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Civic Nation Unity in Deversity

Radical Right-Wing Political Parties and Groups

Radical Right-Wing Political Parties and Groups Public action of Greek neo-Nazis in Athens, 2012.

The most influential pro-Nazi party in Greece is the “Golden Dawn” party. The radical nationalist parties include “The Popular Orthodox Rally” (“Laos”), which was in the parliament in 2011-12, and while it lost in the 2012 election it had 2 members in the European Parliament. In addition, ultranationalist movement includes some non-governmental organisations and groups such as the “People's patrol.”

In the May 2012 parliamentary elections “Golden Dawn” received 400,000 votes (6.68%), and a couple weeks later in the June 2012 elections (the elections in May failed to form a government) “Golden Dawn” received 6.97% of votes. Thus “Golden Dawn”, which exists as an association since the 1980 and converted into a political party in 1993 won 18 seats in the parliament. “Golden Dawn” promotes the policy of migrant isolation and requires them to be sent to labour camps.

The party's logo has certain resemblance with swastika. Their ideology is inspired by the German Nazis.

The bases of practical ideology of “Golden Dawn” are anti-immigrant xenophobic attitude, denial of communism and liberalism, all put together with capitalism and a call for a return to traditional Christian values.

The activists of “Golden Dawn” use paramilitary form for outdoor activities, which is typical for the majority of European right-wing movements. Black t-shirts are decorated with stylised figures of the party under the localised theme of swastika. Party members greet each other with a raised fist. All this resembles the fascist Nazi rituals of the 1920's and 1930's.

When joining the organisation new members stated: “I belong to Golden Dawn, as we are the rebels. Let's kill the Jew hidden within us”, while raising his hands in a Nazi salute. Party leader Nikos Michaloliakos addressed his supporters: “They say we are vicious fascists and nationalists. The truth is that they are right”.

The party managed to win votes not only by promoting xenophobia, but also through social events in Athens. The party supplies those who are in need and elderly people with food, provides them with various kinds of assistance, distributes soup, but all this is only for ethnic Greeks who have the appropriate identification. For example, the party has taken action to establish a blood bank “Only Greek blood”.

The party is engaged in advertising in the problematic areas of the city, also holds events in secondary schools, a lot of attention is paid to working with young people's focus. “Golden Dawn” has a policy of exclusion of minorities, especially migrant workers and asylum-seekers, shared homophobic and anti-Semitic ideas, sets people against the Roma. Its armed followers attack people with different skin colour, as well as left-wing activists.

Golden Dawn uses the current situation of economic crisis and rising xenophobia to recruit followers. It appeals to security threat which in their view is represented by migrants, refugees and people illegally crossing the sea border of the country. The party has positioned itself as the representative of the interests of social dissatisfaction of the population. The theory is supported by practice: thugs in black motorcycle helmets, parades in particularly densely populated areas of Athens foreigners.

After the members of “Golden Dawn” murdered left activist musician P.Fyssas authorities began active operations to crush the party (the arrests of higher ranks and several activists, the cessation of funding) and perhaps eventually its star will set.

Prior to “Golden Dawn” the right-wing extremist circle was dominated by party “The Popular Orthodox Rally” (“LAOS”), which in contrast to the “Golden Dawn” could not exploit the idea of economic crisis. Thus the party lost votes.

Experts believe that this happened because LAOS became part of the Greek government of Lucas Papademos. According to the Greek right-wing radicalism scholar Vasiliki Geogriadu, “the party that opposes the current party system against the” Panhellenic Socialist Movement “(PASOK) and the “New Democracy” and then suddenly wanted to be part of the system is doomed in advance”.

Key members of the party moved to the “New Democracy”, and LAOS virtually collapsed, consequently the void was taken over by the party “Golden Dawn.” And if LAOS is just a right-wing populist party, the “Golden Dawn” is a far-right neo-Nazi party. Unlike LAOS “Golden Dawn” uses violence as a political tool, and is a follower of the current theory of “Magna Graecia”, i.e. does not accept the current borders of the state.

LAOS and “Golden Dawn” oppose the influence of foreigners, but “Golden Dawn” is more aggressive and uses illegal methods. The party's programme contains characteristics of the era of democracy in Greece, which in the opinion of the party is experiencing the sunset, as the “era of national tragedy and national betrayal.” The programme sets the requirement to get out from under the American dictate and reconsider relations with the EU, which according to the party brought to a standstill economy. A panacea is offered to combat unemployment: “deportation of illegal immigrants and an emphasis on domestic production”. The programme states that “Golden Dawn” distinguishes Greek citizens from foreigners legally residing in the country and, of course, from the illegal immigrant invaders (illegal or illegally legalised). The programme compares illegal immigration with “the unofficial army, which decomposes the social structure and leads the national identity into oblivion. Illegal immigrants, being alien to the Greek society, should be immediately deported“.

The following measures are offered in order to combat illegal migration:

  • Immediate arrest and deportation of all illegal immigrants. Until their final repatriation, they should be transferred to specialised detention facilities away from residential areas, where conditions are not ritzy as they are now.
  • The phenomenon of illegal immigrants who are “under supervision” and live in air-conditioned rooms, receive free meals and other luxuries that cannot be accessed by many of the Greeks, is absolutely unacceptable and will be immediately eliminated.
  • Any offense committed by a foreigner shall be deemed established. The penalty will not be served in jail, but in specialised detention facilities, where offenders will work for the benefit of the public.
  • Fight against illicit trade of illegal aliens, remittances to their home countries to be controlled strictly financial. The huge loss of revenue for the Greek state will be stopped. The policy of “zero tolerance” will be used regarding international smuggling networks”.

In the official statements the party has repeatedly demonstrated its anti-Semitic stance. For example, during a visit to Athens in February 2013 of the executive director of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris, who discussed with the country's authorities the issues on anti-Semitism in Greece, the party made a statement in which they described the visit as “an attempt to strengthen the impact of global bank capital along with the international Zionist organisations on the policy of the Greek government”.

“This gentleman David Harris came here due to the instructions of the world Jewry, which desires to control the foreign policy of Greece and major tycoons who want to line their pockets on the country's economic problems. We do not need the solidarity of the Jews and their crocodile tears. When our party comes to power, all those who cooperated with the Jews will pay the full bill, “- it was said in a statement posted on the official website of “Golden Dawn” It should also be emphasised that according to the ideology of “Golden Dawn” immigrants, the Roma who disagree with the ideas of the party and people with mental health problems are recognised as “subhuman”.

By July 2013 the popularity of the “Golden Dawn” peaked as they had almost 15% of votes. The growing influence of the party was so extensive that the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe Nils Muiznieks' calling out to ban “Golden Dawn” as a serious threat to Greek democracy was published on July 6 in the British journal The Economist.

In September popularity of “Golden Dawn” halved from 15% to about 6% due to the scandal regarding the murder of P. Fyssas. According to a survey commissioned by the newspaper “Eleftheros Typos” 8 out of 10 respondents called “Golden Dawn” a fascist and criminal organisation. 77% of respondents believed that the authorities need to urgently take legislative measures to prevent criminal activity of the radical nationalists. However, once the shock of the murder P.Fyssas died down the popularity curve of “Golden Dawn” went up again. In October 7.8% of the Greeks were ready to vote for the party, while the November figures equalled to 8.4%. This suggests the formation of a dedicated group of nationalist voters that is large enough to influence the outcome of elections.

However, the 2015 elections again demonstrated an increase in support for neo-Nazis. In January 2015, the party won 6.28% of the vote and received 17 seats in the parliament, and in September of the same year in the repeated elections, it was able to even improve its result by obtaining 6.99% of the vote and 18 seats in parliament. The party holds good positions in the regions of Greece. Even the scandals with the party's involvement in the killings of migrants and anti-fascists could not significantly affect the adherence of the voters to the Golden Dawn, which indicates that the party was able to grow and tie to itself (through slogans and charity) a significant percentage of voters.

Anyway, the reform of anti-extremist legislation and prosecution of party members resulted in the number of violent hate crimes in Greece significantly decreasing. In 2015, an amendment was proposed to the Criminal Code of Greece - Article 361B, which criminalised the refusal to sell (purchase, distribute) goods and services on the basis of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, and geographical origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. The amendment became law in July 2016. The new article of the Criminal Code is directed, first of all, against the neo-Nazi party “Golden Dawn”, whose activists actively practiced actions for free distribution of foodstuffs during religious holidays to “clean” Greeks, and donate “clean Greek” blood. All this led to the fact that the party had to reduce its activity, which had a positive effect on the state of social cohesion.

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