The growing opposition to Golden Dawn and its increasingly brazen attacks have forced the Greek government to act.
Last month a Golden Dawn member stabbed to death Pavlos Fyssas, an anti-fascist rapper.
The night of the murder, tens of thousands of protesters joined demonstrations in Keratsini, the working-class suburb outside Athens where Fyssas was killed.
Outrage at the Nazis’ audacity merged with anger at the government’s austerity measures as public sector workers struck against redundancies and further cuts. Their demonstration of 50,000 marched on Golden Dawn’s headquarters.
After the killing the government declared Golden Dawn a criminal organisation. Four Golden Dawn MPs were arrested, along with the party’s leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and his deputy. The party, which was elected to parliament in 2012 with 18 MPs and 7 per cent of the vote, has suffered a slump in popularity after the killing.
This wasn’t the first time Golden Dawn has killed. In January they murdered a Pakistani immigrant, and party members have been responsible for hundreds of other racist attacks.
Encouraged by police protection, the fascists also began attacking left-wing activists.
Two weeks before Fyssas’ murder, Golden Dawn attacked a group of Communist Party members.
But until now the Greek police and the state have protected them and covered up their crimes.
Nazi penetration into the Greek state goes deep—a leading member of the Greek intelligence service has finally been sacked after obstructing investigations into phone calls between Golden Dawn’s gangs of thugs and the party’s leaders.
Police officers suspected of links with Golden Dawn have been suspended. One was found to have acted as a bodyguard for the party. Up to half of police voted for Golden Dawn in the last elections.
Since the murder the government has called on all “supporters of democracy” to unite against the fascists.
But the government and mainstream parties aren’t allies in the fight against fascism.
They have built an anti-migrant wall separating Greece from Turkey, incarcerated thousands of immigrants in concentration camps and called for deportations of “illegal” immigrants.
They have tried to scapegoat migrants for unemployment which stands at 27 per cent.
As Greek socialist Panos Garganas put it, “There is now an opening for the left to counterattack. We have to make sure the arrests of the Golden Dawn leadership lead to convictions and the net is spread wider to include all the Nazi squads, their backers and protectors.”
By Lachlan Marshall