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(en) Czech, afed: Meeting in Athens [machine translation]

Date Mon, 30 Jul 2018 09:23:01 +0300

Report from the International Meeting of the International Anarchist Federations and the Anarchist Festival in Athens. ---- Since the last meeting of international delegates of the International Anarchist Federation (IAF-IFA) in London has been going on for six months, the time has come for another. This time, it was held in sunny Athens a week before the Anarchism Festival organized by the Greek APO. ---- Since our group has now managed to travel without complications and detention at the airport, we could have enjoyed the Greek metropolis. ---- Immediately after arriving at the place of accommodation, we were welcomed by a huge, terrible looking dog, as assured by local comrades, he was kind and friendly and certainly did not want to bite us, he likes not only the cops and the nuns. After seeing the house led by the youngest squatter, who showed us all the thoughtful security measures, we all fell asleep immediately. There were about twenty degrees in Prague at that time, and in Athens in the shadow. This man is quite exhausted.

Our little guide for us in the meantime has prepared a chess tournament in which he crushed us all. At that, he explained to us in broken English, that if the police or the Nazis came, we should immediately take the first thing we find and mumble our heads. We have something to learn from Greek friends.

Gradually came comrades from other countries and the meeting could begin. The program was quite loaded.

First we talked about the situation in our home countries - of course, our Federation has prepared a report. After such a start, we could begin to tackle important points such as a cash desk or an International website that does not work at this time. After that, we were planning a further meeting, as well as the Congress of International Anarchist Federations, which was taken by the FAO Group from Slovenia, and welcomed by all who are organized in anarchist groups or just interested in anarchist themes want to get to know similarly-minded people around the world and head for a nice trip.

A major topic was the G20 meeting to be held this December in Buenos Aires. The International Groups have agreed to try to support friends in Argentina in organizing counter-actions, if not by their presence, then certainly by benefiting actions to support potential detainees and disseminate information at their place of work.

The meeting was very pleasant and productive, and we were all pleased to meet again after a long time. Part of the delegates stayed at the festival, so we had several days to get to know the city and local friends together.

More than just the monuments we were attracted to the Exarchia district, which is known for its numerous representation of anti-authoritarian people. This besides the unhindered hatred by the police forces means that the local anarchists have created space for organizing and creating a number of different projects. Our group was very interested in the squat Nosotros with a rather luxurious roof-top bar and cooperative pizzeria recently opened on the ground floor. Interesting was also an autonomous clinic (a real medical clinic, which includes a dental surgery) with an affiliated café and bookstore located directly on the square. It was nice to watch local comrades who are very lighted for what they do, and do not really care for anything.

And how does it keep working in the neighborhood without police? Just like anywhere else. Most people know that friends or random people on the street should not be hurt. At Night Exarchia we felt safer than the Night Wenceslas. And when someone does not respect the freedom and lives of others, it is properly explained, whether good or bad. Even in Exarchia, not everything is perfect, and for example, the police are making sure that drug mafia and similar affairs from all over the city are pressed into this free neighborhood, but local people are bravely facing the problems and trying to solve them.

Another amazing place is the Polytechnic University. We have not been able to find out exactly how it works, but it is clear that the students are under the control of the university. The huge marble complex thus became the venue for political events and students organized concerts.

In Athens, there are so many things that we have not even absorbed all of them. The day of the festival began and we drove across the city to Zagrafa University Campus, where the event took place. In the lecture halls, the Central Europeans were fond of us so much that we spent most of the festival outdoors in the fresh air. The lectures that we most enjoyed, however, have come to pass. We have listened to the Turkish comrades' story about local anarchist groups and projects, of which we are very interested, for example, in an Anarchist high school group consisting of people aged 14-18 who fight the absurdity of the school system and set up their own free spaces in which they are everyone is equal and can learn from each other. Also an interesting anarchist cafe was trying to work outside the capitalist system,

We also saw a film about Zapatista women, their movements and an international meeting organized by Zapatista women in Chiapas, which was attended by five thousand women from all over the world. Problems with sexism are much greater in Latin America than in Europe, but local women fight with them bravely and proudly and celebrate great achievements. A document created by APO comrades was also accompanied by a translation into English and a commentary, which made the screening an authentic and emotional testimony.

We enjoyed Athens very much, and there was a proposal for "unintentional" missed aircraft and a new life on some of the local squats. The duties in Prague and the painful leg of one comrade forced us to exarchize Exarchia and go to the airport.

And what did we get from the trip? Certainly a lot of memories, contacts, and lessons to life. For example, we have learned that the mysterious Gold Mount cigarettes, which are sometimes sold by people in street stalls, certainly do not have to be tested. They taste worse than the Czech Petras and according to one article on the internet they probably contain asbestos.

Finally, we would like to thank the local comrades who cared for us all the time and have patience with us.

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