Passengers and workers unite for free transport
In class war, or social war in its entirety, there is a very serious issue: you come across the ones who attempt to repress you, preserve your exploitation and deprive you of your rights and those rarely are the moral instigators or the perpetrators of your exploitation and oppression. Whom you come across is usually a person who is also a member of your own social class. It is not the upper class that assaults you during protest, it is not the leaders of a fascist party who prevent the refugee children from registering at a local school, it is not the ministers who might catch you riding the subway without having purchased a ticket. These are underpaid and fearful employees, people which in the best case scenario lie to themselves that they “simply follow orders” or that “this is the right thing to do” while in the worst case scenario they are loyal watchdogs to those who serve and tend to exhibit the arrogance or hatred of Janissaries.
There is a plethora of incidents that illustrate how the actions of ticket inspectors have reached and gone beyond those of the official powers of repression. Let’s only remember the case of the 19 year-old Thanasis Kanaoutis who was killed for not having a ticket, or a more recent incident in Thessaloniki where the brutal abuse of a young girl by ticket inspectors took place.
We know the counter-points: “how will transportation survive if nobody pays for tickets?” An argument which has been used as a response against every social struggle by every aspect of the state regardless of ideology and flag.
Not only for anarchists, but for everybody with a fundamental social conscience, in a society where the total production of wealth is multiple to existing needs, a series of goods and services ought to be freely accessible by everyone: food, healthcare, education, communication, security for pensioners and people with disabilities as well as transportation. Our stance is that it is unacceptable when basic transportation operates based on the criteria of privatization and profit. It is incomprehensible that a young lad whose parents can’t afford to give him pocket money, or an old lady with a non-existent pension, or even a working person who can’t afford to pay for electricity, are forced to use transportation like fugitives always looking for a way out in case the inspector appears. Since the produced wealth exceeds the needs of society but shared wealth does not suffice to cover those needs (and this is one of the main reasons for one to become an anarchist) our response is that basic transportation must be free for everyone. How you’ll get your hands on the wealth of capitalists and the state is your own issue. Our call to the poor, those who get by from their own labour and not someone else’s is analogous. If those in power do not want to do everything possible to provide free transportation, we are willing to help.
We symbolically occupied the offices of the Organization of Inspectors of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication at Syntagma square to pass across the aforementioned messages as well as another: every time you come across a “wounded animal” that could not afford to get a ticket for 1.40€ it is your choice to perceive them as a delinquent, a thief, a person that must be given a fine.
Since you are also at the bottom of the social ladder, you are well aware that things are not like that. You are well aware of the work required to make 1.40€ , how many are those who can’t afford to pay for a ticket and how much a fine that is six times more than a ticket will affect them. Yes, those are the orders but you are not robots.
We call on you to refuse this role, to refuse to fulfill the requirements of this job and allow “delinquents”, which are the poor, to get away with it. That simple.
We also call on other workers and transportation unions to take a stance on this mater. We call on them to side with the interests of the passengers and actively fight for a free transportation for all.
We call on passengers, everyone, to show their solidarity by giving their ticket to another person after reaching their destination, interfere every time ticket inspectors bully a passenger and inform others when inspectors are present inside means of transportation and stations.
A minority dominates the majority because those who belong to that majority make an active choice (and are not just forced) to support the agenda of that minority.
It is a free choice whether people join the workers or strive for the interests of the state and the capital. Anyone who chooses to align themselves with the state or the capital is only exercising his/her right. If they choose to make a living by issuing fines against people of their own social class and take a percentage of the collected money, that is their right.
But they should not complain for the devaluation and serious consequences this anti-social choice bears.
Anarchist Collective Rouvikonas
P.S. We have recently heard another argument from the governing left wing. If we do not manage to preserve public transportation there is the danger of privatization. The audacity of the state, the ponce of the public sector, making threats to act like a buyer of stolen goods who’s trying to make a sale. But audacity is something we have become used to. The privatization of means of transportation is a demand made by the E.U. and the I.M.F. and will grow more imperative as a demand of memoranda and part of the neoliberal agenda, which in spite of the ”pain” of the governing left, is followed loyally.
The privatization of transportation will be a cause of war. Let them drop their communicational manipulations for the ”missing profits” from freeloaders and have them tell Kyriakos Mitsotakis (right wing leader) to ask his dad to inform him on what happened many years ago when they again attempted to privatize pubic transport. End of story.