‘We are powerful and soon we'll be dominant’ - The battle cry of Ilias Kasidiaris, the second in command of the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn on his acquittal in an Athens Court in March 2013 for armed robbery and bodily harm of a student in 2007. Since the economic crisis first started to strangle Greece Golden Dawn has risen to prominence capitalising on fear, poverty and a fractured society. With their supposed links to the police and alleged involvement in the murder and persecution of minorities in Greece their insipid form of hatred and bullying is becoming a real danger to democracy and stability in a country on the brink of social meltdown.
Video of Illias Kasidiaris Attacking a Female Member of Parliament during a Debate Live on Television
For most Greeks the idea that a neo-Nazi group could go mainstream and gain 7% of votes in a national election was an obscene fantasy until last June’s parliamentary election. In a country that lost up to 1 million of its citizens at the hands of the German Nazis in WW2 the thought of domestic neo-Nazis gaining such power is disturbing to say the least. They have organised rallies, beaten up migrant workers, attacked anti-fascist demonstrators, allegedly murdered people and now gained a semblance of political legitimacy by winning 18 seats in Greece’s parliament. Victims of Golden Dawn consistently level accusations that the police are complicit and have even taken part in their attacks.
The police may deny the accusations but the evidence is mounting up – as evidence in the following report from the BBC
Golden Dawn’s Attacks on a Theatre and Migrant Stalls
Golden Dawn’s campaign of violence may appear to exist in a separate realm of Greek politics from more established parties. They consistently state that they are at war with the political establishment, international bankers and foreign invaders (migrants). There are numerous reports of the police turning a blind eye to their vicious attacks on minorities in broad day light and even evidence of police involvement in some of their most vicious crimes as evidenced in the following documentary. Their supposed separation from mainstream political ideology in Greece has been questioned by many as well. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has been accused of spurring on the violence by using similar hate-filled rhetoric to Golden Dawn such as during the campaign for the 2012 election when he called for the ‘streets to be cleaned of illegal immigrants’.
Using the language of intolerance and equating immigrants to disease and dirt may buy Samaras some political clout in the short term as his party tries to gleam some of the hard-right support that Golden Dawn has garnered in Greece. These kind of racist undertones have no place in a modern democratic country. Targeting the weakest in society really is the lowest form of political endeavour. The majority of Greek people see that and are beginning to fight back. The following documentary, Into the Fire – The Hidden Victims of Austerity in Greece (crowd released on April 20st), tells the story of the suffering migrants in Greece. Despite the depressing reality there is some hope. People have had enough of this far-right nonsense and are beginning to fight back. This documentary sensitively offers some optimism in a dark situation.