Main Site | Join Robin Hood Coop | Projects | Events | Blog | Media | Forums | Mailing List | Twitter | Facebook

Greece - Groundwork for Freedom: Discussion

Continuing the discussion from Ideas for RH:

This is really exciting. Lets start a new thread here to unfold specifically the work you guys are doing over there…

Pulling this across into this thread.

Thank you for setting up a sandbox for us.

Generally, the work goes on three levels:

1. Long-term. Development of integral vision connecting self-governance (Bookchin, Ocalan, EZLN, Rojava), solidarity economy (Greece grassroots, cooperatives) and liberatory technologies (appropriate, open tech etc. etc.). This is mainly integration of existing intellectual and practical achievements of many people throughout the world. I try to maintain a frame of reference to select short- and mid-term ventures I get involved, alone or with various affinity groups.
2. Mid-term. Building a test-bed and infrastructure. This is the core of Amargi House in Thermaikos project. Coupled with “We are Thermaikos” document (https://pad.riseup.net/p/We-are-Thermaikos ) it is intended as a cornerstone for both economic and technological base for the community here, but also as a blueprint for similar ventures around. The discussion on the topic is now practically on hold, due to the recent election here in Greece that left people heavily depressed. That is why we are now focused on the short-term, practical projects, inevitably leading us to migration issues. Some direct successes should bring more stamina (and funds) back to the community.
3. Short-term. Turning migration crisis into a win-win-win game – for migrants, local population and the donors. We are a bit too far (over 100 km) from the main migration routes to provide daily support, but we established that there are four areas we may cotribute to:
3.1. Manufacturing/integration
– ***“Refugee Welcome Kit”***, a set of locally manufactured or purchased equipment, being handed to migrants at they enter Greece. It will contain essential utensils, addressing real needs during the transit. In emergency, it will also provide minimal survival ability, even during the winter.
Stage camp infrastructure kit. A set of cheap but sturdy equipment to build a (semi)permanent stage camp facility, built and manned by the locals, making the migrant transit as unobtrusive and comfortable as possible. The core of the construction is based on Vinay Gupta’s @hexayurt in several variants, expanded and upgraded with additional facilities.
3.2. Organization and distribution.
– Introducing “Repair, reuse, recycle” process regarding migrants’ equipment. If there is enough people interested “at the receibving end” of migration routes, we shall organize the process of retrievenig certain equipment from the migrants when they reach their destination, sending it here to Greece, to be cleaned, refurbished or repaired and handed over to new users. It will save resources long-term and show respect to the donors, who want to see their help being used wisely.
– Introducing “Support the locals” system. There is a growing contribution from local groups of volunteers. But they do not have direct access to external funding. Also, they are hardly known, thus not credible to foreign donors. They are also overloaded with current work, not having resources for planning, reporting and infrastructure building. We plan to fill this gap by identifying these groups, monitoring their activity and needs and connecting them with donors and other supporters. We shall also open an online warehouse, providing locally-sourced goods – from backpacks to food – to the supporting groups, at fair prices. Instead of Amazon, foreign donors will be able to buy things there, having them delivered to any of locally identified support units.


In the next hour or so I will publish more posts on general assumptions regarding the refugee/migrant work done here and about out local situation (coommunity, work organization etc.) Stay tuned.

General assumptions re: migration via Greece

Founding assumption: At least for one more year Greece will be one of the major gateways for African and Asian migrants/refugees. If it changes, it will probably change into a settlement area, due to the EU being effectively cordoned-out.
It means that we are dealing NOT with a short tem crisis, to be solved and cleaned after, but with a long term change, having serious impact on local economy and social reality. And we need to design all solutions having that in mind.

Practical assumptions.

1. Our top priorities are migrants in transit, communities living in transit areas and donors supporting the process. Their common goal is to make the transit as unobtrusive and smooth as possible.
2. Our least priorities are governments, supranational institutions and market system. Their ways are not our ways, let alone their agenda. Hopefully they wouldn’t disturb, possibly may help. We do not plan to rely on them anyway.
3. We want to make the situation a positive-sum game for everyone involved. Migrants are coerced into it. Locals had nothing to say and they can only endure. Donors try to help everybody and they deserve to see that their help is efficiently used for the greates common benefit. Thus, the guidelines of our work include:
3.1. Use resources wisely.
3.2. Bring benefits to the locals. Take extreme care of the relationships with them.
3.3. Support grassroot communities. They do the job and they are an interface to the local population.
3.4. Get migrants involved. They are not a cargo. They are not clients. They are participants, even if unwilling.
3.6. Build and utilize direct, personal relationships wherever possible.
3.6. Balance technical efficiency and human relationships.
3.7. Learn by doing. Let your solutions evolve, mutate, be influenced and grow.
The list will probably evolve and expand in the process. You are of course invited to comment and ask questions.

The “Refugees Welcome” kit

This thread was moved to a separate topic: Thermaikos, Greece. Refugees Welcome Kit Participate!

1 Like

@HexaYurt implementation.
This thread was moved to an independent topic at Thermaikos, Greece. Hexayurt project

@PetrosPolonos

Thanks for all your energies so far!

It seems like one of the main things you are needing is :smile:

And am I correct in assuming that it is quick funding that is needed?

As RH is currently structured (the coop which is incorporated in Finland) releasing funds to the commons is a slow, quite labour intensive, once a year thing. Think of it as the proof of concept, but it is very much clunky and slow.

This is a big part of why the wider RH membership and those in the middle of the storm working away on the next generation of RH, to find ways of releasing and diverting money flows to exactly the types of projects you are proposing.

I just wanted to highlight this so that there are no misunderstandings about the current speeds at which funding can be diverted to the commons under the current form…

First, a quick update, as we have reached a small milestone in our work:

Now, to the money and such.

  1. I am aware of the procedure as it is now. And I hope to see RH as a whole to get involved as a long term partner and stakeholder in setting up the regional economy system – see the first post in this thread. It is not a quick process, and it is not just about money, so it fits the dynamics you mentioned.

  2. For current funding, by publishing here I aim to reach people who are in the RH community, and who may wish to help us either directly with their money, or indirectly, by providing contacts, introductions and endorsement. Being introduced to an INGO and able to get test order for heating panels or hexayurts for refugee camp; getting help in the form of materials, equipment, professional hosting, expertise or programming; being suggested where to look for microdonations.

Direct quick funding is needed at the level of 200-500 E per case (we did the first prototype at 400E, another one I plan do make at 200-250; the sensor / RasPi set – another 200 etc etc.). It is possible to obtain by pooling the money here locally (slow and painful, as the austerity keeps choking the economy) or by various channels outside.

So, it is ok to me that any action from RH as a whole takes time. What I hope for is that we would be able to communicate with RH members meanwhile and possibly obtain their help in various forms.

1 Like

The Solar Air Heating Panel project topic – see here: Thermaikos, Greece. Solar Air Heating Panels

1 Like

Now, we are about to launch the first mass product of our group: https://anabasis2015.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/refugee-supertarp-project/
If tests go well, within next two weeks we should start receiving donation money for manufacturing the SuperTarp (and other products queued for development). And – to our standards – big money. Like 10s of thousands Euro per month (I can’t even spell it properly :slight_smile: )

And this is the problem…

We are a group of individuals, living in a country under capital control and enforced growing tax control. Setting up ANY official framework – like a social cooperative – takes ages (actually, 3 months at least, it’s official).

Now, the winter is coming and we have several thousand refugees to take care of with our products.

I am in a desperate search of the way to get some financial umbrella to help us:
– accept official and unofficial donations
– spend most of the money on materials for production (bank transfers, paypal payments, card payments)
– transfer some of it to us (by way of ATM card) for cash payments locally.
– avoid any kind of bureaucracy possible.

I can imagine some friendly and trusted entity setting up a separate account for us and running the paperwork for us, but I have yet to find one.

Or perhaps there are some other (rather legal) methods?

Your advice or help on that issue would be really appreciated.

1 Like

I’ll have a look at a few options over this weekend.

1 Like

This is my first attept to design a cooperative-based investment fund, aimed as a tool to develop solidarity economy in cohabitation and cooperation with the state-cum-capitalist environment. The scope of it is way beyond getting no-strings-attached funding for local communities. Please enjoy the text at https://anabasis2015.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/the-octagon/ (PDF download available there as well).

This is a fresh production, so every remark will help to improve it. If one feels like helping to refine the concept etc, contact me for editable version.

2 Likes