It has been said before, but it is worth repeating, that an okupied social centre is not defined by the physical space occupied (appropriated from the circuits of capital accumulation) but by those who animate it and those to which the “occupiers” can reach out towards, and make feel that the space is equally a point of passage for them.
An okupied social centre is a threshold for new forms of life – however fragile and ephemeral -, a place and time where/when affects and relations of freedom and equality are created, where/when new subjectivities are engendered, and whose resilience rests on the force of the resonances that it creates.
Since coming to power in July of 2019, the “New Democracy” government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis has openly targeted okupied social centres in a drive to domesticate the country’s social life, most notably in the Exarchia neighbourhood of Athens, but in Thessaloniki as well.
The story that we share below is of the struggle for the Libertatia Squat, a struggle of occupations and evictions, of destruction and rebuilding, that echoes the struggle around the Can Vies Self-Managed Social Centre of Barcelona in 2014. And in both cases, we have testimonies of what can be described as militant or direct-action mutual aid can accomplish.
In solidarity with Libertatia …
Thessaloniki: Libertatia squat raided
On Sunday 23 august at 10:30 in the morning, several squads of cops raided the Libertatia squat in Thessaloniki. More precisely, during the reparation of the building’s roof that had been burned down by fascists, the cops broke the door’s padlock and raided the squat where they arrested 12 people that were inside. After that, for one more time, they stole several building tools and other necessary material for the reconstruction of the roof, as they had done one month before, when they raided the squat together with Ephorate of Modern Monuments-assistants and had taken a part of the squat’s equipment for the rebuild project. Right after the raid, comrades that were rallying outside the building, came in and re-occupied it. Other than the 12 arrested people, the cops held two more comrades that were standing outside the building and released them a couple of hours later. The arrested comrades spent the whole day both in Toumba’s Police Department and the General P.D. Of Thessaloniki where they have been released late at night, The accusations that have been charged to the comrades are : illegal working, damaging a monument of cultural significance and disobedience. It is also worth mentioning the disgusting tentative of the police and some media to connect the accidental arrest of a woman for drugs possession with the 12 arrested comrades.
This raid is the third in order in less than a year and aims to stop the rebuild project for Libertatia squat. All these attacks shows that the state continues targeting the structures of the movement, as also the timeless cooperation between the State and paramilitary-fascist groups against the libertarian movement. At the same time that the state’s mechanism supports those who burned Libertatia, it releases its stooges in order to arrest the comrades that chose from the very beginning to defend politically the squat and reconstruct the burnt building. As for the accusations for “damaging an historical monument”, against the people who undertook its conservation and its reparation (before and after the arson), they can only consist of a surrealistic and unsuccessful attempt of reversing reality about who’s the real destroyer. Additionally, the role of the Ephorate of Modern Monuments as a legal representative of the above accusations, with it’s sudden intrest can only be characterized as ridiculous. It is more than obvious who’s really interested in saving this building. For those who are still wondering, let us ask rhetorically where was the Ephorate when the so called “Stratou street jewel” completely abandoned and ruining over the years. Where were they when the fascist groups burned down the whole building. To conclude it is quite obvious what are the interests that the Ephorate serves, who are they covering and protecting and to who they are against. In the case of Libertatia things are quite simple and clear. All these facts -that Libertatia’s neighborhood was witnessing the last two and a half years- is now clear to every corner of Greece. Once again the neighbors showed to us their solidarity in several ways, booing the police forces during the raid, informing us of the police presence and supporting us morally.
This particular attack against Libertatia squat cannot be disconnected from the previous repressive actions and evictions of squats, with the most fresh example being the eviction of Terra Incognita squat.
During a tense social condition, where the lives of people are more and more devaluated and impoverished and the management of the Covid-19 pandemic puts in danger thousands of people, the State decides to strike and intensify the repression in order to weaken the revolutionary movement. Fearing the social upheaval and the generalized indignation of people, the State tries to destroy every resistance, targeting once again the anarchist movement and its structures as places of resistance against the State and Capialism. It is in this condition that the revolutionary movement shall respond actively, defending its structures, its political presence and its history of social struggle. The rebuild project of Libertatia is an objective for all the squat movement. The victory in this struggle will be our answer against State and fascist attacks to our structures.
The reconstruction of Libertatia squat is not only an affair concerning itself. On the contrary it concerns the whole antifascist, anarchist and revolutionary movement. It is about the all-encompassing defense of the squats, as the whole rebuild project sends a very powerful message against State’s repression and fascist violence and establishes a strong symbolism during a generalized repressive condition. Our political presence in the squat has been already assured a couple of weeks after the arson attack. Libertatia squat will survive and will continue to exist as already does, by organizing plenty of demonstrations, political discussions, movie projections etc. The whole point is the completion of the rebuild project by revolutionary means, in order to highlight both the political responsibility of State’s repression and the political defense of the revolutionary occupied spaces. The State will exploit every retreating-step we are making. That is why, we have to stand up, resist, defend our structures and our struggles, organize ourselves better and broaden the ongoing class war.