After a period of outrageous impunity, the Nazi organization Golden Dawn is today confronted for the first time with the prospect of answering for its crimes.
This development would not have been possible without the continuous mobilisation of thousands of anti-fascists for over two decades, and certainly not without the anti-fascist explosion that followed the brutal murder of Pavlos Fyssas by Golden Dawn member Giorgos Roupakias in Keratsini in September 2013.
The government, the police, the courts and all the “institutions” blatantly tolerated – if not actually supported – the activities of neo-Nazis until the evening of Pavlos’s murder. The state’s inaction in the face of the racist murder of Shehzad Luqman on 17 January 2013 in Petralona by members of Golden Dawn, the lack of arrests even after the murderous attack against trade unionists of PAME in Perama and even more the signing of a ministerial decision for the regular funding of the Golden Dawn “party” by Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis on 6 September 2013 all show vividly the actual sympathies of the institutional players. Only the fear of an anti-fascist explosion, in the middle of mass strikes of workers, forced the government to change course.
Golden Dawn is a Nazi criminal gang and not another political party, even an “extreme” one. That phrase, which has been used for over 20 years in anti-fascist material, summarises the nature of the organisation. The criminal activities of Golden Dawn stem from its Nazi beliefs. Its aim is not political persuasion, but the construction of storm troops in neighbourhoods and streets which will sow terror against immigrants, anti-fascists, trade unionists, activists of the Left and others.
The strength of these storm troops historically allowed the fascist leaders to negotiate with the powerful of wealth the transfer of political power to themselves, in times of heightened economic crisis and social instability. This political project, which is the Golden Dawn’s model, strictly entails committing a multitude of criminal actions, murder among them.
The lawyers who sign this document declare in advance that we do not trust the institutions to dismantle completely this Nazi organization. Whatever our ideological beliefs about the rule of law and its limitations or the possibilities of democratisation and reform of the state apparatus, we have seen in practice the institutions’ failure to address the fascist threat. That is why it is our belief that only the anti-fascist movement of working people and the youth, the massive rallying of the democratic majority which despises the neo-Nazis, will manage to eliminate them.
This view does not make us adopt an attitude of retreat or neglect of the existing legal proceedings against the members of the Nazi gang. We declare from the outset that in the trial of Golden Dawn we claim the role of civil action for the anti-fascist movement. We know that the scope of the prosecution is undermined: by the chronic state tolerance of the action of neo-Nazis; by provisions of the Criminal Code to which the progressive legal world has substantial objections; by the erosion of state structures within by members of the Nazi gang.
The claim for civil action, however, will allow the anti-fascist movement to have independent access to the files, to disclose to the public the crimes of the gang, to examine witnesses and accused, and ultimately to condemn the perpetrators and abettors of the crimes of the Nazi Golden Dawn.
So, we begin a public initiative for the civil action by the anti-fascist movement, in cooperation with the KEERFA anti-racist and anti-fascist coalition, the Pakistani Community of Greece, the Union of Immigrant Workers and other anti-fascist committees, anti-racist organisations and movements for democratic rights to which we address a call for coordination. We call on democrats and progressive lawyers to accompany us in this effort.
We place the fruits of our labour in the service of trade unions, student associations and all those collectives which take an active stand against the criminal actions of the nazi Golden Dawn.
(We are collecting signatures of lawyers internationally who wish to join or support the initiative outlined in this text. To add your name, please e-mail : [email protected] ).