Although this video showing a thuggish BNP patrol harassing anti-fascists was disturbing, the furthest right parties in Britain are generally in a welcome state of disarray. This is not so in other European countries – France, Hungary and particularly Greece.
It’s chilling to read the steady stream of news stories charting the rising popularity of Golden Dawn, the increasingly extreme nature of its actions and policies, and the apparent acquiescence of some in public office to its methods. MP Ioannis Lagos recently protested at Holocaust Memorial Day being marked:
“We have received complaints that on this day, in Greek schools, texts are read which praise the Jews and at the same time portray them as heroes,” Lagos said, according to The International Business Times … In a separate statement, Golden Dawn accused the Greek government of being “the pawn of international Zionism” and of conspiring with Israeli and American Jewish groups.
Anyone is who is, or seems to be, an immigrant is at risk of violent attack from the party’s vigilantes. And as well as spreading hatred and intolerance Golden Dawn (a little like the Muslim Brotherhood) tries to attract support with food handouts, increasingly welcomed given Greece’s dire economic situation.
The profession most readily associated Golden Dawn is the police, large numbers of whom are said to support the party. But here’s a link to a disturbing story about a hospital manager who colluded with Golden Dawn to establish whether employees had residence permits. And of particular concern is Golden Dawn’s growing presence in schools:
Teachers say that there are now organized groups of students supporting Golden Dawn in many schools. Their behaviour in the classroom is described as “hooliganism”; they quarrel with their teachers and classmates about politics turning the class into a battlefield, shouting slogans, interrupting others and insulting those who disagree with them. They attack violently their left-wing or of non-Greek or of minority origin classmates imposing on them “face controls” at the school’s entrance asking them if they are of Greek origin or not.
It’s not just the students who are succumbing to the party’s message:
Finally, questions about the role of the teachers’ attitude toward Golden Dawn have been raised, as there have been incidents that attracted media attention, with school teachers and School Directors expressing their sympathy toward the organization.
The party has recently announced plans to open nursery schools to indoctrinate the next generation with its message of hate and racial supremacy. This report in the Economist draws out the obvious parallels with Nazi Germany.
Now Golden Dawn is targeting pupils at primary schools. Its official website recently hosted pictures of neatly-dressed 6 to ten-year-olds, accompanied by parents, at a “national awakening” session held at a Golden Dawn branch office outside Athens. The session included a discussion on “the Olympian gods, the ancient Greek pantheon and the Christian faith”. More such lessons are planned, says the party.
Shocked educators and commentators drew comparisons with propaganda methods used in Nazi-era Germany and by the military junta that ruled Greece in the 1970s. Golden Dawn was defiant. “You’re bothered by us teaching Greek history? …We’re going to write it, too”, shouted Dimitris Koukoutsis, one of 18 Golden Dawn lawmakers, during a rowdy exchange with left-wingers in parliament.
I haven’t (yet) come across any voices from the further, and more moral compass-challenged, sections of the left wondering if Golden Dawn might have a point. But in this article, ‘Argo Apostasy’, in Counterpunch, Gary Corsieri, without in any way endorsing the Nazi regime, seems to go out of his way to contextualise and soften his account of its rise in a climate of hopelessness and austerity. The article lives up to its unpromising opening gambit, an enthusiastic link to a Press TV posting by Kevin Barrett in which Argo is compared to the propaganda films of Leni Riefenstahl:
As is usually the case at that site, it’s a well-written, well-thought-out piece by someone with creds who has something to say.
Barrett certainly has something to say:
Because America is dominated by a powerful, treasonous Israeli fifth column. As Jewish, pro-Zionist comedian Bill Maher recently admitted, “The Israelis are controlling our government.”
Corsieri has a problem with Barrett’s argument. Surreally, he contests that Argo is ‘more egregious’ than Riefenstahl’s films, reminding readers that Germany was treated very harshly after WWI – which is true, according to my memories of O level history, although, unlike Corsieri, I don’t remember ‘Zionist Jews’ being a key factor.
Corsieri, in a move which readers may remember having seen before on Counterpunch, goes on to suggest that one might well understand why the Germans turned to Hitler:
Following the grotesque war (as all wars are!), Germany suffered a further dozen years of hyper-inflation (wheelbarrows of deutchmarks, etc.), starvation, kids dying in the street, etc. Meantime, kids were dancing the Charleston, etc. during America’s triumphalist Roaring Twenties. So, is it any wonder that German voters turned to Hitler and the Nazis in 1932, and, any more wondrous that by the Berlin Olympics of 1936, artists like Riefenstahl were celebrating a resurrected Germany? … Should we forget that long before there was any kind of “holocaust” engineered by German fanatics, there was at least as terrible a holocaust—in terms of numbers killed, 5-7 million–engineered by our future ally Stalin in Ukraine? … Fact is, Leni Riefenstahl had valid reasons to celebrate the accomplishments of Naziism between 1932 and 1939, and Germany had every reason to be wary of the empires—British, French, Russian and American—that had already devastated it two decades before.
Corsieri concludes his piece:
Let the Occupy Movement emerge from its long winter hibernation and focus its admirable energy on our spurious media—this “entertainment industry” that has cast a vail over common sense and decency for the sake of promoting Zionists, billionaires and corporatists (and let’s throw in the decadent, pederast Catholic Church Establishment, too!). That is the real story that needs to be told!
Parts of this rhetoric could come straight from the mouth of Golden Dawn’s Ioannis Lagos, even though Corsieri clearly believes he is of the left. I can’t imagine Corsieri taking issue with a Golden Dawn complaint that a statement had been designed to attract “the praise of international usurers.” for example.
Finally, perhaps, even though he describes himself as ‘hungry for info’ on his Twitter profile, Jon Snow could find a more salubrious source than Counterpunch.
Hat Tip: Adam Holland