Monday, June 20, 2016

Euro 2016: Nationalism and Fascism under the mask of Hooliganism

This year's UEFA European Championship, commonly known as Euro 2016, has been stained by the brutal violence and clashes between hooligans both inside and outside the stadiums. 

It is true that football (or 'soccer', for our american friends) has always been a privileged field for the development of hooliganism. It's mass, popular character, as well as the tension and passion that creates to fans has been the source of multiple violent outbreaks between overzealous supporters around the world.

All these football rivalries usually become the ground for the cultivation of nationalist and racist ideas, especially to young people who are indifferent- and unfamiliar-with politics and can be easily manipulated. In some cases, there are whole football teams' fan clubs which are associated with the far-right: for example, the Ultras of Italy's S.S. Lazio who are infamous for their fascist, pro-Nazi sentiments. The fascist ideology has been infiltrated in supporter groups of national teams- in November 2014 Croatian fans chanted racist slogans during a match against Italy, while, just a few days ago, fans of the Ukrainian national team were clearly seen on TV with swastikas tattooed on their bodies during the game between Ukraine and Northern Ireland. 

German hooligans with Nazi symbols in Lille, France.
In Greece, the Nazi-criminal 'Golden Dawn' party has tried to infiltrate the national football team's fan clubs. It is characteristic that a current MP of the Nazi party had been the leader in one of the national team's supporting clubs in Euro 2004. Various fascist groups associated with 'Golden Dawn' have tried to provoke by unfolding nationalist banners during Greek national team's matches with Turkey and Albania. On the other hand, in the recent Euro 2016 game between Switzerland and Albania, a bunch of Albanian nationalists laid out a banner about the so-called Chameria issue.

Archive Photo: Provocative banner saying "Greece's Capital is Constantinople" unfolded in a football match between Greece and Turkey.
In this year's Euro, we have seen organised groups of nationalists, fascists and neo-nazi hooligans attacking each other. They travelled all the way to France in order to create mess, to stab and kick those who they regard as "rivals". 

What is unfolded in french cities is a wave of brutal european nationalism, covered under the mask of football fanaticism. The inter-imperialist contradictions, as well as the EU policy in multiple cases (Ukraine, Baltic countries, Refugee Issue, Anti-communist declarations and memorandums etc.) have contributed substantially to the rise of nationalism. 

Albanian fans with a banner refering to 'Chameria'; a long-time issue
for albanian nationalism.
We can't be indifferent to the rise of nationalism and fascism in football. The guys with the swastikas who sing racist songs, both in and out of the pitch, aren't football fans- they are fascist thugs and bullies who spread their nationalist poison in Europe. 

Clases between hooligans from England and Russia in Marseille, France.
Russian hooligans attacking England's fans in Marseille, Euro 2016.
In Defense of Communism ©.