Posts Tagged ‘Pavlos Fyssas’

On the night of the 17/9/2013, 34 year old Pavlos Fyssas, a Greek anti-fascist activist and rapper was ambushed by about 40 members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn (GD) gang after leaving a cafe in Keratsini, a working class neighbourhood in Athens. He was stabbed twice while police officers stood by without intervening, according to witnesses, and shortly after succumbed to his wounds.

This is only the latest of thousands of attacks carried out by GD. While their MPs have been giving fascist salutes, vigilantes flashing swastikas and other Nazi symbols have been beating up immigrants, activists, or anyone they suspect of being LGBT or left wing for over three years– often in front of cameras. Last September, three MPs led gangs of heavies through street fairs in the towns of Rafina and Messolongi, smashing up immigrant traders’ stalls with Greek flags on thick poles. Less than a week before Fyssa’s murder, unionists of the Greek Communist Party were assaulted by 50 thugs armed with bats with nails sticking out of them.

Nearly all of these attacks have gone unpunished and a lot of them have been carried under police officer noses. Claims that “GD have infiltrated the police” made to the “Guardian” by a high ranking officer are backed by the overwhelmingly high results it received in the latest elections in wards where the police vote in large numbers. The web is flooded with photographic and video evidence of GD members working side-by side with riot police against demonstrators. Immigrants trying to bring complaints of racist violence are routinely threatened with counter-charges and held in cells while last October anti-fascist protesters claimed they were tortured in the police headquarters.

The rise of fascism also owes a lot to mainstream media. Effectively unregulated by the state and owned by a few small Berlusconis, Greek tv channels have been cultivating chauvinism, racism, sexism and anti-immigrant hate for decades. Now they present GD cadres as normal people, explore their lighter side and even turn them into lifestyle icons or tele-celebrities. They rarely discuss the violent crimes for which many of these people have been accused or convicted. The murder of Fyssas was largely presented as a fight over a football match! And despite its anti-systemic image, GD is quick to return the favour to the rich ruling class whether by voting in favour of its interests in parliament, or by keeping the left in check.

A lot can also be said about the role of the “centre” ruling parties – the neoliberal extremists who have imposed measures of violent pauperisation and created widespread perceptions of decay and victimisation and feelings of national humiliation all of which fuel the rise of fascism. It was they who first demonised immigrants, who have rounded illegal immigrants up in modern concentration camps, who talk of “taking back Greek city centres”, who have unleashed the riot police against demonstrators time after time. They now speak of “a clash of the two extremes” thus further legitimizing GD by equating it to the left. They are using it to fight the anti-austerity movement by presenting themselves as the only rational alternative and by keeping people in a passive state of terror.

Few anticipated the sudden rise of fascism in Greece. The factors that fuelled it exist in other societies too however. The recent EDL attacks or the murder of French teenage anti-fascist Clément Méric show that in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, fascism is once against on the rise – much in the same way as in the 1930s. An internationalist anti-fascist movement is therefore necessary. A movement that understands fascism for what it is – the long arm of the system and will fight it together with its root cause before it is too late. If we tolerate this, our children will be next!

Join us for an anti-fascist demonstration on Saturday 21/9 at 1pm at the Mound.