Next stop, INSURRECTION / Today 31/10 6 pm at Polytehneio, assembly for free transport

The Assembly Against the Police Occupation, as an horizontal and open social body for resistance, which is organized from and acts on the ground, with a mind towards a broad movement against state control, calls for an assembly to concentrate our forces, coordinate local actions and co-organize our vigilance, this Tuesday 31st of October, at Polytechneio (Gini), at 6 p.m.


About one year ago, the public transport company of Attica began installing the new system for the electronic public transport ticket in its network. This system combines electronically controlled tickets, discount digital cards which include all personal details of its holder and a connection to the tax record system, entrance-exit control bars, keeping records of one's movement through the city and the possibility for charging by the mile.

In this over-expanded urban space of capitalist growth, that is characterized by deep social and economic divisions, getting around by means of public transport is a necessity for most people. This vital need becomes a field of exploitation for the economic exhaustion of those who don't enjoy the privileges of private transport, through the commercialization of a public service, and for their indoctrination into police-state control. Today, ticket prices are rising and so is ticket control by headhunter controllers, combined with an increasing involvement of the cops. In such conditions, the increase in the mass of people who have no other choice but to use public transport, increases the capacity for making profit out of this service. Charging by the mile is marketed as a fairer measure, because it connects the ticket price to the distance travelled, making in this way an arbitrary accounting of usage cost. As such, it completely subjects a public service to commercial logic, trampling upon all those who cannot afford to meet their needs. Aggregately, in this way, companies will collect more money from everyone, and this is why it is another veiled profit-making measure.

The management of this new system has been contracted out and so a percentage of the profits will be reaped by large private companies ( ΓΕΚ-ΤΕΡΝΑ and LG CNS). It is a known fact that state monopolies serve in many ways and are connected to private companies (construction, maintainance, management, security, cleaning services, commercial activities, advertising etc.). Companies determine state investment via the funds that are channelled to political and administrative state executives in the form of pay-offs. Siemens, for example, which is known for been taken to court on several occasions, is involved in many sectors of the Athens Metro. In capitalism construction and operation of public structures, such as public transport, is funded by our stolen labour, either through state/interstate funds and banks, or by charging us for their use.

The METRO was and continues to be the pilot scheme for preventative criminalization of social life and of the related panoptical organization of (public) space. The electronic ticket system is a mechanism for totalitarian surveillance. It is a tool for repression that will function on multiple levels. It serves the total exploitation of transport. It supplements the unified digital systems for financial control, extortion and repression. It upgrades the capacity for targetted police surveillance, as a tool for political repression. It strives for instilling generalized fear and discipline to the rules and terms set by authority.

We should note that the strategy to clean up the social and economical field from all kinds of 'unlawfulness' in the name of “modernisation” and “expurgation”, was a focal point of the SYRIZA programme, even before they came into office. Indeed, the European Union mechanisms recognized that a left-wing government would be the most appropriate to take on such a task. The SYRIZA government implements a series of pivotal plans of state-capital hegemony, plans which its predecessors hesitated to implement vis a vis existing resistance. The implementation of the control system in public transport and its direct or indirect privatization, are central to capitalist restructuring. This new system was announced back in 2001, the project was assigned in 2014 and SYRIZA was the one to materialize it.

The METRO in particular was designed as a bearer of business and consumerist growth in the centre and periphery of the city and as such it was shaped from the outset as a controlled zone. The public space of the METRO has served as means of familiarization with a sterile environment, with gentrification, with passive acceptance of rules and orders, with threatening messages and commercial images and of course with the exclusion of the undisciplined.

The operation of control bars will complete this design. It will implant an extended wall inside the city, which will become a cultural and class barrier for most of the residents, segregating and isolating in absolute terms the poor, who will become poorer, the disobedient, from the privileged, who will move around the city in a line, indifferent like zombies. It will mark the greatest change in the social ground of the athenian urban field, the deepest fragmentation of public space, the most definitive exclusion ever to be imposed.

The planned starting date for the implementation of this new system was to be the beginning of this year. This plan was set back due to the resistance that unfolded in many ways against the imposition of an extensive system of control and exploitation. Mass interventions in public transport, blockade of ticket counters and ticket barriers, sabotage of control infrastructure (ticket vendors, barriers, cameras), attack against OASA central offices (Athens Public Transport Organisation) and destruction of fine records, attack against the home of the president of OASA and a mass mobilization on 1st of April.

After several postponements, last one being the 1st of August, the authorities announced the 1st of November as the starting date of the implementation the electronic ticket as an exclusive travel option, which will be accompanied by the closing of the barriers. The official government announcement relates the moment when the barriers close to the necessary “familiarization of the passengers”. The state realizes the possibility of a revolt against the new system. All this time, the state has been struggling to formulate a fascistic bedrock of subservience and aid to respression, so as to transfer the confrontation to the passengers.

The struggle for free transpoRt is at a crucial point. What is needed is broad mobilization, general alert and coordination. We shall not permit the erection of new barriers within the city. We will not stop until all transport is liberated.

The Assembly Against the Police Occupation, as an horizontal and open social body for resistance, which is organized from and acts on the ground, with a mind towards a broad movement against state control, calls for an assembly to concentrate our forces, coordinate local actions and co-organize our vigilance, this Tuesday 31st of October, at Polytechneio (Gini), at 6 p.m.




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