The following statements are by member organisations of the International of Anarchist Federations (IFA-IAF), http://i-f-a.org
See also previous article on AF website: http://www.afed.org.uk/blog/international/332-solidarity-with-the-squatters-of-villa-amalia-reports-from-athens.html
FAI. Anarchist Federation (Italy) - 13 January 2013
SUPPORT THE STRUGGLES OF THE GREEK COMRADES (translation from Italian)
The National Congress of the FAI, reunited in Milan, expresses its solidarity with the Greek comrades who in recent days have been violently attacked by the police Hellenic. We have seen evacuation of Villa Amalias and Skaramaga, historical squat symbol of the Athenian movement and the arrest of hundreds of solidarity that had reoccupied the building of Villa Amalias.
The anarchist movement in Greece has built up, in recent years, a strong response from the bottom up for the ruthless raid conducted against the workers.
A response made with direct actions, reappropriation of physical spaces, organizing popular assemblies in neighborhoods, self-management in the workplace.
A response that refuses whatever form of delegation that imprison the will to change this system that shows every day, his limitations. A response that has been able to gather around if 'tens of thousands of people, workers, students, unemployed, Greeks and immigrants, because the fight is all the exploited, whatever their origin. An answer that scares the bosses and the state not only because it shows that there is an alternative to social atomization, alienation and exploitation but that this alternative is needed now more than ever.
It is necessary because it is now clear that the domain of state and capital do nothing but destroy any social relationship that is not mediated by money or by relations of domination. Necessary because the crisis is impoverishing the working classes and the middle classes is nothing more than yet another robbery carried out by those who manage money and power.
The Greeks comrades have been able to build a response to this crime and for this reason they are under attack by the police, who said he wanted to clear all occupations, supported in this by the paramilitary Nazi Golden Dawn. It is no coincidence that in times of crisis and popular mobilizations apparatuses of the state use the low level manpower of the fascists. So it was in Italy in the Red Biennium, so it is in Greece in 2013.
In fact, Greece is not far from the Italian peninsula. Here, too, the state is wiping out the results of a century of labor struggles and popular. Here too the state is attacking the social movements, evacuates the sites occupied, raid against the workers in struggle, shooting tear gas against students, beating up the ones who opposing to environmental devastation and to militarism. For this it is necessary to reject the nationalist vision of the crisis, the one nonsense of monetary sovereignty and national level as response at the Europe of banks, of the anthropological differences that create the crisis, referring to racist's theses and sad, a distorted vision that will ensure a greater strengthening the mechanisms of discipline and domination of the state and which is expressed in its most complete form, in the sacrifice of the subaltern classes on the altar of nationalist wars.
The struggles of anarchists in Greece are our struggles, our struggles are those of the Greek anarchists. So how are our struggles of those who, throughout the world, oppose to the exploitation classist, racist and sexist, and builds, daily, a society of free and equal.
We invite the whole movement at the maximum possible solidarity.
Federation of Anarchist Organising (in Slovenia)
Želja po svobodi je močnejša od vsakega zapora! 13 January 2013
We read the following on libcom about the Belfast Flag protests. Worth a look. Article by 'Belfast comrade' via Liverpool Solfed plus comments with link to WSM ones.
Assault on Villa Amalia – report by an AF comrade in Greece, 20 December 2012
(Followed by further reports from Athens by the Liberatarian Communist Group and the Squatters, 22 Deceember 2012)
The squatter's movement arrived in Greece during the early and mid-nineties, and has since established itself as a popular form of peaceful, all-inclusive form of activism bringing together anarchists and autonomists from all over the world. Based on the principle of repatriating public and private space to the hands of local community use, squatting spaces aim to replace commercial and state functions with an environment of direct democracy, mutual labour and an oasis for alternative socio-political and cultural expression.
Located in the centre of Athens, the Villa Amalia squat is one of the oldest of its kind in the city – boasting twenty-two years of existence. Like many other forms of occupation, it has had a traditionally strenuous relationship with authorities, which have attempted to infiltrate, sabotage and literarily starve it of supplies and access from its first days. It’s not the first time we’ve heard about it on the news, but a surprise police raid on the premises at approximately 07:00 am has sent events spiralling into action. Eight squatters, six Greek and two of possible German nationality, were arrested on sight and remain detained in the police headquarters nearby, as activists from several anarchist, autonomist and squatting groups gathered across the street where the raid was being carried out in solidarity of the detained. In their announcement, comrades stated that they will remain in the vicinity and are increasing in number.
The police intervention, hailed on statist, right wing and Golden Dawn-sympathetic blogs as a heroic purge of what they interpret to be brothels of chaos and disorder, continued throughout the day as they conducted a search of the premises. Police forces were accompanied by a comrade who witnessed the procedures.
Squats, in contrast to their portrayal as centres of terrorism, drug abuse and alcoholism, play an active community role in protecting the neighbourhoods from fascists, human trafficking and the illegal sex and drug trade. There are many voices in society who, despite not identifying with left-libertarian principles, have risen to defend their right of existence based on the premise that they have given local communities the power to determine the face and running of their daily lives. Squats in Athens have also begun to shoulder a new role as centres of anti-fascist organisation in the face of the state-facilitated rise of the Golden Dawn. More updates on events on their way.
Solidarity with the squatters of Villa Amalia!
Support statement by the Libertarian Communist Group (Athens)
Villa Amalias statement: we are, and we shall remain here.
Today, on December 20th, 2012, the police raided Villa Amalias. Under the pretext of a complaint for drug dealing, they searched the building in the presence of a district attorney. Their findings are ludicrous. Nevertheless, according to Dendias [translators' note: the minister of public order] these prove that Villa was an “epicentre for lawlessness” for 22 years and that the law, thanks to the “brave political will of [PM] Samaras” was finally restored.
What logical leap may brand empty beer bottles as “materials for the construction of molotovs?” Is it strange to have a large number of empty beer bottles in a place that hosts a concert [gig] space and a café? What comprises a “flammable material”? May they be referring to the cleaning liquids for the printing press that operates in the squat?
Should we talk about the gas masks that should be carried by every demonstrator that respects their health? Should we talk about the elementary means of self-defense (the mock flash bangs, slingshots etc) in a space that has repeatedly been attacked by para-statist gangs (arsons, stabbings, beatings) with the apogee reached in 2008, when the then minister of public order Markogiannakis visited the “residents” of Agios Panteleimonas and a few minutes after he left, we were attacked…
Under the pretext of the search, then, they materialise a long-standing wet dream of theirs: their raid into a space that is one of the spatial symbols of all those who stand in hostility against anything that represents sovereignty, imposition, sterilization, indifference, surrender, subjection. In this they are right. That’s who we are. Us and the thousands of demonstrators, the people in struggle, squatters, strikers, people fighting in the streets. We are the homeless, the punks and the rebels, the vegetarians and the feminists, the nocturnal ones and the workers, poor and the aggrieved, the victims of racism and the avengers of injustice. The minister called us an epicentre of lawlessness…
And now we should talk seriously. Villa Amalias is an organising proposition which had to be dealt with at the time of the cannibalism of the memoranda. The onslaught of capital against the world of labour presupposes the destruction of all of its structures: the depreciation of everything that trade unions had gained, whatever structures of solidarity and dissent, the self-organised incentives: everything is targeted. The far-right agenda that has prevailed since the outbreak of the crisis commenced with the statement concerning a [supposed] hygiene bomb by Loverdos [trans. note - Loverdos was minister of health at the time and claimed that the 300 migrant hunger strikers comprised a “hygiene bomb” in the centre of Athens] against the hunger strikers of Ypatia. It continued with the targeting of migrants (at the Evros border wall, concentration camps and the Xenios Zeus [anti-migrant] operation), the pillorying of addicted seropositive women, aided by the far-right violence against migrants, homosexuals and street traders. The torturing of anti-fascists at the police HQ after the anti-fascist motorcycle demo, the attacks against squats and the harsh repression against any labour or social demand, leave little doubt for the fact that the enemy has put together a solid block; a block against which we must now resist.
For the past 22 years we have been in a building that was abandoned for decades. We maintain it and breathe life into it. We are a squat that always has its doors open to groups, individuals and incentives that promote the anti-commercial culture, human dignity, social, anti-fascist and class struggles. Villa Amalias is giving a fierce fight –– not in order to protect a dozen pillars, but in order to protect our desires, our dreams and our hopes for a more free life for everyone.
We call everyone who identifies part of themselves in the years-long operation of the squat to partake in this crucial struggle with us.
This is the windmill that the executors-don quixote’s have attacked, even though it is ideas that they are after. These are what are lawless and illegal for them. Their witch-hunt will bring them nightmares in response.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE VILLA AMALIAS SQUATTERS
From those who have been arrested:
STATEMENT BY THE VILLA AMALIAS SQUATTERS IN THE POLICE HEADQUARTERS IN ATHENS
The Villa Amalias squat has been an open political, cultural and social space, as well as a housing collective, for the past 23 years. In all these years there have been plenty of active groups in the squat including groups on theatre, concerts, musical studio, stained glass, kids’ space, dancing, foreign languages, computing, printing press, screenings, lending library, vinyl exchange – while the squat has also hosted plenty of political and cultural events by other groups. Apart from these activities inside its building, Villa Amalias has also contributed to the resolution of neighbourhood issues by participating in the residents’ assembly of Victoria square and by organising open, outward looking activities in the area – including open mic interventions, free markets, collective kitchens and kids’ events at the square.
In all these 23 years, the Villa Amalias squat has formed multiform qualities that reflected the equally multiform composition of the subjects and groups comprising it – and which in turn derive from the wider squat movement, from the Anarchist and Anti-authoritarian space and from the movement for class and labour antagonism. These qualities have materialised through the co-organising and participation in demonstrations, interventions and mobilisations concerning labour, antifascist and antiracist struggles; solidarity to persecuted squats, to migrants and persecuted comrades, to university and high school student struggles as well as the to struggles for the reclaiming of open, public spaces.
The squat’s building was abandoned since 1973 and it had been in a horrendous state. Since 1990, which is when it was occupied, it has stayed alive and maintained thanks to the financial contribution and personal work of the squatters themselves as well as all the comrades in solidarity.
The apparent owners of the building ( the municipality of athens, which has has some enormous property wealth and the school buildings’ organisation) are both renown for cases of expropriation of private property and illegal declassification [of listed buildings]. The most extravagant case of such was the enormous Haragioni building at the junction of 3d September and Ioulianou street, which turned overnight from a plot designated for the construction of a school building into a shopping mall.
In contrast to them, who see buildings and spaces as yet another arena for profit, the Villa Amalias squat and its activity is a concrete example of its premise for the creation of free social spaces that oppose financial exploitation of any kind; that are set upon anti-hierarchical, self-organised, solidarity and horizontal structures; that respect humans and support those at the bottom end of the calss pyramid, to which we also belong.
This is why the maintenance of the building, as mentioned above, is undertaken by the squatters and those in solidarity with them – in the last 4 years in particular, after the two murderous arson attacks that the squat received from para-statists, whether waged or not. These particular attacks caused gross material damage which nevertheless did not form an obstacle in Villa continuing its action. To the contrary, they boosted the morale of the people that comprise it. With the aid of all comrades, the facade of the building on the side of Cheiden Str was renovated while the restoration and further improvement of the building have commenced with the aid of architects and civil engineers.
The continued attacks are not the only ones that the project has been subject to in all these years. Due to its location but also due to its ideological values and political characteristics, Villa has oftentimes found itself targeted by the state and parastate alike. In all these attacks we always responded with our words, publicizing the events and propagandizing our positions and our beliefs through open social interventions.
On 20/12/12, at 7.00 am, men of the state security raided our Squat under the pretext of an investigation concerning “drugs” and “explosives”, following a supposed anonymous complaint. They arrested 8 people who were inside the Squat at the time, of which three were guests. They confiscated objects from the squat which the state security then used as evidence for the fabrication of charges including felonies and misdemeanors - charges that we reject. Especially when our felony acts are based on some empty beer bottles and on a tiny amount of petrol that was discovered next to the heater.
For us, this move is an explicit political choice by the state. At a time of financial and systemic crisis, the state launches an attack in all directions, degrading the life of those from below and trying to wipe out any cell of resistance and of creation of negation: this may translate in the botching of labour rights, in the promotion of racist ideals that contribute to a fascist turn of society, in the creation of conditions of insecurity aimed at us accepting the constant surveillance of our lives, or in the persecution and slandering of political spaces and subjects that rise against all the above.
WE DENY ALL CHARGES
OUR WORDS ARE OUR WEAPONS
WE SAID IT BEFORE AND WE’LL SAY IT AGAIN:
“WE’VE BEEN GAME ALL THESE YEARS AND THE END IS STILL NO-WHERE IN SIGHT”
SOLIDARITY TO ALL SQUATS (AND TO OURS)
The arrested of Villa Amalias.
A video of the resisted eviction of Gremlin Alley Social Centre has been posted following over a month of excellent activity in Cardiff. Take a look!
The following is a report send to the Anarchist Federation and other from our comrades in the the Libertarian Communist Group (LCG, Athens) about the events of last week in Greece. Members of the LCG took part in strike action and the popular protests seen this week in Athens. During the last few days another package of austerity measures was passed through the parliament at the behest of the Troika(EU-IMF-ECB). As with the previous austerity measures there was a popular backlash with strikes throughtout and week and a 48hr General strike on the days the measures were voted leading to protests and clashes with the police. With the measures passed the Greek state is now awaiting the decision of EU meetings in the coming days which will determine if the Greek bailout programme is to continue.
The new measures package
On Wednesday 7th of November the Greek parliament voted for the new austerity measures package. It is almost impossible to describe in detail all these measures and their impact on Greek people 's life even in broad outline but generally speaking we could say that by including a lot of redundancies, further decrease of salaries, pensions and benefits, they bring down whatever remains standing after three years of austerity.
The age of retirement raises by 2 years which means that the majority of the workers will go into retirement at 67 years old even those who are ready to be retired next year. They cut down all pensions by between 5% and 15% and they cut out the Christmas and Easter bonus for all pensioners and public servants too. Depending on the case, the working sector and conditions, they either cut down or even stop welfare state benefits, such as unemployment, poverty, family/child care and even handicap benefits.
They also introduce a retrospective change in the national agreement of labour which has been called anti-constitutional by a specialist committee of the parliament itself but that seems not to bother the government. According to this change the minimum wage will be frozen and from now on will be regulated by the minister of labour itself, there will be no increase for anyone to the scale of payments, the employers will have the right to give shorter notice before discharge, lower redundancy pay, lower contribution to the pension and health funds and the working hours also will depend on their will. Finally the employers are not obliged to follow the national agreement if they do not want to sign it!
There are also further increases in indirect taxes, measures against the income of farmers, redundancies in the publicsector and total flexibility of the public servants. The package contains further privatization of the public sector, enforcing also further privatization of hospital treatment which includes a price for hospital admission (a patient who will need to be admitted to a hospital will have to pay 25 Euro just to start with). This, for a country with more than 30% unemployment, means that thousands of people will not be able to afford medical treatment.
Greece, November 6th and 7th: General strike
A 48-hours general strike was called in Greece by the general confederation of the Greek unions for 6th and 7th of November.
On Tuesday 6th of November, first day of the general strike, a few thousand people gathered in the morning at the strike demonstration gathering point at the national museum near to the Polytechnic school. It seems that the strikes in the transportation sector and the continuous general strikes during the last period prevented people from attending. Despite the presence of a lot of riot police squads, undercover policemen and motorcycle police units in most streets and side-streets leading to Syntagma square, demonstrators marched toward the square and they filled it until 1 o' clock when they started to leave the place. It was a quiet and quite disappointing day of strike!
On the second day things seem to be different. There were several calls for gathering outside of the parliament in the afternoon when the measures package will be voted. Plenty of strikers have been detained by the police as its units attacked and blocked demonstrators who were trying to go to the gathering point. Additionally metro stations in the center of Athens were ordered closed by the police and policemen on several occasions made preemptive detentions, in order to prevent demonstrators from reaching syntagma square.
Despite the police mobilization at least 100.000 demonstrators managed to gathered at 18:30 in front of or next to the Greek parliament. At 19:00 demonstrators started pushing the metal fence and the barriers which protected the parliament and as soon as they managed to destroy a small part of it riot police units attacked people. Molotov Cocktails (petrol bombs) were thrown by the demonstrators in order to defend themselves from police attacks. Huge amounts of teargas and stun grenades were used by riot police squads in order to force demonstrators to abandon the square. But people wanted to stay in the square and they regrouped again every time they were forced to disperse by the teargas. The pressing from demonstrators was so intense that police officers decided to use water canons for the first time against people during a strike.
There were clashes outside the parliament and around syntagma square for hours until the rain started. It was amazing to see that people did not want to leave the area! But the combination of the teargases with the rain turned the whole area into an unbearable field for the majority of the demonstrators. Most of them started to leave under the continuous attacks by the riot police squads. As the blocks of strikers were leaving the area, police units attacked, causing a lot of people to be wounded. There were reported at least 40 injuries, some of them helped by striking doctors and nurses in a kind of DIY health clinic inside a hotel in the area.
After a final attempt to re-take syntagma square, riot police units finally cleared the area from the strikers under heavy rain around 10:00. There were reported to be 103 detentions, 5 arrests, at least 40 injured demonstrators and 7 injured policemen.
The package of severe austerity measures has passed through the parliament after a midnight vote.
COMMENT ON 48-HOURS GENERAL STRIKE
Cops with APCs, with chemicals, with guns, with motorcycles. At the same time that inside, Parliament voted for the slashing of wages and pensions, for the dismissal of thousands of people and many other shameful things (in a shameless manner), outside another giant police operation of repression unfolded against the demonstrators. Even in the rain, the cops choked Syntagma Square in tear gas to disperse the protesters who had remained. For all that, the state certainly has money. It has money to enforce a police state in the streets. It has money to purchase tons of chemicals and APCs. It has money to armor like lobsters the special units of repression.
As long as people are not willing to lose even one day's wages, to risk two or three most basic things, then their misery, physical and moral, is certain. This whole system of suppression, the spraying with tear gas, the cordoning of the streets around the Constitution by riot police lined like laces, is aimed at nothing more than to force us to stoop our heads and shut up. Its aims are that we empty the streets, stay at home immersed in depression, or head to the mountains, or
board a plane and emigrate. But this place does not belong to them. The struggle for this land and its freedom is a struggle that we have been fighting for years now. No matter how many cops they put up, this struggle is not going to stop.
No matter how many measures they take, how many electoral backstops they have in parliament, nothing is finished, and nothing will end the way they want it.
We have nothing else to do than to give a way to rage, as a recent anarchist slogan goes in an Athenian street ...
- A Class Struggle Anarchist Analysis of Privilege Theory – from the Women's Caucus.
- Call for solidarity with imprisoned comrades from Belarus - IAF-IFA
- Anarchists Detained by Counter-Terrorist Police on Return from Swiss Conference [plus French, Spanish, German, Italian translations]
- Public statement from IFA Congress Saint-Imier 2012, 9-12th August to other exploited and oppressed people of the World.[plus links to translations, videos and local press]
- IFA statement about miners' march to Madrid from Asturias, León, and Aragón - July 2012
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