Call for international solidarity to the court case on the 18th of September in Athens
On September 18th the trial against two comrades from Berlin and two comrades from Athens will take place in Evelpidon Court in Athens. On November 26, 2017, the four persons were arrested during the forced eviction of GARE Squat, in the Athens district of Exarchia. Among other charges, they are accused of trespassing, attempted serious bodily harm, refusal of forensic identification and possession of explosive materials and explosive bombs. This eviction was the first of three in which the four comrades were detained for 4 days. They were released on conditions or bail and now, almost three years later, have to take responsibility in front of the court.
At least since November 17th, 1973, Exarchia has developed as a neighbourhood of the resistance. In the last decades a large number of houses have been occupied, among them a number from and for refugees. There exist self-organized structures that were primarily created during the crisis, such as a self-administered hospital, food distribution and housing. Within the neighborhood, structures for communal living have emerged, like a park with a playground and gardens. In addition, there are various occupations that are inhabited or used by various political currents and promote a diversity of political debate. In the neighborhood, the resistance and the way of living together, which often takes place beyond state control, and often leads to conflicts with the cops. In the various phases, these clashes with authority were of varying intensity. The repressive measures taken against the neighborhood and its residents range from surrounding the neighborhood with MAT units, patrols with armored vehicles, arbitrary controls, to the regular deployment of anti-terrorist units in the neighborhood. These measures are often accompanied by a media campaign against a lawless space where drugs are traded and controlled by the mafia. This is an attempt to depoliticize the local struggle and marginalize the resistance to various state interventions.
The occupations in the neighborhood are fundamental in making the resistance possible. They provide space for retreat, housing, infrastructure for communal living and for various needs such as food, electricity, washing and internet. They provide the space for meetings of different political collectives, cultural events and a basis for political discussions, they are a meeting point for activists and infrastructure for the movement. In this way they have developed into intersections between the movement and the neighborhood. Precisely because of the anti-state, anti-authoritarian attitude of the occupations and their autonomy, the state focuses on their elimination and openly attacks them. It is irrelevant here which party is currently in power; evictions and other attacks on occupations have been and are always taking place.
Something similar is happening in Berlin. Especially those structures that openly oppose the state, experience the most repression, and especially those that do not respond to offers of legalization, cannot be seized by the state, and reject attempts of reform are fought with the utmost severity. This year, various projects have been announced for eviction, one has been evacuated and the big wave is expected in the fall. There has been a growing resistance to this since a long time, which has caused the struggle to flare up citywide in the various neighbourhoods. The collective resistance against these state attacks has the consequence that we find a new strength.
The occupied houses are not relevant because of the stones they are built of, but because of the ideas that are created and lived in them. These ideas can be found all over the world and are also attacked everywhere by those in power. This makes international networking and solidarity necessary in order to jointly resist and defend our ideas.
For example, every year on December 6th in Athens there is a demonstration in memory of Alexandros Grigoropolous, an anarchist youth who was murdered by cops in Exarchia in 2008. Many supporters from all over the world come to this demonstration to show solidarity with the local movement and to actively defend the neighborhood against the cops. The revolt that started immediately after Alexis’ death in 2008 and the strength of the movement is one reason for the intensified state attacks every year at this time. The first eviction of GARE Squat, during which the four defendants were arrested, took place just before this date. In view of the role that GARE had played in previous years in the preparation of the actions and around December 6, the choice of the time of the evacuation was not surprising. It was an attempt to weaken the movement in these combative days.
Also last year, the recently elected conservative Nea Demokratia government began a massive attack on the movement two weeks before December 6th, accompanied with a wide media coverage. The Minister for Citizen Protection, Michalis Chrysochoidis, publicly announced that he would evict various squats, especially in Exarchia, and issued an ultimatum. To divide the movement, the government called on all squats to sign contracts with the state. All those who resist should be evacuated. Chrysochiodis also drew up a list of those squats that were to be evacuated first. None of the occupations accepted the offer of legalization. Only a few days after December 6th, the first houses were evicted and offered massive resistance, which led to a wave of international solidarity. The state’s attacks on the movement, and especially the occupations, continue in order to finally break the resistance, especially in Exarchia. The elimination of the anti-authoritarian movement, which has a long history in Greece, and the gentrification of Exarchia has already been made a priority by Prime Minister Mitsotakis in his election campaign and that of Nea Demokratia, in order to win the predominantly right-wing electorate. Even if this has not been completely successful to date, several squats have been cleared, most recently Dervenion suqat in Exarchia on June 26. Together we must prepare ourselves for further attacks by the state.
Show solidarity, accompany the trial against the defendants and resist together against state attacks on us and our projects!
Solidarity with the L34, Meuterei, Potse, Syndikat, SabotGarden in Berlin!
Solidarity with Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis and all other people affected and persecuted by repression!