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WHEN CHARITY REAKS OF IMPRISONMENT

A INSTITUTION WITH A PAST


Concentration camps were established with the aim of isolating and controlling excess population, in each case
according to the interests of the ruling class. They were not the invention of the Germans, they in fact appeared at
the end of the 19th century. In 1895 the Spanish in their attempt to keep Cuba under their occupation, thought to
group it's citizens in one place in order to control them more easily. That was just the beginning. Later, British
colonizers applied the Spanish term reconcentration in South Africa in the Boer Wars. Here concentration camps
were filled with prisoners of war, refugees, women, and children with the aim of exploiting them in any way
possible, which went as far as their extermination. The Nazi regime progressed the tradition. Death camps were
methodically and systemically created for Jewish, Roma, homosexual, and communist people, charging them as
culprits of economic collapse.

BORDERS, BARS, BARBED WIRE FENCES


From then up until today, from Auschwitz to Amigthalezas (a Greek concentration camp 10km north of Athens), the
choice of location of the camps is not by chance. The state intentionally, the majority of the time, sets up structures
far from urban centers. Isolated in white overcrowded tents or containers far away from the voices, sounds and
action of the city, disconnected from the rhythms of everyday life. The goal is for society to obtain only a vague
picture in relation to the reality of the camps. A picture which is managed and limited through their (to say the
least) objective media coverage. Both the location and the structure of the camps, as with every form of
confinement, make difficult any attempt at communication or show of solidarity. Whether a detention center for
deportation or 'hospitality' (labels given to supposedly different camps around Greece), they are militarized places
with barbed wire and high fences run by the military, police and private security. At the same time, a microcosm is
created, an informal ghetto outside the urban area. Migrants in the welcome centers are now separated by the state
according to their heritage. This creates the base for these people to group and organize themselves on the basis of
common national origin. In this way, in relation to these informal ghettos, the state will begin to talk of
ghettoization using the rhetoric of criminal activity, about a situation which the state itself created. Because, for
those without documentation or who live in a state of semilegality, what choices do they have to survive? Either
they will sit idly accepting the charity and humanitarian aid of the state and non-governmental mechanisms, or they
will seek legal work, as difficult as this may be in a country with a 25% unemployment rate, or out of necessity,
they will break a few laws in order to live. Of course then any illegal act may serve as fuel for the government to
change it's stance, because it is a thin line that separates a welcome center from a concentration camp, and it is
very easy for a fence to be erected and then expanded.

IN TODAY'S HELLHOLES
The camps, as welcoming or well kept as they may be (something which we have very sound reasons
to doubt) remain prisons of the soul. In all detention centers exists the same degrading image.
Overcrowding and miserable living conditions, on mudflats or derelict camps with minimal health and
sanitation provisions (for example inadequate numbers of toilets for the number of people). The food,
when it isn't minimal, is poor quality despite large investment in catering by the state (in April at the
Idomeni camp, contaminated food was distributed by a catering company causing severe stomach upsets).
Medical care makes up the biggest basic shortage, as is demonstrated by the hundreds of cases such as the
recent story of a pregnant inmate in the camp Elliniko, who despite her pleas for medical help to the guards
was not transferred in time to hospital and miscarried. Unaccompanied minors receive special
management as they are sent by court order to holding centers and camps on the pretext of their own
protection to camps such as Moria on the island of Lesvos, where they find themselves incarcerated with
minimal time outside, without legal or psychological support. Furthermore, with the lack of water and
electricity for months on end, the conditions of the camps are everything but welcoming. Such conditions
lead to respiratory, digestive and skin ailments as well as symptoms of anxiety, depression and even
suicidal tendencies. Resistance of migrants against their holding conditions has manifested through hunger
strikes and riots demanding their freedom.
A VERY WELL ORGANISED BUISNESS
Historically, the theory of racial discrimination was merely the ideological shell with mainly financial
incentives. State and capital exploit and undervalue migrant labor, something which was clearly
demonstrated through the management by EU states of the closure of the Balkan route. After they had
accepted all those they could use in the initial phase as cheap labor, discrimination based on country of
origin began, defining who were migrants and who were refugees, with those labeled migrant finding
themselves up against closed borders and segregation. Those who do manage to reach their destination
experience subjugation to the fullest under a state of fear which features wage slavery as the only means of
survival with exhausting hours, nonliveable? hourly wage, illegal work and poor conditions. Let us not
forget the story of Manolada, an area where the owners of a strawberry field kept their migrant workers
essentially as prisoners. When these migrant workers demanded due pay for their hours worked, they were
shot. Furthermore, let us not forget that 50 years ago Greeks went to Germany as economic migrants and
faced similar circumstances, as they were deemed gastarbeiter, guest workers. At the same time, we have
a formal and informal economic sector which is growing on the back of migrants. With large investments
in prison/security and catering companies, the prison industrial complex is strengthened and catering
businesses are consolidated, without ensuring the of quality the food. In other words, these industries are
expanded to the detriment of the services provided. From another angle, a new form of bloodletting has
been born, as the logic of fast and easy profit prevails. Typical examples include canteens which have been
set up outside detention centers, where a small bottle of water costs 2.50 , taxi drivers charging per person
rather than based on distance, the hotel JOY near Idomeni, which charges accommodation in tents
outside at the same rate as rooms, as well as for the use of toilets.

AGAINST ALL OF THIS, OUR ANSWER...


We support the choice and the struggle of migrants who want to continue their journey, as it was not
their choice to stay in Greece, they were simply trapped here by chance. The mere fact that they were not
born in Europe deprives them of the right to freedom of movement within it, and with this we disagree. We
stand with all those who desire to fight for documentation (papers), work, and healthcare. Not because we
find ourselves in a privileged position, but because we recognize that we face a similar fate as migrants
against bosses and the state. We share all that we have and we fight for all that is owed to us, against the
causes that birth the degradation of our lives. We recognize further that migrants will exist as long as there
is war, profit motives, economic exploitation and poverty. We want migrants in our neighborhoods, in our
workplaces, in our homes, in our schools together with our children. We set up structures in our cities and
in our neighborhoods as places of resistance and as places where our struggles meet with those of migrants,
because to struggle together, we must share our thoughts, our experiences and our needs.

FREEDOM TO IMPRISONED MIGRANTS


COMMUNITIES OF RESISTANCE WITH MIGRANTS IN ALL NEIGHBORHOODS
FOR A SOCIETY FREE FROM EXPLOITATION, SEGREGATION, BORDERS, AND STATES
*According to the European policy, some people have the right to leave their homes if they are fleeing war, while all
the rest must stay behind even if they experience another kind of warfare; economic warfare. We refuse to
reproduce the terms which have been established by the dominant discourse refugee or migrant. For this reason
we use the term migrant when we address or refer to these people. Indeed, our fundamental project is for the
freedom of movement for all, independent of institutional privilege or national divides.

HOUSING SQUAT FOR IMMIGRANTS ORFANOTROFIO


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