Check out the previous installments in this ongoing series:
#10: David Irving
#9: Roger Waters
The good news is that since September 28 the Greek government has been cracking down on Golden Dawn, the neo-Nazi movement that won almost 7 percent of the popular vote in spring 2012 and, ending up with 18 parliamentary seats, became Greece’s third strongest party.
On September 17, an antifascist rapper named Pavlos Fissas (aka Killah P.) was stabbed to death in Athens, allegedly by a Golden Dawn activist. Earlier attacks, including at least one fatal one on an immigrant, were also ascribed to Golden Dawn.
On September 28, Greek police arrested Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and other top party members on charges of running a criminal organization. Michaloliakos and two other deputies are now in jail awaiting trial. Meanwhile the Greek parliament has voted to strip six more Golden Dawn MPs of their immunity.
While the Greek constitution doesn’t allow political parties to be banned, the parliament also appears set to cut Golden Dawn’s state funding.
So much for the good news.
The bad news is that, first, Golden Dawn remains popular. It was scoring as high as 14 percent in opinion polls before the rapper’s stabbing, and since then has gone back down to about 7 percent. Whether or not that’s just a temporary dip is not yet known.
And second, as long claimed and as Financial Times confirms, one of Golden Dawn’s strongholds in the country is none other than the police:
[Golden Dawn] has penetrated the country’s police force, set up caches of heavy weapons in remote locations and trained its recruits to carry out brutal attacks against immigrants and political opponents, according to the country’s top security official.
Nikos Dendias, minister of public order and civil protection…has assigned the police antiterrorism unit to probe the party’s allegedly criminal activities…. But another reason for taking the investigation away from the regular police force is that it has been infiltrated by Golden Dawn. Some police officers in districts with sizeable immigrant populations have gone beyond colluding with local neo-Nazis to set up political cells within their units, Mr. Dendias said.
…The move to crack down on Golden Dawn follows an escalation of violent incidents in recent months. Analysts say attacks became more frequent because of police foot-dragging over making arrests of Golden Dawn sympathisers and reluctance by politicians to take a strong stand against it.
Golden Dawn was an obscure fringe party until it won 5 percent of the Athens municipal vote in 2010. It was two years later that, riding waves of anger at Greece’s austerity measures, the party garnered a significant share of the national vote and entered parliament.
The main target of Golden Dawn’s hate and aggression has been immigrants, among whom Albanians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis may be the largest groups. But Golden Dawn is also a fully credentialed antisemitic party. The German Nazis themselves, of course, attacked many other groups along with Jews.
Golden Dawn’s logo looks a lot like a swastika. Its leaders use the Nazi salute. Its charter says “only Aryans in blood and Greeks in descent” are welcome in the party.
Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris quoted the notorious antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in a speech to parliament. Michaloliakos, the leader, says: “There were no ovens. This is a lie. I believe that it is a lie…. There were no gas chambers either.”
A visit to Greece last January by a Jewish delegation headed by David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, inspired a post on Golden Dawn’s website that said:
Just from the meetings, one can understand the influence of international Judaism on the Greek political scene. The political leadership will once again express its total subjugation to the whims of the “chosen” people.
…The only solidarity of this gentleman is to his compatriots—the international loan sharks, who are humiliating the Greek people. His concern most likely is related to Greece’s inability to make the payments of the predatory interest rates of the vile loans. We do not need the crocodile tears of a Jew.
The next day another post appeared, this one called “Absolute Evil.” It said:
They are none other than those who possess most of the international wealth. The people behind the international loan sharks. Everyone knows they belong to a certain race, which presents itself as a victim, while in reality it is the perpetrator. Everyone knows that they are none other than those pulling the strings behind the marionettes. They are the absolute evil for mankind.
…The time will come when the nationalists of the Golden Dawn will take revenge like the horsemen of the storm, and all of them, being the absolute evil, will pay!
McClatchy reported in May 2012 that Golden Dawn’s election ads “featured the burning of American and Israeli flags.”
Along with Svoboda in Ukraine and Jobbik in Hungary, Golden Dawn is one of three European neo-Nazi parties to have been voted into parliament in recent years. All three made hay from popular distress over post-2008 economic travails. All three offer the familiar toxic brew of scapegoating and Jew-hatred.
But while post-Cold War democracy is crumbling in Ukraine and teetering in Hungary, Greece’s democracy had been a success story since 1975. In that regard, the rise of Nazism and accompanying social chaos in Greece makes it the most ominous of the three cases. Time will tell whether the Golden Dawn crackdown marks a turning point and a recovery.
None of this is meant to deny that problems of unassimilable immigrants and economic blight are real and need to be addressed. But when the “solution” offered is primeval hatred, civilization is already dead.