The Greek MYPLACE team at Panteion University of Social And Political Sciences present their latest blog, discussing the continued influence of the right wing Golden Dawn movement.
For more information on the MYPLACE project, visit the project’s website: HERE
More than fifteen days ago, the 20th of October, the General Secretary of the neo-Nazi political party ‘Golden Dawn’, Nikos Michaloliakos, gave a speech at a youth festival. At one point of his speech he stated that: “They have called us Nazis, but they haven’t called us thieves. These hands maybe sometime salute this way [he salutes the Nazi way], but they are clean hands, they are not dirty hands, they have not stolen” (see the video below).
However, from early this autumn racist attacks have been multiplied in many parts of Athens and in other Greek cities. In one case (photo below) a 21 year old Greek-Egyptian was attacked the night of October the 12th on the grounds of his color even though he is a legitimate Greek citizen and holder of a Greek ID. He almost lost his eye, but doctors managed to save it, even though he is going to be partially blind.
In two other cases, videos 1 & 2, MP’s of ‘Golden Dawn’ with other party members visited two flee markets in order to check if the immigrants, who were selling their merchandise there, had the legitimate permit from the local authorities. As you can see they did not have any problem with the cameras, in fact they were monitoring their activism themselves and as they stated they are going to continue exercising this kind of control from the moment the state and the police are absent.
Furthermore, during the last month ‘Golden Dawn’ has been self-appointed as the protector of the Greek Orthodox religion and church trying to gain sympathy and votes from any possible social group, following clearly a populist agenda. First of all, they asked officially the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs through the Parliamentary procedure of what the government intends to do about a Facebook page which criticizes and satirizes a late monk of the Greek Orthodox Church. This site’s intention was to ridicule this monk, who by the way is not recognized as a saint by the Greek Orthodox Church, and his so-called miracles and prophecies. Of course, there were other reactions against this Facebook page, but it was a couple of days after ‘Golden Dawn’s’ parliament question that the police managed to find out who the person behind this page was, search his home and arrest him according to the articles 198, 199 of the Greek penal code against blasphemy…He spent one night in prison and now he waits for his trial.
A few days later, MP’s and other members of ‘Golden Dawn’ accompanied by some members of religious groups attended the opening night of the theatrical play ‘Corpus Christi’ by Terrence McNally, but it was not in order to watch the play, but to demonstrate their rage, because Jesus Christ was being insulted. They clashed with the police and they verbally attacked against the director, the producer, the actors and all those who went to watch the play and they managed to cancel the premiere. The same took place the following night, even though now they did not succeed in canceling it due to the protection of about 100 policemen. However, the director and the actors were continuously receiving threats against their lives and after almost ten days they decided to end the play, because the pressure was too high for them. Furthermore, they are also accused of blasphemy as the administrator of the aforementioned webpage and they are going to be trialed.
‘Golden Dawn’ tries to be everywhere and impose its own ideas and opinions on the society and the state. Later on, they attacked the government because in kindergartens and student residence halls children of immigrants and foreign students are taking the places of the Greeks and they asked the exact numbers for both cases from the Minister of Education. ‘Golden Dawn’ for many people is trendy. Even singers and models are publicly supporting them. In one case a model who made a naked photographing for Playboy declared her support to the organization taking part in its activities. (See the picture below)
Contrary to what one might believe reading about this kind of controversial supporters and interests, ‘Golden Dawn’ is here and as the last polls show they are here to stay. From September till today more that ten polls have shown a very important rise of their percentage from 6.9% of the June elections to more that 10%. According to the October polls and especially in the first two polls of November, ‘Golden Dawn’ would be voted by 13-14% of the people, almost the double compared to the last elections. What is quite serious according to some experts, is that after the forthcoming implementation of the new austerity measures the now ruling party of the coalition government, ‘New Democracy’ will loose many voters, who potentially will spilt perhaps between the Coalition of the Left (SYRIZA) and ‘Golden Dawn’ to that point that maybe ‘Golden Dawn’ will become the second political power of the country.
To those arguing that the optimistic parameter of this situation is that SYRIZA will be the ruling party after the next elections, someone could reply that they should keep in mind that the rising of ultra-right parties is what threatens the society today and call them to ask themselves what will happen then: a new kind of civil war as Ilias Panagiotaros, a ‘Golden Dawn’ MP said to BBC? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19983571 Golden Dawn in fact would love that. In that sense, economy and austerity are extremely crucial for the Greek society’s future, especially after the last vote for over 13.5 billion euros cuts on November the 7th. However, the rise of neo-Nazism under this populist slogan, “we are not thieves, we can be Nazis”, which for some people mean that Nazis are good, decent people, lead us to paraphrase the famous saying during the American elections of 1992, “it’s the economy, stupid” to “it’s the Nazism, stupid”, in order to underline the importance of the whole issue and that attention should be paid, because frivolity on issues like the rise of neo-Nazism is very dangerous.