Solidarity to Athens 19/1
In an echo of the events that led to World War II, Europe is once again facing the rise of fascism. As in the 1930’s, when the economic crisis and austerity policies allowed Fascist forces to rise to power, parties that spread racist ideology are gaining a foothold throughout Europe. Nowhere is this frightening trend more apparent than in Greece. Last year, the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn (GD) party received 6.9 percent in the general election of June garnering 18 MPs, managing to institutionalize their message of hate. GD, now third in opinion polls, routinely organizes street raids in areas with dense Immigrant population, often beating up or even killing people. Their members-MPs included-have been openly committing hate attacks but very rarely convicted. Their MPs, protected under the parliamentary immunity, never miss an opportunity to threaten with violence all those deemed race traitors.
How did we get there?
In November 2011, the Troika partners pushed for the inclusion of LAOS, another openly racist party with links with the colonels’ dictatorship (1967-1974), in the government coalition. This return of the extreme right in governing positions opened the door to its legitimation and finally to the rise of its most extreme version: the Nazi Golden Dawn. Today, ex members of LAOS, supporters of the military dictatorship have become key elements of the New Democracy led government (Makis Voridis for one, is parliamentary spokesperson).The rise of fascism is directly connected to the racist policies being implemented by the Troika-era governments of Greece. It is also a by-product of the savage austerity measures. Extremely unfair economic policies create the conditions for the trampling of those who are vulnerable and encourage scapegoating of minorities on the basis of color of skin, religion or sexual orientation. Practicing political opportunism, the ruling coalition government has shifted the political agenda in a direction disturbingly reminiscent of Golden Dawn, taking an extremist stance on the issues of migration. The police operation cynically named “Xenius Zeus” – after the ancient god of hospitality – acted as a “legal” pogrom, in which even American tourists with the “wrong” colour got tortured. The EU funded detention centers that have sprouted throughout Greece are a theater of regular human rights abuses. Greece has been repeatedly condemned by the European Human Rights Court, while Frontex acts in a judicial gap being completely unaccountable. A new Greek law deprives immigrants’ children born in Greece from the right to citizenship.
For its part, the EU – proud Nobel Peace Prize winner- has been largely silent. The European Commission has failed to condemn the growing fascism, preferring instead to make empty declarations like the one of José Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission who conveniently declined any form of responsibility by vaguely stating that “we have to define what a neo-Nazi party is, which can only be done at national level.” When a senior Greek police officer confirmed that the Greek government willfully allowed “pockets of fascism” to infiltrate the police force so it could “use them for its own purposes”, Barroso — and with him the entire European establishment — preferred to play dumb and keep his head firmly in the sand. Of course, when it comes to forcing the Greek economy into a never-ending labyrinth of austerity and privatization-often superseding the Greek constitution- Barroso has never missed an opportunity to show his enthusiasm.
The 19 of January is to be a day of unity for all concerned voices throughout Europe and the world. In support of the movement ‘Athens: anti-fascist city’ we stand with similar initiatives-from Moscow to Australia-and declare our Solidarity against the rise fascism and racism.
many many thanks to Alex Kypriotakis Weijers for the wonderful poster he created!