Below is a video and report from a very well-attended meeting in the Astoria, Queens neighborhood of New York City about fighting against racism and fascism. This is a particularly urgent discussion for the Greek community since the neo-Nazi organization Golden Dawn has grown in Greece and tried to set up operations in New York. Socialist Alternative helped organize this meeting and provided a speaker at the event.
Golden Dawn protest rally from Louis Proyect on Vimeo.
Statement from Aristeri Kinisi New York
Successful Meeting Against "Golden Dawn"
A crowd of over 220 people met at the Church of the Redeemer in Astoria, NY to express their opposition to the recent appearance of the neo-Nazi "Golden Dawn" in New York City. The event, which took place in October 9, was organized by Occupy Astoria/LIC, NY Aristeri Kinisi (Left Movement), Strike Debt, Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination and the socialist newspaper Justice, among others. The meeting opened with presentations by the moderators of the event, Nicholas Levis and Marina Sitrin who explained people’s outrage and the need to organize against fascism.
A panel of speakers Costas Panayotakis, Neni Panourgia, Despina Lalaki and Alan Akrivos covered a number of issues including the relationship between the Greek economic crisis and the rise of "Golden Dawn," the close ties between Golden Dawn and the Greek police, the affinity of Golden Dawn to the Neo-Nazi ideology, the rise of fascism as a byproduct of the crisis of capitalism, social degradation in Greece as a result of the economic crisis, the rising tide of working class resistance in Greece and internationally and the need for a working class alternative to neoliberalism and capitalism. The speakers emphasized the need to organize here in New York in order to prevent ‘Golden Dawn’ from gaining influence in the Greek American community by posing as a philanthropic organization working in support of those most vulnerable to the crisis in Greece.
After the presentations, a number of people from the audience spoke and raised points about the interconnectedness of the crisis in Greece and in the U.S. and the need to build the movement of the 99% in order to fight against austerity, poverty, war and unemployment.
Arthur Cheliotes, leader of Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 1180, said that it is a “shame that children of immigrants would be influenced by the kind of ideas peddled by ‘Golden Dawn’ and attack other immigrants.” Mike Filippou, a leader of the heroic Stella D’Oro workers strike in the Bronx, gave a firsthand account of the history of brutal state repression against the Left in Greece. Immigrant organizations of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Latino workers were present or sent messages of support to the meeting. The speakers expressed the need for further events and education against Golden Dawn but also stressed the need to go beyond analysis and into action designed to isolate Golden Dawn and to prevent it from gaining a foothold in Astoria and New York.
Towards the end of the event, people broke into smaller groups and discussed possible further actions and organization. All in all, it was a very productive first meeting and captured not only the attention of the public but also of the media, American and Greek, which were present and reported on the event. News of the meeting was also reported in all the major Greek newspapers and media.
Aristeri Kinisi, NY will discuss further steps for more events and actions in order to continue building our presence both in the Greek American community and beyond as there is a broad feeling that “We are all Greeks.”
Aristeri Kinisi New York
(Left Movement NY)
October 11, 2012