Greece: The history of Patra's "Parartima" social centre
greece / turkey / cyprus |
community struggles |
Thursday August 08, 2013 16:13 by Glykosymoritis
Graffiti reads "We want everything and for everyone "
The occupied space of “Parartima” (which belonged to the University of Patras) is historically associated to severe social struggles. It was used as center of struggle for the first time in 1973, when it was occupied by students, leftists, anarchists and other parts of society during the November uprising against the junta (dictatorship). It has been the stronghold of intense mobilizations, demonstrations, and conflicts against local fascists and it was registered in the conscience of the local community as the main centre of resistance against the junta.
During the 1980s, the “Parartima” remained active and has been the center of various and diverse forms of social resistance. For example, it was occupied and used as a base during the events following the assassination of Kaltezas, it gathered large parts of students’ and workers’ movements against factory foreclosures, such as those of Ladopoulos’ and “Peiraiki Patraiki”, it was used as a center for counter-propaganda regarding the Tiananmen events in China, and it hosted the first anarchist conference.
In the following years, the “Parartima” was no longer part of Patras University and it was granted to the Prefecture of Patras. Patras Prefecture, in its turn, handed it over to the School Buildings Organization, as “Parartima” shared the same building with a school. Since, the building was not under the university’s jurisdiction any longer, it did not constitute a police-free zone [after the junta and according to the constitution, Greek universities constitute police-free zones] according to the law. The Parartima occupation has continued by student unions, leftist groups, anarchists and anti-authoritarians for a three day period as an anniversary event each year.
Since the early 1990s, the Parartima space has been utilized by various groups organizing cultural events such as concerts and film projections and so on. It is still considered a roof for political debates and it is directly associated to events such as the mobilizations following the assassination of school teacher N. Temponeras by para-state thugs and massive student movements. In 1992 a big part of Parartima was destroyed by a fire set under unspecified conditions.
In the start of 2000s, the Municipality of Patras attempted to convert Parartima into a sterile conference space with the assistance of concurrent negative propaganda through newspaper reports against the squatters by local mainstream media. Τhe need for re-approaching the space and turning it into an open political and social center had risen up. As a result, the assembly for re-occupying the space was created by several groups. Some of these groups took the responsibility for managing and using the space under specific conditions (anti-hierarchical, anti-media, anti-commercial) which preserved the open character of Parartima and promoted this space as an area of free expression and exchange of ideas. The managing assemblies that followed adopted these conditions. So, at Parartima, direct democracy processes are taking place along with events with an anti-commercial DIY features and a variety of other social activities.
Source OCCUPIED LONDON: FROM THE GREEK STREETS (http://blog.occupiedlondon.org/2013/08/06/patra-history...tima/)
See also, from the OL archive: “Parartima was and will remain liberated land”: a few words on the targeting of the “Parartima”* occupation in Patras (http://blog.occupiedlondon.org/2013/01/11/parartima-was...tras/)