Temporary blog of the CWI

Strong message by the school students of Volos against waste incineration!

Report by Xekinima – CWI Majority in Greece 

Rhythm, liveliness, enthusiasm and impressive participation were the main features of the school students` demonstration on 21st of November against waste incineration by the Lafarge cement factory in Volos, against air pollution in the city, against the plans of the Volos municipal authorities to build a ‘Solid Recovered Fuel’ factory.  SRF is a process to treat garbage by dehydration, condensation and incineration with a very high level of plastic, heavy metal and carcinogenic emissions. The protesters demanded ecological waste treatment under public ownership.

School students started to arrive at Liberty Square by 10 am and at 11, more than 2.000 school students begun to march through the main streets of the city. On many occasions, older people passing by or watching the demo expressed their support by applauding the young protesters.

University students also took part in the demo together with teachers from the city’s high schools, whose union had called a 3-hour stoppage to support the mobilization.  Fourteen schools out of twenty were also occupied by students on the same day.

Undoubtedly, it was the school students’ dynamism that set the tone of the demonstration. With drums, witty slogans, handmade signs, banners from a number of schools and placards from the “Youth Section” of the “Action Committee of Volos’ Citizens” the school students shouted that they want to live in clean environment. 

Some of the main slogans were “Toxic air? No thank you”, “The air is polluted, education is expensive, your growth is toxic”, “No to waste incineration for the profits of multinationals”, “In your system we don’t have health, we dream a different society”, “We want to make the world a better place, no to waste incineration”, “You talk of profits and losses, we talk of peoples’ lives” etc.

This mass and successful demonstration was the result of hard work by the Youth Section of the Volos’ Action Committee. The Youth Section held a series of open meetings and managed to organize a militant campaign in the weeks before the demonstration. During this period, around 4,000 leaflets were distributed in most of the schools, hundreds of posters were put up, banners were placed and even a short video was created by the school students themselves. The mobilisation was well covered by the national media.

Once again the local community and the youth have shown that they are fully aware of the great health risks posed by waste incineration and that they are determined to fight in order to stop it. It is also clear that the mass youth demonstrations against global warming and the mass upheavals in a number of countries have had an impact on Greek youth.

What needs to be done from now on is to build a democratic organization of the movement, based on a network of action committees in every school linked to the workers and other sections of the population in Volos and the surrounding region, and develop a well thought-out plan in order for the movement to continue the struggle with the aim of bringing an end to waste incineration. At the same time a clear conclusion must be drawn that the root of the problem is the system itself. Capitalism puts profit before the environment and public health. That is why it is necessary to organize and fight to overthrow the rule of private corporations.

Xekinima supporters play a very active role in the Youth Section, as they do in the city’s Action Committee. The whole idea of the school students coming out and for an all-out education strike was proposed by Xekinima supporters who are active in the Youth of the Action Committee. At the same time Xekinima raises the need to link to the working class and plan an all-city general strike, and of course stresses the need for a fight against the capitalist system and for a free and democratic socialist society.