Anarchist Nosotros Community Center in Athens

Nosotros social center was founded in 2005 in a rented three-story building in the heart of Exarchia, the famous anarchist neighborhood of Athens. Marietta is very involved in the center; she told me, as seen on video[i], that the center has no concrete organization or structure, but rather a set of principles. She explained the context that governs all their activities is anti-authoritarian, fair economy, and solidarity, with self-organization as the spine that supports Nosotros. The center is made up of individuals, who each have personal responsibility for what they organize. All activities are self-funded, including paying the rent rather than squatting. Voluntary contributions to get drinks at the bar fund the center. A music academy has been an ongoing part of the center since the beginning and many other free classes are offered. Teachers come to the assembly and propose a course: Current classes are offered in dance, photo, comedy, and foreign languages. A guitar lesson was underway on the roof top room when I visited. Marietta got involved in the center when she took Arabic lessons and served as a DJ at a party at the center, finding a “place to express my political views and my personality.”

An assembly governs Nosotros, held every Monday at 8:00 PM until around 11:00 PM. About 20 to 30 people typically attend unless they’re planning anti-fascist demonstrations or dealing with refugee issues when more attend representing various groups, like the one that runs the refugee squat nearby. Decisions are based on consensus. If someone has a valid objection, an action is not passed. I asked what about people who want to dominate, talk a lot, or who are irresponsible. Marietta said If assembly finds out a person has many too many mistakes or don’t respect the core principles, they’re not welcome at Nosotros. Practical matters are resolved very easily, she reported. Someone volunteers to be the assembly coordinator and another to take minutes, which are sent to the mailing list or around 80 people.

Of course I asked about the role of young people. She said they’re usually about 80% of the assembly, including people as young as 19 and 20. In a recent demonstration in front of the EU Frontex building (the borders agency), 90% were young people protesting stopping boats at sea to segregate refugees from immigrants. In response to my question about any differences in they way they organize, she said they may not be as consistent, and change their minds, but when they get really involved they do it well. They’re also involved in organizing the radical B-Fest, sponsored by Babylonia Magazine, which I was able to attend to see Jerome Roos speak on a panel. Nosotros young activists don’t sit in front of electronic media, because they’re on the streets, said Marietta. The center, of course, uses social media to promote activities.

[i] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJ7yXZuaSXs

 

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