The Greek Government and the Golden Dawn: More Links than Conflicts

At night of 17 September, Pavlos Fyssas, a 34 years old antifascist hip-hop artist had been stubbed to death by a member of the neo-nazi party Golden Dawn in Keratsini, a district of Piraeus. The murder of Pavlos Fyssas became the springboard of massive developments at the political and judiciary level as it gave rise to a massive legal prosecution progress of the neo-nazi party and its members, who are accused to be members of a criminal gang.

Six of the Golden Dawn leading parliament members have been arrested, including their general secretary Nikos Michaloliakos, who has been remanded, as well as ten more party members and police officers, who had been covering the criminal actions of the party.

Everything began at a cafeteria of Keratsini, where Pavlos Fyssas and his friends were watching a football game. Some Golden Dawn members were also present and when they recognized P. Fyssas they notified another neo-nazi group, the so-called “assault order”, in order to attack them. After they had left the cafeteria, almost 50 neo-nazis went after them. Fyssas’ friends managed to get away, but he stayed back. A car with two neo-nazis stopped in front of him, a man came down and stubbed him three times, two of them into his heart, a fact that the coroner recognized as a “professional hit”. As it is revealed after the witnesses’ testimonies, a group of policemen on motorcycles had visual contact with the incident but they did not interfere until after the murder, saying that the members of the Golden Dawn were “too many to deal with them”. Fyssas, a few moments before he died, managed to indicate his murderer who was arrested immediately.
Next day, a massive antifascist demonstration took place at Keratsini with the participation of all the left parties and organizations and thousands of people who demanded the immediate crackdown of Golden Dawn’s criminal actions. Some riots took place there, during which a group of Golden Dawn members referred to by the media as “indignant citizens”, were present on the side of the police, throwing stones against the demonstrators (as you can see in the video), which is a common fact that has reoccurred at several previous demonstrations.


A planned act

The murder of Pavlos Fyssas was a shock but not an incident that could not have been predicted. A week earlier, another Golden Dawn “assault order” had attacked and injured members of the Communist Party, as well as trade union members of the shipyard workers union at Perama, a neighbouring town to Keratsini. This is part of the fascist “purge plan” for the shipyards, with the support of ship-owners and contractors of the shipyard, since they managed to establish a nationalist workers union which would be a bulwark against strikes and demonstrations.

We will get rid of the communists that have led the shipyards to decadency” the remanded neo-nazi P.M. Giannis Lagos had stated few weeks before the attack.
There had also been tens of assaults and injuries of immigrants and antifascists. At Perama, a year earlier Golden Dawn members caused severe injuries to Egyptian fishermen and murdered a young Pakistani immigrant in the center of Athens. The murderers were arrested and the police investigation proved that they were members of the Golden Dawn but the police official announcement, as well as the media, did not mention it.

There have also been mentioned tactical ambushes to homosexual persons, activists of the Left and anarchists.
Golden Dawn functions as a typical paramilitary organization, following the standards of the NSDAP, Hitler’s party, central plank of which are the “assault orders”, just like the Schutzstaffel, the well known SS.
These impact groups function as the operational parts of the party, having practiced their actions on immigrants. Order members act like soldiers, as they are obliged to wear special uniform and practice in military exercises. It has also been revealed that they have large amounts of hidden guns.
Underage children are among the lines of these groups and create fascist teams in schools. They may officially consider themselves as “patriots” and not nazis, but at the same time the findings at their houses contain Hitler pictures, copies of “Mein Kampf”, swastikas, guns, knives and other nazi symbols.

The “theory of the extremes” and the “state antifascism”

If someone looked back, before the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, he would find out that the treatment of the neo-nazi party by the government and the media was nothing like the present “state- antifascism”.

The government, with the prime minister Antonis Samaras leading the way, has been constantly expressing the “theory of the extremes” by which they tried to equalize social movements, left parties and mainly SYRIZA with the neo-nazi party and its criminal actions, vindicating Golden Dawn in this way, in order to introduce SYRIZA as a dangerous and violent party.

New Democracy party has adopted an extreme right-wing rhetoric and policy, especially against immigrants which they blame for the raise of the crime rate or even for the economical crisis. The “Hollywood-type” police massive operations in Athens, concentration camps for refugees, police brutality against immigrants and antifascists (even tortures at the central police directorate) prepared the territory for the neo-nazis. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, has recently stated that the statements of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Order create an anti-immigrant wave. Antonis Samaras stated that Greek children are not able to enter the kindergartens because of the massive presence of the children of the immigrants and that Greeks needed to reclaim the neighbourhoods from them. The minister had stated that the presence of the immigrants in Greece is equal to an invasion of a foreign army, just without the use of weapons. And these are just a few of the cases where the statements and actions of government members actually provoke the criminal fascist action of the Golden Dawn and the ideological spread of fascism in Greek society.

At the same time, police has been corroded by Golden Dawn members. The strong links between Golden Dawn and the police were revealed officially after the arrests of police officers of all classes who have been proved to be connected to the neo-nazis acts in several ways.

The media majority had also played a crucial role at Golden Dawn raise emergence. By adopting the governmental agenda, they promoted a racist and conservative rhetoric as well as the “theory of the extremes”, provided indirect support to criminal acts against immigrants. It is quite indicative, the way that media treated the Golden Dawn members when they organized fascist demonstrations against immigrants, which leaded to racist assaults. They were presented as “indignant citizens” who had been taking part at TV-shows almost every night. At the same time, some TV-shows and newspapers (among them, the biggest of all, Proto Thema, being led by a journalist who is accused of participating in blackmail operations and money-laundring) presented Golden Dawn parliament members in a “life style” way, dealing with their personal lifes, making them look nothing like their true face, this of a criminal fascist group.

Even the very next morning of the murder, one of the major TV stations presented the murder as a “conflict over football”. At the same station, one day before the Golden Dawn’s assault in Perama, a well known journalist supported that “if Golden Dawn gets a bit more serious, it could be part of a future government”. The version of a right-wing coalition government with a “serious” Golden Dawn is a perspective which many of A. Samaras’ consultants and partners had supported lately, even at the day of Fyssas’ murder. Most of them have proposed this in order to prevent the constitution of a left government.

Pavlos Fyssas’ murder compelled the government and the media to “upturn” their approach to Golden Dawn, thus they adopted an “antifascist” agenda. The primary reason for that is benefited to the fact that P. Fyssas was Greek and white. If Pavlos had been an immigrant, many say, that we would never know about his death.

It seems that the “state antifascism” is not able – or not willing at all – to face the neo-nazi issue to the root. The penal prosecution of murderers is something that should be implicit. Although with a system that hatched the snake egg and bred the snake in order to smash the people’s movements and the radical Left, is quite doubtful that it actually has an intention to put an end to fascism. After all, dealing with fascism is, and has always been, a task of the movement, a task of the antifascists. The further strengthening of the antifascist movement, which actually forced the government to arrest the Golden Dawn’s MPs, is the only way of achieving stable results on this field. And a government of the Left will have as a constant duty to work along this movement and eliminate, through its institutional and general political actions.

Picture Gallery

(foto selection by Stavros Panagiotidis)