ESIEA, the Union of News Editors HQ have been occupied by radical journalists and transformed into a counterinformation center and anti-spectacle forum.
On Saturday 10/1/09 in Athens radical reporters and journalists have occupied the HQ of the Union of Athens Daily Press Editors (ESIEA) which functions as a control institution regarding journalism across the country. The squatters have called for a series of open assemblies to discuss the nature and problems of broadcasting and reporting December's insurgency and its aftermath. On Monday the Assembly of Free ESIEA has called for an open discussion on the Spectacle and ways of confronting it in journalism. What follows is the founding brochure of the Free ESIEA:
The workers will have the last word - not the media bosses
The thousands of protesters that filled the streets in Greece on Friday January 9th, proved that the fire of December won’t be put out, not by bullets and acid against activists, nor by the ideological terrorism spread by the media these last few days. Consequently, the State’s only response to the youth and the workers was, once more, raw repression. Encouraged by the media’s demands of zero tolerance, and by the orders of their bosses, the police were free to attack with chemicals, violence and arrests, against anyone who came their way.
When, as on January 9th, oppression by the State turns even against the workers, journalists, photographers and lawyers who stand in the streets against the side of the murderers, it becomes even clearer that the rebellion during the past month has put forward an issue of dignity for everyone whose survival depends on wage labor. As a result, some of us, media workers and students, stand beside the rebels. We do it actively: we participate in their fight as workers, and we join their fight with our own everyday battle in our places of work. Our main goal is to prevent the bosses from imposing their views about the events, an example of which is that a photographer, Kostas Tsironis, was fired by the daily newspaper “Eleftheros Typos” (“Free press”) because he took a picture of a cop raising his handgun a day after the 15-year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was murdered.
We don’t fool ourselves about what the media, a crucial ideology apparatus of the State, will do to force the people to leave the streets and go home; they’ll do everything, and we know it all too well, because, of course, we work in the media. We also recognize that the big-time journalists are only able to promote the abolition of university asylum and the idea of two different kinds of demonstrators (the violent “koukouloforoi” vs. the “peaceful” ones), as long as we remain silent.
Our place is with the rebels. One more reason for this is because we experience everyday exploitation in our workplaces too. In the media industry, like everywhere else, we have to deal with the consequences of precarious, unsecured or unpaid labour, by-piece working, overtime labor, and all the other forms of bosses’ whims. Lately, under the threat of a coming economic crisis, we also experience intensification of layoffs, and of the fear of them.
Like all workers, we experience the hypocrisy and the betrayal of the syndicates. The Journalists’ Union of Athens (ESIEA) is an institution that turns against the workers’ calls for resistance against the bosses, due to the crucial need to overcome any internal divisions and job fragmentation, in order to create a united trade union in the press. In their attempt to split the media workers from all the other workers, ESIEA is, in reality, a bosses’ union and a basic support mechanism for them, as was testified by their refusal to take part in the general strike on Wednesday, December 10th 2008.
For all these reasons, as an initiative of wage workers, unpaid workers, recently-fired workers and students in the media, we have decided to occupy the ESIEA building, in order to voice all these things, in solidarity with a society in revolt:
- Free information, against the ideological propaganda of our bosses in the media
- Direct action, self-organized and democratic, by all media workers against the attacks waged against each and every one of us.
* Solidarity with militant worker Konstantina Kuneva
* Immediate release of everyone arrested during the rebellion
* We have no fear of getting fired; the bosses should fear our strikes
From the occupied building of ESIEA, 2009-01-10
At the same time, in Thessaloniki, students have occupied the State Audiorium of the city, turning it into a counterinformation center regarding the December insurgency and K. Kouneva, the cleaner syndicalist who is still struggling for her life after being attacked with sulphuric acid on the face by bosses' thugs. Whereas in Volos, central greece, the central Trade Union Center of the city, has been occupied in solidarity to K. Kouneva and the arrested insurgents of December. The move is considered highly symbolic as it was the first Trade Union Center in the history of the greek labour movement.