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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Greek fascists convicted

by our European Affairs correspondent

GREEK FASCISTS were convicted of running a criminal organisation this week. The leaders of the Golden Dawn movement were found guilty of operating a brutal criminal gang at the end of a trial that lasted more than five years in Athens.

Seven of Golden Dawn’s leaders were convicted of directing the deadly organisation; others were found guilty of the lesser charge of participating in the criminal gang. Earlier, the court found a Golden Dawn sympathiser guilty of killing of Pavlos Fyssass, a well-known anti-fascist rapper, in 2013.

Golden Dawn’s entire leadership, including their former MPs, were amongst 68 defendants accused of murder, weapons possession and operating a criminal gang whilst masquerading as a political group. They now face up to 15 years in jail.

The Criminal Appeal Court judgement was met with cheers from more than 15,000 people who had gathered outside the courthouse to await the verdict. Former left-social democratic prime minister Alexis Tsipras was one of them. The leader of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said that after years of sowing hate, poisoning Greek society and orchestrating murderous attacks, Golden Dawn fanatics would finally face justice. “They are not innocent. We all know that,” he said. “On Wednesday we ought to be there to shout it loud and clear. We owe it to the history of this country. We owe it to democracy. We owe it to our children.”

The court ruled that seven former Golden Dawn MPs, including its leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, were guilty of leading a criminal organisation, whilst the others were found guilty of participation in one. Michaloliakos, who is a Holocaust denier, claims that Golden Dawn has been the victim of political persecution. But his party, which was founded in 1985, upholds the memory of General Metaxas’ pre-war fascist dictatorship and that of the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974.

Some sections of the Greek bourgeoisie have always turned to fascism when the going gets tough for the oppressor class. No more than after the global capitalist crisis that plunged the imperialist world into recession in 2007. Fearful of a communist resurgence and union power they pumped money into Golden Dawn, which won 21 seats in the Greek parliament in the May 2012 election on an anti-immigrant “rid this land of filth” platform.

But with the traditional right-wing firmly back in the saddle, the violence of the street thugs became an embarrassment to the Greek establishment. Golden Dawn went into rapid decline and it was wiped out in the July 2019 elections.

“The time has come, after 5.5 years of trial, that the desire of every democratic person, every ordinary man, every young man and woman and, obviously, of every victim of Nazi violence and the family of Pavlos Fyssass will come true: that the Nazi criminals of Golden Dawn will be imprisoned under the maximum sentences,” said Greek communist leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas last weekend.

Talking about the lengthy delay in bringing the fascists to justice, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said: “The snake’s egg was hatched not only in the racist pogroms, in the attacks against communists, anti-fascists, immigrants and others, but also due to the tolerance of sections of the state apparatus and even governments towards the fascists. The fascists used reactionary slogans such as ‘parties out, trade unions out’.

“In fact, they undertook to carry them out with organised murderous attacks, as evidenced by the attack on communist metalworkers and trade unionists in Perama.

“We are not complacent. Because the hot-bed of Nazi organisations is anti-communism and the two-extremes theory which is an official policy of the European Union especially in times like the one we are going through, when the impasses of the current system are clearly revealed.

“The workers’ popular movement, the youth struggles, the collective militant action everywhere is what can give the Nazi criminals what they deserve. For the moment, life imprisonment and, for those who are in disguise, the shame of the people. And tomorrow, a dark corner in the museum of social history alongside the system that gave birth to them.”