GLN permalink 1-18-2013
In Greece, several years of severe economic crisis, accentuated by austerity measures pushed by the European Union (with tacit support by the U.S.), have given birth to a strong fascist movement.
Not only has this made the country's fascist "Golden Dawn" party the #3 party in parliament, more worryingly, it has emboldened them to launch a series of physical attacks on immigrants and leftist activists. This is the real danger of a strong fascist movement -- its ability to injure and kill people, forcefully push all others off of the streets as a prelude to taking power, and then launch even larger attacks.
This isn't "fascism" simply thrown about as an epithet against garden-variety rightwingers or bigots. This is the real thing.
The favorite band of Golden Dawn is named "Pogrom," whose hits include "Auschwitz" and "Speak Greek Or Die."
"Breaking the boundaries of 'acceptable' rightwing nationalism, [Golden Dawn leader] Michaloliakos published paeans to Adolf Hitler, arguing that Greece should have been at the side of the Axis in the second world war," wrote the Guardian. "The magazine, its covers periodically adorned with portraits of the Führer and his acolytes, served up a weird amalgam of Nazi propaganda, anti-Semitism, traditional nationalism and pagan fantasy."
"Its black-shirted vigilantes have been beating up immigrants for more than three years, unmolested by the police; lately they've taken to attacking Greeks they suspect of being gay or on the left. MPs participate proudly in the violence. In September, three of them led gangs of black-shirted heavies through street fairs in the towns of Rafina and Messolonghi, smashing up immigrant traders' stalls with Greek flags on thick poles. Such attacks are almost never prosecuted or punished."
As if this wasn't bad enough, there are reports that there is an attempt to set up a Chicago office of the Gold Dawn party, presumably as a means to tap into the relatively wealthier Greek-American community abroad so as to fund their violent activities back in the home country. We don't have any specifics on this yet, but as there is a sizable Greek-American community in Chicago (of all political stripes), we have a particular responsibility to do our best to politically marginalize the fascists.
Greek progressives have called for a Saturday, January 19th international day of protests against the fascists which has been taken up in many other cities around the world. Here in Chicago the protest will take place at 1 PM that day in front of the Greek consulate, 650 N. St. Clair Street (1 block east of Michigan Avenue, a few blocks north of the Tribune Building).
In demonstrating in solidarity with Greek anti-fascists, we will also be demonstrating for ourselves. While Greece and many Third World nations are facing the sharpest end of the economic crisis, they are not alone.
Milder versions of the same conditions that gave rise to Golden Dawn are present here. Illinois legislators squabble over how "best" to gut people's pensions, while Congress and President Obama dream up clever ways to cut Medicare, Medicaid and/or Social Security, while keeping our ridiculous military spending and huge troop occupations abroad intact. In this environment of poor wages and lousy civil services, racist scapegoating and other forms of hate can grow rapidly.
So join the protest at 1 PM this Saturday, January 19 at 650 N. St. Clair Street. Not just for Greece, but for yourself and those you care about.
Endorsers' list (in formation): American Party of Labor; Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism; GLN/Gay Liberation Network; ISO/International Socialist Organization; Social Justice Club of Purdue University/Calumet; poet, educator and activist Beatriz Badikian; immigrant rights activist and Arise Chicago Worker Center community organizer Jorge Mujica; artist and community activist Gretchen Hasse. Labor donated.