A few days ago, the 27th Antinazizone -YRE summer camp came to a close. It took place between the 31st of July and the 9th of August in Rovies, North Evia, in central Greece. Despite this year’s difficult conditions, we had a very successful event that gave us confidence and energy for the coming winter!
Probably the most noticeable characteristic of this year’s event, was the biggest in many years presence of school and university students. They took charge of organizing most events and gave them their own character, with inexhaustible energy!
There are people who usually say that the youth in Greece is “indifferent” and “irresponsible”. It would be interesting to see their reaction, if they could watch the discussions, the concerns, the determination and the seriousness of the young people who were there. Once again, we saw that there is an important layer of the youth that is not prepared to accept the miserable life that the system is trying to implement on them. They are willing to resist, organize, and fight for a society free of oppression and inequality.
Despite the pandemic that forced us to cancel some of the events, despite the unstable weather conditions and the rain during the week, to program was full!
There were 13 discussions with good attendance, on topics like the recent BLM movement in the US, the trial of the rapists and murderers of Eleni Topaloudi, the destruction of the environment and its connection with pandemics like covid-19, the upcoming economic crisis and the effects it will have on the lives of workers, youth and poor people. We also discussed about how the system uses football for promoting its profits and how football should be, about the workers struggles of the 1930s, the attack on public education and the resistance that is developing amongst students, LGBT rights and the new attacks on democratic rights in Greece and internationally. We discussed about the trial of the neonazi «Golden Dawn», the movements against waste incinerators, how the bosses used the pandemic to further attack workers’ rights, and how we organize the «Art Against Fascism» festivals.
There was a line that connected these discussions: in all aspects of our life, capitalism doesn’t let us breath, both metaphorically and literally, and the struggle to overthrow this system is the only hope we have to a decent life.
There were not only discussions, but we also had concerts, a DIY traditional greek music night (prepared by the musicians who were at the camp on the spot), the theater play «Lemon» by the «Experimento» group, movies and documentaries, workshops (first aid response, how computers work, etc), creative playtime for children and many others. The most loved aspect of the camp, was the beach bar, were we enjoyed good music and cocktails, sunsets and moonlight.
There was also a hiking day, during which we visited the Drymonas waterfalls, and although we run out of breath while climbing the Mountain Xiron, when we reached the top we chanted (slightly altered) the popular antifascist slogan: «Neither in Drymonas, nor anywhere! Smash the Nazis in towns and mountains!».
This year our camp was a bit different than the previous ones. Understanding the crucial situation concerning the corona virus pandemic, we had prepared a series of safety measures that affected our everyday life there. We tried to keep social distancing at the bar and the self-managed kitchen, were all volunteers were wearing face masks, there were antiseptic lotions all around the camping, etc.
It was not a typical obligation, but a part of our basic collective responsibility towards the working majority that will suffer from the health crisis if the pandemic gets out of control, and also towards the vulnerable groups of the population. But being conscious and taking our part of responsibility, doesn’t mean we don’t understand that the biggest part of this responsibility (for handling the health crisis) belongs to the government. In order to protect the benefits of the big businesses, the greek government refuses to take necessary measures in order to protect peoples’ lives.
A total of 236 people took part in our summer camp this year, which is a smaller number than previous years. This is mostly due to two reasons: first of all, this year we had no international participants due to the pandemic, while every year there is an important number of comrades from other countries that visit our summer camp. For the same reason, some of our friends from Greece who usually attend the camp, hesitated to take part in a collective event this year, which is of course understandable.
Despite this, we believe that an event with these numbers, held with responsibility, while it was also enjoyable and lively, is an important success on its own!
Unfortunately, the last day of our camp, we learned about the massive damages and deaths of 8 people, caused by a storm just a few kilometers south from the camp site. These days our thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones, or their homes, while it could all have been saved if the right policies were implemented.
An incident that happened during the week is worth mentioning and gives a good picture of what is actually happening all these years during the summer camps of Antinazizone-YRE. Markos and Nikos-Ikaros, children of 10 years old, are discussing on their bicycles:
-Markos: Do you come often at the YRE camp?
-Nikos-Ikaros: No, but I attend antiracist festivals.
-Markos: That’s great! I was looking for someone to be able to talk to about these things!
In the 27th Antinazizone -YRE camp that just finished, we found people we can «talk to about these things», with whom we can live and work together, without discrimination, we can have collective struggles and collective results, we can fight together for a better world.