— UPDATED, OCT. 7 — The Greek Court of Appeals in Athens found the neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn guilty of acting as a criminal organization today, in the culmination of a trial that lasted over five years. Charges included violent attacks on immigrants and political opponents, murder, money laundering, and possession of weapons. The 68 Golden Dawn members on trial included 18 former members of parliament.
Much of the case against the group stemmed from the stabbing death of Pavlos Fyssas, a rapper and anti-racism campaigner, in September 2013. Golden Dawn is also charged with the murder of Egyptian fisherman Abouzid Embarak in June 2012 and the murder of members of the Greek Communist Party and its trade union PAME in September 2013.
As the verdict was read, huge applause rang out in the courtroom, which were echoed in the street in front of the courthouse, where many thousands of demonstrators had gathered. The chant went up: “The Nazis belong in prison!” Police later fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.
After hearing the verdict, Nils Muiznieks, European director at Amnesty International, said, “The impact of this verdict, in what is an emblematic trial of an extreme far-right party with an aggressive anti-migrant and anti-human rights stance, will be felt far beyond Greece’s borders.”
(See video of police attacking demonstrators outside the courthouse with tear gas and water cannons: https://www.facebook.com/Covid19Solidarity/videos/628123267853906)
The following statement on the trial was issued on Oct. 6 by OKDE-Spartacos, Greek section of the Fourth International:
After five and a half years and more than 400 days in the courts, the well-publicized criminal trial that is in judgment over the Greek Nazi formation called Golden Dawn is coming to a conclusion, with sentencing scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 7. The probable conviction will be a victory for the movement.
Despite this, there are no false hopes that a positive resolution in the bourgeois tribunals of justice, no matter how important it may be, will mean a definitive victory over fascism. The social conditions still exist that gave rise to this Nazi formation, growing up and out of irrelevancy, which means that the anti-fascist movement must remain on alert.
We find ourselves in a period of nationalist exaltation, which is expressed in the demonstrations around the question of Macedonia and in the islands, and in the reactionary mobilizations of inhabitants against refugees and immigrants, which orchestrate the racist policies of the state. National myths reproduce and feed nationalist hysteria, which finds fertile ground to germinate, at a time when the aggressiveness of the Greek state is intensifying with the hostilities toward Turkey and frenzied military rearmament.
The extreme right may no longer be represented by this Nazi formation, but it is present and even reappears in different forms, from the unsubtle positions of Belópulos (leader of the Greek Solution, a new far-right party in parliament) to the Cyrillic version of the alt-right. On the other hand, after the SYRIZA government, the good name of the left has been totally tarnished in the eyes of the people, while a steadily growing sector of the population is being infected by the poison of xenophobia and racism.
However, we must not underestimate the meaning of a condemnation of the Nazis. The anti-fascist struggle is multi-faceted, and a victory in the courts will be very useful for it and a lethal step toward the final destruction of Golden Dawn. The final crushing of fascism, of the remains of Golden Dawn and its tentacles, will only be achieved with a powerful movement of workers and the exploited natives and immigrants.
Oct. 7—send the Nazis to prison! The class struggle is for natives and immigrants together! The anti-fascist movement must be in the streets against fascism, racism, and xenophobia! All out to the anti-fascist rally before the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, Oct. 7!
Top photo: Anti-fascist protest at the beginning of the trial five years ago. (Socialist Worker)