“Members of the ‘Golden Dawn’ passing in the street”: The emergence of far right extremism and the elections of the 6th of May in Greece

The Greek MYPLACE team at Panteion University Of Social And Political Sciences on the forthcoming Greek elections and the emergence of the extreme right “Golden Dawn.”

This was originally posted on the MYPLACE blog. Follow MYPLACE on Twitter hereFor more information on the MYPLACE project, visit the project’s website here.

Less than a week before the most crucial elections in Greece after the restoration of democracy in 1974 it seems that far-right extremism, as it is expressed by the organization ‘Golden Dawn’, is going to be part of the forthcoming parliament assembly for the first time in almost forty years. This extremist organization was founded in the first place as a periodical in 1980 by his current General Secretary. In 1983 stops its publication and it reappears next year (1984). The General Secretary of the Golden Dawn, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, was the leader of the party the Dictator G. Papadopoulos founded while he was in prison after the fall of the military junta and he founded the political party National Popular Movement – Golden Dawn in 1985. The first activities of the movement were the participation in the rallies about the so called ‘Macedonian issue’, i.e. the name of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia and of course the participation in the civil war in Yugoslavia supporting the Serbs. It is very interesting, that Golden Dawn did not participate in the elections of 2007 and in 2009 received 19,624 votes (only 0.29% of the votes). However, in the local elections of 2010 in Athens received 10,222 votes (5.29%) and managed to elect its General Secretary as a local counselor, who in one of the first assemblies of the municipal council gave the fascist salute (they argue that this is a ancient Greek salute and not a fascist one), something that almost all the members do in their gatherings. Today, all the polls agree that Golden Dawn is going to receive between 4 and 7% of the votes and it is almost certain that approximately 15 PMs are going to be elected.

Even though the Golden Dawn begun as a Nazi organization, also supporting ancient Greek civilization and religion, during the last two years and in order to gain the support of the Greek society it denounces its Nazi past and declare its Greek-Orthodox character. They are against globalization, against the corrupted political system and of course against the troika and the austerity measures imposed on the Greek society. However, their main interest is immigrants (legal and illegal), because according to their ideology the Greeks belong to Arian race and as a consequence all other races are considered inferior.

Furthermore, they argue that unemployment is caused by the too many illegal immigrants who take the jobs of the Greeks and that criminality is in such high rates only because of the immigrants. In many cases, they have attacked immigrants, who in their majority are afraid to press charges against them, they have attacked leftists and members of anti-racist/ anti-fascist organizations, and also they have attacked politicians of the main political parties. Recently, they started to give food supplies to those who are poor, homeless and unemployed and they are very proud that they managed to ‘clean’ of the immigrants the square of Aghios Panteleimon of Athens in the center of the city. In addition, some of the organization’s members have been convicted for participating in activities of the common penal law (e.g. robberies, murders, etc.). During, the last days they attacked many left-wing electoral stands in many regions of Athens and they were also accused of attacking immigrants, who were begging for some money in Crete.

They are very active in a local level, but they are considered a dangerous and closed organization. Recently, Reuters and the Associated Press did some research about them but they were not willing to answer questions about the issue of violence against the immigrants. They argue that if they are elected they will bring back the minefields in the borders with Turkey in order stop immigration and also that they will abolish the ‘alternative military service’ for those denying it because of conscience reasons. Additionally, those denying the military service will lose their citizenship. It is evident, that the reason of the increase of their percentages is the immigration issue.

They are also very active in the internet, and even though they accuse the mainstream media of preventing their public presence they themselves ask the Greek citizens to close their TVs because they can find them on the internet, where they have their blogs, their websites, their twitter account, special sites for the youth division (http://www.resistance-hellas.blogspot.com/) and special sites for women (http://whitewomenfront.blogspot.com/).

However, one of the specialists we interviewed for WP 3 said that there is no special participation of youth in this organization to the point that it would be worth mentioning it or at least to the point that it is different from youth participation in other parties and coalitions.

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