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Ukraine
Europe’s Anti-Fascists, wake up! The Brown Plague is back!
by Yorgos Mitralias
13 March 2014

No doubt about it this time: Monstrous and horrible, the fascist threat is back, and our Europe doesn’t seem that bothered. The proof? Full-blooded Nazis who identify with the Third Reich and its SS divisions and who make Golden Dawn almost look like choirboys have some of the most painfully sensitive jobs (public order, defense, justice) in the interim Ukrainian cabinet! And more than that. Them being there doesn’t shock either the media, who are falling over themselves to describe them as “nationalists”, or our own dear European leaders of every stripe (including social democrats) who are quick to recognize them as completely suitable partners.

Altogether, it’s as if the Nuremburg Trials had never happened! But that’s not all. What’s worse is that the followers of these ghosts of a world we wrongly thought had vanished are now parading in their thousands armed to the teeth through the streets of Kiev and Lviv, and above all they are winning the confidence of a lot of their compatriots. Because, paradoxical or not, it is sadly a fact that the genuinely popular revolt which has just swept the Yanukovitch regime away includes among its leaders the Svoboda people full of nostalgia for Bandera’s collaboration with the Nazis and ̶ above all ̶ the rising star of the Praviy Sektor neo-Nazis.

Now if Svoboda and Praviy Sektor can be part of the Ukrainian government without our European and North American leaders ̶ or our leading media and other international institutions for that matter ̶ getting too upset, don’t be surprised if one fine day all these nice neo-liberals accept without a quibble the presence of a party like Golden Dawn in a future Greek government. If Dmytro Yarosh, the Praviy Sektor party boss, can be Andriy Parubi’s deputy (and he was the founder of the Ukrainian National Socialist Party) at the head of Ukraine’s National Security Council, why shouldn’t Golden Dawn Führer N. Mihaloliakos be minister of defence or public order in Greece tomorrow? One more reason to see what is going on in Ukraine as a real turning-point in post-war European history, a huge qualitative leap in the neo-fascist menace now hanging over all of us.

But that’s not all. Quite apart from the turn events are going to take in the unfolding confrontation on Ukrainian soil involving not just Russia and Ukraine (both as reactionary as each other and held as medieval fiefs by oligarchs) but also the big imperialist powers of our day, everything indicates that the already powerful Ukrainian neo-Nazis will be the only winners from the ravages which not only the IMF austerity policies but the warlike nationalist winds sweeping the region are bound to inflict. The consequences are not hard to foresee: The armed Ukrainian neo-Nazis will probably be able to extend their influence beyond Eastern Europe and spread the gangrene across our whole continent! How? First of all by imposing a relationship of forces more favourable to militant neo-Nazism inside the growing far-right camp in Europe. Then, by serving as a model to export at least to near neighbours (including Greece) already smarting badly under austerity policies and contaminated by the racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and neo-fascist viruses. And obviously not forgetting the sizable “argument” of the thousands and thousands of weapons ̶ some of them heavy ̶ in their hands which they will not fail to export. The conclusion is eye-watering: the whole landscape, the balance and relationship of forces, will inevitably be shifted, at the expense of working-class trade unionists, left-wing organisations and social movements. In simple words, the stuff of nightmares…

So what more does it take to rouse the European left out of its present torpor, sound the alarm, mobilise urgently and as fast as possible to take the only initiative capable of containing the approaching fascist and crypto-fascist tsunami: an initiative which cannot but aim to create a united, democratic, radical, long-term, mass European anti-fascist movement which combines the struggle against draconian neo-liberal austerity policies with the struggle against the Brown plague wherever it shows itself. The time has long gone for hesitations and the illusion that it’s all happening far away, or hiding behind the daily routine of anti-fascist work in your own locality or your own country, and not giving much of a damn what is going on over the border. First, because even before the wake-up call from the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, the situation in eastern Europe was ̶ and remains ̶ beyond alarming and fully justifies a general mobilisation against the impetuous rise of the extreme right. And then, because, necessary as they are, national and regional anti-fascist struggles are not enough; they don’t have what it takes to deal with today’s completely exceptional and historic circumstances.

In other words, Anti-fascists of Europe, wake up, because it is already five minutes to midnight and history looks like repeating itself just as tragically as the past…


Yorgos Mitralias, member of the Greek Committee of the Initiative of the European Anti-Fascist Manifesto (www.antifscismeuropa-ellada.gr)

Yorgos Mitralias

Journalist, Giorgos Mitralias is one of the founders and leaders of the Greek Committee Against the Debt, a member of the international CADTM network.