Sunday, 31 October 2010
PRAPOPOULOU SQUAT info
Prapopoulou Squat is located in a suburb of Athens, Greece that is called Halandri. The building is an old upper class house which is surrounded by a big garden. This private property had been abandoned for 34 years, until 2 years ago a group of people from different ages and political references decided to transform it into a space of creativity and resistance.
The squat functions as an open political-cultural space and as a base for political action out of the squat and is not used for housing. It is based on anti-hierarchy, equality, self-management and non-commercial relationships and doesn’t cooperate with the state, political parties or any other authoritarian structure. The management is done only by open assemblies where anyone interested can participate. The decisions are taken collectively through consensus respecting the differences in political views. There is a borrowing library, organic cultivation where we often share some of the vegetables with the neighbors and encourage people to participate, free cinema each week, a group that promotes the use of bicycle and repairs old bicycles, free Spanish lessons, theatrical plays and more. We also installed a do-it-yourself wind turbine which finally didn't work out and we are now experimenting with photovoltaic technology considering autonomy in energy us an aspect of the struggle. Our events vary from theater for children, fiestas, concerts until conversations and projections about the conditions in prisons, the Zapatistas, the rebellion of Oaxaca, public spaces and development, green capitalism and army objection. At all our events we don't charge an entrance fee and the expenses are covered by voluntary contribution in a box of economic support, with the perspective to promote solidarity and avoid commercial and authoritarian relationships.
We emphasize on local action, having good relationships with the neighborhood and on interacting with society. The space is free for anyone who wants to use it if he, she respects the characteristics of the squat. We act against plans of the municipality about restriction of public spaces and development of areas of green. We have done several actions in the central square of our neighborhood, giving many texts under the sound of music and of announcements. We are also active in central political issues working frequently with other groups (mostly anarchist and autonomous), co-organizing demonstrations and events for solidarity to political prisoners, to squats under state or para-state repression, concerning environmental issues, against prisons, against elections and more.
But the natural functioning of the squat was violently blocked. After one year and a half of many events, actions and resisting, the state, its police, and their best friends the fascist groups, provoked a serious attack on the squat. Para-state nationalists broke into the squat in the night of the Greek independence-day anniversary in March of 2008, burned the wooden roof and the library and destroyed a big part of the house. Facing the sight of destruction and smelling the odour of repression, looking at each other we realized that the only sure thing was that they burned nothing that could not be restored. They failed to burn even to a minimum, all those important things that motivated us to keep on what we are doing, like the comradeship between all of us who participle in the squat and our determination to keep on with the struggle.
A march of 500 people was organized in the neighborhood of the house that shouted out that we are still here, and that the struggle goes on. From this point, we have put a lot of effort and time to reestablish the house, receiving a moving wave of solidarity from squatters, anarchists, leftists and neighbors that was expressed mainly in hands for work and money to buy materials. Seeking or accepting money and help from the municipality or other authoritarian institutions was excluded from the beginning. The weekly events had stopped for a while in order to concentrate on the works, but now we are starting to come back arranging new ones. Self-organization was always our way and continues to be, walking in solidarity step by step towards freedom and aiming for social liberation.
THE LAND BELONGS TO THOSE WHO CULTIVATE IT, AND THE ABANDONED HOUSES TO THOSE WHO OCCUPY THEM!
From the regions of northern Athens
For social liberation
Athens, December 2008