Greek conscripts: 'we won't take part in fighting migrants'

Migrants - Lesbos, Greece - October 2015

A collective statement on the migrant crisis from “Diktyo Spartakos” (‘Spartacus Net’), a far leftist formation inside the Greek army, and signed by conscript soldiers from 50 different units.

The following inspirational statement deserves the widest possible circulation. It is from Greek conscripts in 50 units of the Armed Forces. The statement is notable for linking all the current horrors inflicted on workers everywhere to a single cause – the ongoing crisis of the capitalist system. In this crisis, which demands sacrifices in lost and ruined lives, all workers, whatever their condition, have a common cause and a common interest. Our Greek comrades tell us that the document comes from “Diktyo Spartakos” (‘Spartacus Net’), which is a far leftist formation inside the Greek army, mainly composed of the New Left Current (NAP) but it has a broader impact among far leftists and anarchists. However the most important point here is the content of this modern message of “revolutionary defeatism”. It is unambiguously internationalist and proletarian. These conscripts have clearly had enough of all the dirty deeds [1] demanded of them and their courage in raising their voices not just against this or that capitalist attack but the system of exploitation as whole demands a response from workers everywhere …

Collaborative Media Briefing October 19 2015

.... flesh torn on barbed wire, children drowned on beaches, hungry people on the streets, crowds of people begging for their papers ...

Before they became headline news many of us saw and experienced these shameful images on the River Evros, and on the islands, where we were sent to do our compulsory Military Service of the Absurd as both slave workers and cannon fodder. These scenes have shocked us and dominate our discussions. But we don’t want this to become the “new normal”. While not having grown used to and not having accepted the Memoranda and all the policies against the people, imperialist interventions and their dirty wars, we will not accept and not get used to the refugees' plight. It is also the plight of our own people, of our own world, the working class world regardless of nationality-religion-gender!

The so-called "increased flow of migrants" is in reality the flight from war and displacement. It is not a natural phenomenon. Someone is responsible for it. It's their capitalist crisis. To overcome this, they abolish our rights, leaving us starving, in poverty and unemployment, making migration a necessity. It's the USA, NATO, the EU, China and Russia. They impose their financial interests using terror and death, maintaining and reviving new passions and hostilities, feeding on religious fundamentalism. It’s also the regional imperialist powers (Turkey, Israel, Greece, Arab governments) that sharpen rivalries in the region.

It is those who speak of failed states and inferior nations, those who treat people as garbage and take part in mopping up operations, transforming entire zones into human storage dumps for brutal exploitation! There is only one enemy of the bourgeoisie and its governments: the workers, whether they fight for their rights or are moving about without documents, even when it is capitalist military interventions that led to the uprooting. But even then, refugees can't choose where to go: they direct migration flows to modern-day concentration camps, the “hot spots”, [2] because workers choose where to be exploited! Of course when they're not needed any more or when they try to better themselves they can be got rid of ...

The Greek state and the army are part of the problem and not its solution. The SYRIZA-ANEL government continues the War on Terror, participates in imperialistic plans, targets "asymmetric threats" (immigrants, social movements), playing on the false distinction of “good” refugees from war – and “bad” economic migrants. The Armed Forces call on us, the conscripted soldiers alongside professionals and officers, to make war on the "enemy within", as in the recent Parmenionas 2015 [3] exercise! In this cycle of death-exploitation-oppression, the "enemies" of Greece and Turkey jointly patrol the Aegean, cooperating in harmony! Furthermore, the EU battlefront starts from Gibraltar ending in the Aegean, with Frontex [4] taking a decisive role.

A Greek submarine participates in the European fleet that operates in the Libyan territorial waters. We, the 16th Division in Evros, are on guard against migrants coming from Andrianopolis. We're ordered to take part in Crowd Suppression Drills, as in Kos after the dramatic events in Kalymnos when the governor requested military aid to use weapons against hungry-thirsty-imprisoned immigrants. We guard the murderous fence which is the real reason of all the drownings in the Aegean.


We, the soldiers in struggle are against all this, against both their past and present crimes.

We call for a mass movement, both inside and outside the Army:

To block in any way we can Frontex, NATO, the European army, the actions of the Armed Forces as this massacre goes on. We don't participate in arrest patrols.

To assist in demolishing fences and not creating new ones. No soldier boards ships on missions against migrants.

Ships, submarines and aircraft should return to their bases. There should be no attempt to supply them.

We refuse to convert the Greek army into a repressive apparatus whether that involves migrants or social movements. We will not accept papering over the cracks in the social structure with "volunteer labour". For us the “asymmetric threat” is the war being waged against us by the governments and the interests they support.

We call on our colleagues to not only show compassion but to take note of our common class interests. It is the bourgeois institutions, bourgeois policies, bourgeois governments themselves which are destroying even our dreams.

What the refugees are now going through, constant persecution by totalitarian mechanisms of every kind, in the struggle for dignity and survival their sad present is for many of us the current and future nightmare that we should not have to experience. It is the Parliamentary totalitarian state in collaboration with the NAZI Golden Dawn.

We are aware the coming revolts will find those on the bottom rung either united together or in conflict with each other.

Today there isn't a better form of solidarity in practice which gives the greatest service to ourselves than attacking the problem at its roots.

We are part of a modern anti-war and labour movement that can exist only within a working class, anti-capitalist and internationalist perspective. We resist, oppose, and totally reject the government, its imperialist mechanisms, and the bourgeois world of oppression.

[The original was signed by soldiers from 38 units of the Greek Army]
547 Rethymnon Airborne Battalion, Sparta KEEM, 616 Infantry Battalion, Avlona KETTH, 535 MK/TP 31st Brigade, Patra KETCH, Mesologgi KEN 2/39 SP, 526 MK/TP, 124 PVE Tripolis, Cpt. Paraschos 29th Infantry Brigade, ASDYS, 221 EMA Plati Evros, 401 Military Hospital atallion Administration, Thiva KEPV, 16 TYP, Nafplio KEMCH, Evros Chatzipenti Camp, 211 MK/TO 95 LATETH, Araxos 116 PM, 3rd Cooking Education Battalion-Gythio Supply Dept., 647 MK/TP Litochoro, 50 PEA/AP, SDB Karaiskakis B Company Management, 219 KICHNE Didymoteicho, 173 MEAP Orestiada, 516 MK/TP, 424 SN Thessaloniki, Evros Vogiatzis Feres Camp, 642 TP, Bouga Camp, 32 MPP PN, KEN Kalamata, 643 TE Chios, 123 PTE, 618 M/K TO Plati, 296 M/K TE, KAAY Agios Andreas, 93 TYETH Lesvos, 503 TP, 95 TYETH, 22 EMA Petrohori, 25 EMA Petrochori, B EANETH, 107 A/K MMP PEP Didymoticho, 305 SPTCH, 3rd EAN Alexandroupolis, 107 Chatzipenti Koufovouno Camp, Evros 523 Mavrodentri Kozani.

Translated from the Italian source by the Communist Workers Organisation October 26 2015

Background footnote information largely provided by the Internationalist Comrades of Greece

[1] This not only means doing the EU’s dirty work to keep out migrants but also attacking Greek workers. According to the following source conscripts of the 523rd Infantry Battalion were ordered to join a secret military exercise in Kozani on Wednesday, October 14, with professional soldiers to "recapture the abandoned AEVAL factory (which used to make industrial fertiliser) which has been taken over troublemakers" (Camp Deputy Commander). The so-called “troublemakers” had only occupied their own bankrupt factory in a desperate attempt to either keep the thing going and thus their jobs or prevent the bosses selling off the assets. In short the Army was carrying out the defence of capitalist property relations against the working class. Nothing new there and nothing new in a Left wing capitalist government using ultimate force to defend property rights. Such suppression of the working class is not new and there are plenty of examples from 2008 and 2011. See, for example,
[2] The first of these refugee “hot spot” registration centres was established on Lesbos only a few days ago. Refugees are made to queue here, probably for days, to be finger printed like criminals before they get a preliminary asylum hearing which determines if they can be registered for entry into the EU.
[3] The Parmenion Army training exercise take place every year but this year’s was notorious for being on the fence which the EU pays Greece to maintain and defend on the border with Turkey along the River Evros (see opening of the soldiers’ document). Tsipras, complete with Airforce jacket, attended this year’s exercise in which he declared that “Greece’s borders were safe”. Several refugees (7 are documented by Human Rights Watch) have been gunned down there in recent days by border police.
[4] Frontex is the European Agency for the Management of Operational Co-operation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union. In short it is the border police of the European Union.

Original Greek source;

Posted By

Red Marriott
Oct 31 2015 00:52


  • ... We call for a mass movement, both inside and outside the Army: To block in any way we can Frontex, NATO, the European army, the actions of the Armed Forces as this massacre goes on. ... . To assist in demolishing fences and not creating new ones.

Attached files


Oct 31 2015 12:34
the fence which the EU pays Greece to maintain and defend on the border with Turkey along the River Evros ... Several refugees (7 are documented by Human Rights Watch) have been gunned down there in recent days by border police.

Does anyone have more information on these shootings? I haven't seen them mentioned anywhere else. Sources in Greek would be OK if there's nothing in English.

Oct 31 2015 21:14
Oct 31 2015 19:15

This is encouraging... but is a duplicate of that posted by Burgers earlier.

Oct 31 2015 20:49


Every day, thousands of people persecuted by the bombings of the West, totalitarian regimes and fundamentalist violence, eradicated by extreme poverty and the “growth” of corporations struggle to cross borders and come to Europe. They are led to a fight for survival, in search of a life in peace and dignity. Thousands are drowned at the coasts of the Mediterranean; those however that manage in fact to reach European states alive come face to face with detention camps, fascist and racist attacks, police violence and profiteering, serving as cheap and easily exploitable workforce.

All by hypocritically invoking their alleged humanism, the leaders of Europe focus on reinforcing guarding at the borders, increasing the army and Frontex, detention camps, deportations and forced returns, thus revealing the true face of Fortress- Europe.

The fence in Evros (at the border between Turkey and Greece) is not only the symbol of exclusion, demonization of the “foreigner” and the protection of national and European security at all costs, but also the cause that all these people have drowned in the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea. The fence forces refugees and immigrants to follow the perilous sea routes to cross borders. Evidence shows that ever since the fence was built, people drowned in the Aegean have skyrocketed and will continue to grow, considering that no barbed wire could stop a man or a woman that fights for survival and a life in dignity.

We have created the Coordination against the Evros Fence to tear down the fence, open borders and stop human tragedy in the Mediterranean. Groups and individuals have met to join our forces, each of a different ideological background, united by the common belief that stopping the nightmare of blood-stained borders is a matter of the society and the movements. Assemblies of the coordination team are open and horizontal in a direct process that pursues coordination and cooperation with similar initiatives both in Greece and abroad, considering that the question of borders concerns us all.

We cannot be silent facing death. As long as the fence is there and the borders are closed, the Greek State and the European Union will be committing the killing of thousands of immigrants and refugees at the coasts of the Mediterranean that die inside the wrecked coffin ships of traffickers in human beings.

We are therefore calling you to a mobilisation, a demonstration in Evros against the fence and the borders, on Saturday, October 31st, 2015.

• Free movement of refugees and immigrants
• Papers for all – No deportations
• No to detention camps
• Against Fortress-Europe
• Our solidarity will tear down the fence and the borders



Red Marriott
Oct 31 2015 23:45
spiky wrote:
This is encouraging... but is a duplicate of that posted by Burgers earlier.

Yes, but I believe as a news item it goes on the front page and gets distributed netwide via newsfeeds from this site etc.

Nov 8 2015 17:36
Red Marriott wrote:
spiky wrote:
This is encouraging... but is a duplicate of that posted by Burgers earlier.

Yes, but I believe as a news item it goes on the front page and gets distributed netwide via newsfeeds from this site etc.

that's correct. It also gives it more weight to readers, as proper news/article posts show they have the endorsement of the website in terms of accuracy etc whereas forum posts don't.

Nov 12 2015 13:44