Many say that the phenomenon of neo-Nazism in Greece is a byproduct of the crisis and thus to address it we must first solve the problems created by the economic crisis, reduce unemployment, create market turnover, help businesses work, make society safer and more consistent. Then, they say, the problem of neo-Nazism will be automatically solved. But this is a simplistic and naïve rational.
If the crisis creates fascism how do they explain the fact that there are countries with a sound and controlled economy which also have problems with neo-Nazi parties, such as Germany, the Netherlands, or Austria? And there are other countries mired in crisis, such as for example Portugal, which do not have a similar problem.
Those who believe that the Golden Dawn is a party similar to all other parties of the so-called constitutional axis, and voting for Golden Dawn is just as legitimate as voting for any other party, are actually democrats in name only and have no historical consciousness. They do not realize that democracy is a system of values. Democracy is generous, tolerant, pluralist and liberal. But it is also defending and strong. Ruled by law and order.
And those who try to hide behind the theory of the violence of the extremes, forget that when you see before you a phenomenon that peaks coincidently and threatens democracy you have to create the widest possible front against it.
History gives us the answer. The anti-fascist, anti-Nazi front of World War II was so wide and strong back then as the front against Golden Dawn should be now.
It is naïve to believe that Golden Dawn could be legally banned. It would emerge again with a different name. Our legal system does not have such possibilities. This exists in other European countries such, as Germany for example or Spain. Not in Greece.
But we do have our legal defense system: Our Constitution, our Penal Code and the Regulation of Parliament, whose provisions should be applied and where necessary reinforced. Is there impunity in denying the Holocaust? Is there impunity in raising your hand in a Nazi salute? In holding swastika-like banners? Does homophobic, racist and xenophobic rhetoric remain unpunished? Or preaching Anti-Semitic hatred and organizing hate marches against the Muslim minority of Greece’s northern region of Thrace? Can they physically attack, insult or discriminate against foreign immigrants or minorities? Are MPs untouchable when committing crimes?
The answer to all these questions is No. We can not accept racist and xenophobic discourse and the violence it triggers and disseminates in the society. We can not accept the substitution of the state as far as civil security and policing are concerned, or the substitution of the welfare state and networks of solidarity.
The police should do their job; Justice should do its job. The society must stand up against racism and xenophobia. Where solidarity networks are needed, there are mechanisms of the state, municipal authorities or civil society that can fill the gap.
This can be perfectly done by the Local Authorities in cooperation with the state. It can be done by the Church or by NGOs. All political parties and most of all PASOK have an obligation to contribute to it. But not through political party networks that replace the welfare state. Not through political organizations that exploit poverty, need, sickness and misery.
It is embarrassing to even accept this as a possibility. So we must be absolute, firm and rigid on this issue. Our campaign has international features. It is embraced by organizations and intellectuals, political parties, institutions such as the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.
This Saturday in Athens EGAM organizes an anti-Nazi & anti-fascist march against Golden Dawn. This initiative is in complete alignment with the goals of our campaign, so it is important to have a strong presence in this march starting at the Parliament building and ending by the Acropolis. It is very important to support this campaign at a local, municipal and regional level.
* Excerpt from the President of Pasok speech to party members