‘Golden Dawn’ party in Greece a sign of distorted system

Did you hear the one about the Golden Dawn supporters who threw Molotov cocktails into immigrants’ homes, then gunned them down as they tried to escape the flames?

Even better, have you heard this easy piece of advice? If you need to get squatters out of your flat, just call Golden Dawn — for no fee they’ll clear out Pakistanis or any other type of job-stealing scum, whether gypsies, gays or foreigners. According to the account given to The Guardian, Golden Dawn thugs will come in, beat the squatters “black and blue,” then make them clean up the house (sometimes adding a new coat of paint), and be on their not-so-merry way. It’s fine, though. “Don’t upset yourself,” they said. “We’re Greeks helping Greeks.”

The thing is, it’s not fine. Golden Dawn, Greece’s far-right party that gives fascist salutes and waves a swastika flag, is Europe’s most obvious political threat to human rights. A recent report from Human Rights Watch identifies Golden Dawn’s violence as “at alarming proportions,” and their popularity is only growing. There are, however, things that can be done.

After the Molotov cocktail incident mentioned above, where a father and his 5-year-old son were gunned down while fleeing their burning home, the perpetrators were brought to court in Budapest, Hungary. Spurred on by the trial, Kristof Domina, a Hungarian, wanted to do something about political hate crimes and thus founded the Athena Institute.

The Athena Institute, based in Hungary, is a Minority Report-esque nonprofit research center. Using piles of data and a complex understanding of history, the Institute can identify potentially “enabling environments” and hostile situations.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Institute is its global reach. By figuring out which extremist groups coordinate and exchange goods with one another across borders, they put officials in a position to better deter these interactions. If Europe wants to quell extremist violence and fascist voices in governments, they’ll need to take a cue from the Athena Institute and develop a similarly global approach to identifying and deterring extremism.

The laws of the European Union are arguably the greatest cause of this neo-fascism. Just think about the rule that allows member states to send illegal immigrants back to their point of entry in the European Union, which, considering its proximity to North Africa and the Middle East, is often Greece. Full of returned illegal immigrants and serious economic problems, it’s not surprising that so-called “alternative” political systems like Golden Dawn are beginning to flourish.

Through economic sanctions and international pressure, the European Union must tighten its grip on politicians like Greece’s prime minister, Antonis Samaras, who has turned a blind eye to neo-fascism. States must be held to their initial E.U.-entry requirements of respecting human rights. Most importantly though, strategies to revamp economies will help bring democracy back and excise these newly popular radical factions.

A Greek funeral home owner, Nikos Katapodis, didn’t vote for Golden Dawn, but he sees it as “the only party that is actually doing things for the Greek people,” as he told The New York Times. If he needs help paying for his medicine or feels unsafe, he calls them. “They’re doing what the politicians should be doing,” he said. “There’s a hole, and they fill it.”

The European Union should take a tip from Nikos: it shouldn’t be left to violent neo-fascists to solve issues. Rather, change should come from spotting “enabling environments,” putting increased pressure on indifferent government officials, and a re-dedication to the foundations of the European Union. That is to say, change is up to you.

Cody Delistraty is a contributing columnist. Email him at [email protected]

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Golden Dawn are anti-illegal immigration but aren’t “fascist” as is widely misreported. Granted there are parallels given they are extreme nationalists but the salute their symbol isn’t Nazi as is also widely misreported , its a Greek meander.

    If you want to know why its arisen, one should start with the over-the-top global rhetoric towards Greece (2% of EU economy) for its botched government fiances,

    Then there is the patronizing foreigner bigots that frame the 20% of our…

  2. Golden Dawn are extreme nationalists but aren’t “fascist” as is widely misreported. If you want to know why its arisen, start with the over-the-top rhetoric towards Greece (2% of EU economy) for its botched government fiances,

    Then there is the patronizing foreigners that frame 20% of our population that violated our borders as “immigrants”

    You might also want to look into the anti-Greek foreigners who now pretend not to notice the former Yugoslavians attempt to usurp our very…

  3. Golden Dawn are extreme nationalists but aren’t “fascist” as is widely misreported. If you want to know why its arisen, start with the over-the-top rhetoric towards Greece (2% of EU economy) for its botched government fiances,

    Then there is the patronizing foreigners that frame 20% of our population that violated our borders as “immigrants”

    You might also want to look into the anti-Greek foreigners who now pretend not to notice the former Yugoslavians attempt to usurp our very identity.

  4. Yes, Europeans, enjoy the globalist totalitarianism that makes the USSR look like Jeffersionian Democracy! Welcome your overlords who want to “tighten their grip” with “economic sanctions” and “international pressure,” to destroy any local control or sovereignty! Democracy? It’s what bureaucrats in Brussels say it is! Don’t like immigrants? You are anti-democrat and racist! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gmuGFwlHsA

  5. Though I agree that GD is a problem within Greece and the EU, one must understand the reasoning behind this party’s rising popularity in Greece. First and foremost, what the article fails to point out is the corruption in the Greek police force. Given the increase in crime, what is one supposed to do when their house is being broken into, and one calls the police and they say “please call your local Golden Dawn office”? Second, 1 in 2 policemen voted for GD in the may election.

  6. I support Golden Dawn. It’s the only choice for Greeks who want Greece to remain Greek. I would like to see the same kind of parties rise up in all Western nations. It is clear that there is a conspiracy to flood our nations with third world savages. This is obvious to anyone who will open their eyes. Here in the US it’s the wetbacks from south of the border. In Europe it’s generally muslim scum. There is something more to this than what the “news” will tell you. Open your eyes.

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