Action: Oppose Greek Neo-Nazism & Anti-Semitism
Sign Petition to Defend Savvas Michael-Matsas and Konstantinos Moutzouris
Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013
Dear Friend of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy,
We are writing to ask you to sign the following petition in defense of Savvas Michael-Matsas and the former rector of the National Technical University of Athens, Konstantinos Moutzouris [scroll down on the petition page for the English translation]. The story of the upcoming trial of the two men, scheduled for September 3rd, is described below the petition in an open letter by Bertell Ollman and an article by Michael Löwy. Ollman and Löwy highlight the grotesque anti-Semitism of the campaign against Savvas Michael Matsas, and the Greek government's complicity in that campaign.
In addition to signing the petition, please send a brief personal letter of support to Savvas Michael-Matsas at firstname.lastname@example.org — and let us know if you have signed the petition and/or sent a personal letter.
In peace and solidarity,
Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison
RESOLUTION OF SOLIDARITY
sign at http://tinyurl.com/matsaspetition
Reject the Nazi lawsuit - Drop all charges against the Secretary of EEK Savvas Michael-Matsas and the former Rector of the National Technical University of Athens Konstantinos Moutzouris.
Savvas Michael-Matsas, Secretary General of the Workers' Revolutionary Party (EEK) of Greece, will go on trial on 3 September 2013. He is being accused of "defamation" against the Nazi Party, the Golden Dawn, because a leaflet issued by the EEK and published in its newspaper, the New Perspective, in May 2009, had characterised the Golden Dawn as a Nazi organisation that instigates racist attacks against immigrants and called for participation into an antifascist demonstration. Other accusations levelled at him are "instigation of violence and chaos" and "disruption of the civil peace".
At the same time, the Nazis have intensified a non-stop, vicious anti-Semitic and anti-communist campaign against the Secretary of the EEK, accusing him of being "an instrument of the World Jewish Conspiracy to foment civil war among Greeks to impose a Judeo-Bolshevik regime in Greece", and publishing his picture with the death threat "Crash the Jewish vermin!"
The Greek State has endorsed the lawsuit by the Golden Dawn and is bringing on trial on September 3, 2013, Savvas Michael, together with the former Rector of the National Technical University of Athens, Mr Constantine Moutzouris (accused of permitting the broadcasting of the alternative web site Athens Indymedia from the space of the University).
The Greek police force are collaborating with the fascists of the Golden Dawn, who are neither prosecuted nor even arrested despite their attacks, armed with guns and bats, against the immigrants, other oppressed people and fighting organisations. The judiciary, for its part, rather than investigating into the cowardly assaults and assassinations committed by members of the Golden Dawn against immigrants, is trying to intimidate the combative sections of the working class and the left.
We denounce these actions! Solidarity in Greece and the rest of the world! Drop all charges against Savvas Michael- Matsas and Constantine Moutzouris!
SAVVAS MATSAS NEEDS YOUR HELP AGAINST GREEK FASCISTS
Letter from Bertell Ollman
Savvas Matsas is an exceptionally talented Greek philosopher, literary critic and Biblical scholar who is also the leader of a Marxist political party, the EEK, in his country. He is very well known in Left circles in the U.S., the U.K., and France for his invariably enlightening and spirited participation over the years in a variety of our conferences and seminars.
Today, Savvas stands charged with "defaming" the Greek neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn whose brutal assaults on immigrants and others most of you will have heard about "inciting violence" against them, and "disturbing the peace". His case goes to trial on September 3rd. The evidence for the charge of "defamation" seems to be that he called them "criminals", for the charge of "inciting violence" that he appealed publicly for a fight against fascism, and for the charge of "disturbing the peace" that he wrote a tract calling for a demonstration against them.
Golden Dawn member with banner. Photo: The Guardian
Meanwhile, the Golden Dawn party, which continues its rise on the Greek political scene, has been conducting a virulent campaign against Savvas, whom they've called "an agent of the international Jewish conspiracy against the Greek nation who is trying to provoke a civil war in order to establish a Jewish-Bolshevik regime." Sound familiar?
Perhaps as outrageous as the charges against Savvas is the fact that Greece's conservative Government, which has several Cabinet members whose origins lie in the extreme right, should consider such legally protected behavior as worthy of judicial action. This may even be the first time that any country that pretends to be a democracy has made opposition to fascism into a crime, and if it succeeds in Greece it won't be the last.
Savvas has called for letters that support his "right" (I would have preferred "duty") to fight fascism in all the ways listed in the charges above be sent to him as soon as possible. The trial, again, is on September 3rd. Even one line will do. Letters are already beginning to flood in from Greece and several other countries. We have a chance to make a difference here - for Savas, perhaps for Greece, and maybe even for ourselves. Take a moment right now and write, and then forward this appeal to all your contacts who take or should take "the fight against fascism (and the state's protection, bordering on open support, of the fascists in its midst) as seriously as Savvas does.
Savvas's email address is email@example.com.
Bertell Ollman, Department of Politics, NYU
GREECE: WILL ANTI-SEMITISM BECOME LAW?
A Jewish Marxist "accused" by the Neo-Nazis
by Michael Löwy
A Jewish Marxist is being brought to the Courts, accused by the Nazis of having "defamed" them. Are we in Germany in 1933? Not at all: this happens in "democratic" (with many inverted comas) Greece in 2013…The accused is called Savas Mikhail, a brilliant intellectual and leader of one of the Marxist-revolutionary organizations of the Greek Left.
Savas Mikhail is an unusual person and a thinker quite beyond norms: an anti- Zionist and internationalist Greek Jew, he is the author of a considerable oeuvre, unclassifiable, somewhere between literature, philosophy and class-struggle, with an outstanding originality and dynamism. The first thing which impresses the reader of his writings is his immense culture: the author is familiar with the Bible, the Talmud, the Kabala, the ancient Greek theatre, European literature, contemporary French philosophy, modern Greek poetry, Hegel and Marx – not to speak of Trotsky, his main political inspiration - one could enlarge the list.
One of the most singular characteristics of his thought is the attempt to re-interpret Marxism and revolutionary theory on the light of Jewish Messianism and mysticism - and vice-versa. It is an inventive and paradoxical experiment, which belongs - like the writings of Ernst Bloch and Walter Benjamin, two of his favourite authors - to the universe of religious atheism, or, if one prefers, of profane Messianism.
These ideas are for the first time discussed, in a central way, in a remarkable collection of essays published in 1999, Figures of the Messianic (in Greek). His last book, Golem. On the subject and other phantoms (2010, also in Greek) is another example of this religious atheist, Judeo-Marxist approach. It is a collection of essays, concerning not only the Golem legend, but also Kafka, Hölderlin, Lacan, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Hegel, Marx and some Modern Greek poets such as Andreas Embirikos. The coherence of the book is given by its unique way of associating, combining and fusing Jewish mysticism, literature - Greek and universal - and revolutionary Marxism.
Savas Mikhail has never hidden his anti-fascist commitment, and has not ceased, in the last years, to denounce the sinister activities of the Greek neo-Nazi organisation "Golden Dawn" (Chryssi Avghi) – which should rather be called "Bloody Sunset". In 2009, this organization, which openly and insistently claims the heritage of the Third Reich, presented, to the Greek Courts, a lawsuit against a great number of militants of the entire Greek Left or Far Left, as well as against all the immigrant associations, cultural groups and independent personalities. By decision of the Prosecutor – named by the Neo-Liberal Right-wing government – the police called in 2012 all these personalities for interrogation. All of them refused to come, but presented by their lawyers legal depositions answering and rejecting the accusations. After examining these documents, the Prosecutor decided to bring to the Courts only two of these dozens persons accused by the neo-Nazis: Savas Mikhail and the former Dean of the Polytechnic School, Constantinos Moutzouris, accused of having permitted Indymedia, an alternative social media, to use the facilities of the School for its emissions. As for Savas Mikhail, he was accused of "defamation" towards the neo-Nazis, because he denounced them as criminals, of "incitation to violence", because he called to fight fascism, and "attempt against civil peace" for having called, in a pamphlet, to demonstrate against Chryssi Avghi. Meanwhile, the Greek neo-Nazis unleashed a brutal anti-Semitic campaign against Savas Mikhail, denouncing him in their media as "an agent of the Jewish world conspiracy against the Greek Nation, aiming to provoke a civil war and establish a Judeo-Bolshevik regime". It gives a sinister feeling of déjà-vu…
This affaire has of course raised numerous protests in Greece and Europe, but nevertheless the trial will take place, and the date will be September 3, 2013. It is an important issue: beyond the accused persons, it will be decided if it is still possible in Greece, in the future, to freely express antifascist ideas. The whole affaire illustrates not only the extraordinary arrogance of the so-called "Golden Dawn", but also the more and more obvious complicity of the present Greek government, presided by Mr Antonis Samaras, with the Greek fascists. Several of the Ministers in this increasingly authoritarian and repressive government come from the Far Right: the "adviser of the Minister" for Immigration, Kostoulas, is the author of a negationist book glorifying the Third Reich; the ruling party's (so-called "New Democracy") parliamentary group's spokesperson at the Parliament, Makis Voridis, s a former leader of the "Nationalist Youth Movement" promoted by the dictatorship of Colonel Papadopoulos (1967-1974). he recent decision of Antonis Samaras to pure and simply close ERT, the Greek public television, and throw out all its employees – decision which provoked a governmental crisis, with the departure of the moderate Democratic Left Party – was warmly supported by Chryssi Avghi.
We will know, on September 3, if anti-Semitism has become the law in Greece or if a minimum of democratic guarantees still exist.