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Members of Greece’s Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party Took Part in Srebrenica Genocide

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Golden Dawn

The Greek neo-Nazi party, The Golden Dawn has won 7% of the vote in Greece. According to Neni Panourgia, members of the Golden Dawn were also a part of the massacres in Srebrenica, Bosnia (h.t: HSMoghul),

Golden Dawn gained notoriety after 1991, when it started attacking the first Albanian immigrants and after some of its members participated in the Srebrenica massacre. The organisation registered as a political party in 1993 and first won political representation in 2010, when Michaloliakos was elected to the Athens City Council.

Neni describes the Golden Dawn as a “European problem”:

Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn is a European problem

by Neni Panourgia (AlJazeera English)

New York, New York – By now, nearly everybody has been exposed to the phenomenon of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi in Greek), the neo-Nazi organisation that received almost 7 per cent of the vote in the Greek elections of May 6.

After the initial shock, the question “How is this possible?” was followed by the legitimate worry: “Are Greeks becoming fascists?” Some commentators on various blogs (many of them from northern and western Europe) even left messages urging the Greek electorate to feel shame, the deeper the better, for this unsightly and frightening development.

But let’s set a few things straight. First of all, Golden Dawn, despite its recent claims, is indeed a neo-Nazi party. Their ideology, which they describe on their website as “Popular and Social Nationalism”, gives their precise coordinates within Nazi ideology.

So do the origins of their party, which was founded by Nikolaos Michaloliakos in 1985 under a direct order from the imprisoned leader of the Greek junta, George Papadopoulos. And so do their self-representation, language and tactics. The official publication of Golden Dawn runs articles praising the Nazis and often places photographs of Hitler, Himmler, and Nazi gatherings on its front cover. The members of the organisation have the same uneducated, invented, and highly idiosyncratic understanding of ancient Greece as the Nazis did.

And their tactics are virtually indistinguishable from Nazi terrorist tactics: they terrorise immigrants, leftists, and journalists; they beat and maul teachers and students; they have infiltrated athletic clubs and have introduced hooliganism to the Greek landscape; and they have assumed the role of vigilantes and protectors of the general public. Some of those attacks have been documented, and the Golden Dawn-affiliated perpetrators have gone on trial and been imprisoned.

The history of the organisation is inextricably connected to the history of Michaloliakos, whose first public intervention in 1976 was an attack on journalists who were covering the funeral of the junta torturer Evangelos Mallios, who had been executed by the urban guerrilla organisation 17 November. Arrested and briefly detained, Michaloliakos met the leaders of the military junta in jail. Two years after his release he engaged in a series of bombings of public places in Athens, for which he was indicted. Golden Dawn gained notoriety after 1991, when it started attacking the first Albanian immigrants and after some of its members participated in the Srebrenica massacre. The organisation registered as a political party in 1993 and first won political representation in 2010, when Michaloliakos was elected to the Athens City Council.

It is doubtful, however, whether the 21 Golden Dawn deputies will ever enter the Greek parliament (legally, that is). We now know that no coalition government can be formed (without a gross violation of the Constitution), which means that new elections will be held, probably on June 17. Yesterday’s polls showed that 76 per cent of the Greek electorate expects Golden Dawn to lose most of its vote, with a large number of those polled expressing doubts that it would even win the 3 per cent needed to enter parliament.

Two questions remain, however, regardless of whether Golden Dawn ever enters parliament. The first one is a question of democracy: namely, what sorts of legitimate steps are available to democratic polities when they face the development of a totalitarian, racist, exclusionary formulation that actively engages in violent acts that severely restrict the civil and human rights of others? I argue that when a state is faced not simply with ideas but with themateriality of actions, then the state is obligated to outlaw them and the media are obligated to report on them. In Greece this is a multiply complex issue, since what I suggest was used from the beginning of the 20th century as the groundwork upon which the elimination of the left took place, based on fabricated accusations.

A second question remains: Why would Greeks, who fought against totalitarianism in massive numbers and paid one of the heaviest tolls in Europe for their participation in the resistance against Nazi Germany, vote for this despicable, emetic, and deeply anti-political formation, even as a protest?

What we need to keep in mind is that this tolerance of violence in the public sphere, especially violence that is directed towards the unarmed and the unprotected, is the result of the state’s long-term suppression of dissent and the collaboration of the police forces with right-wing extremists whose violent tactics the police have used. This tolerance is evident even in mundane instances, such as when, in 1999, the ludicrous Gerasimos Yakoumatos, a deputy and member of the centre-right New Democracy party, wanting to show the Minister of Public Order that he “meant business”, walked into Parliament brandishing his (legally obtained) revolver as protest for his house having been burglarised by immigrants the previous evening. Not only was this tolerated, but he was not arrested and was not in any way reprimanded.

The Greek polity has always found itself in a tug-of-war. On one end, there is a wide, democratic, proceduralist, but largely powerless (and ultimately apathetic) body politic. On the other end, there is a small but powerful authoritarian class that constitutes the core of state structures. Decades of brutal suppression of dissent has relied upon various para-state and paramilitary organisations. Police brutality, hooliganism, and the deep-seated intimacy between fragments of the police force and Golden Dawn have made the organisation’s temporary surge possible.

There is no right, centre, or left distinction in this, if by left one means the nominally socialist PASOK party. All post-junta Greek governments have availed themselves of this intimate relationship, as all Greek governments, at least from the early years of the 20th century, have invested more energy and resources into producing a polity that relies on snitches and turncoats than in producing responsible, accountable, and democratically minded citizens. For example, in the summer of 2002, as the dismantling of 17 November was taking place, the Greek prime minister – clearly at the behest of the British and the American antiterrorist secret services – asked the citizens to report anyone who appeared to be suspicious and dangerous.

A month ago I wrote in the Anthropology Newsletter about the claim that under the current circumstances in Europe, in which the social welfare state is being eviscerated and the destitute are pitted against the poor, the distinction between right and left is no longer useful. I argue, however, that it is precisely now that the elision of such a distinction is pregnant with dangers that the world has faced before.

The neo-cons, the neo-fascists, and the neo-Nazis have been selectively appropriating leftist discourses and practices in order to obscure and obfuscate the distinctions between left and right. Michaloliakos, the coddled child of the junta, uses the term “junta” pejoratively (to indicate the totally inept but democratically elected Greek government, the press, and the memorandum), calls the actions of Golden Dawn “national resistance” when he instigates violence against immigrants and politicians, and has warned about an “uprising of the masses”.

Europe stands on the head of a needle, steeped in a crisis that threatens the foundational premises of democracy, self-determination, and autonomy. Golden Dawn is a European problem, not a limited and containable Greek one. It is a European problem because its ideology developed and flourished in Germany and Italy of the early 20th century. It is not a “natural”, essential, ontological property of Greece, and it is intractably connected to the moralistic and punitive positions that have organised the actions of the troika that put the bailout packages together.

When people are pushed to the brink, ugly things happen, and the troika (and particularly Merkel) ought never to forget the warning of George Santayana: “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it”.

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  • jabhawiya

    I hope Greece gets out of this and everything turns out okay.

  • Truth Hurts

    The scary thing is that the HATE MEME that was bred by the Chetniks (Serb Christian Orthodox militias) from ex-Yugoslavia did not die with defeat of these tribal fascists.

    On the contrary, the very ideology (incorporating hysteria such as Eurabia, Hijab & Sharia forcing on non-Muslims, mosques mushrooming, Muslims as a violent mass, patriots defending the whole West etc.) is spread by the same means audio-visual multi-media with the addition of the force multiplier i.e. internet!

    It appears that the sympathetic Dutch soldiers were infected & brought the HATE MEME into Western Europe & then to North America.

    If we believe in causality, then will Western Muslims escape the same deadly logic?

    Remember the footsoldiers of the fire were soccer hooligans (Serbia v Croatia match) & today in the UK, the EDL are the most potent street mobilisers of Milosevic-Mladic meme.

  • Sir David Illuminati membership number 16.69

    Sorry DawahFilms
    Wont happen . Europe cannot get its act together .Never mind the Islamic world .
    Europe has currency problems due to an inability to forge political union . Can you imagine the european leaders giving up one iota of power or control to another european leader and thats the simple option.
    As for the Islamic world that will be united two weeks after europe 🙂

  • This is a very pessimistic view, but I reckon this will all continue unhindered. Over the years, more right-wing nationalists parties in Europe will become powerful in their governments and this will lead to history repeating itself in some way or another.

    In other words, there will be a war between the Islamic world and the newly ruled Europe.

    I don’t want it, but Im just seeing it as it is.

  • Abdul-Rahman

    @deccal

    The Wikipedia page for the Srebrenica massacre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srebrenica_massacre itself lists Greek fascist “volunteers” as having participated in the mass killing along with Serbian forces under the command of Ratko Mladic.

  • deccal

    “some of its members participated in the Srebrenica massacre.”

    So the Greek volunteers fighting on behalf of Serbia or Bosnian Serbs automatically equates to participating in the Srebrenica massacre? Please present empirical evidence of this.

  • Haddock

    This line really stuck out at me.

    “The neo-cons, the neo-fascists, and the neo-Nazis have been selectively appropriating leftist discourses and practices in order to obscure and obfuscate the distinctions between left and right.”

    That is what I think is happening in the U.S. too. The Right has been using the language of the historic “Left”, while simultaneously pushing their right-wing agenda.

  • Just Stopping By

    @HGG: “It was a nerdiness test, by the way”

    I guess I passed. And, I even did so legitimately, without the use of stuff like this: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Planet+Mogo. It doesn’t take someone speedy with an arsenal of tricks to recognize your use of Mogo; no one should quiver at such a test of nerdiness.

  • HGG

    “Let’s see, you could be suggesting that you don’t socialize”

    Turned out he did like to socialize.

    (It was a nerdiness test, by the way)

  • Just Stopping By

    @HGG: “I’m more of a Mogo guy myself.”

    Are you baiting me? 😉

    Let’s see, you could be suggesting that you don’t socialize. Or perhaps you simply want me to make some comment on Mogo(mawwembipgll).

  • Sir David : Man on a phone with a french spell check

    Daniel
    ” if America turns authoritarian” Mmm bit late there old chum. I find the idea of the whole drone thing more than a little authoritarian.
    Raynadine ( do you know the song of that name ? ) And critical Dragon
    Being english i would prefer Disc World 🙂 II do like the idea of us being reagents of this world although we are not doing a good job of it

  • @TheBig-T

    I agree with Reynardine. The only other worlds we know of are uninhabitable right now, or if they may turn out to be habitable they’re too far for us to get to in any of our lifetimes, and even if we did know how to terraform the ones that are nearby like Mars and could do it in a day, why wouldn’t we just end up bringing the same problems with us? We need to deal with the world we live in, and not just fantasize about another. We might within limits be able to make it a better world, but only if we are willing to do what’s necessary to make things better. One of those things could be actively opposing organizations like The Golden Dawn.

  • HGG

    “You have another one you want to move to? Oa, perhaps?”

    I’m more of a Mogo guy myself.

  • @Garibaldi

    The fact that these guys even won 7% of seats in the Greek Parliament is utterly shocking. Even if one is somehow ignorant of what went on during the Bosnian War, what about the most famous genocide of all time? What about the Holocaust perpetrated by the Golden Dawn’s ideological forebears during the seconded world war? Not to mention the fact that this group has been involved in terrorism.

  • Reynardine

    Big-T: I could fancy some better alternate-Earths, such as ones where passenger pigeons survived and dictators/oligarchs didn’t, but this is the only one we’ve got, and we better fix it.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Umayr: Ahh, caught in my attempt at subtlety! You may claim that my sheikh is dead…

  • Umayr

    @Just Stopping By- That’s Jihad 🙂

  • Muslim Heritage.com

    This does co-incide with the rise in poverty and the Euro currency problems that Greece is facing. Flashback to when Turkey was a struggling economy and Greece was strong. Today it’s the other way round. Turkey has the brightest economy in Europe, and Greece one of the worst.

    Somebody please send Robert Spencer a one way ticket to Greece 😉

  • MC

    Okay, Greece… your economy is not the brightest and you elect in NEO-NAZIS? The fact they are even on the ballot is frightening….

  • Just Stopping By

    @TheBig-T: “I don’t want to live on this planet any more”

    You have another one you want to move to? Oa, perhaps?

    Yes, we see depressing stories too frequently. And it’s okay to be saddened, but the response for the longer term is to keep going and strive harder to do what’s right.

  • crow

    Don’t be defeatist. Its not the first time a@@holes like this raised their ugly heads before, they were beaten before and if they wat to f@ck with people again they’ll be beaten again

  • Daniel

    I have the distinct feeling that authoritarianism everywhere is on the rise. Political, economic and even religious systems seem broken and hopelessly unable to deal with the current world situation. Out of this mess, demagogues and “messiahs” are bound to arise.

    If Greece turns right (or just authoritarian, who cares if it’s right or left), it is a Greek tragedy…but as America turns authoritarian, the whole world suffers. As the supposedly “left” regime of Obama uses violence more and more, and makes the Constitutuon more and more a dead letter, the idea of two-party democracy disappears…and as Greece shows, multi-party democracy is fraught with danger as well.

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  • TheBig-T

    I don’t want to live on this planet any more

  • mindy1

    *Sigh* 🙁

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