Greetings fellow anti-fascists and comrades. Welcome to this solidarity action with immigrant rights groups and anti-fascists in Athens, across Greece and around the world. We have a few speakers today who will talk about Greece’s critical struggle against the rising tide of fascism – and why we must take up this struggle in the United States today.
We know from history that in times of economic crisis and austerity, when the just rage of working people threatens the ruling class and its dictatorship of capital, those elites dispense with the pretense of democracy in favor of authoritarian rule designed to keep the working class in line and ensure steady profits. They try to convince us that we should turn our anger away from the failures of the system as a whole and direct it instead at scapegoats – immigrants, leftists, people of different religions or sexual orientations.
In Greece today, Golden Dawn thugs who claim to be bearers of Greek culture are instead perpetrating a wave of racist, repressive violence rooted in ignorance, fear, hate, and blind obedience to charismatic, manipulative leaders. Their true inspiration comes not from Aristotle or Democritus, but from the virulent Balkan nationalism that has claimed millions of lives and produced centuries of atrocities.
True Greek patriots risked – and even sacrificed – their lives to defend and ultimately liberate Greece from the fascist thugs who occupied her from 1941-1944. They include Konstantinos Koukidis, an honor guard at the Acropolis on April 27, 1941, who when German soldiers ordered him to raise the Nazi war flag, wrapped his country’s flag around his body and threw himself off the cliff to his death instead. That occupation flag flew over the Acropolis for barely a month – until two young anti-fascists, Apostolos Santas and Manolis Glezos, risked their lives to tear it down, an act of defiance that inspired not only the Greek people but occupied peoples across Europe. Glezos was later arrested more than once, including by a Greek collaborator – a traitorous precursor to today’s Golden Dawn party.
We’re here to tell Golden Dawn and their allies in today’s Greek government that they’re not welcome in America – that Greek Americans and their allies will drive them from our shores just as Greek patriots drove out the Nazis and their collaborationist lackeys in 1944. We’re inspired by Greek heroes like Koukidis, Santas, and Glezos – and by today’s modern-day antifascists in Greece – and we will not allow Golden Dawn to pervert and distort the Greek people’s proud anti-fascist history on American soil. Golden Dawn has appeared on our shores because they’re welcome here by fellow fascists. We say to these stooges of the elites that in these desperate times we will not be fooled by dishonest appeals to people’s fear and uncertainty. Instead, we stand up as one and tell them all YOU SHALL NOT PASS! NO PASARAN!