Published on 28th Nov, 2022
INTERNATIONAL collaboration is vital to combating the rise of hate, extremism and 'othering', a global gathering of activists and funders has heard.
SCI brought more than 30 activists from 14 countries to Greece to draw lessons from the successful campaign by Greek civil society against the far-right Golden Dawn party.
Activists and funders from across Africa, Asia, Europe and the US took part in the study visit on responding to hate, extremism and othering. They met the campaigners and lawyers whose work saw Golden Dawn forced from political prominence, with its leaders convicted and imprisoned for their criminal activities.
The week-long event also drew on what participants had experienced in their own societies, including individuals working in very challenging circumstances and facing pressures that include state-sponsored discrimination and violence.
"Supporting activism is at the core of what we do,' said SCI Director Martin O'Brien.
"Bringing activists together to share lessons and tactics, while also providing them with the space to reflect on their practice, can help them enhance their skills and become better change-makers.
"On this study visit we helped participants to forge international connections and to learn from the success in Greece.
"The world faces a rise in hate and extremism, and we were able to pool the experiences of our diverse group to identify ways we can respond."
THE GREEK EXPERIENCE
Golden Dawn was an extreme far right political party which rose to prominence during a period of economic crisis in Greece.
Its gangs were attacking refugees, migrants and other vulnerable minorities, while its politicians were being elected to the Greek parliament.
The story of how the Greek courts ultimately unmasked Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation followed years of activism by an umbrella group of civil society organisations, which gathered data to publicise Golden Dawn's attacks. This culminated in a legal strategy which put the victims to the fore. (See a special SCI report on lessons from the Golden Dawn campaign here.)
During the SCI study visit, participants heard from the campaign's organisers and from representatives of the legal team which secured the historic verdict that saw Golden Dawn's leaders jailed.
Activists also met civil society organisations working on the ground in Greece today. These included: ECHO100PLUS which acts as a bridge between NGOs and independent initiatives to support Greek society, the Hellenic League for Human Rights; the Melissa Network and Day Centre for migrant and refugee women, and STEPS which supports people living on the streets.
LESSONS ON COMBATING 'OTHERING'
We gathered global experiences of hate and extremism and developed responses, ranging from grassroots activity to building international solidarity.
Twelve key points of advice for activists and funders are captured in a report which can be downloaded on this page, or here: Global lessons on tackling othering.pdf
- Those who took part in the study visit also crafted a communiqué on what they learned and how the experience will inform their work. Find it here SCI Greek Study Visit - Participants’ Communiqué.pdf
- Also, see our wider set of resources on Tackling extremism