In the morning of Thursday 18/2, police forces evacuate the squat Arachovis 44 and detain all the migrants who were inside. The information that is immediately spread through the media lists the specific evacuation under a broad and organized police operation in the center of Athens, against criminality and for the dismantling of a big criminal organization. The detainees reach around 140 people, by total coincidence, all of them immigrants. Most of them are transferred to the Kypseli police station in police vans and remain in the vans for hours until their fate is decided. In the night, solidarians gather outside the Kypseli police station and shout slogans in support of the detainees.
The fact that most of the residents of Arachovis 44 were released after 2 days (except two persons held on administrative detention in Amygdaleza), charged only with disturbing the peace, that is, for squatting the building, should ring a bell. It shows exactly what these grand police operations against crime in the center of Athens mean. Just as it happened recently with the repressive operation against street sellers outside ASSOE university, just as it has happened in the past with evacuations of other squats. Even more so, since we are in a pre-election period, where the card of order and security must be played by the SYRIZA government in the terms it is always played: in terms of spectacle and of a demonstration of state power.
This latest state intervention into Arachovis 44 didn’t come out of the blue. Only a few months have passed since the militaristic type intervention into the squat by the Security Team. This particular clique invaded into the building in June 2018 and evacuated it, having first harassed, beaten and stolen from its residents, acting as the vanguard of the Anti-authoritarian Movement. Following collective mobilizations by a broad body of solidarity groups, individuals and residents, the building was reoccupied. (For more info regarding these events: https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1589068/)
The anonymous claim of responsibility that was published days later so as to the “necessary” intervention of Security Team (just like the state) in order to “clean” Exarchia from crime, has the form of a police bulletin. It makes detailed descriptions of every kind of criminal offenses, combined with a little political jargon about antisocial behaviors and accusations about jihadists.
The intervention by Security Team, publicizing openly lists of penal crimes and the way this issue got big, all this amounted to intense stigmatization of Arachovis 44 in the public sphere. A torrent of news items in the media about a “hub of depravity”, “mafia center”, “terrorists’ hideout” etc, contributed so that this squat became the number one target on the list of the state, of cops and of fascists.
Following the evacuation and reoccupation of Arachovis 44, the squat was no longer under the control of a political space that is in dialogue with the state power. The absence of this custodianship and the self-determination of the squat allowed for it to create relations with other structures of the self-organized movement. However, all this was a red flag for the Syriza government.
When the murderer-state talks about order and security
The operation “dismantling crime” that took place on 28/2, in reality, was nothing more than a mass arrest operation aimed at charting, deporting or incarcerating migrants (a sweep operation). The scenario about a “criminal gang” fell through by the very same state institutions that concocted it, as the majority of the Arachovis 44 residents were finally charged only with “disturbing the peace”. We don’t read this as a mistake on the part of the state, since the SYRIZA government achieved its main goals: the evacuation of the squat and the typical return of the property to its legal holder, the targeting of squats in general and the manipulation of public opinion about Exarchia, the direct attack against self-organized social projects. Especially as regards the last point, it is further demonstrated by the media’s portrayal of this operation, which though it took place in a broad location involving the whole of the city’s center, they focused almost entirely on the housing squat, showing in this way their totally hostile position against self-organized projects.
The construction of the nation, as is imposed by authority, deems that migrants should be isolated and in no way in a position to struggle. Migrants, who escape the slaughter at the borders, should end up either as cheap labor in the black market (as in Manolada), or a target for cops and fascists (Petrit Zifle, Ebuka Mamasubek and so many others), or cannon fodder for the mafia, which is an integral part of state, capital and of the world of authority.
Just like every state, the greek state promotes to its subjects the “feeling of order and security” as some kind of product. The police and the army serve exactly this role on an ideological basis. It is a role that veils their primary purpose: ensuring obedience to the law of exploitation and to the values of the capitalist, patriarchal system. Obedience to a civilization where war, inequality, poverty, deprivation, and exclusion are “lawful” and “moral” conditions. A civilization imbued with narratives of ethnic superiority. Where the existence of the “alien” and the “non-normal” is constantly sounding an alarm of threat and brings to the surface conservative stereotypes. In a civilization where murders of migrant men and women by the state are merely statistics, where tortures and incarceration in detention centers and police stations are named “humanitarian management”, where their exploitation is called “investment in the greek economy”, where racist sweep operations are called “dismantling crime” and their deportations provide credits for high ranking officials to win the Nobel prize.
In this framework, every police operation in the center of Athens and beyond, since the beginning of the 90s when there was a mass migration from the Balkans, bears the characteristics of the state-protector of the nation, of the greek citizen and his property. The state itself is an organized killing machine that degrades and annihilates, that legitimizes every exploitation and criminalizes every resistance, having at its core the goal of capitalist profit. The state itself systematically pushes the most oppressed into conditions of illegality and self-destruction, excluding them from every citizen’s right, making their life unlivable, in order to then come and “provide solutions to crime”. Solutions that can promise nothing more than worse living conditions, more cops and repression, more nationalist indoctrination, more surveillance and commercialization of the public space and of social relations, more antagonism and indifference in the spirit of individualism and private property.
Let's make their life unlivable!
The world for which we fight, through our self-organization and collectivization of our needs and desires has no need for protectors and leaders. Even less so for protection by the state and its allies. Any issues and problems that arise within projects and self-organized structures in our neighborhoods, should be dealt with on the terms of the movement and through collective procedures. Because the world for which we fight is a world that can and should define its own life, work with its own strength towards the liberated relations it desires to create, based on the solidarity of the oppressed, beyond nations, genders, and religions. By the participation in the struggle and the creation of communities that fight against any relation of power and exploitation. And this world in the eyes of authority has always been a world of criminality and immorality.
Immediate release of all the arrested
Against every attempt to make migrants invisible
Communities of struggle of locals and migrants for a world of equality and freedom
Solidarity assembly to Arachovis 44.