|One of the flags of the Greek "Golden Dawn" Party|
I didn't even know there was such a thing as Greek Neo-Nazis. Will surprises ever cease? So I decided to educate myself on this relatively new (yet strangely familiar) phenomenon.
Here is what I know so far. It's called the Chrysi Avgi or "Golden Dawn" party, and while the mainstream media and government entities have described it as "Neo-Nazi" and "fascist" the party leadership utterly rejects those labels, preferring to refer to itself as a strictly "nationalist" movement. The mainstream media has also connected the party to violence against dark-complexion minorities in Greece, but as far as I can ascertain at this time, this is unconfirmed. The problem I see here is this. The mainstream news media in the Western world is well known to be strongly Left-wing, and the label of "Nazi" is frequently bantered around by people on the Left, against the Right, so often that it has lost virtually all meaning. Like the little boy who cried "wolf!" what the mainstream press says about Golden Dawn may be true, but we have know way of knowing that for sure because the media's credibility is shot and has been for some time.
So all we really have to go by is what Golden Dawn says about itself, and how its members project themselves to the public. While I am still searching for a definitive statement on Golden Dawn's beliefs and positions, what has been clearly projected by their own statements is a strongly nationalist movement; opposing the European Union, international banking cartels, excessive immigration, Enlightenment Neo-Liberalism, and anarchism. Their members have been seen in public clashes (some violent) with anarchist demonstrators. It is alleged that Golden Dawn has a fairly large degree of sympathisers within the Greek police forces, and now after the most recent election, it can be safely said that Golden Dawn is officially a part of the Greek government. It is albeit a small part, but a part nonetheless. If it continues its current rate of exponential growth, it will control half of the Greek Parliament by the next election cycle. (It is unknown if this growth rate will continue, but I suspect it may.) Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the party's leader, appears to have successfully tapped into the fears and concerns of the Greek people. I listened to a translation of his victory speech after the election. It was vindictive and defiant. This may be some insight to the character of the man, but on the other hand, it may also be an emotional outburst of vindication after a long media smear campaign. I might find myself in a similar state after being labelled a "Nazi" in the mainstream press for months. Despite the emotional tirade, his message was clear and succinct, which is why I believe it may very well gain steam in the years ahead. What Michaloliakos says publicly (so far) about protecting the national identity of Greece is essentially true, even the pope agrees, but what is in question here are the alleged tactics of the party. The Left-wing media, and frantic government liberals, are depicting Golden Dawn's approach to immigration as equivalent to the Nazi's use of machine guns and gas chambers. Again, because of the credibility of those who report this, we have no way of knowing at this time. Liberals (both in the Western press and governments) frequently resort to Nazi name-calling and dire predictions of mass murder, any time somebody takes a nationalist approach to state politics. It's the typical scaremongering and predictions of catastrophe practised by those on the Left. It's the little boy who cried "wolf!" again. Is it true? You can run if you like, but the rest of the townspeople are growing weary of it. I for one would rather just sit and enjoy my stein of good German beer. The press be damned, I'll just watch, wait and see for myself. If they really are Nazis, or something similar to that, I'll condemn it of course. If it's true, they will not be able to hide if for long. If it's not true however, shame on the media, as usual.
The symbol of the Golden Dawn Party was of particular interest to me. As an ignorant American I immediately thought is was some variation of the Nazi swastika, but after a bit of reading I learned it's actually called a "Maeander" and it's an ancient decorative in Greek art. To my knowledge, there is no real connection to the Nazi swastika, at least not yet anyway.
Now we have no way of knowing what Golden Dawn will become, but I would like to say something about the rise of extreme right parties in general. You have to understand, that such movements are not natural to the body politic of any nation. Nor do they arise out of thin air. While "hate" may become a part of such parties, the truth is, one can just as easily find the same kind of "hate" on the political Left as well. Nationalism is reactionary -- period. It is the result of something else. It is a political backlash, nothing more and nothing less. Nationalism is the result of national governments FAILING to do their primary job, which is to protect their people in identity and culture, which if done properly, will lead to both economic and social prosperity. Immigration is not bad, but too much immigration is, especially when immigrants are not assimilated into the host population. Government entitlements aren't necessarily bad, but when so much entitlements are given that it financially ruins the country, it's easy to say the government has gone too far. Banking is not bad, but when bankers are cared for at the expense of the people, again the government is to blame. These are the things that drive normal ordinary people to nationalism. Who can blame them really? The people of Greece have no financial future, and the whole world knows it. Their economy is crushed. Their government teeters on the brink of collapse. Anarchists regularly rule the streets. Total chaos has now become a real and credible possibility for Greece. The Greek people know this, and they are desperately trying to hold things together. The Golden Dawn Party (regardless of what it may or may not be) has promised solutions if enabled with power. Whether they are enabled, and can deliver, is another story. A growing number of Greek people however, see in this party a potential solution to their problems, and even if it is fascist, they know fascism is better than anarchy. Having myself survived the Los Angeles riots in 1992, I tend to agree. Martial law is better than anarchy. We still however, do not know what kind of government the Golden Dawn Party will create if allowed by the people. If however, the Greek government would just DO IT'S JOB in the first place, political parties like Golden Dawn would simply cease to exist, or else be relegated to obscurity at least.
I do know this. The ruling Hungarian Fidesz Party was widely maligned by the mainstream press as "fascist." That party happens to be staunchly pro-Catholic, and has managed to rewrite the Hungarian constitution to eliminate abortion and gay-marriage entirely, as well is put up safeguards to encroaching European liberalism, as well as unbridled immigration. For this the party, and the new constitution, (which means ultimately the majority of Hungarian people), were maligned as "radical" and "extremist" by both the international mainstream press and the U.S. State Department. So far, no new Holocaust-style concentration camps or gas chambers have been reported. Again, we are back to the little boy who cried "wolf!"
I will say just one thing, and only one thing, in defence of the Greek Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party. For the time being, its leadership claims to support the Greek Orthodox Church. So long as this remains the case, I do believe there may be hope. If however, this support of the Church begins to wane within the party, there will most certainly be trouble.
If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion to the leadership of Golden Dawn. If you have not already done so, perhaps you may want to request an official chaplain from the Greek Orthodox Church, to help in the political formation and spiritual guidance of your members. If you really are what you say you are, this seems like the most logical and consistent thing to do.