Voices from the Struggle in Greece

We are publishing here a document we have received by a circuitous route from a group in Athens. We as yet know nothing about this group or the authors but we are making this document more widely known, partially to combat the bourgeois propaganda that what is happening in Greece is just the “mindless violence of people who call themselves anarchists”, and to contribute to a wider struggle against the attempts by capitalist everywhere to make us pay for their crisis. The version here is translated from the French.

Declaration of the General Assembly of Insurgent Workers of Athens in the liberated building of the GSEE (General Confederation of Greek Workers)

We either decide our own history or we allow our history to be determined by others.

We manual workers, employed and unemployed, temporary and casual, native and migrant, are not mere passive spectators. Since the murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos last Saturday evening we have taken part in demonstrations, in confrontations with the police, in occupations of town centres as well as our neighbourhoods. Time and again we have had to leave work and our daily routine to take to the streets with the school students, the university students, and other workers, in this struggle.

We decided to occupy the offices of the GSEE (General Confederation of Trades Unions)

  • In order to transform it into a space for freedom of expression and as meeting place for workers.
  • In order to dispel the myths peddled by the media about the absence of workers from this struggle, that the anger of the last few days is just an expression of 500 “hoodies”, “hooligans” or other weird stories from the TV where workers are presented as the victims of the clashes, or that the capitalist crisis in the Greece and the world leads to innumerable layoffs which the media and the bosses consider a “natural phenomenon”.
  • In order to unmask the role of the trades union bureaucracy in its work of undermining these insurrections but also generally. The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the entire trades union machinery which has supported it for dozens and dozens of years, undermines struggles, negotiates the cost of our labour power for crumbs, and perpetuates the system of exploitation and wage slavery. The GSEÈs attitude last Wednesday spoke for itself. The GSEE cancelled the planned demonstration of strikers, suddenly calling instead for a brief gathering in Syntagma Square, ensuring all along that the participants would be dispersed very quickly for fear that they would be infected by the virus of insurrection.
  • In order to open this place for the first time as a continuation of the social opening created by the insurrection itself, a space which was built by our contributions but from which until now we have been excluded. For years we have left our destiny in the hands of those “saviours” of all kinds and we have ended by losing our dignity. As workers we have to begin to take up our responsibilities and stop putting our hopes in “wise” leaders or “competent” representatives. We have to begin to speak with our own voice, to meet, to discuss, to decide and to act for ourselves against the general attacks we have had to put up with. Building “rank and file” resistance is the only solution.
  • To disseminate the idea of self-organisation and solidarity in the workplaces, of the methods of struggle committees and rank and file collectives, to abolish union bureaucracies.

For years we have had to put up with poverty, passivity and violence at work. We have got used to counting our injured and dead - in so-called “industrial accidents”. We are used to ignoring the migrants, our brothers who have been killed. We are tired of living with the anxiety of having to ensure that we get a living wage, of being able to pay taxes and of guaranteeing a pension which now seems like a distant dream.

Just as we struggle in order not to put our lives in the hands of the bosses and union representatives, so we also won’t abandon the arrested insurgents in the hands of the State and its justice machinery.

Immediate freedom of all detainees
Withdrawal of charges against the accused
Self-organisation of the workers
General strike

General Assembly of the Workers of the Liberated Building of the GSEE - 17 December 2008 18.00 hours

General Assembly of Insurgent Workers