Greece: Neo-Nazis murder Pavlos Fyssas, a left activist and rapper

The left and organised working class must organise a powerful anti-fascist movement

Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI Greece)

On the night of 18 September the municipality of Keratsini, in greater Pireas, was overwhelmed by tens of thousands of anti-fascists. They were expressing their anger at the cold-blooded murder of Pavlos Fyssas, a rap artist and anti-fascist activist, the day before.

Pavlos Fyssas was well-known for his bold anti-fascist songs and left ideas. He was attacked by neo-Nazi Golden Dawn thugs in front of many witnesses and four armed policemen, who did nothing to prevent the killing. A supporter of Golden Dawn was later arrested by police and he reportedly confessed to the murder.

Pavlos Fyssas is the first Greek activist to be murdered by Golden Dawn supporters. Up until now, they have concentrated their attacks on immigrants, causing a number of deaths. But since last year they have begun to concentrate more attacks on left-wing anti-fascist activists.

Pavlos wrote and sung against fascism. He was born, grew up and lived in Keratsini, a traditional working class area in the city of Pireas.

Pavlos was watching a football match in a cafe in the town centre when he was recognised by some Golden Dawn thugs.

They had targeted him because of his songs, and mobilised a murderous gang to wait for Pavlos once he came out of the cafe.

Pavlos and his friends, sensing that the atmosphere was getting dangerous, decided to leave the cafe, only to discover that about 30 or 40 thugs were waiting for them outside. He was stabbed in the heart by what doctors described as a “professional” attack.

Two evenings before, again in a working class area in Pireas, Golden Dawn attacked a group of about 30 Communist Party members who were fly-posting. It is estimated that about 50 thugs attacked the Communist Party members with sticks with nails and nine people were hospitalised. Among the injured is the leader of the Metal Workers’ Union, who lives in the area.

After the rise of Golden Dawn (GD) during elections in May and June 2012, anti-fascist committees sprang up and, on many occasions, GD thugs were chased out of areas and their demonstrations cancelled due to counter, anti-fascist demos. On one occasion, immigrants chased away GD thugs. On another, in Chania, Crete, the leader of the local Nazis was thrown into the sea by anti-fascists!

Regaining the initiative

The recent attack on the Communist Party members can only be explained as an attempt to regain the initiative by Golden Dawn. If they could attack what is generally recognised as the best organised force on the Left, then the fascists are the ones who are seen to “rule the streets”.

What is tragic is that the Communist Party (CP or KKE) has no real anti-fascist campaign, and therefore the attack against it was not followed by any serious anti-fascist initiative by the CP. Thus the effect on the movement, in general, by the attack on the CP members, was what the fascists aimed for: fear and demoralisation.

The truth of the matter is that the mass Left parties are ‘fast asleep’ over the issue of fascism. Both the KKE and Syriza (radical left coalition party) underestimate the danger of fascism. Syriza has made some steps towards a better understanding of this issue and developing some anti-fascist campaigns, but they are far from sufficient. Fundamentally it is mainly up to local activists to decide to take anti-fascist action, and not so much as a result of clear directions from the Syriza centre.

There is no unity of the left over the issue of fascism, not only the Communist Party but even Antarsya (the anti-capitalist left alliance) refuses to work together with other forces, particularly with Syriza, over the issue of fascism.

There is no understanding that an anti-fascist front and campaign needs to develop across the whole of the left and the organised working class. Important practical measures, such as setting up defence committees, are ignored, whereas the fascists are training in the use of firearms under the guise of ‘private enterprises’.

Moreover, there can be no answer to the threat of fascism unless the left decides to fight against not just the policies of the Troika and the Greek government, but against the capitalist system itself, which is the root of the re-emergence of the fascist threat. On this, again, the left parties are miles away from what is required.

Despite these weaknesses of the ‘official’ left parties on this issue, thousands of anti-fascists are organising campaigns and committees, in city after city, and developing powerful campaigns. After Pavlos’ murder, their struggle will become more determined.

There are good reasons to believe that Pavlos’ death will awaken many who might not realise how deadly serious the general situation is becoming in Greece. This is the best tribute to Pavlos: to fight the rising danger of fascism and for a better life under an alternative to capitalism – a socialist society.

Pavlos lost his life, fighting and standing; he did not bow to the fascists, not for a second. According to eyewitnesses, Pavlos’s last words to his enemies were: “You want to fight like men? Come one at a time”. But the fascists would not. They do not have that courage, cowards that they are.

Pavlos Fyssas will remain a fighter of our movement. He will be on our banners and slogans. We will make sure he did not die in vain!