The threat of fascism in Europe is nowhere greater than in austerity-hit Greece. Last year Nazi Golden Dawn (GD) party, received 6.9 percent in the general election in June and won 18 MPs. GD is now third in the opinion polls. It has tried to hold provocative street demonstrations in mixed and immigrant areas. Last week 30 members of Golden Dawn attacked the car of the Turkish consul general to Komotini, Ilhan Sener, in Kavala.
This follows another attack in December when three of its members assaulted an MP of the left wing Syriza party before Christmas. Attacks on the black, Muslim and immigrant minorities in Greece are now daily. GD has infiltrated the Athens police force, half of which voted for the Nazis in the general election.
Many people in Britain, from all sorts of communities, will be concerned about the rise of GD – which does not seek to hide its Nazi politics or regalia. That was brought home at the end of last year when Channel 4 disgracefully included a TV clip of a thuggish GD MP assaulting two left wing women MPs on television as one of its “50 funniest moments of 2012″. Well done to everyone who contacted the station to protest.
But the anti-fascist response in Greece is exploding. Saturday 19 January will be a vital day in drawing together scores of local initiatives under the slogan – Athens: anti-fascist city. There will be a national rally held in Athens, which is winning tremendously wide support. The local council covering Athens has voted to support it, as have many municipal councils. The coalition calling it is exactly of the kind that UAF has built and encourages here – the trade unions, progressive politicians and parties, immigrant, Muslim and black organisations, LGBT groups, intellectuals, writers and so on.
On Monday 50,000 newsletters aimed specifically at school students to build the 19 January mobilisation were distributed in schools in Athens alone. The teachers union has literally slammed the gates on GD members trying to get into schools to terrorise immigrant children and to recruit.
There will be international solidarity actions on that day from Chicago to Berlin. UAF has called a demonstration at the Greek embassy in London that day:
Saturday 19 January, Assemble 12 noon
1A Holland Park, Notting Hill, London W11 3TP, nearest tube Holland Park
[NB please note assembly point, replacing any earlier details that went out]
The response thus far indicates that this can be a successful and serious demonstration. It is of course in solidarity with friends in Greece. But it is not only that. It can be an important stepping stone to strengthening the anti-fascist movement in Britain too – the outrage here at the televised assault on two female MPs in the summer shows that there are many people who draw the connection between events in Europe and what we face in Britain.
We are asking all London groups and supporters especially to mobilise for 19 January. We are already informed of supporters travelling from Cambridge, Brighton and as far afield as Cardiff!