Presentation of the Social Solidarity Clinic at the nationwide assembly of the "Caravan of Struggle and Solidarity" on the 21st of June 2015.

The Thessaloniki Social Solidarity Clinic is a primary healthcare structure that provides inclusive medical care and pharmaceutical treatment to local inhabitants who are denied access to public health structures.

It was established on the initiative of a group of health professionals who provided healthcare to 50 migrant hunger strikers at the city’s Labour Centre in December 2010. This initiative was soon embraced by “citizens” and the idea of a social clinic in Thessaloniki became a reality. The clinic has been operating for four years with the participation of over 200 volunteers and serves 15,000 clients a year.

Its core, non-negotiable principle is independence from the State, political parties, the market or the church.

It is autonomous, self-managed, and its main imperative is direct democracy.

At the Social Clinic we all come together as persons. The general assembly is the supreme organ. Our pursuit is circularity and rotation in representation.

The Social Clinic is a collective that was created by the community and acts together with and within the community.

As a social collective – health community:

  • Its primary objective is the physical and moral survival of its members
  • It strives to create relations that lie outside or oppose the dominant social exchanges (E.g. at the Social Clinic work is provided for free and the provision of healthcare is not transformed into a marketable service. Planning, organization and delivery of the “work” are carried out by ALL, in a cooperative and equitable manner, and all of the members equally participate in decision-making with the same powers. No one is more important than the other. We place special emphasis on the transformation of the relationship between doctor and patient, between those delivering and those receiving treatment and care. And this is so because, in the particular context of our community, it would be impossible not to reflect on our medical practice and on the role of the attending doctor. We are pursuing an holistic approach to health, “patient” involvement and emancipation, community medicine)
  • It obviously perceives itself as part of a movement that demands a public, free healthcare system for all.

Fighting for society’s right to free public healthcare while acknowledging that health is an issue that concerns each individual separately and society as a whole, the Social Clinic promotes health as a public social good.

Based on this premise, it is of key importance for the Social Clinic to:

  • Liaise with the people seeking its services and
  • develop an organic relationship with active citizens and movements in the community (e.g. in addition to providing medical care to the workers at ΒΙΟΜΕ or donating the factory’s products to clients of the Social Clinic, organic links could include the joint exploration and satisfaction of the health needs of the workers and their local community).

We participated and are still participating in various actions (organization of the referendum on water privatization, organization of the anti-racist festival, provision of first aid during events at Skouries, initiatives such as healthcare for refugees / migrants at Idomeni, links with the squatters group in the School of Drama where we jointly staged a theatrical performance for clients of the Social Clinic) and we are naturally part of the panhellenic network of Social Clinics and Pharmacies. However, we consider that our links and our networking with the local community (and beyond) leave much to desire and must be strengthened.

For a social collective that chooses to promote and propose direct democracy and free cooperation as a way of organization and operation, networking can only involve horizontal links and practical cooperation, unmediated by political parties or organisations, state institutions or business.

Our participation in today’s meeting, following a decision of our general assembly, expresses our acknowledgment of the need for networking and links between movements and collectivities that are active outside the realm of state administration or the market.

We are looking forward to seeing you on June 30 at the pre-festival event in the run up to the anti-racist festival organized by the Thessaloniki Social Solidarity Clinic at the Dogs’ Park, Faliro, and of course at the anti-racist festival, July 3-5, at the former Pavlos Melas barracks.

We are also looking forward to seeing you at the activist protest which is planned for the first fortnight of July at some hospital on duty. The Social Solidarity Clinic will demand the hospitalization of patients who need it.