These are the images from Euboea (Εύβοια), Greece, where due to raging wildfires hundreds of homes have been burned down and their inhabitants – now climate refugees – were forced to flee to make-shift camps on stadiums. And it is not only Euboea, as in many other places in Greece for fifth day now flames have been engulfing both forests and human settlements alike, leaving behind the complete destruction of vital ecosystems and livelihoods.
And it is not only Greece – it is projected that in the following decades the amount of climate refugees worldwide will go well-over one billion. The main engine behind these disasters – wildfires, floods, droughts etc. – is the capitalist-made climate change. And things are only made worst by decades of neoliberal reforms and austerity measures that have left our societies extremely vulnerable – healthcare systems, fire departments, water supply networks and other public services have been systematically dismantled for the short-term profits of few powerful and disproportionately wealthy elites.
The only thing that there is still abundance of is police forces to make sure that the displaced will stay in the newly formed climate-refugee camps and no popular protest waves will threaten the widening power discrepancies in our societies.
An example of this is that in the now-raging wildfires all over Greece less than a thousand firefighters have been sent to all the fire-fronts, while 4.000 to 6.000 police units have systematically been deployed in Athens for single demonstrations – most notably the 6th of December commemoration of Alexis Grigoropoulos, who was murdered in cold blood by a police officer.
In fact, in many places around Greece, as there were nearly not enough firefighters, most of the resistance to the wildfires was given by self-organized local residents and volunteers. A situation similar to that of the pandemic, in which urban dwellers organized networks of support for the most vulnerable, who are left without any support due to the systemic neoliberal dismantlement of the healthcare system.
To all those who cry that there is no state I have to say this – there is a state, it just has interests that are diametrically opposed to those of the vast majority.