Socialist Worker

We won—socialists in Greece celebrate after Nazis failed to silence them

by Panos Garganas
Issue No. 2408

A court exonerated three journalists—Katerina Thoidou, Tasos Anastasiadis and me—from the socialist newspaper Workers’ Solidarity on Thursday of last week.

Workers’ Solidarity is Socialist Worker’s sister publication in Greece. We were being sued for defamation by a fascist lawyer who was out to shut us down. If he had won, he would have demanded a huge £40,000 in compensation.

Our victory was won through a long campaign that won the support of many unions and local authorities. 

That’s because the trial brought together three important struggles—against racism, against the fascists and for the freedom of the press.

The media workers’ union opposed the law that was used against us from the beginning. They held massive strikes and protests against the closure of state broadcaster ERT on Wednesday of last week—then on Thursday their union leader spoke in court in our defence.

The story starts in 2010, when the then-government of Labour-type party Pasok introduced a law that would allow some children of immigrants to claim Greek citizenship.

It was very limited, excluding the children of undocumented migrants among others. But it opened a crack in Greece’s anti-immigrant laws and the right campaigned against it bitterly.

Lawyer Ioannis Andriopoulos took the fight to the country’s highest court, the state council. He argued that the law was unconstitutional. 

The court agreed, accepting racist arguments that a “flood” of people would claim nationality and that “Greek blood” should be more important than being born in Greece.

By this time the Tory party, New Democracy, was in government and rushed to scrap the law before the decision was even made official.

That’s when we wrote an article, saying that Andriopoulos was a fascist lawyer and that he was part of the campaign against the law—a campaign led by the fascist parties Laos and Golden Dawn.

He denied that he was a fascist, and that he was acting on anything other than his own initiative. But as his notoriety grew his links to the fascists became more evident.

Gang

He was hired as an adviser to a Golden Dawn MP—who is now facing charges of running a criminal gang as part of the ongoing judicial investigation into Golden Dawn.

We were able to argue in court that his links to Golden Dawn were obvious, and that what we had written was true.

Andriopoulos wanted to shut us down because we have been so active in fighting the fascists, particularly through Keerfa—the Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat.

The ongoing investigation into Golden Dawn that we campaigned for is now becoming a real crisis for the government. It is amassing lots of clear evidence that its MPs and leading cadre have led and carried out many racist attacks on immigrants. 

But for a long time these fascist thugs had immunity because of links between their leaders and people at the top of the establishment—including the large right wing of New Democracy.

Huge protests and strikes after the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas made the investigation possible.

Now prime minister Antonis Samaras can’t go back and pretend that the Nazis weren’t criminals. He knows there would be uproar if he stopped the investigation.

But he also has a large section of his party that doesn’t want the investigation at all. 

This common knowledge was brought into the open in March when video footage was released of the cabinet secretary in discussion with Golden Dawn’s acting leader.

Samaras has neither the will nor the ability to take on these far right elements. He is trying every trick in the book to hold his parliamentary majority together, avoiding votes wherever possible. 

And after the Tories came second to radical left party Syriza in the European elections all the talk has been of an early election, perhaps this autumn or next spring.

As well as being a blow to Golden Dawn this will be a big problem for the government. And we will be at the centre of it.


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International
Tue 17 Jun 2014, 17:14 BST
Issue No. 2408
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