The following article provides a thorough outline of the position and initiatives of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) regarding the ongoing refugee situation in the borders between Greece and Turkey and the Greek islands:
Militant intervention by the communists in the developments concerning the Refugee question
By Nikos Sofianos*
Erdogan's premeditated plan to exploit thousands of refugees - immigrants to advance the aims of Turkey's ruling class –was carried out to a large extent in Evros, following its "capitulation" to Russia at Idlib in Syria. The government’s political utilization of the necessary guarding of the border against this deplorablemaneuver must not cover up the fact of its very active involvement in imperialist designs, in the Aegean, the Middle East, and the Southeastern Mediterranean.
The KKE consistently opposes both the theory of "open borders", which exonerates the Turkish bourgeoisie, the EU, NATO, the US, as well as the reactionary nationalism and racism of the far-right and fascists, who hide the real enemy and the guilty parties, shifting the problem to uprooted peoples and their other victims.
In particular, these developments can demonstrate to the broader popular forces the direct relationship imperialist massacre has with the refugee flows and how dangerous the EU Refugee-Immigration policy is.
A policy initiated by SYRIZA with the EU-Turkey Agreement in March 2016, based on the Dublin III Regulation. With these policies, they have entrapped over 100,000 people in Greeceagainst their will, allowing Erdogan to use therefugee-immigrant flows to the EU and Greece as the first host country to promote the geopolitical pursuits of Turkey's ruling class.
Facing these developments and deals that began with the EU and NATO, we aggressively answer back with our positions on a number of aspects of the political-ideological confrontation, with the political and mass struggle we are wagingagainst the prevailing reactionary propaganda and the hostile opportunist cosmopolitan jabber.
- The consensus of the ND and SYRIZA governments on the validity and implementation of the EU-Turkey Agreement is for us, the pinnacle. They want Greece to serve as a prison for the EU. They violate the right of refugees - immigrants to apply for asylum in the country of their chosen destination, forcing them to apply for asylum and for their case to be examined here in Greece. They are entrapping people on the five islands that are considered hot spots, so that those whose application is rejected can return to Turkey. This results in their multi-month, multi-year entrapment.
- We condemn - we vote down everywhere the plan of the government and essentially all the other parties for the management of refugee-immigrant entrapment which includes: Five compounds on the islands with a capacity of up to 7,000 people on Lesvos - Chios - Samos. Compounds (closed and controlled or detention centers) inland.
- We openly declare that we will not be complicit in the crime of entrapment - Nowhere, not on the islands, nor inland.
- We recognize the right of a refugee - immigrant to apply for asylum in the countries of their chosen destination.
- We demand that they are facilitated in moving to the countries of their chosen destination, by denunciation - withdrawal from the Dublin Regulation and the EU - Turkey Agreement.
Opposition – denunciation must be expressed in movement terms, of the policy of entrapment implemented by the government and other political forces who demand unanimity on their dangerous policy which has turned Greece into an EU prison for refugees and immigrants and a NATO camp - US military base.
They are seeking immediate renewal of the EU - Turkey Agreement, and urge Erdogan to include the right of repatriation to Turkey also from the mainland. For thisreason, they are in a hurry to set up detention centers there. They plan to immediately open two such centers in remote areas but will also persist in the plan for 20 centers in all the Districtsthat was initially announced;plans that had been frozen after universal reactions.
They will persist in trying to operate detention centers on the islands between them, on Kos, Leros, Samos and later,on Lesvos - Chios, calculating the reactions after the government 'defeat' with the invasion of the riot police (MAT).
We must lead the way in the struggle, through the popular organizations that were at the front line in the huge mobilizations, the Struggle Committees, the Labor Centers, the Prefectural Sections of ADEDY, the public sector employees’ union, other popular forces, with the slogan that rallied the islands for 4 days: "No prison of souls, open or closed."
- We hold the front against plans for the uninhabited islands, in order to force the government to back down, generalizing the condemnation of these plans.
- We distinguish and support wherever the program for unaccompanied children is brought before the City Councils. It concerns about 4.5 thousand children. We take solidarity initiatives to support them, to isolate racist-xenophobic reactions.
- Some 25,000 people, mainly asylum seekers, are in residence for long time periodsin the 31 structures already functioning on the mainland. Initiatives are needed for their extrication as the central demand. At the 5 hot spots on the islands, solidarity is focused around refugees’ direct transportation to the mainland and then on to their destination countries. Those wishing to apply for asylum in Greece should be dealt with through host programs. What’s crucial is the refugee’s– immigrant’sdesire to stay in the country and not compulsory application, that is, coercion.
- No NGO can be involved in the management of the situation at any stage. We denounce the hypocrisy of the 66 NGOs that issued an announcement on asylum. They are, among other things, "companies", "solidarity entrepreneurs". All but one NGO welcomed the entrapment deal and collected millions by managing the refugee drama. It is the responsibility of the State and its services for humanitarian care, initial reception - identification, support - management of realizing the right of the refugee - immigrant to go to the countries of chosen destination. NGO workers must be integrated into government structures, drawing on their experience and the knowledge they have gained.
- Border guarding is the job of the police - the border guard, the army, with its pre-designated functions. It is the responsibility of the government to "round up" the fascist-far-right groups, to expel the Nazis and the far-right riffraff from the national guard. It is its responsibility to arrest the arsonists on Lesvos.
- The government measure to cut the housing program and the €90 monthly aid to asylum seekers is unacceptable. Immediate facilitation for asylum seekers to travel to their destination countries. Special programs for those who want to stay in the country based on their knowledge, their profession, individualized support for their residence.
- We condemn the measures announced by the government. Suspending the right of asylum for one month is reprehensible and ineffective. We are strongly opposed to any thought of extending this measure, even more so with a Legislative Decree. We, however, are the only ones to have identified the most dangerous of these measures, which is the responsibility that was handed over to foreign forces (Frontex - Rabit) to guard the Greek border. With this, it strengthens direct intervention in the exercise of our sovereign rights by the EU and NATO. It sounds like a joke that our borders are European and we have managed to make Evrosan EU border. Remember that the "allies" and "partners" regard the methodical and continual violation by the Turkish ruling class of our airspace, sovereignty over islands large and small, the designation of EEZ, all based on international law, to be “differences between Greece and Turkey”.
- We highlight our proposal that asylum cases be examined at the Turkish border and asylum seekers move directly to the countries of destination, with the responsibility of the EU and the UN. There is a need to isolate the various mindless idiots who directly or indirectly propagandize the opening of the border with the rationale, more or less, of imitating Erdogan, in turn exploiting refugee flows to put pressure on the borders with other neighboring EU states, so that supposedly the EU be forced to open its doors. In this way, creating new "Eidomenis" on Greek territory.
- We stand against nationalism, homeland mongering, open or covert fascist propaganda. We stand against the cosmopolitanism of capital and its willing or 'unwitting' supporters of open border theories, with those pushing for US - NATO - EU plansto co-manage the Aegean. The government is playing on both sides, which is why it has supported with both apathy and acceptance, Erdogan's invasion of Syria, the "ripping up" of the Lausanne Treaty, speaking in "ala carte" terms about international law.
The Party with this Statement by the PB, with its ongoing involvement in the mass and political struggle against the organized - methodical silencing by the bourgeoise media of its positions and initiatives, has strengthened the path of struggle against the dangerous imperialist schemes and the participation of the bourgeoisie of Greece - Turkey. Faced with the dangerous escalation of these plans, crucial are the equipping, the popularization, the vanguard action among the working class and radical popular sections, the ability that the Party has shown to intervene decisively in the complex developments we have faced and will continue to face.
* Member of the Political Bureau of the CC of the KKE.