Greece: the rise of the Golden Dawn fascists

Submitted by Matthew on 29 June, 2012 - 10:47

These are the election results for the neo-Nazi movement Golden Dawn in Greece.

• National Elections 2009: 0.29% (19,636 votes)

• European Elections 2009: 0.46% ( 23,564 votes)

• Athens Elections 2010: 5.29% (10,222 votes)

• National Elections May 2012: 6.97% (441,018 votes)

• National Elections June 2012: 6.92% (425,980 votes)

The general shift of the Greek people to the left was reaffirmed in the June 2012 elections, where Syriza scored almost 27% and the combined electoral percentage of the left reached almost 40%.

But that was not all. The “Independent Greeks” have established themselves as a force of the anti-memorandum right, gaining over 10% in the May election and stabilizing at 7.5% in June elections. Counterposed to the formation of a left pole in the Greek society is the formation of an ultra-right pole.

To the left pole belong the majority of the working class and the youth. To the right pole belong some capitalists and others from the higher layers of the Greek society. It is common knowledge that ND [Greek equivalent of the Tories] employ Golden Dawn members in its security team. The bulk of the ultra-right electorate are scared petty bourgeois, well-off pensioners, and farmers who want to hang on to their small properties and their euro bank deposits.

The hard core of Golden Dawn are young people who are permanently unemployed, from what is termed the lumpenproletariat.

Golden Dawn has built some base in deprived, ghettoised and marginalised neighbourhoods and ghost cities, where refugees, immigrants, and marginalised sections of the working class have been left to rot. Golden Dawn’s electoral results were partly a product of that work in neighbourhoods of Athens. However, many Golden Dawn voters live in remote rural areas of Greece where there are no “foreigners”.

After the May election, the stance of both Synaspismos (the main component of Syriza) and KKE could be summed up as follows: People voted for Golden Dawn to express their anger against the memorandum and the political establishment; but the vote did not express an acceptance and endorsement of racist and fascist politics.

That assessment was partly refuted by 17 June. Between May and June Golden Dawn’s openly Nazi character was amply exposed. Golden Dawn people attacked students and ordinary people who do not look like their standard of the Aryan race; organised a massive armed attack on refugees in Patra exploiting the murder of a Greek young man by an immigrant.

Golden Dawn activists broke into the political offices of SEK [Greek group linked to the SWP in Britain]. They sent death threats to veteran leftist Manolis Glezos, and threatened councillors from the left coalition Antarsya and prominent leaders of the anti-racist anti-fascist movement.

Videos have been released on YouTube of scooter battalions of Golden Dawn approaching isolated immigrants, stabbing them or racially abusing them. Golden Dawn has expanded its targets from the “foreigners and dark skinned” to white Greek homosexuals; it has distributed leaflets describing lesbians and gays as a “foreign”, “abnormal” part of Greek society.

One Golden Dawn spokesman called on people to treat immigrants in the same way that the citizens’ movement in Keratea got rid of the rubbish dumped in their area.

A Golden Dawn candidate pledged to create armed battalions to kick African and Asian immigrants out of the hospitals that are hospitalized for free, as opposed to the Greek patients that have to pay. He pledged to organise groups of people to ensure that the public kindergartens and nurseries are free from “dark skinned” babies and toddlers.

In June, Golden Dawn got its 7% not despite the fact that it was exposed as a Nazi gang, but because of its provocative behaviour.

One third of Golden Dawn’s May voters switched, but they were replaced by racist and possibly fascist voters from the older-established far-right movement Laos, whose percentage plummeted from 2.9% in May to 1.5% in June. In June as in May, over 50% of the police force voted for Golden Dawn.

During the last two years, with some exceptions on the revolutionary left and the various immigrant and refugee organisations, the left has done little about forming a front to confront the emerging fascist-racist threat in the streets, in the neighbourhood, in the workplaces, and in every section of the Greek society.

On 7 June, on TV, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris threw water at a Syriza woman MP and slapped a KKE woman MP. Protest demonstrations were organised on 8 June; but there was no central call from Syriza or KKE to participate, though members from both parties did come. When Golden Dawn exploited the assassination of a young Greek by an immigrant in Patras, mobilising Nazi thugs from Athens to attack an abandoned factory where refugees were living, neither Syriza nor KKE in Patras made any initiative.

Since May KKE [the diehard-Stalinist Greek Communist Party] has begun to acknowledge the threat from Golden Dawn. But KKE’s polemic against Golden Dawn is mostly restricted to the pages of its paper Rizospastis, and all the articles in Rizospastis focus on the historical role of Nazism during World War Two and the Greek resistance, led by members of the Communist Party.

The latest statement by Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, calling on all parliamentary parties to deal with the threat to parliamentary democracy posed by Golden Dawn, exposes a lack of understanding of fascism and the way to confront it. Golden Dawn in power would dissolve parliament and all the remnants of parliamentary democracy, but the bourgeois parliamentary bourgeois parties of Pasok and ND do not want to and cannot lead the fight against fascism and racism.

The last act of the Papademos coalition government was to pass a law for the construction of 31 concentration camps for “illegal” immigrants.

This was the mark of a government that did not hesitate to form a coalition with the openly racist Laos party of Georgios Karatzaferis and put in the cabinet the fascist MPs Boridis and Georgiadis.

Pasok cabinet minister Xrisochoidis (citizen protection) declared that illegal immigrants were responsible for most crimes and that law and order was the major concern of the Greek people.. Health minister Loverdos, also Pasok, said that illegal immigrants should be put in separate units in the hospitals and all immigrants from certain countries should be put in quarantine.

Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis started a crusade to “reinvigorate and reconstruct” the centre of Athens — police storming immigrant areas with the aim of deporting as many as possible. Antonis Samaras emphasised ND’s commitment to act against “illegal immigrants”. “The Greek toddlers and kids should be given priority in kindergartens over the children of immigrants in kindergartens”, he said.

Although the mainstream political world condemned the public display of violence in the TV attack by a Golden Dawn representative on women from Syriza and KKE, Samaras said that the violence of the Golden Dawn was only the counterpart of the “violence of the Left”. Thanos Plevris, a ND and ex-Laos MP, declared that Antarsya is the equivalent of the Golden Dawn on the left.

Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos declared: “The violence, the tension, the jeering, the counter demonstrations were not brought into civilian life by [leaders] of Golden Dawn. They came from the left...”

In each city and neighbourhood, local people and immigrants must take the initiative to establish anti-fascist committees. A powerful anti-fascist front is a necessity in order to defend our struggles to come in defence of our wages, jobs, pensions.

The main duties of the revolutionary left should be the following:

1. To take the initiative in building united fronts able to smash the developing fascist movement ideologically, politically, and physically, in the streets.

2. To build anti-fascist committees in every town and every neighbourhood that embrace political organisations, social organisations and institutions, cultural and sports associations, refugee and immigrant organisations and collectives, and particularly trade unions.

3. Rank and file trade union activists should link anti-fascist and anti-racist actions their industrial struggle. Particular emphasis should be placed upon the trade-union journalists and media workers, who have a duty to counter-inform the Greek public and expose Golden Dawn.

4. In every neighbourhood the trade unions, alongside the neighbourhood committees, should form popular defence squads and solidarity squads aiming at solving the social problems via solidarity and cooperation, the establishment of a sense of safety within the neighbourhoods, and the self-defence against the fascist thugs.

5. To link the call for the formation of workers’ defence squads with workplace organisations, mass strikes, occupations, democratic organisation of neighbourhood committees, in short, the a mass movement that aims for the most extensive democracy.

The committees should avoid links with groups of so-called anti-authoritarians who, when referring to anti-fascist committees, understand small groups that will act as saviours of the working class and immigrants by chasing the fascists.

6. Systematic and persistent campaigns, around the schools, in the squares, door to door, etc., combined with the creation of defence squads and with the basic motto “Fascists out of our neighbourhoods, our schools, our parliament”.

7. The anti-fascist committees must at the same time to address social problems created by the crisis and poverty and by the ghettoising and dumping of all immigrants in the most deprived areas. They must fight for decent accommodation, food, education, etc., for all economic and political refugees and for all locals.

8. Fight for a program of transitional demands based upon workers’ self-management and control and the social planning of the economy to meet the needs of the people and not for the profits of a handful of capitalist parasites.

9. The left must give an internationalist response to the crisis. As long as Greece remains under the dictatorship of the Troika and big capital, racism will develop and fascism will be “available on request”. Fight alongside the European working class for the overthrow of the capitalism and the establishment of the United Socialist States of Europe.

Due to the change in the left political landscape, a particular responsibility lies on Syriza to initiate a united front and mobilise its members to fight against the threat of Golden Dawn.

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.