By ANDREAS SARTZEKIS
What has got into the Minister of the Police, Dendias? Like Prime Minister Samaras, even after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas on Sept. 18, he continued to talk about the “two extremes”, putting the Nazis of Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) and SYRIZA on the same level. … This suggests that the vast police operation on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 28, which we did not expect on such a scale, is due to several factors.
Contradictions among the ruling classes
First, the strength of the public reaction after the death of the antifascist rapper Fyssas , whose memory is already a living legend for many young people (U.S. rap groups have also begun to express their hatred of the Golden Dawn killers). Admittedly, the rally on 25 September was a victim of maneuvers that can on this occasion be called sabotage: the call of the KKE (Greek Communist Party) to a rally elsewhere; the prior condemnation by the leadership of SYRIZA of any demonstration from the rally. … Nevertheless, between fifteen and twenty thousand people gathered, and the majority party set off on a demonstration to the headquarters of the Nazis. People demonstrated that day throughout Greece. The anti-racist movement saw that day the justification for its long day-by-day battle.
While many European politicians and business leaders followed with interest the use of this armed gang to try to rein in the anti-Troika and therefore anti-capitalist protests, part of the European bourgeoisie considered as unwelcome and even dangerous the growth of a para-state group which might later on make the traditional bourgeois parties regret having played with fire. The fact that Greece is due to take on the next presidency of the EU has apparently led to some pressure on the Samaras government in this regard.
The same contradictions exist among the Greek employers. Although it has been proved that the “hordes of horror” have been financed by industry and shipowners, and in some cases for a long time, the statement of the leader of the Greek employers after the murder of Fyssas sounded like an order to the government: to put Golden Dawn and SYRIZA on the same level is not only unacceptable but anti-democratic. Apart from the fact that there several months ago there was a meeting a meeting between it and Alexis Tsipras, leader of SYRIZA, it seems that the leadership of the Greek employers refuses at this stage the development of a real mafia acting for itself and only partly for big business.
The reasons for the arrests
So on Saturday we had the pleasure—but also the anger, because it happened after so many well-known crimes—of seeing the Nazi leaders and several cadres of their party arrive at police headquarters, handcuffed and escorted by the anti-terrorist units. At the same time, let us not dream: one of the leaders, a psychopathic thug, was able to use his mobile phone while in custody to send instructions to his henchmen.
Nevertheless, the charges on the basis of which the court has ordered the arrests are much more serious than just a publicity stunt by the Greek government to reassure its European colleagues. For three days, Greece has been discovering that this gang of killers is a veritable mafia (protection racket centered on shops, arms trafficking, exploitation of immigrants in various forms of commerce …), and a real little terrorist organization: the anti-terrorist units are at present looking for the arms caches that this criminal network had begun to organize in the country.
And we can see another possible reason for the scale of the operation against the Nazis: the forces of repression had begun to be so infected by Nazi sympathies, with discreet training in military camps, that the government feared it might eventually lose control over the state apparatus! Without overestimating the real strength of this band of assassins—and of course the fact that the mainstream media has suddenly shifted from giving free publicity to Golden Dawn to adopting an almost anti-Nazi position that makes them dramatize the situation excessively—it is obvious that a dynamic was underway, with the complicity of many police officers, that encouraged all the advocates of violence against workers and immigrants to believe that they had a free hand to do as they liked.
The question that could be posed, three days after the arrest of the leaders of Golden Dawn, is whether the government and the judiciary are determined to go all the way, and whether the killers who have been arrested will be given serious prison sentences. Knowing who Samaras is, with his far-right past, we may doubt it.
The other question is whether Golden Dawn has received a mortal blow in terms of its organization. In the last two days, it was good to see that only 150 to 200 morons had responded to the call of the Nazi leadership to mobilize everywhere. The probability of the party being characterized as a criminal group opens the door to a possible ban on it, but for the moment its members of parliament are holding on to their positions and now want to provoke a political crisis … on the pretext of their so-called fight against the Troika.
Over and above all the revelations, we must not forget the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, the murders or attempted murders perpetrated against many immigrants and left activists, with at least 300 cases of assault waiting to be tried! We’re talking about a criminal group, and all the cases that have up to now been hushed up must finally be tried.
Some of the reactions in popular neighborhoods contaminated by the racist propaganda of the Nazis and the government make one thing clear: the battle of the workers’ movement against the policies of the Troika is essential in order to organize the autonomous action of the movement, failing which it can fall under the influence of the Nazis. The construction of an anti-fascist movement on a massive scale is more than ever on the agenda; the roots of the evil are obviously the relentless destruction by the Greek and international bourgeoisie of any right to living conditions that are worthy of the name.
But beyond the mobilization of workers in Greece, faced with the rise of the fascist gangsters, fueled by the social policy of the European bourgeoisie—especially German and French—the responsibility of the European proletariat is crucial. Across Europe, the mobilization—the urgent need to coordinate—against the anti-working class plans and against the fascists is on the agenda!
Andreas Sartzekis is a member of the leadership of OKDE-Spartakos, Greek section of the Fourth International, which is part of the coalition of the anti-capitalist Left, Antarsya. Photo: Anti-fascist demonstration in Athens in 2012. From demotix.com.