Greece: Challenging the Golden Dawn

On 2 May the neo-fascist Golden Dawn attempted to distribute food in Syntagma square in Athens to people holding proof of Greek nationality.

The stunt was broken up and closed down by riot police and the mayor. But as the article below shows, socialists and other activists have been building opposiiton to these dangerous tactics by the far right, who mix action like this with extreme violence against the left and others.

Golden Dawn members at their party head quarter trying to carry out a Greeks-only food distribution

In the elections of June 2012, the neo-fascist party Golden Dawn (GD) got 7% of the votes and entered the Greek parliament for the first time, with 18 MPs.

GD was first formed in 1985, but activated in 1993. Since then, their main activity has been ultra-nationalist demonstrations and attacks against immigrants, activists and people known for their anti-racist beliefs.

Official unemployment is at 26% but, in reality it is around 30-35% of the working population. Official youth unemployment is at 58% and official unemployment among women is at 30%.

The health care system is being dismantled. Undernourishment, which was non-existent three years ago, is now prevalent.

Children faint in school because they have not eaten for a couple of days or have eaten very little.

This economic crisis has allowed GD to gain support. They use hate speech against immigrants and the political system, using slogans like "Greece for the Greeks" and "foreigners out".

They have organised handouts of food and clothing to desperate people. But these are for Greeks only.

Opinion polls show that around 10% of voters are planning to vote for the GD in the next national elections.

But at the same time a significant number of people are willing to participate in anti-fascist actions.

Since September 2012, Xekinima has been building and participating in anti-fascist campaigns in local communities. Our aim is to expose the dangers of the neo fascists’ campaigns.

We want people to take action and play an active role against fascism in their neighbourhoods. We organise public meetings and discussions and events to build solidarity.

We have organised free or cheap food and ’street markets without middlemen’, where people can buy basic products cheap, directly from their producers. In some areas there are families that receive our help of free food regularly, since they don’t have any income and they can’t support themselves.

We do this to provide practical help and show that the way to fight against austerity and impoverishment is by solidarity and cooperation among the working class, not through developing hate and division.

We try to explain that these actions are not enough alone to fight poverty and the rise of the GD. It is the capitalist system’s crisis which has pushed four million people below the poverty line and it’s the capitalist system that allows fascist ideas to sound appealing.

For us, the fight against fascism must be accompanied by the struggle for a socialist society.

This would include:

  • Fighting for the abolition of the debt and immediate cessation of its payment.
  • Nationalisation of the banking system.
  • Debt relief for all working class households, small businesses, small to medium-sized working farmers and for all those who have been hit by the crisis.
  • Heavy taxation on capital, the end of bank secrecy for big depositors and a massive reduction of arms expenditure.
  • Nationalisation of all the strategic economic sectors and big business.
  • Real democracy, with workers’ control and management, across the entire economy.
  • The creation of a socialist plan of production in the interests of the masses.

That’s the only way to abolish inequality, poverty and suffering for the 99%.

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May 2013