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The entire press and media world goes on 24h strike across Greece in response to the closing down of a major daily and radio station, in a context of rising repression and urban guerrilla warfare.

On the 24th of June 2009, the entire press and media apparatus of Greece came to a standstill due to a 24h strike of press and media workers in response to the surprise shutting down of Eleftheros Typos, one of the country’s oldest right-wing newspapers, and the popular City Radio, both owned by the tycoon and president of the 2004 Olympic Games, Mrs Angelopoulou. The closing down of the daily and radio station came with no previous warning and are considered to be the first major effect of the global economic crisis in the country. The industrial solidarity action that took place on the 24th and deprived the entire country of newspapers and news broadcasts on both radio, TV and the Internet is a first response to the sacking of 450 workers of the joint business. At the same time workers occupied the offices of the newspaper and the radio station.

The press-media crisis and labour struggle come at a time of renewed tension across the country despite the summer holiday season. Social polarisation, which is seen by many as a result of the December Uprising, peaked again last week with yet another urban guerrilla attack by the Sect of Revolutionaries, a group that had attacked a police department and a TV station with automatic weapons last winter. This time the country came to a standstill as guerrillas executed an officer of the elite and secretive anti-terrorist bureau who was guarding the only accusation witness in the so-called Revolutionary People’s Struggle (ELA) trial. The trial, which is going through the appeal court, has been accused by the vast majority of the legal world as a sham (the accusation witness is in fact the ex-wife of the chief accused), putting innocent people through a long and painful ordeal on non-existent evidence regarding their involvement in the urban guerrilla group that disbanded in 1995 after 20 years of action. In their much-publicised communiqué, the Sect of Revolutionaries promised to make Greece bleed, targeting journalists, politicians and fascist leaders, while putting forward a new class theory positing at its epicentre as an archenemy what the guerrillas call the Lumpen Petty-Bourgeois Class. The assassination and the communiqué have created havoc in the government, which has been trying to introduce a series of tough ‘Law and Order’ laws of disputable constitutional validity and judicial applicability.

The new police-state legislation introduced by the frail 1-MP majority right-wing government, which secured the backing of the tiny fascist party (LAOS), include: a) immediate extradition of any ‘foreigner’ (non-greek citizen, including EU citizens) who is accused (not convicted) for a crime that can receive a penalty of more than 3 months; b) up to 10 years imprisonment for any greek citizen who ‘helps or harbours’ ‘illegal immigrants’, doctors included; c) up to 10 years imprisonment of committing any crime or felony (from spitting on the street to murder) wearing a hood, or otherwise ‘disclosing one’s characteristics’, including heavy make-up; d) compulsory DNA sampling of anyone convicted to three months of prison or more; e) free and unlimited use of blast flash grenades by the police in dispersing crowds. The new dictatorial measures have been met with hostility of all the political world, fascists excluded, and by the Lawyer’s Union who has pledged to challenge their validity both in national and international courts.

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The protest march of Saturday 11/4 marks a climax for the solidarity struggle regarding
imprisoned insurgents of the December uprising in Athens

On Saturday 11/4 noon a big protest march took to the streets of Koridallos, Athens,
towards the central jail of Greece. The march was in protest to the continuing
imprisonment of last December insurgents against who all evidence are little more than
circumstantial. Demanding the immediate release of the prisoners and pledging their
solidarity to all inmates and to the Katerina Goulioni, the prison activist who was
assassinated during her transfer from Crete to the mainland last month, the demonstrators
stood outside the women’s prison wing chanting prison abolition slogans as inmates put
fire on linen hanging them on their cell windows.

The protest march comes in a climax of solidarity struggle to the imprisoned insurgents
of December across the country including protest marches, concerts for economic help
to the imprisoned insurgents and their juridical expenses. On the previous Friday 10/04
three radio stations were occupied in Athens and were forced to broadcast programmes
on December demanding the immediate release of insurgents.

At the same time, on Saturday 12/4 evening protesters attacked and destroyed the offices of ANEK Lines, the colossal passenger boat company on whose boat Katerina Goulioni, the inmate prison-activist was assassinated on 18/3, putting an end to her struggle for the abolition of physical penetrative vaginal inspection in Greek prisons. Her death led to an uprising in the women’s prison of Thebes last month.

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20 March 2009

Early on Wednesday morning, a Greek prisoner actively engaged in defending prisoners’ rights was found dead. Katerina Goulioni and other prisoners were being transferred on a ferry from Thiva women’s prison in Greece to Neapoli prison on Crete.

It is alleged that, during the transport, she was seated at a distance from other prisoners and that her hands were tied behind her back. Other prisoners are reported to have said that she looked as if she had been hit in the face.

Katerina Goulioni contacted Amnesty International on several occasions to report on the inhuman treatment of prisoners and prison conditions for women, including at Thiva prison, near Athens, and at Diavata prison, Thessaloniki.

She informed Amnesty International that she had lodged complaints with the Greek Ombudsperson, including one in February 2009, and the prison governor of Thiva prison. She also appeared in a television documentary just before her death.

Katerina Goulioni had also been actively involved in Amnesty International’s campaigns by collecting petition signatures from Thiva prisoners. She told members of Amnesty International Greece on 17 March 2009 that the organization’s campaigning materials had recently been removed from her cell together with other human rights documents and that some materials had not been delivered at all.

According to information provided by the Greek Ministry of Justice, Katerina Goulioni died of a heart attack. The official coroner’s report is expected next week.
 
Amnesty International is calling on the Greek authorities to carry out a full, prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the full circumstances of the death of Katerina Goulioni; and into the complaints that she had lodged about the treatment of women prisoners.

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Storming Heaven

An excellent film about what is happening in Greece.

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There’s no doubt that the six weeks from March 28th – May 4th offers our anarchist movement a chance to move out of the shadows. Against the background of recession there has been rioting across Europe from Riga to Sofia. These are riots not by activists but by poor people hurting badly. The Greek uprising has provided a fine example of anarchists being prominent in a wider social movement for radical change. In Britain the war on Gaza and the Heathrow runway decision has brought protests – and direct action – back on the street across the country. They are not yet focussed on the recession but they may become so.

The G20 summit in London on April 2nd provides an opportunity for all these strands across Europe to come together as in the PARIS DECLARATION calling for a mass demonstration in London on March 28th – Saturday before summit – and across Europe on April 1st-2nd. In London the Trade Unions, Stop the War are organising marches on April 2nd. ?THE BEHEADING CAPITALISM? event by the folks behind J18 is planned for the same day. Other anarchists are planning a large entral London anarchist rally on the night of April 1st with speakers from across Europe. After G20 the European leaders move on to the NATO summit in Germany – sure to get the anarchists back on the streets

To often momentum is built over a few events then dribbles away. But this year we have the Mayday marches, a planned UK anarchist conference in London over May2-3rd and a Reclaim the Streets event in Brighton on May 4th. The fates are with us comrades, the sheeps entrails are promising, all we need are a few portents and omens to kick the whole fucking thing off,

JOIN THE SPRING OFFENSIVE!

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Anti-globalisation activists are plotting a mass demonstration against bankers in the
heart of the City, the Evening Standard can reveal. —- Police are on full alert ahead of
the protest, planned for 1 April – the day world leaders arrive in London for the G20
summit. —- Thousands of demonstrators, including anarchists and anti-aviation activists, are planning a series of protests, aiming to capitalise on disenchantment with City financiers blamed for dragging the economy into recession. —- The event, dubbed ‘Financial Fools Day’, is likely to cause mass disruption as demonstrators try to block traffic and buildings by lying in tents and sleeping bags across the road. —- One source suggested the protest would include a “spectacular action”. Organisers said on the Climate Camp website: “Join us for camping, workshops, protest, positive alternatives, direct action and community.

“We need to stop this foolishness… Bring a pop-up tent if you have one, sleeping bag,
wind turbine, mobile cinema, extra shoes, action plans and ideas… let’s imagine another world.”

Protesters hope to mobilise “anti fat-cat” sentiment among students and workers affected by the credit crunch as they demonstrate against the financial system, and are inviting activists to “set up camp” in London’s financial centre.

One environmentalist source said: “People are angry about losing their jobs and bankers still getting their bonuses. People are also up in arms about the Government bulldozing anti-airport legislation through as we saw with the third runway at Heathrow.”

Despite police becoming adept at controlling such demonstrations and preventing widespread disorder of the type that occurred during the May Day and poll tax riots in the Nineties, there are fears small groups will wreak havoc.

Police sources said: “Angry activists and aggressive City trader types are a volatile mix, as we have seen before.”

During the 1999 City Riot, which left 46 people injured and caused up to £2 million
damage, fights broke out between City workers and anarchists protesting in the streets and in private premises.

The April protest has captured the imagination of anarchists. Some are plotting further
demonstrations against the G20 on the day of the summit on 2 April.

One protester said the example of Athens, where young Greeks have been rioting for several months since police shot dead a teenager, could provide further inspiration.

An anarchist blogged: “The combination of the recession, the inspiration of the Greek
anarchists and the G20 summit being in London on 2 April gives us the opportunity to
mobilise far larger than usual numbers on to the streets… Seize the time.”

 

 

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Summit protests and the economic crisis

 

Summit-hopping is so last year. Or is it? When we began conceiving this issue a few months back, it seemed like everyone was gearing up for a busy 2009: NATO’s 60th anniversary party, the G20 summit in London, the G8 in Italy, the UN’s climate summit in Copenhagen… Ten years on from the ‘battle of Seattle’, 2009 was set to be the return of summit-hopping.

However, so far, anti-capitalists in Italy appear to have made little progress in mobilising against the G8 summit in July. What is more, everyone is talking about the UN’s climate change conference next December in Copenhagen. This comes with the awful package of environment minister Miliband calling for a mass movement for green capitalism and an austerity deal. The threat of another paralysing ‘Make Poverty History’-style mobilisation looms. On the other hand, there are, of course, some summits that continue to attract fundamental antagonism. The EU’s meeting on immigration in Vichy, France, last November was one example, despite a lack of mobilisation from the UK.

There is something that is fundamentally different from the previous decade of large anti-globalisation mobilisations: neo-liberalism itself is in crisis! The policies that were promoted by the anti-globalisation arch enemies (WTO, World Bank, IMF) are failing not only in Argentina and Mexico, but also in Europe and North America. The current financial crisis provides a platform for a systematic critique of the current economic system.

Maybe we should be excited that suddenly everyone is talking about the economy. Or should we? Many analyses of the crisis seem to be putting forward reactionary solutions. For a start, who we blame will define how we respond. Socialists blame bankers, government ministers and conservatives (and increasingly liberals) blame immigration, environmentalists and the middle classes blame the mass consumerism of the working class and the corporate media blames everyone. And what, then, will the response be? Anti-consumerism and austerity politics? Economy-boosting interest rate cuts? Tougher immigration controls? Urban riots? Blame creates hierarchies and characterises anti-globalisation protests. If we are to build a collective, emancipatory response to the crisis we need to be critical of any strategies that ignore the realities of life in capitalism, that fuel moral superiority and reinforce class divisions.

Furthermore, with every crisis comes a new conspiracy theory. The problem with these ‘explanations’ is that a capitalist crisis is not the result of the errors of a ‘small and elusive group of people’ as the conspiracy theorists want us to believe.

We live in a system that is antithetical to our needs, and importantly, our desires.

Crises are inherent in capitalism. There is no solution that will make capitalism free of crises. We can demand more regulation of the financial sector or the nationalisation and democratic ownership of banks. Still, capitalism’s crises are based in its inherent contradictory character with the desire to produce for profit-maximisation rather than social needs. And this will always be the central goal of capitalist production. A crisis won’t change that. There are more crises to come, with indications that speculation with raw materials and food could lead to much bigger misery than the bursting of the credit bubble. It is contradictory and irrational to produce, distribute and exchange resources as is done in a capitalist economy, thus capitalism without crises would be an oxymoron.

The left should take the crisis as an opportunity to push for more, to push for a system that puts our needs and desires above profit, to avoid limiting ourselves and scapegoating others. At a time where political leaders are making our demands seem reasonable (whether that’s the nationalisation of banks or a strong climate deal), we should not settle for compromise but demand the impossible!

Despite these new opportunities, there are few signs for a new wave of summit protests that can escape the attempts by governments to recuperate them. Protests are not happening outside summits now. As we write, they are happening in suburbs and big university towns. The migrant youths of St. Denis, the anti-CPE students, the Anomalous Wave movement and the Greek anarchist youth all dominate the headlines, rather than the plans for opposition to the G8 or G20. Also in Britain, radical anti-capitalist protest is no longer connected to the anti-globalisation movement, but is at the radical edge of the failed anti-war movement of 2003. Maybe in 2009 ‘suburb-hopping’ offers new opportunities for resistance?

Editorial of issue 5 of Shift Magazine, http://www.shiftmag.co.uk

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On the 27th of December we occupied the headquarters of ISAP (Athens Piraeus Electric Railway) as a first response to the murderous attack against Konstantina Kuneva on the 23-12-2008. Sulphuric acid was thrown at her face as she was returning home from work.  Konstantina is in the intensive care ward of Evangelismos hospital suffering serious sight and respiratory system problems.

Who was Konstantina? Why was she attacked?

 

Konstantina is one among the hundreds of female immigrant workers who have been working for years as cleaners. She is general secretary of the Panattic Union of Cleaners and Domestic Personnel. She is a militant union organizer, well known for her stance against various bosses. Just last week she had a clash with the employer company “OIKOMET” when she demanded for herself and the rest of her colleagues to get paid the whole amount of money of her Christmas bonus. She also denounced illegal procedures in payments. Just a short while ago the same company fired her mother in an act of revenge against her and she got herself an unfavourable transfer to Marousi station. There is also a case of a three-part meeting in the Labour Inspection Office still pending on the 5-1-2009 concerning a denouncement of hers. Situations like these are not at all rare in the field of cleaning and employee lending companies. It’s exactly the opposite.

This is the rule when it comes to cleaning company contractors: delayed contracts, stolen wages, stolen overtime payments, differences between contract assets and what the employee actually gets paid, selection of almost exclusively immigrant male and female workers with green card status (legal residency in Greece ranging from 1 to 5 years – in most cases only 1 year) so they can be held in a state of hostageship, social security benefits that are never attributed. All these under the support of the public sector and enterprises which are aware, incite and support working conditions reminiscent of the middle ages.

OIKOMET in particular, a cleaning company with enterprises all over Greece and owned by Nikitas Oikonomakis who is a member of PASOK (Greek Socialist Party), “officially” employs 800 workers – on the other hand, workers say that their number is at least twice as much and during the last 3 years the turnover amounts to 3000). Illegal procedures on the part of the employer company are on the everyday list. To be more specific, employees sign “blank page contracts” and they are never given a copy of them. They work 6 hours a day but get paid for 4,5 (including stamp) because in this way they appear to be working less than 30 hours per week on paper and the boss is not forced to include them in the “higher stamp category”. Employees get terrorized, they get unfavourable transfers, they get fired and blackmailed into resigning voluntarily (a female employee was threatened by her employer into signing her resignation after being held for 4 hours in a space owned by the company). The boss organised a “yellow” (company) union in order to manipulate employees while he fires and hires people as he wishes, ruling out any prospect of communication inside the workplace or collective action.

What is the connection between OIKOMET and ISAP?

OIKOMET has been assigned as a contractor the cleaning of ISAP (as well as the cleaning of other public sector and corporations) because it can “provide” the cheapest deal that includes the highest level of exploitation and devaluation of work. This “regime” of “offer and demand” is based on public sector organisations such as ISAP. ISAP is an accomplice in maintaining this regime of crude exploitation despite repeated denouncements by the union.

The murderous attack against our colleague was an act of revenge and had the intent to serve as an example.

The target was not coincidental. Female, immigrant, militant union organizer, mother of an underage child, she was the most vulnerable for the bosses.

The method was not coincidental. It resembles “dark” ages and aims to “brand”, to serve as an example and terrorize us.

The time chosen was not coincidental. The media, the political parties, the Church, businessmen and union bosses have been trying to ridicule the social movement that has taken the form of an explosion and talk about the cold-blooded murder of 15-year-old Alexandros as the result of a bullet getting redirected. In this pretext, the attack on Konstantina is lost in the everyday news.

This murderous attack on the part of the employers was well-planned.

Konstantina is one of us. Her struggle for DIGNITY and SOLIDARITY is also our struggle.

The attack on Konstantina has left a mark in all our hearts. It has left a mark in our memory as have done the racist pogroms, the concentration camps for immigrants, the attacks by thugs working for the state, the workplace accidents, the people murdered by the state, the working conditions that resemble galleys, the purges, the lay-offs and the terror. All these show the long way ahead for the social and class struggle.

Our hearts are filled with sorrow and rage and one sentence comes to our lips:

MURDERERS, YOUR TIME WILL COME

THE EMPLOYERS TERROR SHALL NOT PASS

SOLIDARITY ASSEMBLY FOR KONSTANTINA KUNEVA

 

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Liberated Workers’ Zone

 

 

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Since 8 o’clock in the morning the building of GSEE (Patision and

Alexandras) is occupied.

 

We declare the building a Liberated Workers’ Zone.

 

Open Workers’ Assembly at 18.00

 

The Building is open to all workers all day long.

 

 

–DECLARATION–

 

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

GENERAL STRIKE

 

 

WORKERS’ ASSEMBLY IN THE “LIBERATED” BUILDING OF GSEE

Wendesday, 17 December 2008, 18:00

 

General Assembly of Insurgent Workers

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