Tag Archives: 25 January 2011

Solidarity / Solidarité

Solidarity to 300 migrant workers on hunger strike in Greece

Solidarity to 300 migrant workers on hunger strike in Greece

Ραδιοφωνική εκπομπή με τους απεργούς πείνας στο Εργατικό Κέντρο Θεσσαλονίκης (29-01-2011) στον 1431am

Support the Striking Migrant Workers of Greece

http://www.zcommunications.org/support-the-striking-migrant-workers-of-greece-by-many-authors

Yesterday, January 25, three hundred (300) migrants who work in Greece without papers or any civil rights began what is perhaps the largest hunger strike in Greek history.

The strikers are asking for the “legalization of all migrant men and women,” and for “the same political and social rights and obligations as Greek workers.”

The struggle of these migrants highlight the general crisis of migrants and refugees across Greece and Europe.

The Assembly of Migrant Hunger Strikers explain that they came to Greece “to escape poverty, unemployment, wars and dictatorships.” And that they were left no choice other than to repeatedly risk their own lives “to journey towards Europe’s door.”

«I want papers to be able to go to hospital, to be treated as a human being,» explained a 29-year old Moroccan. «I’m fed up with this life without papers.» He has been working “menial” jobs on the Island of Crete for 5 years.

Another hunger striker, who said he found it impossible to obtain legal papers, explained «There is no going back for us. … We will win this fight or we will die.»

With no other way to make their voices heard or demand their rights 250 migrants have occupied an unused building in the Law School of Athens where Police are forbidden by the University Asylum law to enter university grounds.

Another building, the 7th floor of the Labor Center of Thessaloniki, has also been occupied by 50 others.

Even during times of “business as usual”—when elite profit, power, and privilege is not in jeopardy, but the everyday lives of everyone else are—migrants are easy targets for blame and exploitation.

However, as material conditions worsen in Greece due to the current financial crisis, so have the lives of migrants worsened—becoming more precarious.

The statement of the Assembly of Migrant Hunger Strikers explains that the lives of migrants have become even more unbearable as workers “salaries and pensions are cut and prices rise.” Migrants have become targets more often and their lives more vulnerable.

“Far right discourse is reproduced through the media when they talk about us. On issues of migration, the propaganda of fascist and racist parties and groups has become the formal language of the State while their ‘proposals’ have already become government policy: the wall in Evros, floating detention centres and a European army in the Aegean, repression in the cities, massive deportations.”

Under these conditions faced by the striking migrants, it is imperative not to remain silent, and to lend support for the demands of the migrants.

Intellectuals of Greece, Europe, and elsewhere must express their solidarity by lending support for the demands of the migrants and participating in their struggle and defense.

Public expressions of solidarity and support are urgently needed as the deadline for striking migrants to leave the Law School of Athens’ is currently under consideration.

~~~

We, the authors, wish to express our solidarity with the 300 migrant workers on hunger strike in Greece. Their struggle is an important part of the struggle for migrant justice and human rights all over the world.

(Signatories are listed here in personal capacity only. If you support this statement, please sign the petition.)

Michael Albert (ZNet) – USA

Peter Bohmer (Faculty in Economics at The Evergreen State College, and Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, Olympia, Washington) – USA
Irina Cerica (Global Balkans Network) – Canada

Andrej Grubacic (Global Balkans Network, ZNet) – USA

Harpreet K Paul (Project for a Participatory Society) – United Kingdom

Nikos Raptis (ZNet) – Greece

Deric Shannon (Worker Solidarity Alliance, Queers Without Borders) – USA

Chris Spannos (ZNet) – USA

Tamara Vukov (Global Balkans Network) – Canada

Abbey Willis (Worker Solidarity Alliance, Queers Without Borders) – USA
(If you support this statement, please sign the petition.)


GREECE -300 MIGRANTS ON HUNGER STRIKE -PRESS RELEASE 26 JAN 2011

PRESS RELEASE

Wednesday 26 January 2011

1. The strikers are in excellent physical and mental condition.

2. At the Press conference at noon, members of the assembly of the hunger strikers, of the solidarity assembly, of the Federation of Unions of Hospital Doctors, of the Union of State School Teachers in Secondary Education, of the first-degree union of Book-and-Paper Workers, and two lawyers called for solidarity and support for the migrants’ struggle, and explained its urgency especially in times of crisis, when society as a whole is being brutally attacked and deprived of its basic rights.

3. We are following the developments in Athens closely. No attack against our comrades and against the hunger strikers will go unanswered.

4. The hunger strikers have arranged to receive visitors between 11-1 at noon and 7-9 in the evening. During those times today, numerous people visited the strikers, members of unions who are hosted at the Labor Centre, a member of the town Council, and a delegation from the ‘Ecologist Greens’ party of Greece.

5. The team of 15 doctors who will be attending to the strikers during the course of the hunger strike, did a general health checkup on each striker, and offered medical advice and guidelines to the Safety and Security Teams of the solidarity assembly.

6. The hunger strikers assembly and the solidarity assembly agree with and will fully support the proposal of the Welcome to Europe Network for an International Action Week of Solidarity to the 300 Hunger Strikers between the 7th and the 13th of February 2011.

7. The solidarity assembly was informed that the deputy minister of Labor and Social Insurance will be in Thessaloniki for a conference on the ‘Perspectives on a New Migration Policy’ on Friday, January 28, at 7pm. The assembly of the hunger strikers announced their decision that representatives of their assembly will intervene at the conference and hand the text with their demands in person to the deputy minister.

Tuesday 25/1/2011, 1st day of hunger strike

PRESS RELEASE

JANUARY 25, 2011, 1st day of hunger strike

Today, 50 of the 300 immigrant workers began a hunger strike on the 7th floor of the Labor Centre of Thessaloniki, where they are being hosted. The hunger strikers are in very good shape, their conditions of living are excellent. Their conviction that they are fighting for a just cause, for the legalization of all migrants, keeps their spirits high. On the first day of the hunger strike the immigrant workers have received support from unions and workers’ organizations, as well as from numerous people who have visited, asking to help and contribute in any way they can.

Already on the first day of the migrant workers’ hunger strike, which puts their lives at risk for their struggle, the unholy alliance of the State, the media and the far-Right launched an orchestrated attack, condemning them or victimizing the fighting strikers, and tried to divert public opinion away from the real issues of the struggle. We believe that despite this assault, Greek society will stand by the strikers. This struggle is just and powerful, it has massive solidarity and support and it will not surrender to goebbelist propaganda techniques.

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 26th of January, the immigrant hunger strikers invite you to a Press Conference on the 1st floor of the Labor Centre.

From the Press Office

Solidarity Initiative of Thessaloniki

allilmap.wordpress.com

THEY ARE HERE!

THEY ARE HERE!

Early this morning, 300 migrants arrived at the port of Peiraeus, Greece. They are planning to go on a hunger strike on the 25th of January, demanding the unconditional legalization of all immigrants and equal social and political rights for all.
250 of them stayed in Athens, where they will be hosted at the Law School, while 50 of them continued on the bus to Thessaloniki, where they will be staying at the Labor Centre in the centre of town.

They arrived in Thessaloniki around noon and were warmly welcomed by a cheering crowd who had prepared the space of the Labor Centre with mattresses and blankets, showers, an info-centre, as well as medical and legal aid, for the hunger strike. For the last two days before the fast, migrants and refugees who live in Thessaloniki have offered to cook for their brothers in struggle.

Tomorrow, Monday the 24th of January, workers’ first-degree unions and initiatives are invited to the Labor Centre to meet and greet the striking migrants and discuss the organization of solidarity actions. On Thursday the 27th, an open meeting is going to be held at the Labor Centre for the support and coordinaton of the struggle.

Statement of the 300 migrant workers on hunger strike from 25 January 2011

Statement of the 300 migrant workers on hunger strike from 25 January 2011

We are migrant men and women, refugees from all over Greece. We came here to escape poverty, unemployment, wars and dictatorships. The multinational companies and their political servants left us no choice but to repeatedly risk our lives to journey towards Europe’s door. The West that is exploiting our countries while benefiting from much better living conditions is our only chance to live decent lives, to live as human beings. Whether by regular or irregular entry, we came to Greece and are working to support ourselves and our families. We live without dignity, in the dark shadow of illegalness. Employers and State agencies benefit from the harsh exploitation of our labour. We live by the sweat of our brow and with the dream that one day we will have the same rights as our Greek fellow workers.

Recently our lives have become even more unbearable. As salaries and pensions are cut and prices rise, migrants are blamed for the misery and harsh exploitation of Greek workers and small businesses. Far right discourse is reproduced through the media when they talk about us.  On issues of migration, the propaganda of fascist and racist parties and groups has become the formal language of the State while their ‘proposals’ have already become government policy: the wall in Evros, floating detention centres and a European army in the Aegean, repression in the cities, massive deportations. They are trying to make Greek workers believe that we are suddenly a threat to them, that we are to blame for the unprecedented attack from their own governments.

The response to the lies and the cruelty must be provided now and it will come from us, from migrant men and women. We will put our own lives on the line to stop this injustice. We ask for the legalization of all migrant men and women, we ask for the same political and social rights and obligations as Greek workers. We ask our Greek fellow workers, everyone suffering exploitation, to stand with us. Support our struggle! Do not allow the lies, the injustice, the fascism and the despotism of political and economic elites to prevail. These are the same conditions that forced us to leave our homelands with our children in order to live with dignity.

We do not have any other way to make our voices heard, to raise awareness of our rights. Three hundred (300) of us will go on hunger strike in Athens and in Thessaloniki on the 25 January 2011. We risk our lives because, either way, there is no dignity in our living conditions. We would rather die here than allow our children to suffer what we have been through.

Assembly of migrant hunger strikers

January 2011