Holding Organization: Solidarity for all Status: non-profit organisation People involved in the project: 8 employees, many volunteers Public partners: NO Private Partners: economic funding from 20% of salaries of Deputies of SYRIZA (the coalition of left parties in the Greek Parliament) Sources and links: http://www.solidarity4all.gr
In times of economic, social and political crisis, in times of attack on the rights of people and their actions, their livelihood and life itself, solidarity is a requirement for the survival of those affected by neoliberal barbarism. Therefore, a structure like “Solidarity for all” is one that could facilitate, offer expertise and make accessible to everybody the existing structures of solidarity.
The local context:
Those in Greece convinced that the policies of memoranda can and should be overturned, people who are determined not to leave others suffer alone in the crisis, have created an entire galaxy of networks and structures of practical solidarity: Social Clinics and Pharmacies, Social Groceries, Free Food Distribution, Production Networks - Consumer "without intermediaries", Supporting Courses and Schools solidarity, Parts - Forgivable Bazaars, Time Banks and Alternative (social) currencies, Hangouts and Venues, Alternative entertainment, Legal Support Structures and Social Solidarity Economy. All these structures are developing in cities across Greece and their members/users need to meet, cooperate and exchange ideas, expertise and support each other to work in the same direction.
The starting point:
A group of five people, who were members of various initiatives, suggested that SYRIZA (the left coalition participating with 72 out of 300 members in the Greek Parliament) include on their agenda a collectivity that could facilitate communication of all networks and structures of social solidarity as well as enable the sharing of experiences and to get to “know one another”. The first 3 months it was set up as an open collegiate prior to becoming a non-profit organisation, to enable them to function better. On December of 2012, they ran the first campaign “a bottle of olive oil for every unemployed”; since then, they have developed their actions at different levels.
How does it work?
The organisation works with the holding of membership meetings in which various activities are decided and organised. There are 8 people working, and a group of approximately 15 more people involved in the decision process. The fields of action include nutrition, health, education, social economy, legal support, culture, homeless affairs and international issues. Two persons are responsible for each sector. They make visible the range of movements of practical and participatory solidarity by recording all the structures in terms of geographical positioning and areas of activity.
They operate a website, which makes it easily accessible to anyone and everyone who needs or wants to help the structures of social solidarity across the country.
They are trying to strengthen all existing projects in every possible way (with materials and people, financial support, overlapping needs, etc.) and to promote the creation of new areas or topics that have not yet been covered.
They are promoting international solidarity campaigns among the Greek population, in both the political and economic field, with demonstrations, international days-of-actions, raising awareness and accepting support in practical ways (e.g. financial support, medical and food supplies - provided by people who live abroad, both Greek and foreign).
Added value of the project and making resources available:
Social benefits: It supports the unemployed and empowers them to recognise that unemployment and poverty are social issues rather than a personal defeat. Shaping policies: It popularises the notion that those affected by the crisis can take their lives into their own hands. That they cannot and do not want to replace the failing welfare State. Instead, they are claiming social rights for all, building unity for workers, the unemployed, locals, migrants, and through solidarity they are proving that “we can live better together”. Economical benefits: It provides resources, materials and tools to the structures in need by saving money for them. Ecological benefits: It provides resources, materials and tools to the structures that need them by exchanging them in the solidarity network.
The constant challenge is to support every sector depending on its needs. For this reason they have published a guide of “solidarity tools” with subjects on how to start a solidarity structure, legal advice and expertise on the subjects of each sector. The second challenge is to have an anti-fascist character in the different activities, given the political and social reality of Greece during the last years. A variety of solidarity structures recently have been victims of fascist attacks on their places and members. Furthermore, the neo-Nazi political party Χρυσή Αυγή (Golden Dawn) organises distribution of food and supplies as well as provision of medical services for Greek people only. The solidarity movement has to confront actions like the ones mentioned above and the inaction/indifference of the official State.
There is a plan to support the maintenance of permanent structures and to better coordinate between them. There are also plans for a campaign for the unemployed people in Greece, whose number is 1.500.000 people and is expected to increase further. This campaign aims to highlight how these people will be involved in the solidarity movement and staff the structures in an effective way.