Pantelis Boukalas PANTELIS BOUKALAS

Blood, money, Golden Dawn

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics, GD trial

Wednesday was the sixth anniversary of the murder of Greek musician and rapper Pavlos Fyssas by Golden Dawn member Giorgos Roupakias in Keratsini, a western suburb of Piraeus.

Its trial as a criminal organization is entering the final phase despite the systematic foot-dragging of its cadres, who did not hesitate to insult the memory of the murder victim even during court proceedings.

The neo-Nazi party itself is also in its final throes. This is attested to by the closure of its offices across the country and in particular the shuttering earlier this week of the party’s headquarters on the capital’s Mesogeion Avenue. Finally the national flag will be liberated from years of abuse: devotees of Hitler using it to express their pillaged patriotism.

Whichever date we take as the launch of GD’s activities – 1980, when it was founded by Nikos Michaloliakos, or 1993, when it first appeared in the guise of a political party – the time it is taking to be defeated and fall apart has been anything but brief.

Could it be that the young man’s murder was the party’s fatal mistake? Over time, yes, but in the two years that immediately followed the tragedy, unfortunately not, as can be seen in Golden Dawn’s ratings. The 7 percent that it garnered in the 2012 elections after vehemently opposing the protests of Greece’s “Indignants” in Syntagma Square the year before was only slightly trimmed in the 2015 polls, when it was already clear who killed Fyssas (and who covered for him); the party netted 6.92 percent in the January elections that year and 6.28 percent in the September polls.

Indeed, even after the musician’s death, there was no shortage of reports in Greece’s sensationalist and far-right-leaning media praising the coarse, ersatz benefactions of Golden Dawn members or even treating members like minor celebrities.

Between 2003 and 2019, more than 25 convictions were issued for criminal acts by members of Golden Dawn. Among these crimes was the murder of Pakistani laborer Shehzad Luqman in 2013, with the attackers’ sole motive being the notion of racial superiority.

The group’s gradual moral unmasking and its failure to re-enter Parliament revealed – in the eyes of everyone, this time – the nature of its “popular nationalism.” It revealed that it was essentially a business comprising family members and friends which, under the harsh leadership of a tinpot dictator (some of his former brothers-in-arms call him this), traded in patriotism. When the money ran out, however, the “brothers” turned against each other and sought to save their own skins. Blood and money, that was Golden Dawn’s ideology.

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