The cost of dealing with the devil
A neo-Nazi party and one that the justice system has ruled a criminal organization, is the worst thing that can roam the halls of a democracy. This obviously includes the ideas and behaviors that it promotes, because they can transform and evolve, and are therefore hard to root out of society. Strong institutions are the only effective shield against this threat.
Not 24 hours had passed from the liberating verdict branding Golden Dawn a criminal organization before the joy and relief that swept the country gave way to an outpouring of political tension and infighting, with the revival of allegations of political exchanges between the ruling class and Golden Dawn.
The safety valve was blown off by former justice minister Stavros Kontonis, who said as he resigned from SYRIZA that the changes made to the criminal code under the former leftist administration ensure that Golden Dawn’s leadership will receive more lenient sentences – not that the valve was very secure to begin with.
For some time now, the main opposition’s anti-government criticism has been the product of confusion, a string of erratic reactions that mainly denote frustration. This is even more so now, when the “record” is still very fresh and it’s easy to remember examples of political exchanges inside and outside Parliament with the neo-Nazi party.
But politics, they say, is a dirty game – dirty, profoundly cynical and arrogant – and everything is permitted for the sake of staying in power. What with one cliché or another, we soon become easily reconciled with the worst, taking it as a given, because every party will get its hand dirty sooner or later.
However, anyone who engages in any sort of consensual discussion with Golden Dawn, regardless of which political camp they come from, is talking with a gang, with a criminal racket that kills people. This is not a situation that offers itself to games of petty political expediency. When dealing with the devil to stay in power, the time to pay will inevitably come.
We are not through with Golden Dawn. In 2012 it emerged as a force to be reckoned with by stepping on the ruins of the declining old political system. It was the decline of the political system that legitimated these base instincts. As long as this decline persists – in whatever form – the electoral body will continue to look for punitive solutions and increasingly extreme and dangerous ones. The solution may not be called Golden Dawn, but it won’t be much different.