As Greece’s economic troubles continue to plague the country, there is growing support for a far-right radical group: the Golden Dawn party. The popularity of ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi party leader, Nikos Mihalolioakos, has risen ten points since May to an incredible 22%. 1 in 5 Greeks supports the neo-nazi party as the distrust of mainstream political parties grows.
Athenians are being openly directed by police to seek help from the neo-Nazi group. They have gained support by assuming the traditional role of law enforcement officers on the streets of the bankrupt country, helping with various issues from food and clothing to employment.
They [The Police] immediately said if it’s an issue with immigrants go to Golden Dawn. We don’t condone Golden Dawn but there is an acute social problem that has come with the breakdown of feeling of security among lower and middle class people in the urban centre. If the police and official mechanism can’t deliver and there is no recourse to justice, then you have to turn to other maverick solutions.
The aid of these ‘protectors’ comes with a price, however, and in recent weeks racially-motivated attacks are commonplace. Immigrants have spoken of their fear of roaming the streets at night following a spate of attacks by black-clad men on motorbikes. Street vendors from Africa and Asia have also been targeted.
I never imagined that something like Golden Dawn would happen here, that Greeks could vote for such people. This policy they have of giving food only to the Greeks and blood only to the Greeks. The whole package is terrifying. This is a party based on hate of ‘the other’. Now ‘the other’ is immigrants, but who will ‘the other’ be tomorrow?
Greece is economically desolate, crushed by massive debt. It has undergone drastic changes in leadership, and its youth unemployment rate is alarmingly high. Its people become desperate and in their desperation, they have turned to a radical leader who promises solutions.
Once before in history, a radical political movement began in much the same way. A nation racked by debt and unemployment turned to an extreme leader with a vision that they did not fully comprehend. It ended with a war that tore the world apart and over 2.5% of the world population (60 million people) were killed.
1. The Guardian, Greek police send crime victims to neo-Nazi ‘protectors’
2. The Blaze, Disturbing Development: Greek Neo-Nazi Party Surges in Popularity
3. IBTimes UK, Greece: Neo-Nazis Golden Dawn Given ‘Police Powers’ over Immigrants