A few weeks ago we all witnessed an incident that shuddered the neighborhood of Faliro in Thessaloniki. The arson of Libertatia squat, the neoclassical building in L.Stratou & Sarantaporou, the roof of some people but also of libertarian ideas, one of the few old buildings preserved in this city. This happened on the day of the Macedonia demo, where the people closed the streets to come out to defend the “greekness” of Macedonia. Once again in society, pseudo-dilemmas are spreading that disorientate it from reality, offering fertile ground to its creeping fascism.
All of that happened in Thessaloniki. At the whilom multicultural “capital” of the Balkan peninsula, the city of refugees, persecution and extermination of the Jewish and other ethnic populations, the city of the murdered workers in 1936 and the murder of Lambrakis in 1963. Among the crimes of fascism and nationalism that have happened in this city, one more came to add, the arson of a historical building, which was standing for over a century. Unfortunately, whoever forgets history must be ready to live it again. (quote from the political statement of Libertatia squat 29.01)
Few words for Libertatia squat
„Libertatia stands for libertarian, inspired by the semi-mythical liberal community of pirates around 1600. As then, the waves of our lives have led us to a self-managed raft towards freedom.” (From the first brochure of occupation “The need for housing and the solution to occupation as a means of revolutionary action”).
In 2008, the mansion was occupied at the corner of the Army and Sarantaporos street, giving it life after many years of desolation. We tried to make it sustainable and we did it, which, due to its age and its architecture, was achieved with great effort, with our own money and help from comrades.
Of course we did not expect any rewards, our satisfaction was moral and political. The assembly of occupation laid the foundations based on equality and anti-hierarchy. This created a place open to all those who are struggling to overthrow a social system based on exploitation. In the summer of ’09 there was a call in the neighborhood for a meeting. This call took place because the neighborhood for us is and remains vital space for intervention, so every event was firstly addressed to it (with texts, posters, interventions). Our good relationship with it is still evident today, when during the attack the people came out to the balconies shouting to the fascists, who of course replied with sworing and bengalen. Anyway, the people of the neighborhood know well who and why they burned the occupation, they are next to us and support us, and this attitude gives us the power to remain in the building and to repair the damage.
Besides our ideas, Libertatia housed ourselves, housed the needs of people without the intermediation of rent, people who did not have the means to rent a home, such as immigrants and people of the lower social classes.
The squat, despite the difficulties it had to overcome due to the problems concerning the building, held a steady social profile without, of course, losing its political identity. Movie projections of the film group took place almost every week, and also the occupation bar. Concerts were also frequent. But one of the most important activities was the structure of self-education. Like every revolutionary movement that existed before and set its foundations on education, we also tried to study revolutionary theory and history. By opening it to society, we set the terms of our revolutionary function: “action requires knowledge and knowledge requires education”. All of this will of course continue to exist because Libertatia will stay. The rebuilding has begun and we are ready.
But the problem is not only the destruction of an occupation. The problem is fascism and the society that nourishes it. Fascism is not only golden dawn and the various far-right groups, nor all those “bad” things we know from history that it did, but is also the passivity and the apathy, is also the society that observes history but doesn’t change it, does not speak, and does not take position. It is clear to everyone that what happened could not be done without the cover-up of the rally. Let everybody therefore consider his attitude towards fascism.
As a closure, we would like to say that the decision to rebuild the building comes from our will to respond to the disastrous tendency of fascism. For us, occupations are not their walls, but the people – they are the relationships that are built within them. It is structures of struggles that take us out to the road. The occupations are us. And we will prove that the anti-fascist movement has the will, the forces and the determination to rebuild what has been destroyed. Libertatia will stay and the building will be rebuilt on our own means, with our own people. This will be the best answer to the state and its fascist gangs. It is a great challenge for the people of the struggle all this process and its ultimate success will show that we can live and create without state, capital and power. It is a battle that has to be won and will be won.
Libertatia, political assembly for libertarian communism