Posted by: MYPLACE FP7 | November 14, 2012

Golden Dawn and the Greek Schools: The fascist penetration in Greek society.

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.

On a previous blog entry (https://myplacefp7.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/343/) we had highlighted the alarming rates of the Greek Nazi party Golden Dawn’s (Chryssi Avgi) permeation in the Greek youth. The fascist organization’s influence on youth vote was the second higher among all parties participating in the last two national elections.

Since then, Golden Dawn has significantly increased its presence and activity in the public sphere organizing events such as the free provision of food only for poor and unemployed Greeks and the formation of storm trooper gangs attacking and intimidating immigrants, minorities and political opponents. They have also been preoccupied with opening new party branches in various regions of the country and recruiting members and storm troopers.

Informative action of Golden Dawn’s youth division “Youth Front” in the center of Athens
http://www.xryshaygh.com/resources/images/preview/3898/1__article.jpg

The following video shows the official opening of a Golden Dawn branch in a central Greece town, Trikala. The Golden Dawn MP Elias Kassidiaris, the most famous, lifestyle “media darling” and relatively articulate member of the organization, invites those participating to sing the Greek National Anthem in attention, because, as he says, “…ours are not party or political rallies, we resemble, indeed, more to a military unit…”.

The young Golden Dawn supporters stand at the first front rows wearing dark/black t-shirts.

One of the main recruitment pools that Golden Dawn has been systematically targeting is the Greek youth and among them, especially those in secondary education schools. Media reports paint a grim picture in which Golden Dawn and its fascist, racist and hate ideology and violent activity have reached the students of Greek schools  attracting the attention and support of an increasing part of them.

The Nikaia Golden Dawn local branch wishes “Happy School year to all young Greeks”
http://xryshayghnikaia.blogspot.gr/2012/09/blog-post_4488.html

Some speak of a “fascist fashion” among certain parts of Greek school students. According to such interpretations, young people are impressed by the military discipline, the violence, the extreme hate nationalism and the “heroic” attitude of “us against all the others” that Golden Dawn uses in order to compile its popular public image.

Others insist on the impact of the austerity on Greek families as well as on the influence of parents who voted for Golden Dawn (as a gesture of protest against their conditions of life as well as of rejection against the entire political system) over their children’s socio-political attitudes. Finally, questions about the role of the teachers’ attitude toward Golden Dawn have been raised, as there have been incidents that attracted media attention, with school teachers and School Directors expressing their sympathy toward the organization.

In this context, there are now school students that salute their friends and even their teachers using the characteristic Nazi salutation, paint swastikas on the school walls and recruit their friends and fellow students. One student in Herakleion, Crete, (a city where Golden Dawn faced a massive and tenacious resistance when attempted to open a local branch) called a fellow-student of Albanian origin to “duel” because the latter had supported other fellow-students that had written antifascist slogans on the school’s walls.

Teachers say that there are now organized groups of students supporting Golden Dawn in many schools. Their behaviour in the classroom is described as “hooliganism”; they quarrel with their teachers and classmates about politics turning the class into a battlefield, shouting slogans, interrupting others and insulting those who disagree with them. They attack violently their left-wing or of non-Greek or of minority origin classmates imposing on them “face controls” at the school’s entrance asking them if they are of Greek origin or not.

Last October, extensive media reports about fights between Golden Dawn student supporters and antifa student groups at the end of the school day in another city of Crete, Rethymnon, caught public attention, while left-wing school and university students had been attacked in the city streets by storm trooper gangs of the party’s supporters. Such fights appear all too often in schools all over the country. The situation in Rethymnon had been considered very serious by the University of Crete Deans of the Faculties of Social Sciences and of the School of Education, as well as by the Director of Secondary Education and the directors of the city’s junior and high schools who organized public discussion events and administrative meetings in order to examine the problem and to seek solutions.

Most of the Golden Dawn student supporters are boys, but there are also girls. They are usually underperforming in school, but there are also well performing students. They usually have a marginal position in the classroom and significant family problems. Teachers say that only few of them are organized and most of them do not have a specific ideological profile. They see Golden Dawn’s actions as anti-systemic behaviour against “the politicians” that destroyed the country and their future. The recruitment of students is usually done through sports-clubs and the internet. The Golden Dawn members approach the students not openly, but they act more on a personal level.

Some teachers have publicized on the internet and the media their experiences from confronting the influence of Golden Dawn upon their students. They described the aggressive rejection of “the establishment”, of “the politicians” and of “the foreigners” (including minorities such as the Roma) and their own efforts to confront pedagogically their students’ interest in and sympathy for the organization. For their courage, they have been intimidated by Golden Dawn party members and by extreme right and nationalist media.

In this climate, antifascist groups have been formed in schools, universities and football fan clubs.

“We want Albanian fellow students, Afghanian colleagues, Nigerian neighbours, and kicks for the fascists”
http://www.facebook.com/mantifank?fref=ts

School students’ exhibition of antifascist posters in Arta (Northwest Greece)
http://www.left.gr/article.php?id=11251

POSTER OF UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS ANTIFA GROUPS CALLING FOR A PROTEST AGAINST FASCIST GROUPS’ ATTACKS IN THE UNIVERSITY
http://commune314.squat.gr/

Antifa Footbal Fan Clubs

The following video presentation shows photos from antifa football fan clubs in Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Germany.

Moreover, in late October, school students had paraded during the traditional celebrations for the commemoration of Greece’s entry in WWII (28-10-1940) wearing antinazi armbands and badges.

28-10-2012: PHOTOS FROM THE SCHOOL PARADES DURING THE CELEBRATIONS FOR THE COMMEMORATION OF GREECE’S ENTRY IN WWII (28-10-1940)

Very recently, a Golden Dawn MP announced the launch of a propaganda campaign targeting secondary education schools all over the country. They will begin “visiting” schools in Thrace (a region of Greece neighbouring with the European part of Turkey and is the main entrance gate for immigrants without papers and where the most part of the Muslim minority in Greece lives) in order “to boost national feeling”, because, the MP contended, “in these schools there are teachers that are doing anti-Hellenic propaganda”. These visits will, then, cover the entire country.

This is not the first time that Golden Dawn targeted Thrace, but it’s the first time that schools and teachers are publicly and officially targeted. The Golden Dawn MP went on warning that they will also intervene through the Parents’ Associations in which they are members.

Golden Dawn’s rising influence upon the Greek youth is a much debated issue that reveals the profound socio-political crisis that the Greek society experiences as a result of the country’s economic collapse. It also represents a major threat for the political socialization of youth and consequently for the future of democracy in Greece. MYPLACE project offers the opportunity to systematically explore and analyze such issues that lie at the heart of contemporary socio-political transformations.


Responses

  1. Thanks for the continuing insight into the rise of Golden Dawn and in this case the complex and contradictory issue of its influence on Greek young people. Is the anti-fascist resistance revealing itself at all through young people’s music. I’m thinking back here to the significance of political punk in the growth of the Anti-Nazi League in the UL in the late 1970’s as a response to the National Front.

    • Tony, thank you for pointing out this very interesting aspect of youth culture. Although I can contribute mostly impressions about the relevant developments in youth musical styles and preferences, it seems to me that the conflict around fascism among the greek youth is reflected also in young people’s music. The general trend seems to be that nationalist or fascist elements have made their presence felt where they previously didn’t even exist, except perhaps in a very marginal position.
      Since the 1960s, when a distinct young people’s music appeared in Greece together with youth culture, left-wing/anarchist and radical political attitudes were not unusual in it, while extreme right, nationalist or fascist ones were either absent or very marginal. For example, from the late 1970s to contemporary greek punk, radical left-wing and anarchistic politics were systematically present in it. In this respect, antifascist culture has a long presence in certain parts of youth culture in greece. The interesting thing is that, now, a fascist punk/oi scene has been formed (No Surrender, “My grandfather was in SS” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3Z-CxP1iws&bpctr=1352936820).
      Another music style that had developed also a radical left-anarchist-antifa connection is hip hop-rap-low bap (Propaganda – Antifa Propaganda

      But now there are also nationalist elements in this scene.
      The situation seems to be similar in the black metal scene. There are national-socialist bands and there are anarchistic ones. One interesting thing might be that one Golden Dawn MP is a bass player in a successful greek black metal band (Naer Mataron – Blast Furnace http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc1-BfZ7Jnc)
      During the last 10 years and especially after the 2008 youth riot, a lot of concerts and festivals connected to political struggles have been organized. The most popular of them might be the annual anti-racist festival, where different musical styles are represented. In any case, I am not sure if there is a single style that can be seen as representative of the antifa culture. Perhaps, this could be said for the hip hop scene, since it seems that the presence of fascist elements is still low in it, but systematic research is needed.
      Thank you again
      Vangelis

  2. […] Golden Dawn and the Greek Schools: The fascist penetration in Greek society. […]

  3. This is very worrying. The rise of aggressive, extreme right-wing movements is a growing problem in Europe, but the success Golden Dawn is enjoying in Greece is particularly worrying because Greek youth was traditionally left wing and the country suffered so much atthe hands of right-wing groups (I am thinking, of course, about WW2 but also about the civil war and the dictatorship). And the fact they are now infiltrating schools just underlines how dangerous they are.
    Thank you very much for your work and your insight and good luck with everything!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: