After the 2009 recession, there was a rise in a previously unknown party called Golden Dawn (GD). During the 2012 elections in Greece, GD won 18 seats in the 300-seat parliament. Why is GD constantly in the headlines when it only gained seven per cent of the vote in Greece? It’s a neo-nazi party, which runs on a platform with its primary concern of Greeks first, everyone else last.
Why is GD considered a neo-Nazi party rather than a fascist party? Mostly because of their party symbol, their idolization of prominent Nazis such as Goebbels and Himmler, and the denial of gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz death camp, according to the BBC.
GD is not only a parliamentary party, it’s an active militant fascist organization. GD has set up food banks for impoverished Greeks feeling the brunt of the recession. But these food banks are only open to ethnic Greeks, no one else. GD holds rallies propagating hate and violence against minorities. They take part in violent acts against non-Greek businesses, non-Greek persons and any who oppose GD. What is frightening is the high level of support in the police community of GD, looking the other way when GD carries out violent attacks and even aiding them at times.
But, why does the police and a small minority of Greeks support GD?
Since the beginning of the 2009 recession in Europe, fascism has been on the rise in many countries, most prominently is Greece. With unemployment above 25 per cent, a faltering economy and corruption in the government, many turned to GD to solve their problems. This happened before during the depression of the 1930s with the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco. When economic times are bad, when hardships are placed upon the people, they grasp to the extremes for assistance. They either band together, care for one another, side with communists or they side with fascists, blaming minorities and immigrants, promoting extremely nationalist and authoritarian ideologies. You can see the rise of fascist and far-right nationalist parties in European nations like Austria and Hungary. Hungary in particular had a registry proposed by a far-right member of parliament that would create a list of Jewish citizens in Hungary. Thankfully, it did not pass.
You must be asking yourself, “Why do I care? This is in Greece and Eastern Europe. It won’t affect me, right?” Wrong.
GD has already setup offices in many other countries, including Canada. Although they are a minority party in Greece at the moment, they are a threat to peace and stability of everyday life. We know that many immigrants and persons in the opposition have been killed by GD members and countless others beaten. What can we do to fight back against the creeping fascist rise? Be compassionate to one another, care for one another, or at the very least be tolerant of one another. We are all human beings.
Recently, some GD party members, including the leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and other Members of Parliament representing GD have been arrested on charges of criminal activity, according to the BBC. The BBC also learned some of the other charges are assault, murder and money laundering. The reason for this clampdown seems to be the murder of a prominent anti-racist musician, Pavlos Fyssas, on Sept. 18. He was murdered by a GD supporter. It’s tragic that it took one beloved Greek musician to be murdered for the government of Greece to crack down on the grotesquely, violent, neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.