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.
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