Greece: New Democracy, the new face of state violence

A view from Exarchia as the showdown looms. Interview with an anarchist in Athens about current situation.

he neighborhood of Exarchia in Athens, Greece is known worldwide as an epicenter of combative anarchism. For many years, anarchists and refugees have worked together to occupy buildings, establishing housing collectives and social centers that provide a variety of services outside the control of the state. Starting in August, the new government has carried out a series of massive raids targeting immigrants, anarchists, and other rebels, while revoking the autonomy previously granted to universities and introducing a wide range of new repressive measures and technologies. Now the government has given all the remaining occupations in Greece two weeks to conclude lease agreements with the owners or face the same fate. This deadline coincides with December 6, a day that anarchists have observed for ten years as the anniversary of the police murder of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos and the uprising that followed it.

The new governing party of Greece, aptly named New Democracy, is described by some media outlets as “center right,” in contrast to outright fascist parties like Golden Dawn; in fact, New Democracy has adopted much of its repressive and xenophobic agenda directly from the fascist right, while pursuing a neoliberal agenda in service of international finance capital. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mytsotakis, a hereditary representative of the capitalist class whose father was also prime minister, exemplifies the political caste that seeks to destroy the last safeguards protecting workers and poor people while scapegoating those who resist. [Read More]

Athens (Greece): The day after November 17, a taste of blood in the mouth

A tough night for those who like Exarcheia and revolutionnary struggle in Greece.

Many of our comrades spent the night between four walls after systematic beatings. Others were injured, three of whom were transferred to hospital by ambulance. Others had to hide for a good part of the evening, or all night, not to be picked up and beaten by police who seemed very excited, as if in a full war video game throughout the neighborhood.

In total, more than 5,000 policemen, a helicopter and drones permanently transmitting the position of insurgents resisting from rooftops. Anti-terrorist policemen, riot police, plainclothes policemen, mobile police, tanks with water cannons … The armada in uniform that converged on Exarcheia, during two successive demonstrations (1), was much too numerous and over-equipped for the solidarity of the defenders of the rebellious neighbourhood.

Exarcheia did not hold out long. Already partially occupied for weeks, it quickly tipped under the control of the soldiery, allegedly guardian of the peace. Few places within it are still safe. This morning, while the sun has not returned yet, Notara 26 is still standing, as well as the K * Vox and the Exarcheia self-managed health structure (ADYE). But these places and some others are but the last bastions in an exceptional neighborhood minutely devastated by the Greek state over the last weeks, in order to remove one of the sources of inspiration for social movements the world over. [Read More]

Utrecht: Derelict buildings squatted out of housing shortage and protest against vacancy

Since last weekend, a group of young people have been living in the long since vacant houses at the Burgemeester Reigerstraat 48-53 in Utrecht.

The occupation is both a direct approach to a need for life – the young people are looking for housing – and a protest against the current housing policy. The action, part of a national wave, criticized Squatting and Vacancy Act from 2010 and the intention to tackle squatting even harder. “The residents are of the opinion that not squatting, but vacancy and housing shortage must be tackled”, according to a spokesman. The buildings on Burgemeester Reigerstraat have been vacant for more than five years. Owner Marcel Paping plans to demolish the four buildings and build four new buildings and retail space in their place. A parking garage is to be built under the buildings. He has the permits for his plan, except for the entrance to the basement. Many neighbours are of the opinion that a large underground car park will seriously disturb the peace and quiet in the street. Paping plans to nail up the empty buildings if the Municipality does not grant him all the permits. Half a year ago, the buildings were also squatted. Then the police went on a wrongful eviction. “Hopefully this time the police will be wise enough not to go for the owner’s trolley and go the right way”, says one of the squatters. [Read More]

Utrecht: Squatting during national day of action – police proceed to unlawful eviction

The national day of action against the ban on squatting was also held in Utrecht today. A group of squatters has just added the vacant building at Reactorweg 164-172 to the housing stock. Help with the occupation is welcome, so come along!

The building, owned by De Waal Beheer, has been empty for quite some time now and plans for use by the owner seem to be lacking. While the CDA and VVD in their own-initiative law are working on new legislation to protect property owners even better against squatters, this action shows that squatting is still the only effective means for people searching for housing to combat vacancy. [Read More]

Greece: Why is the state attacking Exarcheia?

The Greek state’s long anticipated attack on the rebellious district of Exarcheia began with the eviction of four occupied spaces and a provocative and dangerous attack on the social centre K*Vox. Since the return to power of right-wing New Democracy in the July elections the move has been expected and a difficult struggle lies ahead for Exarcheia and the anarchist and anti-authoritarian space in Greece. The short-term fixations of New Democracy and the right explain the police operation but the attack on Exarcheia is part of a deeper desire by the state draw a line under its decade long crisis and declare total victory.

New Democracy have their own reasons for the attack on Exarcheia.1 While in opposition they raised the right’s traditional banner of ‘law and order’ and helped by a cooperative media painted a picture of a society spiralling into lawlessness. None of this was true, after all SYRIZA evicted occupied centres and refugee solidarity projects as well as sending the riot police into the neighbourhood and against demonstrations countless times while one of SYRIZA’s final campaign rallies for the July elections was attended by prominent police officials. Still the new Prime Minister Mitsotakis repeatedly threatened to ‘end’ Exarcheia while in opposition. That the refugee and migrant occupations were targeted first along with other announcements that the government will speed up deportations demonstrates that an anti-immigration agenda will be a priority. This reaffirms New Democracy’s connections with the far-right despite the liberal ‘centrist’ presentation of Mitsotakis. [Read More]

Greece: We stand against state repression

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 centers, 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 Spirou 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 street, and the Gare squat, where three arrests were made. [Read More]

Greece: First they take Exarcheia…

Recent evictions of several squats, some housing refugees and migrants, mark the beginning of a new chapter of repression and dissent in Greece. In the autonomous Athens neighborhood of Exarcheia on the morning of Monday, August 26, hundreds of masked riot cops with tear gas at hand cordoned off an entire block. Overhead, helicopters circled the scene.

No one would be blamed for thinking a civil war, or worse, was about to erupt. But no, the Greek state led by the new conservative government was mobilizing its full repressive armada to evacuate several squats occupied by refugees and migrants. Theorist Akis Gavriilidis weighed in:

This affair is a scandalous waste of public funds, for a result that is not only zero but negative in every respect: moral, legal, practical, economic and whatever you can imagine. To detain dozens of refugees — including children — who have committed no crime, to evict them from places where they have lived a dignified life they have helped to shape themselves, with the only prospect of being imprisoned in a hell where they live in much worse conditions, forced to passivity and inactivity. [Read More]

Pisa: Galeone Occupato has been evicted

On 30 July 2019 has been evicted Galeone Occupato, located at via Lucchese 65, in Pisa, an anarchist squatted building existing since 26 May 2017. A huge deployment of law enforcement, along with the fire brigade, arrived near the building at around 10.30 am. Following the raid, a comrade was arrested (later released) and another comrade barricaded himself on the roof of the building in an attempt to resist the eviction as long as possible, while comrades in solidarity arrived nearby. Finally the Galeone was evicted after a few hours.

Eleven people were notified of investigations with allegations of abusive occupation, theft of electricity and damage to Enel (company that manages energy supply) cabins. With reference to these investigations, the public prosecutor had initially requested the obligation not to enter the city (“foglio di via”) with the obligation to sign to the police station for a certain period. [Read More]

Madrid: CSOA La Gatonera evicted

First of all, we want to thank all the people who have shown their support and solidarity, especially the collectives, spaces and individuals of the neighborhood. Thanks to the support, we have managed to resist more than 24 hours at the door and hold a demonstration and a parade that hopefully has made it clear that we are still here and will continue to fight.
It has been at least a year since the beginning of threats and coercion by the new owner and his watch dogs (private security companies). There were threats to get an eviction squad after refusing to accept their money (15.000 euros) to leave the building. Seeing that they couldn’t bend us, they started the legal way to evict us. The sentence for the usurpation trial was not favorable to them, and they were still in a situation of appeal. [Read More]

Madrid: Statement of the anarchist compañeras arrested on May 13

In the early morning of May 13, an anti-riot unit was breaking into our homes and the anarchist space La Emboscada (The Ambush) – three weeks after its inauguration – together with the 21st group of the Provincial Information Brigade of Madrid, dedicated exclusively to spy and hunt anarchists. We were informed that they were bringing a search and arrest warrant for two of us on terrorism charges. During the search, which lasted approximately 6 hours, comrades from all over Madrid came to show their support.
Meanwhile, the police seemed especially interested in taking clothes with them: coloured and black coats, concrete coloured scarves, scarves, flower scarves, specific footwear; they were also interested in agendas, calendars, some notebooks, some annotations, notes between the pages of books, computers, hard disks, memory cards, usb, mobile phones, photographic and video cameras, CDs and DVDs, construction tools and, especially, hammers; as well as stickers, patches and T-shirts of the brand M.A.L.P.; posters and propaganda in relation to the G20 counter-summit in 2017. [Read More]

Athens: Open Discussion of Bouboulinas squatters with the neighbours

As an open structure and community, aimed at strengthening and developing the co-organization of our daily life and common struggles, we invite all residents of this neighbourhood and beyond to join us in putting our visions into practice. In the end it is everyone’s responsibility to take sides either with the word of community and of free self-organization or with the side of fascism and repression.

We are living in a time of war. Terror, poverty, political and economic violence, those are the consequences. By closing borders, persecuting and massacring at the borders, and mass incarceration and isolation into concentration camps with no prospect of freedom, Europe is waging a war against migrants.

Since February 2019, a mass eviction operation of squats has began, with the migrant squat Arachovis 44 in Exarchia being the first one to be evicted. At 11/4, at 6 in the morning, an army of cops evicts the housing squats Azadi and New Babylon, from where 120 people are detained. Just one week later, another operation takes place against the migrant squat Clandestina, and the anarcho-feminist squat Cyclope.

During the operations, the police violently and forcefully entered people’s homes in the early morning, kicking in doors and entering people’s rooms with weapons. After arresting residents, including crying children trembling in fear, and taking them away to police stations and prisons, the police proceeds to enter their homes once again, humiliating the residents further by throwing their belongings into disarray. [Read More]

Athens: Reoccupation of Bouboulinas 42. Call to solidarity gathering

Solidarity Gathering now in front of the reoccupied building on Bouboulinas 42

Since February ‘19, an operation has begun of mass evacuation of squats, beginning with the migrant housing squat Arachovis 44 in Exarchia. On 11/4 at 6 in the morning an army of cops evacuate the housing squats Azadi and New Babylon, from where 120 people are detained. Only a week later on 18/4 another operation takes place to evacuate the migrant housing squat Clandestina and Cyclope.

We understand this attack on all fronts against the squats and self-organized structures, with Exarchia at its centre, as an attack that serves the media profile of state and government, so as to appear as guarantor of security, law and order, and of the interestes of bosses and ladlords. The operations against the housing squats were accompanied by house raids in places for which the cops had information about drug dealing, so that all this may be presented as an operation against drugs. The result of these operations is that many of the squat residents are now imprisoned in the hellholes of the state, while the rest are left homeless.

This operation is taking place at a time with very specific characteristics. The total isolation and trap that migrants experience in greec -and in exarchia those who don’t have papers- sooner or later will fuel social eruptions. Either in the form of Eidomenis and Diavata, that is of the violent assertion that the borders be abolished, or in the form of self-organized struggles, such as housing squats. At the same time, the intensification of contradictions is reinforced by the big heads of the e.u.: the evictions of families from the homes provided by ngos is imminent, since the big capital considers that its high time these people enter the labour market, ideal flesh for the slave trade of capitalism. [Read More]