The events that have taken place so far, both inside and outside of Greece, following the murder of 16-year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos from the special guard Epaminondas Korkoneas, show clearly that we are in the midst of a popular insurrection. Ever growing segments of society (high school and university students, workers, unemployed, immigrants, detainees, poor,…) decide to come out in the streets and transform their rage for whatever oppresses them in every expression of their lives into action (dynamic mobilizations during which there are mass clashes with the forces of repression and attacks on government and capitalist targets, occupations of public buildings, open assemblies, counterinformation actions,…).
Within the frame of this insurrection, the City Hall of Aghios Dimitrios has been occupied since the morning of Thursday Dec. 11, so that it may become a place of counter-information, meeting, and self-organizing of the residents of the wider region and for the collective formation and implementation of actions. A main component of this occupation is the daily popular assembly with participation of up to 300 people, a process that functions in contrast to the entrusting of the management of our demands as well as of our struggles to whichever "representatives," elected or not. A process that tends to be implanted deeply into the consciousness of its participants on their role as political beings.
Without a doubt, this popular insurrection is clearly turning against the very structure of the current regime. Therefore, it follows that the subjects of this insurrection will face the repressive fury of the defenders of the system (the state, the businesses, the comfortable, …). Already there have been about 200 arrests around the country (often accompanied by violence and trumped up charges). Some of the charges, misdemeanors as well as felonies are: resisting arrest, disobedience, disturbing the peace, attempting to free detainees, use and possession of tools and explosives, attempt to inflict serious bodily harm, etc. In some instances, the state has prosecuted minors under anti-terrorist statutes (Larissa). Nevertheless, for us it is obvious that all these charges are political in nature. And of course the "not at all" predatory state (in conjunction with the "not at all" profiteering business people) has the audacity to prosecute so-called "looters".
By participating in the popular insurrection both inside and outside of the now liberated City Hall of Ag. Dimitrios, we express with our deeds our solidarity with those arrested and prosecuted for their actions in this social struggle. The struggle for their release and the cessation of prosecutions is absolutely connected with the very insurrection and must constitute a main demand.
A few lines above there was a reference to the defenders of the system. Unfortunately this category also includes those segments of society, which, while objectively belong on the side of the oppressed, whether by their opposition to the social struggle or whether by their silence (a result as much of the brainwashing from mass media as from the growing tendency to abandon collective claims and pursue individual solutions) end up playing the game of their oppressors. It is necessary that we realize what is the source of our problems and that all of us "below" are already on the crosshairs of the system, therefore it is to our advantage to join this insurrection.
DROP ALL CHARGES FOR THE EVENTS OF THE LAST SEVERAL DAYS
IMMEDIATE RELEASE OFF ALL DETAINEES
THE SOCIAL STRUGGLES ARE NEITHER LEGAL NOR ILLEGAL – THEY ARE JUST.
RALLY – MARCH
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 7:00pm
at the liberated City Hall of Ag. Dimitrios"
"There is a pandemic of occupations of city halls, following the occupation of the city hall at Ag. Dimitrios. Saturday the old city hall of Halandri was occupied and today the city hall of Sykies, a suburb of Thessaloniki. Three people arrested and then released during this occupation. I will provide more news and translated statements as they become available.
Another quick translation. Letter from the friends of the boy killed by the police, posted on the blog of the Occupied Old City Hall of Halandri.
WE WANT A BETTER WORLD. HELP US
We are not terrorists, "hooded ones", "known-unknown".
WE ARE YOUR CHILDREN
These, the known-unknown....
We have dreams – don't kill our dreams.
We have momentum – don't stop our momentum.
REMEMBER. Once you were young as well.
Now you chase money, concern yourselves only with the "show case",
you got fat, bald,
We expected you will support us. We expected you will be interested, that for once you will make us proud. IN VAIN.
You live false lives, you have bowed your heads, you have lowered your pants
and are waiting for the day you will die.
You don't dream, you don't fall in love, you don't create.
You only sell and buy.
STUFF EVERYWHERE LOVE NOWHERE – TRUTH NOWHERE
Where are the parents?
Where are the artists?
Why don't they come out?
PS Don't hit us with any more tear gas. WE can cry on our own.
Letter of friends of Alexis
PRISON AND DEPORTATION
FOR HOLDING A CELLPHONE CHARGER
A wave of repression against immigrants during the riots in Greece
In the last few days, there has been an explosion of violence and racism against immigrants by the police and the courts. In Athens only, over 50 immigrants have been sent to trial in flagrante delicto, with ridiculously insignificant accusations. This is the general picture: Express trials, no legal representation, no interpreters and a pre-decided charge of 18 months in prison followed by deportation. Most immigrants were arrested on the streets and not inside shops. Some were found carrying looted wares, some weren't. In one characteristic case, an immigrant was charged with robbery while he insisted that the single cellphone he was found carrying was actually his own! He was imprisoned and is awaiting deportation. In another incident, an immigrant was incarcerated for carrying a cellphone charging device! He was also sent to prison. He will be deported too.
In Athens, Patras and other cities, cops, para-State groups and fascists seized the opportunity to organize pogroms against immigrants. According to the denouncement by Elias Ahmed, representative of the Union of Bangladeshi Workers: "In the last days extremist nationalists are ambushing immigrants' meeting places. Most immigrants return home late at night, since they work in restaurants or do other evening jobs, and wherever the nationalists find them, they beat them up and terrorize them." The representative of the Afghan Community Zacher Mahmat issued an accusation stating, amongst other things: "Two nights ago at Attiki Square 4 or 5 Syrians were beaten up. They were attacked by a group of 10 to 15 (…) Everyday policemen beat up immigrants".
The police is working hard these days, with the excuse of lootings and unrest: Multiple arrests of immigrants, threats of deportation, beatings and mass transportations to police stations. On Monday evening, in an exhibition of atrocious violence in Omonoia Square, policemen were beating up immigrants for hours on end and dragging them to the nearby police station to be held (- let us note here that the Omonoia police station is notorious for its brutality).
And while all this is happening, the sensitive Interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, -also head of the Greek Police (a post which he publicly announced he wanted to resign from, expecting that the prime minister would never accept his resignation)- is zealously getting on with his own business: On Friday 12 he and Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy Minister Anastasis Papaligouras signed a declaration for the supply of equipment with the European agency FRONTEX, responsible for coordinating efforts to curb illegal immigration into Europe, at the former public order ministry with the executive director of FRONTEX Ilkka Laitinen. In other words, FRONTEX is congratulating the Greek police and coast guard for doing a good job and is offering them more arms and equipment…As minister Pavlopoulos proudly stated: "This initiative was taken by the Greek prime minister, and after this FRONTEX could eventually evolve into an organisation like Europol…I warmly thank mister Laitinen that the greatly successful NEPTUNE Operation [by FRONTEX], which was so important to us, was given an extension until March 1, 2009". Ilkka Laitinen returned the compliments by especially thanking the "Greek Police and the Greek Coast Guard for their cooperation".
But that is not the only cooperation beyond borders that is going on. The same goes for social struggle and solidarity. Governments in various European states are expressing their fear and caution…Let us prove them right.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ALL IMPRISONED IMMIGRANTS
IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ALL THE PRISONERS OF THE LAST DAYS
We shall meet in the streets
A quick translation. I take responsibility for any errors. The original (in Greek) can be found at http://katadimadim.blogspot.com/
INVITATION TO THE OPEN POPULAR ASSEMBLY
OF THE LIBERATED CITY HALL OF AGHIOS DIMITRIOS
On December 6th, 2008, the special guardi Epaminondas Korkoneas pulled out his gun and murdered a citizen, a 16-year old kid. The rage that everyone feels is huge, despite all the attempts by the government and the mass media to disorient public opinion.
It is now certain that this insurrection is not only homage to the unjust loss of Alexandros Grigoropoulos. There has been a lot of talk since then about violence, thefts and pillages. For those in the media and power, violence is only what destroys the proper order.
For us however:
Violence is to work 40 years for crumbs and to wonder if you will ever retire.
Violence is the bonds, the stolen pensions, the securities fraud.
Violence is to be forced to take a housing loan that you will pay back through the nose.
Violence is the managerial right of the employer to fire you at will.
Violence is unemployment, temporary employment, 700 euros a monthii.
Violence is the "industrial accidents" because the bosses cut costs at the expense of worker safety.
Violence is to take psycho-medications and vitamins to withstand the exhaustive work schedule.
Violence is to be an immigrant, to live with the fear that you can be thrown out of the country at any time and to be in a state of constant insecurity.
Violence is to be simultaneously a wage worker, a housewife, and a mother.
Violence is to be worked to death and then to be told "smile, we are not asking that much of you."
The insurrection of high-school and university students, of temporary workers and immigrants broke this violence of normality. This insurrection must not stop! Syndicalists, political parties, priests, journalists and businesspeople do whatever they can to maintain the violence we described above.
It is not just them, but we too are responsible for the perpetuation of this situation. The insurrection opened a space where we can finally express ourselves freely. As a continuation of this opening we went forward with the occupation of the City Hall of Ag. Dimitrios and the formation of a popular assembly open to all.
An open space for communication, to break our silence, to undertake action for our life.
Saturday December 13 2008, 7:00pm, open popular assembly at the Ag. Dimitrios city hall.
NO PROSECUTION – IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF ALL THOSE ARRESTED
OCCUPATION OF AG. DIMITRIOS CITY HALL
iΕιδικοί Φρουροί , Special Guards, an elite force within the police department.
iiAverage salary in Greece, approx. US$930.00, not nearly enough to survive on.
"The following is a brief report from Larisa, a medium-sized city in central Greece. Please distribute as you see fit. My, very rough, translation.
The situation in Larisa reminds us of the junta [the dictatorship]. There are security [police, other paramilitary and "civilian"] everywhere and they stop everything that moves. Today there was an assembly with the parents of those arrested and it was agreed to have another march Monday.
Monday's demonstration had about 2,500 people, an unheard of number for Larisa and as a result 36 banks, the justice building, city hall, and the military justice center were attacked -- as well as 4 small unrelated shops which unfortunately we could not protect because there were a lot of very young people who didn't have any specific targets. Next day, Tuesday, there was an evening rally by high school students with very few incidents.
There are 19 people detained total. 8 have already been in court for their first hearing and 4 were ordered to be held in jail, 8 more are going to court today but we have not found out what happened yet. All the detainees are being processed under the anti-terrorist laws, accused of forming a terrorist group, etc."
taste blood, yours, or mine, flowing
from a sudden slash, than cut all day
with blunt scissors on dotted lines
like the teacher told."
-On Edges, Adrienne Rich
From the English webpage of the French CNT; An appeal by the red and black coordination and interview of Yannis from the ESE (union of libertarian syndicalists - Eleftheriaki Sindikalistiki Enosi)
http://www.cnt- f.org/spip. php?article865
GREECE IN FLAMES !
For days the young people of have been in the streets, venting their anger.
Anger against the police who murdered a 15 year-old in cold blood.
Anger towards a political class (those of all parties) which is infested with corruption and nepotism.
Their anger against this politcal class that privatises universities, casualises the young workforce and chips away at the gains of the workers (social security and retirement reforms)
In Paris, in Roma, in Madrid, in Warsaw, in Stockholm as in Athens...
Capitalism exploits, sacks and kills ; it criminalises workers’ movements ; it expels immigrants.
We are calling for with the students and workers of Greece in their struggle !
In Paris, in Roma, in Madrid, in Warsaw, in Stockholm as in Athens...
We need to globalise resistance !
We need a General Strike against Capital !
We need a General strike agaisnt State represion !
CNT (france), WORKERS INITIATIVE (Poland), CGT (Spain), USI (Italy), ESE (Greece), IWW (Great Britain), LA (Poland), SAC (Sweden), Solidaridad Obrera (Spain)
Interview with Yannis, international secretary of the ESE.
Can you describe the events surrounding the death of Alexis again ?
For the last three years the ’s strategy in Exârcheia, a district famous for popular struglle and home to many students., young people and libertarians, has been one of provocation. .
Police patrols have become more frequent recently and on a daily basis the police are insulting the people in the area.
When it comes to the murder of this 15 year-old boy all the witnesses (resdients, passers-by etc) state that the police were provoking a group of young people by insulting them. When the youths responded the police parked their car and then returned to where the youths were sitting then they fired three times. The witnesses state that the murderer fired directly at Alexis who died on the pavement.
What are the tatics of the Greek police ?
Since the end of the dictatorship of the Colonels dozens of Greeks have been killed by the police. Amongst the dead are : Mikalis Kaltezas, a 15 year-old anarchist militant killed in 1985 ; Issidoros Issidoropoulos, a 16 year-old extreme left-wing militant killed in 1976 ; Koumis and Kanellopoulou, two demonstrators and also a number of immigrants and people from ethnic minorities (gipsies and Thracian turks etc). Recently the police murdered a young disabled boy.
At the same time we’re seeing countless cases of militants, demonstrators and immigrants being tortured by the police ; as well as a systematic and unjustified use of tear gas bombs and other gas weapons at all demonstrations.
I’ll add a final note, a police officer has never been killed by a demonstrator, furthermore no police officer, has ever spent more than two and a half years in prison.
What exactly is happening across Greece ?
The revolt has exploded in virtually all the regional capitals. In Salonika, Agrinion, Yannena and across Crete there have been clashes between police and demonstrators. In Patras the police attacked demonstrators accompanied by a battalion of armed neo-nazis, so-called "outraged citizens".
Every day in Athens there are two or three different demonstrations, with tens of thousands of participants. In solidarity 20000 demonstrators attended the funeral of Alexandros Grigoropoulos. This isn’t about "blind rebellion" like the media claims, on the contrary it is a real movement and one that continues...
The targets of the demonstrators are the banks and the multinational enterprises that are the symbols of poverty and suffering.
The revolt unites young and old, militants and the non-politicised.
It is the largest revolt in Greece since the Second World War and the Civil War which folowed in Greece. It could be the largest revolt in the western world for the last forty years. For us this revol is a completely legitimate response.
Apart from the murder of this young man, what are the other reasons for this explosion of protests ? We are the first post-war generation to experience worse economic and employment conditions than our parents.
In Greece we often speak of the "700 euro generation". Without a doubt this slogan doesn’t express how bad things are. In fact the majority of people under 30 live on less than 700 euros a month. The only jobs available are casual or short term, a lot of people are forced to work on the black market. The bosses fire people, blaming the crisis, mean while Greek Capital is benefiting from the massive profits gained from the pillage of the balkans.
The situation is worse for immigrants who suffer from racist laws, widespread xenophobia and attacks from nazi groups which go unpunished. We must underline that immigrants have played a large part in this movement and, as usual, they have been the main victims of state repression. Of the 400 arrests so far, half have been of immigrants.
As far as politics and corruption goes I can briefly sum up the situation for you : Recently there was a scandal as the ’Vatopedia’ affair saw the government giving land to the church.
Two families, Papandreou of the centre left and Caramanlis of the right have governed Greece for 34 of the last 40 years.
To this we can add the disastrous mismanagement of the fires in 2007 and of the aftermath. The attacks on social security by the socialists in 2001 and the right in 2006. Privatisation of the electricity company, the ports and of Olympic Airways.
Interview by Jérémie International Secretary of the CNT
Publié le 13 décembre 2008.
Workers in occupy union offices
<http://libcom. org/files/ images/news/ offices%20occupa tion.jpg>
The historic central offices of the in Athens have been occupied by militant workers
The action forms part of a strategy to counteract the designs of the
union bureaucracy to distance its membership from the current revolt,
and protest its management and mediation of workers' struggles in
Greece. The occupants aim to create a space in which to facilitate a
grassroots and self organised workers response to the crisis, and
bring the wider working class into the events unfolding on the
streets of Greece. Town halls in Athens and Thessaloniki have also
been occupied in order to hold general assemblies.
The communique of the "General Assembly of Insurgent Workers" follows below:
We will either determine our history ourselves or let it be
determined without us
We, manual workers, employees, jobless, temporary workers, local or
migrants, are not passive tv-viewers. Since the murder of Alexandros
Grigoropoulos on Saturday night we participate in the demonstrations,
the clashes with the police, the occupations of the centre or the
neighborhoods. Time and again we had to leave work and our daily
obligations to take the streets with the students, the university
students and the other proletarians in struggle.
WE DECIDED TO OCCUPY THE BUILDING OF GSEE
-To turn it into a space of free expression and a meeting point of workers.
-To disperse the media-touted myth that the workers were and are
absent from the clashes, and that the rage of these days was an
affair of some 500 "mask-bearers" , "hooligans" or some other fairy
tale, while on the tv-screens the workers were presented as victims
of the clash, while the capitalist crisis in Greece and Worldwide
leads to countless layoffs that the media and their managers deal as
a "natural phenomenon".
-To flay and uncover the role of the trade union bureaucracy in the
undermining of the insurrection -and not only there. GSEE and the
entire trade union mechanism that supports it for decades and
decades, undermine the struggles, bargain our labor power for
crumblings, perpetuate the system of exploitation and wage slavery.
The stance of GSEE last Wednesday is quite telling: GSEE cancelled
the programmed strikers' demonstration, stopping short at the
organization of a brief gathering in Syntagma Sq., making
simultaneously sure that the people will be dispersed in a hurry from
the Square, fearing that they might get infected by the virus of insurrection.
-To open up this space for the first time -as a continuation of the
social opening created by the insurrection itself-, a space that has
been built by our contributions, a space from which we were excluded.
For all these years we trusted our fate on saviours of every kind,
and we end up losing our dignity. As workers we have to start
assuming our responsibilities, and to stop assigning our hopes to
wise leaders or "able" representatives. We have to acquire a voice of
our own, to meet up, to talk, to decide, and to act. Against the
generalized attack we endure. The creation of collective "grassroot"
resistances is the only way.
-To propagate the idea of self-organization and solidarity in working
places, struggle committees and collective grassroot procedures,
abolishing the bureaucrat trade unionists.
All these years we gulp the misery, the pandering, the violence in
work. We became accustomed to counting the crippled and our dead -
the so-called "labor accidents". We became accustomed to ingore the
migrants -our class brothers- getting killed. We are tired living
with the anxiety of securing a wage, revenue stamps, and a pension
that now feels like a distant dream.
As we struggle not to abandon our life in the hands of the bosses and
the trade union representatives, likewise we will not abandon no
arrested insurgent in the hands of the state and the juridical mechanism.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE DETAINED
NO CHARGE TO THE ARRESTED
SELF-ORGANIZATION OF THE WORKERS
WORKERS' ASSEMBLY IN THE "LIBERATED" BUILDING OF GSEE
Wendesday, 17 December 2008, 18:00
General Assembly of Insurgent Workers
A banner handing from the facade of the building reads:
From labor "accidents"
to the murders in cold blood
State - Capital kill
of the arrested
will become the bosses' grave
General Assembly of Insurgent Workers