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The middle class is the surest remedy against political extremism

24 April 2014 / 20:04:56  GRReporter
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The key weapon in the Golden Dawn's arsenal is the use of anti-capitalist rhetoric. The activities performed by it are as follows: points of food distribution, only to Greeks after showing an ID card, provision of security services in neighbourhoods (if your foreign tenants do not regularly pay their rent, you do not need to contact the police, all you have to do is call the local club of the movement and they will be thrown out), indoctrination of children in infancy, penetration among football hooligans, in schools, breaking up shops, destroying stalls of immigrants.
Professor Boeschoten attempted to explain how it is possible for such a party to appear in a country like Greece where there was a mass resistance movement during World War II (Greece along with Yugoslavia was the only country in Europe that rejected the Nazi occupation almost completely on its own). The wound of mass executions and criminal operations among the civilian population by the Nazi occupiers is not yet fully healed. On the other hand, however, the percentage of Greek collaborators during the occupation (1941-1944) was higher. The struggle continued and took on different dimensions with the fratricidal civil war in Greece (1946-1949) followed by the authoritarian regime from 1949 to the restoration of democracy (1974). Golden Dawn is a kind of a successor to this segment of society, which it has mimicked over time, but this is not the only explanation. According to Professor Boeschoten the movement has gained strength as a result of the economic crisis, which has led to a 28% unemployment rate, 60% of which among young people, to a crisis of values​​, shrinkage of the middle class, collapse of social services, despair, fear, lack of alternative and search for scapegoats.
The rise of Golden Dawn is not an isolated phenomenon but symptomatic of trends across Europe. The increase in the votes for far-right parties to a maximum percentage is typical in the Nordic countries, Central Europe, for example in Hungary (Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared zero tolerance for anti-Semitism), Germany, Austria. "The entry of a large number of deputies, extreme nationalists, in the national parliaments of a number of European countries after the 1990s is a universal phenomenon associated with the Cold War and the change of the image of the enemy, of communism with Islam," said the professor activist. Boeschoten also raised before the audience the question about the presence of the Attack political party in Bulgaria’s public life, which in turn provoked the question of whether someone in Greece speaks for Golden Dawn as a far-left party, since the Attack party is sometimes qualified as such because of its ideas for nationalization, for limiting foreign capital and for a referendum for the purchase of land by foreigners. "The use of populist slogans, symbols of the left wing and leftist discourse by far-right parties is even more confusing for people. Far-right parties have appropriated the rhetoric and many of the symbols of the left wing. A similar tactic was used by Hitler and Mussolini, so their parties were called national socialist" was the answer of the guest lecturer who explained, "Golden Dawn is associated with Freemasonry too. It uses in its arsenal ancient Greek symbols. However they are not borrowed directly from antiquity but mediated by Nazi sources; some of its members are pagans and believe in the pantheon of the twelve Olympian deities."

When asked by Prof. Ivaylo Dichev how the supporters of Golden Dawn are rewriting history, with what historical figures and national heroes they identify themselves, what rituals they respect and practise, Ricky van Boeschoten replied that "the strongest among ancient references is their piety to the Spartan militarized model of society. Despite the identification with paganism to some extent, since it has been a parliamentary party, all or at least its MPs declare they are "Orthodox Christians".    

Tags: Golden DawnNationalist and xenophobic partiesPolitical extremism in EuropeProfessor Ricky van Boeschoten
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