Hands off the squats!

Posted: July 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

On the 27th of July, strong police forces conducted a coordinated attack on three squats in Thessaloniki (Greece) which have been housing refugees (“Orfanotrofio”, “Hurriya” and “Mandalidio”) and evicted them. The repressive forces arrested 83 people who are accused of “civil peace disturbance” which consequences judicial implications. The repressive operation was completed with the demolition of the site of “Orfanotrofio” as instructed by the Church of Greece, the ultimate owner of the building.

It was a large-scale punitive operation with a double political objective:

  • Firstly, as part of targeting refugees and migrants, socially isolating and confining them to detention camps and centres where access is forbidden to anyone apart from government and EU officials and NGOs.
  • And secondly it serves the standing authoritarianism and repressive goals of the state against the social and class resistance, due to the recognised threat posed by the collective resistance movements and self-organisation of social life without the state’s intervention.

Given the constant loss of consensus that the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government faces as it continues to enforce more austerity measures, it is left with little choice other than to target, slander and repress the social, class and political resistance outbreaks, in order to enable the continuation and intensification of the social and economic deprivation. The attack is also completely in-line with the EU response to the refugee crisis, the fences, the 3,000 reported to have drowned in the Mediterranean, FRONTEX and the EU-Turkey agreement.

All the above follow a series of radical mobilisations of solidarity to refugees and immigrants in Thessaloniki and northern Greece during the “NoBorder Camp”. The repressive operation is also characterised by the nature of state revanchism against the development and evolution of solidarity, and acts as a “response” to the unfolding activities and actions (discussions, events, demonstrations) which could not be hit directly during the ten days of the multitudinous camp. During these mobilisations, refugees and immigrants along with solidaries, occupied the streets of Thessaloniki and expressed their opposition to the attempted political and social isolation imposed by the state, while highlighting the perspective of common struggles.

We declare our solidarity to the squats hit by the government and state repression. And of course our solidarity to the comrades, refugees and migrants who supported the protests with their presence and actions.

In solidarity with the occupation of the SYRIZA offices in Thessaloniki by comrades and squat solidaries, who demand the release and acquittal of all the arrested.

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The 23rd of June is a day that could potentially affect people’s lives for generations to come in Britain and beyond; it is a day that goes well beyond Corbyns, Camerons, Johnsons and Farages. But while the neighbouring France rages with protests and demonstrations against a deeply neoliberal restructuring of its working law, the British left wanders are divided, leaving the Brexit Campaign supported and embraced mostly by the far-right. It has by now been made clear that this referendum is set from scratch to serve the European capital and elites, and within an asphyxiating timeframe entirely mismatching its historical importance. But a set battleground is still a battleground; we need to say whether the UK should remain or not in the European Union, and crucially, we need to be actively there to defend it. In the Brexit dilemma from an anticapitalistic and internationalist left perspective we cannot but loudly shout ‘yes’, and below are a few reasons why.

 

The EU is feeding war, and fascism.

Is the EU bringing peace to Europe for the last 50 years and more really an argument? Stemming from a Cold War bloc, the EU was created in order to confront the Soviet Union and the newly formed states of Eastern Europe: its principal task was to rebuild European monopoly capitalism. NATO was formed in 1949, arming West Germany for the first time after the war, and essentially creating a military force capable of fighting the Soviet Union. Especially Britain as a member of the EU, has been a well-tuned war machine from the very first moment. We cannot forget Yugoslavia’s destabilisation and Serbia’s bombing by NATO, and the devastating ongoing wars across the Middle East leading thousands to death and displacement. Ukraine’s case has clearly demonstrated that the EU and NATO are more than ready to side with extreme nationalists and fascists if class profits demand so. And it was fascists who burned the whole continent down in genocidal WWII; it is fascists who kick and stab immigrants and refugees at the European borders; it was fascists who brutally murdered Labour MP Jo Cox in broad daylight. ‘Hate’ is not as vague as presented by most British media: it has a face – one that the EU methodically nurtures.

 

The EU crushes working and democratic rights, and negotiates TTIP.

The EU has historically played the role of attacking working and democratic rights of the working class through structural reforms, rather than protecting and establishing them –as part of the left in Britain claims. This class role is deeply inscribed not just in policies and political correlations, but in the basic Treaties and rules fleshing out its roots. But especially now –with David Cameron’s skilful renegotiations– any remaining ‘good’ bits of EU employment protection rules in Britain have been crossed out. Every single established working right after WWII was fought for and claimed by the people with blood – and not by arbitrary technocrats and corporate lobbyists. What about TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership)? Even though exiting the EU is by no means enough to prevent it, the partnership has been typically negotiated by the EU and the USA in secret and in favour of corporate and capital investment interests. As if debt crises, ‘finance menaces’ and bankruptcies of all sorts weren’t enough, the TTIP would give large corporations the power to directly sue elected governments and to interfere with their national policies and laws, thus removing any (even mediated) power or consent of the British people (e.g. TTIP could potentially make the privatization of NHS irreversible). Again, it was the EU that enforced the liberalisation of the monopoly of postal services, paving the way for the Tories to privatize Royal Mail.

 

The EU nurtures economic crisis and uneven development.

The Greek case during the last six years of the crisis –culminating in last summer’s third followed by this summer’s fourth memorandum– has shown that implementing any social reform within the EU is a lost case,   the inadequacy of SYRIZA’s political vision and the deeply neoliberal class role they most fiercely serve at the moment. Τhe EU in coalition with the local elites can turn a raging 61% ‘OXI’ to a ‘yes’ overnight and push the vast majority of a country to further depression, poverty and economic strangulation. It is now clear that the Eurozone acts as a mechanism of massive redistribution of wealth and uneven development within the EU itself, benefiting immensely the banks and multinationals of certain territories over others. By destroying the productive structure of the peripheral countries, workers are pushed to migrate in order to sell their increasingly cheap labour. How easy is to fight all this ‘from within’? The Greek case proved once again that the EU is structurally undemocratic, based on authoritarian rules and instruments that are not even elected by the people –and therefore are immune to any political cost and oppositional movements.

 

The EU is not internationalist: it is deeply anti-immigrant and imperialist.

The far-right case campaign for Brexit is indeed extremely scary; but so is the EU’s clearly anti-immigrant profile. Fleeing from the raging war the EU and NATO have exported in their countries, hundreds of thousands of refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean this summer only, shot and kicked at the borders while trying to enter the Fortress; and even those who do make it have to deal with the harsh policies of the Dublin Treaties. What about migrants from the European Periphery such as ourselves? The promoted ‘mobility’ and ‘freedom of movement’ of workers, paired with the ‘flexibility’ of ‘new’ types of labour is directly connected to open EU borders for capital and commodities: not for people and their working rights.

 

Leaving the referendum debate in the hands of the far-right and conservative parts of British politics (Farage, Johnson) will be a historical mistake for the Left. Yes, the institution of EU need to be demolished but this vote shall be just the beginning. We need to reform the trade unions and establish new ones (structured from the base of the workers), strengthen the antifascist movement and oppose fascism, and along with the immigrants and refugees build a strong workers’ movement.

 

The EU cannot be reformed. It can only be overthrown!

 

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We stand against the Evros fence

Posted: January 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

Over the weekend (23-24th January 2016), thousands demonstrated at the North-Eastern Greek border with Turkey (Evros) against the fence which forces thousands of refugees persecuted by war and famine to put their faith into people smuggler’s hands and attempt to cross the Aegean Sea.

During the recent and ongoing drama of the increasing waves of economic and war refugees, the EU remains a spectator while more than 3700 people (among them countless children) are known to have drowned in the Mediterranean sea in 2015 alone. In response, the actions taken to date are the establishment of fences around borders preventing migrants and refugees from  crossing the South-Eastern borders as well as the collaboration with the Erdogan regime, in order to promote the establishment of a “Europe-fortress”.

We see responsibility in the wars and uprooting, caused from the imperialistic policy of international capital that is embodied by the decisions of the governments of the EU members, the US and Russia. Through military interventions, bombings, fomenting of religious and racial conflicts, and the dissolution of a number of countries of the region of Middle East, they compete for economic and political control over those areas. Even the “Islamic State” was born and rose in line with the “war against terrorism”. In fact the repulsive attacks in Paris are massively due to the imperialist intervention in the Middle East and Africa. Grounds should also be seen in racism and islamophobia that have been cultivated within Western countries.

On top of this, the economic and political refugees are turned into scapegoats and presented as a threat to the so-called “European security”. This is in line with the general attitude of capital exploitation where the criminalisation of refugees is the vehicle of profiting from labour cost reductions, from dividing the working class and from imposition of authoritarian and anti-immigrant policies, rights exemptions and abatement policies of everyone’s freedoms.

Fences around Europe, and especially the one in Evros, force refugees to diverge on to dangerous and deadly passages across the eastern Aegean. The apparent result is thousands of deaths while the survivors face appalling reception conditions with complete lack of welfare structures and services. The respected input of solidarity groups is admirable but undeniably insufficient to cover the increasing requirements.

It’s worth paying attention to the role of the EU that not only has been actively contributing to the continuation of the war but over the last months has focused in upgrading and increasing the authorities of Frontex and establishing the so-called Hot Spots. In fact, through the recently introduced “Poseidon Rapid Intervention” operation, Frontex attempts to “control” the flows by pushing refugees back to Turkey, to be held at dreadful detention centres. Complementary, the Hot Spots act as a mechanism of dilution and exclusion of human rights based on arbitrary, legally groundless and racist criteria. The refugees that are detained, are then seen as de-legalised cheap labour units without “legal documents” vulnerable to employers’ blackmailing and social exclusion.

The only ones who can prevent this new form of “massacre” are the united people who fight for their rights. The necessity of a strong international anti-war message is crucial and we have to enhance the solidarity to the thousands of economic and war refugees who fight for dignity, freedom and peace. We need to oppose the transformation of Europe into a fortress and defend our rights and freedom for a society with no wars, exclusions, racism and exploitation. We resist the new attack on the political rights of the peoples of Europe in the name of “security”, the militarisation, the fear and racism.

In solidarity with the Evros demonstrations, we demand:

  • the end of military interventions in Middle East and the withdrawal of all British forces immediately
  • the demolition of any kind of fences. We fight for open borders and secure/free passages to all kinds of refugees whether they are economic, political or war refugees
  • the end of funding towards Frontex and Hot Spots. Use these public funds to establish public structures and social support services for all the kinds of refugees
  • the end of fear and hysteria from the self-grown terrorists that act as an excuse for increased authoritarianism
  • an end to refugee criminalisation, isolation and discrimination
  • the scrapping of the £35k threshold for non-EU citizens settling in the UK

 

Solidarity doesn’t stop at any borders and “fortresses”. It is durable, practical and not trapped in any kind of differentiation (refugees – migrants). No solution can be temporary since the problem did not appear now but has been formed for years by the international capital. Social solidarity among the oppressed wherever they are from is our weapon against the exploiters. We need to organise and fight – natives and immigrants together for a society of equality and freedom.

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Film screening and discussion

Posted: November 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

Enayat and Jamal are Afghan refugees who live in a camp in Peshawar and try to escape to Great Britain by the help of people smugglers. Their dangerous journey leads them along the “silk road” through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey towards London.

Join us for a film screening and discussion on the current refugee crisis, its causes and what we can do to help.

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SAOIRSE NÓ BÁS

Posted: December 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

The Greek anarchist prisoner Nikos Romanos as a contemporary Bobby Sands is on hunger strike for more than 3 weeks now. His main request is his educational furloughs which are being refused by the Greek state. Albeit the personal implication it has to be highlighted that this action consists a political activism against the new law concerning the rights and furloughs of the prisoners in Greece.

Nikos  Romanos is one of the four who were arrested in their attempt to expropriate a bank (based on their anarchist beliefs), and were convicted of bank robbery last year. It is worth mentioning that during their arrest and the first days of their captivity he and his comrades were severely injured by the police forces. The severity of their deformed faces from the injuries and bruises was of such extent that the photographs released to the press were modified (by photoshop), in order to hide the results of the police brutality. Whilst imprisoned, Nikos Romanos attended the school unit in prison and he was successful at the national exams. As a result, he was granted the right to continue his studies at university level. His right to educational leaves is now being refused however due to restrictions of the novel law and under the excuses of high dangerousness and a high risk of escape.

All of the above is taking place in an ambience of radical political activities in Greece: The previous month the university students’ protests against the law and amendments in education which are aligned with the Neoliberal view of privatised education took place. All the protests were accompanied and stigmatised by the brutal and violent interventions of the riot police towards one of the most peaceful protests of all times in Greece. The hunger strikes of 4500 (the highest number was during July, 2014) prisoners for the annulment of their furloughs and the conditions of imprisonment. The hunger strike (still in progress) of the Syrian war-refugees who are trapped in Greece because of the European Union’s “Dublin-2” treaty, whilst they want to move to an EU country where they may commence their lives from scratch. A few days ago, the Lamentation-Anniversary of the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos, a close friend of Nikos Romanos (who was one of the carriers of his coffin during the burial ceremony) and victim of the Greek Police, who died by the gunfire of policeman Korkoneas on the 6th of December 2008. In the process of the protest, riot police injured a great number of protesters. Furthermore, many experienced journalists witnessed (they have provided photos and video) the activity of almost 200 undercover policemen. The journalists observed, filmed and photographed the undercover policemen (dressed like anarchists) originally among the riot police (whilst taking orders) and later provoking the riot police by throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, thus giving them the “right” to use excessive violence. Methods of a totalitarian dictatorship are applied, in the place where the concept of democracy was introduced to humanity.

Consequently, it is evident that the Greek government desires to send a clear message that anyone who stands against it will be brutally crushed. This can be seen by the following:

  1. In the case of Romanos where the violation of his human rights by forced feeding was ordered, a technique which is legitimate only in Guantanamo, though this action is forbidden by the Helsinki agreement on human rights since 1975.
  1. The police tactics during protests in Greece.
  1. The neglect to tackle and satisfy the demands of the Syrian refugees. Instead, their removal from the Syntagma square where they camp and protest was proposed.
  1. The oppressive stand towards the prisoners in Greece who are in a degraded quality of imprisonment, victims of the brutality of guards, with all theirs furloughs being cancelled, which had been acquired by personal effort and signs of good behaviour.

Hence, while raising awareness on the above serious issues of the human rights violation, we demand:

A priori the permission to Nikos Romanos whose life is in great danger by the long hunger strike, to study as he was supposed to, based on the Greek legislation.

A posteriori an immediate response and satisfaction of the requests of the Syrian Immigrants, the Prisoners and the Students by the Greek State. Responses which will be in consistency with the human rights declaration.

 

Liberty or Death.

The passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons!

 

REAL DEMOCRACY NOW EDINBURGH (GR)

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A profile of anarchist and bank-robber Salvador Puig Antich, whose 1974 execution under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco ushered in a period of unrest that helped Spain transition to democracy.

 

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