Antifascist September/October in Belgium – a balance sheet

Marina Kontara

October 7 marked one year from the great victory at the Court of Appeal in Greece, when Golden Dawn was convicted as a criminal organisation and its leading members got prison sentences. On this occasion, the collective Grec.que.s solidaires de Belgique (Greeks in Solidarity – Belgium) decided to participate in the events organized under the framework of the “Anti-Fascist September”, together with the family and friends of murdered singer Pavlos Fyssas, the Athens-Piraeus Anti-Fascist Coordination and the campaign “They are not innocent”.

This decision was taken both because the collective has already shown particular sensitivity to the issue of the antifascist struggle, with actions organized on the occasion of the trial last year and to demand the arrest of the fugitives Ioannis Lagos and Christos Pappas, but also because the current events in Belgium call for such actions: on the one hand, the far right gets almost 50% at polls in Flanders (for both the far right nVA and the fascist Vlaams Belang), and on the other hand, in Wallonia, the far right seems to be under reconstruction

Our collective is convinced that the anti-fascist struggle is not over with the victorious battle of the Court of Appeal, as the recent attacks in Stavroupoli and Athens demonstrate.  At the same time, the rise of the far right across Europe (France, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, etc.) clearly underlines the necessity of building an international coordination of anti-fascist actions and movements. 

In this context, we organised a series of actions in September and October. It didn’t go very well at the beginning: the anti-fascist workshop we had scheduled in Liege on 26 September had to be postponed due to the emergency CoVid measures decided in the city. The event will probably take place in November, with the participation of CADTM (Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt) and the Liège Anti-Fascist Front.

But that did not discourage us. On October 6 we intervened in the actions organized around Amal’s arrival in Brussels. Amal is a 3.5 meter-tall puppet who is traveling from Turkey’s border with Syria to Manchester with the goal of raising awareness on the issue of refugees. In light of Amal’s presence in Greece, which caused many protests by racists and the far right, but also considering solidarity with the refugees in the context of the anti-fascist struggle, we got the feeling that, at a symbolic level, a warm welcome to Amal would send out an important message. Our actions peaked with a series of screenings of Angelique Kourounis’ film Golden Dawn: a public affair in Liège, Namur and Brussels, in the presence of the director and her team. The film follows the facts around the Golden Dawn trial, throughout the five years it lasted, emphasizing the responsibilities of the state and the government for the delays and obstacles, the silence of the mainstream media, but also the rich anti-fascist activity of the movement, which played a decisive role in the final victory. 

The screenings were co-organised with CADTM, Attac, Grignoux Cinemas, the collectives Barridade Peuple et Culture, and the Liège Anti-Fascist Front.

In an important coincidence, the screening of the film in Liège coincided with a major local anti-fascist victory: the cancellation of a public event of the Waloon far-right under the weight of a major anti-fascist mobilisation.

The screenings were met with enthusiasm, which was particularly evident in the liveliness of the discussions that followed. In all three cities, the film was attended by a total of over 250 people. 

All the actions were successful, but the tasks imposed omn us by the circumstances do not stop here. It is necessary to continue the anti-fascist struggle, in schools, workplaces, neighbourhoods, and in the streets. We must not allow the far right and fascist groups to regroup. 

From Belgium we declare our solidarity with the Greek and international anti-fascist movement and point to the need for international coordination.


Below you can read below the text we distributed at our actions:

The anti-fascist struggle continues

It was about a year ago that the glorious chant of the magnificent anti-fascist rally outside the Athens Court of Appeal was heard across Europe. 

On October 7, 2020, Golden Dawn was convicted as a criminal organisation and its leadership was put in prison. 

It was a moment of joy and of vindication for the families of the victims of the Nazi gang. The image of the mother-symbol, Magda Fyssa, with her hands raised, shouting “Pavlos, you did it”, will forever remain engraved in the history of the anti-fascist movement.

The conviction and marking of the Nazi group as a criminal organisation was and still is a vindication of the struggle of the antifascist movement. This movement, which for decades has been confronting fascists, has been arguing for a long time argue that Golden Dawn is not just another far-right organization, but a criminal gang pouring its fascist poison into society.

From the very first moment of the historic decision of October 7, the antifascist movement explained that though convicting neo-Nazis in court and putting them in jail is very important and a victory for the antifascist and mass movements, the danger remains. The struggle against Nazi-fascist and far-right ideas is first and foremost an ideological struggle, a political struggle which must continue. 

The recent events with the fascist attacks in Thessaloniki and Athens show us that fascist groups exist and remain dangerous. 

The response of the antifascist movement was immediate, massive and coordinated. 

Everyone now understands that the historic decision of October 7, 2020, was a great victory, but we still have a lot of work to do in Greece and in Europe. 

The danger exists throughout the European continent and takes various forms. From small or larger groups carrying out fascist attacks, to mass parties ruling or on the verge of ruling.

As long as the current economic – social model is in power, a system that produces the social conditions of poverty and misery, mass unemployment, wars and refugees, we know that a part of the popular layers will be misguided to think that fascist ideas could be a solution to their problems. 

We also know that the capitalist system has historically used fascist organizations as its watchdogs. They are its last card, to remain in power and continue to thrive at the expense of society.

Fascist ideas are not the solution to the problem, they are part of the problem, and all their policies are in the service of the ruling class and the maintance of the capitalist system. 

We will continue to fight against the far right and fascist ideologies.

As Greek anti-fascists living in Belgium, we join forces with all those who agree with the verse: “We need to understand fascism deeply, it will not die on its own, we need to crush it”.

Greeks in Solidarity – Belgium

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