by George Gilson
Thursday’s attack by Golden Dawn MP captures the headlines
The televised attack against two leftwing MPs – Liana Kaneli of the Communist Party (KKE) and Rena Dourou of Syriza – by far right Golden Dawn party spokesman and MP candidate Ilias Kasidiaris captured headlines and intense media attention, both in Greece and internationally. Kasidiaris splashed a glass of water in Dourou’s face – after she said that Golden Dawn will bring Greece 500 years backwards – and then he started swinging and slapping Kanelli, after she arose to defend Dourou. The two had verbally attacked Kasidiaris personally and the party, and he responded in the only way he knew, the Golden Dawn way – brute force.
Golden Dawn is known for violence, usually against migrants, but after it managed to enter parliament in the May 6 elections, they started flexing their muscle on a wider stage, and more conspicuously. An attack on students at the Panteion University yesterday evening was also attributed to members of the group, as have other incidents around the country.
The rise of the far right in Greece has multiple explanations. The skyrocketing unemployment and poverty led many into desperation and a protest vote. The ridiculously simplistic blanket condemnation of the whole political system since 1974 that has become popular since economic disaster struck in 2010 has played a major role in fueling an anti-parliamentary sentiment among large swathes of desperate Greeks. Golden Dawn represents itself as the quintessential anti-system party, which in its case effectively means anti-parliamentary democracy – though it does not mention the last bit.
Finally, the rediscovery by New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras of the left-right polarization that it took Greece decades to shake off – combined with Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras’ insistence on forming a left-wing government, even though the vast majority of voters did not vote for leftwing parties – has turned the real debate over the bailout memorandum into an artificial Cold War battle over largely defunct ideological divisions. For Golden Dawn – which has very deep neo-fascists roots, going as far back as the 1930’s and, later, the Greek Civil War – that kind of outmoded ideological warfare is its lifeblood. The political establishment bears responsibility for the neo-fascist monstrosity that is growing in the Great Depression of post-modern Greece. Many wonder when it will assume that responsibility – and many others.
Many on the left have charged for years that Golden Dawn cooperates with police in downtrodden, high crime, inner city areas that have become migrant ghettos. There, according to locals, they play the Good Samaritan to elderly people, offer protection to small shopkeepers, and beat up migrants (when they aren’t giving the fascist salute).
“No to violence” proclaimed Ta Nea’s headline, which featured a wall of front page photos of politicians who have been subjected to political violence (not only far right) from yoghurt-throwing to punches.
“Black Dawn: Far right mayhem on live TV” declared Ethnos’ headline. The paper reported that all political parties condemned the violence.
Kathimerini’s alarmist headline spoke of a “Danger of exit from Schengen Area”. The report said that the European Commission says that border checks may be reinstated at the border of certain member states, which according to the report alludes to Greece.