Welcome to “Mirmigi”!

Mirmigi started to operate in 2012 by people active in various social and political movements. Most of them were engaged in other regional initiatives such as the conquest of the market of Kypseli and most of them were residents of the 6th district of the city of Athens.

Every day, we experience the abandonment and poverty in our neighborhood, Kypseli. More and more of us are experiencing difficulty to get by, to live with dignity and secure our daily necessities. More and more families, neighbors, friends, relatives are being driven to hopelessness, deprivation, poverty and alienation. We are neighbors and we believe that all of us together, united and in solidarity, we can effectively overcome the huge problems of the economic crisis that has been imposed on us. For this reason we formed the Solidarity Network of the 6th District, “to Mirmigi” (the Ant). Our network operates on two principles:

Solidarity derives from all towards to all people with no discriminations or exclusions. It is our weapon against their crisis. Together we claim our right to dignity.

Decisions are made directly by the same people who are actively involved in this endeavor, in the basis of self-management.The coordinating body of Mirmigi arranges its meetings on a weekly basis and it is based on the principle of equality. The meetings are open to everyone. This body decides on the special meeting which takes place every last Sunday of the month. The Mirmingi is self-organized and self-managed. Everyone who wishes to be a part of the venture is welcome.

Our space is located at the cross of Eptanisou and Tenedou St, in the area of Kipseli. We regularly organize movie screenings, parties and gatherings, discussions and other cultural events. We collect food through the donations made from the people of the neighborhood or the Mirmingi friends from all over the world. The food we gather is given out to people who are in need. We also gather clothes, shoes, blankets, bed sheets etc. for our free, permanent bazaar, toys and children’s books, as well as medicines for the supply of social pharmacies and healthcare centers. What is more, we provide legal support for families heavily in debt, consulting by social workers and psychologists, lessons for children in primary school. Since April 2013, we have been organizing on a monthly basis a Market without Intermediaries event which has open food market in our neighborhood, offering low-price and high-quality products sold directly by producers and collectivities from all over Greece. With the food we collect we already support more than 500 families.

Mirmigi has three food and clothing distribution shifts: Monday 18.00-20.00, Wednesday 10.00-12.00 and Thursday 18.00-20.00. Every Tuesday the meeting of the coordinating body takes place. In addition, every Wednesday and Saturday we hand out flyers outside the supermarkets of the neighborhood and ask for the neighbors’ contribution by buying something for our weekly food distribution.

In July 2013 we had one of the most moving moments for Mirmigi when a targeted fascist arson attack took place in our space and the neighborhood reacted and mobilized directly by extinguishing the fire and participating in a mass antifascist march of Mirmigi. Additionally, another precious moment which highlights the importance and the recognition of Mirmigi was when the municipality authorities asked the police to stop the operation of the Market without Intermediaries. Mirmigi managed in the next few hours to gather thousands of signatures from people opposed to this unfair act.

The “Mirmingi” is not a framework of the government, neither is it subsidized by the government. Rather, it is supported solely by the efforts and the solidarity of all those supporting the network. The bags containing food or the clothes come a long way before they get to the hands of the people supported. For our efforts to have continuity and stability we need the involvement of everybody in the neighborhood who can help in any way. Let’s meet.

Mirmigi, Solidarity Network of the 6th Community of Athens: Eptanisou and Tenedou St, Kipseli, Athens


Costas Legakis: The Solution is (after all) in our hands

What are the duties of a bottom up movement in  the (new) Memorandum years?

Costas Legakis

So, habemus Memorandum 3! Are we talking about capitulation? Submission? Sell off? Treason? Or necessity?

If you read, coo-headed, the course of events since the beginning of the crisis, in 2010, until today, you realise that this has been a rather predetermined and unavoidable development.
And for that development, all fractions of the Movement are responsible; the Left of all hues, the Anarchists of all hues, the independent, commonalty, everyone.

It is obvious that the Left Government and the Left in general have no equal share of responsibility. However, everyone must realise its mistakes, omissions, obsessions and move towards a new prospect, in light of the new circumstances.

Since the official beginning of the crisis, in 2010, the Left dealt with the problem “technically”. Through an endless chain of analysis, Varoufakis, Lapavitsas, Kazakis and other “national economists” – but also politicians (Tsakalotos, Stathakis, Dragasakis, etc) – have become the new superstars.

On one hand, the “European” SYRIZA has, light hearted, promised that it would abolish MoUs with just one law, while staying in the EU and the Eurozone. They claimed that they would negotiate using the “tricks” to startle, scare and finally beat their opponents.  As a result, we have lived 5 months of “game theory”, “creative vagueness”, a referendum that the winning No was turned into a YES, etc.

On the other hand, the extra-parliamentary Left focused – almost exclusively – on the exit from the EU and the Eurozone, as if capitalism exploits people only in these boundaries, as if people in countries with a national currency, never suffer.

The Communist Party, played once again the role of Pontius Pilate, secluded in its socialist paradise dialectic, made itself completely “harmless” and offered its best services to the bourgeoisie.

The same path was followed by the majority of the Anarchists, who while chose a different methodology (escalation of street fights, create mayhem etc,) suggest nothing tangible to the people who suffered.

All hues, Left and Anarchist, contributed nothing new and followed the usual beaten tracks. SYRIZA, while confronted with election victory since 2012, spent these 2,5 years on election campaign instead of allocating  more time and resources to prepare and handle victory and its consequences.

SYRIZA prepared for the 25th of January but not for the 26th. Didn’t they know what they had to face? Is it possible that what we all knew and openly discussed about it, while SYRIZA had no idea? On the other hand, the Grexit devotees, what have they done to prepare for a bottom up organised confrontation? You don’t start a revolution with just revolutionary rhetoric.

The clashes, the battles, the social change need organisation and preparation not verbalism and marches from Propylaia to Syntagma. Not property destructions in every march or weekend clashes around Exarhia Sq.
The brightest moment of the Memorandum years, the so called “Movement of the Squares” was either discredited or criticized from the Left and the Anarchists or used for political expediency by others. SYRIZA managed to appreciate it.

Few were the political forces that believed in the proceedings set from the basis as practised in the squares. Those who were the most involved in these proceeding, were primarily the independent or members of political parties/organisations that acted independently, even against their collectivities.

Instead of claiming that the only choice is to sign a MoU, Alexis Tsipras should instead explain why he and his party didn’t do anything to avoid reaching this point.

1,300 € per each SYRIZA MP’s salary are supposed to fund solidarity structures. Which means that since June 2012 a sum of 3,776,500 € (according to my calculations) would be now available.  Are you aware, my SYRIZA comrades, how much investment in self-organised business could have been done with all that money? Where have they been spend? In food, clothes and medicines? And if so, then why we struggle to collect all these staff by volunteers in their neighbourhoods?

Wouldn’t we be in a different situation if we had a cooperative and solidarity based economy, which could be robust and sustainable? What if we had developed agricultural cooperatives of a new type, so we can be self-sufficient somehow? A “grassroot bank” could have also produced a sort of currency, provided this was well planned.

What kind of confrontation did you have in the back of your head when negotiating? A confrontation you couldn’t do because you were not prepared in advance? And why is the left wing SYRIZA complaining now? What did they do to prepare the clash? Just writing articles in iskra and rproject?

“There are alternatives” says Lafazanis. Which ones? What happened with our contacts with Russia, China, the BRICS? Did they fail or not? And if the failed which are now the alternatives? The same questions apply for the extra-parliamentary Left and the Anarchists.
What are the duties of a bottom up movement in the Memorandum years though, because well said dear author, but what now?

First of all, we fight the measures. Yes, through the beaten track, that is strikes, marches, riots, etc. but through a new perspective. We should think of new ways. No more Syntagma Sq trap. If our mobilisation is unpredictable, it would be more effective and difficult to suppress. Neighbourhood gatherings, people’s assembly, people from the country coming into towns and so much more that the author cannot think of.An “attack” of such a magnitude will be difficult to deal with.
Secondly, the “clash” or the “revolution” or whatever you want to name it, would still mean nothing, if we don’t provide for the next day. Ensure that there is bread, milk and petrol.Be prepared for the battle; strengthen self-organised cooperatives; Bottom-up co-ordination and management of the agricultural production in order to become self-sufficient; self -organised “banks” and “insurance bodies”.
Thirdly, we should create counter-structures in all operating levels, through open democracy, without hierarchy and bureaucracy
. In the future we want to stop paying taxes to the state; instead, the communities will collect this amount of money and dispose it in support of social needs. However utopian it may sound, even schools and hospitals could work this way.
Of course, I don’t believe I have the magic recipe. I am just brainstorming. My point is that no Left government can do the great productive reconstruction and restart the economy; we need to do it ourselves by self-organising the land and the factories.

If no Left government can redistribute wealth, we should to do it by confiscating businesses, when they don’t pay our salaries, and operate them ourselves.
If the Left cannot save us, let us save ourselves! If you can’t do it, we can. The solution is after all in our hands.
Costas Legakis is a member of a cooperative
 Translated by Caterina Drossopoulou

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