Across all borders, the enemy has the same face. Solidarity is our weapon. Defend squats, defend freedom.
This text written by comrade Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis in 2020
Few words about the historical meaning of squats
The modern squatting movement in Europe began developing half a century ago, mainly in Germany and Italy, in a period of outburst of the revolutionary struggle, especially in those two countries. It was a social territorialization of the revolutionary power of that time. Squats invaded into history as a radicalized social ground within an a-social desert and against the class pacification policies of post-war Central Europe. With this character, the example was conveyed to the greek scene, in the period of post-modern musolinist PASOK and the coalition governments that followed. Historically, the squats were and remain “gates” for the highly fragmented social body into the anti-capitalist movement, gates of the social body towards revolutionary self-determination.
The identification of squats in general with the escapist mentality, with existing trends of alternativism and with policies of their assimilation, is counter-movement propaganda and slander inspired by political parties. In reality, this anti-squatting criticism contributes only to such directions and this is what it pursues in order to confirm itself.
The squatting movement opened up a dynamic space on a fundamental and crucial point of the state-capitalistic domination: it set in motion the attempt towards the direct abolition of property. In its marginal form, that of squatting devalued land, the attack on property became immediately and widely possible, in the service of basic survival and social needs. The social character inherent in the act of direct expropriation of resources, even if it involves merely decommissioned capital, bears the seed and becomes a springboard for direct attacks against the core of state and capital.
Whenever the squatting movement enshrined its dynamic, it managed so due to its self perception as a fighting unity. The struggle on the micro-scale can create ruptures when the individual bodies feel, think and act as members of one common body, a body that does not fit into the established world. And then, it can take roots and spread.
Whenever the squatting movement shrank, it happened as it internalized in its fractions the a-social and political sectarianism, or as it took the side of pacification on the streets, which inevitably leads to resignation and individualization.
GARE through space and time
GARE is being bombed daily the past three months, by a NATO-led air force. GARE constitutes one side of Medya Defense Zones, the fortified base of the Confederate guerrilla forces. GARE is a mountain in South Kurdistan on the border between the Iraqi and Turkish state. The guerrilla forces endured also this war and are now moving to counterattack, in order to convey the social revolution to the entire Middle East and to liberate it from dictatorial, colonial and imperialistic forces.
The squat GARE, under the hill of Strefi, on the “mountain terrain” of Exarchia, got its name from the guerrilla mountain, expressing in this way its character within the struggle for social revolution, as well as its internationalist commitment within and beyond the national borders. Squat GARE was born when a political body materialized its decision to house itself in the manner that is befitting to anarchists: by opening up a new space for social self organization, liberating ground from bourgeois ownership and decay. This leap forward became essential after three years of committed struggle in the fields of self-organization and class resistance, of contribution to the attempt towards the con-federal organization of anarchists in the greek territory, of boundless solidarity with persecuted and captive fighters and of participation in the bloody revolution of Rojava. The location and the building of the new squat were chosen on certain political criteria: In the neighborhood-hub of the daily conflict against the urban military presence, beside the primarily free and public space of Strefi hill, on a street that was until then home to the gentrified left, in a historical building of resistance, which was excess private property. Locating ourselves in an already shaped field was a clear choice, among other options. It was a very restrained step from the viewpoint of the movement’s expansion, and at the same time a very challenging step in terms of the responsibility to take initiatives for confrontation and self-organization, responsibilities that we were obliged to take on, according to the squat’s declared purposes, within the brewing pot of Exarchia. And we assumed these responsibilities with consistency.
For the collective that opened GARE squat, the Anarchist Collective for the Combative Proletarian Reconstruction (ASMPA), the new project was a commitment to the field, to the neighborhood and to the struggle of squats, with cost in energy and time. One more constant commitment, until the achievement of the ultimate purpose: social revolution.
With an anarchist perception at its core, squat GARE, similarly to ASMPA, opposed the idea, concept and methodology of “social address”, which perpetuates the political organization’s separation from and domination over the social body. GARE perceived itself as a cell in the social field of liberation and its actions as territorial concretizations of class struggle. That’s why it ventured into all the contentious issues, on concurrent levels -neighborhood, city, social movement- with propositions and initiatives for the self-organization of resistance in terms of self-direction, by means of various actions, new assemblies, plans for political and organizational development. In any case, the social terms of struggle, to which GARE contributed, were founded on two pillars: one, the direct creation of new, or the enhancement of existing open spaces for self-organization, on the forefront of current struggles (defense of squats and centers of struggle, military occupation of Exarchia, public transport, migrants’ resistance, structures for survival and autonomy), and second, the committed, boundless and non-opportunistic solidarity, structured on clear political lines and horizontal procedures.
In this way, GARE shortly after its opening, became a new community of federalist resistance, and its space a public tool open to the needs of the neighborhood and the movement. Although the squat invited and hosted many different projects and events, it nonetheless became an evolved form of the kind of self-organization that had spread across greece in the last two decades. The squat’s assembly was not merely administrative, which is a conventional agreement, a technical tool of coexistence, and also the facade behind which lies the control by a political collective. The administrative issues were, instead, part of the practical terms by which the evolving political decisions and duties of an autonomous sociopolitical body were implemented. The anarchist collective that opened the space, from the outset, left out from this social front its distinct presence (which consists the deep existential boundary of most political formations), and it identified with all the broader bodies of the struggle to which it became committed. This is the way that the political organization sinks into the social struggle, as Bakunin proposed against political hegemonism. Some exemplary expressions of this deeply anarchist perception were the Self-organized Public Baths & Launderette and the participation of GARE squat in the reoccupation, the self-defense and the communitarian organization of the migrant housing squat on Bouboulinas St. The public bath was not merely a project hosted in GARE, but an open structure born from GARE, and where the participation of the squats’ members in its daily operation was a foundation for the participation in the squat’s community. Such was also GARE’s commitment to the struggle of Bouboulinas squat, the first and so far only point of social counter-attack against the repression of migrant housing squats.
The fighters who occupied GARE, comrades from the far east to the far west of the planet, comrades with whom we came together through the common struggles and others whom we knew well and who had fundamental disagreements with the squat’s speech, all of them, people who had left behind the world of a secure conventional life, they became examples of responsibility towards the combative class-social solidarity and initiative. These comrades with whom we mutually learned and developed, personified the sensitivity, the immediacy and the morale that are necessary for the development of the revolutionary social movement. The sparsity of such characteristics in the greek libertarian movement is one reason that the state is not faced with effective resistance.
Korkoneas never left Exarchia, he was never absent from the public space of this country
Two nights before the last state invasion in GARE squat, in August 2019, the comrades who were inside the building saw at the other end of Kallidromiou street a cop raise his gun and point at a youngster during a chase. The gradual military occupation of Exarchia neighborhood began in 2009 with the launch of the motorbike unit of torturer cops and the proliferation of riot police’s stationary and storming points. The state never accepted the revolt of December 2008 as its defeat, and never halted for one moment its polemic project. It counterattacked on every occasion and returned the balance of power to where Korkoneas had left it.
In 2015 the SYRIZA government took on the task to upgrade the violence and to undermine the political and social foundation of the class conflict with the vanguard of repression in Exarchia, by mobilizing a wide range of reactionary forces within the neighborhood and the movement. The government took away the mopeds from the police thugs and gave them armored jeeps, a gift from the european army in Kosovo. It regularly implemented an unprecedented chemical bombarding, like teargassing inside buildings, shooting rubber bullets, the legalization of police tortures with the minister’s stamp of approval over their frequency, the pre-trial detention and convictions of youth and migrants either for events of resistance to the military occupation or with “anti-drug” sweep operations. In order to resist the distortion of history, we ought to not forget the complete strategy, part of which was the war against Exarchia. The absolute alignment of SYRIZA with the preexisting counter-insurgent strategy was declared as soon as it took hold of government, by pushing political prisoners- hunger strikers to the brink of death, by preserving the laws against organization and reasserting the torture related to forcibly extracting DNA data from suspects. We ought to not forget the special treatment of captive guerrilla fighters of the Organization Revolutionary Struggle, Pola Roupa and Nikos Maziotis as well as the abduction of their child. To remember the captivity and tortures against political refugees from Turkey and Kurdistan, as a gift to the Islamic-fascist dictator Erdogan, prior to his visit in Greece; a give and take between murderous authorities, which was repeated again this year by the New Democracy government, so that the turkish state would close its borders to migrants who were getting shot at by greek cops and military. To remember the drowned children in the Aegean sea and in Moria camp. And of course, to not forget Zak Kostopoulos and those murdered inside police stations, Pellumo Marnikollaj and Ebuka Mamasubek, for whom no prime minister, no minister, no director, no cop was ever held into account.
GARE began its activity during the second year of the SYRIZA-ANEL government, breaching the process of deconstructing the combative movement, a process implemented as much by government executives as by groupings inside the movement, which had signed a seize fire agreement with the state, either by their own declaration or passively, and which had turned their weapons against combative manifestations. The perception of liberating ground from repression, as a political foundation of social self-direction, was a fundamental composition element for GARE. This is why it located itself in Exarchia, and particularly in a historical building of the resistance. For GARE, disseminating structures of social self-direction on the one hand, and the organization of everyday fight against the military control of the neighborhood on the other, were one and the same struggle.
Already from 2013, when ASMPA collective was created, it found itself alone among organized anarchists in the Athenian scene, in defending consistently this perception. In 2016 GARE delved into this narrow geographical field, where all the contradictions between continual struggle and deepening capitulation were concentrated. Its initiatives were in an antagonistic dialectical relation with the state strategy to deconstruct the combative movement. And in reverse, the anti-anarchist undermining and state repression in Exarchia would go on the offensive in every field where GARE engaged in, even where the squat was not the one to take the initiative.
The first bit of media attention, came like firework, from Kathimerini newspaper, and was the sole focus of the right wing of the right on this squat. All the subsequent blows, prior to the last raid, which were neither few nor usual, were fired from the left wing of the right. A left wing that had its posts inside Exarchia.
The occupation and defense of Polytechneio in November 2016, after the combative mobilization for Obama’s reception in Athens, was the mold for the co-organization of the defense of Exarchia neighborhood in the coming 6th of December that year, on novel terms. For the first time, a number of collective bodies took the political and practical responsibility to prepare the defense of a ground and to stand on the streets together in an organized and coordinated way. Not by chance, all the bodies which wanted to and could defend the public space of Exarchia were squats, or groups from squats (not only from the neighborhood). The struggle for the 6th of December within the neighborhood, under the slogan «Throw a rock from the balcony…», began with a wide communication campaign, with posters, door to door flier distribution, information given to car owners on the streets of the neighborhood, and an event on the central square. It was the battle of the open door. The organizing initiative taken by GARE had a defining contribution.
In the course of the political rift that was created in December 2014, (during the hunger strike of captive anarchist fighter Nikos Romanos), GARE, along with a few other resistance communities, had with persistent effort restored the immense significance of anniversaries of the resistance, as points of confrontation in current time, against the counter-insurgent deconstruction of memory. The dynamic of historical memory was connected with the existing constant conflict. Gradually, the historical spaces became fields of everyday combative manifestation.
The first provocative reaction to the initiative and achievement of December ‘16 was expressed by a “popular assembly” that had turned into an agent of government and local businesses. This reaction was dealt with as was befitting. Already from the next day of the anniversary, the state responded with dense patrolling and placing OPKE (heavily armored police units) check points, which became targets of molotov attacks. In this condition of intensification of police siege of the neighborhood, the Organization Revolutionary Self Defense realized its first of two actions against the riot cops units (10 January 2017). The second action was carried out ten days before next year’s anniversary of the Polytechneio revolt.
After half a year of active dialogue, GARE took the initiative to call the Assembly against Police Occupation. Few days before the announced start of this Assembly, GARE became the target of provocation and intimidation schemes, by a mafia network of thugs who work for the “protection” of Exarchia’s legal and black market, a network that held organic ties with a SYRIZA affiliated political clique of the anti-authoritarian “scene”. Following this, the particular clique in collaboration with other groups which are connected to the government, to agents of migrants’ exploitation, to local business men, to thugs and the police, attempted to portray itself as the victim of “totalitarian” and “cannibalistic” practices, provoking a clash on the streets of anarchists versus migrants, whom they had set against what they named “fascists”; the riot police standing by as the referee. All such pursuits of provocation and intimidation failed due to the determination of GARE along with the solidarity movement that gathered, who defended the squat with remarkable morale, taking to the streets the very next day, and answering every subsequent such challenge, thereby turning them -their agents and their thugs- into the target.
The Assembly Against Police Occupation posed the necessity for creating open structures of self-defense as a precondition for social liberation and self-direction. In conjunction to this, it posed the necessity of defending the ground on terms of horizontal social self-organization, rather than leaving this responsibility to political cadres and their secret councils. Of course, the Assembly focused on the fundamental need to do away with military control as a basis for resolving other problems, such as the defense of self-organized structures, the transformation of the drugs culture in general, the rejection of consumerist culture from public spaces, the elimination of inter proletarian cannibalistic practices etc.
The Assembly made a wide campaign for dialogue and mobilization in the neighborhood, for the reinforcement of combative networks of the social base on the battle front of everyday clashes. It mobilized openly against the permanent military check point on Voulgaroktonou street. In addition, it re-initiated, through an open assembly, the combative struggle against the new types of control on public transport, prior to their implementation, at a time when this field had been abandoned. And through the initiatives of the Assembly, a mass body gathered to organize the resistance on the 6th of December 2017, while in the meantime GARE had faced the first police raid and four comrades were put under penal supervision.
For three years GARE faced every kind of slander by the regime, which was conveyed also to the movement’s counter-information media, by lackeys of the left wing government. Among other things, rumors would spread that we were setting fire to private vehicles and public transport buses (when it was known that the care taken to avoid pointless arson during the 6th of December 2016 was exemplary, something which hadn’t happened even in December ‘08). This militant political cannibalism was aided not only by the political sects which had joined the lines of counter-insurgency, but also by a multitude of political groupings who had for decades conducted their “fight” against memory and grounded struggle in Exarchia.
Only Toskas and Tsipras can know with certainty, whether and to what extent the handing over of occupied Polytechneio to the regime on the 16th of November 2017, by two specific political groups together with ex-political prisoners capitulated to the regime’s left, thugs and business people of Exarchia, was necessary for them in order to invade GARE ten days later. Acts are judged first as to their orientation and their characteristics as a whole, and then as to the gravity of their results. November of ‘17 was a de facto confirmation of the articulation between counter-insurgent undermining and state repression. With this revelation, the repression faced greater resistance and the counter-insurgent block received a definite blow. GARE was soon reoccupied, and despite the fatigue of its people from the daily conflict with the entire reactionary spectrum, it was soon revitalized by the participation of new comrades.
GARE, an opening to the free space
In contrast to the conservative habit of confinement within self managed spaces, which prevails in the political movement, GARE became a point from where comrades approached the public space of the neighborhood. It was a decision of the squat to not become a “steki” (tn: the greek expression for “haunt”). The solidarity bar for political prisoners and persecuted fighters (BarOikE), that was running during the last year by an autonomous assembly, had a specific purpose. The building housed indoors only the activities (educational, entertainment) which due to their nature could not be done outside. As well, many cultural events that were housed indoors were explicitly for solidarity with the Squat. Most social and political activities of GARE and of the Public Baths, as well as later on of reoccupied Bouboulinas squat, were done on the street, with the spirit and logic of creating a neighborhood community. Moreover, GARE participated along with other squats in the defense of Strefi hill during the last two summers, when the state attempted a military style blockade of this free space. And also, there was no shortage of public events on the square, in the context of constant activity in the neighborhood, as described before. But the most important practice of the squat, as to its active participation in the social field of the neighborhood, was the daily presence of its people in the public life, beyond and outside of the entertainment market. The square and all the gathering points, the youth, sub-proletarian and migrant circles, the barricades, the hit and run attacks and the church of Polytechneio, were the home of GARE.
In those who do not fit into the urban prison and in those who can not withstand the class negotiation, we have recognized our comrades, the proletarian base for the social revolution. Such people build libertarian communism today, within squat communities. And we can tell who is hurting along side us, and who is secretly joyous about our wounds. Because we can distinguish the class and political background of this difference in relation.
Within the public space of Exarchia, GARE understood the various contradictions from a combative class perspective. Faced with the reality of the drugs trade and of inter-proletarian violence, GARE, in contrast with the narrow, conservative and ineffective perspective, chose not to perceive these as obstacles to our political presence and freedom, although we strongly supported the self defense of fighters against any kind of threat. Our consistent reference to every matter that arose was the indivisible need of survival and solidarity of the class social base. From this point of view, GARE always stood in solidarity, without a precondition of political affiliation, just as ASMPA had done before, with all those who are threatened by drug dealers, exploiters of poverty and mafia thugs. We continue to remain in solidarity, even though whenever GARE had to face paramilitary, profit mongering or nationalistic violence, very few (and thus more exceptional) organized anarchists of the neighborhood responded.
From its anti-state class perspective within the brewing pot of Exarchia, GARE stood for unity in struggle against the state’s military control, against the counter-revolutionary policies, against mafia violence (which stems from capital and serves the state, whatever its facade may be), and against the deconstruction of the proletariat. Four parameters of the same struggle, which demand unified structures of self-defense on the basis of social self-direction. Today that Exarchia has turned into a military occupation, that profit making activities in the neighborhood grow unhindered, and migrant self organization in Athens has been crushed, those piecemeal or even competing methods have reached their dead ends. GARE by itself could not have tipped the balance in a defining way, however much it may have contributed to the disruption of balances and the change of the scenery for some time. What was achieved together with GARE became the ownership of class resistance and of the collective experience towards social self direction. Whenever this field suffered losses, the collective and people of GARE suffered alongside the oppressed social base. GARE did not keep any hidden ways out, it did not breed upstarts, hobbyists or dignitaries; together we well storm again from the same lines.
GARE, a flame that does not extinguish.
Up until the first police raid, the Squat had daily guarding, initially during the night, so as to confront potential fascist attacks, and then at dawn, in order to face a possible police operation, by stalling or even canceling a raid. The experience of the fermentation in the struggle and of the political contribution are more critical than tactical issues (for which GARE’s and its members’ common experience from the defense of other spaces is the material that the combative movement is made of). GARE was gestated in the experience of self-organization of the community of Occupied Prosfygika. The opening of GARE squat coincided with the effective combative defense against an attempted raid in Prosfygika of Leoforos Alexandras by a coordination of cops and Golden Dawn fascists. History had shown that the political stance that considers it viable for movements to survive while physical spaces (like squats) are abandoned without a fight, is a destructive stance. Even more destructive was considered the hesitancy and heedlessness of collective bodies in trying to transform the mass solidarity mobilizations against squat evictions into starting points of counter attack and of a broader reorganization. The mass solidarity demonstration for the eviction of Villa Amalias was both the peak and downfall point of the squatting movement of the last 25 years. The usual saying whereby it was argued that “we cannot answer the state’s attacks on just one day”, was a declaration of return to a normality where the state violently shifts the limits on our expense, without pause. Ideas are the first to be evacuated. After that, the ground is forever lost.
The current attack on squats, which is near its completion, began in 2012. We are talking about the same polemic plan, which has been evolving and adapting to the circumstances. After Samaras, Tsipras took over the next wave, starting from Thessaloniki on the 27th of July 2016. It was that barrage of attacks in Athens that begat the Self-defense Structure of Squats and Migrant Housing Projects, which became a stable open structure that was intensely active over the next two years, whereas assemblies that were urgently called on occasions of squat evictions did not last. The Structure did not only defend its participant squats -it made preventative patrols in the whole city center in different ways, focusing on migrant squats and the defense of their autonomy, it traveled to other cities, it participated in antifascist gatherings, and, through constant co-organization and action, it formed common practices, perception, methodology and social relations for many comrades. The Self-defense Structure and the political culture it created, germinated for the first time in the greek scene, the practice of a common fight of squats on a steady basis, in contrast to the traditional opportunistic coordination.
The second wave of attacks by the left government targeted the Self-organized Space of Villa Zografou, the migrant housing squat in Alkiviadou st., GARE Squat and the anarchist Social center of Agrinio city. On the 13th of March 2017 the determination of the comrades of the Self-defense Structure to combatively defend GARE from inside the building, and the mobilization of other comrades in the neighborhood, canceled the planned raid in GARE. The organized guarding did not include Villa Zografou, nor Alkiviadou, as a result of the decision of the assembly of Villa Zografou on the one hand and of the agents who were in charge in the migrant squat Alkiviadou on the other. The deterrence of a planned eviction was unprecedented in the greek scene. That dawn, among the comrades who defended the squat, was also comrade and friend Haukur Hilmarsson-Spark-Sahin Huseyni, who one year later (24th February 2018) became a martyr of the revolution of Rojava, during the turkish invasion of Afrin.
Eight months later (26 November), the state raids GARE. Before a week passes the squat is open again. This state’s attempted surprise attack just before the anniversary of the killing of Alexis Grigoropoulos, was turned into an unexpected comeback. Even if the state cadres comprehend the dynamic relation between free ground and revolt, they cannot but act as a machine working on linear predictions. The attack against GARE prior to the anniversary neither deterred the internationalist mass and combative mobilization in Exarchia, nor did it leave a trophy to the state. On the contrary, it entrenched GARE’s presence into the struggle of the neighborhood and the squatting movement. The re-occupations of GARE are exemplary of the interdependant dynamic of the defense of a specific locale within the broader critical ground. Whether inside a building or outside it, the state cannot avoid conflict. Wherever its murderous forces stand, they bring about a new point of conflict. Guerrilla struggle can withstand whenever fortresses fall, and whenever guerrilla struggle gains ground, new strongholds take roots.
On the 12th of March 2018, exactly one year after the last wave and while in the meantime other evictions have taken place, as well as the demolition of Termita squat, the arson of Libertatia squat and the mass defense of Embros squatted theater against a fascist attack during a nationalist rally, SYRIZA launches yet another barrage of attacks. GARE is again one of the three targeted squats. The other two are Clement Duval squat on Zaimi 11 and Matrozou squat of the Koukaki Squat Community. GARE squat is reoccupied 2 days later, Clement Duval-Zaimi is reoccupied two days after that, and on the 30th of that month Matrozou is reoccupied, thereby nullifying the operation that aimed to dismantle the most combative parts of the Athenian center scene. All the re-occupations stemmed from the depth of the movement’s acquired experience. This kind of combative direction was developed through daily struggle, on the basis of the materialist awareness that people are not dependent on the bricks that house them, but their communities are tried and tested on the frontiers shaped bythe bricks, the barricades on the streets, and the trenches of the free social space.
At the last barrage perpetrated by the Coalition of Radical Left (syriza government), on the 11th and 18th of April 2019, just before the municipal elections, three migrant housing squats and one feminist project were evicted. GARE was left for after the elections. But this attack was not left unanswered. The displaced migrants by their own initiative occupied Gini building in Polytechneio, and as a body they made interventions in the neighborhood of Exarchia as well as participated in 1st of May mobilizations as a block, culminating into the reoccupation of one of the evicted buildings, on Bouboulinas st. From the first moment of the reoccupation, when the solidarity gathering outside got attacked by the police, the body defending this new squat showed its determination. Bouboulinas was the last migrant housing squat to be evicted by the new government, following the third raid against GARE.
The eviction plan of the New Democracy government begins on the 26th of August. Exarchia squats, including as a first political target the squat GARE, got attacked as the police occupying army steadily established its presence around Polytechneio, not without resistance, and in the entire area between that and the square of Exarchia. During this operation I was specifically targeted, since the cops nabbed me outside of Bouboulinas squat, then proceeded to raid my home and then explicitly threaten me with a fabricated charge of possessing “drugs and weapons”, in case a new occupation or reoccupation would take place. In the meantime the media were presenting me as an arrested of the GARE eviction. The news report was obviously ready before the news, and it seems that the mouthpieces of the minister of terrorism (Chrysochoidis) intentionally forgot to inform the “reporters” that the episode happened in a different way. The paramilitary character of repression reveals the limits of bourgeois democracy. The fact that the media substitute their reports with the desired scenarios of the repressive mechanisms (just as it was later repeated when the media presented the “partial dismantling” of the Organization Revolutionary Self-Defense whereby they presented the two arrested persons as “members”), reveals that the class enemy blindly attacks the bodies of resistance in order to prevent their own nightmares. However, the tempest cannot be imprisoned. The cops’ military occupation over the ground that was Squat GARE, opened up a new point of conflict.
GARE is besieged along with the neighborhood that it defended. It remains so in anticipation, because the neighborhood is totally besieged. Exarchia has become a no human’s land. Anybody mobilizing in the public space becomes a victim of humiliation, threats, tortures and penal persecution. GARE anticipates the reconstruction of the movement of the oppressed. If the social movement reemerges, the building on 74 Kallidromiou st. will be dressed with our flags. If generation upon generation memory is erased, then one fortress will be the least to be missed from revolutionary struggle.
“Exarchia during December 1944 was a center of resistance and a battle field. One can still see buildings that bear the marks of the fascists’ machine guns. There exist also buildings whose wounds of memory are hidden under the mud of renovation and investment. The bourgeois private property rights destroy the common history, the heritage of poor fighters, such as Daglis.
The home of Christos Daglis then, as is told by his relatives who today invoke the laws of the state and snitch to the courts, was a base of the resistance, a fortress full of guns. To keep the history of this building alive is the duty of the living projects of struggle which can be housed here as of today. The heritage left behind by a militant artist, is the struggle that never gives in.”
The narration, especially the political narration of a story that is ongoing, should end with the presentation of its subjects. GARE was characterized by the participation of comrades who came from elsewhere to contribute to the struggles in the greek territory, but also of comrades who went elsewhere to contribute to the living revolution. Internationalist fighters manifest the highest form of revolutionary federalism, they manifest participatory solidarity, unity in struggle, equality and freedom, in the broader scale. Thus, the “foreigner” comrades, wherever they commit to the common struggle, are more local in this struggle than the locals. In its course GARE met with local tourists, inside and outside of the squat. With nearly no exception, the comrades who came from elsewhere, as seekers of the struggle, gave themselves fully wherever they stood.
I believe that our comrades in the continent that colonizers named America, will lead the war that is now starting in the heart of capitalism to the global convergence of revolutionary movements. I believe that our comrades in the french territory that keeps flaring up, will invigorate what was left unfulfilled from 1789, the vision of Babeuf, the passion of Blanqui, the paradigm of the Commune, the devotion of anarchist fighters who first entered Nazi occupied Paris. I believe that our comrades in the german territory will have the stamina to withstand the suffocating siege of their communities and the intensive persecutions. Their movement which strengthens, will eat away at the feet of european fascism and imperialism. The comrades who went beyond the borders of the capitalist center, to wilder places, will bring back strength.
In the middle of the summer of 2019, with the certainty that a new wave of attacks against squats would soon begin, the Assembly of Squats, Collectives, Internationalists, Migrants and Solidarians was formed. This open Assembly overcame the initial hurdles of its attempted assimilation into a narrow political coordination, of internal disintegration, and it continues on the path of unity in resistance, despite all the divisive initiatives that emerge (such initiatives are bound to be short lived due to their own eclecticism). The first wave of the new management in the war against the grounds of struggle, reached its peak with the combative resistance against the invasion and during the reoccupation of the Koukaki Squat Community’s structures. The state’s established occupation over this ground was a pyrrhic victory, just as the Community stated in its debriefing. The momentum of state terrorism broke down. The tortures perpetrated on the comrades revealed the cul-de-sac of the exploitative system that no longer has any social contract to offer -only military discipline, prisons, death. The torture and blatantly fabricated penal persecution of a left-wing artist from the intellectual bourgeoisie, solely because he refused to collaborate with the unlawful military commands, show that the greek state has no mediation up its sleeve any more, in other words there is no common language between the top and the resistance of the bottom. Even the ambivalent concept of democracy can no longer take any meaning other than class insurrection and the federalist social self-direction.
Following the eviction of Dervenion squat and the criminalization of demonstrations, the current wave of evictions has expanded to the historical squats of the greek countryside. The vampires of authority who imagined that the squat that was once home to comrade Vardis Tsouris could be anything other than a place of struggle, they are digging their own graves.
In Athens, step by step, after years of police, political and economic siege and undermining of Prosfygika squat on L. Alexandras, the battle for this ground is now openly beginning. The critical struggle is returning to the place of birth of the contemporary combative communitism. Back to the proletarian neighborhood, to the buildings that still bear the marks of the civil war, to the poly-ethnic village, and oasis in the middle of the urban prison. Back to the last stop-over of comrade Spark, when he was hurrying to become Sehid Sahin Huseyni, so as to open up paths to the revolution.
On the first December of GARE existence, two months after it was opened, a comrade said to us that he had not believed we would still be inside this building. We went much further than we could have imagined. We imagined and we moved on. Way beyond any retreat to the before-GARE time. Carrying with us the supplies of our history, we will liberate the world.
GARE was never evicted. It was a fest without beginning or end.