WILL GERMANY & EU DRIVE GREECE TO THE NAZIS?
BY STAS MARGARONIS, RBTUS
Unless Germany and the European Union move quickly to end demands for draconian cutbacks on Greek government spending, they will only worsen the country’s economic and political disintegration that is benefiting the Greek Nazi party.
The Greek Nazi party, Golden Dawn, is gaining strength thanks to the political and economic chaos caused by continued austerity measures demanded by Germany and the European Union. The result is more joblessness, cutbacks in pensions for the elderly, people losing their homes and greater numbers of destitute people lining up outside food banks. As winter approaches, there are fears the country may face serious starvation.
Last month, the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, warned Europe that his country was on the edge of a “Weimar Germany-style social collapse.”
Golden Dawn originally targeted Muslim immigrants as the cause of Greece’s economic problems, claiming that their expulsion will create more jobs for Greeks. At the same time, Greek Nazis are broadening their support base. They are reaching out to the Greek Orthodox Church, the Greek police and the Greek armed forces while increasing attacks on immigrants and political opponents.
An Athens taxi driver who says ”Greece needs strong leaders because the politicians are corrupt, the Muslims are out of hand, and the economy is a disaster,” is susceptible to Golden Dawn’s appeal.
WANTED: A EUROPEAN MARSHALL PLAN
The appeal of fascism can be extinguished by a European Marshall Plan similar to the aid program mounted by the United States in support of Western European economies. The Marshall Plan helped Europeans rebuild after the devastation caused by World War II.
A European Marshall Plan could not only help Greece, but Spain, Portugal and other European countries creating new jobs and revenues that more effectively address budget deficits than constant cutbacks. Most importantly, a European Marshall Plan would create hope for Greeks and the economic means to silence extremists like Golden Dawn.
Ironically, Germany developed a role model for a European recovery plan with its success in rebuilding the declining economy of the port of Bremerhaven. Bremerhaven suffered huge economic losses caused by the decline of shipbuilding and other industries. The German government financed a rebuilding effort with a 5 billion Euro loan guarantee. This guarantee mobilized new steel fabrication and wind turbine manufacturing, utilizing the port’s infrastructure as the logistics center for the movement of heavy loads. Bremerhaven is booming in 2012 thanks to the construction and deployment of wind turbines to construct offshore wind farms. This new power generation is needed to replace German nuclear power plants soon to be shut down. If Germany established a 5 billion Euro loan guarantee program for the EU-Greek development of solar and wind energy, Greece could develop new energy sources and industries. Deployment of offshore wind farms along Greece’s coast lines would revolutionize the economy. German financing helped rebuild Bremerhaven, so why not help Greece and other Mediterranean countries?
A German consultant takes issue with this proposal saying such an investment in Greece is difficult to consider, because of the chaotic Greek labor situation that is prone to strikes and inefficient manning practices that would undermine new investments.
However, the Chinese shipping company COSCO took over half of the operations in the port of Piraeus and reports a 300% improvement in cargo-handling productivity since 2010, according to the New York Times. The company made a $647 million investment to lease half the port which the cash-starved Greek government accepted. COSCO succeeded by firing recalcitrant employees and lowering wages to reduce costs. The newspaper explains: “The salaries of some workers reached $181,000 a year with overtime; COSCO is typically paying less than $23,300. On the Greek side of the port, union rules required that nine people work a gantry crane; COSCO uses a crew of four.”
A Marshall Plan for Greece may seem far-fetched, but COSCO is showing that its investment in Greece is successful, although, labor union resistance persists. What is certain is that if German and EU austerity demands persist, Greek Nazis will continue to benefit.
PARALLELS WITH THE RISE OF THE GREEK MILITARY DICTATORSHIP IN 1967
The political situation in Greece is very similar to the political chaos of 1967 that was exploited by right wing army officers who overthrew the democratic government of Greece and instigated a military dictatorship which lasted from 1967 to 1974.
In 2012, the tacit support of police officers and some members of the military are a signal of worse things to come, while at the same time Golden Dawn has opened up an office in New York, presumably to raise money from Greek-Americans who support its neo-Nazi agenda.
The UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that Greek police may be arresting and abusing anti-Golden Dawn protesters. The newspaper reported: “Fifteen anti-fascist protesters arrested in Athens during a clash with supporters of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn have said they were tortured in the Attica General Police Directorate (GADA) – the Athens equivalent of Scotland Yard – and subjected to what their lawyer describes as an Abu Ghraib-style humiliation.”
The UK’s Financial Times noted in a recent report that Golden Dawn is developing relations with former army officers and the Greek underworld:
“There is no such person as a legal immigrant,” says Mr Kassidiaris, a former Greek army commando whose approval rating soared after he slapped a female Communist parliamentary candidate on a breakfast television talk-show.
This week Mr Kassidiaris revealed that he had asked to be stripped of his parliamentary immunity from prosecution ahead of an appeal court hearing of an armed robbery case in which he is accused of driving the getaway car. He denies involvement in the robbery.
The case has highlighted alleged connections between Golden Dawn and the Greek criminal underworld. …
Yet Golden Dawn has also tried to build an image of social responsibility, through regular food distributions to needy Greeks registered with the party and by providing a service to accompany pensioners to the bank in neighbourhoods where muggings – which they blame on immigrants – are frequent.
Maria Tsalpatura, a 75-year-old retired schoolteacher, says she calls Golden Dawn every month before she goes to collect her pension. “They come on time and they’re very polite, I think they offer a real service,” she says.
Some of the party’s post-election initiatives have caused outrage, such as a proposal to set up a blood bank that would serve only Greeks – angrily rejected by hospital doctors.”
AHEPA OPPOSES GREEK NAZIS
The worsening political situation in Greece and the establishment of Golden Dawn’s new office in New York prompted John Grossomanides, president of the U.S.-based American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) to express his organization’s concern about the growing role of the Nazi organization in Greece and the United States:
“In fact, the rise of extremism has drawn the attention of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who stated she was worried about ‘violent xenophobic attacks‘ upon migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Greece. Paramilitary-like tactics perpetrated upon any individuals of a free society is alarming.
We furthermore strongly denounce and reject resoundingly the establishment of a branch of the Neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, in New York City. Fascism has no place in the United States whose citizens, including many Greek Americans and Ahepans, fought and sacrificed to defeat Fascism in Nazi-occupied Greece during World War Two.”
NAZIS ATTACK THEATER-GOERS WITH POLICE PRESENT
Meanwhile in Athens, Golden Dawn reportedly attacked theater-goers attending the ‘blasphemous’ play “Corpus Christi” written by American playwright, Terrence McNally. The play implies an affiliation between Christ and gay people. A riot ensued that shut down the theater.
A victim of the attacks told Athens News that “priests” collaborated with Golden Dawn members to attack theater-goers with the tacit support of Athens police. The newspaper quoted Greek writer, Manolis Vamvounis, saying he was beaten in the presence of police officers outside the theater by a Greek Member of Parliament representing Golden Dawn. He tweeted the following account of his ordeal translated by the newspaper into English:
“At the entrance of the theatre, there were Golden Dawn and priests tearing down the show posters and stepping on them. I took out my mobile to take pictures for the blog. 5 Golden Dawners and a cop surrounded me. They ask ‘Are you a journalist?’ I say “I write for lifo”, hoping to escape a beating. Quite the opposite. They pull me aside, call me ‘f*ggot’ and ‘queer’, pull my beard, spit in my face, hit me in the stomach. Cops nearby. I shout “They’re beating me, do something?” Reply: I’ve nothing, move along please. The cop’s wearing 3 stars. They put a lit cigarette in my pocket. A woman standing near warns me, in front of the cop. He pretends he hasn’t heard. I start to get scared, move away from the entrance. They shout after me ‘Go away, you dirty f*ggot, go suck someone’s c*ck!’ I turn back to observe. A known Golden Dawn MP follows me, punches me twice in the face, knocks me down. Downed, I lose my glasses. The Golden Dawn MP kicks me. The police are exactly 2 steps away. Their backs are turned. Repeatedly, I shout to the cop “THEY’RE PUNCHING ME, DO SOMETHING!” Back still turned, he walks away. The rest of them shouting at me next to the police officer “Cry, you pussy, queen, little girl” We pass dozens of cops hanging out. I tell them I was beaten at theatre entrance. They ignore me. One blows me a sarcastic kiss.” 
A BBC report warns that such a breakdown of law and order will destabilize the democratic government and quotes the theater director, Laertis Vasilis:
“If the European Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Parliament, the Greek Parliament don’t intervene in this situation I am afraid to think what’s going to happen. Europe must do something if they don’t want a revival of the Third Reich again.”
The BBC report concludes, “Close up, in other words, the social and political outcome of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and EU (European Union) austerity programme, and of the implosion of mainstream politics in Greece, looks like a catastrophe for democracy”
Maria Margaronis, ‘ Greek anti-fascist protesters ‘tortured by police’, The Guardian, October 9, 2012
 Kerin Hope,’Greece Grapples With Shadow of Golden Dawn’ The Financial Times, September 21, 2012
 Athens News, ‘Golden Dawn attack theatre goers,’ October 12, 2012
 Paul Mason, BBC News Report, October 17, 2012