Those who for years – even before Golden Dawn barged into Parliament not with muscle but with the battering ram of the people’s vote – insisted that we are dealing with a criminal gang rather than a neofascist party, will obviously be pleased by the crackdown on the organization, but also concerned and perplexed at the same time.
They are perplexed by the fact that it appears as though all sorts of inhibitions and fears have been put aside, unleashing a wave of fearless anti-fascism in the political system and bold anti-Nazi activism in the media. They find it odd that so many who were silent, indifferent and tolerant, or who even covered up for Golden Dawn, are now screaming against it and trying to cast themselves as heroes in the bargain.
The fact is that this change of stance confirms the truth behind one of the theories regarding violence of the extremes (the other being the ignorant and opportunistic theory embraced by the coalition government that equates extreme-right with extreme-left violence). In this case the theory of the two extremes pertains to the extreme positions adopted by the country’s political parties, its institutions, its mechanisms and its media. They went from silent self-pity to loud anti-Nazi claims.
There is only one thing that can justify this shift: guilt. But those who feel it have a duty to confess. Doing so can only be good, and not just for their souls either.
On the other side, there are concerns that all the noise that is being made is an end in itself. If this happens to be true, there is no hope that we will see the kind of self-criticism being exercised that could prevent us from again facing a monster raised on the remains of the one we are trying to vanquish now. They are worried that the entire case will be dealt with the usual petty interests in mind rather than with strict self-restraint and that the blame will not be placed where it ought to.
If we settle for congratulating ourselves on our anti-Nazi and anti-racist reactions, the future will end up looking a lot like the present.
Another cause for concern is that Golden Dawn has behaved like a gang, a criminal organization, and must be dealt with as such, but also as a parapolitical formation that garnered a good deal of the national vote. Besides its cadres and mercenaries, many others selected it for its hyper-nationalist, racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric, for its ideals and values. If we view these people as nothing more than self-delusional, if we fail to accept that many embraced the party’s fascist ideas, if we do not fight this trend on a political level, we will one day be faced with the same nightmare.