Regenaration, development, gentrification. Concepts that have become embedded as spikes in the discourse and action of the antagonist movement, must be seen as another aspect of the attack of the ruling classes against the oppressed class. Capital aims at subordinating the whole of life to its exploitation and reproduction, and therefore organizes more and more aspects of human activity in this logic.
The process of enclosing community/public spaces for the purpose of capital’s reproduction is a process as old as capitalism. In recent decades we have experienced the long deconstruction of social democratic management, with the mediation of the state receding, giving more room for the defensive subordination of activities of social life to capital. In this sense, a concerted attack has been launched in recent years on public spaces, squares, parks in the metropolises, transferring their management from the state to private individuals, with the aim of creating new fields of profitability for capital.
This is exactly the condition of the sale of a series of public green spaces by the Municipality of Athens to the company UNISON Facilities Services, such as the hills (Strefi, Filopappou, Lycabettus, Turkovounia), squares (Protomaya, Victoria, Kypseli, Attiki, Ameriki, Drakopoulos, Agios Panteleimon), parks (Platonos Academia, Kyrpo, Patision, Goudi) and pedestrian streets (Agia Zoni, Fokionos Negri). UNISON (formerly ISS), belongs to a category of a new type of company that, through contractor privatisations, is simultaneously financed by state-taxed, collectively produced surplus value, and at the same time intensifies the exploitation of its workers through miserable wages, flexible working hours and violation of workers’ rights.
In this context, UNISON is at the forefront of the state’s assault on Exarcheia, through the promoted redevelopment of the Strefi hill, where it has undertaken the future security (fencing, cameras, sentries) and its concreting to create paths and roads while cutting down trees. The neighbourhood of Exarcheia has for decades been an area of concentrated social and class antagonisms. In recent years the attack on the neighbourhood has intensified from all sides. The pinnacle of the state’s strategy has been the concerted attack on squats, spaces that directly challenge property and state mediation, putting forward self-organized and defensive solutions to the daily needs and problems of the oppressed. A condition that has contributed to the de-territorialisation of the anarchist space itself and the change of the human geography of the neighbourhood, with the expulsion of hundreds of undocumented migrant proletarians. At the same time the state, with a constant presence and patrols of cops, tries to control every aspect of collective activity in the neighbourhood. Arrests for poster sticking, clothing checks, terrorism and bullying make up the strategy of the most dangerous gang. The neighbourhood that used to house dozens of squats, a practical experiment in self-organization and self-management, is gradually being transformed into a desert of capital with hundreds of bars that overrun the sidewalks, Airbnb and luxury apartments that attract rich tourists, shops with expensive products, fences and cameras at the entrances of apartment buildings that “secure” the lives of the petty bourgeoisie by further restricting public space.
This attack which should not be seen as a state choice in a vacuum, as an ideological battle of symbolism cut off from social reality. It is a direct response of the state to a recent cycle of struggles, to the collectivization, self-organization and in these terms the counter-attack of the oppressed that has been territorialized in recent years in the neighborhood of the dependencies, in the center of the Athenian metropolis. For this condition, we are responsible. Responsibility to stand as a barrier to their plans and to pick up again the thread of resistance for the practical reappropriation of our neighborhoods. Not for the preservation of some public character, but for overcoming the state/private dichotomy, which are aspects of capitalist management and heteronomy of our lives. Practical re-enactment starting from the memory of recent struggles, and with the ultimate goal of taking our lives in our own hands, on the basis of self-organization, solidarity and mutual aid.
One side of this state response to our struggles is the recent repressive operation by the anti-terrorist police in Thessaloniki, which led to the arrest and detention of a comrade and two comrades. The attack on the internal enemy, the collectivized and radicalized parts of the oppressed, is a central strategic choice in the current context of the generalized attack against the oppressed classes.
With our action we want to send a small signal of practical interaction to the three comprades. Their attitude, an attitude of glorious dignity, an attitude that updates the class memory of hatred for the oppressors and the spirit of sacrifice of the oppressed, is for us an inspiration and at the same time an urgent reminder of our responsibility. Responsibility to make clear that the struggle against domination involves all means, is multiform and necessary. And in the face of the prisoners, our position must be one of solidarity, continuity and intensification. By putting forward self-defence and counter-violence with a revolutionary perspective, we stand beside our imprisoned comrades. For a world of equality and freedom. Until the social revolution.
Comrades until we meet again on the battlefields, to settle for nothing less than everything.