Citizen Protection minister Michalis Chrisochoidis claims that by being “tough” on “illegal” immigrants he will marginalise the far-right Xrisi Aygi (Golden Dawn).
The results are the exact opposite. In 12 polls between 18 and 20 April, Xrisi Aygi averaged 5.4%, way up on its 0.29% in 2009.
If Xrisi Aygi wins seats in the 6 May election it will get a wider audience and significantly improve their finances.
For over 15 years Xrisi Aygi has been regarded as a marginal Nazi gang of criminals. Today they are playing the card of “anti-memorandum patriotism”.
Xrisi Aygi members have said they “will be utilising their experience so that they can enforce law and order when the police is failing to do so, such as during the student movement of December 2008 or more recently during the 12 February 2012 protests” (against the government voting for the second cuts memorandum).
Nikos Michaloliakos, leader of Xrisi Aygi, was imprisoned in 1976 for violently attacking journalists who covered the funeral of a military junta torturer. In 1978 Michaloliakos was convicted for placing bombs at cinemas. In January 2011, as an elected member of a council, he gave a Nazi salute during a council meeting.
Yet now Xrisi Aygi is attracting votes of discontent against so-called “mainstream politics and corrupt politicians”.
It uses slogans like “Xrisi Aygi will cleanse the dirt from Greece” and “Greece belongs to the Greeks”. It hides in some so-called neighbourhood committees and offers “concrete help” to the elderly, “protecting them” against the “threat” from immigrants.
It states: “Xrisi Aygi does not divide Greeks between left-wingers and right-wingers, between supporters of democracy and fascists, between bosses and workers, between neo-liberals and socialists, between progressives and conservatives, between capitalists and proletarians…Xrisi Aygi draws the line between Greek citizens, who are our social body, and the others, the foreigners”.
It calls for an escalation of militarisation of Greece... “Massively increase defence spending”, “Liberate the North of Epirus [i.e. southern Albania] and unify it with mother Greece”, “Liberate Occupied Cyprus” — and other ultra-nationalist Big Ideas that end up as Big Catastrophes.
No worker, young person, or unemployed person should be fooled. Whatever the neo-Nazis of Xrisi Aygi say, their enemy is not the capitalists and the “corrupt MPs”. Their enemies are all of us.
They are attacking refugees and immigrants as the most vulnerable and unprotected sections of the working class. But their main enemy is the workers, the students, and the neighbourhood community movement that has been fighting the government and the Troika.
Both of the two main left-wing parties seemed until recently to be distracted by the increase of their electoral percentages.
KKE [the diehard-Stalinist Greek Communist Party] was dreaming of further building up the party in isolation from other left-wing movements, and Syriza [a coalition centred on the former Eurocommunists], of a progressive government with the left at its centre.
In 12 polls between 18 and 20 April, KKE has averaged 9.6%, Syriza 10.6%, and the Democratic Left 8.0%. Pasok averaged 15.5%, and New Democracy, 21.6%.
It will be bad if KKE and Syriza do not act in time against the fascist and racist threat. Just recently KKE has started to open up a front against Xrisi Aygi their newspaper. The political consequences are yet to be drawn by KKE.
A robust and combative working class movement that leads the struggle against austerity can strengthen the unity of the working class and thus has the potential to defeat the fascists. But it absolutely necessary to also building up a specific political front against the fascist and racist threat.
The anti-capitalist revolutionary left should take the initiative to organise against the fascists. In the struggle against the re-emergence of fascism, numbers matter.
The heroic teams of anarchists who regard it as their personal and ethical responsibility to deal with the fascists of Xrisi Aygi in isolated “military-type” actions detached from the majority of the Greek society are ineffective and counter-productive.
In the early 30s a lot of heroic members of the German Communist Party were killed in fights with the Nazis. But because of the refusal of their leadership to cooperate and unify with the majority of the German working class, the German communists’ heroic actions did not stop the strengthening of fascism.
The fight against fascism and racism is not a private affair of the anti-capitalist left. It can only become effective with the broadest and most massive appeal. It should involve the whole of the working class.
We can only defeat fascism if we form a robust united front of all working class organisations, all left parties, of all trade unions and organisations and youth movements.