The Solidarity Social Medical Center in Thessaloniki
(What we are:) the Solidarity Social Medical Center (SSMC)
- is a social health care collective that provides primary medical and pharmaceutical treatment to all the uninsured residents of the city without any distinctions and discriminations in terms of ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, age. As a primary health structure it exerts pressure on political society to ensure/secure universal, free of charge, secondary and tertiary medical care, hospitalization and rehabilitation.
- partakes to the movement for a universal, free and public health system in Greece.
- is part of the anti-racist and anti-fascist movement.
- partakes to the social solidarity networks that are active in the fields and sectors of life that are currently indispensable for the preservation of a humane way of life and social cohesion and primarily the re-establishment of those relations and modes of beings that restore collectivity and practically oppose atomism, competition and the exploitation of Man by Man.
(How we operate:) The SSMC
- is located at the city center (24 Aisopou Str, Vardaris). The premises are provided by the Labour Center of Thessaloniki.
- operates on a daily basis and holds regular clinics (pathology, dentistry, neurology, pediatrics, otolaryngology, dermatology). It is also supported by a large group of psychotherapists-psychologists-psychiatrists, a group of midwives, a physiotherapy group and a pharmacy that serves the needs of the clinics and twice a week provides medication to chronic diseases patients.
- is affiliated with a network of external associates/private physicians (microbiologists, gynecologists, surgeons) that serve the health care needs not provided by the clinics (i.e. diagnostic tests) and a network of pharmacists who, in their private pharmacies, collect medicines for the SSMC.
- is affiliated with a network of hospital MD’s who facilitate the access of the patients to the National Health Service.
- SSMC secretary organizes the appointments and fills in the patients’ health card with the relevant demographic and socio-economic data.
- Since last year two new groups have operated: the reception group and the “alternative medicine” group to deal with the relations between the SSCM and the patients (i.e. patients’ engagement in the SSMC actions), the doctor-patient relations as well as the relations amongst the supporters.
(Who we are:) the SSCM in Thessaloniki
- treats -without distinctions- all uninsured residents without requiring any documentation.
- acknowledges relations of solidarity as relations of resistance and subversion. Thus, it promotes them internally and externally by building bridges with the social groups and movements of the city (i.e. VIOME, Ulysses, Skouries).
- is independent of the state and the E.U, the church, political parties and the market. It accepts donations only from persons, social collectives and associations. It neither advertises nor receives sponsorships.
- is autonomous and self-managed: the collective itself takes and realizes all decisions.
- operates on a direct democracy basis
- all the members of the SSCM appear as persons
- the general assembly is the decisive body of the SSCM
- the departments of the SSCM operate through autonomous assemblies that organize their workload, debate and propose issues to the general assembly.
- the permanent committees, that i.e. organize events, deal with finances and press releases, implement the general assembly decisions.
- there are also action groups (eg that deal with the publication of a calendar, posters and sanitation etc).
- from time to time, working groups elaborate on issues that are disseminated to the SSCM members and presented to the assemblies.
- in contradistinction to representative democracy, the SSCM operates on the basis of delegation (with specific space-, time- and issue- limits) and rotation. Whenever this is not possible, the members of the SSCM appear as persons and express their views.
- preferably, decisions are reached with maximum participation and on the basis of substantive convergence or consensus – namely unanimously. Whenever this is not possible, decisions are taken with majority vote while the minority is granted due recognition (dissensus is recorded and the decision is subject to re-evaluation).
After three years of operation:
The SSCM constitute an example of primary health care provision that functions outside the state and the market.
We all appear as persons that respect the principles of collectivity and irrespective of the partisan affiliation of some of the members.
We choose collaboration, equality and parity amongst ourselves. None is more important than the rest. We collectively decide our principles and mode of operation and equally abide by them.
The SSCM is no place for:
- the state and the church
- racist and fascists behaviour
- market relations
- hierarchy (leaders, managers and any kind of inequality and disparity)
- power relations and practices
By serving a need that is personal, collective, medical, social and subversive, and by exposing the complete disintegration of the NHS and the tragic deficit in the health care of the uninsured and the excluded, we employ solidarity and self-management to fight for:
A universal, free and public health system
The establishment of solidarity amongst people
The subversion of power relations and subordination
For health as a social good.