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Greece: Campaign to stop European Nazi camp
IN MAY 2005, four neo-fascist European groups (NPD from Germany, Forza Nueva from Italy, Falanx from Spain and Chrisi Avgi from Greece) announced that they would organise their first European Youth Camp on 16-18 September in Greece, without specifying the exact location.
By Xekinima supporters, CWI in Greece
This would be the first time an event of this character had taken place, with the organisers claiming that an attendance of 1,000 people.
The Greek fascist organisation Chrisi Avgi has been responsible for more than 100 attacks (beatings, knife attacks, arson) against immigrants and left-wing activists in the last few years.
Some of its members have been arrested and sent to prison, including their leader who planted bombs in cinemas showing left-wing films. Their treasurer was arrested for armed robbery but the majority have never been investigated by the police.
The Greek section of the CWI, Xekinima, and Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE - closely linked to Xekinima) took immediate action, starting a campaign which aimed to stop the neo-nazi camp taking place.
During the campaign a lot of work that had to be done to answer false liberal arguments allowing "freedom of expression" to the fascists, carried by the daily press.
The Conservative Greek government pretended not to know anything about the camp or else talked about 'freedom of speech'.
But in the meantime local people began to organise against the fascists, to start with in the Peloponese where the camp was initially to be organised.
As a result, local councils began to discuss the issue and take positions against the fascists coming to their areas. Broader meetings of trade unions, student unions, the Greek Social Forum, political organisations, anti-racists, etc also began to take place. Xekinima and the YRE took part in all these meetings in various cities.
Xekinima and YRE called for: Five days of action by working-class organisations in all the areas likely to 'host' the camp and to organise such actions as to mobilise the mass of the population - including city-wide general strikes - to stop the camp.
The majority of other left organisations, unions etc, in these meetings had different views. Some of them had no ideas at all, some wanted to do "what the 'locals' decided" and the big majority wanted to do something but no strikes and no blockades.
A meeting in Kalamata, in the southern Peloponese, decided on four days of action, starting from 12 September culminating in a big rally and concert on 15 September - one day before the fascists' arrival.
It was decided to have a massive propaganda campaign to go to every household, about the role of these fascist organisations and of fascism in history. And there was agreement by the teachers' unions in the area to have a three-hour strike on 15 September and to have anti-fascist lessons in all schools on that day.
As a result of this pressure the fascists attempted to find alternative places to hold their camp.
We discovered that they were negotiating with camping sites in central and northern Greece. So, during the course of last week meetings have been taking place in other cities, discussing what should be done.
After all this pressure the government was finally forced to react. On 6 September, a spokesperson announced that the camp would be banned.
This represents an initial victory. However pressure has to be maintained. There can be no confidence that the government will take serious measures to stop the camp or that the fascists won't find ways to evade the ban. So Xekinima and the YRE are continuing the campaign.
In The Socialist 15 September 2005: