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Greek neo-Nazi Party Looks Abroad


Greece’s radical neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, has become the country’s third greatest political force, according to polls. Now it’s seeking to put down roots “wherever there are Greeks,” including in Germany, Australia, Canada, and the US. The Guardian reports:

“Like-minded groups in Europe and Russia have given the party ideological, and sometimes financial, support to print books and magazines. After years of importing nazism, it now wants to export nazism,” added [expert on the history of Golden Dawn Dimitris] Psarras. By infiltrating communities abroad, the far-rightists were attempting not only to shore up their credibility but also to find extra funding and perhaps even potential votes if Greeks abroad ever won the right to cast ballots in elections.

“[Golden Dawn] not only wants to become the central pole of a pan-European alliance of neo-Nazis, even if in public it will hotly deny that,” claimed Psarras, who said party members regularly met with neo-Nazis from Germany, Italy and Romania. “It wants to spread its influence worldwide.”

Greek diaspora communities and their leaders in Australia, Canada, and the US have expressed disgust at the party and want it to stay far away. But where there is support, diaspora communities can do some damage. There is a well-worn path of ultra-nationalists abroad making trouble at home. Much of the IRA’s support came from Irishmen living abroad, and some of the most vocal and deep-pocketed supporters of various extreme nationalist regimes in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia in the 1990s came from diaspora communities. These tend to be people who make a decent living for themselves abroad but keep an eye on events at home. They get frustrated with what they see as milquetoast compromises made by weak politicians, and want to throw their weight behind “no nonsense” parties that promise to “get things done.”

This is precisely the kind of well Golden Dawn wants to tap into: proud, nationalist Greeks living abroad who feel betrayed by the country’s failure. Many Greeks at home view Golden Dawn as a problem-solver that can provide social services and clean up neighborhoods. Hence the 18 Parliamentary seats the party won last year—after it had won only 0.29 percent of the vote just three years earlier. If Golden Dawn can make the kinds of inroads among the diaspora that it has made at home, darker days could lie ahead.

[Image of Golden Dawn party symbol courtesy of Stlemur.]

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  • thrasymachus02

    Golden Dawn advocates for the interests of Greeks over those of immigrants and foreign creditors. It describes itself as “social nationalist”. It bears no relationship to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Since “neo-nazi” is intended as a perjorative, perhaps you could defend its use.

    • Tom

      Let’s see–the party magazine has said that 1945 saw the end of a great era and that the ideals of National Socialism were pretty awesome.
      They may not be psychotically genocidal, but I’ll be hanged if I want these guys in charge of a corner newsstand.

      • thrasymachus02

        Not genocidal so, not neo-nazi.

        • Tom

          You missed the adverb: “may.” I don’t know their leader, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, given that they think 1945 marked the end of a great era, they’re totally cool with genocide.

          • thrasymachus02

            “May” can describe an extremely low level of probability but you haven’t even established that. The term “nazi” is meaningless outside of designating someone as having the intent to commit genocide, as other NSDAP policies have been held by political groups regarded as benign. Furthermore it’s the worst possible thing to call someone, implying they have no political rights and should be treated as criminal. So unless you can show Golden Dawn has genocide as a policy or intent, which you can’t, the term “neo-nazi” is just a mindless smear, as it usually is. You don’t care, because you think you get to decide who’s good and bad. But that only works if people accept your moral authority.

          • Tom

            I’m curious: which NSDAP policies are you referring to?

          • thrasymachus02

            The NSDAP had a variety of labor and economic policies that while not consistent with neoliberalism, are not actually considered objectionable and practiced in some form many places today. The only reason anybody remembers or cares about the Nazis is they killed Jews. (Killing Ukranians or Armenians is forgettable.) So calling somebody a Nazi is only done to accuse them of planning to kill Jews. You won’t answer on this point so the discussion is pointless. Golden Dawn is not a neo-nazi party.

          • Tom

            Hey, Thrasymachus. I remember both of those things. I don’t think you’d mind me calling someone who wasn’t bent on causing mass famine a Communist if they favored policies that equated to Communism.
            So, yeah, try again.

    • Eric J.

      Their party symbol certainly isn’t trying to avoid the association.

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