Benefit VoKu for Prosfygika & music by Rembetiko Against The Machine

Thursday 26 January 2023, Benefit Voku in solidarity with the squatted neighbourhood of Prosfygika with music performance by Rembetiko Against The Machine. Food served from 7pm, no reservation.

“Prosfygika”, or otherwise refugee homes, is a complex of residential flats built in 1930’s to house refugees resulting from the Asia Minor conflict between Greece and Turkey. The buildings are situated on a central avenue of Athens, surrounded on either side by the police HQ and the supreme court, in a heavily gentrified area . After years of abandonment, Prosfygika has been increasingly reclaiming its original purpose as many refugees, migrants, poor, greek and foreigner working class people have sought to resolve their need for housing by squatting the empty flats.
(Info-night and benefit for Prosfygika in 2014 at Joe’s Garage

Rembetiko Against The Machine – A session with rebetiko tunes from the 1930’s till the early 1950’s. The period between the 1st and 2nd World Wars had a crucial role in the development of the Greek bouzouki players and the texture of the genre. We are gonna perform rebetiko tunes from each period. Looking forward to see you there and enjoy the night with this unique atmosphere!!!

Ilias Konstantinidis: guitar, vocals
Giannis Leloudas: bouzouki, vocals
Argyris Papadimitriou: bouzouki, baglamadaki, vocals

Statement Community of Squatted Prosfygika

On the morning of 22/11, the forces of repression entered the 7th block of the squatted neighbourhood of the Prosfygika arresting comrade Kostas Dimalexis and then, in the afternoon of the same day, in the 6th block, arresting 79 of its defenders. The media once again did government propaganda.

There are more than 400 people living in the Prosfygika – The community of the squatted Prosfygika consists of about 150 adults and 30 children. We propose to organize society outside the state capitalism. We are the birthplace of the popular uprisings of December 2008 and the anti-monetary struggles of 2010-2012. We do not and have never believed in parliamentary fairy tales.
We promote the model of social self-management; we organize ourselves in direct democratic processes in our general assembly and in the regular and extraordinary procedures. We create and operate structures for living, education and and internal economy. At the same time we organize and participate in the struggles of the oppressed, because we fight until the collapse of this tyrannical and unjust regime. Until the whole world becomes one a community of equality, freedom, solidarity and social justice.

A few words about the recent history of Prosfygika
From terrorism and abandonment…
In the late 1990s, the decision was made to demolish the historic neighborhood in order to make it a mall and an underground garage. So, the (KED) Public Real Estate Corporation came forward and offered a sum of money that did not correspond to the actual value of the property in order to get the residents out, who if they refused would lose their houses, as the state would proceed to expropriation. Until 2003 the
the state managed under suffocating pressure to evict most of the residents by exercising all the legal powers of the state.Terror against the legal owners. 51 residents refused to submit to terrorism and appealed to the Council of State and after two court decisions, Prosfygika was classified as preserved and newer historical monuments.

……on land occupation and building a community
Today most of the neighborhood is squatted and residential. Through our 11 years of action as a Assembly of Squatted Prosfygika, we have been able to fill the neighborhood with life, transforming it into the largest community (spatially and numerically) in Greece.
In terms of collective structures and infrastructure for common use, the community is functioning: Women’s Café, a structure for the empowerment and collectivization of the women of the community, a social centre as a space for meetings and events, meetings with the PSI initiative for a multifaceted movement for mental health, hospitality structures, community collective bakery structure, which produces bread for in-house and outside the neighborhood, a children’s shelter and self-education structure for neighborhood children, a food logistic structure, distribution of food from the neighbouring markets and solidarity movements. A large part of the neighbourhood has access to collective internet and the collective café has restarted its operation.

Prosfygika bounces from one agency to another
Preparation timeline for the big feast

1994: The Public Enterprise for Urban Planning and Housing proposed the renovation of 2 apartment buildings and then to continue with the rest, a plan that was not done.

1999: the decision to demolish Prosfygika was issued in order to make a mall and an underground garage.

2014: 137 houses were transferred to the Private Development Fund State Property (TAIPED).

2016: the 177 apartments are transferred to the Attica Region.

2018: the Council of State allows the re-transfer of the 137 apartments to TAIPED In the same year
ANAPLASI S.A. is established. with Bellavilla as president and the Syriza government announced a European-style redevelopment of Prosfygika with a charity wrap and museum exhibit.

2019: the studies carried out with a private donation (Hellenic Petroleum-ELPE) and put into public consultation.

The current municipal mayor K. Bakoyannis, putting forward the need to house the accompanying patients of Agios Savvas, the need for a museum or the need to house vulnerable social groups as a Trojan horse, is shamelessly playing with our intelligence.

“Christian social association” has an entire apartment building next to Prosfygika just for
hosting the companions of the patients of Agios Savvas and is the owner of dozens of apartments in the wider area, which it rents.

As for the need for a refugee museum, let’s just remember that Prosfygika is a living organism and an integral part of the movement, it is the shelter of refugees who survived the modern imperialist wars and fascist regimes. As a refugee housing community with participation in contemporary social struggles, it can be characterized as a “living museum” without the approval of official bodies. And the Asia Minor clubs, being descendants of refugees, should ask themselves same, how many refugees are currently living in the apartments and if the need for housing outweighs the need for the museum.

As for the vulnerable social groups for whom the state does not care about, let us inform them that only such people live in refugee camps today. We are not convinced by the charity policies of the current or the previous government. In a rough deconstruction of the social profile of the regeneration, it suffices to look at the overall management of the refugee issue, abandonment and the disuse of student dormitories and the planned complete privatization of health and education.

It is the state that creates the problem of housing for vulnerable social groups and will not solve any
problem with the “reuse” of Prosfygika. Let’s make no mistake, the redevelopment of Prosfygika is yet another feast with public money on the table of municipal officials, contractors, businessmen and other
involved bodies.

We have a goal and a duty to resist and remain a community of struggle
WE, the Neighborhood, the Community of Squatted Prosfygika of Alexandra Avenue( the largest
squat in Greece), will reintroduce ourselves by repeating what we say in every public statement:
that we are a community of struggle that counts over eleven years of collectivization,
that we will not surrender a single inch of the liberated land,
and that we will continue to defend the our diversity, direct democracy, camaraderie, taking responsibility above all for our lives, historical memory that we are now part of, the values and ethics that no “visionary of the neoliberalism” can imagine in their wildest dreams…

SyKaPro (Assembly of Squatted Prosfygika on Alexandra Avenue)

Volkseten Vegazulu is a people’s kitchens existing since the very beginning of Joe’s Garage, June 2005. Your donations are welcome. Food is vegan, no reservation. All benefits go to social & political struggles. Joe’s Garage is a space run by volunteers. Without a collective effort, without your active participation, we’re remaining closed. Get in touch in you feel like giving a hand. We’re always looking for cooks. Any help is welcome in the kitchen. Experience not required. If you want to know which days are still available, mail us.