A non-partisan journal of the left.

This is free Europe, never again!

Sat 16th Jun 2012

The political deadlock that characterised the Greek general elections last month saw large gains for the anti-austerity left wing coalition SYRIZA, whilst the vote for the two largest parties supportive of austerity- PASOK and New Democracy- collapsed. A nasty side effect of the backlash against austerity and a submission to the indentured servitude of the European Central Bank was the rise of the far right and unashamedly Neo Nazi ‘Golden Dawn’ party.

It is a sad fact of human nature that when a crisis looms and people have a great deal to lose, fear is a driving factor for the creation of scapegoats and the emergence of demagogues.

No party gained enough votes in Greece’s May election to be able to form a government on its own. The formation of any sort of coalition was impossible due to the fragmentation of the vote across a range of parties. Another election will now take place on the 17th June.

In the May elections SYRIZA came second, gaining 18 per cent of the vote and there is a strong possibility that they may come first in tomorrow’s election, perhaps gaining over 20 per cent of all votes cast. Yet, even if they ally themselves with the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and other minor leftist parties, and factoring in the bonus of 50 MP awarded to the winning party, they are still unlikely to be able to pull together the required majority to form a government. Neither it seems will anyone else, opening the possibility for yet another election.

However, electoral deadlock is not the only threat to Greek democracy.

The Golden Dawn has emerged as the boot boys of an extreme right agenda. In May, they gained 7 per cent of the vote, entitling them to 21 MPs in the Greek parliament. They may receive an even higher share of the vote this time around. Violent, racist and willing to prey on fear, hatred, and a feeling of national shame, their actions and rhetoric mimic that of the emerging SA in early thirties Germany.

Golden Dawn has shown no shame in revealing its true colours. After the elections in May, party thugs tried to force journalists to stand to attention as a mark of respect for their leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, as he entered the room. Last week, Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris threw a glass of water over SYRIZA MP Rena Dourou and assaulted KKE MP Liana Kanelli slapping her across the face on a live talk show.

To add insult to injury, Kasidiaris, currently in hiding in the wake of an arrest warrant, has threatened to sue the two women for provoking the assaults. The Golden Dawn is also reported to have been responsible for other less high profile assaults on students and immigrants.

More recently, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros has claimed that if his party is elected, they would “carry out raids on hospitals and kindergartens and…will throw immigrants and their children out on the street so that Greeks can take their place.”

Whilst many will be appalled by the actions and the rhetoric of Golden Dawn, some, feeling that their country is under threat and being shamed by the rest of Europe, will be drawn to this aggressive and violent breed of politics considering the Golden Dawn’s ‘firm’ and aggressive stance to be a show of national pride in desperate times. The Golden Dawn will not gain an electoral majority enabling it to fulfill its Nazi-like fantasies, though its mere presence in parliament and on the streets will ensure it is able to continue to launch vicious attacks upon minorities and sway the more weak-minded to their agenda.

The far right has gained in support in other European countries. Marine Le Pen’s party gained 18 per cent in the first round of the French elections, coming third. In Britain, the EDL, though not a political party, appear to be filling the void left by a defeated and demoralised BNP.

In these times, vigilance is required to face the evils that will follow the economic storm. Unemployment, despair and a feeling of loss of control ushers in its own evils. It happened once before in Europe.

It is a duty for students, workers, immigrants and all those who support justice and democracy to fight back against a threat that has not brazenly reared its head in Europe for a long time. This is free Europe, never again!
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