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Putting the “Hammer” Down in Greece: More about Fascists in the New Government

COMMENT: From Mark Ames comes an impor­tant new post, sup­ple­ment­ing infor­ma­tion about fas­cists in the new Greek gov­ern­ment [1]. Recall that Greece was under the rule of a fas­cist jun­ta that came to pow­er in 1967.  Makis “Ham­mer” Voridis, the cur­rent min­is­ter of  “Infra­struc­ture, Trans­port and Net­works” in the Greek Gov­ern­ment, is a doc­tri­naire fas­cist and unabashed sup­port­er of the jun­ta. Voridis derived his nick­name from his habit­u­al  fond­ness for using hatch­ets and ham­mers on polit­i­cal oppo­nents, hon­ing those skills as a street thug for fas­cist caus­es and orga­ni­za­tions.

As dis­cussed in Mar­tin A. Lee’s book [2] The Beast Reawak­ens, the fas­cists who over­threw Greek democ­ra­cy were drawn from the resid­ua of the col­lab­o­ra­tionist gov­ern­ment that ruled dur­ing the Nazi occu­pa­tion dur­ing World War II.

Those fas­cists were pre­served as an anti-com­mu­nist cadre as part of “Oper­a­tion Stay Behind”–a NATO pro­gram that uti­lized fas­cists as reserves in the event of a Sovi­et inva­sion of Europe. In sev­er­al coun­tries, they active­ly desta­bi­lized demo­c­ra­t­ic forces. (The Ital­ian com­po­nent of Stay Behind was the Glad­io pro­gram, dis­cussed in Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M49 [3].)

“Aus­ter­i­ty and Fas­cism in Greece: The Real 1% Doc­trine” by Mark Ames; smirkingchimp.com; 11/17/2011. [4]

EXCERPT: See the guy in the pho­to there, dan­gling an ax from his left hand? That’s Greece’s new “Min­is­ter of Infra­struc­ture, Trans­port and Net­works” Makis Voridis cap­tured back in the 1980s, when he led a fas­cist stu­dent group called “Stu­dent Alter­na­tive” at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Athens law school. It’s 1985, and Min­is­ter Voridis, dressed like some Kaja­goo­goo Nazi, is caught on cam­era patrolling the cam­pus with his fel­low fas­cists, hunt­ing for sus­pect­ed left­ist stu­dents to bash. Voridis was boot­ed out of law school that year, and sued by Greece’s Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Stu­dents for tak­ing part in vio­lent attacks on non-fas­cist law stu­dents. . . .

. . . . This rather dis­turb­ing def­i­n­i­tion of what counts as “non-ide­o­log­i­cal” or “tech­no­crat­ic” in 2011 is some­thing most folks are try­ing hard to ignore, which might explain why there’s been almost noth­ing about how Greece’s new EU-imposed aus­ter­i­ty gov­ern­ment includes neo-Nazis from the LAOS Par­ty (LAOS is the acronym for Greece’s fas­cist polit­i­cal par­ty, not the South­east Asian par­adise).

Which brings me back to the new Min­is­ter of Infra­struc­ture, Makis Voridis. Before he was an ax-wield­ing law stu­dent, Voridis led anoth­er fas­cist youth group that sup­port­ed the jailed leader of Greece’s 1967 mil­i­tary coup. Greece has been down this fas­cism route before, all under the guise of sav­ing the nation and com­plaints about alleged par­lia­men­tary weak­ness. In 1967, the mil­i­tary over­threw democ­ra­cy, imposed a fas­cist jun­ta, jailed and tor­tured sus­pect­ed left­ist dis­si­dents, and ran the coun­try into the ground until the jun­ta was over­thrown by pop­u­lar protest in 1974.

That mil­i­tary junta—and the Unit­ed States sup­port for it (for which Clin­ton apol­o­gized in 1999 [3])—is a raw and painful mem­o­ry for Greeks. Most Greeks, any­way. As far as today’s Infra­struc­ture Min­is­ter, Makis Voridis, was con­cerned, the only bad thing about the jun­ta was that it was over­thrown by democ­ra­cy demon­stra­tors. A fas­cist par­ty was set up in the ear­ly 1980s in sup­port of the jailed coup leader, and Voridis head­ed up that party’s youth wing. That’s when he earned the nick­name “Ham­mer.” You can prob­a­bly guess by now why Greece’s Infra­struc­ture Min­is­ter was giv­en the nick­name “Ham­mer”: Voridis’s favorite sport was hunt­ing down left­ist youths and beat­ing them with, yes, a ham­mer.

After the ham­mer, he grad­u­at­ed to law school– and the ax; was expelled from law school; and worked his way up the adult world of Greek fas­cist pol­i­tics, his ax tucked under the bed some­where. In 1994, Voridis helped found a new far-right par­ty, The Hel­lenic Front. In 2004’s elec­tions, Voridis’s “Hel­lenic Front Par­ty” formed a bloc with the neo-Nazi “Front Par­ty,” head­ed by Greece’s most noto­ri­ous Holo­caust denier, Kon­stan­ti­nos Ple­vis, a for­mer fas­cist ter­ror­ist whose book, “Jews: The Whole Truth,” praised Adolph Hitler and called for the exter­mi­na­tion of Jews. Ple­vis was charged and found guilty of “incit­ing racial hatred” in 2007, but his sen­tence was over­turned on appeal in 2009.

By that time, Makis “Ham­mer” Voridis had trad­ed up in the world of Greek fas­cism, merg­ing his Hel­lenic Front Par­ty into the far-right LAOS par­ty, an umbrel­la par­ty for all sorts of neo-Nazi and far-right polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions. LAOS was found­ed by anoth­er rav­ing anti-Semi­te, Gior­gos Karatzeferis—nicknamed “KaratzaFührer” in Greece for alleg­ing that the Holo­caust and Auschwitz are Jew­ish “myths,” and say­ing that Jews have “no legit­i­ma­cy to speak in Greece.” . . . .