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Hitler on tiptoes: The subtle rise of fascism in Greece

after the Greek Riots | 23.07.2009 15:14 | Migration | Repression | World

from the "After the Greek Riots" blog

The order has finally been carried out: The migrants staining the image of the city have been removed from public sight. NGO’s, the oh-so-pragmatic Left, good christians and dutiful citizens all stand prepared, they tell us, to fulfil their humanitarian duty as long as the migrant-subject is nowhere to be seen. The morning after the eviction, the flattening and setting ablaze of the migrant camp in Patras, with smoke still rising above its remains, the local newspapers cheerfully saluted the operation: “Living conditions were unbearable, therefore the destruction of the camp was a humanitarian act” went their twisted logic. For the record, both local media and political authorities in Patras are of the “socialist” flavour of power.

For this ex-industrial, ex-major port-city in the Western tip of the Peloponnese the passage to the post-industrial era has left little more than illusions. Illusions of having any sort of substantial industry, any mechanism capable of sustaining the city’s “growth”, or even simply bringing back “the good old days”. In this illusion, perception is key: Everyone becomes what they show to be and the city becomes a sum of places facilitating this to-be-seen process. Out go the factories, in come the glamorous, trendy cafés. The assembly line gives way to the “catwalk”, as the pedestrian road running in the café district of Patras is euphemistically called. It is right here, on this catwalk, that the illusory perception is simultaneously produced and consumed.

The impromptu shanty town-like camp stood as the catwalk’s absolute antithesis: In the safety of its size, and that only, its permanently temporary residents could seek refuge for as long as it would take to sneak into one of the ferries heading further West, to Italy – or be arrested by police. The camp’s size, its very visibility within the urban entity of Patras safeguarded its residents’ individual safety. The camp acted as shelter and cover for those in Patras on-their-way-somewhere-else. There was nothing illusory about the residents of the camp. Why they were in Patras (because of the war), why they were on their way further West (because Patras could offer them nothing)… Their crudely real presence was putting the entire city’s post-industrial function at risk.

The camp was striking at the heart of the city’s illusory function of perception. For this reason it had to go. From the openly fascist voices of the extreme right calling for the deportation of the migrant-subject all together to the “pragmatic”, subtly fascist voices of the left calling for its elimination from public view: The object has becomes one, the safe functioning of the illusory city – uninterrupted, clean, orderly. Their cleanliness is cleansing, their order is death.

In this, we should have no illusions.

after the Greek Riots
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