Click on the images for full-size. Previous OL coverage of the Velvento case: [Text by the 4 arrested anarchists concerning the double robbery in Velvento, Kozani | Greek police publish images of arrested and tortured anarchists that are altered in photoshop]
Two unique events exploring debt, crisis and resistance, coming up this week. A public lecture (Thursday 21 November) and a seminar (Saturday 23 November) with George Caffentzis, David Graeber, Christina Laskaridis, Johnna Montgomerie and others.
DEBT | CRISIS | CAPITALISM: A PUBLIC LECTURE
Thursday 21 November
ULU – Malet St, London, WC1E 7HY
A public lecture on debt, crisis and capitalism with George Caffentzis, David Graeber and Christina Laskaridis.
Organised in collaboration with: PM Press and Jubilee Debt Campaign
This is not a ticketed event, but arrive early to ensure a seat.
DEBT RESISTANCE: A SEMINAR FOR ANALYSIS AND ACTION
Saturday 23rd November
10.30am – 4.30pm
Lunch: will be pot-luck. Bring something to share.
Birkbeck University, Room B33, Malet Street, London, WC1E
A full day seminar with George Caffentzis and others to bring together activists and academics, campaigners and theorists, to examine debt and resistance in the UK and around the world. An opportunity to deepen analysis of debt, create links, and investigate strategies for action.
- George Caffentzis
- Johnna Montgomerie (Goldsmiths University)
- Christina Laskaridis (Greek Debt Audit Campaign)
- Caroline Molloy (ourNHS)
- Michael Chessum (National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts)
- Jonathan Stevenson (Jubilee Debt Campaign)
This is a free event, but spaces are limited. To register and see the full program see here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/debt-resistance-a-seminar-for-analysis-and-action-tickets-8874472787
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
George Caffentzis is a philosopher of money and a leading thinker in the development of autonomist thought. Co-founder of Midnight Notes Collective, his most recent book is In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism (PM Press/Common Notions, 2013). He is a member of Strike Debt (US).
David Graeber is an American anthropologist, author, anarchist and activist who is currently Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. He is the author of many books including Debt: The First 5000 Years (Melville House, 2011). Graeber has long been involved in social and political activism, including as a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Christina Laskaridis is a researcher with Corporate Watch working on the Eurozone debt crisis. She is a founding member of the Greek Debt Audit campaign (ELE). She studied at York University and SOAS, and is a member of Research on Money and Finance.
Johnna Montgomerie is a lecturer at Goldsmiths University and an affiliate with the Centre for Research into Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC). Her research interests include household debt (mortgage, student loans, consumer credit, payday lending) and its relationship to Anglo-American financialisation, especially in the context of never-ending crisis and the new Age of Austerity.
Organised by Jubilee Debt Campaign
The Global Uprisings conference is in full swing in Amsterdam – check below for a live feed from the event:
…and this link for the full program.
On Monday, the OL collective will be kindly hosted at OCCII, on an event discussing the future of the OL project and the role of the media of the antagonist social movement today. Follow this link for information on the event and on everything else planned in the city during and after Global Uprisings.
On Saturday 9th November, notorious fascists and neo-nazi has-beens called a demonstration in support of the jailed leadership of the murderous neo-nazi Golden Dawn party at the Greek Embassy in London.
Over 40 militants from the AFN responded in a co-ordinated action to send a strong message to those attending or thinking about attending neo-nazi and racist demonstrations – that they are not welcomed and they will be opposed. The message was spelt out to them with a “frank discussion” before the demonstration. For all their talk of “smashing the reds” not one of the 12 fascists said a word, instead the sense of shear fear on their faces would hopefully make an impression and knock some sense in the younger attendees that were present. Around 5 of the younger fascists were escorted out of the pub onto trains by AFN militants and told to fuck off home.
After we had left the remaining fascists, who had hoped for a large police presence at their pub but with none insight, pleaded with community support officers to escort them to the demo as they were too afraid to leave. They ended up getting taxis to the embassy.
Our aim was to never attend or call a counter-protest, if we had we would have had given the 30-35 odd balls that turned up a sense of importance and the cops more intel. The location of the embassy and the high police presence meant that any counter protest would have been completely in the control of the cops. Different situations require different tactics.
After the action, seized Golden Dawn Flags were burned. We give our total solidarity to our working class brothers and sisters in Greece, the many migrants who are struggle against racist and fascism and to our Brother Pavlos who was murdered by Golden Dawn members.
London – always anti-fascist!
London Anti-Fascists ( AFN )
Hip-Hop Against Fascism Benefit Event” – a night dedicated to Killah P
Saturday 16 November 2013 from 6pm onwards / info line: 07502202177 or email@example.com / entrance
all funds raised from this event will go to those arrested in the anti-fascist protests following Pavlos’ death.
* Caxton Press
* Big Cakes
* Mc Dekay & Act on Words
* Dope Biscuits
* Sensei C & Ruby Kid
* Dj Snuff
* Dj Steaz
* Dj Dissident Island Radio
and of course discussions, films, food & bar!!!
spread the word
Our friends at Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness printed and distributes hardcopies of the last issue of Occupied London journal across the US and Canada.
International Day of Solidarity to the Greek People: Break the Handcuffs on Democracy and Freedom, Saturday 9 November, Everywhere
“The prosecutor said that the person responsible for ERT’s inventory now is the ‘brigadier general’ of the police forces.”
Thursday, 7 November 2013
In 4.20 am, today, Thursday 9/11 police raided the building of ERT – the Greek broadcaster that its workers kept alive broadcasting for five months after its unconstitutional shutting down – in a culmination so far, of the “law and order” campaing by the Greek “state of exception” regime.
After the police house-raids in the communities of Chalkidiki, who resist gold-mining and the destruction of their land and forest, after the forced conscription orders against the striking teachers, transport and sea-port workers half a year ago, the government has unleashed a new assault on democracy, against the resistance of the Greek people.
Last week the social solidarity movement experienced for first time police raids in grassroot solidarity structures, among others in the Metropolitan Social Clinic of Ellinikon (Athens), and in the Without Middlemen Bazaar in Oraiokastro (Thessaloniki).
Today, in addition to the ERT raid, the government issued disciplinary orders against the university staff, who strike 9 weeks now defending their jobs and resisting the destruction of higher education institutions, forcing them temporarily out of work.
At the same time the delegitimised regime of the pro-Troika government, day after day, breaches and dismantles any constitutional and democratic procedure, in a peculiar “coup d’etat”. Such authoritative climaxing occurs while the Troika visits the country, in order to desing with the Greek government the next instalment of austerity measures.
Under these circumstances a rally outside the ERT buildings has been called for today (Thursday 7.11) at 4 pm.
There are also calls for mass mobilisations on Saturday 9.11, in combination with the International Day of Solidarity Against Gold-Mining in Chalkidiki and against the repression of social struggles by the Greek government.
“Police forces have just entered the studios of the Greek radio… It’s not for ERT alone. It’s not only for our jobs. But it is for Democracy itself… Don’t seek for legality… for the defence of Democracy, for holding each other’s hand, for our dignity and honour, for standing shoulder to shoulder to each other… because we met at the same street together, because we fought the same struggle… we ask you to come now at the headquarters’ of ERT… The voice of the Greek radio is silenced!”
– the final words of the ERT anchorman
We call everyone to participate next Saturday 9 November in the International Day of Solidarity Against Gold-Mining in Chalkidiki and to organise actions of solidarity to ERT, University workers’ and social solidarity structures, against the “coup d’etat” of the Troika regime.
For Real Democracy and Social Emancipation
Solidarity – Resistance – Subversion
Solidarity for All
+33 210 3801 921
The following link is a report in English of the police raid in ERT.
Here you can hear (in Greek) the last words of the ERT anchorman before it is obliged to close the mics http://tvxs.gr/news/internet-mme/ta-teleytaia-lepta-tis-era
Solidarity gathering: Thursday November 7, 4pm, outside the ERT building (Mesogeion Avenue, Agia Paraskeui, closest metro: Agia Paraskeui)
At approximately 04:30 AM, eight squads of riot police stormed the building of the Greek Public TV station (ERT). The police evicted the workers who were occupying and maintaining the building for many months now as a self-organised TV and radio station, after the government decided to shut ERT down overnight. At least four of the workers were detained in the operation, while the police used tear gas in order to evict the building and to push away the impromptu demonstration that had formed outside.
In Thessaloniki, the ERT-3 self-organised (formerly state owned) station continues to stream live:
Below you can listen to the last minutes of the self-organised ERT radio. The journalist broadcasts sourounded by police while waiting to be detained, eventually they force him to stop. His last words are “Psihi vathia”, literally translating as “deep soul” – a famous greeting that would be exchanged between partizans of ELAS, the Greek People’s Liberation Army, in the country’s civil war.
The last minutes from the live feed of ERT TV.
We have prepared a small feature with analyses from the wider antagonist movement on the ostensible “ban” of the Golden Dawn from the greek state – and the challenges and issues this now raises (tag: golden dawn ban)
- When the state turns antifa, by cognord
- The fascist threat beyond Golden Dawn, by Michael Theødosiadis
- Hello, Dr. strangelove: the neo-nazi Golden Dawn and state apparatuses in greece, by Dimitris Dalakoglou
- Occupied London statement on the ‘dismantling’ of the Golden Dawn by the Greek state: There ain’t no such a thing as bourgeois justice
by Dimitris Dalakoglou, from the fifth issue of Occupied London:
“No government in the world fights fascism to the death. When the bourgeoisie sees power slipping from its grasp it has recourse to fascism to maintain itself.”
Interview to Pierre Van Paasen in Madrid, 24 July 1936.
Published in The Toronto Daily Star, 5 August 1936.
“Why are you guys so anti-dictators? Imagine if America was a dictatorship. You could let 1% of the people have all the nation’s wealth. You could help your rich friends get richer by cutting their taxes. And bailing them out when they gamble and lose. You could ignore the needs of the poor for health care and education. Your media would appear free, but would secretly be controlled by one person and his family. You could wiretap phones. You could torture foreign prisoners. You could have rigged elections. You could lie about why you go to war. You could fill your prisons with one particular racial group, and no one would complain. You could use the media to scare the people into supporting policies that are against their interests.”
General Aladeen in ‘the Dictator’ (2012)
First, some much needed background: Golden Dawn (GD) is the Greek neo-Nazi party. In the parliamentary elections of 2009, they received 0.29% of the vote (circa 20,000 votes); around three years later, in the elections of 2012, they received about 7% (over 400,000 votes). Within the same period, GD grew from a grouping of a couple of offices and a couple of hundreds of members grew into a party of over fifty branches/offices and a few thousand members nationwide. Meanwhile, GD started its now infamous Greeks-only food and clothing distributions, while the rest of its usual activities - beating up, stabbing and threatening migrants, breaking their shops, etc. carried on.
Now, to the breaking news: The leaders of the Golden Dawn were arrested in September 2013. The incident that triggered the arrests was the assassination of the antifascist musician Pavlos Fyssas in Nikaia, Athens. Fyssas was murdered by Roupakias, a local leading GD member, because he wrote and sang anti-GD hip-hop songs, according to the interview of a former GD member in a local newspaper. Police were present at the murder, allowing over twenty neo-Nazis to attack and for one of them to stab the 34-year-old antifascist to death. Police have been present at several other neo-Nazi attacks without intervening. But go one week before the assassination and you will see that when fans PAOK, a local football club, attacked the GD office in Thessaloniki, all 43 of them were arrested on the spot. In September 2012, when the antifascist motorbike patrols started in Athens, DELTA motorbike police (which has excelled in seriously injuring protesters since its foundation in 2009) attacked the antifascists, arresting, beating and later on torturing them. On the following day, police attacked those who had gathered at Athens’ courthouse to express their solidarity to the antifascists, arresting even more of them. This series of arrests brought to a temporary halt an action that was aimed at stopping what were daily racist attacks in those parts of the city. From that time on, lives of several immigrants – and now, that of one local antifascist too – have been claimed by neo-Nazis in the Athenian streets.
Just one week before the assassination of Fyssas, Babis Papadimitriou, a government-friendly journalist, declared live on a local TV station that the right-wing New Democracy party should enter into a government coalition with the GD. Prominent ND members like Byron Polydoras or Failos Kranidiotis have made similar statements in the past. Notorious neo-fascists like Adonis Georgiadis or Makis Vorides hold offices or are MPs in the current government. Obviously, the assassination of Pavlos Fyssas by GD and the arrest of GD leaders ruined all the joyous atmosphere inside the Right in the country, maybe postponing such collaboration.
The truth is that the extreme-Right parastate in Greece is explicitly embedded within wider activities and campaigns of the official state authorities and it was rarely an autonomous political force. Acknowledging that kind of relationship is precisely the reason that in Greek, the term parakratos (parastate) is used in order to talk about the extreme-Right.
Historically, since the 1920s, the far-Right parastate has functioned as the long arm of the State’s violent apparatus, targeting people with Left-wing affiliations (see Kostopoulos 2005; Mazower 2006, 353–4; Mouzelis and Pagoulatos 2002, 88–9; Panourgia 2009). Unsurprisingly, GD comprises a political and physical continuation of that tradition: in 1984, the leader of the colonel’s dictatorship (1967–1974) Papadopoulos founded the organization EPEN from his prison cell, where he had been sentenced for the coup. The founding and current leader of GD, Michaloliakos, was the first president of EPEN Youth Sector.
The colonels’ dictatorship is notorious for its close links with the extreme-Right para-state apparatuses, both prior to and following the coup. For example, during the dictatorship, laws honouring and providing benefits to the members of the Security Battalions (Tagmata Asfaleias) for their role during World War II came into force. The Security Battalions were the Greek units of collaborators with the German Nazi occupiers during World War II. Security Battalions, to a great extent, comprised the formalization of the pre-war fascist para-state and its transformation into formal organized units. The further formalization continued after World War II by the postwar state apparatus, peaking during the dictatorship (see Kostopoulos 2005). Allegedly, Papadopoulos was a member of the Patras Security Battalion during the Nazi occupation (Kloby 2004: 249). Certainly, as army officer of the post-war state, Papadopoulos served in the State Intelligence Service (SIS), in the department of internal security. The major task of this department was to tackle the “communist threat” within Greece, defining and targeting the state’s enemy within (Keeley 2010). In 1981, after the electoral victory of the social-democratic PASOK, the SIS was reformed and renamed into Greek Intelligence Service. In a payroll slip leaked from the SIS during this reform, the name of Michaloliakos appears as that of a paid employee of the intelligence service. Meanwhile, Michaloliakos was notorious for his participation in bomb attacks in cinemas that were screening Soviet movies. This was the reason he was imprisoned in the late 1970s. Eventually, Michaloliakos left EPEN and founded GD; in EPEN he was replaced by M. Vorides. Nowadays, the latter is an MP of the conservative party “New Democracy,” which leads the governmental coalition. Vorides was the minister of infrastructure in the government of technocrats ran by the unelected banker Loukas Papademos in 2011-2012.
Despite the long extreme-Right tradition and the involvement of leading GD figures into the activities of the parastate, GD as such had very few members up until 2010. One of the reasons for its small size was that many neo-Nazi, neo-fascist and junta-phile elements were absorbed by the parliamentary system and dispersed across other Right-wing parties. In spite of its size, GD was often the cherry on the top of the patriotic cake, baked by various governments in crucial moments of Greek post-dictatorial history. For example: the moment when the conservative government of Mitsotakis (1990-1993) was implementing the first concrete legal adjustment towards an explicitly neoliberal system, it was also the same moment when his government decided that the Republic of Macedonia should not be allowed to carry its name. That decision came with some 45 year delay, since the Socialist Republic of Macedonia (predecessor to the Republic) was founded as part of the Federal Yugoslavia in 1944. Apropos, the current PM, Samaras as Minister of Foreign Affairs was a key figure behind the nationalist explosion of the early 1990s. During the large rallies —organised by the government, the church and other institutions— the neo-Nazis of GD made their public appearance as a perfectly respectable part of the ‘Macedonia is Greek’ campaign. During the largest of those rallies in Omonoia Square, GD attacked migrants and some new squatted anarchist social centres (see Psaras 2012). The same social centres that were attacked and eventually evicted by the police in the winter of 2012-2013.
Another example of Golden Dawn becoming the extra ingredient of the patriotic/nationalist soup came in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Back then, the country was transformed overnight into a superpower in sports with its top moment being the success of the Greek football team making it in the European Championships of 2004. That was a period when the Greek flags and the national anthem was heard more and more in stadiums across the world and from there, via TV sets, to everyone’s home. That was also the period when some of the champions were accompanied in parade from the airport to the centre of the city for the big party downtown, organised by state authorities to honour their success. Back then, Olympic champions were treated more or less as national heroes and indeed from that point on, they could automatically acquire an officer’s post in the Greek army.
All these phenomena were embedded within a peculiar new type of nationalism. This nationalism was promoted by the third-way social-democrat government of Simitis (1997-2004) but also by the conservative government of Karamanlis (2004-2009). Both these governments worked hard to promote a number of adjustments towards a neoliberal form of governance, but also to portray the small Greek state as the newly emerging superpower in the Balkans: Greece was the only EU and euro-zone country in the region, expanding (business-wise) to the newly opened markets of its neighbouring post-socialist countries. All that patriotism was boosted even further when Greece became the host for the Olympic Games (2004). Fitting with the prominent governmental slogans of ‘Powerful Greece’, ‘Growth’, ‘Modernisation’, and the ‘European Greece’ of European Integration and so on, all these “successes” were presented by corporate media and governments as a national success.
It was within that climate that the ‘Light-blue Army’ (Galazia Stratia) appeared. This is an outright neo-Nazi fan club of the Greek national football team, controlled by GD. It started in 2000 and it was empowered during the 2004 successes of the Greek national team. The leader of the club was Panagiotaros, the current MP of Golden Dawn who acquired international fame when he declared during his interview to the BBC that GD is preparing for a civil war against the anarchists and migrants. But indeed the ‘Light-Blue Army’ was treated by the mass media and governmental factors either with a guilty silence, or as a respectful fan club of the team, following and supporting “our kids” to their battles around the world. Indeed, every Greek was supposed to have a share in these successes and everyone was supposed to be proud of the team and its supporters. Meanwhile Galazia Stratia was recruiting hooligans in football fields, while orchestrating organized attacks on migrants every time a success of the national team was celebrated downtown. Their nationalist slogans (“You Albanians will never become Greeks”) were chanted by thousands in these moments of national pride.
Nazis as counter-insurrection
This extreme – Right political column was re-formed anew as part of the post-December 2008 counter-insurrection. In spring 2009, extreme – Right groups declared the Athenian Square of Ayios Panteleimonas a no-go zone for migrants. Patrols of neo-Nazis affiliated with GD started attacking migrants in this particular area. That violence escalated further, but after the International Monetary Fund/European Union/European Central Bank (IMF/EU/ECB) loan of May 2010, this extreme-Right tendency started taking more concrete shape and coming together more firmly, multiplying and escalating more racist attacks within and outside the particular neighbourhood (see HRW 2012; Kandylis and Kavoulakos 2011).
GD, until recently, was attacking mainly Left-wing activists and anti-fascists rather than migrants. Despite the readjustment of the Nazis’ target, that part of the para-state apparatus never forgot its old target. For example, in a previous article (Dalakoglou & Vradis 2011), it was argued that although the new rule over Ayios Panteleimonas targets mostly migrants, it was in fact initially shaped as a spatial-political response by the extreme Right to the December revolt’s spatial-political legacies. Neo-Nazis aimed to control an open-air public space, and to promote their racist and anti-Left agenda in oppositional reference to open-air spaces, which hosted the spontaneous political offspring of the December revolt.
The difference is that neo-Nazis often operate openly in collaboration with formal state apparatuses. For example, the government vice minister, Markoyiannakis, who was responsible for the police (in an unprecedented act) personally visited one of the anti-migratory rallies of Ayios Panteleimonas in July 2009 to chat with the “enraged local residents.” After that meeting, neo-Nazis left Ayios Panteleimonas Square and attacked one of the oldest anarchist social centres in the city: Villa Amalias. As it was mentioned above, Nazis these days can concentrate on the rest of their activities since the police replaced them in the attacks against Villa Amalias.
When migrants started to be targeted so often by gang-style neo-Nazi attacks, police stations systematically refused to record or examine racist attacks, in fact providing mute protection to these attacks (see HRW 2012). But things often go well beyond mute protection. As mentioned above, in late September 2012 during an antifascist motorcycle rally in central Athens close to Ayios Panteleimonas, there were clashes with neo-Nazis, and the police immediately intervened, arresting fifteen antifascists and torturing them in the police HQ. Back in 2009, a father who dared to challenge the neo-Nazi rule over the square of Ayios Panteleiomonas was detained by the police (Dalakoglou 2012).
Certainly, within the picture, one has to mention that Ayios Panteleiomonas was already notorious since 2004 for racist attacks by police officers serving in the local station (Lebesopoulou 2010). Indeed, the close links between police and GD are not a local problem of Ayios Panteleimonas. This became apparent in the elections of May and June 2012, when approximately half the police officers on duty in the headquarters of Athens police voted for GD. In spite of these explicit and conspicuous links between the formal state apparatus and GD, historically and currently there is a desperate effort for para-state actions to be presented as spontaneous. Such effort goes back a long time and can be seen in the historical use of the term “indignant citizens” (aganaktismenoi polites), which was used by the police and government-friendly mass media in order to label the para-state aid against protests. For example, that was the label employed in November 1995 in order to name the group of neo-Nazis who joined the police forces who were surrounding the occupied, by Anarchists, Athens Polytechnic. Eventually, the political life of the term “indignant” in Greek changed since the Syntagma movement of the summer 2011. In Syntagma, the demonstrators directly translated the word indignados from Spanish. So today, the respective Greek word, aganaktismenoi, stands for the people who occupied Syntagma Piazza to protest against austerity, the political establishment of the country and IMF.
The extreme-Right groups escalated their activity in May 2011, just a few days before the Syntagma movement. On Ipirou Street, at the centre of Athens, an armed robbery—the victim of which was a Greek man who was stabbed to death by robbers of foreign origin—triggered a series of organized group attacks against migrants and anti-fascists. This lasted for several days, and saw the beating of migrants and stabbings, along with attacks against some of Athens’ anarchist squats (Dalakoglou 2011; HRW 2012). Some of the participants in the rally on the ground where the assassination had taken place were suggesting that this is “our December.” So the implication was that since December 2008 was a spontaneous revolt triggered by the assassination of Alexis Grigoropoulos by the police, the murder of Manolis Kantaris in Ipirou Street was expected by the far-Right to be the event triggering a massive xenophobic semi-pogrom, attracting neo-Nazis from other cities who came to Athens for the big day. The masses did not come, but still, the attacks happened (HRW 2012).
A few days after these incidents, the Syntagma Piazza movement started. In Syntagma, members of GD tried to get involved, but were attacked by anti-fascists on several occasions. Some of the most characteristic examples were clashes between anti-fascists and Nazis during the general strikes of June 15 and 28–29, 2011. Despite their efforts to appear as part of the mass spontaneous collective action, on June 28, neo-Nazis were videotaped fleeing behind the riot police lines when they were chased by anti-fascist demonstrators. A video showing prominent members of the far-Right chatting with officers and passing behind the police cordon toward the police-protected zone of the house of parliament caused a scandal. A potential attempt by demonstrators to go close to the police officers during that day would be unimaginable. The unprecedented police brutality during the forty-eight-hour general strike of June 28 and 29 resulted to several hundreds of demonstrators ending up in the hospital. The minister of development at the time, Skandalidis, was forced to admit publicly that there is an old relationship between the extreme Right and the police that needs to be examined (Eleutherotypia 30/06/2011). A few years ago, another similar scandal broke out when on February 2, 2008, during an antifascist demonstration in Athens, members of GD and riot police operated together against the antifascist demonstrators, being again recorded on camera. One day after the assassination of Fyssas in September 2013 again members of Golden Dawn were filmed operating together with riot police against the antifascist demonstrators in Nikaia, where the musician was killed.
Two systems – one
The difference between fascism and parliamentary democracy is only in the form of governance. The economic infrastructure remains the same: capitalism. Fascism/Nazism is dictatorial, militarised capitalism, while parliamentary democracy is capitalism with representation – or at least a hypocritical superficial version of it on the top of capitalist economic inequalities. This does not imply that the two regimes are identical. Economic infrastructure, on the other hand remains near-identical and each of the two systems encapsulates the potentiality to exchange elements with its sibling. For example, Nazi parties participate in elections and get voted in parliament, while liberal democracy makes exceptions when the so-called ‘public order’ is at risk, declaring curfews and other fascist-inspired states of exception.
This relationship is well-documented in e.g. the intimate relationships between big capital and the extreme-Right parties in interwar Germany and Italy (see Guérin 1936; Wiesen 2002). Ford, Bayer, Chase Bank, BMW and General Electric are just a few among the companies which did business with the rising Nazis of the 1930s. Such links, can be attributed partly to the opportunistic and ontological immorality of the capitalist market. They would not, however, be possible if the economic infrastructure was not the same.
Another similar intimacy has been recorded historically: the one between State authorities of representative democracy and extreme-Right mechanisms. For example, during the interwar period, almost every single State authority of the Weimar Republic saw the far-Right freikorps and the SA as the solution to the rise of the insurrectionists of the Left and collaborated eagerly with the first in order to suppress the second (Fritzsche 1998; Fischer 1995). Only a few years down the line, after fulfilling their political and social role, these gangs were massacred so that the Nazis could acquire a formal and serious party profile. Then people voted democratically for them. Within a decade they were able to establish a full fascist regime, and started a war which was very profitable for various big capital enterprises.
Still, it would be naive to believe that Nazism was eliminated at the end of Second World War: the majority of Nazi functionaries were adopted by post-war capitalist States. It was not only a matter of physical persons that would set the foundations of the post-war world. In many ways inspired by the dreams of Hitler, the post-war state apparatuses created collectively the infrastructure capable of causing many smaller or bigger holocausts – including weapons of mass destruction and modern armies capable of mass extermination.
The kinship between extreme-Right and capitalism was always visible in the post-war world. Today, from the Norwegian neo-Nazi terrorist Breivik, Golden Dawn or EDL, to the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, or to the British Home Officer Theresa May, many governments and far-Right groups see migrants as a danger to European countries. The part of that rhetoric which is closer to the political centre is shaped with respect to public order, criminality, public health, the de-regularization of the job market or in terms of capacities of the economy. The more extreme version employs ideas about a supposed ‘pollution’ of an imagined European racial and cultural whiteness or talks about an unknown Islamic or even Jewish plan to colonize ‘Christian Europe’. Indeed, as the example of Greece or the example of post-electoral Norway in 2013 manifests, there is no problem for centre-Right parties to collaborate with the far-Right parties at the parliamentary level in order to prevent any deviance of Europe towards slightly more anti-neoliberal or anti-racist pathways.
In terms of everyday life, when the establishment wanted to scare radicals or just the progressive middle classes, it would always bring up the fascism monster. Fascism in its pure form (as neo-Nazism), or fascism as form of “democratic” governance – interchanging, if necessary, between the two. Today, in these times of crisis and austerity, when the States are not prepared to provide any social provisions (breaking the culture of intimacy between citizens and the State mechanisms), security, policing, borders, nationalism and even racism – if necessary – quickly become the last sources for consent that European governments can offer only to the most reactionary of their citizenry. But this situation has a very clear result: it makes European governments to increasingly identify with the agendas of neo-Nazi groups and vice versa. For them, the important point is to keep the economic system sustainable. They see it as irrelevant what happens politically; whether, that is, there is a representative or dictatorial administration that prevails.
1 Many thanks to Idris Robinson, to Smokey, to Antonis Vradis and to Klara Jaya Brekke for their comments and corrections to previous versions of this article.
Dalakoglou, D. 2012 Beyond Spontaneity: Crisis, Violence and Collective Action in Athens In City vol 15(4): 535-545
Dalakoglou, D., and A. Vradis. 2011. Spatial legacies of December and the Right to the city. In Revolt and Crisis in Greece, ed. A. Vradis and D. Dalakoglou, 77–89. Oakland CA, London: AK Press & Occupied London
Eleutherotypia 30/06/2011. Skandalidis: Possible the collaboration between of Parastate and MAT.’
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Fritzsche, P. 1998 Germans Into Nazis. Harvard University Press.
Guérin D. 1936 (1994) Fascism and Big Business. Pathfinder
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Kandylis, G., and I. Kavoulakos. 2011. Framing urban inequalities. The Greek Review of Social Research 136:157–76.
Keeley, R. 2010. The colonels’ coup and the American Embassy: A diplomat’s view of the breakdown of democracy in cold war Greece. Philadelphia: Penn State University Press.
Kloby, J. 2004. Inequality, power, and development. Amherst: Humanity Books.
Kostopoulos, T. 2005. The self-censored memory: The Security Battalions and the post-war national belief. Athens: Filistor (in Greek).
Lebesopoulou, D. 2010. The trial of the police officers for the torture of Afghanee refugees was postponed anew. In tvxs 09/04/2010. At tvxs.gr/node/35129.
Mazower, M. 2006. Salonica: City of ghosts. London: Knopf.
Mouzelis, N., and G. Pagoulatos. 2002. Civil society and citizenship in post-war Greece. In Citizenship and the nation-state in Greece and Turkey, ed. F. Birtek and T. Dragonas, 87–103. London: Routledge.
Panourgia, N. 2009. Dangerous citizens: The Greek left and the terror of the state. New York: Fordham University Press.
Psaras, D. 2012. The black bible of Golden Dawn. Athens: Polis.
Wiesen, J. 2002 West German Industry and the Challenge of the Nazi Past, 1945-1955. University of North Carolina Press.
A provisional assessment
After the fatal stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas in Nikea (Athens) by Giorgos Roupakias (a member of the neo-nazi party Golden Dawn, organizer and coordinator of the party’s blackshirts’), mass demonstrations took place across the country. A few days later the conservative government launches crackdown on GD, resulting to the prosecution of party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and five other Golden Dawn MPs, who are charged with murder,sex trafficking, money laundering, benefit and tax fraud. But it was only two weeks ago that government officials and members of the ruling coalition government were openly discussing the possibilities of a future collaboration with the far-right partywhilst for many years the Greek State was deliberately tolerating the proliferation of neo-Nazi violence against immigrants and leftists. It is also evident that the Greek police has strong ties with the far-right, given that in the past elections 50% of the various police divisions are said to have voted for GD. Thus, racist attacks are systematically being covered up while illegal methods of detaining protesters and dissidents are continuously reported and condemned by Amnesty International; the most alarming case is the story of fifteen anti-fascist protesters, who after being arrested in Athens in a clash with supporters of GD last year,during their custody in the Attica General Police Directorate (GADA) have said they were heavily beaten up and tortured by officers. Unsurprisingly,the Greek Minister of Public Order, Nikolaos Dendias denied any act of deliberately inflicting severe physical pain and injury, ignoring at the same time the forensic surgeon’s confirmation that corporal coercion has indeed been used against the detainees. In addition, the thousands of anti-fascists who took to the streets of the major Greek cities (around 50.000 marched in the streets of Athens)were confronted with tear gas, whilst the campaign group Info-war.gr recorded a scene where rocks and stones were thrown by GD’s sympathizers against protesters with the riot squads only standing by.
What did, however, urge the Greek government to order such investigations on GD after years of concealing its criminal activities? Can we deny that Antonis Samaras acted under the pressure of the public outcry against the impunity of the far-right and the erosion of the police forces by GD? This is what the leader of the left-wing opposition party SYRIZA has claimed during his recent party conference. It can also be said that ND (being a europeanist and pro-bail-out party) would do everything possible to pretend that the rule of law prevails in Greece and applies to everyone equally (hence the Greek justice system is supposedly incorruptible and trustful) and that the alleged connections of GD with members of the police forces are only some of the aberrations of the State mechanism. But there is also another scenario:a possible collapse of GD would perfectly suit Samaras’ plans to secure a stable government; according to polls issued by VPRC (September 2013; see p.9), the popularity of the far-right party has significantly decreased(after the September riots and the numerous negative discourses that appeared in the progressive press)reaching 8.5% in contrast with 14.5% a few months before the assassination of Fyssas (see p.10). The same statistics reveal that an approximate 13,0%of GD’s disappointed voters could ‘return’ back to ND (see p.17) whose agenda has adopted much of the former’s rhetoric[I]. This came as a relief to Samaras whose party was polling behind the left-wing SYRIZA for a couple of weeks, and thus by seeing ND gaining an additional 1,5% – 3%, not only succeeds in avoiding early elections but at the same time appears confident to win the next round (scheduled for 2016).
Nonetheless, an important point should be made here: it is possible that many respondents be apprehensive to admit support for a party whose leading members are associated with the organized crime. If this is true then Samaras will have no other choice but to transform GD into a more ‘europeanized’ party, removing all its members that have close relations with the underworld and are outspokenly anti-Semits, replacing them with more ‘moderate’ executives in order to collaborate with them[II]. Whether this scenario is plausible or not, what we obviously see is that parliamentarism cannot any-more be considered as a system waterproof to fascism. The empirical observation of Greece shows clearly how the serpent’s egg is incubated within the system of liberal ‘democracies’, through a regime where the so called “moderate” and “prudent” voices (as opposed to the far-left and far-right “extremist” forces) dominate. This will be further examined below.
It is undeniable that GD’s nature is utterly hubristic, and as every misanthropic paramilitary gang that is attracted by totalitarianism, anti-Semitism and conspiracist scapegoating, contains all the elements that have no place in a truly democratic world. But the claim that the conservative coalitions the sole defendant of Greek democracy is entirely inaccurate. Not only because ND has absorbed the most reactionary forces of Greek society(as aforementioned) but – and especially – due to the fact that Samaras and his co-workers were always looking for the right moment, for the opportunity where under the pretext of legality and public security will suppress every voice that calls into question ND’s political platform. Indeed, Samaras in Washington, in a conference organized by the Institute for International Economics in collaboration with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation stated the following:”we are crushing extremism, [...] but we have to confront the other extreme, the one that talks of leaving the EU and NATO” (directly denoting the left-wing eurosceptic opposition parties). In another speech, he stressed that any refusal to accept that the country is exiting from the crisis constitutes incitement to extremism (using again the far-right rhetoric of “invasion of illegal immigrants,” and promising deportations to “relieve society”). As the pro-government columnist Stefanos Kasimatis confirms (in his article posted in Kathimerini on the 16th of September 2012) the crackdown of Golden Dawn provides a vital “opportunity” for the Greek State to get rid of the other “extreme”; the anti-fascist movement.
This is the notorious horseshoe theory – constantly promoted by the Greek and European mainstream media and the political intelligentsia – which claims that the far-left and the far-right whilst being at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political spectrum share many view-points and practices. The entire Greek conservative political elites constantly defend this oversimplistic stand-point, supporting that the left (either talking about the extraparliamentary anti-capitalist voices or the social-democratic reformists of SYRIZA) is equally offensive with the far-right, that both forces are battling each other to gain control over districts and neighbourhoods descending the country into chaos. Whilst this perspective is presented as the basic principle of common sense, a deeper research on the socio-political prattein shows that it is utterly myopic and instrumental; this is obviously seen not only through Samaras’ speeches but also from the constant reluctance of ND’s government to clean up the police forces from all the fascist enclaves long before the assassination of Fyssas. Additionally, no far-right group (GD is not the only active in Greece) has been dissolved and brought to justice since ND came to power (and for the last 10 years), but instead police brutality and beatings during custody (as mentioned also in the first paragraph), repression and attacks against anti-austerity and anti-capitalist protesters has become the only reality. We should acknowledge the evictions of self-organized social centres in Athens such as Villa Amalias – a social space that is considered as the feeder of the city’s anti-fascist spirit – between December 2012 and January 2013, that were located close to areas where thugs of GD organize attacks against migrants on a daily basis, after several complaints of GD’s sympathizers who also reside in these neighbourhoods (the so-called “outraged citizens”) in the mainstream media[III].
As it becomes obvious, the theory of the “two edges” implicitly inclines towards the right-wing direction. But additionally, it obscures the complicity of the “moderate centrist voices” (which according to its logic appear the only trustful political forces to safeguard ‘democratic’ institutions and social stability) in the cultivation of the conditions that allowed fascism to rise from the dead. In fact, no concentration camps for immigrants (such as that of Amigdaleza[IV]) were ever created by Golden Dawn, no protester or HIV victim was pilloried by any far-right political organization. It was the “centrist” government of PASOK that took such measures, and its “center-right” successor that criminalized immigrants publicly, launching witch-hunts like the Xenios Zeus[V]. Historically speaking, it was not the far-right that persecuted communists and leftists during and after the Greek Civil War, but the government of the “centrists” Themistoklis Sofoulis and Giorgos Papandreou that ordered the re-opening of penitentiaries and concentration camps for dissidents and sent thousands to the fire squads in coordination with the so called dosilogoi[VI].
This, however, does not apply only to the Greek case. In Britain, for example, it was not BNP or any fringe organization that uses vans for explicit anti-immigrant campaigns, declaring that “there will be no place to hide for illegal immigrants.” It is not a fringe neonazi magazine that publishes the profiles of students who participate in demonstrations calling for other citizens to report them to the police (as the Nazi authorities were doing when they seized power) but the so-called “centrist” newspapers, like Telegraph and Daily Mail. From this it follows that, in reality, no fascist organization is actually needed to give the green light for zero tolerance against immigration and criminalization of dissent, given that the agenda of the center-right conservative parties often relies on the law-and-order ideology and justify the Weberian approach of the State as the only legitimate source of violence is the essence of occidental liberalism. Law, order, security and protection are also the main ideological bases of the far-right where the State is seen as the sole legitimized force that guarantees social peace. In other words, both the centrists and far-right ideologues recognize structural violence as a necessity to overcome personal violence. Both accept the Hobbessean motto that “covenants without the sword are about words” (Hobbes 2006, p.93) as the cradle of harmonious co-existence which practically shows that a strong connection between the far-right and the ‘centre’ exists. And this assumption leads us also to another crucial conclusion: if indeed the left has utterly failed, this is because it accepted the State as a tool of social well-being (contemporary history is full of examples where party bureaucracies exploited genuine movements and instead of leading societies to liberation, imposed their own dictatorial rule). Thus, the condemnation of any action that does not comply with the “moderate” voices – which theoretically safeguards social balance – as a “potential extremist” and any arbitrary invocation to the so called “common sense” falls into an ambivalent subjectivity. The subjectivity of this doctrine is unveiled by its ineffectiveness to secure political dialectic, as it seeks to monopolize its own defended order, eroding at the same time, the foundations of a free society towards authoritarianism and prevention of political freedoms in the name of protection and security.
Xenophobia as a self-reflection of hubris
While liberalism has incarnated all the elements that open the back door to authoritarianism and fascism [VII], to blame solely the political intelligentsia, the ruling classes and the media for the rise of the reactionary right is utterly unacceptable. Can we practically deny that all undemocratic measures are imposed with our own complicity? Can we honestly claim that the percentage of the Greeks who voted for GD were fully unaware of what they were voting for during May and June (2013)?
Many confine the rise of the far-right and the political regression we experience to the current crisis, an argument that lacks substantial depth; we can see that the first tensions between natives and immigrants in Greece (and also in Austria and France) appeared long before the financial turmoil. As I have stressed in the first Issue of Democracy Street (2013, p.27), the rise of the far-right can be understood as an indirect effect of the economic downturn since intense competition (that is also expressed in national or racial terms) over scarce resources cultivates a climate of social introversion and generalized insecurity which is exploited by ultra conservative forces. In other words, the break out of crisis has intensified the feeling of pessimism, fear and uncertainty, creating, at the same time, the appropriate opportunity for charlatans and xenophobic demagogues to increase their electorate support. The border-walls (such as that between U.S. and Mexico, of Morocco and Ebros) are not only the results of the Fordist and anti-immigrant policies of Western countries (which in an essence is only a reflection of the profiteer laws that govern and regulate labor market aiming to overexploitation). Additionally they promote the image of a protected and safe society that allows us to continue living in complete peace within the artificial and false paradises of consumerism, even though deep down we know that the years of our prosperity are numbered. The role of the ideology of security contributes to a fake image of national self-sufficiency that hides the misery, isolation and loneliness we experience as mortal beings. This ideology is not necessarily created from above and not always relies to the historico-political background of a country, but many times is generated by society itself, as the same society when it feels threatened attempts to maintain the illusion that the prosperous life of consumerist (pseudo)happiness is always safeguarded. This not only maintains the deterministic logic of the necessity of the State but, at the same time, enhances xenophobia as the massive waves of migrants arriving in the West appears symbolically as a kind of onslaught of the “Third World” in our living room. This is the obvious answer to the question “why the Greek people voted for such party”, an answer that also applies to the occidental world (where the only difference is that most of the far-right parties consist of ultra-conservative demagogues who do not oppose parliamentarism whilst GD is a neonazi paramilitary group[VIII]).
While Samaras and his cronies portray themselves as the only source of justice against the brutality of GD, the strong ideological and practical links between his own party’s rhetoric and policies with the neo-nazi group do not allow us to consider his claim as plausible. While reactionary forces are taking over the ‘public’ sphere attempting to fill the political ‘gap’ and the incompetency of parliamentary ‘democracy’ we must be aware of the severe consequences of racism, the worst hubris of our times that will continue to penetrate social life beyond the parliaments. GD is only a reflection of the actual problem whose solution can be only found in the struggles for social emancipation, that propose rupture with heteronomous institutions and further spreading of direct democracy and equality.
[I] Samaras during his pre-election speech in Alexandroupoli called the clandestine migrants the tyrants of Greek society and proclaimed mass and quick deportations. “Our cities have been taken over by them” he stated a few months before the 2012 elections, promising, at the same time, to repeal Ragousi’s Law (which allows every foreigner who has been born within the Greek territory to obtain citizenship). He also ‘borrowed’ the unconfirmed but populist claim, that the number of illegal immigrants in Greece has reached two million, which during 2007-2009 was the main argument of the anti-immigrant campaign of LAOS – Popular Orthodox Rally, (the previous but more moderate far-right party that suffered heavy defeat (1.58%) during the 2012 elections).
[II] Makis Voridis (who twenty-five years ago was an axe-wielding fascist patrolling the streets of Greece chasing leftist students according to Helena Smith) was a member of the political council of LAOS and Adonis Georgiadis served as the spokesman for the same party before both joining ND in February 2012. This clearly shows that Samaras would not hesitate to collaborate with a far-right party that acts solely according to the parliamentary laws and does not support street violence. Moreover, Michaloliakos in Vergina Channel declared that “If ND promises to withdraw from the memorandum, to clean up the country from illegal immigrants and cut all ties with the economic oligarchy [...] then nothing is excluded in order to save the country.”
[III] This is not the first time that GD offers a helping hand to ND: when the government decided to shut down overnight the National Public Broadcasting TV, GD launched a smear campaign against the public sector workers.
[IV] The detention centre of Amygdaleza, else called “the Greek Guantanamo”, is located in a desolate land 25 kilometres from the centre of Athens. Approximately 1,600 migrants are currently held there (according to police) forced to live under inhumane conditions until the day of their deportation. Rights groups claim that migrants have constantly been subjected to abuse by police and denied proper health-care. Activists from the group KEERFA said that Muslim detainees had been beaten by guards during prayers. In July, the same group reported the death of an Afghan detainee from a lung infection while the guards had deliberately ignored his severe condition for months.
[V] In August 2012, Samaras and Dendias passed a new enforcement strategy known as “Operation Xenios Zeus,” aiming to detain and deport clandestine migrants who reside in the Greek territory.Roughly85,000 people were detained whilst 4,200 (around the 6%) face charges for unlawful entry, and were sent to Amygdaleza or other similar detention centres. As Eva Cosse says “the fact that such a small percentage was actually found to be in Greece unlawfully suggests ethnic profiling”, a claim that seems plausible since this strategy not only targeted immigrants but also tourists, like Hyun Young Jung from South Korea and Christian Ukwuorji (a US born Nigerian), who were also stopped and searched, then detained and beaten up in a police station.
[VI] In Greek the term dosilogos (δοσίλογος) derives from logos-λόγος (reason; or in a less strict translation account, report) and dino-δίνω (give), meaning the task to give account (to report) to a third party whatever I am obligated. It does not only refer to the nazi collaborators during the occupation who were obligated to report to the German authorities any act of resistance, but also the action of every citizen who believed that it was vital to report to the police whoever had connection (or was suspected to have connections) with leftist organizations during and after the civil war and the military junta of 1967-74. Whilst dosilogism can be found in every totalitarian state, such as that of the Nazi Germany, the fascist Italy and Spain, as well as in the Stalinist regimes, it is visible even in the liberal “democracies” (as the example of the 2010-2011 students’ protests in London confirms). It is constantly being fed by the obsession of the masses with security and blind obedience to the values of the established institutionalized norms, pointing out the heteronomy of the modern occidental world; absence of self-limitation, that is the inability of individuals to understand by themselves where their power ends, without being forced to control their desires for pride and domination or acquisition of material goods due to obedience to a superior authority or due to habitual orientation.
[VII] According to Mark Neocleous, the liberal notion of security and protection refers to the various governmental declarations, often constitutionally justified, according to which the use of illiberal means (police and army repression) are necessary aiming to the removal of an alleged potential (often suspicious and not confirmed) common threat coming from ‘violent’ opposition groups, which undermine civil liberties, social or global stability and well-being. As John Locke supported (Neocleous 2012), when public freedoms are threatened by such aggressors, the Sovereign has the right to reduce a certain amount of civil liberties, “only so that [freedom] would be preserved forever”. However, the state of emergency, as this condition is officially called, for Neocleous is nothing but a pretext for various statesmen who usually invent fictitious social enemies (or take advantage of the existence of one real enemy in order to invent more) aiming to suspend basic civil rights for their own private benefit. This simultaneously opens the back door for the imposition of harsh authoritarian measures. In agreement with Neocleous, Giorgio Agamben (2008) also claimed that the state of emergency signifies the beginning of the state of exception (or else constitutional dictatorship), where modern totalitarianism is gradually established; “the entire Third Reich can be considered as a state of exception that lasted 12 years” says also Agamben (2008, p.2) claiming that Hitler took advantage of liberal constitutional laws; “the last years of the Weimeir Republic passed entirely under a regime of the state of exception” (Agamben 2008, p.15) thanks to a systematic abuse of the 48th Article of the Weimeir which writes: “if security and public order are seriously disturbed or threatened in the German Reich”, then the president of the Reich may take any necessary measure to establish public order, even with the help of the army (Agamben 2008, p.14). The Xenios Zeus could be also taken as a state of emergency and this denotes that there is a close relationship between liberalism and authoritarianism. Nonetheless, this loss of liberty ‘for security reasons’ is significantly minor compared to what takes place in a fascist regime. But “the practices involved, the wider state of emergency to which it gives rise, and the intensification of the security obsession, have a disquieting tendency to push contemporary politics further and further towards entrenched authoritarian measures. Liberalism is not only unable to save us from this possibility, but actually had a major role in its creation and continuation”. (Neocleous 2012)
[VIII] But the reasons behind this are historical: Greek nationalism contains more ethnic elements than civic, given that the Greek State was not founded upon the imaginary of capitalist production but on “the messianic irredentist discourse, the ‘Great Idea’” (Giovanni 2012), a narrative that promises border expansion and re-occupation of territories that were lost after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire. GD is clearly a party that embraces racial theories (claiming the superiority of the Greeks) and eugenics, rather than being confined to the ideology of national borders sovereignty.
Additional references (bibliography)
Agamben, G., 2008. State of Exception. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Hobbes, Th., 2006. Leviathan. New York: Dover Philosophical Classics.
Theodosiadis, M. (2013), “The Society of Intercultural Relations”, Democracy Street, Oct 15.
According to mainstream media reports, two Golden Dawn members have been shot outside GD’s local office in the neighbourhood of Neo Iraklio, a northern suburb of Athens. Another one member is injured and hospitalised. The three were shot by two men on a motorbike that drove past the building. GD members are gathering at the spot.
More info as it comes.
Golden Dawn (GD), as we knew it, is over. Their leader N. Michaloliakos is behind bars, along with other prominent members, while those who survived the first purge are facing added charges that emerged a few days after the first arrests. While this was happening, a number of their offices around Greece have closed down, the state funding they received has been stopped, and reports indicate that many of their members (ex or current) are forming lines outside the High Court to testify against the organization. These testimonies are used as key evidence in the legal proceedings, leading among other things to the finding of hidden weapons. Even if the legal case does not bring most of GD’s members to prison, the inside fighting is bound to create enough damage to forbid the Nazi party from continuing as it has.
This approach of the collapse of GD is not only based on an analysis of recent events. It is also based on a specific understanding of the nature of the State in the modern capitalist world, and its essentially democratic ideology. Democracy is a system of decision-making and of social relations ideal for the capitalist economy. It creates a subject stripped of any control over the means of production, but abstractly equal to the rule of law, bound by existing class, property and exploitation relations, a subject which exchanges its need to consume the means of survival with the ability to participate in deciding who will manage these relations. This is the form that capitalism finds more suitable for the continuation of accumulation and the creation of value, and democracy has proven that it has far more tools and elasticity, as part of its social structure, to recuperate struggles and threats to the capitalist order, than the brute force of fascist/totalitarian regimes who require no consensus for their rule. The power of capital does not depend on the brute force of Nazi thugs, nor does it require coercion to further the devaluation of proletarians -in Greece or elsewhere.
As Dauvé has said, everyone would prefer (if given a choice) to live in social-democratic Sweden than being hunted down by Pinochet’s torturers. The point is that the choice is not ours, and it definitely does not depend on a set of forms such as universal franchise, civil rights and the existence of a parliament, however much these forms are fetishised. For regardless of the contingent advance that the existence of such rights might allow, they leave the fundamental social relations of class exploitation intact.
The forces that kick started the persecution of Golden Dawn, were the very same ones that the antifa/Left scene has been accusing all along (and rightly so) of aiding and facilitating the spread of its racist and fascist policies and ideology. And it requires a leap into absurdity to maintain a position under which the same forces that produce and support such anti-social elements are seen as the ones that will save one from them. Yet, this is democracy.
Though far away from the historical and material realities of fascism and Nazism, the modern State will push the limits of parliamentarism to its absolute edges (as has been the case many times in Greece with austerity measures being voted in parliament in the form of Special Acts of Legislative Content ), it will extend the powers of the police in ways which resemble totalitarian regimes (redefining legality through the use of anti-terrorist legislation, the Patriot Act or the German Constitutional Police), it will practically justify the emergence of the notion of “State of Emergency” as a permanent feature of modern life etc., BUT, contrary to a common approach found in the Greek anarchist scene, fascism is not a central political choice of the State.
Having said that, in order to understand recent developments in Greece, one should provide a brief trajectory of the organisation (and the extreme right) in Greece, not only in order to properly place its ideological and practical activities, but also to understand the historical context during which Golden Dawn was both supported and suppressed. Hopefully this presentation will show, among other things, that rather than running the risk of being manipulated by the Nazis of Golden Dawn, the State itself has always manipulated the extreme right for its own benefit, ready to sacrifice it when the cost outweighs the benefits.
The dawn of Golden Dawn
Michaloliakos had from a young age created a name for himself in extreme right wing circles: he was arrested for the first time in July 1974 in a protest against Great Britain and its role in the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, again in 1976 for attacking journalists who were covering the funeral of two infamous torturers of the dictatorship (assassinated by November 17th), while in July 1978 he was arrested in relation to a number of bombings in Athens along with other prominent members of the extreme right. Though facing serious charges (being part of a terrorist organization, to start with), Michaloliakos only received a 13 months sentence, and reports of the time indicate that he entered into a deal with the authorities –in exchange for informing on his former comrades. A few years later, a document emerged in which Michaloliakos was shown to have been on the payroll of the Greek Secret Service (ΚΥΠ), and though the document might have been falsified, the accusation would make sense. If the secret service were looking for someone to fund, he would clearly be their man.
From the beginning, there was little doubt that Golden Dawn (initially the name of the magazine published by Michaloliakos) was openly Nazi.
Cover of GD magazine from 1987
Of course, its leader and members try to deny the obvious, or at best claim that they only held such beliefs in their youth, but the Nazi references remained at the forefront of GD’s propaganda at least until 2007.
Cover of GD magazine in 2007
Their reluctance to admit their adherence to Nazism went hand in hand with the rise from anonymity to a recognized political party in parliament. Even for the hardcore extreme right wing of Greece, aligning yourself with the Nazis who occupied Greece and were responsible for the deaths of thousands, is going a bit too far. It is understandable for a small group of thugs and their pre-linguistic mutterings, but it is hardly attractive material for a wide electoral base.
GD members saying hello to their leader
Notwithstanding, in the early years GD remained a rather obscure and insignificant racket and the only people who knew of their existence were the anarchist/antifa scene, many of whom have had a lot of street fights with its members, some of whom now appear in parliament with their suits and their ties.
The first instance when GD crept out of its anonymity was during the early 1990’s, following the protests against Macedonia, a time when nationalism was a la mode, with the government openly sponsoring demonstrations to back up its nationalistic discourse and political agenda. Around the same period, and during the civil war in former Yugoslavia, members of GD enlisted as volunteers and fought alongside Serb fascists, proudly admitting their participation in the slaughter of Srebrenica.
Greek paramilitary volunteers give a friendly salute in Bosnia
In the early 2000’s, GD attempted to merge with other nationalist elements, a journey which ended in the creation of the “Patriotic Alliance” party, and at that time Michaloliakos announced the end of activities for Golden Dawn. In 2007 however, and in what was probably inner bitter fighting, the Patriotic Alliance dissolved and GD resumed its activities by holding its 6th conference.
In 2008, GD reached the headlines once again. An antifa counter-demonstration was attacked by a joint force of riot police and GD members, resulting in the stabbing of two people in broad daylight in the centre of Athens. The images of the Nazis side-by-side with the riot cops reached the headlines of the mainstream press, and questions were raised (soon to be forgotten) about the collaboration between the police and Nazis. (video here)
GD members hand in hand with riot cops.
A few months later, GD members staged a demonstration against immigrants who had occupied and were living in an abandoned building in the centre of Athens. At the end of the demonstration, Nazis together with riot cops laid siege to the building and attacked the immigrants and lefties who were inside. The left attempted to calm the situation down (urging the immigrants to refrain from answering the attacks), but a battle erupted. (video link here.)
Any resemblance between the circled ape (above) and the arrested GD deputy I. Panagiotaros (below)
is purely coincidental and clearly a result of left-wing propaganda.
A new dawn?
In 2009, GD starts to work its way in the area of Agios Panteleimonas, a poor neighbourhood in the centre of Athens, which is a transit area for immigrants since the beginning of the 2000’s. Contrary to the Albanian immigrants who came to Greece in the early 1990’s, and have since been largely incorporated into Greek society (one should not of course forget the immense racism, police repression and workers’ exploitation that they endured for many years), the immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries that reach Ag. Panteleimonas do not see Greece as their destination point. Instead, Greece is seen as a transit destination for reaching other countries of Europe where prospects for a better life are much higher (if one manages to get there) than crisis-ridden Greece. This precarious situation defined their precarious existence in the streets of Athens.
Using the vehicle of s-called “Citizen’s Committees”, GD members and other extreme right wing elements fueled the dissatisfaction generated by immigration to promote racist and Nazi “solutions”. For example, from around 2009 onwards, a public playground for children was sealed by this “Citizens Committee”, with the excuse that it was being used as shelter by illegal immigrants (interesting videos here and here). And though the antifa/anarchist scene of Athens reacted to this racism by staging demonstrations, the lack of immediate connections with the neighbourhood as well as the repression of the police (in collaboration with the Nazis) did not allow this reaction to bear fruit. Mainstream media worsened the public image of the reactions, by placing anarchist trouble-makers on one side and concerned inhabitants on the other. Gaining ground, the “Citizens’ Committees” made various appearances in mainstream media where, and by using the façade of being a-political and non-aligned, they hid their GD allegiance. Consequently, the “committees” organized pogroms against immigrants and attacked their shops, as well as assaulting left-wing candidates in their pre-election campaigns. All of these activities were done with the explicit knowledge, tolerance and (on occasions) participation of the police.
Rise and fall of Th. Skordeli:
Before: a simple angry inhabitant of Agios Panteleimonas.
After: GD candidate, charged with attempted murder and the exploitation of immigrants.
Still, activities such as the violent dealing with immigrants in an environment of worsening economic and social conditions in Greece, brought GD to the foreground and landed them a seat in the municipality of Athens in the elections of 2010. Nikos Michaloliakos found the long-awaited public space to spur his poison.
Holding public office necessarily forced GD to tone down their Nazi sympathies, urging them to explore new ways through which their racist and xenophobic propaganda could become more effective. And since open racism in Greece is not met with the same contempt as Nazism, GD managed to attract a considerable following both in the neighbourhood as well as nationally.
Michaloliakos fails to restrain his inner beliefs
In May 2011, a Greek man was killed after two immigrants tried to steal his camera in a street near Ag. Panteleimonas, giving GD the opportunity it was looking for. Exploiting the murder to the fullest, and spreading racist language, GD was at the forefront of organizing “vigils” that were soon turned into pogroms. Since these events were public, the police was always present, making sure that Nazis and other scum could perform their services unhindered by antifa groups who tried to organize against these developments. The result was a highly documented pogrom right in the centre of Athens, in which many immigrants were attacked and beaten in front of bewildered TV journalists. Of course, no arrests were ever made.
Though the official media condemned this expression of extreme violence, the undertone of the coverage was filtered with a “common-sense” approach, which proclaimed that, though misguided and “undemocratic” (sic), this violence was merely a response to the fact that there were too many immigrants in Greece and something should be done.
The development of the squares’ movement in Greece in the summer of 2011, straight after the pogrom days, overshadowed the racist expressions of GD and its sympathizers. GD was not an “anti-systemic” party at the time, you see, and it hastily condemned the mass demonstrations in Syntagma and elsewhere as expressions of anti-national, lefty propaganda. And contrary to a recent widespread myth that sees the re-emergence of racist attitudes as a result of the squares’ movement, GD and other extreme right wing groups refrained from joining the protests. Among other things, a sizable number of those participating in the squares had declared anti-racism as an underlying, unifying policy of the crowd (obviously as a reaction to the recent pogroms), and instances of any racial violence were extremely limited (although it is worth noting that the presence of immigrants was also very limited in these protests). At the same time, national flags and an underlying understanding of the crisis as a threat to national sovereignty were of course present. But, before turning one’s attention to extreme right wing groups or GD, it would be less hypocritical to take a look at the national discourse of the Left itself.
However, and though one could write books about the patriotic nature of the Left in Greece, their official line has always been pro-immigrant –even though based on a mystifying moralistic/humanist outlook. To properly understand the re-emergence of racist policies and a nationalist understanding of the crisis, as well as the astonishing 7% that GD got in the elections of 2012, one needs to look somewhere else. And official State policies are a good place to start.
Back to the fatherland
The struggles against austerity in Greece had produced a situation which seriously threatened the continuation of the memorandum policies as well as strongly undermining politics as a legitimate source of consensus. Ranging from traditional general strikes and riots all the way to the squares’ movement and the forcible emergence of a new, devalued and occasionally subversive proletarian subject, these struggles had enforced major transformations in the political scene, literally unimagined a short period before.
Yet, these struggles never managed to supersede their limitations, and the gap created in the theatre of political foreplay, was soon to be filled by a coalition government (with less actual consensus than any government in Greece of the last 40 years), and by the dichotomy of opposition between Syriza and Golden Dawn. Though entirely different in all respects, Syriza and Golden Dawn share one small detail in common: they represent forces which long for a return to the traditional (destroyed by developments of globalization) form of the Nation State. Either from a social-democratic viewpoint or an authoritarian fascist one, both these political tendencies aim at reviving the State to the function that it had served so well in the past: a structural mediation whose purpose is the protection of its citizens from the “abstract” forces of the global economy. Syriza sees the solution to the crisis in the form of nationalizations and the creation of jobs, whereas GD by way of the expulsion of all immigrants and the creation of prison camps for those who disagree. Both see the State as responsible for restoring national sovereignty vis-à-vis foreign lenders and institutions.
While observing the emergence and appeal of the national discourse, the State proved more up to date than the anachronisms of social-democracy and fascism. Contrary to these “relics of the past”, the role of the modern state is instead a twofold penal/repressive function and a re-definition of citizenship –and its opposite, i.e. immigration. And while the repressive mechanisms of the State were used effectively during the anti-austerity protests (one should not forget that it was the police which enforced the memorandum and not parliamentary procedures), the card of immigration as the locus point for the enforcement of societal consensus through fear was still unused. This was soon to change.
In April 2012, Ministers of Health and Public Order Loverdos and Chrysochoidis staged a joint press conference, claiming that the collapse of the Health System in Greece is related to the free treatment of immigrants (and unrelated, of course, to drastic budget cuts). In this statement of pure racist ideology, they claimed that illegal immigrants are a hygienic bomb located in the urban centres waiting to explode. As an example to back up this delirium of official State racism, they “discovered” the existence of illegal immigrant prostitutes who engage in intentional unprotected sex with their clients, in an attempt to contaminate AIDS to them. A series of wildly publicized arrests were made, while the pictures of those arrested were shamelessly branded in the 8 o’clock news. Little did it matter that (as it was proven later) many of the women arrested in this modern nightmarish witch-hunt were neither immigrant, nor prostitutes, nor did they have AIDS. The seed was planted.
In the same period, the government announced the opening up of new (so-called) “hospitality centres” for the detention of illegal immigrants. Called “concentration camps” by the majority of those who reject them, these new structures were initially part of a proposal by Golden Dawn in its various suggestions about what to do with illegal immigration. Soon after the proposal was taken up by the government, GD started criticizing them, arguing that the existence of the detention centres was nothing but a burden of costs for the State and that the immigrants should instead be dealt in more cost-efficient ways –such as immediately expelling them or placing landmines in the Greek borders.
The State’s definition of hospitality.
Riding the wave of anti-immigrant rhetoric, current PM Samaras sprayed his pre-election campaign with promises to “re-occupy the cities from illegal immigrants” (video here), as well as promising to “put an end” to immigrant children (note: not illegal ones) “occupying” what should be “Greek” places in public kindergartens (video here). A few months later, GD would remind Samaras his pre-electoral promise and would demand the official registration of all immigrant children in kindergartens, a request that was swiftly obeyed by the Greek authorities at the request of parliament.
In coordinating the need of filling up the detention centres with illegal immigrants, the State announced in August 2012 the (euphemistically named) police operation “Hospitable Zeus”. This is the closest form we have yet of a state-sponsored pogrom, whose aim is to stop, search, intimidate and (if illegal) arrest thousands of immigrants from the streets. Though a continuing operation until this day, the official statistics published by the police itself clearly indicate that the propaganda of an uncontrolled influx of illegal immigration is (apart from racist) grossly exaggerated: out of the more than 90,000 people stopped and searched so far, less than 5,000 have been imprisoned in the camps (not all of which have been detained for lacking legal papers).
After winning the elections in 2012, and in the process of consolidating its power in government and the hegemony of its ideology, government party New Democracy enriched its cabinet and close advisory groups by a motley crew of extreme right wing fanatics. This racket is largely responsible for a slanderous –and often ridiculous –propaganda campaign against Syriza, for the promotion of anti-immigrant (and anti-gay) propaganda, as well as attempts to win back voters who turned towards Golden Dawn by mimicking their discourse and proclaiming GD as originating from the same “family”.
Though most members of this advisory group were largely unknown to the public, New Democracy has left no doubt in relation to its intentions and ideological sympathies. For example, in March 2013, Ioannis Kotoulas, a self-proclaimed historian, was given a position as advisor (for issues of immigration, of all things) in the Ministry of Interior. It was not long after that it surfaced that Kotoulas’ career as a “historian” consists of the publication of revisionist Nazi-friendly books that would surely be illegal in a number of European countries. Other members of New Democracy’s think-tank, with the imaginative name “Truth Team”, include G. Mouroutis (anti-left fanatic and social media junkie) and F. Kranidiotis (a fanatic extremist who argues that the Left is responsible for the erosion of Greek national identity, proudly proclaiming that the days of left-wing dominance are over and that the renewed Right, with the National Idea as a flag, is advancing rapidly). Moreover, and after the downfall of extreme right-wing party LAOS (which paid the electoral price of collaborating with the pro-memorandum coalition), two prominent members of LAOS jumped boat and landed in the New Democratic family.
The first one is Adonis Georgiadis, widely known in Greece for his “career” as a literally hysterical TV salesman of nationalist books (videos here and here) and a constant figure of ridicule in popular TV shows.
Less known to the general public are the actual political ideas behind this clown figure. While selling books on ancient Greece and anti-Semitic “studies” on TV, Georgiadis also had the time to raise a number of interesting issues in parliament. Here is a joyful selection:
”Anarchist gangs are roaming the streets of Athens on a daily basis, and are assassinating innocent Greek workers.” (May 10th 2010)
”Gay communities receive money from organizations belonging to the state, which means that the state is now funding homosexual propaganda.” (June 4th 2010)
”Groups of enraged Muslims have taken over the city centre and the Ministry of Public Order has no plan to deal with a potential coordinated uprising of these elements.” (June 6th 2010)
”Muslim women, illegal immigrants, are wandering around wearing the burka, an image that is not only insulting to the Greek-Christian civilization of our country and the aesthetics of Greek society, but also human dignity and should be outlawed.” (June 29th 2010)
”The situation is out of control. Illegal immigrants slaughter, rape and plunder Greeks. Extreme left-wingers burn down Athens and some people criticize the police.” (May 16th 2011)
“The government ensures the comfortable stay of illegal invaders in our country, with the creation of reception houses for illegal immigrants, which have heating, air conditioning, bed linen and even mirrors. It also ensures the feeding of illegal immigrants at the same time that Greek citizens are looking through the garbage for food.” (May 18th 2011)
”Illegal immigrants with diseases are wandering around the same streets as our healthy citizens.” (July 8th 2011)
”Our squares have been occupied by extremist Muslim elements.” (August 22nd 2011)
”Groups of armed Pakistanis kidnap dogs to use them as food.” (October 10th 2011)
”Immigrant rapists are protected by the authorities.” (August 20th 2012)
”Immigrants are the victims of racist attacks, but the state does not even check if the shop that was attacked was legal.” (September 19th 2012)
Regardless of the above positions (or perhaps exactly because of them), this person is today the Minister of Health, i.e. responsible for policies that literally destroy public health by a series of lay-offs, drastic budget cuts, hospital closures and other similar niceties. In a recent interview with the BBC, and while discussing the developments with Golden Dawn, Georgiadis was confronted by the journalist in relation to his “past” as an extreme right wing politician. His answers are worth watching (video here).
The second important transfer from LAOS to New Democracy concerns the person of Makis Voridis. A fascist thug from a young age, he became in the early 80’s general secretary of the fascist group EPEN, a party created by imprisoned ex-dictator G. Papadopoulos, replacing the previous secretary, N. Michaloliakos (who went on to create Golden Dawn). In charge of a nationalist student society during his university years in the Law School of Athens, he was often involved in violent fights with leftists and anarchists.
Makis Voridis (centre) holding a hand-made axe during scuffles with anarchists.
Commenting on the picture, Voridis admitted he was a mere right-wing activist.
In 1994 he created the party Greek Front, and appeared as a candidate in the elections with humiliating results. By 2005, and disillusioned by his complete insignificance, the Greek Front joined the LAOS party of G. Karatzaferis en masse. Retaining his identity as a nationalist (admitted publicly as recent as 2011), Voridis gained fame building a profile of an eloquent (he is a lawyer) yet hard-line far right politician. When LAOS joined the coalition government, Voridis was given the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks. When LAOS decided to stop supporting the government, Voridis chose instead to stay in the Ministry and, after being expelled by LAOS, he formally joined New Democracy. In typical extreme right wing fashion, whenever confronted with his past, Voridis evades the question and claims youthful enthusiasm (in the same way that GD members hide their Nazi sympathies).
For many analysts, the preference of Samaras towards extreme right wing politicians and advisors is not simply a tactical move. Samaras was himself in charge of the infamous Rangers of the Peloponnese in his youth, a group of thugs belonging to the youth organization of New Democracy, responsible for a number of violent clashes and attacks against left-wingers, anarchists, striking workers and even Pasok members.
The Greek Far Right
The far right in Greece has a long history and support, one that is particularly visible in specific areas of Greece (especially in the Peloponnese). It was there that the infamous Security Squads (a paramilitary group that openly collaborated with the Nazis) were based and it is there that extreme right wing politics still find a loyal support group. Yet, and especially since the end of the dictatorship, the far right has been more or less assimilated in New Democracy.
One happy extreme right wing family:
Hardliner New Democracy president Averof (centre), along with Samaras,
Michaloliakos (cousin of GD leader), Manolakos (far right royalist),
and other right-wing activists.
There have always been small extreme right wing/royalist parties in Greece, but their electoral success were epic failures and it was often the case that they were eventually incorporated by New Democracy. The cases of Voridis (former EPEN, Greek Front and LAOS) and of Georgiadis (LAOS) are the most recent examples of this trajectory.
Golden Dawn was the only extreme right wing political party that refrained from joining forces with New Democracy, and judging from various comments by New Democracy politicians, it is possible that this collaboration was resisted on the basis of the open Nazism of Golden Dawn, a position not shared by new Democracy’s personalities (let alone their voters). At the same time, and leaving aside GD’s love for Hitler and other deranged criminals, New Democracy’s policies show that there exist important moments of political agreement between all these far right rackets.
What is crucial in this expose concerns an elaboration on the electoral support of Golden Dawn, as it developed since 2012 onwards. And an analysis of its electoral base shows that the majority of its voters come from traditional New Democracy strongholds. Many analysts explain the sudden success of Golden Dawn with reference to LAOS (and the legitimisation of far right politics) and its electoral downfall following the participation in the pro-Memorandum government. Though there is an element of truth in this, this approach fails to comprehend that the far right in Greece did not have to wait for LAOS to become a more legitimate political force, but was rather largely represented by New Democracy.
In the breakdown of the electoral base of Golden Dawn it was shown that 4 out of 10 of its voters came from New Democracy, while most of them claimed that they chose Golden Dawn as a form of protest against the pro-Memorandum government in which New Democracy participates.
At the same time it is interesting to note that though in urban centres with a high level of immigration Golden Dawn received some of its highest percentages (an average of 12%), the overall electoral geography of GD shows signs of a clear historical continuity with the Greek right wing, pre- and post-dictatorship. For example, in the area of Lakonia, place of the second best electoral results for New Democracy, and one of the most traditionally important areas of right-wing support, was also the area where GD received its best results nationally.
The same goes for urban areas, where support for GD did not (as it has been claimed) receive the votes of former KKE (Stalinist) or Syriza voters, but instead benefited from the tri-chotomy of the Right, with votes being divided between New Democracy, the Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn.
It is clear that the success of Golden Dawn drew on the breakdown of the social cohesion of the Right (as it was embedded after the Second World War and after the dictatorship), representing the disaffection of the right wing voters to the politics of the Memorandum governments. And this is definitely something that New Democracy took clearly into account when deciding on the criminalization of GD, in an attempt to convince voters to return to the big family of the Greek Right.
Golden Dawn in Parliament
We have seen that the greatest part of the electoral support for GD originated from traditionally right wing strongholds, and that GD’s voters claimed that their votes were a form of protest against the pro-Memorandum outlook of the Right in Greece. Building on this “anti-systemic” image, GD seems to have successfully convinced its voters and sympathizers that it actually represents a political force that resists the austerity measures. Of course, for anyone with a slight connection to common sense, GD’s political views would be enough to discredit such nonsense. However, a close look at GD’s actual performance while in parliament is fairly indicative of their understanding of “anti-austerity”.
To set the ideological tone, we can start by focusing on the exact reasons for which GD itself declares its opposition to the Memorandum policies. So, in July 2012, the opening session for parliament started out with Michaloliakos wishing success to the coalition government, “at least at an economic level”, soon to add (as an explanatory remark) the extent of its disagreement: “Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of Parliament, Golden Dawn is against the Memorandum for a few words and only: giving away of national sovereignty.” Later on, he demanded the increase of the budget for the Armed Forces, as well as the compulsory enlistment of men and women for the Army at 18.
In August 2012, Golden Dawn (along with Pasok and New Democracy) blocked the proposal for the creation of an investigative parliamentary committee around the privatization of Agrotiki Bank, citing as a (very anti-systemic) excuse the fact that some of Agrotiki Bank’s cadres were involved in scandals. Clearly, the way to “punish” corrupt bankers for GD is to privatize.
In September, while busy employing various family relatives in parliament, GD MP’s also found the time to show their support for Latsis, the wealthiest businessman of Greece. Latsis had decided that maintenance costs for his boat “Neraida” were too much for him and asked the State to take over such expenses. Panagiotaros will call this offer an “opportunity” for the State, adding that in fact the Greek State might not even be worthy of such gifts, as it has a habit of “destroying all similar donations”.
In the same month, GD’s Kasidiaris made a heart breaking speech about the necessity for the State to compensate all those whose fortunes had been destroyed by the massive riots that shook Athens on February 12th, 2012. Small detail that the damage that proved so unacceptable for Kasidiaris concerned banks and multinational offices. So on top of all the bailout money that banks had already received (and are still receiving), Golden Dawn was seriously concerned with providing them with even more cash in order to replace their broken windows and their damaged ATM’s. On the same speech, he demanded that the bosses’ insurance coverage of employees should be decreased.
When in October 2012 shipyard workers invaded the Ministry of Defence, demanding that their wages of the past months should be immediately paid, Golden Dawn was deplored by the image, claiming that it was nothing but a disgrace of the Armed Forces they are so fond of.
But perhaps the most revealing instance for Golden Dawn’s “anti-systemic” credentials concerns the long-standing love affair with ship-owning capital. The shipping industry, one of the most prominent sources of capital accumulation in Greece, apart from providing its workers with minimal wages and devastating work conditions, enjoys 58 tax exemptions. When in November 2012 the government made a modest proposal for the ship-owning capitalists to proceed to a “voluntary contribution” of 80 million euros to the state by amending the taxation system, Golden Dawn went on a rampage. Former death metal bassist and anti-semite Golden Dawn MP G. Germenis, had a momentary lapse of his usual pre-linguistic screams, and argued eloquently against the proposal: “The business world is suffering. The shipping industry has repeatedly supported the Greek economy in the past, but [your proposal] seeks to decisively destroy it”.
A traditional stronghold of Stalinist KKE, the shipyard has seen a number of strikes led by the KKE-dominated union, fighting against existing and proposed conditions. These strikes have long troubled the shipping capital, eager to find ways to undermine this militant union. More recently, GD members were invited by a small number of nationalist workers in the shipyard, who urged them to take matters into their own hand and kick the Stalinists out. And even if one is tempted to understand Golden Dawn’s interference in the docks as an indication of their love for the Greek worker, one look at the video of the meeting is enough to convince where Golden Dawn’s allegiance lies. (link here). Keeping their promise, in September 2013, around 30 members of GD (apparently the same assault squad responsible for the assassination of Pavlos Fyssas some days later) attacked a group of KKE members while fly posting in Piraeus. At least 8 people were sent to hospital with head injuries.
Last but not least, it is worth mentioning another brilliant conception of GD’s political activity. This concerns the creation of job seeking offices (for Greeks only, of course), through which GD propagated its active concern for Greeks finding a decent job. Their main activity was to go around various businesses, factories and workplaces and urge the bosses to fire all immigrants working there (of course they did not do the same in the countryside, where farming is primarily done by extremely low-paid immigrants) and to hire Greeks instead –for the same wages that they gave to the immigrants.
Apart from their parliamentary work, GD made sure that it captured the attention of the public in a variety of extra-parliamentary activities. For example, members of GD stormed a street festival in Rafina and destroyed the benches of immigrant street sellers (after asking them for legal papers, yet regardless of the fact that many produced such documents). In June 2012, and after publicly announcing it, a group of 50 GD thugs attacked a house where 5 Egyptian fishermen were living, and the one Egyptian who did not manage to escape was sent to hospital with serious head injuries. In October 2012, Golden Dawn decided that the theatre play “Corpus Christi” was too insulting for their deep-rooted Christian beliefs, and alongside a group of raging Christian fundamentalists, they proceeded to lay siege to the theatre on its opening day, demanding the cancellation of the play. Golden Dawn’s MP Panagiotaros set the tone of the debate. (link here).
Golden Dawn’s MP Germenis performing Christian rituals.
At the same time they organized a few soup kitchens (for Greeks only) and tried to portray themselves as a philanthropist organization, which aimed at relieving Greeks from the hardships of the crisis. When not involved in such benevolent acts, they publicly proclaimed their enthusiasm for being allowed to carry guns legally, their allegiance to the dictatorship of 1967-1974 and their Nazi sympathies by inviting German Nazis for a walk around Greek parliament.
German Nazis getting a tour of Greek Parliament by Golden Dawn.
The assassination of Pavlos Fyssas
When on the night of September 18th, Pavlos Fyssas was brutally stabbed to death, the tolerance of the State towards Golden Dawn changed. To be sure, this was not an immediate response. In fact, the day after the assassination, the government refrained from making any comments, and instead relied momentarily on the comments of far right New Democracy member Lazaridis, who downplayed the assassination and explained the “tragedy” using the famous “theory of two extremes”.
Yet this strategy was not really successful. On the one hand, Pavlos Fyssas did not really fit this profile they tried to pin on him. A working class young man from Pireaus, and hip-hop artist, Fyssas was not politically active in any squat or group. He was of course antifa and critical of the existing system, but it became increasingly hard to present his murder in a light that would justify the “two extremes” position. On the other hand, the exposition of the conditions under which he was murdered left little to the imagination concerning police tolerance and complicity. Though the government tried to avoid such embarrassment, a variety of eyewitnesses testified on eager TV reporters that a police force was present during the assassination but did nothing to stop it. And if that was not enough, when the antifa demonstration of the next day in the area were Fyssas was killed was marked by clashes with the riot cops, videos were published in which Golden Dawn members, unhindered by the riot cops, attack the demonstrators. If the tolerance and “indifference” of the cops towards the Nazis was already known to all those willing to listen, now it was becoming common knowledge to a passive majority whose consensus towards the State is paramount. The outbreak of riots in many different cities of Greece on the same day was also an indication that the backlash from the assassination could easily get out of hand.
Thus on the second day after the murder, PM Samaras came out with an “antifa” statement that more or less proclaimed that “democracy has all the necessary legal tools to fight the descendants of the Nazis, but was lacking was the political will to do it”. On the same day, Minister of Order Dendias submitted a file numbering 32 criminal cases to the High Court (many of which were not even considered as GD-related even by radicals), thus commencing a legal procedure to get them tried as a criminal organization. The specific legal case might sound rather unclear, but the rationale behind it has to do with the fact that it is against the Constitution of Greece to ban a political party, especially since it has been approved by the High Court (which GD was). But, by accusing them of being a criminal organization, the law also allows a side-stepping of the immunity of members of parliament.
At the same time, the State began a thorough investigation into the assassination, and unblocked the privacy of mobile phones in order to establish a clear link between the assault squad that attacked Fyssas and the leadership of Golden Dawn. In the aftermath of the assassination, many former (or current) members of GD volunteered information about the group, explaining that the organization was structured in such a way that nothing would ever happen unless the ones at the top (and especially the leader) knew about it. GD had a pyramid type structure, they added, separated into smaller units which were responsible for carrying out the attacks. These groups functioned in clear collaboration with many cops, who would either ignore them or even warn them of imminent searches. The group that assassinated Fyssas was among the most violent and prominent ones, being responsible -among other things- for the security of the party in all its public events. All this evidence was enough to built a strong case of Golden Dawn as a criminal organization, a charge which automatically means that the leader (and his second-in-command) face sentences of a minimum 10 years, even if no direct link between them and specific crimes are proven.
In the few following days, the whole spectacle of Golden Dawn was collapsing as quickly as former members booked appointments to get their fascist tattoos removed. Denouncing the whole prosecution as a plot designed by “foreign powers” (!), GD saw its appeal and credibility reach bottom. Little did it help when the official interrogations of the leading members became public. In these, from the leader to the last member, GD denounced … well, more or less, everything that they stood for. Even the most minor of their actions (such as destroying the benches of the immigrant street sellers in Rafina) was denounced as unnecessary, while they suddenly discovered a new found tolerance for immigrants, by claiming that their only problem was with illegal immigrants and not legal ones, forgetting (and hoping that others would forget as well) that the cornerstone of their expressed ideology was that there are no legal immigrants in Greece. This humiliating performance shook Golden Dawn even further, and (among other things) reducing seems to have reduced their support by as much as 50% (according to some polls) within a few days.
It is too early to estimate the exact outcome of the legal proceedings, but the way that the State is handling the case so far leaves little doubt that Golden Dawn will no longer be able to function as it has in the past, and definitely not with the same level of support (from the State among others). It is a logical assumption that many of GD’s leading members will see the inside of Greek prisons, an environment that will also become a future destination for many of its assault squads. The ongoing persecution of cops for assisting, tolerating or simply being complicit to Golden Dawn, also indicates that the State has decided that it will no longer accept the public endorsement of GD by its functionaries. In terms of the question whether these developments meant that immigrants are safer in Greece, the answer is unfortunately not. for while GD may have been discredited, and while the public acceptance of the most extreme form of racism has received a blow, it is obviously entirely mistaken to consider racism a Golden Dawn privilege (especially when racism has been so incorporated in the actual official policies of the State).
Nazi souvenirs and some of the weapons found
in the house of businessman A. Pallis
Is the State antifa?
So, what could be the main reasons behind such a shift in policy from the State? How can one justify the fact this drastic transformation from a “turning a blind eye” policy (or openly endorsing Golden Dawn) to a persecution that is reminiscent (in legal terms, scope and propaganda) to the arrests of November 17th?
Firstly, one has to keep a wider picture in mind. With austerity entering its 4th consecutive year and the never-ending spectre of devaluation hanging over the majority of the population, the government seemed in need of a public display of force that would not turn the population against it. And though the left and radicals needed no convincing concerning the criminal nature of the Nazis, the silent majority who wishes to see itself as representing the sober middle ground of “realism”, was far too affected by the assassination and the world it uncovered for it to settle with a traditional mild approach. Of course the Nazis were useful idiots so far, providing the government with an a-la-carte alibi for democratic credentials, but their usefulness was never more important than the future of the government itself, whose above all responsibility consists of the continuation of austerity. The explosive situation that could have followed, had the government chosen to ignore the assassination as it had in similar cases in the past, was far too dangerous for the maintenance of social peace.
Golden Dawn did not attract the majority of its voters and support because it was Nazi or because it supported the dictatorship of Greece. The greatest support for Golden Dawn came because it legitimised racism; it provided crisis-ridden small-owners with a subject (immigrants) towards which they could direct their hatred (with no repercussions); it promised the re-emergence of a strong Nation State, which would protect its subjects from the economic hardships of the crisis. All these characteristics were particularly useful so long as austerity is not threatened, and Golden Dawn showed that it is a force to rely on at this level. But the strengthening and development of Golden Dawn started undermining its usefulness. Following the assassination of Fyssas, and the direct links that could be established between GD and the police forces, the government feared that the repercussions could give birth to a new December in Greece, bringing thousands in the streets. By prosecuting Golden Dawn, the government indicated that it will take any measures necessary to ensure the continuation of normality (read: capitalist emmiseration) that harsh austerity brings, even to the degree of sacrificing a political party that they share so much in common with.
 Apparently more than 4,000 heavy weapons were found in containers belonging to a businessman, co-owner of the biggest selling newspaper Πρώτο Θέμα, alongside Nazi paraphernalia. This specific newspaper was one of the first mainstream papers to consistently white-wash Golden Dawn, presenting them as a philanthropist organisation. Now the tide has changed, they try desperately to win a seat in the antifa camp. Their most recent attempt was publishing, on their front page, a picture of Pavlos Fyssas, moments before he died, laying in the arms of his lover. The caption read: we will not forget fascism.
 The Constitution clearly states that these Acts should only be used in extreme circumstances, as for example when parliament has no time to convene, and they aim to surpass the delays caused by bureaucratic structures. All they require is a proposal by the appropriate minister and a signature from the President. Within 3 months they have to be voted by parliament, otherwise they are deemed invalid. The majority of the austerity measures forced by the Memorandum agreements have become law through these Acts.
 A good example is the case of Themis Skordeli, inhabitant of Ag. Panteleimonas who became infamous by numerous appearances on TV in which she abused immigrants while proclaiming herself to be a concerned citizen, not aligned to any political party (the blond woman in the videos here and here). The fact that she ran as a candidate for Golden Dawn in the elections of 2012 was apparently no contradiction. In September 2011, 2 Afghani immigrants were brutally assaulted and stabbed by a group of 15 people. Unable to ignore this, and after a demand by the Afghani ambassador, the police was forced to arrest suspects identified by the victims. Among them (surprise, surprise) was Skordeli who was subsequently charged with attempted murder (among other things). The court case has been postponed 8 times so far, due to Skordeli handing in a psychological evaluation which indicates that she is suffering from depression. Interestingly enough, the psychiatrist who signed Skordeli’s evaluation is the same one who signed psychological evaluations for a number of GD members, allowing them to legally carry weapons. Coincidentally, this same psychiatrist was also a candidate for Golden Dawn in the 2012 elections. During the repression of GD in the past few weeks, Skordeli was arrested and charged in relation to the case brought against the head of the police department of Agios Panteleimonas. This proud officer was involved, among other things, in the extortion of immigrants, who were “allowed” to sell their goods in the streets provided that they gave a cut of their money to him. When Skordeli was arrested, the police found a lot of products (that immigrants sell in the streets) and 145,000 euros in her house.
 With the unavoidable exceptions of course: in a quarrel with left-winger P. Konstantinou at a municipal meeting, Michaloliakos gave him a Nazi salute, thus igniting further publicity that was, of course, soon forgotten along with the rest of the spectacle’s daily little scandals.
 As well as tendencies within the anarchist/radical scene. When the crisis is blamed on «supra-national elites», when the interference of Germany in the Troika is used as an excuse to call Greece an «occupied territory», when resistance to capitalist austerity is understood as a revival of the patriotic/Stalinist EAM-ELAS, it is borderline fetishistic to oppose the national flag or discourse which was proudly used in all the «past glories» this approach favours.
 A good example would be the almost complete collapse of Pasok, the ruling party state mechanism of the last 30 years. Among other things, its decomposition demonstrated the tremendous elasticity of the modern democratic state which is perfectly willing to sacrifice its agents in face of the needs of continuing the re-structuring of the economy.
 Loverdos abandoned the sinking boat of Pasok in 2012 and created his own political party. In one of his interviews, he claimed that Golden Dawn was the only real social movement to have emerged in Greece after the end of the dictatorship.
 Some further myths in terms of immigration also need to be dispelled. Firstly, the notion of a massive, uncontrollable influx is undermined by official statistics. Close to the spirit of State and racist propaganda, though the number of immigrants who enter Greece is widely publicised (though strongly suspicious, especially considering that border controllers get bonuses for every immigrant they register, a tactic which often means that they register the same immigrants more than once), their exodus from Greece is largely unreported, amongst other things because it is done through illegal trafficking. Yet, there are some ways to have some kind of measurement: if one accepts the official statistics service of the EU, Eurostat, close to two thirds of illegal immigration has Greece as the entry point to Europe. At the same time, the number of new entries in Europe’s other countries has increased in the last 2 years by approx. 300,000 a year. Given that 2/3 of these come to Europe through Greece, this strongly indicates that a great number of immigrants manage to escape «Greek hospitality», ending up in the other «paradises of the West». Recently, an official report published by Alpha Bank indicated that immigrants have contributed to a 1.5% increase of GDP, they have facilitated the introduction of women in the job market by taking over traditionally gender-based housework, while also reversing the demise of the countryside by residing in remote areas where work was needed.
 In a meeting in Croatia in May 2013, Slavoj Zizek urged people in Greece to vote for Syriza and proposed to send to gulags those who did not. As a response, New Democracy’s «think-tank» came up with an official declaration, urging Syriza to admit that they wish to send «dissidents» to the gulags. It was the first time (unfortunately) that Syriza replied to such idiocy with some self-respect. «The depth of New Democracy’s ridiculousness is obviously bottomless.»
 In September 2013, the Centre for Blood Transfusions sent out a memo to hospitals urging doctors and personnel to inform patients that the required medical checks of blood transfusions are no longer possible due to budget cuts. Patients who need blood transfusions must proceed “at their own risk”, said the document.
 Though some of its members have flirted with other far right parties. Indicative is the case of Panagiotaros who ran as a candidate for LAOS in the 2002 elections, though unsuccessfully.
 Former Golden Dawn member Kousoumvris wrote a book in which he «exposed» his former organisation, probably due to the fact that they sold him out when he was arrested and imprisoned for bank robbery. Leaving aside the useless banalities that Kousoumvris babbles about, an interesting aspect of the book is the moment he explains that GD’s funding often came from a «mainstream political party». We are tempted to conclude that he did not mean Syriza.
 At this point, it is important to dispel a rather popular myth. It was covered in the news that around 50% of the police force voted for Golden Dawn. Though the majority of cops in Greece are not famous for their progressive beliefs, is obvious that such a statistic is problematic, since policemen and women around Greece vote as anonymously as anyone else. What was actually measured were the percentages that GD got in specific areas, and in fact in those that the special forces of the police (riot units, motorized units) vote. It is clear that many policemen tolerated the nazis (evidence of their collaboration is as old as the civil war in Greece), and in many cases policemen were actually members of GD. But the real question is that this tolerance appears to have been more part of a widespread “turning an blind eye” policy of the state. When the state decided to get rid of GD, 25 policemen (so far) were also arrested (and some imprisoned), whereas many others have faced disciplinary procedures or forced transfers. It is clear that this is not a simple smoke screen; one has to understand that the State mechanism is not a structure that can be manipulated by ideological fascists. It is rather the other way round. If the state wishes to control the police, it can do so in an easy and costless way: fire some cops and the rest will shut up.
 It is indicative that in its media campaign against Golden Dawn, the government over-exposes their Nazism. This strategy is clearly aiming at reminding far right supporters that right-wing extremism and nationalism is not compatible with support for the Nazis.
 The Union is militant both inside and outside the shipyard. The secretary of the Metal Union of Piraeus was a prominent figure in the clashes that broke out in Syntagma square, during the 48h general strike of October 2012, when KKE decided to protect the parliament from the demonstrators.
 These soup kitchens were clearly not as many or as often as GD (or the mainstream media which sympathetically covered them) would like people to believe. And it was often the case that they were never completed, either due to antifa demonstrations or simply because people refused to show up.
 A famous case was when Πρώτο Θέμα published an article claiming that one of GD’s activities consists of protecting old people when getting money from the ATM’s. It was revealed later on that the only actual old lady that was interviewed and pictured in the article was the mother of a Golden Dawn candidate.
 Of course this was not the first time that Golden Dawn members assassinated someone. Sahzad Lukman, a 27 year old Pakistani, was assassinated by two members of Golden Dawn on January 19th 2013. Again, with the exceptions of radical and left groups and individuals, his murder left the majority of the population largely unaffected –apart from the obligatory expressions of horror and media-type condemnations.
 This theory has an important historical background, but in Greece it was probably used for the first time in the early 60’s, by PM George Papandreou (grandfather of the recent Pasok Prime Minister). In his attempt to justify the persecution experienced by the Left, and in his willingness to gain the sympathy of the King, Papandreou proclaimed the dominance of «Freedom and the Law against the extremes». He added that «Surveillance of the activities of the far Left and the far Right along with their paramilitary organisations, does not indicate a police State. It is a national and democratic duty.» (link in Greek, here) More recently, this «theory» has been used to equate fascist practices with the violence –or sometimes simply the ideas- of the radical scene and/or the official Left.
 This development is easy to understand. Though GD gathered and trained various thugs, ordering them around in numerous attacks, the common policy was that if anyone was arrested, Golden Dawn would deny any knowledge and any membership or affiliation. This strategy has a clear expiry date, especially when the serious clampdown on GD started. Feeling betrayed by the group, and obviously eager to protect themselves by making some kind of deal with the State, many members denounced their former allegiance and exposed GD irreversibly. And though at first Golden Dawn denounced these «witnesses» as fakes, they soon changed their language and spoke of «traitors».
 So much so, in fact, that some of New Democracy’s “intellectuals” envisaged a possible electoral coalition with GD which could win them a strong majority in future electoral battlesA good example is pro-memorandum hack and frantic supporter of the government, B. Papadimitriou, who proclaimed in an interview before the assassination of Fyssas that New Democracy could surely imagine an electoral collaboration with a more serious (sic) Golden Dawn. This was further supported on the next day, in an article in which he said that «there is nothing shameful about nationalism».
All articles of OL#5, “Disorder of the Day”, are now available on the OL website. Here is a list of where you can find paper copies in Greece, Germany, the UK, the US and Canada. If you want to distribute in other cities/ countries, get in touch!
- Autonomo Steki
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- Occupied Social centre Vox (Exarcheia Square)
- Through the Black Mosquito mail-order
in the UK
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in North America
- Our friends at Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness prints and distributes the journal across the US and Canada.
Voices of Resistance from Occupied London #5: Disorder of the day
Illustrations kindly provided by the legendary Leandros from Greece and the incredible Painsugar Designworks from Indonesia.
Fonts: AmazingBasic, Straw Hat, old style smallcaps and Chapparal pro.
This journal exists because of Dawn, Andy, Gal, Alessio, Painsugar, Anna, Leandros, John, Dimitris, Hara, Ali, Tucker, Magpie, Jacken, Antonis, Smokey, Elena, Idris, Jaya, Matt, Ross and Krümel.
At the editors’ seat:
Antonis, Jaya and Dimitris.
At the designer’s seat:
The crew can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the other issues at occupiedlondon.org
And our blog at blog.occupiedlondon.org
Athens, October 1st: Anti-fascists march through Agios Panteleimonas and by the Villa Amalias building
Approximately 700 anti-fascists marched through central Athens today, down Acharnon Street, through Agios Panteleimonas and by the Villa Amalias building. The demonstration had been called by the “anti-fascists in neighbourhoods of central Athens”. The demonstration ended at Victoria square; people distributed texts and put up posters. The multicultural neighbourhoods of central Athens were vibrated by the slogans against fascists, the state and the bosses. Many neighbours, locals and migrants cheered on the demonstrators; the fascists were nowhere to be seen; all the well-known fascist hangouts in the area had shut. The police presence was discreet, but in big numbers.
Fascism means death; death to fascism
Pavlos lives – trash the Nazis
Rage and furiousness for Pavlos Fyssas
Fascists and bosses in the bottom of the well; long live the global proletariat
We are together with the migrants – deport the cops and the Nazis
Fascism is trashed in the streets, not in the parliament with judges and laws
We live together, we work together, locals and migrants, we trash the Nazis
Occupied London statement on the ‘dismantling’ of the Golden Dawn by the Greek state: There ain’t no such a thing as bourgeois justice
And so, on the sunny autumn morning of September 28th – a quiet, almost tranquil morning – the state and media, inside and beyond the Greek territory, woke up anti-fascist. Were the days when the exact same culprits fueled Nazism, the days when authorities meticulously wovethe institutional racism, totalitarianism and impoverishment just a bad dream? Of course not. In the time that has passed since the murder of Pavlos, they have scrambled to present a clean face, but for all their pretensions the anger is still there. Just under five swirling years after Alexis dropped dead on that Exarcheia street corner, we are still faced with the same power zombies that our revolt had attacked but did not manage, it seems, to finish off. During all these years, the number of our sisters and our brothers who died in the hands of the state or its offshoots only keeps growing. Katerina Goulioni, Nikolas Todi, Cheikh Ndiaye, Mohammad Atif Kamran and Shehzad Luqman… Katerina died in the hands of her state captors; Nikolas, Cheikh and Mohammad were assassinated by the police; Shehzad was killed by the knives of Nazis, just like Pavlos did on September 17th. Along with who knows how many others, tortured and pulled off the streets, held in Amygdaleza and all the other concentration camps, sentenced to death and then to oblivion, too – for national homogeneity reserves no space even for the memory of most of its victims. These same people that have now supposedly turned anti-fascists are those who ordered the detention 70,000 migrants in a single year; who vilified supposedly HIV-positive women and rounded up drug addicts en masse; who lead women and men to despair and suicide daily… The list only keeps growing.
And now, after all these years, the same state power that bred the Nazis seems to have decided that it no longer needs them, that they must be discarded. Is this justice? Of course not: how can the perpetrators ever offer justice to their victims? Whether or not it decides to keep its offshoots by its side, this is the same plexus of power that convicted all of our sisters and brothers to torture and death, in a myriad of ways. It is the one that has entrenched racism and fascism as an everyday condition, the one that has consolidated its perpetuated authority upon the bodies and the minds of migrants, lesbians and gays, anti-fascists, pariahs and dropouts from its system: one and all who do not fit into the suffocatingly tight frame of national unity and social order. It was not us who killed off the Golden Dawn; the system that bred it did. So don’t mistake this for justice; we will never see any delivered by those who breed injustice and exploitation.
Anti-fascist demo called from various groups for today in Athens and several other cities.
Updates as they come:
21:00(GMT+2) Police chase demontrators all around the centre, it seperates small groups of antifa demosntrators or passerbyes and detains them (circa 20 people now are stabilised on Filippidou street, on the corner of Kifissias and ALexandras avenues DELTA cops detain a group of people, on Ippokratous and Alexnadras police stops and search people.
20:53 (GMT+2) Circa 1,500 people on Alexnadras chain up behind the banner of Polytechnic’s students union, and riot police prepare to attack to them, smoke and fires around, while the atmophere is heavy due to tear gas.
20:49(GMT+2) Demonstrators remain on ALexandras avenue where the traffick was not interuppted by the police. Other demonstrators who were chased down move towards Exarcheia.
20:38 (GMT+2) Clashes and chemical gases along molotiov cocktails everywhere around the offices of Golden Dawn as police tried to cut off the demo.
20:32 (GMT+2) Clashes generalize, a big part of the demo turns around, back toward Alexandras ave.
20:28 (GMT+2) Clashes between police and demonstrators.
20:20 (GMT+2) the demo was cut off close to the hq by Mesogeion.
19:59 (GMT+2) The big demo reached the police protection of GD’s HQs Thousnads of police officers in front of the HQ. Fascists behiond them and on the balconies of their building.
19:30 (GMT+2) Demonstration passing the Hilton. Not much police seen. Unconfirmed reports of 15 arrests made earlier in exarcheia.
18:50 (GMT+2) Demonstration is heading towards Golden Dawn headquarters. Estimated crowd size 50.000+
18:20 (GMT+2) Antifascist demo from propylea has joined the main demonstration in Syntagma.
18:10 (GMT+2) Anti-fascist demo gathered in Propylea marching towards Syntagma. The crowd is between 8 – 10.000