Paying no heed to society

By Alexis Papachelas

Before society drowns in tawdry videos, let us cast our minds back to the political machinations and the rationale that has developed over the past couple of years, from the inauspicious emergence of Golden Dawn as a political force to the shocking revelation of this week’s video, which was illegally recorded and broadcast.

In the first phase of this brief chronicle, the far-right party’s members and MPs used tactics of bullying, both verbal and physical, against their opponents and naysayers. These tactics provoked a lackluster reaction and were essentially tolerated both by the state and most of the country’s political powers. Golden Dawn was not openly lambasted by the political establishment nor was it legally prosecuted for what were clearly illegal, if minor offenses.

What came next was the theory of the two extremes, which basically suggests that violence, wherever it comes from, from whichever extreme, is always one and the same. When this theory began to gain ground, its champions even went as far as to associate the main leftist opposition with extra-state powers and former convicts in a bid to play down the violence of the extreme right by equating it with that credited to the extreme left.

It is likely that the objective was to instigate an all-out confrontation between the left and the neo-Nazis. Maybe because even the inherently violent Golden Dawn was making gains on the back of the system that it was so quick to condemn. Meanwhile, judicial authorities continued to tolerate the party’s increasingly violent and illegal actions.

The cold-blooded murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in September last year by a member of Golden Dawn was a catalytic event that upset the fragile balance. The state decided to take on the party, quickly and decisively. Following accusations that the party effectively operated as a criminal organization, almost all of Golden Dawn’s political leadership was put behind bars.

The neo-Nazi group was cut down through legal means, though not through political ones.

And herein lies the problem: the absence of a political response to what is ultimately a political phenomenon. No one took the time to examine and understand what led to a large portion of society accepting and even supporting the neo-Nazis’ brutal manifesto. No one has sat down to try to understand the behavior of a society that is in deep crisis, a society that accepts and further propagates its own crisis.

The bottom line is that when you cannot or refuse to comprehend why society behaves the way it does, you simply cannot produce politics.