1. It has been a month since the EU blocked every possible refugee route to Europe. When Macedonia closed its borders, we were being told about some hardcore countries of the Visegrad group (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia) that were supposedly violating unilaterally the «principles and values of Europe.» It turned out that all this was nothing but a communication management trick, and that the decisions have been taken jointly at the central EU level. Despite its whining, the Greek government did not take a different position when these decisions were being made. In this we insist, regardless of what the MPs of SYRIZA or Mouzalas say when they roam the TV channels, explaining just how much they care for refugees and how they share their pain. SYRIZA is now the government, and what counts is the stance that it takes as a state authority. And the Greek state is fully aligned with the fortress-Europe policy of closed borders and fully aligned with the violations of (even their own, bourgeois) international law that protects refugees; the Greek state is also fully aligned with the barbaric policy of deportations of hundreds of thousands of migrants to Turkey – and from there to the war zones, violently blocking their way to a safe haven.
2. The EU and its states and, therefore, their respective administrators, are criminals against humanity, responsible for thousands of deaths of refugees, mostly women and children, in the bottom of the Aegean Sea, which is caused solely by the policy of closed borders. From now on, they will be responsible for the fate of these people as a result of their incarceration in concentration camps and, then, the return to the countries from which they fled because of war or the wider implications that have been caused by the policy of chaos and destruction that western imperialism has pursued since 2001 in the notorious wars it has waged under the pretext of “fighting terror”. Such crimes will never be written off, therefore those who are responsible for them will be held accountable when the forces of communist liberation return to present the bourgeois counterrevolution with the complete – and long overdue – historical reckoning. Until that time comes, let them learn that history continues and that at the moment the only joke on face of the planet are the vampires of the decadent capitalist cannibalism.
3. The anti-migrant racist policy of the EU has been built step by step in a series of summits since September, until the last one, in March 2016, decided the permanent sealing of the Balkan route, the deployment of NATO’s naval forces for the deterrence and the forcible return along the Greek – Turkish maritime border, and a ridiculous plan for the installation of 70,000 refugees in the EU member states (on a voluntary basis for the member states). After the Brussels attacks, Poland already decided that it will re-think its own participation (hosting 7,000 refugees) in the program. The details of the agreement, which state that for any Syrian who will be sent back from Greece, a refugee will be directly transferred from Turkey to Europe (until the upper limit of 70,000 is reached), pose even bigger questions. Why should a refugee be deported to Turkey supposedly in order for someone else to ensure asylum and a plane ticket for Europe? Apparently, the objective is to give a clear message to those who may attempt to breach the fences in the future: that they would not have any luck. This also serves as a punishment for those who have already made the trip to Greece, in order to make an example out of them.
4. We will not discuss here the general causes of the refugee crisis, nor will we talk about the responsibilities of the imperialist West. All this is already well-known, and our Left has much to say on these subjects. But our Left forgets its own actions when the civilized West decided to launch the «war on terror”, transforming the targeted countries into an endless pile of rubble. The Left’s pacifist politics of «stop the war» did not stop any massacre. Its refusal to take a firm position for the defeat of imperialism together with its strategic (reactionary Sunni Islam) and its occasional allies (ISIS, al-Nusra and FSA in Syria, jihadist anti-Gaddaffi fighters in Libya etc.), its refusal to clearly support militarily the opponents of imperialism in the region (radical – anti-imperialist Shiite organizations and governments that are not controlled by imperialism, mainly of Ba’athist origin) allowed imperialism, if not to completely control the area, at least to impose an absolute chaos, in order to be able to impose its own order in the future.
5. While the refugee issue is obviously linked to the developments in the area, it is also an autonomous issue. The war in the Middle East may never end. It could even be extended to Turkey and possibly other countries. This is exactly why the fate of the hundreds of thousands of refugees is now an autonomous issue that needs to be solved right here and right now in Europe. But Europe is not undivided. As the facts indicate, the borders still exist and the national governments can make their own decisions; even at the level of the European institutions, Tusk, the president of the European Council, may advocate for a more hard-line approach, while Juncker, the president of the European commission, may whine about certain European values (the exact content of which remains undisclosed to everyone). Therefore, the movement cannot simply assign tasks to areas or entities outside its realm of action, even if it coordinates its struggle across Europe. The decisions of the EU or the various neighboring countries cannot be used as an excuse in order to not address the issue here in Greece, supposedly because the refugee issue is a European or an international issue. Yes, it is both international and European, but at the same it is also a Greek issue – in the same way that capitalism is international, European and Greek, but no revolutionary can use its international character as an excuse to refrain from the stuggle to overthrow it in Greece, Italy or any other country, supposedly because capitalism needs to be overthrown on a European or international scale. In this sense, the demand to open the borders – namely the Macedonian ones – and let the refugees who are trapped in Greece (50,000 today, who may very well increase to 100,000 in the future) pass cannot be used as an excuse for Greece to keep its own borders sealed. It cannot be used as an excuse to keep the – first in Europe – fence at the Evros river in its place, nor can the deportation of refugees to Turkey or their imprisonment to closed detention centers be considered as a “necessary evil”.
6. Furthermore, the movement cannot accept any discrimination between «Syrian refugees» and «illegal migrants» from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan etc. This discrimination, which the Greek government pretends that it is not a big deal, is yet one more arbitrary decision of the EU that violates any international – bourgeois – refugee legislation. This is not only because the war in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, but also because the notion of the refugee includes any conditions that force people to leave their countries for political, religious, environmental etc. reasons that endanger their lives, while at the same time mandating that the country in which the refugees wish to apply for asylum accepts this application. Therefore the fences in Evros and Idomeni together with the mass deportations are absolutely illegal, even in terms of the existing international law. In fact, the EU directorate is creating new legislation, in effect canceling the international law. What we see is the continuation of the state of emergency and the political discrimination, that began in a sneaky manner and is now becoming a permanent status in the legislation of the Empire, devaluing the respective postwar social contracts and the declaration of human rights. It is obvious that the collapse of the social contract does not only include the dismantling of the welfare state and the attack on workers’ rights, but also the reorganization – towards a reactionary direction – of the entire context within which the capitalist system reproduces itself.
7. «Until the migrants can get to their destination» (according the Left of realism and the bourgeois state) or «until the migrants go back where they came from» (according to the fascist filth), the movement and the militant and revolutionary Left cannot take a half-hearted position on the basis that the refugees are welcome as long as they are only in transit in Greece. We unconditionally support the refugees and migrants and declare that they are welcome for as long as they wish to stay – or for as long they are forced to do so. We do not recognize any distinction between them. We demand that the Greek state provides them with the necessary humane conditions of stay, either in open hospitality centers or in public buildings to be used for this purpose. Until a permanent settlement is reached, the Greek state – regardless of what the courtiers of the Holy Alliance say – must provide the people with residence, work permits and, of course, free access to public services.
The migrants who seek asylum in Greece must be granted it, without the well-known obstructions that abolish it in practice. At the same time, it is well-known that most of the refugees want to go to Germany and other northern countries. This is their decision; the illusions they may have regarding Merkel and the life that they imagine there is none of our concern. Most of them will not seek asylum in Greece, in order to avoid being trapped in the well-known limitations of the Dublin treaties. Therefore, the alternative is simply to be given residency permits, so that they can stay in Greece until they find a way to continue their journey. But because no one knows how long this will take, the movement and the Left cannot base their policy on the notion that the migrants are simply passing through the country; they should realize that in the end they may have to settle here.
Trying to appease those who are prone to the arguments of the fascists («we can barely sustain ourselves, how are we to sustain all these refugees?», «all these people cannot be integrated in our society because they are Muslims, jihadists, a health hazard» etc, will not help us in the next phase. At the same time, whether the refugees stay in Greece or not cannot depend on the financing of the EU or the UN (there are talks about some 700 million Euros over the next three years). Regardless of whether the Greek state receives this amount or not, we demand legal residence and work permit for all migrants. This is a battle that has to do not with our charity, but with the struggle against Greek racism, the regime of discrimination and the state of emergency. It is mainly a struggle within the working class, the youth and the society against cannibalism – and this struggle must always be waged, under any conditions. Indeed, there is poverty and unemployment, but this does not preclude solidarity. On the contrary; it is exactly in these difficult circumstances that solidarity and common grassroots struggle becomes the only way to survive. Those who say that “there is no room for more people” in the country are the ones who cannibalize the people next to them; they are the ones who are only interested in saving their own skins, who do not care not only for the Syrian refugee but also for the Greek people who are unemployed, hungry, bankrupt etc. Let the fascist filth go sell its racist poison elsewhere. We know very well that soon, when the number of the trapped refugees doubles, these voices will become even more aggressive. We know that the corrupt TV channels and the bourgeois media outlets are more than ready to substitute sympathy for hysteria about the «threat» that the refugee waves pose to “us”. So far the petty propagandists are waiting round the corner, choosing to restrain their propaganda onslaught – for now.
Until then we fight:
- To open a safe passage at the Evros river and to tear down the fence. Whoever denies this solution helps maintain the trafficking circuits and is complicit to the drowning of thousands of refugees, mainly young children. Solidarity has no boundaries. The demand for «direct, secure transfer of refugees – immigrants from the first asylum countries, such as Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and from the Greek islands, to their final destination countries under UN responsibility and the EU» is correct, because it stands on the side of the refugees. Of course we ask the new Rome to open its borders, but there is very little we can do about it from here. If the Left that speaks for direct transport to Europe had the power, would it open the Greek border or would it close it, since this is what Europe does? Must Europe open its borders in order for Greece to open a safe passage at the Evros river? The Left must have a clear position on this issue. Furthermore, we accept no «equitable distribution.» Tsipras and Merkel may ask for such a thing, but the Left cannot. We fight for the refugees to have freedom of movement and not for some «distribution» or for them to go «where there is room for them.»
- Drive NATO out of the Aegean. Not because it endangers «the country’s sovereignty», neither because its presence will draw «our people in the war plans of the imperialists in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean.» Greece is a part of the Western Empire; it is neither involved in it by mistake, nor is it a damsel in distress. The only ones who are endangered by the NATO patrols are the refugees, who will either end up in the bottom of the sea due to «deterrence» or will have to pay the traffickers 3 and 4 times more money to go through unguarded crossings at the risk of their lives. Above all, we oppose the presence of NATO because it strengthens the mechanism of illegal deterrence and forcible return of the refugees. For as long as the racist policy of the EU and Greece allows no safe corridor for the refugees, we oppose any deterrence and obstruction to the various routes that they choose. The obstacles that the New Rome raises in front of them are illegal anyway, so they have every right to “trespass” on them. Every refugee route is legal and permissible.
- The Greek state must stop violating international law on refugees here and now, and it must stop hiding behind the violations of the EU. It must provide residence and work permits to refugees without any discrimination (Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis, etc.) and asylum to those who request it.
- Open hospitality centers, not concentration camps. The existing hot-spots are actually places where the refugees are registered, sorted and separated; a tiny minority of them may be allowed to continue the journey to their destination, while the majority will be sent back or simply abandoned, since they are considered “illegal migrants”. The Greek state and the government integrate the hot-spots to their wider policy of «deterrence», in order to state – with actions – that the presence of refugees is undesirable and temporary. Yes to open reception centers under the responsibility of the state, registration, care and legalization of the existence of these people in the Greek territory, by providing asylum and residence and work permits. To the extent that the migrants trapped in Idomeni refuse to move, the state must put together a camp at this place and immediately stop any plans for the forcible evacuation of the migrants.
- Against any attempt of the racist right and the fascist vermin to return to the streets under the pretext of the refugee crisis. The extreme right filth has already made attempts to organize a grassroots protest movement against the refugees, using similar patterns as the ones used throughout Europe. Rallies of «residents» who do not want to have hot-spots in the neighborhood, pig heads and other voodoo stuff will spread where the Nazi right is allowed to do so. Let us not lie to ourselves about the nature of such mobilizations, believing that the people attending them are simply misinformed. In every single case, such mobilizations are organized by thugs and cannibals of the fascist and the wider right-wing sewer – and they should be addressed as such. There is no reason to pretend that the problem does not exist. Let us face the facts: the fascist snake lives among us – and one does not deal with such snakes through reason, but through force.
Communist Revolutionary Action Avantgarde
(The original document was published in 30.03.2016.)