The 29th Antinazi Zone – YRE summer camp in Kefalonia, Greece was an important success!

Antinazizone organizing committee

The 29th antiracist/antifascist summer camp of Antinazi Zone – YRE, held this year at Argostoli Camping in Kefalonia, was successfully completed on Sunday, August 7. It was 10 full days, which included political discussions on a number of issues, combined with a relaxing atmosphere. Added to that, concerts, feasts, film screenings, activities for children and parties were organised.

A total of 14 discussions were held at the camp. Some of the topics were:

-The refugee crisis and the rise of the far right (with a guest speaker from the “Stop Racism Movement”),

-How the arts can be linked to the struggle against fascism,

-Attacks on labour rights and workers’ struggles,

-The attempt of the ND government to impose the infamous University Police and the fight for democratic rights,

-Environmental destruction, hydrocarbon extraction and threats of war in East Mediterranean (with speakers from Turkey, Cyprus and Greece),

-The heritage of the Stonewall riot and what kind of LGBTQ Pride do we want,

-My body my choice – the attacks worldwide on the right to abortion,

-The war in Ukraine and its international repercussions, (with a guest speaker from the political organisation “Red Thread”),

-The case of Julian Assange (with a guest speaker from DIEM25),

-Green capitalism and Greenwashing,

-The opioid crisis in the US and addiction treatment methods in Greece

-Special discussions on developments in Turkey, Taiwan and Brazil, with speakers from the respective countries.

Furthermore, live events were organised almost daily, with rock and Greek folk music, with bands from Kefalonia as well as Athens and Thessaloniki.

Finally, 4 excursions were organized, 3 in different beaches for swimming and a hiking tour at the top of Mount Ainos.

270 people participated in this year’s event, making it the largest in recent years of the pandemic. If we add the people from Kefalonia who participated but did not stay in the camp, the total number was over 300. It is worth noting that the camp had a significant international presence, as comrades and co-fighters from Romania, Cyprus, Taiwan, Turkey and Brazil took part.

This year’s camp was an opportunity to discuss and prepare for the battles to come, against the onslaught of poverty, inflation and unemployment, against the destruction of the environment, for democratic, women’s and workers’ rights, for a society without exploitation.

***

Below we publish a number of short interviews by some of the participants in this year’s event.

Christina Papathomidou, young art worker – Thessaloniki

Christina, it was your first time at the Antinazi Zone-YRE camp, what are your impressions?

-I had a great time, much better than I expected! I feel that I learned a lot, on different levels. There were discussions about issues I didn’t have a good insight into, such as the Julian Assange case. In this particular discussion I even got to speak, for the first time in public. I didn’t expect to feel comfortable enough to do so, but the friendly atmosphere that prevailed on all levels at the campsite made me overcome my anxiety. At the same time, because I’m into music, the live music nights were an opportunity for me to get in touch with other genres of music besides rock, such as Cretan music. Overall, I feel like I come home full of new experiences and knowledge.

Ciprian S., Mihnea T., students – Romania

Comrades, you travelled from Romania to come to the summer camp, was it what you expected?

-Ciprian: I didn’t know exactly what to expect. At first, I was surprised that there is a summer camp like this that manages to combine political discussions and entertainment and how many people showed interest and participated in the discussions.

-Mihnea: I didn’t know exactly what to expect either, but what I liked was that the program managed to combine vacation and discussions. We were able to swim in the sea, have fun in the evenings with the cultural events and also attend interesting and well-attended discussions.

Were there any discussions that stood out for you?

-Ciprian: The discussion on Turkey, the Erdogan regime and Greek-Turkish relations. It was a topic I didn’t know much about and the fact that Greek, Turkish and Cypriot comrades participated made it even more interesting.

-Mihnea: The discussion on hydrocarbon extractions in the Mediterranean and the discussion on Latin America. At the same time, however, the daily discussions, with people from Greece and other countries, where we shared our experiences and opinions, were of great interest.

Maria Tsironi, student – Lesvos

Maria, it was the first time you came to the summer camp, what did you like most?

-I liked everything! The discussions, the nights with live music, the night with games and karaoke which was a lot of fun and the rock concert were my favourites! But I also loved the excursions and especially the hiking in Aenos!

Was there a discussion that made the most impression on you?

-I attended a lot of discussions and learned a lot of things I didn’t know. But the one I liked most was the one about “what kind of LGBTQ Pride we want” and the Stonewall riot. The historical part was very interesting and I was moved by the discussion, how rights that should be taken for granted are refused to LGBTQ people.

I really liked the fact that LGBTQ people felt free to express themselves within the campsite and that we discussed how we need to fight for this freedom inside society through actions throughout the year.

At the summit of mountain Ainos, 1628 m.

Mateus Mendonsa, Resistência (Resistance) – Brazil

Mateus, you came to the summer camp without knowing anyone personally, what was the experience like?

-Although I came alone, the atmosphere was very friendly and pleasant and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people, which is not usual in this kind of events. I depart having made new friends and companions and I want to thank the organisers very much for inviting me and giving me the opportunity to participate, both in the discussions and in the camp as a whole, which was refreshing!

What will you remember most about the camping experience?

-I really liked the discussions on abortion rights and the war in Ukraine, the fact that a lot of people spoke and we heard many different opinions. The atmosphere encouraged people to speak out and express themselves publicly.

At the same time, I also really enjoyed the cultural events and concerts. The evenings with rebetika and Cretan music gave us the opportunity to get to know parts of the culture and traditions of Greece, beyond the political situation, and I return home with a more complete picture.

Finally, the natural beauty of the island made all of the above even more enjoyable!

JY, Carl, Nicholas – Taiwan

Comrades, you traveled for summer camp, not just from another country, but from another continent. Was this trip worth it?

-JY: It was definitely worth it. We found ourselves in a very different atmosphere, with political discussions different from the ones that would take place in Taiwan. We were given the opportunity to learn things we didn’t know. At the same time, we had a great time, had access to beautiful landscapes and enjoyed swimming in the sea.

Personally, I think the discussion about the situation in Turkey stood out, it was very rich and gave us a clear picture of what is happening in the country.

Unfortunately, the trip from Taiwan is quite expensive, but if given the opportunity, I would like to come back every year!

-Carl: I’d like to come back too and I’ll definitely give it a try. Even though it was a long trip, it gave us the opportunity to meet and talk to people from different countries.

I also think the discussion about Turkey and the one about the situation in Latin America stood out, while the concerts and the different kinds of music we listened to in the evenings made a big impression to me.

-Nicholas: For me the trip was shorter, as I came from Poland where I am temporarily residing, but it is still an important experience that I would like to relive if my commitments allow me to do so.

The truth is that some things reminded me of Taiwan, such as the warm atmosphere. But there were also many differences compared to my previous experiences, for example, the discussions were not of an “academic” nature as is the case in similar ones I have participated in. There were many different “levels” in the discussions and I was given the opportunity to learn new things.

The fact that we were close to nature and beaches was also something I really enjoyed.

Out of the discussions, I also singled out the one on Latin America, but I also liked the fact that we were given the opportunity to organise a discussion on Taiwan and discuss the situation there, which is not usually the case.

bookstore

Sasha Doulgeri, worker – Thessaloniki

Sasha, you participated for the first time in a YRE summer camp in 1995 in Antiparos. The last time you came was in 2003 at Samothraki. You returned to the camp this year, 20 years later. What was that experience like?

-The word that stuck with me all these days was “reunion”. It was really touching to meet again comrades and friends, some of whom I had not seen for many years. It was also touching to see people I had known as students or young workers still here, now coming with their own families.

I have been absent for so many years due to personal and family commitments, but seeing families with young children made me “jealous” that I didn’t come too while my children were young. I think it is a very important and beautiful experience for children of all ages.

Compared to 20 years ago I saw a lot of progress. There was a much greater variety of conversations and the self-organized canteen that runs from morning to night is an important quality step, it makes life easier for all of us who participate in the camp.

I may have lost 20 years of summer camps, but I promised that from now on, I will never lose another one.

Dimitra Kartali, worker – Kryoneri, Thessaloniki

Dimitra, it was your first time at the summer camp, with your 3-year-old daughter, Maya. How did you experience this year’s event with your little one?

-It was generally the first holiday that the 2 of us had alone and it was all very nice. Maya made friends and asked me to stay a few days longer, she didn’t want to leave.

But for me it was also very nice, even though I came having already known people here, I felt that in general the atmosphere was very friendly and I quickly felt comfortable.

I really enjoyed the discussions I attended, the live music events and overall the camp program was full and met mine and Maya’s needs.

Maria Zoumbopoulou, Achilleas Lyras, students – Athens

This was your 3rd year coming to the camp, what was the thing that you liked the most?

-Achilleas: At the first camp I came to, 3 years ago, I really liked the discussion about fascism and until today, the content of the discussions is what stands out for me.

At this year’s camp, what stood out for me apart from the discussions was the running of the self-organised bar, which I think was very well organised. This year I mainly helped with the sound engineering for the live music events, the discussions etc., offering my help like many others so that we could all enjoy the camp and all that it has to offer.

The night that stood out for me was the rock concert, with local bands, who played with great enthusiasm and willingness to share their art with us.

-Maria: Over the years I have been won over by the rich program, the discussions and the cultural part, which I think this year was very rich and covered all needs and tastes.

I singled out the Cretan evening with Amonte band and the friendly atmosphere that existed.

Every night, those of us who stayed up late became a group and had a great time. It’s very easy to make new friends, it comes out in a “natural” way, you feel like we are all a team volunteering with shifts etc and the sense of giving is one of the things that fills me up.

Of this year’s discussions, the one that stood out for me was the one on opioids, addictions and policies to deal with them, but in general I think that the topics covered many different subjects so that everyone could participate in discussions that were of interest to them.

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