The grotesque face of racism and xenophobia

Pursuit and massive deportations of immigrants in Greece

August 16, 2012

By Isabel Infanta
Thursday, August 9, 2012

Last weekend, the Greek government sent the police on an enormous operation of raids against immigrants in the central areas of Athens, poor neighborhoods and brothels, in a real pursuit that involved around 4,500 policemen. Also in Evros, in northern Greece, near the border with Turkey, around 2,500 police were sent, on what is considered the most porous border in Europe.

More than 6,000 immigrants, with or without papers, were detained because of simple “racial profiling†in the first two days of pursuit, when thousands were jailed in real concentration camps, under humiliation and the lack of respect for human rights, waiting to be deported. In fact, dozens of Pakistani immigrants were already deported the same weekend.

This institutionalization of racism and xenophobia represents a jump in the actions against the immigrants, that had already been developing, pushed by groups from the ultra-right, like the Golden Dawn party, that got a surprising number of votes in last June’s general elections (7%). In addition to physically attacking immigrants, this party carries out massive activities to promote xenophobia, organizing charitable activities where the beneficiaries must prove their Greek ethnic origin to get assistance.

The political operation that includes the measure taken by the government has a double aim. On the one hand, it allows them to shift the focus of responsibility for the economic crisis from the concentrated groups of capital and their agents, the Troika, the austerity government, etc., to the immigrant workers, using them as scapegoats and inciting hatred from the poor against the poor. On the other hand, the parties in the government, New Democracy (right-wing) and PASOK (social democratic), find themselves in a profound crisis of legitimacy, that was expressed in the enormous difficulty in forming a government after the last elections, and they are seeking to contain the most right-wing group of their voters, in view of the rise of Golden Dawn, that, according to reports from some of the Greek media, would count among its own voters, precisely a very large group from the repressive forces.

The embryonic neo-nazi tendencies, a result of the social polarization that the capitalist crisis is creating, are already beginning to be used by austerity governments against the workers, now the immigrants that are seeking a life in Europe that they cannot have in their countries of origin, devastated by poverty, civil war, or political and religious persecution. The repudiation of these policies and the struggle against xenophobia and racism are a priority need of the working class. The unity of the working class, native-born or foreign, will be essential, in order to confront the attacks that the capitalists’ crisis will intensify.

August 8, 2012