ANTARSYA: statement on the wildfires in Attica, Greece

Wildfires have caused dozens of deaths in Greece in the worst fires for over a decade. Here, we translate a statement from ANTARSYA (The Front of the Greek Anticapitalist Left) calling for resources to be directed towards defence against fires and flooding, and away from debt repayments and military spending.

The “Asymmetric Threat”[1] for the people and the environment is capitalist development – as shown by disastrous fires

Compensation of victims and protection of the affected areas from the interests of arsonists

The only “asymmetric threat” responsible for the devastating fires in East Attica, Corinthia and Fthiotida, Chania, Evros is the destructive development in favour of speculation of capitalization. Profits come before people and the natural environment.

Society was hit by the consequences of catastrophic fires with minimal help by the state apparatus; the fire brigade is disintegrated and under-resourced while its staff are making heroic efforts, the forest service is dissolved and there has been a lack of preventive measures. Just a few months ago, another area in Attica was hit by devastating floods which left dozens of people dead.

The country is second in military spending amongst NATO members, but it does not have the basic infrastructure to deal with the fires and flooding caused by the construction contractors’ impunity. The SYRIZA-ANEL government and the Attica regional authorities are hiding behind tedious words about the severity of the weather. They followed the same tactics followed for decades by the previous governments of Nea Dimokratia and PASOK, which left untouched the arsonists’ interests to speculate on destruction. They set no penalty for the speculation of the earth, the blockage of the natural water flows, the destruction of the coastline – all that led to dozens of people not having an easy route of escape, with the known tragic consequences.

ANTARSYA expresses condolences to the victims’ relatives and its solidarity with those who have experienced tragic moments, having been affected by the devastating fires. It calls for the mobilisation of the popular movement to support the region in an effort to overcome the disaster on the grounds of solidarity.

Immediate measures are needed:

  • To compensate all the victims of the disaster, immediately and altogether, in order to empower them to protect themselves against the various interests which are targeting the area and their property.
  • To prevent land use in burned areas, protecting the area from business and construction contractors’ interests.
  • To reorganise fire protection. Mass recruitment for the fire brigade. Renewal of equipment, especially vehicles. Reorganisation of the Forest Service.
  • Take immediate flood protection measures to prevent new victims from flooding in winter.
  • Expenditures on fire protection and social needs, not for bloody public surpluses and the army – cancellation of the public debt!

It takes decisiveness and struggle to counter the policy that removes resources from social needs, such as fire protection, in order to repay the public debt, fulfil the memoranda obligations, finance the bloody public surpluses, and fund army expenditures and NATO.

[1] “Asymmetric threat’’ is an expression used only under serious military circumstances and indicates that state defence mechanisms are to be on high alert. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras used the phrase on 24th July in relation to the fires.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Extraordinary that this piece fails to mention climate change as a contributing factor, or include rapid emissions reductions as a necessary political conclusion.

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