Saturday, 28 February 2009

A warning for Europe

On Wednesday reported that, the day before, "the Haunt of Migrants on Tsamadou Street in Exarcheia was attacked while an assembly of the Association of Conscientious Objectors was taking place inside." The site also published the following statement from the Network for Social and Political Rights,which occupies the same building;
Last night, February 24, at around 10.05 pm “persons unknown” threw a hand grenade at the Migrants’ Haunt at Tsamadou Street in Exarcheia, the same building hosting the offices of the Network for Social and Political Rights). At that time the Haunt was full of people as there was an open meeting of the Association of Conscientious Objectors and the co-ordinating body of our group was also having a meeting. The attack had no victims only due to sheer luck as the hand grenade did not manage to get through the double glazed window, bounced back and exploded just outside the building.
Last night’s fascist, para-statal attack is part of the wider attempt of sovereignty to strike back after December’s revolt. During all this time we have been watching the intensification of statist and para-statist (meaning, undercovers and fascists, often the same people — trans) violence as well as a dirty propaganda campaign against spaces of resistance (”the far Left is to blame for the violence”). The “persons unknown” who threw the hand grenade do not only turn against us but against the social antagonist movement as a whole, against all who revolted in December, against all who actively refuse the dictatorship of the market and the “democracy” of the batton.
It is probably unnecessary for us to say that we shall not make a single step back, it is unnecessary to say that the parastatals will receive the response they deserve.
Athens, February 25 2009
The attack, as stated above, is part of the repercussion that Athenian anarchist and immigrant communities are facing after the mass unrest of two months ago. It also happened to occur on the same day as the appeal of Antonis "Periandros" Androutsopoulos, the deputy leader of fascist paramilitary Golden Dawn, against his conviction for the attempted murder of student Dimitris Kousouris.

The event serves as a timely and worrying benchmark for the rise of fascism, nationalism, and xenophobic sentiment across Europe - and it is not the only one...

In Italy, the far-right government - already engaged in a vicious crackdown on the Roma population - have introduced a slew of anti-immigrant legislation. The new "security package," against which the CGIL union organised a 30,000-strong demonstration in Milan last weeked, allows doctors to "denounce patients without proper immigration documents," justifies the detention of immigrants "without having committed any crime," and "legalises rounding up immigrants." It also authorises "local 'patrols' to assist police by hunting out and reporting on any 'illegal activities' perpetrated by immigrants."

In Austria, the Alliance for the Future of Austria and (to a lesser extent) the Freedom Party have both made gains in the polls. A significant event, given that the election is "the first to put to the test the popularity of the government" during the economic crisis, according to BBC News.

Here in Britain, as I have written about previously, the British National Party have been making significant electoral gains. Most recently, they have won a seat previously considered "safe" by Labour in Sevenoaks in Kent, and are on course to make even more significant gains in Cumbria. This is without mentioning the fact that leader Nick Griffin is confident enough of the party's fortunes to stand as a potential MEP for the North West and to attempt street-activism in Liverpool, a city with left-wing, working class politics ingrained into its culture.

The BNP, to an even greater extent that their European counterparts mentioned above, are capitalising on discontent created by neo-liberal economic policies, a ruling elite in the back pocket of big business, and the ever-widening class chasm created by global capitalism.

More importantly, they are turning ire over this situation towards a more in-reach (and utterly innocent) target - the immigrants and refugees in this country. By doing so, they are giving people an easy answer to their woes, and are increasing their vote exponentially. But, in so doing, are also exacerbating racial and national divides in the working class and turning us against one another.

The real solution to the problems we face ahead is not an easy one, and nor is it one we can achieve solely by putting an "X" on a ballot paper. It involves strong and cohesive working class organisation, at grassroots level - and transcending all artificial boundaries of race and nation - to tackle the ruling classes. Only through direct action and bottom-up organisation can we hope to dismantle the political and economic systems that are the cause of our woes. But the growing presence of hardline nationalism makes it ever harder to work towards this goal.

As Rudolph Rocker once wrote, in Nationalism and Culture, "He who thinks that he sees in all political and social antagonisms merely blood-determined manifestations of race, denies all conciliatory influence of ideas, all community of ethical feeling, and must at every crisis take refuge in brute force ... [n]o better moral justification could be produced for the industrial bondage which our holders of industrial power keep before them as a picture of the future."