Catechism of children is just one way to expand. The organization that started recruiting football fans tries – as a parliamentary party now – to approach various social groups through trade unionism.
It was May 2007 when the web page ‘Antepithesi’ [CounterAttack] which expressed the Youth Front of Golden Dawn, was welcoming the creation of the blog ‘White Activism’. It was there, the editors of the webpage were claiming, that their members would find inspiration regarding how they could expand their views ‘on the street’. Six months later, an index of 88 ways of action (a number which for the Nazis alludes to the salute Heil Hitler) is published on the said webpage. Among others, they suggest the recruitment of youths, reorganization of older people in multiracial neighborhoods, efforts to disseminate their ideas in colleges and universities, recruitment of students and teachers, and founding of local branches. Moreover, they advise their members to keep any weapons in their possession hidden safely and ask the skinheads (neonazi) of the organization to “keep a decent profile and avoid being detected”.
Since then the organization has been trying to disseminate its message in other ways too. After its entry into the parliament, Golden Dawn tries to infiltrate a plurality of work places and sectors founding trade union line ups immediately directed by the party. The kick off took place with the Nationalist Lawyers Movement in Thessaloniki who recently held their first conference and with the founding of the Popular League of Taxi Owners. Similar moves are planned according to Golden Dawn in the sectors of educators, civil engineers and doctors. Out of 98 candidates of the party in the last elections the occupational sectors most highly represented was the farmers (13).
Despite its activities in the domain of trade unionism – a new terrain for Golden Dawn – the ideological background remains unchanged: “Since they allow us we will use the weapons of democracy against them”, N. Michos, an MP of Golden Dawn, said in his speech to the local branch of [Athens’s] North Suburbs on February 15. Someone from the auditors had instigated: “Get in the parliament and ruin everything” to receive the response from the MP, who appeased him: “We are going to be the wolf among the lambs”
In a recent talk to motorists the secretary general of Golden Dawn, Nikos Michaloliakos said that he is not trying to “patronize the trade unions’ effort” and attributed the initiative for the talk to the motorists themselves. For quite some time now, Golden Dawn actively targets this particular occupational sector. In the course of handing out leaflets and brochures, the organizers urge their supporters to hand out material to every single taxi that passes by. According to members of the Taxi-Motorists Union of Attiki, in the last Golden Dawn gathering about 80 people turned up, amongst whom many bus drivers of ETHEL [a subsidiary to the Athens Urban Transport Organization].
DIRECTIVE FROM THE ORGANISATION. Although the official directive of Golden Dawn is to present these activities as spontaneous expressions of occupational sectors, the group of friendly towards the organization lawyers in Thessaloniki is housed in the party’s offices. The Nationalist Lawyers’ Movement has found space in the offices of the party’s Legal Service of Regional Administration in Central Macedonia. The telephone number, however, is registered to OTE [telecommunication service] under the name of Antonis Gregos, the local Golden Dawn MP. Himself, he is not a lawyer, but a graduate of the merchant Marine school. He has been adminstrative secretary for the economics of the Municipality of Thessaloniki since 1991 until he became an MP.
To date, the Nationalist Lawyers Movement has proceeded to two actions: Five of its members have sent an extrajudicial order to the mayor of Cassandra, Chalkidiki threatening with legal action in case he does not allow them to partake in the annual memorial for the victims of the german occupation. Another of their members paid a visit to a college in Chalkidiki and then to the secondary education directorate, asking for the punishment of an albanian student and his teacher. The incident has been confirmed to us by the school’s principal and the directorate, while a press release was issued by the Prefectural Committee of Golden Dawn.
During the course of a class and while the teacher had his back towards the students, one of them displayed an Albanian flag and his action was recorder with a cellphone by his classmates. A few days later, three men appeared at the principal’s office and introduced themselves as Golden Dawn members. “One of them said he is a lawyer and that he was member of the party’s legal division” the school prinicipal says to ‘NEA’ newspaper. “I explained to them I cannot allow entry to a political party’s representatives and they returned as ordinary citizens, without party affiliations who, as they said, just wanted to denounce a certain incident”. Those accompanying the lawyer demanded the students’ punishment for the Albanian flag. One of them said, according to the principal: “Why don’t you fail them so that they return to their country?” They then demanded that the Secondary Education Directorate takes action: “They said they are Golden Dawn Members, one of them introduced himself as a lawyer and they added that they have relatives at this school” claims Theodore Tapanidis, director of the Secondary Directorate. After all, three students were punished for using their cellphones which is prohibited by the ministry’s criculaires.
OBSERVATORY. In response to the founding of the Nationalist Lawyers Movement, the Human Rights Committee of the Thessaloniki Barrister Association has suggested the founding of an observatory for racism and xenophobia. “Normally every lawyer ought to stand for the principle of equality”, says its representative, legal expert Roxane Kostantziki. “They want to infiltrate, win representatives in the syndicalist process, bring their issues into the agenda and possibly to intervene in legal matters underpinned by the clash between racism-antiracism.” says the ex-president of the Barrister Association, Manolis Lamtzidis.
IN FOOTBALL STADIUMS. Many of the present Golden Dawn MPs were openly propagating racial discrimination during the years they were trying to infiltrate football fans. Ilias Panagiotaros was the president and founding member of football fans league Blue Army and in Thessaloniki, Antonis Gregos. “Many members of Golden Dawn are also members of the Blue Army and vice versa” the former stated in Yiorgos Kouvara’s broadcasted show. In November 2001 members of the league burned the Turkish flag outside the offices of EPO [Hellenic Football Federation], in reaction to the possibility of a common hosting of the 2008 Euro by Greece and Turkey. In the game between Greece and Turkey in March 2007 in Karaiskaki stadium members of the Blue Army were giving the nazi salute whilst the national anthem was chanted. The last couple of years the league appears to be inactive. Nationalists, however, choose gates 5, 6 and 7 in Karaiskaki stadium, under the umbrella of Ultras Hellas whenever the national team plays.
Far-right cells can be located in many supporters’ clubs of different teams. After the Red Nationalists, the page of ‘Greek-souled supporters of Olympiakos’ on facebook has appeared with over 4000 members. Although they deny any association with Golden Dawn or with fascist ideologies they have notified their members that UEFA will be fining the football clubs if their supporters put up banners with nazi symbols in european matches. Banners of this kind have been put up numerous times in greek stadiums. The link between the far-right and the football scene is proved by the arrest of a 20 year old, organized supporter of Olympiakos, who is charged with four racist attacks against immmigrants.
[Translated article from ‘Ta Nea’ newspaper, 09/03/2013, found online at: http://www.tanea.gr/news/greece/article/5005509/meta-toys-xoyligkan-oi-syndikalistes/]