Self Organisation Or Chaos
A statement of Anarchist Federation (Gr) about the ongoing forest fires and the disastrous handlings of the Greek State
We are on the cusp of a major environmental and social disaster. Entire regions of Greece are practically being wiped out. Tens of thousands of people are losing their livelihoods, losing all prospects in their own country, and are objectively becoming internal refugees. From the fires in Ilia in 2007, the fires in Mati in 2018 to the fires of today, we have the same pattern of destruction, the same data, the same people responsible, the same criticisms.
Everything has been said. Everything is known.
But we cannot ignore the fact that the situation at the moment is borderline. We do not know what the next day will look like, and that is literal. We do not know what will happen tomorrow, in a fortnight, in two months. The disaster we are experiencing at the moment may be a prelude to what will happen tomorrow or in a month's time. We may see much worse, and what is at stake is nature itself and the quality of our lives before they are even in the hands of the bosses and the state. We say this having taken into account a number of factors.
1. Extreme weather events will continue and intensify. Climate change, i.e. global warming as a result of capitalist production, is here. And we have every reason to expect that in the coming period there will again be conditions conducive to holocausts. Or floods.
2. The state both cannot and will not fulfill its part of the contract in a contracting society. At all levels, it either refuses to organise prevention and protection mechanisms or completely fails even to manage the technical part of such a treaty. The state cares about serving its own interests and the only thing its political department is interested in with regard to fires is the electoral cost in the electoral game. Its entire strategy is geared towards protecting itself, not protecting the social base. We can expect nothing different in the next fires.
3. The disaster will be followed by a communication feast in which the state will hand out some money to the affected people, promise more and once the lights go out the issue will be forgotten. Let us remember that they even ate up the huge amount of solidarity money that was collected for the fire victims of Elis in 2007. Nor do we have anything to expect from the state in terms of restoring the immediate needs of those who have lost everything.
4. Despite the enormous destruction that has already taken place as I write this, there are still many forests that have not been burned throughout the country. What happened to Evia, Ilia and Attica could happen to the whole country on a much larger scale in the next few years. Much further away from the capital with more unfavourable conditions.
In the light of these facts, we call on the social base in terms of locality, in villages, towns and cities to organize themselves immediately and to undertake as far as possible any initiative of fire prevention and supervision of forest areas in their regions. The 'run for your lives' policy that the state has chosen as its strategy is bound to cause enormous additional damage and possibly even more victims. Experience itself in this crisis has shown us that it was self-organisation and the assumption of responsibility by local people that saved what was saved. This must be multiplied.
Municipal and political authorities should be taken by the throat to mobilise whatever mechanisms they have and to equip local self-organised structures, projects and patrols. Make use of the voluntary contribution of non-locals who will come to help. To require coordination and guidance from the Fire Brigade and even auxiliary firefighting by those locals who have the ability and will to do so. With safety first, we must not run before we mobilize. Fire protection and forest protection in general should be radically reconfigured based on local communities. Guard the burnt areas with the aim of not only regenerating the forests but also expanding them.
But also the social base outside the 'dangerous areas' must be mobilised. Both for the immediate needs of the IDPs and for the political struggle for their rehabilitation immediately afterwards.
And in these disasters as in the previous ones, we have also seen social solidarity manifest itself massively and spontaneously. We also saw the dynamics of self-organization, its effectiveness and ingenuity. What is different now is that the kind of crisis we have entered makes these occasional, and under a state of desperation, social health manifestations necessary on a permanent basis.
We are on our own. And we have on the one hand the state and capital sucking us dry and at the same time turning our everyday environment into ashes.
We have to take matters into our own hands or we have to settle for unprecedented levels of misery, unprecedented in what we are not used to. We have to save nature and ourselves from the destructive tide of the state and capital.
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