Athens Calls Answered!!!!

21 01 2013

afngreek

 

Saturday saw anti fascists across the world answer the call from Greece Antifa for a show of solidarity. So far reports of solidarity demo’s happening have been received in Greece from London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Bristol, Cork, Dublin, Derry, Barcelona, Ossona, Manresa, La Garriga, Bilbao, Lyon, Brussells, Berlin, Copenhagen, Vienna, Tampere, Warsaw, Vilneous, Moscow, Chicago, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Sydney, Canberra, Buenos Aires, Oslo, Cologne, Nicosia, and Paris.

All in all a good day for anti fascism, especially in London where around 200-300 gathered in the cold outside the Greek embassy (Sorry to those reporting much higher numbers, but the AFN does not exaggerate or lie, this is a figure that many involved in the network thought was about right).

network 2

AFN – Brought to you by demontix.com!

UAF did a good job getting their supporters out, but unfortunately treated them to speakers including Labour MPs  Jeremy Corbyn and David Lammy – like the Labour party doesn’t give immigrants a kick when it wins them votes! London groups aligned with the anti-fascist network seemed pleased with the local antifash turn out, and they were joined by a couple of other groups who made the trip through the snow. One group of Antifascists who arrived fashionably late stumbled upon the ‘British friends of Golden Dawn’ holding pen (holding all 12 of them) and whilst out of the UAF kettle attempted to engage the dipshit fascists in a bit of light banter – shortly after this the Nazi’s were marched off to a tube station by the old bill in a shower of snowballs as the antifascists were put into the appropriate kettle to join the solidarity demo.

Pretty much everything Antifascists do is reactive to what the opposition is doing so it was great to have show of solidarity, requested, and answered by antifascists. The fact the scum only managed to get 12 out to counter the demo is encouraging, as was the turn out from Londoners. To be fair there were apparently a couple of fascists waiting in a pub nearby, but they decided to stay there rather than making arses out of themselves like their mates. The classic quote of the day came from one of the Golden Dawn Supporters – “We’re not fascists, we’re Nazi’s”. Fucking insane!!

Mugs - half of Londons Golden Shower Brigade

Dead behind the eyes – half of Londons Golden Shower brigade

The Edinburgh demo was almost identical, with 8 or so assorted fruit loops including SDL members showing up to stand on the sidelines and look dejected.

Edinburgh's Friends of Golden Dawn looking lonley

Edinburgh’s Friends of Golden Dawn looking lonely

The SDL did not fare much better in Pollokshields (Glasgow) on Sunday when a planned demonstration to use the anniversary of the death of a Scottish lad to try and stir up some hate attracted about 15 nutters and was told where to go. The turnout may have been low however, that may be due to the deceased being of catholic descent and the SDL getting confused about which side they are on. Militant antifascists and local antifa casuals also stayed away due to the organisers of the counter protest working with the police.

All in all a fucking terrible weekend for the fascists in the UK. If there does seem to be a lull in their fortunes it could provide a perfect opportunity to build a stronger, and more organised movement for the future.

Here’s some more reports from Saturday: Schnews – Wessex Solidarity – Athens Antifa

And one from Sunday in Glasgow: ISG

 





Greek Embassy, 1A Holland Park, Notting Hill. From 11am Saturday.

15 01 2013

After hearing that antifascists and Greek folks living in the UK will be Holding a solidarity demo outside the Greek Embassy this Saturday (19 Jan) groups such as the EDL and Casuals United have made plans to counter the demo, and will turn up in opposition, to show solidarity with the classically fascist Golden Dawn party of Greece. It seems strange that these creeps have spent the last couple of years whinging that they are not fascists, or Nazi’s, and now they publicly support a European Party that is both.  Time for antifascists of all denominations to unite and shout it from the fucking rooftops, In solidarity with Greece Antifa’s – Against UK Fascist Scum.

*****Update from Greece – Fans of AEK Athens declare war on Golden Dawn after an aid handout was attacked for not discriminating against immigrants***** 

Fools Gold (repost from Schnews)

For 25 years Golden Dawn were a marginal group that for the most attacked small left-wing and anarchist groups and sometimes would also go for immigrants. Until a few years ago they never measured more than 200 members. The Greek Government had paved the way for xenophobic sentiment by tolerating smaller, subtler acts of racism against individuals that went unchallenged. It was not until a few years ago that Golden Dawn started emerging as something bigger. Up until recently they had one office. Now? They have forty-eight”. – Greek Anti-fascists

The rapid expansion of Greece’s homegrown neo-nazi movement, the Golden Dawn, should set alarm bells ringing for anti-fascists across Europe. On Saturday 19th January, Athens will see a massive anti-fa demonstration as over 24 organisations spanning the political spectrum assemble. Greek anti-fascists have called for international solidarity and on the same day demonstrations will be held outside Greek embassies across the world. In London supporters can gather outside the Greek embassy, 1A Holland Park, Notting Hill from 12 noon.

Until the last couple of years the Golden Dawn, with their Swastika-lite logo, were a fringe far-right group. One policy (admittedly abandoned in the nineties) was to re-establish the worship of the Hellenic Gods – Zeus, Apollo the whole bit. However our Greek anti-fascist said, referring to Operation Xenos Zeus in August this year during a Greek hospitality crisis, when over 50,000 migrants were detained (see SchNEWS 823):“Events such as these have slowly empowered Golden Dawn. Even in 2010 people would have laughed at the thought of having Golden Dawn in power. Golden Dawn was one of many far-right factions in Greece that would never get near parliament”.

In the last elections (June 2012) Golden Dawn received 7% of the popular vote and gained eighteen seats in parliament. Their strength on the streets hasn’t gone anywhere either and they can draw thousands to rallies.

The Greek political right for the past decade has been a three-headed monster that consisted of Nea Democratia, Greece’s major centre right political party, LAOS, an extreme right party and Golden Dawn.

The roots of the organisation go back to 1980 when Nikolaos Michalokiakos together with some cronies launched Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) magazine. Michalokiakos had been active in far right politics for many years, serving time in July 1974 and again in December 1976 for assaults on left wingers during demonstrations. While in prison during 1976 Michalokiakos met the leaders of the Greek military junta of 1967-1974 and drafted the foundations of the Golden Dawn party. After his release from prison he joined the army and became a Special Forces commando, but was later dishonourably discharged for his Nazi views.

In the last decade Golden Dawn had become more active against the left but were still a relatively small presence. In 2005 Golden Dawn were still laughable and easily dismissed, holding marches, static demonstrations and distributing homophobic and racist literature.

ANCIENT HISTORY?

Then, of course, came the economic crisis and the collapse of the Greek standard of living. The Greek economy is sinking like a stone in a neo-liberal whirlpool. Growth rates, negative at -0.2% in 2008, hit -7.1% in 2011. Unemployment hit a record of 26% in September last year overtaking Spain to become the highest in the eurozone. The country’s got no money: In 2011, the country’s public debt stood at €355.658 billion (170.6% of nominal GDP). All in all, the future’s looking bleak for the Greeks.

The average wage is 800 euros a month, nowhere near enough to meet the cost of living, in fact even a good salary of 2000 euros a month, way above the national average, still results in spending more than you earn. The average salary in Greece shrank 23% in the last year. For years Greeks have being labelled as lazy by international press at a time when there are no jobs in Greece to be lazy at and those employed work for pittance. Mixed with the decline in living standards, Greek national pride has been seriously dented. All the factors together have resulted in a perfect Stormfront.

LET’S PARTY LIKE IT’S 1939

Until recently oppositon to the IMF-imposed austerity measures came from the left but Golden Dawn has vowed to defend the Greek populace “from the dark centres of power” who sought to enslave them. “Resist the selling off of our country” reads their website – the austerity measures are then blamed on immigrants.

Their current home page auto-flicks through five images, each touching on various hot topics. One image is full of AK-47’s, bullets and wads of cash with the headline “Unmeasurable threat for Greece, the Albanian Mafia”. Another image shows a caricature sketch of an emanciated Greek citizen being squeezed through an apple press as coins fall out his pocket and a fat aristocratic figure stands by representing the Troika with the words “With a new, secret agenda the Troika is fixing its own state”.

GD politicians have demonstrated their willingness to crackdown on lefty unionism, true to the spirit of fascism. Independent journalist Yiannis Baboulias writing in Occupied Times relates an incident occuring in the town of Loutraki. Strikers had blocked the road leading up to the local casino as a result of their union dispute with the management. Accompanied by ten bouncers, the new Golden Dawn MP Efstathios Boukouras threatened the strikers, saying, “We won’t allow the communists to do as they please”.

The party has also spread its sticky tenticles into the business sphere – thanks to its links with the Greek elites, the party is able to act as a financial supporter and provider during the time of crisis. Golden Dawn funds have been pulling ailing football clubs out of debt, and actively supported the Bank of Piraeus to acquire Agrotiki (a state-run bank) – it’s suspected of using dubiously acquired state funds to do so. The connection between Golden Dawn and the Bank of Piraeus? Only that Takis Michaloliakos, the bank’s lawyer, happens to be the brother of Golden Dawn supremo Nikos Michaloliakos.

During a session in the Greek Parliament on 7th of November Golden Dawn vetoed a proposed tax increase on earnings from shipping related activities. Shipping in Greece, a maritime nation, is huge business – in fact 20% of global shipping is run by Greek companies. The owners of shipping concerns are in the upper echleons of Greek business circles and are unbelievably lucky when it comes to tax, in fact most of themselves had probably never heard of the word until the 7th.

But despite this pandering to the elite Golden dawn have actively been presenting themselves as the allies of the common man, well the common Greek at least. In a simple and effective move they have set up food kitchens. Their first time was outside the Greek Parliament where the message to the citizens would have been clear about who was looking after them in their time of need. The only prequisite for a meal? A Greek passport.

This is the trick of fascism of course – in a moment of crisis big business turns to the far-right to pacify the workers one way or the other. Desperation and a feeling of helplessness in the large percentage of the Greek population that are not generally active in politics is leading to increased support for Golden Dawn. Its pseudo anti-capitalist stance might not trick a seasoned anarchist but it speaks to the heart of many working class people that have been suffering in the hands of neo-liberalism.

MOBS AND COPPERS

Golden Dawn are also heavily favoured by the Greek police. Polling data revealed that nearly half of the police voted for Golden Dawn in recent elections. Allegations of collaboration between elements of the state and the fascist group stretch back years. On the 9th July 2009 the second mass protest march in a week took to the streets of Athens against State sponsored racism and police collaboration with fascist groups in the area of Agios Panteleimonas. The march was organised by the left and saw over 5,000 protesters demonstrate outside Parliament. On the same day, after meeting with the Minister of Public Order, fascist vigilante groups in Agios Panteleimonas attacked one of the oldest anarchist squats, Villa Amalias.

That day, the Minister of Public Order, Markoyannakis (also known for his involvement in a huge Siemens scandal in Greece and his pro-Nazi views) met with Golden Dawn members. Twenty minutes after the meeting a group from Golden Dawn left the area of Agios Panteleimonas and attacked the squat Villa Amalias with molotov cocktails and other projectiles. The attack was successfully knocked back by the anarchists, leaving the fash running behind their copper mates (who just happened to be there) for protection. This incident clearly indicated how close the links between the state, the police and the fascist group were. This was the first time since the junta that a Minister met with a fascist combat group. Greek media did not report the event.

Villa Amalias was evicted by the Greek police on 20th December 2012. They used the classic pretext of suspected drug dealing to enter and search the premises with a district attorney in tow. A few spliff butts later and the current minister of public order, Dendias, announced that their findings “prove[d] that Villa was an epicentre for lawlessness for 22 years and that the law has finally been restored, thanks to the will of Samaras (PM)”. The raid also uncovered some empty beer bottles that were obviously “materials for the construction of molotovs” and nothing to do with the gig and café space in the squat. Eight people were arrested during the raid and taken to court the next day where they were charged with felonies for the possession of empties, or “material for the construction of explosives” as they are legally known.

ANTI-FASCIST ACTION

Faced with this onslaught Greek anti-fascists have had to pick up the pace. Demonstrations, gigs and ad-hoc attacks are no longer enough.

Anti-fascists have set up and maintained motorbike patrols to guard the streets and people from Nazi thugs. The patrols became necessary due to the level of racist and anti-leftist attacks in the neighbourhoods and provinces of Athens at the hands of fascists and police (not mutually exclusive) that always went unpunished.

Attacks on Golden Dawn offices have become commonplace. Anti-fascists have used fire, stones, molotov cocktails and even dynamite against the fascists’ HQ, although bombings were accompanied by warning phone calls.

Violent confrontations between anti-fascists and fascists happen often on the streets but one thing is for sure: Whenever the police are present, Golden Dawn can rely on back up. Arrested anti-fascists have been subjected to the kind of abuses suffered by dissidents under the military junta.

On the 24th August 2012 anti-fascists and immigrants united to stand up against the tyranny that was unfolding under operation “Xenios Zeus”. Greek and non-Greek citizens stood together to show the minister of public order that were not afraid of the militant sweep and violent mob attacks that they were faced with. Again on the 28th October, teachers, students and anti-fascists stood together on the streets and confronted the Golden Dawn during a national demo. “Neither in the parliament nor anywhere, Nazis out of our neighborhoods” shouted thousands around the country.

We leave the last word to Athens Anti-fa: “We cannot tolerate the rich and the government that sows poverty and deprivation, leads to suicides, sends homeless to queue at soup kitchens putting the blame for the crisis on immigrants, turning them to scapegoats, just like Hitler blamed the Jews for everything. This policy led to Dachau and Auschwitz camps, to gas chambers and the crematories with millions of dead Jews, Roma, Communists and gays. It led to the massacre of WWII and the Nazi brutalities in the occupied countries like Greece.”

Greek embassy, 1A Holland Park Notting Hill from 12 noon.

Glaringly obvious…

Golden Dawn Gathering in central Athens in 2012

Golden supporters

Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michalokiakos