Friday, 27 February 2015

The Defence Of Public Spaces.

    The privatisation of public spaces is an ongoing affair, in country after country. It matters not what particular party you vote into the cesspool of power, they all behave the same, public bad, private good. Of course this is not what the people want and there is a continual struggle to hold onto what public spaces we still have. In Glasgow we have seen the private encroach and gobble up, little by little our public spaces. Not so long ago, a slice of St Enoch Square was added to a shopping mall, before that a part of Pollok Park became a motorway, and the council's latest venture is to take away the Buchanan Steps, a popular meeting place, and turn it in to an addition to the Buchanan shopping mall, and so it goes on.
      However it doesn't always go the way of the money addicts, and it swells the heart with pride when the private is shown the door and the public triumph.
      On one of my visits to Athens in 2009, a story unfolded of the park in Athens that the council decide to turn into a car park, ripped up the trees with the intention of concreting the space, but the people decide otherwise, and proceeded to replant the area with trees. Thanks to the continuing effort and solidarity of the ordinary people, it is still, in 2015, a park and a meeting place for the public. We could all learn from the people involved.
      On January 26th 2009, Athens Municipality crews on the orders of the then mayor N.Kaklamanis destroyed the park located on Kyprou Street, uprooting its perennial trees with a view to handing over the space to a private parking company.
     Its cementing was prevented thanks to the immediate mobilisation and combative resistance of local residents and people in solidarity, who put in collective efforts to regenerate the park, planting 150 new trees and shrubs, and transformed it once again into an open public green space and a focal point of social struggle.
     Six years after the park was destroyed, and despite the systematic machinations of the municipal authority and the state, we continue to resist in a collective, self-organised, anti-institutionalised and self-determined manner against its commercialisation, ghettoisation and antisocial use, and we keep defending its open, social character.
Nowadays, when the largest part of society suffers the consequences of an all-out attack by the state and the bosses, we continue to defend every focus of resistance against poverty, fear, exploitation, racism and repression, for a society of equality, solidarity and freedom.
Visit ann arky's home at www.radicalglasgow.me.uk

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