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Asylum: Majd's Perilous Journey
Beirut
By Transterra Editor
19 Jun 2015

When we talk about the problems that face the world, we often discuss them in magnitude and numbers. We speak of millions displaced, hundreds of thousands dead, and many wounded.

However, what is often lost below the melee of statistics and news headlines are the stories of the individuals who endure these tragedies. Their personal experiences are what humanize all of the numbers and talking heads.

22-year-old Majd Bayoush was driven out of his hometown of Kafranbel, Syria by war. Desperate to start a new life abroad, he was smuggled to Europe via a long and dangerous underground railway.

He first travelled overland to Turkey, and then took a dangerously overloaded inflatable boat from Turkey to the Greek island of Samos. Once in Greece, he was registered with the Greek authorities and held in a migrant detention center.

After his release from the migrant detention center he began a perilous and exhausting overland journey from Greece to Germany. He trudged on foot over mountains and through forests in the bitter European cold.

Despite his tribulations, Majd was one of the lucky ones. He reached his destination of Hamburg…alive.

Majd’s story is just one of millions of stories about migrants risking their lives over sea and land to have a chance at a better life.

June 20th marks World Refugee Day. The commemoration is an opportunity to pause and consider that, with 50 million displaced people worldwide, today's refugee crisis is the biggest since World War 2.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 3
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
15 Nov 2013

A permanent road block in Ierissos, where people, citizens and activist surveile the entrance of Ierissos to prevent police attack.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 2
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
15 Nov 2013

Activists preparing the location for an antigold solidarity concert in Ierissos.

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Viome 26
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

The workers of Vio.Me., a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners, have been unpaid since May 2011. By decision of their general assembly they have decided to occupy the factory and operate it under direct democratic workers’ control. After a year-long struggle that has attracted attention and solidarity in Greece and worldwide, they are kick-starting production on February 12, 2013, after 3 days of intense mobilization.

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Viome, a self-management factory in T...
thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

Before the beginning of the international crisis, Viome were a factory in Thessaloniki with around 80 workers. The factory produced chemical products for the construction sector, owned by Philippou family. The main company of the Philippou's group, Philkeram-Johnson S.A, were in bankrupt in 2011 and the consequences for Viome were immediately adverse. After institutional meetings without a clear solution, the workers decide to re-take the factory and the production. In September 2012, after a 48hours strike, the workers start to discuss the idea of self-management, and the 97% of workers vote for it.

After the occupation of the factory, on 12 February 2013, the workers started the self-management production, selling cleaning products. A huge solidarity movement support the workers, with national and international inititatives to promote and diffuse the "Viome way", where now workers control the factory, without any owner.

Around 40 people work in Viome, with a basic wage for everyone and 8 hours working time 5 days a week. The general assembly decide the main question and a weekly meeting discuss he more operative aspects. "At the beginning was difficult, but we are sure that our situation is gonna be better, even better than before the crisis", said a worker of Viome. Economic crisis and bad decision from the Viome's leadership, contribute to the difficult situation of the factory, with with the probable dismissal of around 80 workers.

Since the workers have retake the factory, they've started a new production of cleaning products, looking for a sustainable and ethical production, including workers rights and a big challenge: spread the idea that workers create everything, and the have to take bake what they onw, in any cities and countries around the world.

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Viome 25
Salonicco
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

The workers of Vio.Me., a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners, have been unpaid since May 2011. By decision of their general assembly they have decided to occupy the factory and operate it under direct democratic workers’ control. After a year-long struggle that has attracted attention and solidarity in Greece and worldwide, they are kick-starting production on February 12, 2013, after 3 days of intense mobilization.

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Viome 16
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

Workers inside Viome attending the visit of Naomi Klein.

The workers of Vio.Me., a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners, have been unpaid since May 2011. By decision of their general assembly they have decided to occupy the factory and operate it under direct democratic workers’ control. After a year-long struggle that has attracted attention and solidarity in Greece and worldwide, they are kick-starting production on February 12, 2013, after 3 days of intense mobilization.

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Viome 14
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

The workers of Vio.Me., a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners, have been unpaid since May 2011. By decision of their general assembly they have decided to occupy the factory and operate it under direct democratic workers’ control. After a year-long struggle that has attracted attention and solidarity in Greece and worldwide, they are kick-starting production on February 12, 2013, after 3 days of intense mobilization.

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Viome 3
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

The workers of Vio.Me., a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners, have been unpaid since May 2011. By decision of their general assembly they have decided to occupy the factory and operate it under direct democratic workers’ control. After a year-long struggle that has attracted attention and solidarity in Greece and worldwide, they are kick-starting production on February 12, 2013, after 3 days of intense mobilization.

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Viome 9
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

"It's all about workers. The workers create everything, they have to take back what the own", said a Viome's worker.

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Viome 18
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

One of the main problems for Viome was the Filkeram factory (building product), owned by Georgios Filippou. Even before the crisis, when the Viome's situation was good, the owner started to cut wages and hire workers.

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Viome 7
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

About 40 people work actually in Viome. They work 8 hours each day and take the basic wages.

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Viome 15
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

In the general assembly, workers discuss general question, and they have a weekly meeting to plan the production and the working time.

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Viome 1
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

"What we are doing in Viome is not only about this factory. We want to spread this way of production all over Greece and Europe, without bosses and injustice" said a Viome's worker.

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Viome 13
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

"The politicians don't want the self-management, because unemployment and crisis are often useful for low wages and foreing investors", said a worker during a break.

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Viome 10
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

"At the beginning was so difficult, we occupy the factory and now the situation is gonna be better every day, even better than before the crisis", said a worker of Viome.

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Viome 17
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

After bankrupt, workers decide to occupy the factory and then to self-organize the production. Now they produce cleaning products.

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Viome 6
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

A worker close the factory after his 8 hours working shift at Viome in Thessaloniki.

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Viome 2
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

In February 2012, after the occupation of the factory, the workers started a new self-management production, selling cleaning products and trying to expand their experience in other factories in Greece.

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Viome 11
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

In June 2013, Naomi Klein visited the Viome factory as an experiment of social redistribution from the botton. Actually there is no owner of the factory, just the general assembly makes decisions.

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Viome 22
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

“No worker who is not a shareholder, no shareholder who is not a worker,” say the workers of VIOME

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Viome 8
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

A worker dress the Viome t-shirt inside the factory.

The workers are however optimistic: The proceeds from the benefit gig and the donations of supportive groups and individuals collected through viome.org should be enough to keep the company afloat in the first few months. And the support of the social movements means many of the products will be distributed through the existing structures of social and solidary economy.

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Viome 5
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

Viome's worker inside the factory

With unemployment climbing to 30%, workers’ income reaching zero, sick and tired of big words, promises and more taxes, unpaid since May 2011 and currently withholding their labour, with the factory abandoned by the employers, the workers of Vio.Me. by decision of their general assembly declare their determination not to fall prey to a condition of perpetual unemployment, but instead to struggle to take the factory in their own hands and operate it themselves.
Thessaloniki, 29.05.2013

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Viome 4
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

A worker during a break in Viome.

Through a formal proposal dating from October 2011 they have been claiming the establishment of a workers' cooperative under full workers’ control, demanding legal recognition for their own workers’ cooperative, as well as for all the others to follow.
Thessaloniki, 29.05.2013

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VIOME: No Worker who is not a Shareho...
Thessaloniki, Greece
By Editor's Picks
27 May 2013

Michele Lapini, Thessaloniki, Greece: Selected portraits from Viome, a chemical products factory in the north of Greece, where workers have taken over operations and management. For more images, see the collection here: http://transterramedia.com/collections/1460

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 21
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
26 Mar 2013

Activists outside the Court of Poligiros during a trial against the antigold movement.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 22
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
26 Mar 2013

View of Ammouliani island from Ouranopoli, 10 km far from Ierissos.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 23
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
26 Mar 2013

Asterix and Obelix banner in a road block in Ierissos surveilled by the antigold movement.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 25
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
26 Mar 2013

The beach of Stratoni and the mines infrastructure. In december 2012, more than half a mile of the bay, known for its large sandy beaches, clear waters, and abundant fishing, was streaked with pollution leaked from Stratoni.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 26
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
26 Mar 2013

Asterix and Obelix banner in a road block in Ierissos surveilled by the antigold movement.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 29
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
26 Mar 2013

Since April 2013 there are two road blocks in Ierissos, surveilled 24h by activists.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 30
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
26 Mar 2013

The police station in Ierissos burned in April 2013, after a police operation to arrest some activist in the village. Since April 2013 the police didn't come to Ierissos.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 5
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
26 Mar 2013

Skouries forest, where the El Dorado Gold company is building a new gold mine

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 6
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
26 Mar 2013

An activist during a demonstration in Skouries forest, to protest against the installation of a new gold mine by El Dorado Gold, a canadian company.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 7
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
26 Mar 2013

Skouries forest, where the El Dorado Gold company is building a new gold mine