Black Panthers against Greek nazis


This 8 June 2012 AFP video says about itself:

Athens prosecutors have ordered the arrest of a deputy from Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party after he punched a female communist MP during a live TV debate.

After Black Panthers in the USA, and in Israel, now in Greece.

From Channel 4 News in Greece:

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Standing up to Golden Dawn in Greece

The economic crisis in Greece has led to a rise in support for the far-right Golden Dawn and an increase in racist attacks. Jamal Osman talks to one man who is fighting back.

Michael Chege and his friends patrol their neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, most nights. After many encounters with the neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, they set up their own brigade, nicknamed the Black Panthers. They want to protect themselves from the fascists who are targeting people who are not ethnic Greeks.

Since the economic crisis tore Greece apart, people have been trying to find someone to blame. Some blame immigrants for the high unemployment and crime. Racist attacks against immigrants have been rising steadily. In the last year alone, more than 150 racist attacks were recorded by police, but most go unreported.

Greece is a gateway to Europe and many immigrants travel there as an entry point in the hope of reaching the richer nations on the continent.

Newly arrived immigrants, who do not speak the language or have proper documentation, live in fear. But Michael and his friends are taking on the extremists.

‘We will exterminate them’

“I’m not afraid of this neo-Nazi, stupid, idiotic group,” he told me. “In WW2, they were crushed. In WW3, we will exterminate them out of the face of the earth.

“I am a member of the Black Panthers and everybody knows that. So I am giving them (Golden Dawn) a straight warning – don’t mess with black people, anyhow. And I mean it.”

Members of the Black Panthers rescue each other if one is attacked. Using mobile phones with instant messaging and social media, their response is swift. “It has turned our lives better, at least in our neighbourhood,” Michael told me.

Michael arrived in Greece from Kenya at eight months. Although he has lived there for 28 years, he is treated as a new immigrant. Police stop him on a regular basis to check his identification papers. So he has to carry a bag full of documents to prove that he is legal in the country.

Racist, anti-semitic, violent - the true face of Golden Dawn - watch Konstantinos Georgousis' film.

For immigrants, the situation in Greece is worsening. They accuse the Greek police of harassment. I joined one of the many police patrols as they rounded up immigrants.

We came across drug users but the police did not bother to chase them after they ran away, but carried on arresting immigrants, which seemed a more important job than dealing with drug users. Thousands of immigrants are languishing in detention centres.

‘Get respect’

Growing up in Greece, as the only black child in his school, he had to fight every day to “get respect” from fellow pupils. He took up martial arts at the age of seven and has been doing it since then. That gave him the confidence to confront people like Golden Dawn members.

One of his latest encounters happened while he was on a bus in the city. Two men with “a neo-Nazi look” entered the bus. Some of the passengers were signalling to Michael, telling him to “leave, run or get down”, but he defied it. One of the techniques he learnt in his martial arts lessons was that “when you see a danger, you don’t wait, you go for it and push out”.

Although the fight inside the bus was “really hard”, Michael left the scene with minor injuries. He said: “It is not the first time and certainly not the last time … if you need respect, you must earn it”.

‘Cannibals’

A day later, on live television, he challenged the Golden Dawn leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, who thinks Africans are cannibals. In the television debate, Michaloliakos said: “The pygmies are boiled and eaten by other blacks in Africa … and they’re considered special too.”

But when Michael asked him whether he had ever been to Africa to witness that, the far-right leader replied: “No, I only read about it in newspapers, I know what I’ve read in newspapers.” Consequently, the Golden Dawn media wing made a video mocking Michael.

Michael says it is unfortunate to be a “stranger in your own land”. Greece, where he spent all his life, is the only place he knows. But as a father, it is no longer about him. He does not want his children to experience the same abuses he has. So he wants to raise them in Kenya, where they will not be treated as foreigners.

Over the last week, tensions have risen in the Greek government over draft legislation against racist incitement and state financing of the fascist party Golden Dawn. While the conservative main government party New Democracy (ND) refused to support the law, its coalition partners, the social democratic PASOK and the Democratic Left (DIMAR), are supporting it: here.

The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder, today expressed disappointment with Greece for its continued failure to adopt new legislation to combat hate speech, racism and the denial of the Holocaust. “It is very worrying that the mainstream parties in Athens are apparently unable to find a compromise on this important matter. Hate mongers and extremists such as the leaders of Golden Dawn are not only a threat to minorities such as the Jews; they are a threat to democracy as a whole. Hence, they ought to be fought vigorously by all democratic forces, and with the full force of the law,” Lauder declared: here.

Amid growing political anger over a rising number of incidents involving Golden Dawn MPs and firearms, the police have said that the licences of politicians who hold gun permits will be reviewed: here.

The 2nd annual Thessaloniki pride this year will take place on June 14th – 15th. The Pride like last year is sponsored by the municipality of the city and the major Giannis Boutaris. Last year neo-nazis and Christian fundamentalists unsuccessfully tried to protest against the right of LGBT community to organize the pride in the city after a call of Thessaloniki Bishop Anthimos: here.

Black power in the USA, film


This video from the USA is about the THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975.

By Jeff Sawtell in Britain:

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (12A)

Directed by Goran Hugo Olsson

Thursday 20 October 2011

Three years after Martin Luther King Jnr made his famous “I have a dream” speech in 1965 he was killed, after Malcolm X had been assassinated and while African-Americans were being shipped to their deaths in Vietnam.

The Black Panther Party started preparing for revolution, as this documentary evidences.

Along with developing community schools and food halls, it trained soldiers to defend the community, especially after the CIA began distributing heroin in the ghettoes.

Black Panther Stokely Carmichael criticised King’s non-violent tactics by stating that in order for them to work “your opponent has to have a conscience. The US has not.”

Other leading figures – Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Malcolm X and the odious Louis Farrakhan – are also featured in interviews by a group of Swedish filmmakers, along with communist Angela Davis.

She eloquently explains the dialectics of the fight against institutional racism and why she chose to join the Communist Party.

That struggle led to the party’s leaders being shot, imprisoned or forced into exile.

They included Davis, whose imprisonment was followed by a mass international campaign for her release.

The afro hair on the Free Angela Davis badges became as iconic as Che’s photo.

Davis argued that the only way forward was uniting black and white workers in mass class struggle against capitalism.

Such is the emphasis of the film, which illustrates the conditions of that fight.

Other revolutionaries included are Harry Belafonte, Melvin Van Peebles and the owner of Black Books in Harlem, Lewis H Michaux, in 1973.

Responding to some kids giving the black power salute, he sighs.

“Black is beautiful,” he says, “but black isn’t power. Knowledge is power.”

“For you can be as black as a crow or as white as snow. But if you don’t know and ain’t got no dough you can’t grow.”

The film shows that as the Swedish journalists revealed more, including a trip through Harlem, the US administration went ballistic.

It’s a remarkable document, portraying the participants and the obverse of the American Dream.

The irony is that despite the election of Barack Obama to the White House, policies haven’t changed.

There are still wage slaves and imperialist wars and the communists are still striving for socialism through promoting mass class struggle.

Don’t miss it.

See also here.

The Colored Museum, play on African American history: here.

The Black Panthers didn’t stop at fighting racism. Ken Olende looks at their evolving line on sexism, homophobia and class: here.

Saadia Marciano, founder of Israel’s Black Panthers, dies


Black Panther logo from the USA

From British daily The Independent:

Saadia Marciano: Founder of Israel’s Black Panthers

Saadia Marciano, social activist and politician: born Oujda, Morocco 1 May 1950; married Vicky Tarabulus (one son); died Jerusalem 21 December 2007

Published: 26 December 2007

Saadia Marciano was one of the founders of the Israeli Black Panthers, a band of young North African immigrants who thrust the grievances of their under-privileged community on to the national agenda in the early 1970s and forced successive governments to treat the Mizrachim (orientals) as subjects not objects.

The Zionist establishment was thrown by the challenge. Golda Meir, the Labour prime minister who briefly put some of them in prison, said after meeting a delegation that they were “not nice people”. …

Although the movement fragmented and petered out after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, it marked the beginning of the end of deference on one side and patronising on the other. To the dismay of some of the Panthers, it paved the way for Menachem Begin‘s right-wing Likud to win the 1977 general election and for the emergence of Shas, a backward-looking religious party, as the voice of Sephardi emancipation.

The young rebels took the American Black Panthers as their model. Marciano said: “Either the cake will be shared by all or there will be no cake.” …

Early one morning in March 1972, they stole bottles of milk from the doorsteps of the middle-class Jerusalem suburb of Rehavia and delivered them to those of the poor with a label reading: “The children in the poverty stricken neighbourhoods do not find the milk they need on their doorstep every morning. In contrast, there are cats and dogs in rich neighborhoods that get plenty of milk, day in, day out.” …

Although the Panthers allied themselves with the radical left, their aim was to shock the Ashkenazi elite rather than overthrow it. Kochavi Shemesh, another Panther leader, said on the 30th anniversary: “Saadia came up with the name Black Panthers. The idea was to frighten Golda. She said that this name wouldn’t let her sleep. That was what we wanted. With this name, we changed the discourse between the social movements and the establishment.”

Saadia Marciano was born in the Moroccan town of Oujda in 1950. His family moved to Jerusalem later that year. He grew up in the impoverished Musrara neighbourhood on the border between the Jewish and Arab parts of the city.

After the collapse of the Black Panthers, he continued to campaign for social equality and ran a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts.

US Black Panther and Green parties: here.