Greek nazis’ anti-refugees violence

This video says about itself:

8 July 2013

Thug Politics – Greece: The rise of the Golden Dawn political party, they claim they are saving modern Greece, but are they preaching a neo-nazi ideology?

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Greece: Fascist attack on school preparing for refugees

Thursday 19th January 2017

GREEK trade unions have condemned Tuesday’s attack by Golden Dawn fascists on a primary school meeting to prepare for the reception of 27 refugee children.

The thugs stormed the Iconio primary school in the Perama district of the port city of Piraeus, outside Athens.

Communist trade union front Pame said they were led by a Golden Dawn MP accused of involvement in the murder of anti-fascist campaigner Pavlos Fyssas.

“The Piraeus workers and the whole country have accepted the refugee children in schools alongside their own children,” a statement on behalf of nine Pame affiliates in the city read.

“The vast majority of people understand that the refugees are forced to leave their countries,” it said.

“We urge every parent to isolate the neonazi criminals.

“We call on the workers of the Piraeus region to welcome the refugee children like our own, and to strengthen our struggle against war.”

‘We will cut your throats’: The anatomy of Greece’s lynch mobs. With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests: here.

Greek nazis’ anti-refugee violence

This video from Greece says about itself:

Scuffles on Chios over overcrowded migrant camp

15 September 2016

A demonstration [by Golden Dawn neonazis] against the Greek government’s handling of the migrant crisis turned violent on the island of Chios on Wednesday night (September 14).

The Golden Dawn nazis bring reinforcements from elsewhere in Greece to Chios for their anti-refugee violence. They even bring reinforcements from other countries: a delegation of politicians of the Belgian extreme right Vlaams Belang party joined Golden Dawn on Chios during the violence. Vlaams Belang MP Filip Dewinter did a speech at a Golden Dawn meeting on Chios.

By John Vassilopoulos:

Greek fascists attack refugee camp

24 November 2016

Dozens of refugees were forced to flee the Souda refugee camp on the island of Chios last Thursday after a brutal attack by Golden Dawn members.

According to reports, the attack began at around 9:30 pm and lasted until the early hours of the morning. The fascists threw petrol bombs, large boulders and fireworks into the camp from surrounding elevated areas. A 42-year-old Syrian man was assaulted and a Nigerian boy was injured by one of the rocks. Three tents were burnt down and three more were damaged.

Afraid to return to the camp, the refugees that fled slept at the fishing market that night when temperatures dropped to 8 degrees Celsius. Many were still there three days later, according to reports.

On learning of the attacks, a group of aid workers rushed to help the refugees. One of these, Alexandros Panagiotakis, told CNN Greece that the group “came upon around 150 migrants at the fish market where they had sought safety from the far-right attackers. [Another aid worker and I] went to get our cars so that we could transport the migrants to a safer place.”

On their way to get their cars Panagiotakis and his colleague were set upon by a mob of 30 Golden Dawn members, who attacked them verbally and physically. “They threw us down and started to kick and swear at us,” said Panagiotakis. “They stopped only when a riot police squad arrived. They hit me on my sides and legs and the girl [the other aid worker] was semi-conscious. We were taken immediately to hospital.”

Similar attacks had taken place the previous evening, when Golden Dawn members armed with makeshift clubs and crowbars attacked refugees outside the Souda refugee camp while large stones were also thrown into the camp. According to reports a 25 year-old Algerian man is still in intensive care after being hit in the head.

In covering the events, the media lay the blame on the refugees by claiming that the troubles on Wednesday evening began after a group of migrants broke into a fireworks shop and then reportedly proceeded to set them off towards police and local residents. Refugees who spoke to Greek daily I Efimerida Ton Syntakton (Ef.Syn.) paint a different picture and claim that the trouble started two hours before when a group of locals attacked a group of Algerians sitting at the Chios public park. “The group had firecrackers and started to throw them [at the refugees] for no reason,” said a Syrian refugee.

The wave of violence was in fact stoked by the visit of Golden Dawn MPs Ilias Kasidiaris and Yiannis Lagos to Chios on Tuesday, where they spoke at a public meeting that evening calling for mass deportations of all refugees and migrants. This was part of a wider tour with a similar event taking place on the neighbouring island of Lesbos. Kasidiaris and Lagos were accompanied by a delegation of parliamentarians from Belgium, members of the Flemish far-right Vlaams Belang party.

There are currently more than 16,000 refugees and migrants being detained in refugee camps on Greek islands in the Aegean, while existing infrastructure is only adequate for around 7,500 people. The overwhelming majority have fled from the imperialist-driven conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. In Chios alone there are 4,000 refugees and migrants–nearly four times more than the current capacity.

Overcrowding is directly linked to the March agreement between the European Union and Turkey, which stipulates that Turkey take back all refugees who come across the Aegean to Greece. As a result, refugee camps in Greece have become internment camps of people–most of whom are destined to be deported back to Turkey after their cases have been assessed. The process is extremely slow, and meanwhile arrivals continue to flow in, which places even more pressure on existing infrastructure. According to figures from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), nearly 3,000 people crossed into Greece from Turkey in the last four weeks alone.

The Golden Dawn meetings sought to exploit tensions among sections of the local population, partly due to the increase in petty theft as a result of the economic desperation of the migrant and refugee population and partly due to the effects the refugee crisis has had on the tourist industry, the backbone of the local economy. Their timing was also designed to cause maximum provocation, given that they coincided with the commemoration of the student uprising against the military junta on November 17, 1973.

A counter-protest was held that same evening in Chios, with around 200 people holding a march through the island’s main town towards the Grecian Castle Hotel where the Golden Dawn meeting was taking place. The demonstrators’ path was blocked by riot police.

According to various accounts from eyewitnesses, the attacks on Wednesday and Thursday were carried out under the nose of the police, despite their having been officially placed on high alert since the Golden Dawn meeting on Tuesday. Riot police only intervened to stop Thursday’s attacks on the camp in the early hours of the morning, after they had gone on for five hours. There was a notable delay in police intervening in the attack on the two aid workers, which took place a few metres away from two patrol cars.

Tolerance of far-right attacks by the Greek police, delaying intervention or letting perpetrators get away, is a common occurrence. Golden Dawn enjoys substantial support among officers, especially in riot police units. Three years ago rapper Pavlos Fyssas was murdered in Keratsini by a Golden Dawn member while police stood near-by and did nothing.

The police have arrested none of the perpetrators. The only people arrested so far were 37 refugees and three foreign aid workers during the altercations on Wednesday evening.

In a speech to his parliamentary group, Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos openly defended the attacks while railing against the “progressive journalists of this country who lay the blame at the door of far-right elements.” He added, “You know what? Yes! For them every Greek that resists is a Golden Dawn member. For us that’s a badge of honour. Golden Dawn is the national defence of Greece.”

Like their far-right counterparts throughout Europe, Golden Dawn has been emboldened by the victory of the fascistic Donald Trump in the United States—which Michaloliakos referred to in his speech as “a true victory against globalisation.”

Refugee mother and children die in fire in Lesbos refugee camp: here. And here.

Greek fascist ex-dictator Pattakos dies

This video is called 08/09/1975: GREECE: A YEAR AFTER THE COLONELS.

By John Vassilopoulos:

Stylianos Pattakos (1912-2016): Leader of Greece’s CIA-backed military junta

7 November 2016

Stylianos Pattakos, the last surviving leader of the 21 April 1967 coup that imposed a seven-year military dictatorship in Greece, died from a stroke in his Athens home on October 8, one month before his 104th birthday. Brigadier-General Pattakos was one of the three masterminds of the coup, alongside Colonels Giorgos Papadopoulos and Nikolaos Makarezos.

As Interior Minister between 1967 and 1971 and Deputy Prime Minister between 1971 and 1973, Pattakos was the junta’s number two after Papadopoulos. Under his watch, 87,000 people were arrested without charge and tortured while in custody, and 10,000 political prisoners were rounded up and incarcerated, many on the concentration camp on the island of Gyaros. At least 22 people died while in custody due to torture, while many others died of their injuries after being released.

The regime carried out targeted assassinations of nearly 100 people, while around 4,500 were tried by court martial.

Pattakos defended the crimes of the junta of the colonels to the end. One high-profile case was that of Major Spiros Moustaklis, an Army officer arrested in May 1973 as a member of an anti-junta conspiracy led by naval officers. Moustaklis was detained for 47 days and repeatedly tortured, resulting in paralysis and loss of speech. Years later, during an interview, Pattakos stated that Moustaklis “got what he deserved,” adding that “force is imposed by any means. What can’t be untied must be cut with a sword.”

Pattakos was born on November 8, 1912 on the island of Crete to a farming family in the small village of Ayia Paraskevi. He graduated from the Evelpidon Military academy in 1937 with the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Cavalry.

During the Axis Occupation of Greece in World War II, Pattakos joined the “Omiros” resistance organisation, supervised by the Cairo-based Inter-Services Liaison Department (ISLD), an intelligence-gathering organisation established by the British overseas spy agency MI6. He took part in the 1946-1949 Greek Civil War on the side of the US and British forces, commanding an armoured company in Northern Greece …

He steadily rose through the ranks, so that by the time of the coup, he was commander of the armoured division training school in Goudi, an Athens suburb. This post was of strategic importance, since it was on his orders that tanks were sent in the early hours of the morning to take control of communication centres, the parliament and the royal palace, thus gaining complete control of the city.

Plans for a coup had long been in the offing. Since 1965, Armed Forces Head General Grigoris Spandidakis had begun to appoint those officers who were to take part in the coup to key posts. The aim of the coup, planned with the US Embassy and the CIA station in Greece, was to prevent the elections scheduled for May 1967, the chief beneficiaries of which were predicted to be the liberal Centre Union Party and the United Democratic Left (EDA) …

The fear in ruling circles was that a coalition government of these two parties could shift Greece’s foreign policy towards neutrality between NATO and the Soviet Union.

Under the plan of the so-called Generals’ coup, Greek King Constantine was to declare martial law and suspend parliament in order to prevent the poll from taking place. In the end, the coup was unilaterally set in motion by lower-ranking officers, who feared that vacillations of the army leadership and the king in imposing martial law would prevent them for moving fast enough to halt the elections.

To some of his co-conspirators who were getting cold feet at the last minute, Pattakos reportedly said: “Listen here gentlemen, I have already set tanks in motion, I can’t order them back. I will move alone, and whoever wants can follow.”

After the fall of the junta in July 1974, Pattakos and the other leaders of the regime were put on trial. In August 1975, the court found them guilty of high treason and sentenced them to death by firing squad. These sentences were later commuted to life imprisonment by the conservative New Democracy (ND) government of Constantinos Karamanlis.

In 1990, Pattakos was released from prison on humanitarian grounds by the ND-led Mitsotakis government due to an apparent “imminent danger to his health.” This was, of course, a juridical fraud that allowed Pattakos to return to political life. He lived for another quarter century and wrote a number of autobiographical works. For a time, he authored a regular column in the far-right newpaper Eleftheros Kosmos, as well as giving a series of TV and newspaper interviews.

Far-right circles cultivated a myth that Pattakos and the other junta leaders selflessly sacrificed themselves for the good of Greece. They pointed to Pattakos’ relatively modest personal standard of living, due to his conviction after the fall of the junta—though, while in power during the junta, he awarded lucrative construction projects to his brother-in-law, Andreas Meintasis, who became very rich.

At the end of his life, Pattakos supported the violent, neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party. He told Parapolitika in 2012, “Golden Dawn is here to stay,” as it “is the only party that is up to the challenge.” Golden Dawn sent an official delegation to Pattakos’ funeral, including MP Konstantinos Barbarousis as well as local Golden Dawn officials.

Greek nazis on trial for murdering rapper

This video says about itself:

Nazi Sunset Golden Dawn – trailer

13 February 2014

Why would you vote for the political descendants of murderers? Across Greece, villages that were once destroyed by the Nazis and their Greek collaborators are now voting to give Neo-Nazis power. Tracing the direct line between Nazism and Golden Dawn, this film provides a unique insight into the party. It is a terrifying look at Greek Nazi history in all its horror and why political memory is so important. How can the Greeks have forgotten their past so quickly?

By Robert Stevens:

Murder trial implicates leadership of fascist Golden Dawn in Greece

13 October 2015

The mother of slain anti-fascist hip-hop musician Pavlos Fyssas testified last week in the trial of members of Greece’s fascist Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi) party, who stand accused of having carried out her son’s murder.

Top Golden Dawn figures, including leader Nikos Michaloliakos, are accused of being part of a criminal organisation. Their trial is being held at a purpose-built court in Korydallos Prison, Piraeus, where Michaloliakos and five other Golden Dawn parliamentary deputies have been in custody since late 2013.

Fyssas was surrounded by a group of Golden Dawn members and stabbed to death in September 2013, at a café in Keratsini, near Piraeus. Golden Dawn member Giorgos Roupakias is charged with the murder.

On October 6, Fyssas’ mother, Magda, described Roupakias as “a trained killer.” Roupakias arrived in a car at the café with three other people, but dozens of Golden Dawn members and supporters were already there, she explained. “They cornered [Pavlos] and then the murderer came and stabbed him. He got out of the car and stabbed him twice in the heart.”

She believed Golden Dawn parliamentary deputy Yiannis Lagos played a central role in her son’s murder. “Lagos gave the order. He gave the OK,” Magda said, adding that Michaloliakos had “the ultimate responsibility.”

The same day as Magda gave her testimony, the Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper posted a video showing Giorgos Patelis, the leader of Golden Dawn’s Nikaia branch, telling a crowd of party supporters about a planned attack at an upcoming fair. In the video, which was not allowed to be heard in court, he states that before the attack can go ahead the order had to come from Lagos.

On the night of Fyssas’s murder, Patelis spoke on the telephone with Lagos.

In the video, whose origin and date are not yet known, Patelis tells Golden Dawn supporters to be ready for an attack at a fair on August 15. He states, “Certain people will get a message on the 15th of the month. … If I get the OK from Lagos. If I don’t, we don’t do it”. Patelis adds, “Whatever they tell us, we must do it.”

Describing what will happen, Patelis says, “A group of 20-30 people will leave from here fully loaded… Nothing will be left standing, nothing! Anything that moves gets slaughtered.”

On the second day of her testimony, Magda Fyssas revealed how Roupakias was treated with kid gloves after being arrested following the murder. She said that Roupakias told police as he was being taken into a police car, “Okay guys, I’m one of your own.”

When he was asked if he too was a police officer, Roupakias replied, “I am from Golden Dawn.”

Magda said she had inside information that when Roupakias was in the police station he was so familiar with the surroundings that police officers mistook him for an employee. When news came through that her son had died in the attack, Roupakias requested he be taken to another part of the police station. She said officers told him to walk up to the third floor on his own: “That is how familiar the environment was to him.”

Golden Dawn is brazen about the murder of Pavlos Fyssas. Just prior to September’s general election, Michaloliakos stated that the party “assumes political responsibility” for Fyssas’s murder.

Golden Dawn has been built up by the state in recent years to provide shock battalions to be hurled against the working class. It placed third in the most recent election, winning 18 seats in the 300-seat parliament with 7 percent of the vote, up slightly from 6.3 percent in January. Overall, it won 379,581 votes, down from 388,387 in January.

Golden Dawn does not have extensive support in Athens and the main urban centres. But as mass austerity has ravaged Greece’s population, it has been able to win a response from layers of the middle class and lumpen workers and youth. Recently it has been exploiting opposition to the arrival of refugees fleeing war and persecution, increasing its vote in Greece’s eastern islands including the third largest, Lesbos. But even on the island of Symi, which has only 2,000 permanent residents but has received 5,500 refugees since March, its vote only climbed from 6.5 to 10.7 percent.

Golden Dawn is clearly not a mass party, but the threat it poses to the working class is real and growing. As the trial of its members reveals, Golden Dawn has extensive ties to the state.

Last year, Panayiotis Baltakos, then cabinet secretary of Greece’s main conservative party, New Democracy, was forced to resign following leaked footage of a conversation between himself and Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasiadiaris. Baltakos was a confidante of then Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and effectively the number two figure in his government.

Golden Dawn also has well-known ties to the police, especially its riot squad. When the party first won seats in parliament in 2012, election data revealed that close to 50 percent of police officers voted for the party.

At the height of Greece’s financial and political crisis in 2012, Golden Dawn’s members and supporters went on the rampage on an almost daily basis in Athens and other cities. The police turned a blind eye, as immigrants and political opponents were assaulted. A number of the assaults were even led by some of its parliamentary deputies.

Golden Dawn’s ties reach into the highest echelons of the state. In 2014, retired Lieutenant General Eleftherios Synadinos, who once commanded the army’s Special Forces, and Georgios Epitideios, a former director at the European Union Military Staff, stood as European Parliament candidates for the party.

According to their Golden Dawn biographies, Epitideios served as a staff officer at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe—the central command of NATO military forces. He served on NATO’s International Military Staff and was director of the department of crisis response and current operations of the European Union Military Staff. …

In his comments on Golden Dawn’s vote, Kasidiaris said the party would only be strengthened because of the social consequences of the further savage austerity that Syriza must impose. The Greek people “have not experienced the worst effects of the memorandum [bailout accord] or illegal immigration,” he said. “When that happens, you will see, Golden Dawn will have a radical increase in support.”

‘European Union austerity will help neo-nazis’

This video says about itself:

Athens protest warns Greek government against debt deal with more austerity

11 June 2015

With Greece under constant international pressure to make more cuts and reforms to secure bailout money – at home there was a strong warning not to cave in.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Golden Dawn will be strengthened by more austerity, Yanis Varoufakis warns

The former finance minister told the ABC the bailout agreement is a ‘new form of postmodern occupation’ and predicts Greece will fall into the grip of the far right

Helen Davidson

Tuesday 14 July 2015 06.23 BST

Austerity measures demanded of Greece by its European creditors will strengthen the far right, the country’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has said.

Varoufakis also dubbed the bailout agreement reached in Brussels this week as a new Treaty of Versaille[s], and a coup d’état which used banks instead of tanks.

The Greek government has found itself in a dire political situation after it was forced to accept draconian austerity measures as part of a bailout offer even harsher than the one a national referendum voted no to last week.

The outspoken former minister, who resigned from his role after the national referendum, despite it returning the result he was calling for, told the ABC the far-right Golden Dawn party could “inherit the mantle of the anti-austerity drive, tragically”.

“If our party Syriza, that has cultivated so much hope in Greece – to the extent that we managed to score 61.5% in the recent referendum – if we betray this hope and if we bow our heads to this new form of postmodern occupation, then I cannot see any other possible outcome than the further strengthening of Golden Dawn,” Varoufakis said.

Speaking to Radio National’s Phillip Adams in his first post-resignation interview, Varoufakis also said he “jumped more than he was pushed” when he resigned from the ministry.

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras “didn’t have what it took, sentimentally, emotionally, at that moment, to carry that no vote to Europe and use it as a weapon,” said Varoufakis.

“So I … decided to give him the leeway that he needs to go back to Brussels and strike what he knows to be an impossible deal. A deal that is simply not viable.”

Varoufakis said he stood back to allow his successor, Euclid Tsakolotos, and the Greek negotiating team work in Brussels.

“I know very well what it feels like to walk inside those neon-lit, heartless rooms, full of apparatchiks and bureaucrats who have absolutely no interest in the human cost of decision-making, and to have to struggle against them and come up with something palatable.”

Greece was “set up” by eurozone leaders in dealings to address the economic crisis, Varoufakis later told the New Statesman, adding Germany was responsible for the view of the Eurogroup.

“Oh completely and utterly,” he said. “Not attitudes – the finance minister of Germany. It is all like a very well-tuned orchestra and he is the director.”

Varoufakis has previously accused the EU of putting a bailout of French and German banks ahead of Greece’s socioeconomic viability.

After 15 hours of talks that stretched through Sunday night and into Monday, Greece walked away from the emergency summit of Eurozone leaders with a “compromise” bailout package.

Growing anger at the creditors’ wishlist played out on social media under the hashtag #thisisacoup, as the drastic demands made were presented as the price to pay if Greece was to stay in the European union.

The referendum result, and the government’s about-turn, has shocked Greeks who had overwhelmingly rejected the previous offer.

Varoufakis said he had not expected a no vote, and suggested neither had Tsipras.

“I had assumed, and I believe so had the prime minister, that our support and the no vote would fade exponentially, but the Greek people overcame fear, they set aside their pecuniary interests, they ignored the fact their savings could not be accessed, and they gave a resounding, majestic no to what was in the end an awful ultimatum on behalf of our European partners,” Varoufakis said.

Tsipras must now take the measures, which include VAT reform, spending cuts, a pensions overhaul and €50bn in privatisation, to a hostile Greek parliament.

“This is indeed the politics of humiliation,” said Varoufakis.

By violating its election pledges to end European Union (EU) austerity, Greece’s Syriza-led government is paving the way for the growth of a powerful far-right movement in Greece. After Syriza repudiated the overwhelming no vote in the July 5 referendum on austerity and agreed to impose tens of billions of euros in new austerity measures, this is acknowledged even by members of Syriza: here.

Greek Golden Dawn nazis on trial

This video from Greece says about itself:

Nikos Michaloliakos Nazi Salute at Municipal Council

In the Athens municipal elections in 2010, Nikos Michaloliakos is elected in the municipal council. If there was ever doubt as to whether his organization had abandoned its neonazi views, they quickly disappear: at the end of a council session, the Golden Dawn leader gives everyone the nazi salute.

By Kevin Ovenden:

The time has come to halt fascist barbarism

Saturday 18th April 2015

Not since Nuremberg has Europe seen a trial of fascists on such a scale. They stand accused of terrible crimes – including murder and in the dock of Korydallos prison will be 69 members of Greek neonazi party Golden Dawn, including all 17 of its MPs. Kevin Ovenden has the story.

The most important trial of fascist criminality since Nuremberg starts in Greece on Monday.

Arraigned before the specially constructed court in the grounds of the Korydallos prison, south of Athens, will be 69 members of the Greek neonazi party Golden Dawn, including all 17 of its MPs. The fascists managed to take third place in the general election in January.

Thousands of anti-fascist protesters are set to gather in the area — and more across Greece — on Monday morning in a united show of opposition to fascism, racism and the threat posed by authoritarian elements of the Greek state.

The municipal council in the area is closing all schools and workplaces on the day. The mayor and councillors will join a broad spectrum of MPs, trade unions, immigrant groups and civil society organisations under the umbrella of the anti-fascist movement to march and rally outside the opening of the proceedings.

The public sector union federation ADEDY has called a four-hour strike for the morning so that its members can take part.

Underscoring the sense of unity, the message from two widely covered media conferences this week — one by the KEERFA anti-fascist and anti-racist movement, the other by the powerful Communist Party of Greece (KKE) — was identical: Golden Dawn is a violent criminal organisation masquerading as a political party. The prosecution must be supported. Not a millimetre must be yielded to the fascists’ attempts to relegitimise themselves in Greek public life and present themselves as some kind of anti-Establishment outsiders.

The senior governing party Syriza will hold a public meeting on Tuesday along the same lines with the party’s chief whip Nikos Filis.

It is popular outrage at the fascists, which erupted in September 2013 following the murder of anti-racist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, which is driving the whole process.

While it is the state which has brought the prosecution, it did not do so of its own volition. Just months before Fyssas’s murder the public order minister of the then Antonis Samaras-led government threatened to sue veteran foreign correspondent of the Guardian Helena Smith because she reported how anti-capitalist protesters had been beaten in police cells by officers sympathetic to Golden Dawn.

The murder by Golden Dawn supporters of Pakistani retail worker Shehzad Luqman in January of that year brought thousands onto the streets of Athens, but inertia from a government whose chef de cabinet was in private discussions with the fascist parliamentary group about their inclusion in a possible realignment of political forces on the right.

It was the tens of thousands who took to the streets in September who forced an abrupt about face on the part of the government and the state prosecuting authorities.

Despite the welcome change in government this January, the forces of the radical left and of the anti-racist movement have not forgotten that lesson.

They have skilfully utilised Greek legal procedure so that lawyers of the left and of the movement representing the victims of the fascists’ crimes will be co-plaintiffs in the trial. They will be able to call witnesses, cross-examine and lead evidence. They are also entitled to full disclosure.

Already that means that they have accessed tens of thousands of pages of evidence. The legal intervention by anti-fascist forces is more than a belt and braces approach to avoid a recent botch job by state prosecutors which allowed leading Golden Dawn thug Ilias Kasidiaris to walk free from charges arising from his televised assault three years ago on two women MPs — Liana Kanelli of the Communist Party and Rena Dourou of Syriza.

For on trial also will be the elements within the Greek state and oligarchic employers who have for decades supported Golden Dawn and its predecessors, granting it a sense of virtual immunity.

The previous government carefully set the cut-off date for investigating the fascists’ crimes as 2008. But Golden Dawn has been around since 1986. Its origins lie in the paramilitary Greek right going all the way back through the years of the military dictatorship of 1967-74, the Western-backed war against the Communist Party and the left in the 1940s to the collaborators with the nazi occupation of Greece, which was more brutal than anywhere in Europe outside of Poland and the Soviet Union.

Bringing to the light of day the dark recesses of the Greek deep state is not, as the parliamentary right claim, some vengeful settling of scores from the distant past. (Though why there should be a political statute of limitation on fascist crimes is a question they should be made to answer.) It is a matter of contemporary self-defence.

In the second general election of May 2012 analysis of the polling stations where the police, army officers and similar state personnel vote revealed that possibly 50 percent of the Athenian police force voted for the fascists.

As the jaws of the European Union and troika creditors close in on the government in Athens — and as it vacillates in response — the right is looking to make a comeback. The trial of Golden Dawn and the mass movement which took to the streets to mark UN anti-racism day last month provides a barrier both to the resurgence of the fascists and to the mainstream right renewing its previous flirtation with them.

That leaves the right with a time-honoured authoritarian law and order push. Whether over prison reform, policing or moves to end the inhuman conditions facing many immigrants into Greece, the elected right is seeking collaborators within the deep state and among dubious elements on the government’s side to undermine liberal reforms and to build a front against the government from the right.

Liberal elements of the centre have disgracefully succumbed to this authoritarian push. The parties of the centre left — Pasok and To Potami — this week voted against a Bill liberalising Greece’s cruel prison system.

And some liberal voices have raised the canard that the prosecution of Golden Dawn is in some way a violation of free speech.

But the prosecution has nothing to do with what Golden Dawn thinks or writes. It has to do with its actions, with the crimes it has committed — including murder.

Three major criminal cases are themselves a core part of the wider proceedings. They are the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, the near fatal attack on a group of Egyptian fishermen in the Perama area of Piraeus, the port of Athens, and a similarly ferocious attack in the same area on Communist-organised trade unionists of the PAME inter-union front.

In addition to reaching verdicts on these three crimes, the court will hear evidence about others where there have already been convictions. The prosecution will then seek to show that all of these crimes, committed by Golden Dawn members, are not incidental to their perpetrators’ membership of the organisation, but in fact flow from it.

The gist of the fascists’ defence is that the organisation cannot be held responsible for the criminal activity of its members. But Golden Dawn (GD) is not a chess club, where it would be unreasonable to hold the secretary responsible for the driving offences of one of its players.

The anti-fascist case is that the actual organisation of GD, its core around which all the trappings of a political party are merely a carapace, is a hierarchical, violent gang with a command structure organised on the national-socialist fuehrerprinzip — ie strongman rule from top to bottom.

Under the impetus of the mass movement the media have already publicised pieces of evidence showing that taking an oath containing this and other nazi doctrine is a required part of becoming a GD member.

The primary function in any branch or higher organisation of GD — all the way up to the fuehrer Nikolaos Michalokiakos — is the organisation of “security battalions.” That comes first and has precedence over the treasurer, secretary, press officer and all the other roles which normal parties or trade unions regard as the central officer functions.

Security battalions was the name given to the mass collaborationist force under Hitler’s occupation of Greece which rounded up partisans, Jews and others to be murdered.

There has never been a proper reckoning of the Establishment’s complicity in those crimes, the atrocities of the civil war, the murder of socialists such as MP Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963 (subject of Costa Gavras’s film Z), the junta and the “strategy of tension” violence against the left in the 1970s.

It is in this enforced historical amnesia that Golden Dawn has been allowed for 25 years to burrow silently until the circumstances of economic collapse and complicit, authoritarian, institutionally racist Establishment politicians allowed it to grow out of despair.

Not as principals, but as secondary aiders and abetters, stand the EU and troika bureaucracies in the political scope of this trial.

For it was their contempt for democracy which forced the imposition of Greece’s first unelected prime minster since the junta back in 2012. The government of central banker Lucas Papademos included the far-right LAOS party.

One of its MPs — now a poster boy for the right-wing New Democracy — was Makis Voridis.

He is a veteran fascist who sharpened his axe, literally, in physical assaults on left-wing students in the 1980s and before that was a leader of the Free Pupils school students organisation of the far right which terrorised left-wing teachers and pupils.

This trial will last a year. The Greek anti-fascist movement and its lawyers deserve the support of the labour movement and of the left across Europe.

As we approach the 70th anniversary of VE Day, crisis-wracked Greece is a reminder that democracy, liberal values and halting fascist barbarism are all far too important to be left in the hands of the capitalist Establishment and the politicians who serve it.

Kevin Ovenden is reporting from Athens thanks to the support of Philosophy Football. His book, Syriza — Escaping the Labyrinth, will be published by Pluto Press this September. To support the prosecution and anti-fascist movement in Greece go to

‘German government, do you want anti-austerity or nazism in Greece?’

This video says about itself:

Is Greece turning into Nazi Germany?

8 July 2013

Thug Politics – Greece: The rise of the Golden Dawn political party, they claim they are saving modern Greece, but are they preaching a neo-nazi ideology?

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Greek and German finance ministers clash at debt relief talks

Finance chiefs can’t agree to disagree over Athens’ debts as Varoufakis brings up spectre of Greek nazism and Schäuble offers 500 German tax collectors

Heather Stewart

Thursday 5 February 2015 16.48 GM

Athens’ high stakes brinkmanship with its international creditors appeared no closer to paying off on Thursday, after talks in Germany ended with finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble insisting Greece was responsible for its own plight.

Yanis Varoufakis, the country’s pugnacious new finance minister, ended his tour of European capitals with a tense press conference alongside Schäuble, who repeated his offer to send 500 German tax collectors to Greece to ensure wealthy Greeks pay their taxes and help tackle corruption.

After their meeting in Berlin, Schäuble said he and Varoufakis had “agreed to disagree”; but Varoufakis interjected: “We did not reach agreement because it was never on the cards that we would.”

Later, though he had promised to meet the alarmist warnings of some in the eurozone about the consequences of Syriza’s policies with “a frenzy of reasonableness”, Varoufakis issued a stark warning that ignoring the plight of his countrymen could stoke the rise of nazism.

“When I return home tonight, I will find a country where the third-largest party is not a neo-Nazi party, but a Nazi party,” he said, referring to the far-right Golden Dawn.

Just prior to the Berlin meeting the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had increased the pressure on eurozone policymakers by inviting the new Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, to talks in Moscow. Tsipras was asked to attend an event on 9 May to mark the end of the second world war.

German public opinion is deeply sceptical about the need for fresh debt relief for Greece, after repeated bailouts since 2010; but Syriza argues that far from being rescued, it has been burdened with a series of impossible-to-repay loans, and has seen growth hobbled by the austerity imposed as a quid pro quo.

Back in Athens, Tsipras told the Greek parliament: “Greece is no longer the miserable partner who listens to lectures to do its homework. Greece has its own voice.”

The radical Syriza government had hoped to receive temporary support from the European Central Bank while it holds debt-restructuring talks with its creditors.

The €240bn bailout from the troika of the European commission, International Monetary Fund and the ECB – which came with stringent conditions, including hefty spending cuts – is due to expire at the end of February.

Syriza has insisted it will not accept an extension of the existing bailout programme; but the financial challenge facing the new government was sharpened on Wednesday when the ECB said it would limit access to emergency liquidity for its banks.

Apparently referring to that decision, which sent bank shares plunging, Tsipras said on Thursday: “Greece cannot be blackmailed because democracy in Europe cannot be blackmailed.”

The ministers in the new Greek government: here.

Anti-nazi demonstration in Greece

The lead banner at the anti-fascist demonstration last Saturday evening in Athens. It reads ‘Our class task is death to fascism’

From daily News Line in Britain:

Monday, 2 February 2015

6,000 youth march against Golden Dawn

OVER 6,000 youth and workers demonstrated last Saturday evening throughout the Athens city centre against a rally organised by the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party. Marchers held banners and shouted slogans for the ‘death of fascism’.

There were no police in sight at all during the march. The Greek government has stated that there will be no armed police at demonstrations. But riot police buses blocked the marchers’ way to the fascist gathering of about 200 people.

The Greek government has appointed Yiannis Roubatis as the head of the Greek Intelligence Service (KYP). In the 1980s, Roubatis was an advisor to PASOK Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and in the 1990s a Euro MP of social-democratic PASOK.

Now all Greek army, police and security services are in the hands of anti-working class right wingers.

Following the formation of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and right wing Independent Greeks party government early last week, Panos Kammenos the Independent Greeks leader was appointed Defence Minister.

Then the Athens University professor Yiannis Panousis, an ex-PASOK and Democratic Left parliamentary deputy, was placed Deputy Minister for Internal Affairs in charge of the police. In the past, Panousis has missed no opportunity to attack demonstrating youth and defend savage riot police violence.

Last Friday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras lifted the ‘civil mobilisation’ dictatorial order on the workers of the State Electricity Board that had been imposed by the previous government during last June’s strike.

On the same day, the Deputy Minister for Reforms, Yiorghos Katrougalos, met the Executive Committee of the ADEDY (public sector workers federation) and told them that there will be no restoration of wages and pensions this year at all.

GEORGE Osborne was likened to a student listening to his economics lecturer yesterday after a visit from Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. The [British] Chancellor met his Hellenic counterpart just over a week after Syriza swept to power amid anger over extreme austerity measures: here.

GREEK Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis announced yesterday the retention of capitalist asset management firm Lazard as adviser to his ministry on public debt and fiscal management: here.

Greek government’s Hitler propaganda video

This video is called Hitler’s Women – Leni Riefenstahl – Part 1.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Clip of 1936 Berlin Olympics in new Greek tourism film ‘an oversight’

Critics deplore Leni Riefenstahl footage of Hitler games in promotional video – as ministry stresses mistake should not detract from Greek tourism success

Helena Smith in Athens

Thursday 6 November 2014 18.24 GMT

The Greek government has been forced to withdraw a tourism video unveiled in London this week because it contained footage of the infamous 1936 Olympics held in Berlin under Hitler.

The offending clip, which depicted the torch lighting ceremony at the controversial pre-war games, would be “removed immediately” officials said, after being alerted to the gaffe by the Guardian. By last night the video had been taken down from YouTube.

“This was a commemorative video marking 100 years of the Greek tourism organisation, that was shown in the UK for the first time, and we wanted to include footage from the Olympic games,” explained the tourism ministry’s general secretary, Panos Livadas.

In a telephone interview from London on Thursday, where industry figures had gathered for the World Travel Market, the sector’s pre-eminent global event, Livadas added: “In the sequence, a scene from the 1936 Olympics was mistakenly included which we will immediately remove and rectify.”

The Berlin games, used by Hitler to promote racial superiority and the ideals of Nazism, were the first to portray the ceremonial relay of the Olympic flame.

At about eight minutes into the footage, (taken from a film compiled by the German film-maker Leni Riefenstahl), the Fuhrer’s favourite propagandist, a blond, blue-eyed athlete, meant to embody Aryanism, is seen holding the Olympic torch aloft as he skips up a stairway to light the cauldron. The scene lasts barely a second before an image of a more recent torch lighting ceremony appears.

Officials attributed the error to a technical oversight, saying it should not be given undue emphasis at a time when tourism, the mainstay of Greece’s otherwise crisis-hit economy, was doing extremely well.

Despite a precipitous decline in holidaymakers from Russia and the Ukraine, the Mediterranean country attracted more than 20 million visitors – almost double the entire Greek population – amounting to a growth rate of more than 16% this year alone.

“We have not just had a great reception here in London, we have had two back-to-back record years in terms of tourist arrivals and revenues,” said Livadas. “The rise will continue next year, which is great news for a sector that employs 700,000 people. And that is what we should be focusing on. That is what is important.”

But the video rapidly elicited an excoriating response from viewers, not least from some Greeks. In online exchanges many said the error had been exacerbated by the film’s hackneyed presentation of Greece as a land of gods, myths and ancient heroes.

At almost 12 minutes long the video, which inexplicably opens with a shot of New York and is narrated by an American (who participated as a US team member in the 1984 winter Olympics), includes almost no images of contemporary life, or young innovative Greeks.

“It is very tiring and after a bit irritates with its outdated aesthetics,” wrote Robin Savas Savidis in an observation posted beneath the video’s YouTube slot. “It is reminiscent of a cheap soap opera [with] optical effects that verge on the ridiculous,” he said, echoing a widely held view.

Deploring the decision to include the scene from the 1936 Olympic games, Ares Kalogeropoulos, another critic wrote: “It is perhaps the most repellent thing I have ever seen or paid for as a taxpayer.”

Members of the Jewish Youth of Athens (ENA) gathered on Sunday 2nd of November 2014 in order to erase the anti-Semitic graffiti which was written on the Holocaust Monument of Athens by the extreme nationalist and anti-Semitic organization “Unaligned Meander Nationalists” (Greek abbreviation: AME): here.

Greece: All 18 MPs elected with Golden Dawn in 2012 should stand trial for membership of a criminal organisation, a prosecutor said on Thursday, in a massive 698-page report (pdf) submitted to judges: here.

Antisemitic references were made by Golden Dawn MP Michail Arvanitis, in the Greek Parliament, during the session of Sept. 30, 2014, during which the Parliament passed in principle the draft Bill on “The organisation of the legal status of religious communities and their associations in Greece”: here.

Leaders Of Greek Neo-Nazi Party, Golden Dawn, Hold Meeting In New York: here.

Migrant fruit pickers in Greece strike over exploitation and racism

This video says about itself:

Plight of workers not paid for two months

11 January 2010

Greece is promising to beef up its plan to restore confidence in the country’s economy.

Technical experts from the European Union, who were in Athens last week, reportedly told the Greek government that it had to make deeper cuts in public spending and not rely on increasing taxes.

Greece’s government employees worry about bearing the brunt of austerity measures.

But Malcolm Brabant reports, life is also tough for workers in the private sector.

By John Vassilopoulos:

Pakistani migrant fruit pickers in Greece strike over inhuman conditions

15 July 2014

Around 800 foreign farm workers of mainly Pakistani descent struck last week in the Greek town of Skala. The strike began on July 3 and lasted nearly a week. Skala is the local capital of the Evrotas municipality in the region of Lakonia, which is located in the southern part of the Peloponnese. The strike was called in protest against delays in payment, poor living conditions and racist treatment at the hands of the Greek police.

According to reports, migrant workers marched through the streets of Skala from the town hall to the police station where a protest was staged. Local paper Lakonikos reported that “the police authorities met with a delegation of the strikers along with [Pakistani Community leader] Javed Aslam as well as lawyer L. Fotakou…. The representatives of the migrants made specific allegations of ill-treatment and they will press charges in respect of these.”

Migrant farm workers are among the most oppressed sections of the working class in Greece. Last year, 30 or more workers were wounded in a shooting incident at a strawberry farm in Nea Manolada where 200 or so Bangladeshi workers gathered to demand the payment of wages they were owed. Four men are currently on trial for the incident—the owner of the farm, Nikos Vaggelatos, and the three gunmen accused of opening fire on the workers.

Pakistani workers in Skala had also struck in September 2010 after they returned from work and found the doors of their homes and shacks had been shut by their owners and employers and their possessions thrown into the street.

On July 1, a joint press conference was held by the Pakistani Community of Greece, the Immigrant Workers League, and the anti-racist campaign group KEERFA, on the Skala strike. Victims of police brutality in the town were also present. Statements from the press conference reported in the Greek media painted a picture that would not have seemed out of place in the American South during the Jim Crow era.

Ejaz Ahmed, a translator working with Doctors Without Borders, said, “They forbid them from sitting in the town square and at cafes, they forbid them from going to the beach to swim, to go to a barber shop or to rent houses. The very same people that call them ‘filthy’ force them to live in their dozens in chicken coops, in warehouses and in derelict buildings, while at the same time they ask them to pay 50 euros a month rent for these miserable living conditions.”

One migrant worker, Mohamed Asif, alleged he was assaulted 18 months ago by the mayor of Evrotas, Ioannis Grypiotis, and was then sent to a detention camp in Corinth: “After I got released and I returned to Skala, the mayor saw me again and ran towards me to hit me and started to threaten me. With this strike we feel bolder and I want to sue the mayor to find justice.”

Another worker, Nadim Asif, stated that he was assaulted by police three weeks ago after he had forgotten his keys and papers at home: “The policemen started to hit me and they broke my hand”. Asif is reportedly still in bandages and finds it difficult to work.

Ibrar Hussein who is married with one child said: “I went to the police station to have my signature verified. [A police officer] Fotis Manolakos or Babis was there and started to swear at me and told me to get out and he kicked me. No one dares to go there whether they have papers or not because they know that Babis will hit them, swear at them and maybe even send them to a detention camp”.

Rozuan Ahmed accused a policeman who goes by the pseudonym of “Mitsos” of assault: “He handcuffed me and took me to the station despite the fact that I have had legal papers for many years. After a while he let me go after kicking me and told me he did not want to see me again. You can only be at the farm, he told me. He has done this to many others during the last year.”

Zet Awla, an immigrant living in Skala since 1998, spoke about the extreme exploitation of migrants in Skala at the hands of local employers. He alleged that “Antonis Kyriakakos and Co. and the company owned by Giorgos Birakos owe over three years’ of wages, in excess of 50,000 euros, and they hand out cheques that bounce.”

In their treatment of Skala’s migrants, the local police are in fact playing a direct role in silencing opposition to the non-payment of wages. According to I Efimerida Ton Syntakton “police carry out raids in [migrants’] houses at the crack of dawn every Friday, which is pay-day, breaking doors, kicking and punching and hitting with truncheons.”

The brutality against migrant workers in Skala and the non-payment of their wages is intimately tied up with the collapse of the price of agricultural products in recent years with the workers being forced to bear the brunt of this. Speaking to agricultural journal last week, Petros Bletas, president of the Agricultural Cooperative in Skala, said: “The reduction in the [orange] produce price this year was beyond the 30 percent mark in relation to the year before, which is the proportion required to break even. Last year, the average price was 40-50 cents per kilo on average and this year it’s 4-5 cents per kilo.”

With the strike reportedly having a negative impact on the local economy and with police brutality failing to effectively silence the workers, there are some among the local business community calling for calm. In a separate interview Bletas gave to Lakonikos, he stated: The police with its raids every Wednesday and Friday turn many workers away, who are necessary for the cultivation of the land.” He then called on the government to act and “grant working permits to Pakistanis so they can work legally and pay their state contributions like all other workers.”

Even if the migrant workers of Skala were given work permits, this would do nothing to improve their living standards. Speaking to I Efimerida Ton Syntakton, Deputy Mayor of Evrotas Ilias Panayiotakos was forced to concede that the 26 cents per 20-25 kilos of oranges picked that migrant workers received by working from 6 a.m. till nighttime was “what Greeks get as well. In any event, the situation is tragic, with prices being so low.”

In an effort to divert attention from this issue and prevent the strike from winning the support of the area’s Greek rural poor, the fascist Golden Dawn presented the strike as an Islamist takeover. The neo-Nazi Party has a strong presence in the Lakonia region where Skala is based. Commenting on the party’s results in the local and European elections this May, an article in To Vima stated, “In Lakonia, Golden Dawn’s result was 15.45 percent (7,637 votes), which made up its biggest share in all of Greece.”

A GREEK court convicted two strawberry farm employees today for shooting and wounding 28 migrant workers protesting about unpaid wages. However, the farm’s owner and head foreman were cleared: here.

Greek court frees men charged with attacking migrant workers: here.