Local Project THESSALONIKI

Organizer name: FOTIS ANASTASIADIS

Interest group: BOTTOM UP – LET IT BE MESSY

Activity: LOCAL PROJECT – THESSALONIKI

Where: THESSALONIKI, GREECE

When: 7,8,9/12/2012

Partners involved:

– Citizens in Action

– PerKa

– Antigona

– Iliosporoi

– Korinthos Social Center

– Human Library

Participants:

– Lucrecia Olivari [Barcelona, Spain  “Antigona”]

– Konstantina Kranou [Ioannina, Greece “Iliosporos”

– Zoe Kokalou [Athens, Greece “Human Library”]

– Stavros Kefalas [Korinthos, Greece “Korinthos Social Center”]

– Fotis Anastasiadis [Thessaloniki, Greece – Host Coordinator, “Citizens in Action” – “PerKa”]

– Alexis Vrahnos [Thessaloniki, Greece – Local Assistant Coordinator, member of some of the initiatives visited]

Accommodation

Except from Fotis Anastasiadis (the host of the project) the other participants stayed in Little Big House, a hostel which is situated in the Upper Town of Thessaloniki (Old Town). The four guest participants stayed in a 4bed room for Friday night (7/12) and Saturday night (8/12). The day of the arrival for two of the participants was Thursday 6/12, so they also spend Thursday night in the same room using two of the beds. One participant came on Saturday, yet the cost of the room on Friday was the same as Saturday.

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Meals

Except from 2 meals, Friday’s lunch (2 persons) and Sunday’s dinner (3 persons), which were in normal restaurants/fast-food’s, all the other meals where part of the scheduled visits of the local project, so they are going to be mention in the day-to-day schedule below.

Day-To-Day Schedule – The visits

Friday

20.00 Solidarity Social Clinic

The first schedule visit was on Friday night (20.00) at KIA (Solidarity Social Clinic)

Participants

– Lucrecia Olivari

– Konstantina Kranou

– Fotis Anastasiadis

– Alexis Vrahnos (Member of Solidarity Social Clinic)

– 2 members of the Social Clinic’s Secretariat

– 2 members of the Social Clinic’s Pharmacy

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Alexis and the other 2 members of the secretariat made a small introduction on when and why this initiative started to be in action and how it runs (everyday procedures). Then the 2 members of the pharmacy, gave as a tour to the room where the different kind of medicine are stored and explain how the pharmacy works (donation, storage etc). Then we had a tour at the different departments of the building having at the same time Q&A sessions on different topics concerning the operation of the clinic. More details on how the collectivity works (assemblies, decision making etc) and the networking session we decided that would take place on Sunday’s meeting where all 6 main participants of this local project would be present, so we invited one of the members of the Social Clinic on Sunday’s meeting.

22.00 Dinner “Kazani pou Vrazi” (The Pot That Boils)

Participants

– Lucrecia Olivari

– Konstantina Kranou

– Fotis Anastasiadis

– Alexis Vrahnos

“Pot that Boils” is a collective restaurant in the center of Thessaloniki. It was a chance for some of the participants to taste some simple Greek cuisine. Ten young people run this restaurant through their collective. This restaurant is one of the first collective businesses (not only restaurants) in the whole city. A lot of young people followed their example in Thessaloniki and they run their businesses with friends or other people in this totally equal among the partners way.

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SATURDAY

11.00 Walk in the area of Castroplikta

Participants

– Lucrecia Olivari

– Konstantina Kranou

– Fotis Anastasiadis

– Zoe Kokalou

– Stavros Kefalas

In a certain part of the upper town of Thessaloniki (near the walls) there are plenty of very old abandoned houses called “Castroplikta”. Homeless people find shelter in some of these houses. Yet the municipality of Thessaloniki send away the homeless is demolishing these houses one by one leaving parts of the area unexploited. We made a walk around this area talking also about the actions that a new “Castroplikta Initiative” is making to save both the area and the homeless.

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12.30 Visit to PerKa (Urban and Suburban Cultivations)

Participants

– Lucrecia Olivari

– Konstantina Kranou

– Fotis Anastasiadis

– Zoe Kokalou

– Stavros Kefalas

– Ten People of PerKa’s General Assembly

First we had a walk in the area of the cultivations. The participants talk with some people working on their fields. We talk about the beginning of this initiative and how it is growing and other things that they were presented in the first seminars of Clearing Participation (Porto and Barcelona). Yet now, the participants had the opportunity to experience what they already knew about PerKa initiative.

Then we participated in an assembly of the PerKa initiative where we were more than welcome. After experiencing the whole process we had the chance to present in brief the Clearing Participation seminars and Thessaloniki’s local project and of course to present the initiatives that each one of the participants is participating. The meeting ended after a big discussion focusing more on the similarities and differences of Greek and Spanish crisis situations and the initiatives that are born.

There was also exchange of contacts between some of the participating people. Important networking was made between one person of PerKa assembly (teacher in Roma class) and Zoe, as the teacher found the approach of the human library initiative very inspiring for her work. There are no photos from the meeting because the general assembly asked us not to take photos during the procedure.

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15.00 Lunch at “Nea Folia” (New Nest)

Participants

– Lucrecia Olivari

– Konstantina Kranou

– Fotis Anastasiadis

– Zoe Kokalou

– Stavros Kefalas

– Alexis Vrahnos

Guest

– Vaso Chatzouli (“Ektos Taxis” initiative, Greek guest in Porto Seminar)

“New Nest” is a collective restaurant in the center of Thessaloniki. It was a chance for the participants to taste some gourmet Greek cuisine with Greek season products. The people that own the business were the first in buying all their materials directly from the producers (persons or cooperatives). So they are avoiding middlemen and they offer very low prices.

FOTOS

19.30 Visit to Micropolis Social Center – Meeting with Social Market Initiative

Participants

– Lucrecia Olivari

– Konstantina Kranou

– Fotis Anastasiadis

– Zoe Kokalou

– Stavros Kefalas

– Alexis Vrahnos

– Asteris Masouras (Journalist in Global Voices Online)

– Sofia P. – Member of the Social Market Initiative

After having a coffee touring around “micro polis” we had a meeting with the person in the evening shift of operating the social market. We had brief information on when and how this social market started, how it is working (both procedures an decision making) and the amount of people using the market instead of going to supermarkets. We were also informed on how the connections with producers are made. An important thing to know is that in the general assembly of the social market of micro polis, the producers are also invited to participate. The presentation of the operation of Micropolis social market was followed by a discussion firstly about the similarities and differences of movements in Spain and Greece during the crisis and then about other initiatives similar to this social market that they are developing in Thessaloniki. Then there was an Exchange of contacts especially between Sofia and Stavros as Korinthos Social Center is connected with some cooperatives in South of Greece.

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22.00 Dinner at Sebriko (and meeting with members of the cooperative)

Participants

– Lucrecia Olivari

– Konstantina Kranou

– Fotis Anastasiadis

– Zoe Kokalou

– Stavros Kefalas

– Alexis Vrahnos

Guests

– Asteris Masouras

– Vangelis Arvanitis and Maita Chatziioannidou (members of Kato Rafia Initiative)

“Sebriko” is a collective restaurant in the center of Thessaloniki. It was a chance for the participants to taste some gourmet Greek cuisine with Greek season products. The people that own the business are buying all their materials directly from the producers (persons or cooperatives). So they are avoiding middlemen and they offer very low prices. They are also running a small market inside the restaurant where all the materials that they are used in the restaurant can be sold to the customers. The selling prices are exactly the same as the buying price.

After the meal 2 of the members of the collective came to our table and they described how both their cooperative and the restaurant are running. We also discuss about the growth of collective businesses of young people in Greece (in different business areas) and the network that is starting to develop between all this collectives.

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SUNDAY

11.30 Meeting with different initiatives at kosmopolit Social Centre – immigrant lodge

Participants

– Lucrecia Olivari

– Konstantina Kranou

– Fotis Anastasiadis

– Zoe Kokalou

– Stavros Kefalas

– Asteris Masouras

– Alexis Vrahnos – member of “Kato Rafia” Initiative (Low Shelves Initiative), Solidarity Social Clinic Initiative, Ektos Taxis Initiative (Out Of the Classroom Initiative, Kosmopolit Social Center Assembly

– Vangelis Arvanitis – member of “Kato Rafia” Initiative (Low Shelves Initiative)

– Maita Chatziioannidou – member of “Kato Rafia” Initiative (Low Shelves Initiative)

– Vaso Maheridou – Ektos Taxis Initiative (Out Of the Classroom Initiative), Kosmopolit Social Center Assembly

– Maria Eleftheriadou – Ektos Taxis Initiative (Out Of The Classroom Initiative), Kosmopolit Social Center Assembly

– Vaso Chatzouli – Ektos Taxis Initiative (Out Of The Classroom Initiative), Kosmopolit Social Center Assembly

– Vivian Kounio – member of Masasoli Initiative (Social Cuzine), Ektos Taxis Initiative (Out Of The Classroom Initiative), Kosmopolit Social Center Assembly

– Eva Babalona – member of Solidarity Social Clinic

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The meeting took place in the assembly room of the Kosmopolit Social Center. People from numerous initiatives that housed in this Social Center attended the meeting. In the beginning there was a brief presentation of the initiatives by each one of the person present. Each presentation included the following:

– What’s the initiative about?

– When and how it started and how it is developing

– Who are the people involved and how decisions are taken (general assemblies, members etc)

– Main challenges, problems and concerns

– The future vision

– Q&A session

During every presentation as well as at the end of all the presentations there were interesting discussions made between all the participants of the meeting.  The basic topics of the discussions were mostly about the main challenges and concerns, the thin line between is charity and solidarity, the differences and similarities of the present condition of movements in Spain and Greece, the present period of crisis in south of Europe. There was also exchange of contacts and agreements for cooperation. Eva and Stavros arranged a meeting in Korinthos as the Solidarity Social Clinic of Thessaloniki could help the Korinthos Social Clinic at its start up process. Lucrecia with Maria E. And Alexis V. arranged cooperation for the networking of Kosmopolit Social Center (and other social center’s of Thessaloniki) with similar collective centers in Spain. Konstantina with some of the people present agreed in cooperation in the Iliosporos Initiative’s seminars about gender-based violence. Very important was the networking between Asteris (journalist from global voices) with numerous initiatives, and also the will of promoting through global voices online the work not only of the local project but from all the initiatives participating. The interesting discussions and the networking could easily last all day but the meeting had to stop at a certain point, as the room had to be used for another scheduled activity. Yet we all stayed at the building as the scheduled lunch was at the social cuisine (masasoli initiative) which is housed in the social center. Each participant of the meeting offered an amount of money for the support of the social cuisine. During lunch we were asked not to take photos, so photos only from the meeting are presented below.

CONCLUSIONS

One of the most important goal of this project was not only introducing to people the bottom up initiatives of Thessaloniki and the movements of the city in general, but to make substantial networking. This important goal was achieved. One other goal was the discussion between all the participants about the differences and similarities of movements and approach towards the crisis between the participating in CLEARING PARTICIPATION SEMINAR countries. These discussions held an important part in every of the meetings. Unfortunately there was no Portuguese participant to represent Portugal, so these discussions were confined only around the comparison of Greece and Spain. The participation of a Portuguese participant could surely benefit the project. Final goal also achieved was for the Bottom-Up/Let It Be Messy working group to present to the initiatives and the people involved the project that s going to continue after the end of the Clearing Participation Seminars, which is to develop an online mapping of the initiatives of Europe. A brief view of that will be given in the final seminar in Porto. This project idea had the approval of almost all the participants/initiatives, stating at the same time their will to help for this effort.

I strongly believe that the local project in Thessaloniki, its subject and the participants, was a small step connecting the 3rd Clearing Seminar in Athens and the 4th and last Seminar in Porto. It also happened at the certain point that the work and the engagement of the ‘CLEARING” participants had reach to that point that meeting and networking with people from Thessaloniki’s initiatives was 100% conscientious and targeted, having in mind that they are representatives of their initiatives back home. Yet again all this was happening because the “vibes” of the continuous meetings and ferment with so many people who are active in trying not only to deal with the existing crisis but also to change and promote through their acts solidarity in everyday life, made every participant eager to move one step forward after this local event. This was obvious in all the discussion made between the five main participants of this project.  A small example can also be given from the notes of two of the participants (Lucrecia and Konstantina) that are attached to the annex of this report.

Some reflections

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