By Nicky Dempsey
Greek anti-fascists have called for a major mobilisation in Athens and internationally on January 19th against the growing threat of the far right in Europe. The Greek protest will centre on Syntagma Square in central Athens. There will also be a large number of demonstrations in other European cities in solidarity with the Greek mobilisation.
In London a protest will take place outside the Greek embassy, initiated by Unite Against Fascism.
The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn has increased its presence on the streets since the elections and violent attacks have increased against immigrants, Roma as well as Greeks of African or Arabic heritage. At the same time, it has enough funds to provide infrequent ‘Greeks only’ food distribution to promote its vile ideology.
With 6.9% of the poll Golden Dawn won 18 seats in last June’s elections, and has since regularly recorded in the low teens in percentage terms in opinion polls. One of its parliamentary representatives has declared that Golden Dawn is ‘at war with immigrants’ .
Previous efforts to combat Golden Dawn have been insufficient to prevent their advance, especially as they have widespread support within the police.
However the latest initiative appears to have the broadest backing of all the main left forces, anti-fascist campaigners, trade unions and democrats. This broad-based unity in actively mobilising against the fascists will be decisive if they are to be halted and defeated. The Greek organisers explicitly relate this struggle to combating the international growth of the far right.
The attacks on immigrants and others are an important part of the ruling class offensive which seeks to blame everyone but capitalists for the current crisis. The increased willingness of the left to actively mobilise against Golden Dawn is a crucial part of the overall response to prevent workers and their allies paying for crisis.
So too is the elaboration of a clear economic alternative to austerity. Alexis Tsipras the leader of Syriza has repeated his call for an orderly default or restructuring of Greece’s debt. This is an important point which also needs to be taken up by the left across Europe.
Official forecasts are that Greek debt will reach nearly 190% of GDP this year. This is completely insupportable and like all extreme cases of indebtedness will end in some type of default. Syriza’s call for a default or restructuring is entirely logical and in the interests of the overwhelming majority of the Greek population, large holders of Greek bonds not included.
The mobilisation against fascism and the call for debt restructuring are important developments which increase the capacity of the left to offer an overall solution to the crisis. The calls for solidarity should be answered by socialists across Europe.
Details of the London protest are here:-
12 noon Saturday 19 January
1A Holland Park
London W11 3TP