We must defeat the neo-Nazis

October 8, 2013

The Greek government ordered the arrest of Nikolaos Michaloliakos and other leaders of the fascist Golden Dawn party after mass protests following the murder of a left-wing hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas. But the struggle against the neo-Nazis has been building for a long time, even before the far-right party got a significant share of the vote in national elections in 2012, winning them 18 seats in parliament. That anti-fascist struggle has also been against the coalition government, led by the center-right New Democracy and the center-left PASOK, which has allowed the far right to have a voice and grow.

The Internationalist Workers Left (DEA), a revolutionary socialist organization in Greece and member of the Left Platform in the Coalition of the Radical Left, or SYRIZA, issued this statement about the arrests of Golden Dawn leaders and the tasks in the struggle ahead.

PRIME MINISTER Antonis Samaras and the coalition government of New Democracy and PASOK have been forced to attack the neo-Nazi organization Golden Dawn after having criminally waited a very long time.

The factors which have forced it to make this U-turn--because we all remember that until yesterday, their tactic was to cover for the neo-Nazis--are obvious.

There was first the blood of Pavlos Fyssas. His murder was a major event that touched and moved the majority of workers and youth. It was something that could not be swept under the carpet, as has been the case with hundreds of deadly attacks against immigrants, which were downplayed, with the complicity of the bourgeois parties, the state apparatus and the mass media.

The second factor was the anti-fascist, anti-racist movement. The demonstrations that broke out immediately after the killing of Fyssas threatened, against a background of strikes and of social anger, created a new front of struggle against the government.

Also, there is the fact that, at the political and social level, Samaras had his back to the wall. He had to deal with the teachers' strike and the prospect of a renewal of strikes by hospital employees and municipal workers. He had to implement new austerity measures and sign a new memorandum following the demands of the troika and creditors.

Greek anti-fascist protesters march in Athens after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas
Greek anti-fascist protesters march in Athens after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas

The political base supporting the government was crumbling. Golden Dawn began to question the hegemony of New Democracy inside the right-wing social bloc. The leadership of New Democracy was criticized within its own party and also by a media that are favorable to it.

It was these factors that finally led Samaras to confront Golden Dawn. He was forced to attack the neo-Nazi party which until yesterday was treated as a "brother party" by his main advisers--as part of their strategy of reorganizing a right wing social bloc as a mass anti-worker, anti-strike, anti-left current.

THE RESISTANCE movements of workers and youth, and especially the anti-fascist and anti-racist movement, should take advantage of this governmental maneuver to increase the pressure, with the aim of definitively crushing the neo-Nazis. In order to attain this objective, it is very important to expose and break the links made by the Nazis inside the police, army, legal system, church and big business, which have financed Golden Dawn.

The demand to have these connections exposed in all areas is a precondition for defending and advancing democratic rights and liberties for the working class and the popular masses as a whole.

In the public debate underway now, we should stress one point--the Nazis should not have the right to call on their democratic rights. That is because they use these rights to form violent forces that act in the shadows, in the most anti-democratic manner, against immigrants, against whomever is "different," against trade unions and against the left.

This mortal threat, whose nature has been proven by, among other things, the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, must not be allowed to hide behind the "fig leaf"--as Golden Dawn itself calls it--of democratic rights, rights that we have gained through our struggles in the years following the fall of the military junta.

During this period, we should not forget, as the media wish us to, the overall picture--the record of all the political developments flowing from the brutal attack of the dominant class and international creditors, and their austerity policies which have the aim of crushing the social gains of the workers, popular masses and youth.

Samaras and New Democracy, Venizelos and PASOK--they seek to pose as guardians of democracy, and from this obtain the political support they need to impose a new memorandum. That is why they continue to use the ugly tactic of attacking the "two extremes"--the extremes of left and right--which until yesterday gave legitimacy to Golden Dawn by placing it on the same footing as the left, and specifically SYRIZA.

The government's criminal threats against the residents of Chalkidiki and against the administrative staff of universities who are on strike should alert us to this. We must not allow the restriction of the democratic rights of the majority of society to engage in struggle, in the name of supposedly protecting democracy.

The new strategy that the government has been promising is very dangerous. In the name of isolating Golden Dawn, there is an effort to create "political unity" among all the parties. All left currents must avoid this trap. The fight to isolate the Nazis and to destroy Golden Dawn forms an integral part of the fight to cancel the Memorandums and to defend workers and their rights against austerity policies.

The great victory against the Nazis will be the victory against the right wing bloc and against pro-austerity forces. That will be a political victory for the left, which will prepare the way for a socialist emancipation of society. That is the direction we should firmly commit ourselves, demanding today the complete crushing of the neo-Nazis.

This English language translation was first published at International Viewpoint.

Further Reading

From the archives