GREECE: BLACK ALERT FOR NEO-NAZISM AND "GOLDEN DAWN"
.....On Saturday, December the 15th, EGAM will launch, together with numerous Greek civil society organizations, a European mobilization, in Athens. This show of panEuropean solidarity will be a first. Together, we will express our reject of racism, antisemitism and neo-Nazism, and we will affirm with strength our commitment to our most valuable common good : democracy.
by Benjamin Abtan,
President of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement - EGAM
In a context of shameful European indifference, Greece is getting dangerously close to social and racial explosion.
In the streets of Athens, refugees and immigrants are scared. They are banned de facto from entire districts where local militia of the neo-Nazi party “Golden Dawn” prowl the streets, regularly organizing racial attacks. Racist, antisemitic and revisionist declarations become increasingly frequent, especially from high-ranking political leaders. The President of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights recently compared the immigrants to cockroaches, amid general indifference. Golden Dawn’s spokesman was able to quote the famous antisemitic hoax “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in the parliament and received no condemning reactions for it. Prime Minister Samaras persists in protecting the presence at the Council of Europe of Eleni Zaroulia, the neo-Nazi who recently declared that immigrants were “sub-humans”. The journalists who denounce this state of facts are regularly intimidated.
Faced with the rise of racism, antisemitism and neo-Nazism, the democratic institutions guiltily malfunction.
The police first, show a record level of corruption as well as an extremely strong collusion with the neo-Nazis : 30% to 50% of the police officers voted for Golden Dawn, and many of them belong to the party. Countless racist attacks take place. When the victims come, bleeding, to the police stations, they are forced not to press charges. They are threatened, not helped.
Then, the legal system : even though the number of declarations and acts is soaring, there is no prosecutor to initiate any legal proceedings. No condemnation with the aggravating circumstance of racism has been pronounced since 2008.
This rise of racism can also be explained by the fact that, since May, the neo-Nazis have never been defeated. They have never come up against the boundaries imposed by democracy. They act in total impunity. The very recent creation of a branch of Golden Dawn in Italy shows that they set a strong example for neo-Nazi movements and parties in Europe, from Hungary to Latvia, and from Denmark to Austria.
Unlike those who tried a communication strategy of “de-demonization”, they have never pretended to give up antisemitism as their structuring ideology, or racism as their main line of thought. They combine legal actions – running for office – and illegal actions – physical assaults in the streets – efficiently. Thanks to the resignation of the democrats – with the Greek democratic parties and the EU in the front line – they receive the permissiveness that they need for their actions. They have now been active for months, empowered by the feeling of being all-mighty.
The EU, and Germany in particular, have a heavy responsibility in the rise of neo-Nazism in Greece.
Indeed, two European dogmas create the conditions for this rise.
First, imposed under the strong pressure of Germany, the dogma of austerity leads to an unbearable social situation, since the people, and especially the youth, has no other outlook than the unreachable horizon of debt repayment. This creates an environment of decay for the society and its traditional social structures. In this context, the speeches that blame scapegoats and praise the belonging to a group, even when this group is a racist one, have a strong power of attraction, especially for young people. The substantial cuts imposed by the troika in the security budget directly results in the lack of police to cover the whole territory, leaving entire districts under the control of the Golden Dawn. Its gangs provide "security" to the people that they consider as "racially Greek." By giving up the monopoly of its power – a key condition of the existence of the Rule of law –, the State allows the neo-Nazis to establish a large part of their electoral success.
Then, the dogma of a ‘Fortress Europe’ establishes the outsourcing of the entries and exits of the EU territory at the border between Turkey and Greece, imposing the latter to be the main entrance point of refugees and immigrants to Europe. This dogma is the result of a victory of the far right, which has managed to impose the rejection of all immigration as a leading ideological paradigm when indeed Europe needs immigration. This creates and unbearable situation for Greece, because if the number of immigrants and refugees entering the country is desirable for Europe, it is something that Greece can’t manage alone if it is isolated from the rest of Europe. The situation which is thus imposed on the country offers the extreme right wing an opportunity for all kinds of manipulation.
The position of Germany can just let one wonder. At a time when its national superego, composed of the survivors of the Shoah, is disappearing little by little with the last ones of these, Germany defends positions which push Greece, the founding father of the European democracy, to collapse or be expelled, from the Euro zone or even from Europe. This temptation or attempt of the murder the father at the scale of European nations is fuelled by an energy which, if it happened to be let free by the effective eviction or collapse of Greece, would generate immeasurable violence, whose current rise in neo-Nazism is only a warning signal.
In front of this perspective, it is urgent that democrats get involved throughout Europe, because Greece is today the front line of the great and beautiful struggle for democracy. The political project recently crowned by the Nobel Peace prize wouldn’t recover from a defeat of the democrats in front of their relentless enemies, and it is the part of political leaders and societies to engage to make the European dream of a truly democratic continent live because it has got rid of racism, antisemitism and neo-Nazism.