Members of the far-right party Golden Dawn(GD) were forced to leave a small village on the island of Thasos at the weekend. GD representatives had come to the village of Potamia on Sunday with the aim of handing out food exclusively to Greeks. Such propaganda acts are fairly common for GD as they attempt to benefit from the poverty now affecting Greece. The party have set up previous food distribution events during which people have to show proof of being Greek.
This time however local residents gathered in the town square and forced the GD out. The residents, carrying antifascist banners, made it clear that the fascist party were not welcome and stopped them unloading their van. Pretty quickly the GD members gave up and headed away to the jeers of the crowd. Other attempts to set up Greek only food distributions on the island met with little or no enthusiasm.
In another blow to GD on the Greek islands this week one of their members ended up being thrown into the sea after meeting some antifascists in Hania, Crete. Members of GD gathered in Hania and proceeded to move around the town attacking three non-Greeks on the way. However local antifascists gathered and soon a fight broke out in which four GD members and two antifascists were arrested. During the clashes a GD member was thrown into the sea of Hania harbour.
Such local acts of resistance to fascism come at a time when far-right ideas are taking a firmer hold in Greece. Across Greece GD have been carrying out social services such as food distribution, health care and even education. Not all of these events have been opposed like on Thasos. Positioning themselves as the saviours of poor Greeks has continued to increase the base of support for the fascist party.
Less than a year since entering parliament recent opinion polls show GD are holding onto the number three position in Greek politics with between 9-12% support. More worrying is that GD are now a real and visible part of Greece. Their newspapers and key rings are openly sold in many places. They are frequent characters on Greek media. Their slogans are painted everywhere, even in classrooms. The walls of Athens are now no longer the exclusive canvas of anarchists. There has been a lot of concern recently as GD have started to give classes to Greek children. The youth are now scribbling GD symbols on classroom walls as they grow up with the fascists as just another part of the Greek political scene.
By blocking their activities or throwing them into the sea the residents of Thasos and Hania have given a clear example of self-organised opposition to the far-right. Examples we must keep in mind as fear and xenophobia spread.