stood up raising red cards while screaming out many different things, slogans for the public schooling system, against privatization, against Esperanza Aguirre and the Rector and for an indefinite strike. The ceremony was totally chaotic with 70% of the people inside in favour of the protest. The henchmen of the Rector (Hi, Ossorio!) tried to calm us down, but their efforts were in vain.
The situation had got heated and we decided to advance, trying to get up to the stage with the banner. Bouncers got in our way, pushing and trying to attack us; one of them tried so hard that he tripped over himself and fell flat on his face, Fuck you asshole!. Due to this, the public’s answer was “Less repression and more education”, a show of support that pleasantly surprised us.
Time passed and the ceremony was cancelled – a small victory and a good way to start the academic year.
Let’s point out that during the ceremony, the hosts of the event on several occasion addressed the union leaders, claiming the demonstrators who were booing and hissing were “their people”; but the bureaucrat as usual, denied it,, and so was reproached again by our comrades. Then, he tried to rectify himself – they are such a pain! We are neither your people nor do we want to be, let’s make it clear! The thing is that the protest, the anger and the rage of people, as has become normal, exceeded the limits of reformist, subsidized unionism. Bravo to those people who fight.
It was a nice surprise to see people’s willingness to fight. Let’s point out that there were not only students present, as the official press says, there were many workers from universities and sabotaging the ceremony was an action by all of us. So, as you can see the academic year is starting off with a bang.
Struggle is the only way!
Long live those who fight!
Pamphlets distributed by the attending comrades:
Esperanza (a play of words is made here, since esperanza also means “hope” in Spanish) is coming to the University- Uncontrolled and ungovernable people from UAM (FEL UAM)
Aguirre Die!-Grupo Bandera Negra (FIJL)
This is a personal account, and tells how the ceremony was lived in the first person, since no articles “from inside” have been published and all of those online (even on counter-information sites) come from the mainstream media.
Since late July, Delta squat is being actively repressed by DEI (Public Power Corporation, PPC) that attempts to cut off the space’s electricity supply. The electric power company got the green light from the Alexandreio Technological Education Institute (ATEI) of Thessaloniki, which is the legal owner of the building (squatted for 5 years already).
This squat hosts an array of autonomous political projects that act aggressively towards the existing system of exploitation and try to contribute to individual and social liberation. CopyRiot is a self-organized printing infrastructure for the antagonist movement which aims to disseminate subversive discourse by all available means.
Clearly, every attack against Delta squat by whomsoever it comes (DEI – ATEI – the State) constitutes an attack on all active infrastructures involved in the squat and all those who are struggling. Therefore, our solidarity with Delta squat is more than obvious. We will fight anyone who’s moving aggressively against the squat and our struggles.
The State’s desire to suppress the squats and self-managed spaces, that are considered a threat and danger to its existence, has now been fulfilled by the Public Power Corporation and its intention to interrupt the power supply in the building of Delta squat.
It is no coincidence that this repressive strike in Thessaloniki took place after the recent invasion of cops in the anarchist hangout Nadir and Orfanotrofio squat, especially since there were no significant reactions after that operation. In other words, we’re experiencing the targeting of the anarchist movement and a widespread effort to take it down, especially during the summer, for obvious reasons.
Besides, the Public Power Corporation dares to sell a commodity that is essential for people’s survival and is willing to do everything to ensure the price. Being a state enterprise, it is able to understand that the cost of a squat’s electric bill debts is nothing compared to the cost of the State’s disorganization that any squat can primarily achieve. Because squats also host collectives that through self-management run buildings which some owners or state officials left blighted, and have turned them into bases of counter-information and, simultaneously, of active deeds for the destruction of all forms of Power and therefore of the State.
So, on the grounds that ‘the end justifies the means’, the State decided to interrupt the electricity supply, being under the illusion that this would interrupt the squat’s operation.
THE MORE THEY ATTACK US, THE MORE OUR RAGE GROWS Hands off all squats
For those who do not know us, we are the anti-authoritarian student group Skapoula from Cyprus, based in Nicosia. Our call is mainly addressed to similar student groups and undertakings in Greece, while we already made some contacts with school students from Turkey.
Our aim is on the one hand a more general networking with other struggling school students in our surrounding places, and one the other hand a coordination project concerning antimilitarism actions.
The army plays a comparable role in our lives, in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, and this summer we want to raise our voices together, also as a starting point for joint activities and struggles. We suggest writing a communiqué first, which will deal with army and nation from an anti-authoritarian/proletarian standpoint, and will be undersigned by student collectives and comrades school students from the three countries.
We are also open to any proposals for the coordination of antimilitarism actions to be held in June 2012 (or later on). An email has been sent to few student groups that we had in mind, but due to our limited contact we post this call here, too, to whom it may concern.
You may contact us at email@example.com
With comradely regards,
members of Skapoula
The group’s banner, above, reads: We are the flower that blossoms out of the Cypriot youth (after the 1990s slogan in Athens, ‘We are the flower that blossoms out of the Greek youth’) – You will not pluck us (where the acronym MMAD, a play of words in the Greek word for ‘pluck’, stands for the emergency response motorized unit of the Cypriot police).
Cops, fascists, plainclothes cops, racist civil servants, an impenetrable tangle of thugs make the everyday ‘life’ of immigrants who move in downtown Athens a living hell.
Here are, apparently, only a few of the facts that immigrants suffer every day, reported by their supporters:
– At the Attiki metro station, at around 6 every evening, cops, either in uniform or without, assisted also by pass controllers, ambush the immigrants who come out of the subway. They do not ask for their documents; they just immobilize them, search them, beat them up and steal what they find in their pockets. The same has happened at the Victoria metro station.
– At Larissis (or Larissa) central railway station in Athens, cops along with fascists beat any immigrant that they manage to isolate.
– The torture continues more methodical at the Aliens Police Directorate in Petrou Ralli Street, where immigrants — even those who have papers — are transferred after being caught in the neighbourhoods of Victoria Square and Attiki Square and in the wider area around Acharnon Street, after first being held in the dungeons of the notorious police department of Aghios Panteleimonas. At Petrou Ralli, the cops lock them up all together in one detention room and spray chemicals directly on the detainees, causing them suffocation, and at the same time they capture their torture with cell phone cameras. In addition, they keep people there for a whole day without giving them food, or the right to go to the bathroom, cursing them and threatening to kill them.
These are scattered testimonies — from the few who are disclosed — on the fascism which day by day is reinforced by cops, fascists, ministers, the mainstream media and mayors, as well as a large deadened part of society who watch this violence with indifference.
What are we waiting for?
In Zografou: Neo-Nazis storm the University of Athens, injuring students source occupied london
On Thursday, March 29, 2012, at approximately 13.30 GMT+2, a group of about 20 neo-Nazis — according to information received so far, aligned to ‘Chrissi Avgi/Golden Dawn’ and/or to the Greek-Cypriot fascist group ‘DRASIS-KES’ — entered the faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Athens main campus in the suburb of Zografou. (Some commentators on Indymedia Athens claim that the scum affiliate themselves solely with ‘DRASIS-KES’.)
The thugs injured at least three students. According to eyewitnesses, they had sticks, helmets and possibly axes. Students managed to group up quickly and to hold an antifascist demonstration of a few hundred, while the perpetrators of the attack had already disappeared from the scene.
The perpetrators seem to be aligned to ‘Neoi Orizontes/New Horizons’, a student neo-Nazi group linked with ‘DRASIS-KES’ and the old party of Antonis Samaras, who is today the leader of the right-wing party Nea Dimokratia that is participating in the governmental coalition of national unity… The little room that houses ‘New Horizons’ in the university was broken after a while.
In a remarkable twist of reality (even by their usual, low standards) many mainstream media outlets claim this neo-Nazi assault to be an attack by ‘hooded-up youths’ (kukulofori), with an indirect or even direct reference to anarchists.
Intervention in Egaleo from the self-managed hangout (steki) of the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Athens in solidarity with the four imprisoned comrades that were arrested during the February 12th demo
On February 29th, the self-managed hangout of TEI of Athens carried out a solidarity intervention for the four demonstrators who are held under pre-trial detention since February 12th.
Solidarity banners were placed outside the Egaleo metro station and at Iera Odos and Thivon crossroads. Also, flyers with slogans were thrown in central parts of the district.
The incarceration of protesters after a felony indictment, their pillorying through the release of their photos and details, as well as the police appeals for snitching consist the State’s effort to terrorize fighters.
Our response must be factual solidarity. No one must be left alone.
On Monday, February 27th, the prosecuting authorities of Rio de Janeiro attempted to intimidate activists associated with the wider social movement against the increase in public transportation fares. Specifically, political activists were summoned to appear in the 76th police department of Rio de Janeiro, after circulating a video via Internet which propagated the ideas of civil disobedience and rebellion as legitimate means of popular self-defense against the continuous abuse of their lives by the Brazilian State and the capitalist mafia that controls the public transit system, among many other sectors. What seems to have annoyed the authorities the most was the fact that the video contained footage from the historic ‘revolt of the boats’.
Revolta das Barcas was a popular uprising which occurred on May 22nd, 1959, after a strike of workers in the waterway transport service of the city of Niterói, state of Rio de Janeiro. At the time, well before the existence of the Rio–Niterói Bridge, the only transport service between Niterói (then state capital) and Rio de Janeiro (capital of Brazil) were these boats that carried approximately 100,000 passengers per day (nearly half Niterói population then). The rebellion, along with six dead and 118 wounded, resulted in the pillaging and burning of both the property and the residence of the family of businessmen who ran the service (the Grupo Carreteiro), and ended with federal intervention and state control of the boats. The same service has been privatized and run since February 1998 by a consortium of private companies, namely Barcas S/A.
In the morning of Monday, February 6th, a warning regarding police presence close to the main gate of the university campus mobilized the students’ movement and other supporters. It was the deadline for the repossession of the students’ autonomous space, known as Moradia Retomada (‘Retaken House’), located on the ground floor of the G block of the residential premises of the USP (CRUSP).
After series of human rights’ violations during the repossession of the occupied rectorate, late last year, the persecution of the USP workers’ union, mass layoffs and attacks on the ‘Black Awareness Cell’, the rector keeps managing the university as if it were a business. This time, he decided to ‘sweep’ the university campus a few days before the first-year students’ registration, which took place from 8th to 9th of February.
In the early hours of February 19th, during the Carnival holiday, the military police of São Paulo seized the opportunity to attack the students’ autonomous space of the USP. The cops used rubber bullets, and no student from the next buildings could get close to at least film the repressive operation. Twelve students were arrested. They are held in the 14st military police department, located at 369, Deputado Lacerda Franco Street, accused for civil disobedience and damage to public property. All 12 haven’t yet been released, because they are forced to a monetary bail. A group of students that support the detainees called everyone in São Paulo to gather outside this police station, to support the students’ movement and help decide on the next steps of struggle in the USP.
It must be noted that, often in Brazil, young people get kicked out by police from dorms in university residential buildings. In São Paulo, the students claim residence through a housing policy, as well as the end of surveillance of political and personal activities of people living in the CRUSP.
The self-managed space Moradia Retomada has existed since March 17th, 2010. The specific building was formerly under the administration of the Coordination of Social Assistance (COSEAS). The students’ autonomous space has been both legitimate and, in almost two years, proven that it provided more assistance to the first-year students than the bureaucratic system destined for this service would ever give. Counting on internal organization, the members of Moradia Retomada were planning and holding activities for the reception of new students. This self-organized space must be preserved as an important base of the ongoing students’ struggle.
This is the 8th day of the occupation of the building of prefectural administration in Chania, Crete. We just translated our main communiqué in English and we send it to you, to inform and spread the message of the occupations worldwide. There is also a French translation available here. We also have a blog and internet radio, live from the occupation. Today at 18.00 GMT+2 we have organized a march in the main streets and the neighbourhoods of Chania. On Crete there are also occupied buildings in Rethimno and Lasithi. Moreover, the students are occupying their schools day by day. There at least 11 schools occupied in Chania today.
On February 15th, after a unanimous decision, the open public assembly of the prefectural administration in Chania occupied the studio of the corporate TV channel ‘Nea Tileorasi Kritis’ (NEA TV). Here’s the related video:
Communiqué of the occupied prefectural administration of Chania
We are also part of the struggling people that rushed into the streets for the 48hour strike demonstrations and the massive protest of Sunday, February 12th, against the devaluation of our employment and the pauperization of our lives. Since Friday, February 10th, after the march in the city streets, we have occupied the building of Prefecture of Crete in Chania. The occupation serves as a meeting and coordination centre of a collective effort to organize the struggle for a life that is characterized by solidarity, resistance and dignity. By blocking the ordinary function of a central administrational building, we pose political pressure against the implementation of the recent decisions of the foreign and local exploiters. We are referring to the voting by the Greek parliament of the second Memorandum and the new austerity measures according to the commands of Troika (EU/IMF/ECB) and global capitalism.
We salute the hundreds of thousands demonstrators that during the last few days, and especially on Sunday, February 12th, fight against barbarism and the plundering of the basic social goods such as health, education, electricity and water.
We are a part of dozens of occupied state administrative, educational and labour buildings that spread across the country the last few days. Against a spirit of struggle decline and defeatism after the voting of the new laws by the parliament, we continue to fight against the fake dilemmas they impose, such as ‘default or consent’. We call the grassroots labour unions of Chania to take decisions towards a long-term general strike. We call all the citizens of Chania and the countryside, students, workers and unemployed, immigrants and locals, to join our ideas, agonies and creativity.
To defend the dignity in our employment and in our life No prosecution to the detainees of the strike demonstrations
Solidarity – Victory to the long-lasting strike of the ‘Greek Steelworks’ and all labour struggles
All ahead towards a wild permanent general strike
We call all people to participate in the public open assembly daily at 20.00 in the occupied prefectural administration of Chania and in actions that are decided. The last few days hundreds of people have participated in the decisions of these assemblies.
On October 26th–27th, 2011, interventions were actualized at schools in Elliniko, Ano Glyfada and Argyroupoli (southern suburbs of Athens, renowned for their capitalist character). Secondary students had written and distributed the following text against the parade of October 28th:
One-TWO! One-TWO! Parade (or sheep’s) rehearsal for the army?
We were born and grew up considering parades on national anniversaries as a given… HOWEVER, things aren’t quite like that. This nationalist delirium hasn’t always flourished. The displays of militarism and nationalism came from Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s fascistized society, and were planted in Greece by Metaxa’s dictatorship, while other totalitarian regimes (North Korea, Soviet Union, Cuba) also established parades in order to shape morale and discipline the students.
Parades are traditionally powered by a dense and homogeneous appearance (dress uniforms, gait, and alignment) and pursue to merge the individuality, cultivating discriminations at the same time —e.g. boys marching ahead of girls, the tall ones ahead of the short, and especially, deserving students ahead of the plebs. In fact, only the six students of a corps d’elite usually attend the Orthodox Christian doxology and always march ahead, separated from the rest of the school students ‘mob’.
The school, in turn, creates a climate of terrorism towards the students so that they’ll participate in the parade —since most students ignore that their participation is optional, rather than obligatory. Thus, either they’re given the promise that their school absences will be erased, if they parade, or they’re threatened with a punishment of more absences, if they don’t. In extreme cases, the school governing bodies go as far as to threaten the students with suspension or expulsion.
This definitely indicates that the school serves as a means of preserving fascist methods and practices, rather than focusing on solving practical problems of students, such as a lack of teachers and books.
It is obvious that as anarchists we stand on the opposite side of this nationalist absurdity which defends an institution that cultivates hate and war against fellow humans based on national and racial criteria.
We don’t commemorate the resistance with parades, but with insurrections.
Read about the occupation of the studio of state TV channel NET by students on Occupied London
The following video was made by the students themselves. It includes their announcement on education issues, the new higher education reform bill, the general economic situation, layoffs and job precariousness. They also recorded what happened during the occupation of September 25th, as well as the fake promises of the managing director of public misinformation Labis Tagmatarhis that he would broadcast their claims in the night’s news bulletin, at 00.00 (midnight). Instead, the whole intervention was overcome by reading a despicable notice issued by the national broadcasting corporation, ERT SA, later in the night.
As we don’t have the capacity of subtitling the video, we cite the translation here:
| For four week, about 300 academic faculties across Greece have been under students’ occupation.
| After the voting of Diamantopoulou education reform bill in late August, students interrupt their examinations and proceed to general assemblies and occupations, causing an unprecedented nationwide ‘blackout’ within only a few days.
| The student movement declares decisively that it will continue the struggle till the end for the overthrow of the new education bill, and that it will fight next to the workers against the austerity and unemployment policy.
| September 22nd, 2011: Pan-Hellenic pan-educational manifestation
| Nearly 10,000 students and educators from all over Greece fill the streets of Athens, protesting against the new education bill and the governmental policy.
| At the same time, another… so-called student movement debuts in TV news bulletins and in lounges of lifestyle TV shows.
| [Scenes from the private TV channel SKAI that propagate the urgency for the re-opening of universities —starring scumbag journalist Aris Portosalte.]
| The so-called new – party-free – spontaneous – indignant – student – movement [called ‘Indignant Students against Occupations’] in a period of turmoil, economic crisis and dismantling of public university dares to put forward one claim…
| End the occupations, so as to return immediately to normality…
| [Mass media scenes where a student claims the restoration of legality and comments negatively about student occupiers, while famous writer Apostolos Doxiadis apparently indicates the best possible university studies as the most genuine revolutionary act.]
On Friday, 18 February 2011, two of the students of the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki received summons from the Magistrates’ Court of Thessaloniki, “to give explanations about the occupation.” It’s not clarified in which occupation these summons refer to. It should be noted here that the students’ association has made four occupations from May 2010 and several other mobilizations with economic, administrative and educational claims. Continue reading Political persecutions in the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki→