Greece: Ten comrades from Anarchist Group Rouvikonas were arrested while leaving from the action shown in the video above and were given extremely harsh sentences at court. The day following the action, 8 comrades were sentenced to 37 months in prison (without parole) which can only be avoided if they pay 5 euro for every day they are expected to remain in prison. Moreover, two comrades received 29 month sentences and are facing 1000 euro fines each. What follows is the statement issued by Rouvikonas following the action against the Korynthos-Patras toll booths on 30.08.16. International Solidarity with the imprisoned comrades from Anarchist Group Rouvikonas and all imprisoned anarchist fighters held hostage by the Greek state!
We often read about the accidents on the National Road connecting Korynthos to Patras, a road characterized as ”guillotine” by its users. Also, we read on the scandals surrounding the construction of a modern highway which will safeguard the lives of commuters and travelers. This project began in 2008 by Olympia Odos, a group of companies analogous to Actor AE owned by the well-known contractor G. Bobolas, YEK Terna AE, Avax AE and HOCHTIEF PPP SOLUTIONS GMBH. This project, which never seems to come to an end, has been funded by the state with millions of euro raised in taxes, which were imposed upon the most vulnerable people in society. The project’s funding still continues at present despite the years of economic crisis. According to official sources the project will be completed in March 2017.
In spite of the bundles of money received through state funding, a new agreement was co-signed by the Minister of Infrastructures Christos Spirtizis and Olympia’s executive director. This new deal provides for additional state funding as well as the setting up of new toll booths. And while the project remains unfinished, tolls are already in operation bringing extra revenue and increasing the profits of the construction companies. As if it weren’t enough that people will be expected to pay road fees for many years to come for a project already paid by them through taxes, the company now demands from travelers to pay tolls before the highway is even built. Once again this illustrates the mindset of capital which is centered on profit maximization and the idiosyncrasy of the state which serves exclusively the interests of the powerful classes. They demand from people to pay for a road that kills. To us this does not come as a surprise, since we are well aware of how capitalism and authority operate.
We have been enraged by their insistence to profiteer through tolls in spite of simultaneous state funding. No, as anarchists we will not tolerate the loss of human lives for profit. We consider how many ordinary unprivileged people ended up in a coffin or in a hospital bed instead of their chosen destination, be it work or home to get some rest. We have in mind the professional drivers involved in accidents, people forced to work long hours in order to be able to support their children. And it’s necessary to make a short reference to supply/logistics companies forcing drivers to work exhausting hours without even paying the required salaries as defined by labour law.
The very existence of tolls constitutes a violation of the freedom of movement since if you can’t afford to pay the corresponding fee, you are simply not allowed to move freely on a road you have already paid for in taxes. Money for tolls could have been used to cover other living costs of commuters, especially now, at a time of economic crisis where we can all agree how precious even a single euro is. What we want is free movement for all, without any price. Freedom of movement is a fundamental right but no state authority will ever work in favor of the rights of the exploited, no matter who is in power. Just us, the proletarians, have the power to enforce our will through manifold practices. Power says big words and makes empty promises via every government, while it essentially intends to serve the interests of the bosses. At the same time we must also keep in mind our own responsibility towards ourselves, so let’s express our opposition though action. Inaction, fatalism and submission illustrate our complicity in the perpetuation of the bad conditions we experience.
Overcoming fear and reacting through self-organized and polymorphous direct action lacking hierarchies and ‘saviors’, provide us with the possibility to defeat the terror, misery and squalor imposed on us by those in power. As a duty of conscience, we must treat every issue created by the state and the capital in a similar manner. The same applies to the case of the national road. Becoming voluntarily enslaved won’t protect people from the social cannibalism of hegemony. So, we, wanting to send a message of resistance to the exploited, chose to attack the toll booths on the road connecting Korynthos-Patras.
Anarchist Group Rouvikonas
NOT A STEP BACK!