Our History
Our name and influences
Oikologiki Kinisi Thessalonikis in fact means ecological move or action or movement. This shows our emphasis on action and social mobilization. We consider ourselves as a social ecology group and we are much influenced by the work of Murray Bookchin. Andre Gorz, Ivan Illich and Cornelius Castoriadis played also a very important role in our ideological formation. However, we welcome all other aspects of the green spectrum (with some reservations for Deep Ecology, even if we believe that several aspects of Arne Naess's philosophy are worthwhile).

The first years
Our group was founded in 1982, by an initial core of people with ecological sensitivities who wanted to turn them into action. The first major campaign was about Thessaloniki's Ring Road (or By-Pass), which was planned to pass through the urban forest that surrounds the city and means a lot to its citizens. Thousands of trees were planned to fell. Demonstrations both on the site of the works in the forest and in the city's main streets raised a significant public support (there was a march where 2000 people were gathered). Unfortunately, this mobilization didn't manage to cancel the construction of the new road. It gave the group however, a good boost to continue.

 

At those times we had an open form of organisation, with a weekly free meeting as an organisational core element. Decisions were made by whoever was present. This main grass-root democracy function remained even when we increased in numbers (late '80ies). We tried to have formal full members with subscriptions, but the volunteer form of participation never let us get as well organised, as we would like to be. From the other hand we didn't want a fully professional organisation.

Oikologiki Kinisi Thessalonikis was a school from which many initiatives emerged and took their autonomous route. In 1984, a small group of university students in Thessaloniki, most of which belonged to Oikologiki Kinissi, undertook the first attempts to treat injured or sick wild animals. They rescued animals from the city zoo, where the public abandoned them not having anything better to do with them other than stuff them. Very soon the small group joined the Hellenic Ornithological Society (http://www.ornithologiki.gr/en/enmain.htm), and wildlife rehabilitation became a regular activity of the Society for several years and received much publicity for its success. In 1990, the Hellenic Wildlife Hospital, a non-profit organization, was founded by the most active rehabbers, who were mostly members of the original team, and continues to work today. Today, the hospital is based on the island of Aegina (http://www.ekpaz.gr).

The early ‘90ies and the tribulations of the Greek Green Party (Ecologists-Alternatives)
After the first attempts of the Greek ecological movement to form a party and participate to elections (early '90ies), many problems came on the surface both of the movement and of the groups. As a result the Greek ecological federation collapsed, group membership declined and some of the smaller and newer groups ceased to exist. Oikologiki Kinisi Thessalonikis managed to survive but with very reduced membership (the core group not exceeding 10 persons). However, the group's positions had still a strong appeal to the audience.

The mid '90s and the election of one Member in the Council of the Prefecture of Thessaloniki
In 1995, we founded ANTIGONE – Information & Documentation Centre on Racism, Ecology, Peace and Non Violence (http://www.antigone.gr).

The political agenda of our group consists of the main pillars of the green ideology: ecology, peace/non-violence, grassroots democracy, human rights, social solidarity, with a strong social context, which attracted several people from the critical left. In the mid '90ies a green-left list was agreed in order to participate to the local elections. This list had strong anti-nationalistic opinions, during a period that nationalistic sentiments were stirred by the name and flag of the new neighbour of Greece (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the local elections of 1998, the list managed to have the support of the Greek party of the European left (Synaspismos) and made it possible to elect one member to the Prefecture Council: Michalis Tremopoulos, a founder member of Oikologiki Kinisi and a well known member of the Greek ecological movement.

The late '90s and the wars in Balkans
During the first half of 1999, the issue of the war in Kossovo consumed all our energies. We were very disappointed that the German Greens and especially Yoshca Fisher chose to drop one of the main pillars of green ideology and support a war. We were equally disappointed by his statement that he was never a member of the peace movement, but was revolutionary leftist (we don't believe in any form of violence, "revolutionary", "humanitarian" or whatever). Anyway, we declared our opposition to the war and to any war, as well as our opposition to the ethnic cleansic practices of the Serbian Government. We tried to draw the attention of the Greek public against the support of Mr. Milosevich. We tried to strengthen the ties of the Balkan green, peace and democratic groups and we organised a conference with speakers from the Serbian Independent Syndicates and the Kossovar independent press. We strongly believe that the war caused much more problems and hatred and that the only solution lies in a grassroots networking of non-governmental organisations working on social solidarity, ecology, democracy and non-violence. After all, we believe that this is the solution to every oppressive regime, including the globalised corporate dictatorship that is drying the planet off every form of life.

During 2000, our main campaigns were about genetically modified foods (we try to build a nation-wide coalition against GMOs) and the changes to the Greek Constitution proposed by a parliamentary committee. Particularly, the proposed change of Article 24, concerning forest and nature protection, is unacceptably vague and less strong than the previous form. It permits the change of land use by a simple parliamentary decision and law, not permitting judicial control based on natural sciences, after a citizen’s (or a group of citizens) petition. This is anticipated to result in further loss of natural areas in favour of urban development.

The new millennium
During the first years of the new millennium, we continued to contribute in a nation-wide movement against GMOs. In 2004, a Greek Network against GMOs managed to form and now tries to get more organised.

We also initiated an Ecological Forum (in 2001), aiming in bringing together the more politically oriented green groups of Greece, since we had realised the lack of an autonomous and strong green political voice in the country. This finally resulted in another effort of party building, which took the form of Ecologists-Greens. The party was founded in 2003 and became a member of the European Federation of Green Parties.
http://www.europeangreens.org/peopleandparties/members/greece.html
http://www.eurogreens.org/

In the local elections of 2002, Michalis was re-elected in the Council of Thessaloniki Prefecture. He is currently the head of the list of candidates of Ecologists-Greens for the European Parliament:
http://www.eurogreens.org/cms/candidates/dok/7/7443.tremopoulos@en.htm

Two decades of action for the city, the environment, and for social solidarity
We never ceased to study, prepare proposals and generally be active about issues of urban ecology, the traffic problem, the protection of the urban forest, the city sewage treatment, etc. In June 1998 we participated in the Global Street Party, organised by the British group Reclaim the Streets, had correspondence with them and displayed their video in a public event, in 2001. Another direction of action is the nearby biotopes, like the forest of Chortiatis or the two Ramsar wetlands (Deltas of Axios, Loudias and Aliakmonas rivers and lakes Koronia and Volvi). On the same time, there is a sub-group working on issues of conscientious objectors, peace, anti-militarism and non-violence, which publishes (not so regularly!) the magazine ARNOUMAI (I REFUSE).

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