On trial in Greece: 69 members of the violent, ultra-right Golden Dawn party

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The trial of 69 members of the Golden Dawn party will finally begin in late May 2015. Many didn’t show up on April 20 when the trial was originally scheduled to start. But 200 black-helmeted Golden Dawn (GD) supporters did, and physically attacked five witnesses. Simultaneously, 4,000 counter-demonstrators, organized by anti-fascists and labor unions, chanted slogans against the neo-Nazi party.

Once a minor party, Golden Dawn started building momentum after the 2008 financial crisis struck Greece, the hardest hit of European Union countries. (See Greece: a gutted economy fuels fascist threat.)

By 2013, Golden Dawn thugs, decked out in their notorious black shirts, were regularly getting away with beating up and killing immigrants, attacking leftists who were leafleting dock workers, and assaulting students and immigrants at meetings and rallies. All this is in keeping with their fascist politics of blaming unions and immigrant workers for the country’s severe economic misery.

But when famous, left-wing rap musician Pavlos Fyssas was stabbed to death by GD goons, the populace erupted in outrage. It forced the then government to arrest many. They’re charged with “criminal activity,” not murder.

Since January 2015, however, the sometimes-leftish Syriza Party has controlled government, and effectively discouraged mass organizing.

With 300 witnesses and 120 lawyers, the trial could take years. Many experts predict that the trial itself will have a profound effect on rising fascism in Europe. Maybe.

But what actually happens will more likely depend on how well the Greek Left, reinforced by international solidarity, succeeds in building a massive and militant united front, armed politically and materially to defeat Greece’s violent fascist forces.

Also see: US trains Nazis in Ukraine national guard

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