Much attention is focused on Athens in Greece this weekend, the location of a mass mobilisation for ‘Anti-fascist Athens‘, and against the Greek fascist party Golden Dawn. A call for international solidarity has resulted in numerous actions around Europe and beyond – in London a protest outside the Greek embassy; in Bristol there is a gathering opposite the Hippodrome from 2pm, along with calls for Greek run bars, cafes & churches to make an explicit anti-fascist statement.
All good, it will be massive! But this is an ongoing campaign in Greece, with anti-fascists and others upping the pace of the campaign in recent months to combat the growth of Golden Dawn, and both the open and shadowy support they receive from the Greek cops and state. The growth of Golden Dawn is based on a simple premise – they oppose the austerity measures forced upon Greek workers by the Greek government at the bidding of the IMF & EU….and blame it all on immigrants. Its a classic fascist tactic of divide and rule in the interests of the ruling elite – as well documented recently by Schnews (do read it!). Street conflicts with Golden Dawn thugs are almost daily occurences (example in Crete), as are murders of non-whites by Golden Dawn and their supporters.
But the struggle against Golden Dawn is but one of many daily struggles ongoing in Greece, and that is what is so inspiring to many of us in the UK and elsewhere – the ability to maintain high level campaigns & actions on many fronts, and never give an inch – despite the arrests, police brutality, new catch-all laws (such as the so-called ‘Hoodlum’ law), evictions (state hit list to kill off 40 organising bases), and day to day hardships of living in Greece today. Just as the Greek economy has been in recession for 5 years now, resulting in more than a 20% reduction in GDP, and unemployment at over 26%; so the anarchists, radicals and other workers and students have been constantly fighting back – with perhaps the murder by cops of an Athens teenager in December 2008 the most recent spark for an almost constant anti-authoritarian street presence. You name it and they do it – general strikes, industry-specific strikes, factory occupations, assemblies, occupy-style camps, squat eviction solidarity, collective food programmes, defense of public space, rural collectives, media interventions, riots. You name it and they do it, day after day after day.
Greece remains in the eye of the storm that is the European-wide recession and crisis of capital. What they’ve been hit with as the rich & powerful try to make them pay for the crisis is what we are beginning to experience here. How it plays out in Greece will have a big impact on the rest of us. We will do well to watch and learn, act in solidarity, act in defense of what we are in danger of losing, and act on the dreams we hold for freedom.