Solidarity4All (S4A) co-founder Christos Giovanopoulos is presently touring the US in his effort to grow the international solidarity movement supporting Greek workers. S4A is a collective that facilitates the development of grassroots solidarity structures emerging in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by Greece’s deep austerity cuts. It grew out of the Greek Indignados movement that formed alongside the Spanish Indignados* movement in July 2011. Both would serve to inspire the international Occupy movement that first formed on Wall Street in September 2011.
As of January 2015, there were self-governing 360 solidarity structures, representing 30% of the Greek population. The list includes social pharmacies, social medical clinics, social kitchens, social grocery stores, time banks,* a social collective of mental professionals, olive oil producers who share olive oil and the “potato movement,” where farmers cut out supermarkets and middlemen by trading directly with consumers.
All initiatives are non-hierarchical and hold weekly assemblies where decisions are made. The role of S4A is to serve as a centralized network for information, tools, and skills sharing and to build an international solidarity movement to support Greek workers and to inspire similar grassroots self-governing structures in other countries.
Although most S4A members support the left-wing party Syriza, the two are totally separate organizations. S4A chiefly derives its power from its ability to provide humanitarian services can’t deliver due to the Greek financial crisis. Nevertheless Syriza directly supports S4A by requiring each of their MPs (members of parliament) to donate 10% of their salary.
An International Movement
Already hundreds of international trade unions, community, environmental and immigration groups have signed on to the Solidarity4All movement. Ironically most are in Germany, whose government has been the most staunch in forcing debt repayments and austerity cuts on the Greek people. At present Giovanopoulos is seeking to build S4A chapters in New York, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland and Baltimore.
In the following video, Giovanopoulos speaks to the importance of a strong grassroots movement to counteract the pressure the EU and IMF are putting on Syriza. This is especially urgent owing to the inability of the current Greek government to address the humanitarian crisis. Thanks to Solidarity4All, the immediate needs of workers continue to be addressed. If a Grexit does occur, this will also provide a framework for Greece to look after itself – instead of relying on foreign funders.
For more information, check out the English S4A website at Greece Solidarity
Individuals and groups can join S4A at Join us
*Los Indignados is a grassroots Spanish anti-austerity movement that first captured public attention in July 2011 through massive demonstrations in which they occupied public squares and spaces. An estimated 6.5– 8 million Spaniards have participated in these events.
**A time bank is a mutual credit system in which members earn credits for helping other members and spend them for other services.
***Syriza is a left wing political party that came to power in January 2015 based on a pledge to end the austerity cuts forced on Greece (as a condition of further bailout funds) by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
****Grexit refers to the potential exit of Greece from the eurozone monetary union, owing to its inability to repay its public debt.