Golden Dawn: The Open Question of Greek Politics

As the Greek financial crisis drags on, politicians from the mainstream parties continue to flirt with the far-right Golden Dawn and mainstream media downplays the threat that the party represents

Leader of extreme-right Golden Dawn party Mihaloliakos talks to reporters at a news conference in Athens

Media coverage of neo-fascist Golden Dawn’s activities in recent weeks has focused on the Nazi anthem played at a food distribution event the party held or the swatstika tattooed arm of a party spokesperson Ilias Kasidiaris. It’s all portrayed as another lifestyle, albeit with a fascist tint.

But these incidents are evidence of a continuing and alarming political reality that no Greek or European can turn a blind eye to.

It’s been argued that the fascism emerging today is the result of long-term political and social trends. Right wing populists, far rightists and independent extremists all share – more or less – a common principal: They see immigration, ethnic diversity and religious freedoms as a threat to national cohesion.

It is in this context that the neo-fascist party carries out its actions against groups that violate its perceptions of the Greek nation. These “dissidents” include anti-fascists, anarchists, leftists, homosexuals and immigrants. Since the outset of the economic crisis, the party has managed to persuade some of the impoverished middle and working classes that it speaks for them.

George Pleios, head of the Department of Communication and Media Studies Faculty at the University of Athens, has recently written about the political affinities of the “right” and the “far-right” spectrum and their culture of political intolerance, either in or outside parliament.

“There is a common ideological reservoir whereby far-right MPs and proponents of right-wing extremism express their political views and plan their political actions. For them national identity comes first. There is no room for individual rights. Nobody is entitled to any other belief than the nation and the race”.

Within Greece, there is speculation that New Democracy will cooperate with Golden Dawn at some point. Pleios considers that a possibility.

“Everything is possible. In that case, of course, many political compromises must be made. Both parties would never want to experience severe election loss”, he said.

Golden Dawn entered the Greek Parliament in 2012 with an unprecedented 6.92% of the vote. The party’s poll ratings have reached 18% in recent days. During this time, there has been a strong legitimisation of their rhetoric, mainly emanating from the right wing political spectrum.

At first glance, the picture one gets from the parliamentary discourse is that Golden Dawn is heavily criticized with its back against the wall. Not so long ago, there was discussion of banning the party. In May, the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras held talks around an anti-racism bill that was aimed at slowing the growth of the party.

A more careful look though, suggests differently. According to a report from Dimitris Psarras, investigative journalist at “The Journalists’ Newspaper” (Efimerida Ton Sintakton), many far-rightists and junta nostalgics that survived politically throughout the years, today surround the Greek prime minister as associates, advisors or New Democracy party members.

Makis Voridis, recently appointed as special representative on migration to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, has been defending Savvas Hatziparaskeyas, publisher of the far-right newspaper “Stohos” and a strong supporter of Golden Dawn.

In the1980s Voridis served as secretary of EPEN’s youth wing, succeeding Nikos Michaloliakos, who is Golden Dawn’s general secretary. EPEN was a fascist party founded by Georgios Papadopoulos, the head of the military coup d’état, which ruled Greece from 1967-1974.

Another connection between some New Democracy members and Golden Dawn comes from the writings of Failos Kranidiotis, an unofficial advisor to Samaras. On 12 December 2012 Kranidiotis wrote that New Democracy should appeal to populist “Independent Greeks” as well as to Golden Dawn. “These are mainly our people”, he wrote.

A few months later, Panayotis Baltakos, the government’s general secretary, allegedly said that cooperation between New Democracy and Golden Dawn in upcoming elections is “undesirable but not an unlikely possibility”. Last December, Baltakos had told the National Commission for Human Rights that regarding the committee’s work on human rights and the country’s international obligations “he doesn’t care in his capacity as a representative of the government and New Democracy”.

On 1July, former minister Vironas Polydoras, when asked whether New Democracy should cooperate with the neo-fascist party said:

“Of course…”.

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The Seven Eternal Principles

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Colin Jordan of the British Movement welcomes Commander George Lincoln Rockwell to Britian

COTSWOLD DECLARATION OF 1962

I. WE BELIEVE that an honest man can never be happy in a naked scramble for material gain and comfort, without any goal which he believes is greater than himself, and for which he is willing to sacrifice his own egotism. This goal was formerly provided by fundamentalist religions, but science and subversion have so weakened all traditional religions, and given man such an unwarranted, short-sighted conceit of his “power over Nature”, that he has in effect become his own God. He is spiritually lost, even if he will not admit it. We believe that the only realistic goal which can still lift man out of his present unhappy selfishness and into the radiance of self-sacrificing idealism is the upward struggle of his race, the fight for the common good of his people.

II. WE BELIEVE that society can function successfully, and therefore happily, only as an ORGANISM; that all parts benefit when each part performs the function for which it is best suited to produce a unified, single-purposed whole, which is then capable of out-performing any single part, the whole thus vastly increasing the powers of all the cooperating parts and the parts, therefore, subordinating a portion of their individual freedom to the whole; that the whole perishes and all of the parts suffer whenever one part fails to perform its own function, usurps or interferes with the function of another part, or like a cancer devours all the nourishment and grows wildly and selfishly out of all proportion to its task.

III. WE BELIEVE that man makes genuine progress only when he approaches Nature humbly, and accepts and applies her eternal laws instead of arrogantly assuming to ignore and conquer Nature, as do the Marxists with their theories of the supremacy of environmental influence over the genetic truth of race, special laws of biological equality for humans only, and their insane denial of the primitive and fundamental human institution of private property.

IV. WE BELIEVE that struggle is the vital element of all evolutionary progress and the very essence of life itself; that it is the only method whereby we have won and can maintain dominion over the other animals of the earth; that we must therefore welcome struggle as a means of testing and improving us, and that we must despise weaklings who run away from struggle. We believe that life itself is awarded by Nature only to those who fight for it and win it, not those who wish or beg for it as a “right.”

V. WE BELIEVE that no man is entitled to the services or the products of the labor of his fellow men unless he contributes at least an equal amount of goods or services of his own production or invention. We believe that the contribution by a member of society of nothing else but tokens called “money” is a fraud upon his fellows, and does not excuse a man capable of honest work of his responsibility to PRODUCE his share.

VI. WE BELIEVE that it is to the advantage of society to see that every honest man has freedom and opportunity to achieve his maximum potentials by preserving his health, protecting his from unforseeable and ruinous catastrophes, educating him to capacity in the areas of his abilities, and guarding him against political and economic exploitation.

VII. WE BELIEVE that Adolf Hitler was the gift of an inscrutable Providence to a world on the brink of Zionist -Bolshevik catastrophe, and that only the blazing spirit of this heroic man can give us the strength and inspiration to rise, like the early Christians, from the depths of persecution and hatred, to bring the world a new birth of radiant idealism, realistic peace, international order, and social justice for all men.

THESE SEVEN PRINCIPLES are the rock of our faith. With them, we shall move the world. The political party program we adopt, based on these principles, can and will change as events and facts change, as we discover better methods. But these seven principles are fundamental, absolute, and timeless truth. They will not change. We bind ourselves permanently and without reservation to these ideals, and the battle to establish them as the only scientific and realistic basis for human society.

– Initially signed by Commander George Lincoln Rockwell of the National Socialist White People’s Party and Colin Jordan of the British National Socialist Movement, forming the World Union of National Socialists (W.U.N.S.)