Golden Dawn, the right-wing Greek political party often referred to as neo-Nazis, is ascendant on the political scene, and currently polls in third place at the national level.
The party has also been engaging in intimidation and street attacks on immigrants in Greece, who they target as a part of their extremist platform – and the police are reportedly in on it.
Golden Dawn has also drawn alarming support from parts of another institution supposed to provide refuge to such victims – the church.
In an interview with Imerisia newspaper, he described Golden Dawn as “uncivilized,” adding that the party’s acts “have nothing to do with ancient Greek civilization nor the Gospel.” He added: “We all have to take a clear stand on the Golden Dawn issue… we have to preach the word of God, which has nothing to do with the acts committed by members of Golden Dawn,” he said.
That came as Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michalolioakos gave the Nazi salute during a speech at a party rally.
There is, of course, an ugly history of Christian churches collaborating with fascists (e.g., the Croatian Ustase and Roman Catholicism). Golden Dawn represents the rule of the mob, and rule by brute force. However rotten the Greek left and even the Greek mainstream parties may be, Greek fascism must not be allowed to contaminate the Church.
UPDATE: A Greek reader writes:
Writing from Thessaloniki. It’s really not that simple. Golden Dawn is horrible but their popularity is 90%+ due to the fact that the government has proven itself utterly incapable of dealing with the illegal immigration situation–and believe me, the illegal immigration situation here is atrocious. Africans arrive by the boatload, and the ones who are caught and put in jail claim they are being “inhumanely” treated by Greek authorities, so then Brussels and the European Court of Human Rights sticks Greek taxpayers with the bill. The ones who aren’t caught, which are the vast majority, hang around the city centers in packs, harassing tourists and driving away customers. And of course they don’t pay any taxes, but when they get sick they go to the already-overstressed Greek public health care system… once again, sticking Greek taxpayers with the bill.
So in short, Golden Dawn may be worse than the problem, but people are responding to Golden Dawn because the government has proven itself either incapable or unwilling to address a real and ongoing crisis. I wouldn’t read too much into the Third Reich posturing or the vague Hermetic associations, it’s not like Greeks have suddenly become Nazi occultists. There is simply a huge problem with illegal immigration, and Golden Dawn has been much more effective in addressing that problem than the government.
I appreciate this update. Thanks. The failures of the mainstream parties, and the pain that imposes on ordinary people, really do call up extremism. This is not to excuse it, but to understand it.