Underestimating the New Nazis in Greece: The Golden Dawn Party

The hidden responsibility for World War II rests not upon Adolph Hitler, but rather with Johann Dietrich Eckart. Had Eckart not introduced Hitler to larger crowds and inner circles, had the echoes of his maiden speech not bounced across the basement walls, the madman would have slithered to the corner and nursed his tea in the company of demons and visions forever unrealized. Instead, the first opportunist calculated his gain and a basement full of bystanders fell silent.

Hitler’s path from oblivion to deity was paved by a thousand Judases and a million Pilates; mercenaries and cowards each, who, in moments of destiny, used or excused the monster and hastened him on his way.

The simplest action might have arrested Hitler’s ascent. Here a judge who shortened a sentence, there a socialite whose glittering luncheons legitimized the odd man and his dream for a new Germany. Almost everyone dismissed Hitler’s ominous threats; taking the man at his word cost too much.

Such moments of destiny now test us in our turn. Two short weeks ago, across Everests of whipped cream and dense cappuccino fog, our iPads blipped something or other about the Greek Neo-Nazi party winning seven percent in elections held amid Weimar-like disintegration of that country’s economy. A hundred million eyes rolled, five million deigned to snort, and all buried their minds, ostrich-like, in caffeinated indifference.

The once-obscure Greek Golden Dawn is worthy of more than snorting disdain. Its growth and the conditions in Greece are reminiscent of pre-War Germany. The organization owes its advent in part to a band of new Eckarts, men who use religion to mask their antisemitic ideology and socialist economic theory in Europe and the United States. The organization's growing popularity demonstrates how quickly small numbers and risible doctrines can achieve power given favorable social factors.

Led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos, Golden Dawn is a member of the European National Front (ENF), an umbrella organization consisting of eight European nationalist branches headed by Roberto Fiore, founder of the Italian Forza Nuova. The branches promote their own country’s ethnic traditions, but share the broader mission outlined by Fiore:

The real Europe, to rise again, will need a single political center that embodies a compelling Idea. This will only happen with a state entity, by its nature "superior" to individual people and offering them a great historic mission: that of "order" making the world a mirror of the Order of heaven. The Idea is the rediscovery of the imperial (not imperialist!) (It is the Idea) of a power "consecrated" from on High and rooted in many people- related, similar and united -- but still distinct and vital.  It will be one hundred flags of the European Empire.

The web pages of ENF members contain Nazi-like iconography and documentation of joint rallies looking, for all the world, like miniature reenactments of Triumph of the Will. Cartoons advocate not balanced immigration policies, but supremacist malevolence towards foreigners.

The ENF embraces an economic policy that opposes the “effects of Zionism.” It advocates distributism, a social philosophy erroneously claiming to be based on that of Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI, who outlined solutions for the ill effects of the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Communism.

Distributism has much in common with communism, particularly its Utopian promise that the world will be in harmony when human beings share equally the means and fruits of meaningful work. Radical distributists wax eloquent concerning the role of “Zionist international banking empires” in the present state of Europe, but are shy when asked for details concerning the distribution of presently-held “Zionist” wealth. The implementation of distributism requires stringent state involvement.