Anti-Austerity resistance in Greece: “I Won’t Pay” movement

The global ruling classes are shoving austerity down the throats of all of us. In Seattle, WA, this has taken the form of budget cuts in education, healthcare, social services and most recently, transportation. King County (where Seattle is located in), faces a $60 million shortfall and impending cuts to 17% of all bus services. For the sprawl that we live in, amid increasing unemployment, such a cut would be disastrous. It would leave many elderly, people with disabilities, youth, unemployed and working people stranded and isolated, adding to the already massive daily financial and mental stresses we all have the deal with.

In addition, it would disproportionately impact South King County, the region where most people who have been displaced into because of the gentrification in the city. The proposed car tax that the King County council has proposed, on those who own vehicles, is yet another band-aid, and regressive tax taken on by working class families.

Essential services such as transportation, and healthcare, and education, services that we require for our survival, services that the capitalist class requires for the reproduction of its labor force, and therefore the increased production of its own profit, should be free. Most importantly, we need to reclaim the use value of such services. Transportation, like healthcare and education, are essential needs, not areas of profiteering.

We post here a mainstream news article describing the “I Won’t Pay” movement in Greece that emerged earlier this year, as a way to demand that the working class will not foot the bill of the global ruling class. In response to higher costs and fees related to transportation, union activists began to “blockade highway toll booths to give drivers free passage. They covered subway ticket machines with plastic bags so commuters can’t pay. Even doctors are joining in, preventing patients from paying fees at state hospitals.”

We include also a rough translation of a flyer that appears to have been distributed around this struggle for free transportation. This flyer was included in a write up by an organization, TPTG, on the recent Greek protests and occupations. We did a google translation and posted it in its unedited form here. For those who speak/read Greek, please offer a better version if you can!

In response to the demands made by the “I Won’t Pay” movement, such as “the reduction of working hours, and work for all,” TPTG, a Greek left communist organization, had this to say:

” The leftists who participate in this assembly have tried to confine its activities to left political demands of “the right to work”, “full, decent and stable work for all”, etc. without any real interest to communicate their struggle experiences (if they had any) and engage in collective direct action.”

We are watching this struggle from afar and do not have sufficient information due to limited accounts in English, of the “I Won’t Pay” movement and its tactics. The critiques that TPTG raise strike a chord however, because so often, the revolutionary left has played the role of being the left wing of social democracy, demanding only to have a stable, effective capitalism rather than pointing toward its overthrow. If we are to truly break out of capitalist social relations, how do we make demands in the present that point toward this new vision of a non-statist communist society? Our discussions in BOC and with close comrades include strategizing around methods that integrate both revolutionary demands (such as reclaiming the use value of currently commodified goods), as well as smaller winnable goals, much needed to build our collective confidence. These discussions cannot be separated from an analysis of where the crisis of capitalism currently is at, and the degree to which capital can offer up surplus value to placate potentially more coordinated and organized global outbursts of working class resistance.


Original text in Greek here


We are unemployed, rubber workers, officials, but now precariously employees, private and public sectors of Syntagma Square. We are those people who produce the wealth, without, however, can not live. As though they speak different, we share a common problem; the farm. We know who the enemy: employers, governments, bankers, the Troika, the IMF and the Memorandum to the media partners trying to divide us by turning against each other and beating us all with a pretext and the bogeyman called “debt crisis” and the economic crisis.
Starting from now posing as landmarks strikes 9 and June 15, we want to make the big step forward, to fight back at those we have declared war, creating and expanding in all neighborhoods and workplaces solidarity networks and centers struggle workers and unemployed.
We want to stop working for the bosses. We want to work for society to meet our needs, taking our lives in our hands.
This political and economic system that makes the poor poorer and the rich richer, now can not decide for us without us and should be overturned. We aimed to discuss, decide collectively, and to implement their own decisions, we against them so many years living our lives. We urge all workers and the unemployed, unions, and those workers and the unemployed to come to the Constitution to get together, to stand up together to develop a network of solidarity.
We reject any attempt incrimination us. We refuse to fall into apathy and misery. Break the isolation. We seek a new world through the forms of struggle that we ourselves would invent. We meet in the Constitution and the squares of all the neighborhoods.
We strive in all ways for decent work, insurance, fewer working hours, job olous.Kaloume all employees to push the unions for General Strike Season to get the clubs in their hands away from the sell-out leaders of GSEE and ADEDY to prepare for occupations businesses closed for the reappropriation of the means of production, stressing that this perspective is no longer unrealistic and unattainable, but a necessary and fundamental for our dignity, equality and freedom.
We organize activities and strive for:

Reduction of working hours, work for all

Free movement for all

Stop the loan installments and payments of utilities for the unemployed

Full medical coverage for everyone – Insurance for All

Unemployment fund equal to the last salary

Thursday, the 9th / 6, splitting the text to the workers on strike to protest. 11.45 Rendezvous at the entrance to metro pl. Korai

Friday, the 10th / 6, exclusion of cancellation machines in metro 5pm (Organizational appointment is 4.30pm on Constitution Square). Exclusion of cancellation machines every day and while we are at the Constitution Square (this will be reviewed daily, depending on the massiveness) We do not pay commissions to participate

Actions and local assemblies in OAED and Social Security in order to seal books and payment of unemployment benefits. For this purpose we call on all workers and unemployed, unemployed committees, participate in meetings of the group of unemployed workers, Tuesday, the 14th / 6, 6pm the Constitution.


*BOC: We apologize for the incorrect translations that may be here, but we do not know how to edit it for lack of knowledge. Please email us at if you have the expertise!

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2 Responses to Anti-Austerity resistance in Greece: “I Won’t Pay” movement

  1. lara says:

    Good work Comrades! This should go on in every city in the USA. The attack on the woeking people of this coutnry is illegeitamet. Im inspired to do this type of work here in the LBC – Long Beach! Snoop Dog Cred! For reals tho… Im tryin to flyer my local bus stop now. Communism baby!

  2. mamos206 says:

    Thanks Lara! What kind of organizing are you doing down there? Are you trying to start a Free Riders Union there too? Hit us up by email if you’d prefer to talk in a less public forum. We’d love to link up and support…

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