Occupation in the Historical Polytechnic Campus of Athens in Protest Against the State Management of the Pandemic

Greece University Banner

Comrades from Greece have asked us to share an update on the situation in Greece and their callout to protest. What follows is a loose translation of their statement, which was released following a successful demostration in the streets of Athens on the 6th of November. While the details might pertain to the Greek experience, overall there are eerie similarities to what is also taking place in Britain and the rest of the world.

In relation to this call out for action, a banner has been hung over the gates of the historical Polytechnic campus in central Athens (or the “lower Polytechnic”) where the events during the Junta took place and the yearly commemoration is held. Also the university administration building (located in the new Polytechnic campus, or the “upper Polytechnic”) has been occupied by a coalition of student groups as part of the protest.

The most recent information we have indicates the police have closed access to the university and blocked all surrounding streets. Our Greek comrades are asking for international solidarity in order to resist the attack. Please share far and wide and organise any action you are capable of in order to put pressure on the Greek state. We’ll keep updating this article with any new developments.

Solidarity with our Greek comrades! Solidarity with everyone fighting state repression! For freedom, autonomy and self-organisation!

A quick historical note for context: Greece was under the military dictatorship (junta) of the colonels between 1967 and 1974. The Athens Polytechnic uprising began on the 14th of November 1973 when students occupied the campus of the Athens Polytechnic and started an open revolt against the junta with demonstrations, street fights, attacks on government buildings and the creation of a pirate radio station. It ended in the early morning of the 17th of November 1973 when an army tank crashed through the university gates to which students were clinging. The 17th of November has become a national holiday in Greece and is commemorated at the Polytechnic campus from the 15th when the occupation started with a march on the 17th.

Greek comrades are calling out against the prohibition of the traditional three day celebrations of the Polytechnic uprising and the march of the 17th. They are calling for everyone to support the commemorations of the uprising and the march in its memory. It is time to turn words into action. The Polytechnic commemoration is not a festival but a struggle. This has reached its apex this year with the state’s attempt to prohibit it within the context of the totalitarianism it’s imposing. The call out for support of the three-day commemoration is also in solidarity with the call out by the Association of Imprisoned and Exiled Resistance Fighters (note: during the junta a large number of people who fought against the dictatorship where either imprisoned and tortured or exiled to uninhabited islands). Everyone is called on to join in and build together the new contents and aims of the struggle.

During all the years after the fall of the dictatorship and the supposed restoration of democracy, all the state’s culpability was just swept under the rug while it vented its fascism on the bodies of the people who sought shelter in Greece and slowly and methodically removed all hard won rights while sinking the working class into destitution, misery and servitude.

Today, using the virus as an excuse, the state is shaking off all pretences of democracy and is trying to remove the historical memory and common consciousness of the struggles of resistance and the mass movements against the dictatorship. It wants to erase the people’s struggle against the state apparatus and its powers of enforcement, because during periods of crisis authority fears nothing more than the spectre of social revolution.

This war against memory has been going on for years. It started the moment the state’s propaganda presented the resistance against the Junta and the Polytechnic uprising as peaceful events in order to protect the state’s monopoly on violence. The resistance against the dictatorship was armed and bloody and violent and was born from a political, moral and psychological need to resist. The resistance struggle has never ended but continues on.

46 years after the fall of the dictatorship, a lot of its parts continue to remain in effect while others are being brought back swiftly and violently. It is hard to believe that so many years after the fall of the junta, concentration camps would be reinstated to imprison migrants under deadly conditions. Nobody would have thought that the state would continue to arrest and torture dissenters and resisters, attacking even school children. That it would suspend visitation rights in prisons, impose a curfew and place its citizens under house arrest. It has outlawed protests, removed the university asylum, penalised publications that question the state’s management of the situation, enforced mass suppression of the people fighting against the environmental destruction of their regions while simultaneously ensuring the security of bankers and legalising the trampling of workers rights. It has defunded and dismantled the public health service to such a degree that doctors must decide who lives and dies and migrants and the uninsured risk not even getting treatment. School education is becoming more intensive and penalising, while the curriculum is becoming more nationalist and christian orthodox. Universities are being transformed from the incubators of the struggle to producers of cheap specialised labour for the capitalist machine by letting companies shape the syllabus and removing all ability for self expression and insurrectionary learning.

To make all this possible thousands of police officers have been hired, while specialised police units have be constituted and strengthened. As poverty and the restriction of freedom rises so does the number of police, that have become gangs of bullies taking over neighbourhoods and every facet of social life. In parallel, the country’s borders have been further strengthened and militarised, resulting in the execution and drowning of the persecuted. To do this the military service has been reinforced, making it harder to defer at 18, and the employment of mercenaries has risen. Law enforcement and militarisation is draining all public funds resulting in further marginalisation of social needs, rendering all those who are unable to participate in the capitalist system of production destitute and degraded, trapped in lives not worth living. Covid19 has intensified and spread this, disconnecting people’s lives even further from the pursuit of freedom turning them into a simple matter of survival and reproduction.

The management of Covid-19 is being used for the constitution of a totalitarian state and nor for the protection of the health of society, hence the prohibition of celebrations and mobilisations such as these is not a protective measure, but one of suppression. Totalitarian regimes have always been imposed under pretexts of public safety, but ultimately are the result of authority’s need to fully subjugate and control society while quelling all resistance. This is why for dictatorships to come to an ultimate end, states also have to come to an end. Under today’s circumstances the anti-dictatorial struggle is even more relevant than ever, only this time it no longer has place for statist delusions.

The solution to Covid-19, poverty and oppression is for all of us who are oppressed and exploited to take the social structures and the economic resources into our own hands, so that we can take care of our own health, education and freedom, independently and according to our own desires. With unmediated fights, coordinated organisation of neighbourhood people’s councils and unions, self organised collectives and political organisations, we can smash the powers of state enforcement and its bosses and build today the conditions for the world we are aiming for.

For a world of Self-organisation, Equality, Mutual Aid and Freedom.

Contact info of the assembly organising the actions:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AntiCovidAidNetwork

Website: https://synsquat.blackblogs.org/en/

Email: synsquat@riseup.net

Leave a Reply