Athens, Exarcheia. Statement by the assembly of squats, collectives, internationalists, immigrants, refugees and solidarians.
Originally published by Athens Indymedia.
The state and capitalism continue to target the freedom of the social base and appropriate its labour and resources. In recent years we have experienced some of the most violent attacks on this freedom through the mass impoverishment of the already oppressed and exploited. At the same time, a widespread social resistance and solidarity movement has formed. People have created a variety of self-organized spaces such as housing infrastructures, social medical centres, community kitchens, open parks and public spaces. In spite of setbacks, the movement has created a solid social ground and accumulated considerable knowledge and experience. Through squats, political groups, base unions, squares and neighbourhood assemblies we have formed communities of struggle with strong social bonds. Communities oriented towards society, with a critical eye all the same. At times, the movement has had to use violence as a means of defending and expanding free spaces against state repression, capitalist interests and fascist attacks. It is a movement that grows in diversity and vibrancy, despite the ongoing criminalisation of solidarity and mobility.
In the context of this socio-class conflict, on Monday 26/8, the state, armed with police forces, seized Exarchia and evicted four squats. Two of these squats were migrant homes—Transito and Sp. Trikoupi 17,from where the police abducted 144 migrants, uprooting them from their places of residence for a second time and isolating them in what the state calls detention centers. Evictions were also carried out in an ongoing housing and political squat in Assimaki Fotila st., and the Gare squat, where three arrests were made. Police also invaded the homes of comrades from Gare. In the next days, police kicked out homeless persons from Strefi hill, beat up a homosexual couple, attacked the steki of anarchist immigrants and the squatted social space of K’ BOΞ. The movement gave multiform answers with gatherings, actions and demonstrations. In addition to the squats and the movement, this repressive operation targets migrants. These are some of the most oppressed people in society, since their very existence is considered illegal. In a state of ‘illegality’ there is no access to health and education, and working conditions are like slavery. Many choose self-organisation and solidarity structures in order to survive and resist. Together with locals and internationals they build communities and claim visibility, posing a direct threat to political and economic power. The solidarity we are—all of us together—building is antithetical to the humanitarian aid of NGOs that can be seen to manipulate migrants and make money off their problems. Real solidarity is at odds with state ‘humanitarianism’, which covers up deaths at the borders and deflects from the violent conditions in concentration camps. Prisoners do not receive adequate medical care and therefore suffer from potentially fatal diseases. These concentration camps lack basic hygiene, people live with bed bugs and miserable food and are frequently beaten, all to force them to flee Greek and European territory. Transferring migrants from the squats where they have chosen to live undermines their dignity and self-determination. The excuse that these camps are safer and healthier is a shameful lie of the state, an absolute reversal of reality.
Throughout these years, the solidarity movement has responded to a variety of needs and desires. The most important achievement of the movement is that people of different backgrounds have organized into squats and formed collective bodies to create projects that reflect the world of equality and freedom we desire. Squats are free spaces where social relations can be developed free from state control and economic exclusion. These spaces transgress national, gender and other systemic discriminations andanswer basic needs such as housing, breaking out of rent coercion and wage exploitation. In times of mass forced migration, they offer shelter and hope to thousands of people by making inclusive and active spaces. Squats in collaboration with other grassroots forces defend neighbourhoods and public spaces from corporate and political power. The political agenda of New Democracy is a continuation of Syriza’s policy. It aims to transform the whole territory into readily exploitable land for local and foreign capital. The result is further exploitation and destruction of the environment and the aggressive gentrification of urban space that transforms neighbourhoods inside the city into areas of touristic consumption, displacing residents and carrying out an informal “social cleansing”. The militarisation of public space, the imprisonment of those who rise up, the subjugation of workers, students, the unemployed, migrants, women and LGBTQI+ people is essential for implementing such a plan. Some of New Democracy’s first moves were to integrate the correctional system and the immigration ministry under police jurisdiction. At the same time, they hired 1,500 new people to the police force, expanding the state’s army of repression. They further criminalised the means of struggle and abolished university asylum in preparation for the new social andclass struggles. The struggles that Syriza assimilated and disintegrated paved the way for an even moreaggressive totalitarian state that we saw with the rise of New Democracy.
We call all people of the struggle–the rebels, squatters, collectives and individuals–here and abroad, to join in strengthening our efforts towards a common front against police and state repression. Our primary aim is to defend the squats and our social achievements against the state and capital.
Don’t let the struggle be absorbed by any force of the regime! Let’s expand the already existing self-organised structures and create new ones, let’s escalate our class and social struggles. It is time to crush theoppressive forces, to debunk systemic media propaganda, and to bring out the truth of the struggle of the oppressed.
SOLIDARITY TO SQUATS AND ALL SPACES OF STRUGGLE
LOCALS-MIGRANTS WE STRUGGLE TOGETHER
Assembly of squats, collectives, internationalists, immigrants, refugees and solidarians, September 2019
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