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Solidarity with Riace
September 20, 2019
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Article by Elisabeth Voß, NETZ für Selbstverwaltung und Kooperation Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.

Mural by Carlos Atoche on the wall of the (former) village school.
Photo by Elisabeth Voss.

Like many mountain villages in Southern Italy, Riace on the East coast of Calabria is also affected by outward migration. Since 1998, refugees have been taken in there, could live in the village and work together with the locals in small projects. Life returned to the village, there were jobs and modest prosperity, and the school was able to reopen. For the refugees, the solidarity-based reception was an alternative to accommodation in the inhumane mass camps, where the Mafia also often earns well. Riace and his mayor Domenico “Mimmo” Lucano were known all over the world and honoured with many prizes.

Two years ago, however, the payment of subsidies from the SPRAR program (Sistema di Protezione per Richiedenti Asilo e Rifugiati) was stopped, in October 2018 Domenico Lucano was arrested, placed under house arrest, then banished from Riace. The welcome projects were closed. Domenico Lucano and about 30 other residents were accused of promoting illegal immigration. In May 2019, Antonio Trifoli, a candidate supported by the Lega, won the mayoral election, but he is currently under impeachment proceedings. On September 5th 2019 – one day after Salvini was no longer Minister of the Interior – Lucano was allowed to enter his village again.

Cultural festival of the foundation “È stato il vento” at the beginning of August 2019.
Photo by Valeria Fioranti.

There are repeated protests against these attacks against humanity and solidarity. A foundation “È stato il vento” (It was the wind) was established. It supports the remaining refugees in Riace and wants to “create and secure a local economy based on the criteria of solidarity, emancipation and respect for the environment”. The foundation is renovating flats for a new solidarity tourism and is preparing the reopening of the workshops.

The RIPESS General Assembly in Lyon in June 2019 decided to support Riace. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Elisabeth Voß of the new RIPESS member, NETZ für Selbstverwaltung und Selbstorganisation“ (NETZ for self-government and self-organisation), or directly the Foundation.

More about the foundation: https://estatoilvento.it/
Elisabeth Voß collects informations about Riace here (in German): www.riace.solioeko.de

Translation of the text :

Solidariät mit Riace

Wie viele Bergdörfer in Süditalien ist auch Riace an der kalabrischen Ostküste von Abwanderung betroffen. Seit 1998 wurden dort Flüchtlinge aufgenommen, konnten im Dorf leben und mit den Einheimischen in kleinen Projekten zusammen arbeiten. Es kam wieder Leben ins Dorf, es gab Arbeitsplätze und bescheidenen Wohlstand, die Schule konnte wieder öffnen. Für die Flüchtlinge war die solidarische Aufnahme eine Alternative zur Unterbringung in den menschenunwürdigen Massenlagern, an denen auch die Mafia oft gut verdient. Die Regierung nahm die Aufnahmebereitschaft des Dorfes gerne in Anspruch, Riace und sein Bürgermeister Domenico „Mimmo“ Lucano wurden dafür weltweit bekannt und mit vielen Preisen geehrt.

Bereits vor zwei Jahren wurde jedoch die Auszahlung der Fördermittel aus dem SPRAR-Programm (Sistema di Protezione per Richiedenti Asilo e Rifugiati) eingestellt, im Oktober 2018 wurde Domenico Lucano verhaftet, unter Hausarrest gestellt, dann aus Riace verbannt. Die Willkommensprojekte wurden geschlossen. Domenico Lucano und etwa 30 weitere Einwohner*innen wurden angeklagt wegen der Förderung illegaler Einreise. Im Mai 2019 gewann der von der Lega unterstützte Kandidat Antonio Trifoli die Bürgermeisterwahl, jedoch läuft gegen ihn ein Amtsenthebungsverfahren. Erst am 5. September 2019 – einen Tag nachdem Salvini nicht mehr Innenminister war – durfte Lucano sein Dorf wieder betreten.

Gegen diese Angriffe auf Menschlichkeit und Solidarität gibt es immer wieder Proteste. Eine Stiftung „È stato il vento“ (Es war der Wind) wurde gegründet. Sie unterstützt die verbliebenen Flüchtlinge in Riace und möchte dort wieder “eine lokale Wirtschaft schaffen und sichern, die auf den Kriterien der Solidarität, der Emanzipation und des Respekts für die Umwelt basiert.” Die Stiftung richtet Wohnungen für einen neuen Solidaritätstourismus her und bereitet die Wiedereröffnung der Werkstätten vor.

Die Mitgliederversammlung von RIPESS im Juni 2019 in Lyon hat beschlossen, Riace zu unterstützen. Näheres in einem nächsten Rundbrief, wer Fragen oder Anregungen hat, wende sich bitte an Elisabeth Voß vom neuen RIPESS-Mitglied „NETZ für Selbstverwaltung und Selbstorganisation“, oder direkt an die Stiftung.

Mehr zur Stiftung: https://estatoilvento.it/
Elisabeth Voß sammelt hier Informationen zu Riace (in deutscher Sprache): www.riace.solioeko.de

A cooperative Call Center from Refugees to Refugees (R2R)
October 7, 2016
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R2R Afisa call center Greece

The phone line of the cooperative call service ‘Refugees to Refugees (R2R) Solidarity Call Center’ began to operate on Thursday 8th September 2016 in Greece. For three months now, 4 refugees (from Syria, Egypt, Morocco and Gambia) and people from the solidarity movement have been working cooperatively together, through open and democratic processes, in order to create a cooperative initiative that will provide information about transit, stay, or settlement in Greece, from refugees to refugees. This action will be an important milestone, because it is being developed by refugees themselves who speak the same language and have been through the same difficult experiences in transit.

Read more

Refugees: community and grassroot solidarity initiatives are multiplying
April 2, 2016
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As the European “refugee crisis” is getting worse every day and governments react with emergency and short term strategies, mainly to contain the number of people entering the EU or keeping them in specific areas (with agreements that ignore human rights, such as the one between the EU and Turkey), more and more people are organising and welcoming those fleeing from war zones such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq.  Some cities as well have started to mobilise, such as Barcelona, which has created a system to inform, assist and involve refugees in a more open and democratic way. In Germany and Italy, many communities are moving and involving social solidarity economy initiatives to help refugees out of the emergency.

In Greece, Solidarity for all is working with many solidarity initiatives that are now concentrated on the issue.  There is also a Refugees’ Fund crowdfunding campaign, promoted by Fair CoopThis fund will focus on helping autonomous and self-managed projects involving refugees and solving their need to retain full control over the decisions made in their lives.
For example new settlements, and the creation of productive and holistic initiatives with which they can fulfill their material and immaterial needs on a daily basis, while offering something useful to the society in which they find themselves.
For contributions and more info click on this link: https://coopfunding.net/en/campaigns/refugees-fund-faircoop/

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