It was June 1969 when the regulars of a gay bar in New York said a collective and deafening “Enough is enough”. Enough with the humiliation, the taunt and the violence. Enough with the oppression and the abuse. Enough with the state repression. And they stood up with all the courage that oppressed creatures have when they realise their oppression and they made the brave decision to do something, so this very situation would come to an end. For three turbulent days and nights gays, lesbians, trans people and drag queens -with our without their heels- were fighting with the best of the american police’s forces. They built barricades and had guerrila fights in the alleys. Everyone who took part in the anti-war movement of the era, the feminists, the left-wing groups, the anarchist collectives, the Black Panthers and the Young Lords fought by their side. In solidarity with them. Perceiving their [the lgbtq+ people’s] struggle as their own, wanting a victory just as much. Our late siblings asserted the decency and the pride that had been stolen from them. And they claimed them. Since then, Stonewall stands as a reminder of a collective counter-attack when they deprive you of your basic rights. When they deprive you of the oxygen and the freedom to exist. Now and then “Stonewall means fight back”.
It is May 2019. The 3rd self-organised Thessaloniki Pride, the “pride from and for the people” takes the fight to the city streets. But we’re not alone. We carry with us the rage and bitterness from the murder of Zak Kostopoulos, of Zackie Oh. We carry with us our worry and our anger. Far-right powers are climbing in leading positions in parliaments all over the world. They spread their dark shadow on both sides of the Atlantic, on both the north and the south of the American continent. From Trump and Bolsonaro to their like-minded Europeans.
From the neo-nazis attacking social centres and spaces, squats and structures for immigrants to the “householders” of the next door, who wear the mask of the peace-loving or displeased citizen. Of the “pure patriot”.
From the church hierarchs who vomit homophobic and transphobic hate to the people who say “I’m not racist but…”.
From the people who think that Greece or Europe can’t take any more “foreigners”, but of course it can fit all of the tourists with their full wallets.
From the people who become emotional when hearing about greek minorities in other countries but won’t recognize the existence of ethnical minorities in Greece itself.
From the people who yell that Macedonia is one and greek, forcing their opinion on how other people “self-identify” to the ones who envision heated episodes with Turkey in the Aegean sea for oil and hydrocarbons.
From those who close their eyes in front of the stain of embarrassment for humanity, the terror in Moria, in VIAL, in Elaionas, in Diavata. To the people who for reasons of normalizing the horror get used to calling the concentration camps for refugees “refugee holding centres”.
From the people who choose not to read worrying proof of abuse and rape of lgbtqia+ people and women in these concentration camps, where they’re been trapped for unknown periods of time. To those who close their ears to the cries of refugees that the European policy of closed borders murders them in the sea, along with their children or in the paths in Evros, just as it happened with the 3 women refugees who were found slaughtered.
From the people who don’t listen to the yelling and the cries of the woman on the floor above to those who act as if they don’t see the bruises the next day.
From the people who rushed to prove rightful the shop-owner who “protected his property from a drug addict” to those who had absolutely no problem with the cynical statement of the police “That’s the practice. Whoever likes it.”
From the people that shake the hand of the Israeli prime minister and form military alliances and financial pacts with him, that way supporting the policies that he enforces to the people who will sit in front of their televisions to watch the greek participation in the Eurovision singing contest in Israel. While being indifferent for the daily issues of the Palestinian people, the arrests, the torturing, the exclusion, the murders of children.
We live in dark times. Let’s agree on that. The issue although is to play with the bad cards we’ve been dealt. And we will win. Zackie will always mean for us “fight back”.
That is the reason that this fight we choose to give with many others. That is the reason that we don’t just stand with solidarity next to other movements – we are/become an organic piece of those movements. How could it –really- be different?
There are no walls that separate us from the antifascist and antiracist movement. We are antifascists and antiracists. We fight against nationalism and fascism with the same decisiveness that we fight for the elimination of sexism. We are a moving target for fascists. We are the creatures who don’t forget what the pink triangles meant. We are all of us who will fight with all our power for that horror not to be repeated.
There are no walls that separate us from the student movement, whether it’s in schools or universities. We are students. And we pay daily the faults of the underfunding and wretchedness of the public education in the Greece of austerity measures. Facing a logic that wants universities to be spaces closed to society, spaces sterilized and apolitical, we consciously decided to transfer part of our events to the AUTH. For us universities aren’t just places to study. They are places of sharing and mixing political ideas. They are places of cultural events. A cell that’s alive, part of the society, open to new ideas. We reclaim it.
There are no walls that separate us from the workers. We work as well in undocumented work, in insecurity, they force us to work Sundays or unpaid overtime, we get paid in crumbles, we are in danger of getting fired any time. Many times in fact we get fired when we get pregnant. Or we hide our lgbtqia+ identity so that we don’t lose our job. Frequently we are jobless. The assertations of the working class movement are, subsequently, our own as well.
There are no walls that separate us from the feminist movement. We are women and feminine people, we are cis and trans men that stand in solidarity, and people that don’t belong in the binary of gender. We are every word of the phrase “Not one woman less”. We claim that the human body is a source of pleasure and not the field for daily battle, where we are called to count our losses. Our No means No. And we demand that they are respected. We unite our voices against the legislative modification of the 366 penal code, which restricts dramatically the definition of rape, instead of basing it on the only logical criteria: the lack of consent.
There are no walls that separate us from the environmental movement. We need a planet to live in. We need land, forests, clean water and air. We need, in fewer words, all those that the drilling rigs of Eldorado Gold in Skouries, with the blessings of the greek government, threaten to eliminate, while in the process destroying Chalkidiki and half of Northern Greece, The same happens with the extractions of hydrocarbons in Ipiros, in Sterea Greece, in Ionio and in Crete. The “development” that they preach in the end only has to do with few people and implies poverty for the rest of us. It implies undermining the quality of our already undermined lives. The objectives of the environmental movement in Skouries or anywhere else are our own objectives because they implicate our own now. And our own tomorrow.
There are no walls that separate us from the antimilitary, anti-imperialism movement. Facing the nightmarish scenario of a military conflict, it will be our own heads that will be bet upon in cards. Our own bodies will become meat for their cannons so that they get richer –from cutting up the Mediterranean sea to EEZ (exclusively economical zone)- Exxon Mobil, Total and greek companies that trip over their own feet rushing to make deals with them. And not only will we not let that scenario happen, but we will fight with vigor to prevent it. We do not seek false enemies in neighbouring or distant countries. We know very well who are the people that undermine our interests and ruin our lives. We know very well our enemy. He exists “within our own country”. And the class void seperates us from him.
The sky is full of dark clouds. We don’t have the luxury of waiting for it to pass. If it passes, it will necessary pass over our own heads. Despite the recession and the decline in the activity of political movements in the last years, it is not the time to give up. The enemy will go forward and take over whatever we let him. We go out to the streets. We become visible. With our ideas, our suggestions for action and our chants.
50 years after the Stonewall riots we shout with the same decisiveness and the same force, just like the voices that echoed at the alleys and the boulevards of New York that hot summer of 1969.
Then, now and every moment: We don’t give in even a centimeter of the rights we have claimed. We don’t give in even a centimeter of our demand not only for sexual but for total human emancipation. Their “normality”, through which they want to trap us, is written with the blood of thousands, Thousands who were violently pressured into fitting in pre-constructed social molds. We are here to doubt that made up and dangerous “normality”. We are here to agitate the calm waters of a normality that excludes us, mocks us, abuses us. Even murders us. As long as one of us is in danger, we are all in danger. Back down from our bodies and our lives.
On May 2019 we get out to the streets of Thessaloniki, with all our rage and sadness from the murder of Zak/Zackie Oh, from the murders of many and many cis and trans women, from the horrid feminicides in Cyprus- with the chant that first shouted our sisters in the far away 1969.
To the memory of all the oppressed, all the abused, all our murdered, to the memory of Hande Kader, Marielle Franco, Zackie Oh and all those that paid with their blood the fact that they didn’t stay silent:
3rd self-organized Thessaloniki Pride, May 2019