The story began in May 2011, when the parent company Philkeram-Johnson stopped paying wages to its subsidiary Viomichaniki Metalleutiki (Vio.Me) located in Thessaloniki, Greece, in the midst of the devastating economic and social crisis that has been facing the country for the past three years. After the failure of negotiations to collect unpaid wages, the workers occupied the factory, and only a short time later, its owners abandoned it.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up