Solidarity will win!



Counter-information written collectively by the assembly of squatters in Exarchia, Athens, August 2019

The state and capitalism continues to target the freedom of the social base and appropriate its labour and resources. In recent years we have experienced some 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. Despite economic and political set-backs, the movement has created a solid social territory and accumulated considerable knowledge and experience. Through squats, political groups, unions, squares and neighborhood assemblies we have formed strong social bonds that are able to criticize society. At times, the movement has had to use counter-violence as means to defend and expand 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 which police captured 144 migrants, uprooting them from their residences 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 and the Gare squat where three arrests were made. Police also invaded the homes of comrades from Gare.

In addition to the squats and the movement itself, this repressive operation is aimed at migrants. They 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 rife with exploitation and subjugation. Many choose self-organisation and solidarity structures in order to survive and resist. Together with local and international solidarity we build communities and claim visibility, posing a direct threat to political and economic power. The solidarity we are building is in contrast to the humanitarian aid of NGO’s that can be seen to manipulate migrants and make money from their problems. Real solidarity is at odds with the ‘humanitarianism’ of the state that covers up deaths at the borders and deflects from the violent conditions at 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 or raped to force them to flee the Greek and European territory, or commit suicide. 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 vicious state lie.

Throughout these years the solidarity movement has responded to migrants’ direct 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 overcome national, gender and other systemic discriminations and respond to 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 neighborhoods 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 Exarchia and surrounds into easily exploitable land for local and foreign capital. The result is further exploitation and destruction of the environment and the aggressive gentrification of space that transforms urban neighborhoods into tourist consumption areas, displacing residents and carrying out informal “social cleansing”. The militarisation of public space and the imprisonment of those who are rising up to defend it is essential for implementing this policy and results in the repression of migrants, workers, students, the unemployed, women and queers. 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 repressive army. They further criminalised the means of struggle and abolished university asylum in preparation for the new social class struggles. The struggles that Syriza assimilated and disintegrated paved the way for an even more capable totalitarian state that we saw with the rise of “New Democracy”.

We call on all people of struggle – the rebellious, squatters, collectives and individuals – here and abroad, to join in strengthening 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 assimilated by any regime of power! Let’s expand the already existing self-organised structures and create new ones that escalate with class and social struggles. It is time to crush the repressive forces, to debunk systemic media propaganda, and bring out the truth of the struggle of the oppressed.

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