Socialist Worker

Golden Dawn court ruling a victory for anti-fascists in Greece

Activists are celebrating after Golden Dawn has been declared a criminal organisation, writes Panos Garganas from Athens

Issue No. 2726

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Athens to welcome the result

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Athens to welcome the result (Pic: Workers Solidarity)


The verdict in the trial of Golden Dawn this week is a huge blow to Nazis everywhere. 

In the Greek case, it spells the end of Golden Dawn as a Nazi group and is a blow to attempts to follow up its legacy. 

After a five and a half year trial, we now have a court that says the Nazis are a criminal gang.

There was a huge demonstration outside the court, bigger than anybody had predicted. 

And that’s important not just in isolating the Nazis, it’s also a huge pressure on the government. 

Greece’s Tory government is desperately trying to present the verdict as a fruit of its own initiative. 

The process began seven years ago after the murder of anti-fascist Pavlos Fyssas when the Tories were in office last. 

But prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis saying his party has always opposed the Nazis is a somersault.

His party has been a shelter for the far right for decades. 

It’s where they found shelter after the Second World War, it’s where they found shelter after the military junta collapsed in 1974

That the Tories have to claim, “We are an anti-Nazi force,” is a humiliation for the party of the right. 

Golden Dawn was modelled on the original Nazis.

They were trying the parliamentary road, but right from the start they were also trying to build storm troopers. 

From the early 1990s, Golden Dawn groups attacked migrants and left wingers on many occasions. And they always got away with it. 

Failure

Any attempt to notify the police or start a court case against them ended in failure. 

It took 20 years to bring the reality to light in court. 

The first, and most important, factor is that the anti-fascist movement grew in this period because there were so many violent attacks. 

The second factor is that there was a growth of the far right threat after 2009. 

First was a group called Laos, which got into parliament and even joined the government when the big economic crisis erupted.

The follow-up from that success was Golden Dawn getting into parliament in 2012. And, in response, there was an escalation of activity by the anti-fascist movement. Setting up Keerfa, a united front against racism and the fascists, just as the far right was rising in 2009 was an important step. 

We owe a lot to the Anti Nazi League (ANL) in Britain, which provided an example of how to fight the Nazis, and we have built on that tradition. 

The Tory government’s policy towards refugees is inflaming racism and could encourage the far right. But we are now starting from a better position—we must build on this success by  stepping up solidarity with refugees.

Panos is editor of Workers’ Solidarity, Socialist Worker’s sister newspaper in Greec

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