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Growing racism in Greece

Experts say that the Greek misrule and the country’s deep economic crisis could cause a rise in popularity of the racist and xenophobic party Golden Dawn in the next election, which has 21 representatives in the Greek parliament.


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Miriam Valero


“All of Greece’s problems are caused by immigrants. They are parasites and criminals. When we rule, we will have them deported and we will cover the borders with mines and electrified fences”. “Greece for the Greeks. Foreigners out”.

These racist words weren’t spoken by a xenophobic minority group in a meeting with their followers.

These phrases were uttered by the spokesman of a party of the Greek parliament, the neo-fascist Golden Dawn, who in past elections in the country in May achieved 7% of the Greek votes and has 21 representatives seated in parliament.

The members of Golden Dawn greet each other with the traditional fascist salute. And no longer in private since their leader did it in public whilst he was a politician in 2011. Furthermore, the party doesn’t support anyone who does not have Greek or Aryan blood in their group as they believe that the Greeks possess racial superiority.

The visible faces of the racist discourse of the party are their number one, Nikos Michaloliakos, an ex-military of the Special Forces who was jailed for working on violent activities such as throwing explosives at demonstrations or injuring journalists, and his spokesman, Ilyas Panayotaros.

The party was founded in the ’80s by a group of the extreme right and headed by Michaloliakos, who began publishing the Nazi magazine “Chrysi Avgi”, which means Golden Dawn in Greek, the same name which was finally adopted by the party when it was legalized in the ’90s.

After a short disappearance from the political scene, the party returned in 2007, fuelled by the terrors of the economic crisis, a successful environment for the spread of xenophobic discourse.

First, it achieved 5% of the votes in the municipal elections in Athens. Then, it achieved 21 seats in parliament in recent elections.

Racist speech

Golden Dawn is defined as a National Socialist group with a strong opposition to immigration, as it considers it to be solely responsible for the increase in crime and the poor living conditions in the country.

As for its policies, the party does not support the international bailout and the euro because, as they put it, they don’t want to follow Europe’s orders. The party wants to return to its former currency, the drachma, and regain the Greek part of Macedonia and Cyprus.

So with a speech very similar to Nazism, the party said that “we must promote the procreation of Greek children to prevent the offspring of foreigners. No to the intermarriage between whites and non-whites, no to abortion, this will lead our nation to the death of its race”.

Since its return to politics, Golden Dawn focuses on pointing out that the minorities in the country are responsible for the decline of the nation. The victims of the fascist propaganda are mainly immigrants, who are referred to as “human scum” and are accused of invading Greece and “taking all the work”.

However, these aren’t the only goals of the party. In recent weeks it has also verbally attacked other groups such as homosexuals. On a recent visit to the gay neighbourhood of Gazi in Athens, representatives of the party told the community that “after the immigrants, you’re next”, and distributed Nazi leaflets amongst the neighbours.

Another goal of the party is the media. During a press conference with the party leader, his party urged journalists to stand up from their seats to show respect to Michaloliakos.

“Rise, rise! Show your respects! Who doesn’t wish to should leave,” they told reporters. The outrage caused some to leave.

Along with all these verbal attacks, there are suspicions that the party not only attacks minority groups verbally, but also physically. Associations have accused the party of maintaining armed squads in central Athens to act against immigrants.

The next elections

Unable to form a government, Greece has again called elections for 17th June. Most analysts predict a rise of the party that has found, as in the past, fear as its best ally for the dissemination of its propaganda.

According to experts, the profound economic and social crisis, and the absence of a strong government in the country have caused anxious workers and the middle class to find refuge in the racist discourse of Michaloliakos.

“Fear us, for we have arrived,” said Michaloliakos after winning the support of the Greeks in the last election. In the next elections on 17th June, the Greeks will decide whether or not they will tolerate this arrival.

(Translated by: Sophie Maling – Email: sophie_maling@hotmail.com)

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