OPINION

The threat of Golden Dawn

It doesn’t take political genius to figure out that the leadership of Golden Dawn – both that which is visible as well as that which may be hiding in the background – is attacking the democratic system in a methodical and calculating manner. The latest proof comes from party head Nikos Michaloliakos’s decision to launch a head-on assault against the system in a carefully organized setting of a racist event outside his neo-Nazi party’s central offices on the anniversary of the collapse of the junta and democracy’s return to Greece. He himself stressed this in his tirade to the crowd, which was clearly not composed of impoverished Greeks who were there just for the food handout. The whole scene, as well as the booing from the crowd every time he mentioned – with disdain and disgust – the word democracy, leave no room for doubt as to who was there and what the overall gathering was intended to achieve.

Arguing against Michaloliakos’s statements denigrating democracy and lauding the dictatorship is pointless. All we need to remember is the brand of nationalist patriotism of those who put the Turks in Cyprus, the costs that have since burdened the country from arms procurements, or even the fact that in June 1974 the junta settled for 42.3 million Deutsche marks in reparations from Germany for World War II when Greece was claiming damages of 120 million.

The real issue is that Golden Dawn has clearly grown into an overt threat to democracy, adopting the Nazi tactics used by that party to dominate German politics. At the same time, the key question is how the country’s democratic parties are dealing with this threat.

Just like Hitler’s Nazi party, racism and the use of racist violence are the key policy lines of Golden Dawn, at least for the time being, because if one thing is certain, it is that given a chance, the party will use violence against its political opponents and other citizens as well.

Therefore, the state has no other option than to deal with Golden Dawn through the imposition of the law, just as Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis and Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said they would and did, much to their credit. The only real recourse is to shake the neo-Nazi party to the core by applying the law unequivocally and without fail, with the support of all democratic political parties. This of course would require that the other parties stop challenging the legitimacy of the government, undermining democracy with their statements, adopting violent rhetoric and making excuses for acts of violence. They need to completely isolate the representatives of Golden Dawn inside and outside of Parliament.

The democratic parties must come together in a concerted framework of understanding before it is too late for all of us.