Migration and Struggle in Greece


Posted by clandestina on 24 January 2011

Why, amidst the crisis, we insist to talk about immigrants

The obvious

In the name of human dignity, we are always on the side of the oppressed, never on the side of the bosses

The not-so-obvious truth

Before the crisis, society could only gain from its solidarity to immigrants and refugees. Now, if it doesn’t show solidarity, it has a lot to lose. Remember the last time a crisis broke out and there was talk of “scapegoats” and “concentration camps”: It was the 1930s and those who talked like that were called Wehrmacht, not Frontex.

Immigrants are kept illegal. In whose interest?

The obvious

For two decades, illegal immigration has offered Greece cheap, undeclared labor for a series of developmental mega-projects, like the scandalously excessive Olympics, and a variety of grand and minor businesses.  At the same time, circuits of illicit trafficking were created with extremely high profits.

The not-so-obvious truth

The system keeps the immigrants illegal not only for the direct profits generated by illegality and insecurity, but also in order to undermine and obliterate the rights of immigrants, as well as the rights of locals. When the bosses treat immigrants as human trash, and society accepts this, soon society as a whole is turned into a human rights wasteland.

Greece is becoming a prison state. In whose interest?

The obvious

Even government officials admit that border walls and fences, concentration camps and floating prisons, (these are the measures that have been mentioned by the Greek authorities), will not halt the entrance of desperate immigrants into Europe. The point of such measures is to disorient people by absorbing public attention, as well as to increase the profits of traffickers in the new slave trade (which in turn increases the death toll of immigrants trying to enter Europe). The plight of immiserated refugees in neighborhoods in Athens, Patras and Igoumenitsa is a bargaining chip in the negotiations of Greece with the EU and Turkey.

The not-so-obvious truth

By constantly presenting repression, the police and the army as the solution to social issues, they are paving the ground for the military-economic dictatorship of the IMF.

“Do we have enough room?”

The obvious:

Production of necessary goods through the human activity of work, in a society of equality and in balance with nature, always increases social wealth. In such a society there is room for everyone. But when humanity, reason, common sense, civil and social rights are ostracized, then there is no room for anyone at all.

The not-so-obvious truth

Before the so-called crisis, namely the most recent round of brutal assaults against society, a UN report stated that the EU will be needing 135 million immigrants until 2025 if it is to preserve the 1995 population ratio of productive and non-productive citizens. We now realize that instead, or in parallel to a process of “filtering” and controlling the migration flows, the bosses chose to increase working years, to cut pensions and wages and to demolish whatever was left of the welfare state for all…

In other words, the more we allow for rights to be undermined, the less room there is for all of us.

Demand everything for everyone, or the bosses take it all

Some time ago, we were told that there is no room for refugees, for immigrants. Now we are being told that  there is room neither for civil servants, nor for industrial workers and builders (a worker in China earns 85 Euro a month and can hardly unionize, so it is only natural for the bosses to prefer devalued labor), nor for agricultural workers (150,000 small or medium agricultural workers abandoned production in the fields before the crisis broke out, and Greece has been transformed from a sovereign food producer, to a major importer of food).

For twenty years now, the multinationals and the bankers’ mafia have been transferring their capital and companies to places where profits are higher and workers’ rights are inexistent, while at the same time they are destroying vital resources, economic and social networks of whole countries through the mechanism of credit and debt.

For twenty years now, Greek society, stuffed with the meaningless privileges of consumerism and lifestyle, has been blindly living by the standards of plunder and inhumanity and obeying the order of injustice. Today, it numbly watches while it is being deprived of everything substantial: health insurance, pensions, education, welfare…

Here, as everywhere, resistance to this bankrupt and destructive system is our only choice

Here, as everywhere, the values of solidarity and social justice are our only hope

From Konstandina Kuneva, an immigrant cleaner fighting for her fellow-workers’ rights, to the strikers in the strawberry fields in Manolada in 2008, from the Egyptian fishermen struggling for justice in Mechaniona in the winter and spring of 2010 to the 35 hothouse workers on hunger strike in Ioannina last December, from the strikers at the Skala in Lakonia last September to today’s 300 hunger strikers, the fighting migrant workers show the way of resistance and dignity.

If we have any chance to resist the nightmare looming in the horizon for all of us, this chance depends on our solidarity with the migrants in struggle.

Open Solidarity Initiative of Thessaloniki



  2. […] Text of Thessaloniki Open Solidarity Initiative: SOLIDARITY WITH THE 300 MIGRANTS ON HUNGER STRIKE […]

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