We are publishing here the english translation of the text (the original can be found here) that certain antiauthoritarians from Lesvos (“Solidaires” as of now), expressing solidarity to the immigrants/refugees there, wrote several months ago concerning the evacuation of the ex Labour Center of Lesvos in Mytilini. This is to remind of the essential precondition of any later attempts of racist petit-bourgeois, in Chios on 7.4.16 for example, to attack struggling immigrants: that is, the long-lasting abandoment by the organized labour movement of any concrete prospect of common struggles with the immigrants. Surely, this is not to reduce the significance and impact that the recent wave of immigrants’ struggles in Greece (Idomeni, Piraeus, Chios, Lesvos, Samos etc) may have by its own, but to highlight for a while the background on which this wave is evolving and stress its negative relation to the state apparatus compared, among other examples, to the recent street blockades by the farmers.
We hope to elaborate on these issues at our forthcoming update about the situation in Greece after the September 2015.
Early in the morning of Saturday 7.11.15, some refugees took the initiative and occupied the ex Labour Center of Lesvos– let’s keep in mind that this specific building is owned by OAED [Greek Manpower Employment Organisation] and is used by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) to store their sound systems and other trivial things; there is no electricity and it’s in a condition of abandonment. Solidaires that were informed about the occupation after contacting the initiative of migrants and refugees, rushed to help.
Group of four members of the KKE, alerted by their clique, arrived a little later at the Labour Center threating everybody and bullying around. They asked for “a Greek guy to talk” –apparently in their minds refugees are feckless subjects– and kept an insulting attitude towards the solidaires refusing to conceive the occupation as an action undertaken by the refugees.
They claimed that they were thinking of opening the building to house some refugees. They invoked the food they distributed at the port and the contact they had with refugees to conclude that they don’t understand “why refugees had to go for an occupation” when “they could ask for the space to be granted to them”. Τhey meant that the self-evident right of a refugee to housing and to demand housing should be met only if introduced in the form of solicitation and only under the condition that KKE managed the building.
Later on the “conversation”, they seemed to yield and asked to enter the building to get only some valuables (microphone and speakers in particular) while donating to the refugees consumable things that were in the canteen. After their departure, about half an hour later, a “drunk” middle-aged man came and attacked a refugee gripping his neck, shouting “what did you came here to do, go away” beating him, but finally he was pushed aside by the solidaires. (in the following days, when asked if they had any connection with him, members of the KKE responded that “no, we don’t know him.”).
Perhaps at a flash of goodwill, before leaving the place that same evening, they left a carton box filled with croissants, just to come next morning and take whatever consumable and drinkable on site, along with chairs, stoves, gas canisters and hotplates as evidence of their unreserved solidarity.
The entire above stance of KKE pseudo-solidaires was foreboding what was to happen today, not even four days after the beginning of the occupation. Just before 5pm, a pensioner and member of the Labor Center, he introduced himself as such, entered the building, talked with immigrants and solidaires, eager to know “what you are” and “what you are doing here”; with no particularly pure intentions, as it turned out. A little later, and this was surely not accidental, a group of four KKE people entered the occupation under the pretext of making tea for the refugees. The culmination of these seemingly unrelated and innocent small movements ended as a group of ten KKE people appeared, many of whom are equipped with helmets and sticks, thus clarifying their intentions. Their first move was to stand at the door blocking the entrance to the solidaires and to those refugees that they considered unwelcome. After securing the control of the entrance, then they took down the banner of refugees’ and immigrants’ occupying initiative.
Let’s note here that they were allowed to enter and move freely inside the occupied space, whenever they wanted. Abusing this possibility given to them, they closed themselves into the building and threw out three people from the initiative, among them the only person who spoke greek. Word by word, and probably because the peoples’ party loves to recognize hierarchies everywhere, they pronounced towards the greek-speaking refugee “You enough, from now on we take over”. And in order not to remain only at the theoretical level, they attacked physically this same man, pulling him literally from the hair outside the place. The vanguard of the knat [nickname for the KKE self-defense teams on the demos some decades ago] stated to the immigrants and the solidaires that their intention was to take over the management of the building where refugees would continue to be housed but under their control. Completely by accident, among the ranks of the KNAT, the aforementioned “drunk” “whom they didn’t know” was recognized.
Αfter all this, the rest of the immigrants, men and women, began to leave the building as they did not feel safe, and not, as some papagalakia say, because the solidaires were calling them to do so. Βesides, it is also reasonable to feel that the place is not hospitable after the violent abuse of their companions.
Shortly after, solidaires of different political background rushed on the spot to support the initiative of the refugees.
Then, there was tension and many times KKE members were ready to attack wearing helmets and holding sticks. Characteristic of their macho attitude was when Knat from inside the building smashed a glass window to intimidate us. What has to be emphasized here is the response of the solidaires, who threw eggs, litter and shouted slogans against the racist and misanthropic attitude of the KKE. After all the immigrants had left the building and moved to secure places for the night, people left the area.
The KKE members are now able to manage the building and play with their sticks and helmets. The all-time role of the KKE is to patronize and to suppress any actions and movements that involve elements of self-organization and freedom. Also in this case, in their own level of thinking, immigrants cannot act on their own, cannot think and manage their life. We, from our part, make explicit in every direction that we stand and we will stand by any attempt of the immigrants to organize themselves.