Megalo Megalo Megalo!
In Athens, CrazyGreekAnarchists have been fighting neo-Nazis and the police who protect them (and even provide them with sticks). Early reports suggest that two antifa were stabbed by neo-Nazis and as a result have been hospitalised but are otherwise in a stable condition.
Anarchists, far-rightists clash in Athens
February 2, 2008
Police fired tear gas today when rival far-right and anarchist demonstrators clashed in central Athens, sending shoppers rushing into stores for safety. A scheduled march by about 60 members of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn [Chrysi Avyi / Χρυσή Αυγή] group was met by anarchists, leading to a series of skirmishes that spread through the city’s back streets. “About 400 anarchists barricaded themselves along the main street throwing rocks and petrol bombs,” a police officer at the scene said. “Two policemen and two anarchists have been slightly hurt, but there are no serious injuries.” Police cordoned off the city centre as the groups clashed and lit fires, causing huge traffic jams. Golden Dawn, an extreme right-wing group with links to European neo-Nazis, was commemorating the date in 1996 when Greece and Turkey almost went to war over an uninhabited island in the Aegean known as Imia in Greek and Kardak in Turkish. “The situation has calmed down, but we are still on alert for any escalation,” the police officer said.
[Clashes between extreme rightists, leftists in Athens injure 3 people, The Associated Press, International Herald Tribune, February 2, 2008 | Athens Indymedia has an account in English here. Accounts in Greek + photos + video here.]
Meanwhile, in the UK, while Paul Morozzo, an anarchist involved in anti-capitalist protests in the 1990s [for example], said last year: “There is a sustained attempt to undermine and crush progressive environmental movements in the country, through intimidation and surveillance, through using terrorism laws to hold and threaten people, and through increasing use of civil injunctions to limit people’s ability to move around” the Daily Star notes that the Golden Dawn of the BNP is beginning to resemble a Twilight of the Griffins: ‘THE British National Party is on the verge of collapse after party rebels branded leader Nick Griffin “a paranoid dictator”’ writes Dominik Lemanski (B.N.P. Split as Rebels Hit Out, February 3, 2008).
Locally, Australia First, the Antipodean version of the BNP, has got some more ink, albeit not of the most flattering kind:
Rise of far right risks fuelling racist fire
February 2, 2008
The gathering in the backyard-cum-carport in Sydney’s south resembles a clandestine party organised by blokes who find it hard to get a girlfriend.
Despite the baking hot afternoon sun, many wear black T-shirts, boots and leather vests. A rack in the corner of the yard is selling other T-shirts. Their messages: Speak English or Die and Skippy’s Rule OK.
A thrash metal band has set up in the carport and party-goers slam their heads in time with the drums. “Prepare for war,” the singer yells, “leave our shores.” This is Australia Day, Australia First style.
There are only about 25 people here and that includes the members of two metal bands that have come to perform. And not everyone admits to being a member of Australia First. Still, the party claims its way of thinking is spreading in Sydney.
That night, according to spokesman Jim Saleam, the bands would play at a private Australia Day function in the Sutherland Shire – site of the 2005 Cronulla riots – at which the party would try to recruit young supporters ahead of its planned bid for seats on several NSW councils and registration as a federal political party.
The press archives are littered with similar claims of rising influence from Australia First and its predecessor, National Action – notorious for its involvement in a series of violent incidents. And there have been previous and unsuccessful election bids.
But the Cronulla riots, racist activity surrounding plans to build an Islamic school in the Sydney suburb of Camden, and the fake leaflet affair – involving the husband of former Liberal MP Jackie [If you read it you’d be laughing] Kelly – apparently designed to capitalise on anti-Islamic fears in the electorate of Lindsay, have some worried that this time Australia First could be right.
Mr Saleam describes Australia First as nationalist, anti-immigration, anti-trade and anti-multiculturalism.
After a few Australia Day drinks, the membership begins to expand on these themes.
Terry, a 69-year-old from the Sydney suburb of Mount Druitt, admits he likes to see people like himself when he walks down the street, which he says is “only natural” given our bodily germs form “a defence system against foreigners”.
Terry’s theory on cross-cultural marriage is similarly original: we only marry outside our racial group in a sub-conscious attempt to punish our mothers or fathers.
Mike, “about 54”, from Bexley, says he backs an end to migration because “people from the Third World don’t know how to live in a civilised world”. They mug people on their way to the corner shop, Mike says, confiding that he has “been confronted about three or four times by people of Middle Eastern appearance” because “I like to wear military dress”. He is, incidentally, also wearing a T-shirt declaring No Camel Jockey races on the Beach. It has a picture of a man on a camel and a line through it.
Mike admits he was not actually assaulted, but says that’s what his assailants “wanted to do” after he informed them of his previous service in the military. Actually, he was in the reserves for a time back in the 1970s and “I come from a military family that I’m very proud of”.
“Fantasy” is how Bruce Baird, the former federal MP for the electorate which covers the Sutherland Shire, describes Australia First’s belief in its growing influence. “I think (the idea) that they’re making any progress at all is illusory.”
Mr Baird says the racism that came to a head at Cronulla “has been defused and addressed” and that Australia First’s chances of winning a seat on the Sutherland Shire council are zilch.
Michael Kennedy, a former detective and now lecturer in police studies at the University of Western Sydney, is not so sure.
Parties like Australia First will always “appeal to a certain percentage of the community”, he says, but now there was a “growing base of people” in NSW who were susceptible to nationalist ideas because of disillusionment with the state’s mainstream political parties and the crumbling health and transport systems.
Australia First could well win a seat on a council, Mr Kennedy says, but the party’s real danger lies in its ability to “fuel the racist fire”.
In any case, Mr Saleam says his party views elections as “only part . . . of what we do”. It is also interested in “inculcating attitudes and extending . . . the idea of cultural defence” and in more confrontationist politics of the type employed by National Action before its demise.
But, he says, “you need to be much more careful of confrontation now because of the nature of the laws”. Mr Saleam was in jail in the early ’90s for being an accessory to a gun attack on the residence of an African National Congress representative.
“If you use confrontation, you have to use it in a much more precise and scientific way otherwise you’ll simply be arrested,” he says – and then tries to usher The Age out of the party, so that he can brief the band members and others heading down to Cronulla on how to avoid arrest that night.
Which might not be necessary. Lead singer of the band Machete, known as Ryan, doesn’t appear to be planning much in the way of “cultural defence”: “We heard there was a gig going on, we had nothing better to do so we come up here and just figured, what the hell, let’s . . . play some metal.”