by Panagioti / Earth First! Newswire
In times of social upheaval, it seems a given that the far-right elements of an industrial empire will present themselves as a counter force in an attempt to allure some of the righteously indignant and, often painfully ignorant, folks who perceive themselves as a “middle class” in need of protection and salvation.
That is undoubtably the case with Greece today, where members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn have begun firmly establishing themselves in political office, in the ranks of law enforcement, and now, with a larger street presence than ever before.
Golden Dawn is not only using KKK-style social services such as Greeks-only food banks and blood drives to bolster support, they also have a “Green Wing” attempting to propagate eco-fascist ideology among the country’s growing radical environmental movement.
Newsflash for all the anti-fascists eco-revolutionaries out there who are itching to get their hands on some of these assholes: you may be in luck, ’cause they don’t appear to be staying put in the Mediterranean.
Last week, for the fifth time in a year, members of Golden Dawn have made their presence known in US.
The most recent incident occurred on May 25, 2013 at the Stathakion Cultural Centre in Astoria, New York, during the screening of “Greek-American Radicals: The Untold Story”, a historical documentary about Greek immigrant’s experience in America, the role of immigrants in the radical labour movement and the journey from the early 20th century until the witch hunts of the McCarthy era.
On a side note, the film celebrates Greek immigrant involvement in the furriers’ union, which is ironic, as today the ALF in Greece claim title to the largest fur farm raids in the history of animal liberation (good for the mink, not so great for the native bird populations.) To the film’s credit, it also chronicles participation in militant action against mining companies by Greek union organizers like Luis Tikas in bloody battle of Ludlow, Colorado, 1914. But I digress. Back to analyzing the rising fascist menace spreading from my family’s homeland…
According to an article on the cancerous growth of Golden Dawn published in the Guardian earlier this month, “Since elections last year, Golden Dawn’s appeal has almost doubled, with successive polls showing support of between 11% and 12% for the neo-fascists. Privately pollsters acknowledge that, as Greece’s third-strongest and fastest-growing political force, the group could garner as much as 15% of support in local elections next year.”
Just last month, the Huffington Post reported on a scuffle inside a session of the Greek Parliament where Golden Dawn members were heard shouting “Heil Hitler” as they were escorted out.
In another article from the Guardian, published last year, a senior Greek police officer confirmed that the neo-Nazi group had infiltrated the police at various levels, saying that conservative governments and the leadership of the police force turned a blind eye to “pockets of fascism.” Let me guess, you’re not shocked.
Speaking to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, this cop went on to explain how the Greek state had been fully aware of the activities of Golden Dawn for several years, with the National Intelligence Service and other security agencies monitoring it closely… The state, he said, wanted to keep the fascist elements “in reserve” and use them for its own purposes.
Lessons on fighting against fascists and for eco-revolution
Sometimes the far-right succeed in building a lot of momentum, like the corporate-sponsored “Tea Party” in the US for example, which shifted the entire country’s agenda for a few years with meaningless conservative rhetoric, and evolved into a vehicle for white supremacists to grow a broad anti-immigrant sentiment among many people who might have otherwise been out occupying city parks, smashing bank windows, tearing up asphalt to plant community gardens… generally doing the world some good.
But sometimes the strategy also backfires, allowing moments of eco-revolutionary potential to prevail.
One of the clearest shining examples in recent years (though on a smaller scale) was visible in the Khimki forest defense camp in Russia, where neo-nazis hired by a logging company joined the cops in attacking and repressing eco-defenders in the forest outside Moscow, escalating the battle to a broader urban social movement in the forest defenders’ favor.
An article about Khimki, published in the Earth First! Journal about back in 2010, elaborates: “This episode showed every doubting critic how easily capitalists falls back upon fascist support—a truism not yet obvious even to most activists in Russia—and sparked a fire in the hearts of the previously dormant antifascist wing of our movement. The confrontation that morning did more to popularize and escalate the conflict than any eco-camp, internet PR campaign, or eco-defense action ever could have.
“Some of our comrades reflected that what we had witnessed was a fine example of how an unforeseen, unplanned, chaotic event—even one deemed negative—can push the movement and its supporters in the right direction. That is to say, in a revolutionary direction.
“The loggers had made a major mistake. Employing Nazis in what was perceived by almost every citizen as an anti-human project broke the ranks of the extreme right; most fascist groups tried to capitalize on the situation by posing as opponents of the destruction of the forest. More importantly, now every antifascist in the vicinity had enemies in sight and rushed to the battle.”
Perhaps the current dismal reality of a very serious fascism growing in, and spilling out of, Greece, will spark a response that gets closer to recognizing the connection between fascism, the state and the broader industrial system that often employs both; perhaps that sparked response will lead to a movement that acts accordingly—somewhere in the vein of Turks in Gezi Park (Ha! That’ll really burn up Golden Dawn to know that inspiration for the global eco-antifascist rebellion comes form Turkey!)
Responses to Golden Dawn have already begun to get interesting. Take for examples the Anonymous hacking that knocked their New York website off line and the formation of a Black Panther Party in Greece organized for by African immigrants for the purpose of anti-fascist self defense.
Thankfully there is plenty of precedent in Earth First!ers facing off with racists and fascists, and abundant articles in the EF! Journal to chronicle that history [for example]. So lets honor that tradition, kick some Nazi ass, and bring this whole system to the ground.
For real, we can’t let fascists co-opt the green fist with tree roots coming out of it…
Lastly, props go out to the diligent, humble graffiti artists in Greece who do their small part by re-working Golden Dawn’s logo all across the country, morphing an “η” into an “α” changing it into “Golden Eggs” (Χρυσή Αυγή becomes Χρυσή Αυγἀ), or by simply turning the circled cross of fascism into a circled A of liberation.
Panagioti is a Greek-American anti-fascist eco-anarchist from the swamps of south Florida. He is also on the editorial collective of the Earth First! Journal and Newswire. If you appreciated reading this, please consider subscribing or donating here.