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Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 04:39 AM CDT

Greece: Liberation of the Offices of the General Confederation of Greek Workers

News ArchiveOn the morning of Wed. (17 December 2008), the offices of the G.S.E.E. (at the intersection of Patision St. and Alexandras St.) were occupied by insurgent workers and the building was declared a liberated workers' zone. Their declaration speaks of their wish "[t]o disperse the media-touted myth that the workers were and are absent from the clashes, and that the rage of these days was an affair of some 500 "mask-bearers," "hooligans" or some other such fairy tale, while on the T.V. screens the workers were presented as victims of the clash, while the capitalist crisis in Greece and worldwide continues to lead to countless layoffs that the media and their managers portray as a "natural phenomenon"."

Communique #1 (17 December 2008):

We will either determine our history ourselves or let it be determined without us.

We, manual workers, employees, jobless, temporary workers, local or migrants, are not passive T.V. viewers. Since the murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos on Saturday night, we participate in the demonstrations, the clashes with the police, the occupations of the centre or the neighborhoods. Time and time again we had to leave our jobs and our daily obligations to take the streets with the students, the university students and the other proletarians in the struggle.

WE DECIDED TO OCCUPY THE BUILDING OF G.S.E.E.

-- To turn it into a space of free expression and a meeting point of workers.

-- To disperse the media-touted myth that the workers were and are absent from the clashes, and that the rage of these days was an affair of some 500 "mask-bearers," "hooligans" or some other fairy tale, while on the T.V. screens the workers were presented as victims of the clash, while the capitalist crisis in Greece and worldwide continues to lead to countless layoffs that the media and their managers deal as a "natural phenomenon".

-- To flay and uncover the role of the trade union bureaucracy in the undermining of the insurrection.

-- And not only this. The G.S.E.E. and the entire trade union mechanism that supports it, for decades and decades, undermine struggles, trades our labor power for crumbs, perpetuates the system of exploitation and wage slavery. The stance of G.S.E.E. last Wednesday is quite telling: G.S.E.E. canceled the programmed strikers' demonstration, stopping short and calling a brief gathering in Syntagma Square, making sure that the people would be dispersed in a hurry from the Square, fearing that they might get infected by the virus of insurrection.

-- To open up this space for the first time as a continuation of the social opening created by the insurrection itself, a space that has been built by our contributions, a space from which we were excluded. For all these years we trusted our fate to saviors of every kind, and we end up losing our dignity. As workers we have to start assuming our responsibilities, and to stop assigning our hopes to wise leaders or "able" representatives. We have to acquire a voice of our own, to meet up, to talk, to decide, and to act. Against the generalized attack that we endure. The creation of collective "grassroots" resistance is the only way.

-- To propagate the idea of self-organization and solidarity in working places, committees and collective grassroots procedures, abolishing the bureaucratic trade unionists.

All these years we gulp the misery, the pandering, the violence at work. We became accustomed to counting the crippled and our dead in so-called "labor accidents". We became accustomed to ignoring the migrants -- our class brothers and sisters -- getting killed. We are tired of living with the anxiety of securing a wage, revenue stamps, and a pension that now feels like a distant dream.

As we struggle not to abandon our life to the hands of the bosses and the trade union representatives, likewise we will not abandon a single arrested insurgent in the hands of the state and the juridical mechanism.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE DETAINED.

NO CHARGE TO THE ARRESTED.

SELF-ORGANIZATION OF THE WORKERS.

GENERAL STRIKE.

Signed:
General Assembly of Insurgent Workers

Communique #2 (17 December 2008)

An offhand answer to "Mr." Panagopoulos regarding his statements on NET channel (a state-run T.V. station in Greece).

"Mister" Panagopoulos stated on the channel, that "some youngsters occupied the building of G.S.E.E. [...] if they were manual workers, they'd be on building sites now [...]".

This unearthy subject, belonging to the managerial staff of National Bank of Greece, that "represents" the workers, where is he himself now, and what does he know about building sites?

He has been a technocrat for his entire life, a manager in State Companies (D.E.K.O.), a party wangler and a gravedigger of struggles. This spokesman of P.A.S.O.K. politics within the workers' movement lives in the northern suburbs, smokes cigars and gets a fat paycheck, from National Bank and G.S.E.E., while administering huge state and E.U. funds.

He got promoted by his boss, while it is forbidden for trade unionists to get a promotion during their service time -- and he accepted the promotion.

He organized a conference for the 90 years of G.S.E.E. in the amphitheater of National Bank, namely the amphitheater of his boss Mr. Arapoglou, with funds from the Foreign Office, thus showing his intentions and his class position.

Panagopoulos can go join his bosses, just as he does every day. Just as he signs the collective agreement with the employers, giving us some of the lowest wages in Europe.

How dare he reproach the insurgent workers, he who is the ringleader the repression of every labor demand?

Here in the occupied G.S.E.E., there is plaque that commemorates each of its leaders. Above the name of Panagopoulos, there are many other names of bureaucrats who got the reward of becoming PMs: Kanellopoulos, Protopapas, Polizogopoulos. On this plaque there are also the names of the appointed (not elected) professional unionists during Junta and the Occupation. That's where Panagopoulos' name deserves to be.

He can abandon us where we've been forever: at work, unemployed, in our class position, in our night shifts, on the streets, on the insurrection during daytime, on the street ...

If Panagopoulos worries about those who now are at work, let him stay calm. They will turn up for the evening assembly, that will open up the building he kept closed during all these years. They will not go to work tomorrow -- the day he refused to call for a strike -- to hit the streets and express their rage.

A rage Panagopoulos can't and does not want to comprehend, because that's what his fat paycheck and his repressive role dictate ...

Here we are ...

Signed:
Proletarian Initiative from (not that young) night workers of the liberated G.S.E.E. building

Communique #3 (17 December 2008)

An answer from the liberated building of G.S.E.E.:

Panagopoulos declared this morning that we are not workers, since workers are at work. This, among many other things, reveals what Panagopoulos' "job" really is. Panagopoulos' "job" is to make sure that workers are at work, to do everything within his reach to ensure that workers are at work.

But for the last ten days, workers are not only at work, they are out on the streets. And this is a fact that Panagopoulos and every other Panagopoulos can't hide, even if he succeeds in hiding the sun that brings light to our steps and rage onto the streets of this city.

We are working people, we are jobless (paying in layoffs our participation in strikes called by G.S.E.E., when they -- the trade unionists -- are rewarded with promotions), we are working under contract moving from job to job, we work insecurely either formally or informally in a "stage" progam or in subsidized jobs to lower the unemployment index. We are part of this world and we are here. Whoever wants to understand can understand.

We are insurgent workers, end of story.

Every single one of our revenue stamps is paid with blood, sweat, violence, broken waists, broken hands, knees, feet, heads.

The entire world is made by us, the workers.

PS. We heard on the radio that our act was an artistic happening. We accept this characterization, but only as far as the proletariat will abolish art and philosophy (along with state and capital)...

Signed:
Two enraged proletarians from the liberated GSEE

Sources:
Anarkismo, Athens Indymedia, Blog of the Liberated Building of the GSEE
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