solidarity: people’s power

toward an international campaign of solidarity to the Greek people

Greece: a country on the brink of a humanitarian crisis
This is a bleak picture: over 1.5m Greeks are ofcially registered unemployed. Youth unemployment is currently in excess of 55%, whereas when it comes to young women this gure is closer to 60%. In the last three years, half of Greece’s population saw its income decrease by 40-50%. This situation is further exacerbated by steep increases in the prices of basic goods and disproportionate steep increases in taxation of the lower-income groups. In short, over 1.5m Greek men and women as well as immigrants live below poverty levels. Thousands of shops and small businesses (SMEs) have already closed, whilst thousands of low-income or unemployed people run the risk of losing their home because they can no longer meet their home-loan instalments. Millions of uninsured workers, and even policy holders no longer able to meet their insurance contributions, have lost access to primary care and essential medication. Many hospitals and clinics that have recently merged lack basic materials, equipment and medicines. Hundreds of schools and crèches have already closed, whilst innumerable Greek schools do not have the resources to provide heating as we’re heading for winter. At the same time, whole regions are literally faced with the prospect of social devastation: abandoned by the young, succumbed to violence and racism, riddled with alcoholism, depression and suicide. It is now obvious that this unprecedented plight is down to neither a “Greek misfortune” nor the

“debt crisis” as such; rather, it constitutes a “dress rehearsal” of the assault that the IMF and the big business interests, foreign and domestic, wish to actuate against the rights of workers and peoples of Europe. How else can we explain the privatization of all social goods, even of water supply, the surge of redundancies even in pro table businesses, and the drastic reductions of minimum pensions?

“solidarity for all”
Alongside the overall resistant mood which marks large swathes of Greek people and migrants who live and work in Greece, unprecedented movements and networks of practical/active solidarity have developed. These movements/networks have a dual aim: rstly, they aim to provide practical, immediate help to people, foreign and domestic, who face problems of sur-

But there is another Greece: that of resistance, solidarity and self-organization
It is quite well known that a mass movement of resistance has developed in Greece, against the IMF, the EU and the Greek government. Some characteristic “events” of this movement may be said to be the 15 general strikes, the dozens of trade unions, the hundreds of occupations (some of which have been longterm) of workplaces, ministries, town halls and other civic buildings, not to mention the “public square” rallies of spring/summer 2011, which brought together millions of people. Even though this movement failed to prevent the adoption of three successive austerity packages (Memos/Mnemonia), it undoubtedly played a central role in inhibiting the implementation of many measures contained therein; it has also contributed to the massive decrease in the popularity of pre-austerity parties, and to the increasing instability of their coalition which currently governs Greece. Above all, however, it precipitated the radicalisation of broad popular movements, especially of the young. Probably the most important manifestation of people’s radicalisation is the sharp rise of the Left in both the May and June 2012 general elections.

vival; secondly, they aim to organize those in need in order to satisfy their own needs. Across Greece, from Crete in the south to Evros in the north, hundreds of social clinics, pharmacies, doctors, support networks, educational courses, social gatherings, centres of alternative entertainment, co-operatives, collective kitchens, collaborative structures and legal aid centres, provide care for the people, irrespective of nationality or ethnic origin. This multifaceted social front brings together thousands of people nationwide; without seeking to replace the

near-demolished “welfare state”, it is an excellent way to promote practical solidarity, popular participation, collective will and ghting spirit. The “solidarity for all” initiative is a collective which seeks to: coordinate and communicate with networks and structures of practical social solidarity; foster the creation of new ones and facilitate people’s access to these structures; strengthen the unity between workers and the unemployed, healthcare workers and patients, teachers and students and so on, and promote international solidarity to the people of this country, natives and/or immigrants.

International solidarity
In addition to serving a humanitarian objective, we believe that international solidarity to people living in Greece, foreign and domestic, is important for many other reasons. Some of them are: • Because it bolsters the coordination of European movements and the sense of community among the peoples of Europe, thereby putting forward a credible socio-economic alternative. • Because it reinforces the notion that, notwithstanding the di erential speed of the neoliberal attack against each European nation, the problems facing Europe are, by and large, common. Therefore, countering them ought to comprise coordinated and integrated popular movements of resistance, eschewing nationalist and racist stereotypes. • Because it familiarises broader segments of the European social movement, including the one(s) in Greece, with practical politics; that is to say, with the kind of political action that seeks concrete results today whilst envisioning the kind or society(-ies) we want for our future. At this juncture we would like to clarify that we do not believe that the kind of political action we

propose ought to be centred exclusively in, or on, Greece; in fact, Greek factions of resistance are involved in solidarity campaigns in other European countries and in the wider Mediterranean region. We just believe that for international solidarity to be as e ective and penetrative as possible, its actions must be coordinated, targeted and capable of synthesising the political, social and economic capital of the people.

Proposals for international solidarity in Greece

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• Demonstrations in several European countries on the major political issues concerning Greece – as well as Europe at large (for instance, the implementation of antisocial measures, fascist attacks on immigrants/refugees/LGBD citizens, mass layo s and so on). • International days of solidarity mirrored by demonstrations which would take place in Greece on the same day(s). • Organising major cultural events, such as concerts, with a view to raising a) awareness about the situation in Greece and b) funds (for instance, to reinstate heating in the schools in the worst hit areas of mountainous northern Greece, or to purchase vaccines for children whose parents do not have access to social healthcare.

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• Direct cooperation between municipalities, trade unions and European social organizations with a view to covering speci c needs in terms of food, drugs, vaccines or money – or the organisation of unemployed, laid o or redundant workers into co-operatives in order to keep their business(-es) open. • Direct fundraising campaigns on a national and international level in order to meet the cost of speci c materials or to absorb speci c nancial needs of those worst hit. • The installation of international solidarity groups in Greece with a view to sharing experience and conveying knowledge in solidifying speci c solidarity structures (eg, social practices).

The “solidarity for all” initiative invites you to respond to this call. We can provide you with information and facilitate the direct interfacing between European institutions and existing social structures of solidarity in Greece. We hope that through this struggle the vision of a socially sensitive Europe may become a tangible reality.

Communication e-mail: tel.: ++210-3801.921, ++210-3801.925 SOS tel. (legal advices): 210-38.01.944 74, Akadimias str., 106 78 Αthens

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