As a result of the legal battle waged against the workers of the occupied self-managed VIOME factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, the state-appointed trustee is now organising a series of auctions with the aim of liquidating the plot of land on which the VIOME factory is located. A possible sale of the land would create the legal ground for evicting the workers from the factory. Although the workers and the solidarity assembly are decided to stand their ground and defend the factory in all eventualities, the auction process represents a threat and it requires mobilisation in order to be prevented. A first step is to block, through direct action, the first such auction that is programmed for November 26th. This is why we reach out to you, to ask for help and mobilisation to put pressure on the government to satisfy the long-standing demands of the VIOME workers for legalisation of their activity, by expropriating the factory and granting it to the VIOME workers’ cooperative, which will operate it in a horizontal and self-managed way, as it has been doing for 3 years now.
We appeal for an international week of solidarity, from November 17 to 24. Facebook.
We urge you to sign the below resolution by returning your details (name, collective, place) to email@example.com, or even better, hand it in to the nearest Greek embassy or consulate demanding that it is transferred to the Greek Ministry of Labour. We welcome any international acts of solidarity, especially ones that involve non-violent direct action towards Greek embassies worldwide.
We urge you to organise screenings of the below 30-minute documentary by D.Azzellini and O.Ressler, detailing the struggle of VIOME through interviews and participation in its assemblies (English subtitles included). Write to us if you want a good quality copy. You can send us announcements of your events, and/or photos to be uploaded to VIOME´s website, to firstname.lastname@example.org, thank you for your support,
The Assembly of Solidarity to the Struggle of VIOME for Self-management.
After being abandoned by the employers, the Factory of VIOME has been operating for nearly 3 years under workers’ control, through self-management by the workers’ assembly. Today, it constitutes an internationally emblematic struggle, which demonstrates that the real response to the crisis that leaves millions in poverty and unemployment is workers’ emancipation and a productive reconstruction based on society´s initiative and creativity.
The workers of VIOME, through the production of natural cleaning products in the premises of the occupied Factory, have proposed a new mode of production that responds to the needs of society, against exploitative labour relations and the drive for endless accumulation of capital.
Unfortunately, despite the promises of a series of governments to legitimise this important example of workers’ self-management, the workers of VIOME are now facing legal procedures that could lead to the liquidation of the factory premises and could threaten the continuation of the factory’s production.
We, the undersigned collectives and individuals, support the struggle of the workers of VIOME for employment, dignity and freedom against the judicial system that blindly serves the interests of the powerful.
We stand by their side in their decision to defend their productive endeavour by any means possible.
We warn the Greek authorities and the powerful business interests that oppose the VIOME struggle that an attack on VIOME is an attack on us all.
We demand that the Greek government stops the auction of the VIOME premises and that it offers a definitive solution by expropriating the land and granting it to the workers, on the condition that the factory keep operating under workers’ control and horizontal decision making.
We state clearly that we will not allow anyone to grab the factory from its legitimate owners, that is, the workers and the wider community. We will support this struggle in every step along the way.
The workers of VIOME will prevail, since they fight for the just cause of dignity and self-determination!
And here’s the film:
VIOME is a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners at the peak of the Greek crisis, in 2011. Subsequently it was occupied by its workers, and has been producing natural detergents under workers’ control since 2013. Despite being an emblematic and inspiring struggle, today VIOME is under imminent threat of eviction. Find out how you can get involved and be part of the struggle at viome.org
This is the third in a series of short documentaries on the self-managed factories of Europe made by militant film-makers Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler. Find the other two here:
Occupy, Resist, Produce – RiMaflow
Occupy, Resist, Produce – Officine Zero
You are free to organise screenings in your town and use this film for any non-commercial purpose.
The closing video clip is “At utopia’s fiesta” by Greek militant hip-hop collective Social Waste. It was filmed at the factory of VIOME. See the full version here:
It’s pretty low-grade fash that don’t even warrant a police escort!
On Saturday 9th November, notorious fascists and neo-nazi has-beens called a demonstration in support of the jailed leadership of the murderous neo-nazi Golden Dawn party at the Greek Embassy in London.
Over 40 militants from the AFN responded in a co-ordinated action to send a strong message to those attending or thinking about attending neo-nazi and racist demonstrations – that they are not welcomed and they will be opposed. The message was spelt out to them with a “frank discussion” before the demonstration. For all their talk of “smashing the reds” not one of the 12 fascists said a word, instead the sense of shear fear on their faces would hopefully make an impression and knock some sense in the younger attendees that were present. Around 5 of the younger fascists were escorted out of the pub onto trains by AFN militants and told to fuck off home.
After we had left the remaining fascists, who had hoped for a large police presence at their pub but with none insight, pleaded with community support officers to escort them to the demo as they were too afraid to leave. They ended up getting taxis to the embassy.
Our aim was to never attend or call a counter-protest, if we had we would have had given the 30-35 odd balls that turned up a sense of importance and the cops more intel. The location of the embassy and the high police presence meant that any counter protest would have been completely in the control of the cops. Different situations require different tactics.
After the action, seized Golden Dawn Flags were burned. We give our total solidarity to our working class brothers and sisters in Greece, the many migrants who struggle against racism and fascism and to our Brother Pavlos who was murdered by Golden Dawn members.
London – always anti-fascist!
Το Σάββατο 9 Νοεμβρίου μια ομάδα φασιστών και νεοναζί κάλεσε συγκέντρωση αλληλεγγύης στη φυλακισμένη ηγεσία των δολοφόνων νεοναζί της Χρυσής Αυγής, στην ελληνική πρεσβεία του Λονδίνου.
Mια ομάδα 40 αντιφασιστών του Anti-Fascist Network (AFN) απάντησε με μια συντονισμένη δράση ώστε να στείλει ένα μήνυμα σε όσους συμμετέχουν ή νομίζουν πως θα συμμετέχουν σε νεοναζιστικές και ρατσιστικές εκδηλώσεις: πως δεν είναι ευπρόσδεκτοι και θα αντιμετωπιστούν αναλόγως. […]
Η ομάδα των 12 φασιστών εκδιώχθηκε, ενώ οι σημαίες της Χ.Α κάηκαν.[…] Στέλνουμε την αλληλεγγύη μας στην εργατική τάξη στην Ελλάδα, σε όλους τους μετανάστες που μάχονται ενάντια στο ρατσισμό και το φασισμό και στον σύντροφο Παύλο που δολοφονήθηκε από μέλος της Χ.Α
The International Solidarity Commission (ISC) of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) congratulates the workers of Viomichaniki Metaleftiki (Industrial Mining) who have taken control over their factory and restart production after having occupied it for more than 20 months.
After fighting for the payment of their stolen wages since May 2011, the workers have now decided in a direct-democratic assembly to collectively organize production without bosses. They have brought the factory back into operation, shifting to the production of building materials that are not toxic or damaging for the environment. The IWW International Solidarity Commission is in full support of this move.
As the world plunges deeper into economic and ecological crisis, the workers at Vio.Me have shown us the way forward. Instead of waiting for the state to decrease unemployment, instead of leaving their fate in the hands of the capitalist legal system or state bureaucrats, the workers of Vio.Me decided to take the factory into their own hands and to operate it themselves. The Vio.ME workers have given us all a living example of workers’ power and have lit the way for all of us in the struggle against capitalism throughout the world. It is now up to all of us to spread it. Let this be one of millions of workplace takeovers to come across Greece and the world.
The IWW is committed to a grassroots, global resistance to the employing class. We aim to work with others to build a movement that can defeat the capitalists and construct a new world based workers control of the means of production and a radically democratic economy. We salute the seizure of the Vio.Me factory as a step in the right direction, and pledge our solidarity and our commitment to stand at the side of all workers in the struggle for the emancipation of the working class, for the creation of a world without bosses!
The machines of self-management have been switched on!
|The march was massive and vibrant.|
The mobilization kicked off with a big assembly of the workers and solidary organizations and individuals in a central downtown theater on Sunday evening. Here the course of action of the solidarity movement was discussed, and everyone had the chance to take the microphone and to express their opinion on the workers’ struggle.
|Really talented artists played in support of the Vio.Me struggle.|
On Monday evening there was a march in the city center followed by a huge benefit concert with several well known folk bands and singers. Among them Thanassis Papakonstantinou, one of the most important contemporary Greek songwriters who is in a sense “part of the movement” since he always supports with word and deed the efforts of society for self-determination. The attendance exceeded everyone’s expectations. Unfortunately about a thousand people didn’t manage to get in, as the stadium was packed. The stellar moment of the night was when the workers took the microphone and explained their vision of another society, based on social justice, solidarity and self-management. Five thousand people were applauding, shouting and chanting songs of support. It was then that everyone realized that this endeavor is bound to succeed!
|One of the Vio.Me. workers addresses the people.|
Early next morning the mobilization went on with a vibrant march towards the factory. The workers were already in their positions and the production was triumphantly kick-started in front of the cameras of national, local and alternative media. The workers organized a guided tour of the factory and explained all the details of the production process to journalists and participants in the solidarity movement.
|The first batch of products produced under worker’s control!|
There is still a long road ahead: The costs of production are high, access to credit is impossible and getting a part of the market in times of recession is uncertain. The workers are however optimistic: The proceeds from the benefit gig and the donations of supportive groups and individuals collected through viome.org should be enough to keep the company afloat in the first few months. And the support of the social movements means many of the products will be distributed through the existing structures of social and solidary economy. The workers of Vio.Me. are already researching new cleaning products, based on non-toxic ecological ingredients, apt for home use. The factory makes quality building materials (mortars, plasters, tile adhesive paste and jointing materials, waterproof grouts, etc.) and the workers know very well how to improve the quality even more while lowering the production costs and hence the price. The challenge is now to find a market for these materials, either within Greece or in the surrounding Balkan countries. Some products can be shipped even further, so they could be distributed through the international solidarity movement as well.
We can confidently report that the answer is twelve.
All over the world today, antifascists, militant and liberal, answered the call out from Greek Antifa for an international day of action against the take over of their society by the Golden Dawn, an old-fashioned genetic-Nazi organisation.
Despite the crappy weather, a static demo called by the Greece Solidarity Campaign outside the Greek embassy was attended by a healthy 200 plus socialists and anarchists with representatives of the Greek and other communities. News that a counter-protest was planned by a group variously calling itself ‘British Friends of the Golden Dawn’ or ‘England’s Golden Dawn’ attracted about 60 militant anti-fascists.
By midday there was no sign of the fash at their assembly point but eventually a dozen weirdos, complete with Nazi tattoos, a Greek flag, and a modified Union Jack, were escorted by the plod into a tiny little pen and back to the tube again, making themselves look utterly ridiculous in the process. This is the absolute lunatic fringe of Britain’s far right, check out their Facebook page if you don’t believe us, proper barking, biting yer ankles mad, one wore a Union Jack gimp mask.
As people peeled away from the demo to tell them off, the slaphead with the sunglasses conducted the chorus of disapproval with his pointy finger, the chubby ginger lad gurned a lot, the one woman looked near to collapse. British fascists carrying a Greek flag, easily outnumbered by real Greeks! You couldn’t make it up.
Eventually the UAF ‘smash fascism’ contingent noticed that some actual fascists had arrived and interrupted the speeches briefly to point this out, then carried on as if nothing had happened. A Greek squatter solidarity group unfurled a banner and the police started to misbehave.
Last Wednesday to Thursday, Sahtzat Loukam, a Pakistani migrant, 27 years, was killed by two Greek people. It appears that these two people belong to the Golden Dawn. This is the first time the Greek police are investigating the killing of a migrant by someone who belongs to the Golden Dawn. In the last two years, 800 Pakistanis have suffered racist attacks in Greece; five of them were killed.
Thanks to all those who supported the appeal – here it is:
A joint action by Wessex Solidarity, Bournemouth uncut, B.P.A.C.C. and Occupy Bournemouth, on a rather chilly but pleasant Sunday afternoon in the centre of tory Bournemouth – I must stop calling it that, it’s only a matter of time.
Our numbers were depleted by a variety of last minute car and family problems but we were joined by some folk from Occupy London. We met up at Flirt Cafe, who were good enough to let us spread our seditious leaflets around the premises. The new banner got an outing and we gave out upwards of 700 leaflets, got some template letters signed and generally got a good reaction from the public. ‘The joys of syndicalism’ went down surprising well (thanks, Trev); I mean, people were actually stood around reading it! We must have got rid of 100 of those. A good turnout for the evening Wobblies film and discussion rounded off the day.
and then, there’s this:
Can’t top that!