Keep Steki plugged in! Τhe first public financial report of our campaign #KeepStekiPluggedIn

Keep Steki plugged in! Τhe first public financial report of our campaign #KeepStekiPluggedIn


The balance between struggles and practical solidarity is one of the main – and possibly the most difficult – issues that the antiracist movement faces. By this we mean the way these elements are combined and feed in to each other, so as solidarity does end up in paying back the state, or becoming an individualized humanitarianism, and in order for our claims not to end up just ideological babbling. We took risks in the past and we keep on risking, with social centers, solidarity schools, solidarity kitchens, housing squats for the refugees etc.

We encountered such a difficult risk 7 years ago with the Refugee Shelter of Thessaloniki (Siatistis str). This Refugee Shelter has been the only refugees’ accommodation in Thessaloniki for several years until January 2010 when it unexpectedly shut down. At that point, we had no choice but to step in and keep the Shelter alive, since we were the ones demanding hosting for the refugees. The Refugee Shelter worked quite exemplarily, managed by the joint assembly of tenants and activists, for about a year. The shelter’s material support was based only on the Antiracist Initiative and the solidarity of dozens of other people and collectives, who offered volunteer work, first aid items and money. Afterwards, the Antiracist Initiative resigned from the co-management of the Shelter, given that from the first moment our decision was that of temporary support, until the Shelter returns to a scheme of public funding and management.  However, that was not the case and so, by the end of 2014, the Shelter shut down permanently and the last tenants were transferred to flats.

Taking this risk, we gained a lot: comrades, experience and joy. The tenants also gained something as they found shelter and support. However, a huge problem remained a debt of 85,000 euros. In the summer of 2010, the Public Power Corporation (PPC, or DEI in Greek) stopped the power supply. Despite the continuing efforts to reconnect to the network, that was technically impossible. Meanwhile, not a single public institution accepted to do anything about it. So the only solution, in order for the tenants not to become homeless, was to bear the electricity connection into the legal entity representing the Social Center/Migrants’ Place (Steki). In the meantime, from 2010 to 2014 and although we were well aware that we were being charged with the electricity bills, we could not request a power disconnection as long as there were still refugees, families and children accommodated inside the building. When the Refugee Shelter was eventually evacuated from the tenants and we stopped the power supply, the PPC transferred the Refugee Shelter’s debt to the Social Center’s (Steki) bill and, despite our constant interventions, it was made clear to us that there is no chance of cancelling this debt. Consequently, if we do not pay it back, the Social Center will be shut down, without this guaranteeing that we will get rid of the debt. In addition, we will also experience a political defeat of the Antiracist Initiative of Thessaloniki and the solidarity movements.

Facing these threats, we decided to recognize the debt and request the arrangement of the repayment: monthly installments of € 1,200. For a year now, we set up a campaign for the financial support and for the first time in our history we asked solidary collectives, comrades and friends, to help us #KeepStekiPluggedIn. We also clarified that only for this reason we will accept money from the state and other stakeholders,  despite that it is Steki’s and the Antiracist Initiative’s statutory decision not to accept any private or state funding for their activities. However, this debt is not ours and the only possible way for anyone who shares the responsibility to contribute is through our own account. Therefore, we decided that any donation will be published and, of course, it will be directed only to the payment of the debt.

A year later, we publish the first financial report of our campaign. During this time, we received €15,000 from «Solidarity for All», €1,200 from Thessaloniki Port Authority, €2,400 from Hellenic Petroleum, €1,000 from the Association of Hospital Doctors in Thessaloniki, €1,200 from the Social Solidarity Clinic of Thessaloniki, €300 from «Asamblea apoyo migrantes Salamanca «, €300 from comrades from the Basque Country, €150 from Portuguese social centers, €280 from the RedNoteBook website, €420 from the Radical Left Network, €2,600 from individual contributions and €2,800 from our crowdfunding webpage at From the total of 27,668 euros, 12 installments (€14,400) and €7,000 in interest have been already paid. At this point, we need to stress that for no other reason we would ever accept some of the above amounts, such as the ones coming from companies, except for the repayment of the Refugee Shelter’s debt.

In conclusion, we are still plugged-in and we keep up the struggle, but we still need the solidarity of all of you:

– Visit the webpage and make a donation through our crowdfunding platform. Any amount, even two or five euros, is valuable and encouraging for us. You can also repeat these donations whenever possible for you.

– Contact us for a regular subscription through a bank order.

– Spread this message wherever and whenever you can.

– Organize in your social centers, your areas and neighborhoods and towns an event for the financial support of Steki.

– Join our events in Thessaloniki starting next Sunday, 12th of November, from 7 pm and on at Steki (Ermou 23). This event will open with a presentation of the Refugee Shelter project and the #KepStekiPluggedIn campaign, together with a presentation for City Plaza squat, the new initiative for the refugees’ housing in Athens. A concert of “Pleeri Ntaksi” will follow, accompanied by a free contribution bazaar (such as paintings, books, discs, clothes and so on) for the financial support of the campaign.


Social Center – Migrants’ Place (Steki)

Ermou str. 23, Thessaloniki

Δελτίο Τύπου: Δυναμικά ξεκίνησε η καμπάνια οικονομικής ενίσχυσης του Στεκιού Μεταναστών

Δελτίο Τύπου: Δυναμικά ξεκίνησε η καμπάνια οικονομικής ενίσχυσης του Στεκιού Μεταναστών

Δελτίο Τύπου – Ανακοίνωση

Θεσσαλονίκη, 18/5/2017

Δυναμικά ξεκίνησε η καμπάνια οικονομικής ενίσχυσης του Στεκιού Μεταναστών

Εδώ και λίγες ημέρες, ξεκινήσαμε τη διαδικτυακή καμπάνια οικονομικής ενίσχυσης του Κοινωνικού Κέντρου-Στεκιού Μεταναστών στη Θεσσαλονίκη, μέσα από τη σελίδα

Είναι η πρώτη φορά που ζητάμε τόσο επιτακτικά τη στήριξη των μελών, των φίλων, των συντρόφων, όλων όσοι θέλουν να συνεχίσει η δράση και η παρουσία μας, γιατί είναι και η πρώτη φορά που πραγματικά κινδυνεύουμε. Αιτία είναι ένα παλιό “χρέος αλληλεγγύης”, ο απλήρωτος λογαριασμός στη ΔΕΗ του Ξενώνα Προσφύγων, ύψους 85.000. Το χρέος αυτό έχει φορτωθεί στην πλάτη του Στεκιού, αφού, όταν πριν από 6 περίπου χρόνια ο ξενώνας αυτός απειλήθηκε με κλείσιμο, προσφέραμε το δικό μας όνομα ως τη μοναδική άμεση λύση για να μην κοπεί το ρεύμα και να μην μείνουν οι πρόσφυγες στο δρόμο. Σήμερα, το χρέος πέρασε στο λογαριασμό του Στεκιού Μεταναστών και, για να μην κλείσουμε εμείς αυτή τη φορά, αναγκαστήκαμε να ζητήσουμε ρύθμιση, πληρώνοντας 1.200 ευρώ το μήνα. Περισσότερα για αυτή την παλιά, δύσκολη, αλλά και πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα από τη σκοπιά της έμπρακτης αλληλεγγύης, ιστορία μπορείτε να δείτε στην ιστοσελίδα της καμπάνιας

Το ποσό φαίνεται εξοντωτικό και το εγχείρημα δύσκολο, άλλη λύση όμως δεν υπάρχει. Για αυτό κι απευθυνόμαστε σε όλους τους αλληλέγγυους χώρους κι ανθρώπους, ζητώντας τη συνδρομή τους. Και ευτυχώς, ξεκινήσαμε πολύ καλά! Μέσα στις πρώτες ημέρες λειτουργίας της πλατφόρμας crowdfunding μαζεύτηκε ήδη μία μηνιαία δόση. Ελπίζουμε λοιπόν και προχωράμε μπροστά.

Με την ευκαιρία μάλιστα, το τριήμερο που μας έρχεται (19-22 Μάη), γιορτάζουμε τα όγδοα γενέθλια του Στεκιού με πάρτι, θεατρικά δρώμενα, λαϊκό γλέντι και σας καλούμε όλους και όλες. Τα όποια έσοδα από τις εκδηλώσεις θα πάνε -φυσικά- στην ενίσχυση του ερχόμενου radical pride, στη διαμόρφωση αίθουσας για “άστεγες” εκδηλώσεις και παραστάσεις και στο δίκτυο φιλοξενίας προσφύγων. Όπως βλέπετε, είμαστε αδιόρθωτοι/ες!

 Κοινωνικό Κέντρο – Στέκι Μεταναστών


Press Release: The debt of the ex-Refugee Shelter in Thessaloniki

Press Release: The debt of the ex-Refugee Shelter in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki, October 2016

In the last few months the Antiracist Initiative of Thessaloniki and the Social Centre – Immigrants’ Place (Steki) in Thessaloniki have been threatened with closure due to a long overdue debt. It is a debt of 85.000€ to the Public Power Corporation (PPC, or DEI in Greek) and of 5.000€ to the Municipality of Thessaloniki owed by the now defunct Refugee Shelter. The Antiracist Initiative and Steki have been bearing the burden of this debt for 6 years now since the only Refugee Shelter in the city of Thessaloniki was threatened with closure. At that time, we offered our own legal name as the bearer of the electricity costs of that Refugee Shelter. That was the only immediately available solution to keep the shelter operational and prevent refugees hosted there from becoming homeless. In what follows we describe the key-points of that hard but interesting solidarity effort to organise a Refugee Shelter as well as how we propose to deal with this outrageous debt.

The history of the old Refugees’ Shelter in Thessaloniki

The Refugees’ Shelter, situated at the Siatistis 12 & Filippou corner, had been for many years the only hosting facility for refugees in the city of Thessaloniki and was providing accommodation to 14 families (or approximately 70 people). In January 2010 the shelter was shut down by the NGO that was managing it on the grounds of financial difficulties (according to the NGO’s declaration). At that time, the Antiracist Initiative of Thessaloniki with the support of other collectives and concerned parties – such as unions, associations, municipal movements and political parties of the left – as well as with the active participation and support of hundreds of people, organised a common front in order to rescue the Refugees’ Shelter from closure. Our initial target was to keep the Shelter open and operational, by any means necessary, till a public entity could take over the financing and the operation of the facility since we believed – and still do so – that this should be a responsibility of the state.

Despite the difficulties that such a new project involved for us, the Refugees’ Shelter operated in an excellent way managed by the common assembly of refugees and solidarity people for more than a year. The practical needs were covered only by the Antiracist Initiative and the practical solidarity and material support of dozens of other people and collectives which offered voluntary work, financial support and in-kind donations.  This way, we managed to cover all the needs of the residents of the shelter without any funding, since the Antiracist Initiative does not accept, in principle, any financial subsidies for its activities.

The most serious difficulty we faced was in the summer of 2010 when DEI stopped the provision of electricity – responsibility for the utility costs until that time rested with the NGO that left the Shelter’s management a few months earlier. Despite concerted efforts to re-connect the electricity (legally or not, and even with the use of a generator), it was not technically possible. On the other hand, Thermi City Council (who is the owner of the building), Thessaloniki City Council and other responsible public entities declined to provide any support. Thus at that point, the only way to keep the facility open was to bear the electricity costs on our own. To do so, we collectively decided in consultation with all parties involved in the project to start a new electricity account in the name of the not-for-profit legal entity «Social Centre of Thessaloniki» which we had established to support the formal operations of the Social Centre – Immigrants’ Place (space rental, utility bills etc.). It was obvious that this not-for-profit entity could not legally undertake responsibility for the utility costs of the Refugee Shelter as it did not have a legal relationship with the building hosting the shelter (no legal form of ownership, rental or concession). However, the new connection succeeded after our collective political intervention, always with the aim to keep the shelter functional and the residents living and surviving there. During that year of self-management (till 12/2010) we redeemed properly all expenses- including the electricity bill – by paying 2000€ as guarantee and 3.864€ for electricity consumption.

However, because during this time we were unable to find a relevant public entity willing to undertake the regular and permanent operation of the Refugee Shelter, the Antiracist Initiative was forced at the end of 2010 to pull out of the project as it couldn’t – and should not have to – bear the responsibility to cover the operational costs indefinitely. The Refugee Shelter continued to operate and host refugee families till November 2014 when, at the initiative of solidarity citizens, financial support and apartments were offered for the relocation of the remaining families. The Refugees’ Shelter has since been evacuated and locked down by the building’s owner.

During the period between the Antiracist Initiative’s withdrawal and the final closure of the Refugee Shelter, dozens of refugee families were accommodated and the 24 electricity connections recorded consumption corresponding to 80.000€. At Antiracist Initiative we were aware of the fact that these expenses were being charged to us but we could not request a disconnection as the building was still hosting refugees and children. In our view, the only solution would have been the re-establishing of the shelter as the responsibility of a public entity which would, reasonably, assume the debt, something that obviously never happened.

The Current Situation

After the final evacuation of the Refugees’ Shelter building and the termination of the contract with DEI, there was a total amount of 80.066€ charged to the 23 Ermou street account of the not-for-profit Social Centre – Immigrants’ Place (Steki). To this debt another amount of 4.220€ of municipal fees has been added. Despite our repeated appeals and objections with DEI management, it has been made clear to us that there is no possibility of waiving this debt. If we were not to accept it, then Steki would have been threatened with immediate power disconnection and the debt transferred to those comrades acting as legal representatives of the non-profit organization.  Meanwhile, for the past 18 months we have had to pay DEI over 5.000€ in interest to avoid disconnection.

If we don’t settle the debt, it is obvious that Steki will shut down and even then the debt would still be payable. Without Steki all those solidarity activities that are hosted and supported by its existence, such as the solidarity courses for migrants and Greeks, solidarity kitchen, the collection and distribution of basic necessities and many other activities will stop existing. In addition, we believe that this will be also a political failure and a step backwards on the part of the Antiracist Initiative and solidarity movements.

In view of these risks, we had no choice but to decide to collectively assume responsibility for the debt and ask for repayment by instalments, although it is obvious that this debt has not arisen as a result of some action or lack of action on our part, but as a result of our decision to stand in solidarity – without considering the consequences – with a collective need in our city.

As we have mentioned before, the Antiracist Initiative and Steki have made a statutory decision to not request or accept any funding from public or private institutions. The only income which sustains our solidarity initiatives and all other activities, is derived from individual donations, our publicly organised events and the everyday operation of Steki. It is obvious however that without any additional resources it will be impossible to fulfil the repayment arrangement of such a huge debt and this is why we have been obliged to reach out – first and foremost – to all those parties that were participating or supported the old Refugees’ Shelter project, asking that they share the responsibility of repayment of this common debt.

As the debt is in our name, anyone willing to contribute to the repayment can do so only through donations to the legal entity representing Steki. For this reason and for the first and only time in our history, we have no alternative than to accept funding, even from organisations we have never considered as potential backers. It is an extremely unpleasant and soul-crushing situation for us which, unfortunately, we cannot avoid.

It is absolutely clear that all the money received will be directed entirely and exclusively towards the repayment of the 80.000€ debt to DEI. This means that donations will have no impact on Steki and Antiracist Initiative finances and activities. Steki and the Antiracist Initiative will not only abstain from benefiting from this arrangement but – necessarily – will further contribute according to their maximum capacity to service this debt by requesting the urgent contribution of Steki’s friends and supporters. The financial arrangement will be public and transparent. In this regard, we would like to announce, through this circular, the donation of 15.000€ from «Solidarity for All» directed to the repayment of the debt, as in 2010 Syriza was one of the allies of Antiracist Initiative in the Refugees’ Shelter project. On the same grounds, we further announce that we have requested funds from Thessaloniki City Council, DEI and others.

In particular, we reach out to every solidarity collective, every comrade in Greece and abroad, by asking to contribute – always according to their capacity – for the repayment of the debt, because this is the only way to keep Steki alive and continue the solidarity activities that take place there as well as the socio-political interventions of the Antiracist Initiative. In the 20 years since the establishment of Antiracist Initiative and the 12 years of Steki’s operation we have managed to cope with all difficulties and stay alive. We strongly believe that it is worth fighting once more.

Antiracist Initiative of Thessaloniki & Social Centre – Migrants’ Place


A few word about us

The Antiracist Initiative of Thessaloniki was established in 1998 as an open coordination space of movements for the social and political collectives of Thessaloniki fighting against the cruelty of racism. We’ve been fighting for 19 years now through demonstrations, protests, events and the «Antiracism Festival» for legalisation and social equality for migrants, open borders and asylum provision for refugees as well as for the organisation of solidarity and material support towards all oppressed and excluded social groups. We operate on the basis of a weekly open assembly (every Wednesday at 9pm) and we are based in Social Centre – Immigrants’ Place.

Further Info:, fb: 

The Social Centre – Immigrants’ Place (Steki) was established in 2004 by Antiracist Initiative and since 2009 has its premises in the historic building of Ermou 23, in the city centre of Thessaloniki. Except from Antiracist Initiative, in its 3 floors, Steki hosts nowadays more than 20 political movements, labour, social and immigrants’ collectives, assemblies and initiatives, as well as theatrical and cultural groups. Several activities and collectives of material solidarity have been developed in Steki, like «Ektos Taxis» education group that provides free courses in natives and immigrants, Solidarity Kitchen that provides every weekend meals and company to hundreds of people, Room39 that collects and distributes NFIs and food in refugees and homeless, the Legal Team for the Protection of Refugees’ and Immigrants’ Rights and many other temporary or permanent projects.

Further Info:, fb: