On Monday 23rd May, an open assembly took place at Refugee Accommodation Space City Plaza, to mark the space’s first month of operation. The call was both for strengthening support for the Space, as well as for the broader organisation of the refugee struggle. As a result of the great mobilisation of the solidarity movement during the past year, participation from groups, unions, initiatives, as well as from individual solidarians. Among those who spoke during the assembly were: The Popular Solidarity Society, the Solidarity Pharmacy of Patissia, the Patissia «No Middlemen» Solidarity Movement, the Kallithea Worker’s Club, the Radical Left Movement, the Brahami Open Assembly, ANTARSYA, the Piraeus Middle School Teachers’ Association, The «Back Benches» (Piso Thrania), the Free Social Space «Botanic Garden», The Migrants’ Sunday School, the self-managed Social Clinic/Pharmacy of Nea Philadelphia, Nea Ionia and surrounding areas, the Teachers’ Accosiation «Aristotle», the Unions, Student Associations and Collectivities Coordination Group for Refugee/Migrant issues, the Salaried Technicians Union, the Anti-War internationalist Movement, the Organization of Communist Internationalists of Greece «Spartacus», the Social Clinic of Nea Smyrni.
The common ground for discussion was the need to fight against the anti refugee EU – Turkey agreement, eagerly implemented by the Greek government. This need becomes even more pressing as living conditions is hotspots are becoming even worse, as conditions in camps such as those of Ioannina and Koutsochero are dramatic, as refugees are fighting even by going on hunger strikes, as is happening in Souda on Chios, demanding essentials, as deportations are ongoing; we can only fight with all out strength in a common, broad and important struggle. A multifaceted struggle which will unite the small streams in order to change the situation.
We fight together, we will live together
We talked about strengthening and multiplying solidarity initiatives, opening empty buildings in the centres of cities, either by solidarity initiatives or by demanding that the state do so, Organizing targeted struggles for the equal access of refugees to social services, particularly education and health care, linking struggles for refugees to struggles against class exploitation and oppression, and about living and fighting together.
In the spirit of cooperation, not competition, and with respect for the autonomy of each initiative, we discussed issues surrounding the support for and the functioning of the squat, as well as the need for a coordinated effort to act and fight for the opening of the borders, for a definitive solution for permanent housing, as well as for the social integration of economic and political refugees, pertaining to refugee access to social services, being ranted asylum to those who wish it, and of course ensuring everything is in place for refugees to continue their journeys to their destinations.
Many of those present expressed their wish to support Refugee Accommodation Space City Plaza with their physical presence, while a commonly held view was that it is a social necessity that, in the coming period, a series of assemblies and actions so as to build a movement of resistance and civil disobedience to the anti refugee and authoritarian policies of the Greek government and the European Union.
In this context, we hereby list some of the proposals that were made:
To immediately design a strategy for intervention and mobilisation at refugee concentration camps.
To organise one or more protests in the centre of Athens, against the antirefugee policy that is currently being implemented.
To begin a campaign for the access of refugees to public health services as well as for the access of children to education, in collaboration with unions and workers’ organisations active in the fields of health care and education.
For he solidarity movement to prioritise the opening of empty and unused building in the centre of Athens and in other cities for the housing of refugees, so as to overthrow in practice the policy of cramping refugees in closed centres, in camps outside of the urban grid, away from public services and the rest of society.
To create a hub of struggle, which will coordinate and unit the different parameters and collectivities active within the solidarity movement.
Based on the above, it was decided that:
A new open assembly will take place at City Plaza on Sunday 29 May at 19.00, with the aim of organizing and turning the above proposals into reality.
A thematic assembly to organise interventions in the field of education will take place on Wednesday 1 June at 19.00 at City Plaza. The team wishes to address both the immediate as well as the medium term needs of refugee children living at City Plaza, as well as the wider issues and the Organization of struggles relevant to the access of refugee children to education.
Similar to the above, an assembly aiming to address the issue of health care access will take place on Thursday 2 June at 19.00 at City Plaza.
The City Plaza Assembly