The situation in Greece is ugly and getting uglier by the day.
Not only economic devastation and mass poverty, but crime and growing civil unrest are plaguing the country. More and more, Greeks are looking for scapegoats.
Unfortunately, history is repeating itself. Like Germans in the last century, Greeks are beginning to blame Jews and immigrants for their troubles. Greek officials have stopped people in the street in immigration sweeps just because they looked “different” and arrested those who don’t have the proper papers.
The prime mover behind all of this and the group that has most benefited from the turmoil and chaos is the Golden Dawn, Greece’s third most influential political group.
The Golden Dawn, which is both political party and cultic philosophy, is being called neo-Nazism by the media, but there’s nothing new about it. This is a resurgence of Nazism led by a group whose predecessors were in the thick of the Third Reich hierarchy, as Godfather Politics wrote about in August.
The Golden Dawn has been successful enough that it is now expanding to other countries. According to the Guardian, Golden Dawn has opened offices in Germany, Canada, Australia and the United States, pursuing its vow to “create cells in every corner of the world.”
“Golden Dawn is not like other parties in Greece. From its beginnings, in the early 80s, it always had one eye abroad,” said Dimitris Psarras, author of “Golden Dawn’s Black Bible,” which examines the organization since its founding in Greece by Nikos Michaloliakos, an overt supporter of the anti-leftist dictatorship that ruled until 1974.
“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,” Psarras said. “… It 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. It wants to spread its influence worldwide.”
A major part of the international push has been to focus on expatriate groups of Greeks, particularly in Australia and in the United States.
Anastasios Tamis, a Greek historian living in Australia, said, “There is a large stock of very conservative people here — former royalists, former loyalists to the junta, that sort of thing — who are very disappointed at what has been happening in Greece and are trying to find a means to express it. They are nationalists who feel betrayed by Greece over issues like Macedonia, Cyprus … who cannot see the fascistic part of this party. Golden Dawn is trying to exploit them.”
Just like the Third Reich before them, Golden Dawn’s brand of Nazism aims especially at young people. “They’re easy prey and Golden Dawn will capitalise on their ignorance,” Tamis said.
According to the Guardian, the Golden Dawn works by quiet infiltration. Before opening an office in Astoria, New York, Golden Dawn agents began by organizing clothing sales and charitable events while hiding their true affiliation. Slowly at first, stickers and posters began appearing throughout the community as support grew.
American Greek leaders say they don’t want the Golden Dawn in their communities. “These people and their principles will never be accepted in our community. Their beliefs are alien to our beliefs and way of life,” said Nikos Mouyiaris, co-founder of the Chicago-based Hellenic American Leadership Council.
Greek Americans have their own history of being targeted by the Ku Klux Klan and of participating in the Civil Rights Movement. But Greek leaders in the U.S. see the popularity of Golden Dawn increasing.
Only 10 years ago, Golden Dawn was a fringe group in Greece, now it has the support of at least 12 percent of the voters. Agents of Golden Dawn have beaten immigrants in the streets of Athens and they are beginning to recruit in schools.
Mouyiaris and other Greek American leaders fear the worst is yet to come.
So far, American media appear to be clueless, and the Obama Administration appears to be in denial, preferring to issue reports about the alleged threat posed by conservative Christians, Tea Party activists and military veterans.
In the 1930s, few people thought the National Socialist Party would become a global threat. We need to recall the lessons of history before it becomes too late to avoid repeating it.