Friday, September 27, 2013

C. J. Polychroniou — The Surge of Neo-Nazism in Greece

...in spite of all the controversy still surrounding Adorno's The Authoritarian Personality, and the study of political psychology in general, fascism is much more of a state of mind and a psychological predisposition than a political ideology based on concrete socio-economic analysis and rational assumptions and explanations, such as, say, Marxism. No economic or political theory can explain the actual behavior of those supporting fascism or Nazism as future social orders....
A combination of psychological, cultural, structural and historical factors is needed to explain the sudden rise of neo-Nazism in Greece. While the economic crisis in Greece has devastating effects for the majority of its people and has spurred the growth of a mass neo-Nazi organization, it would be a mistake to conclude that Golden Dawn is a product solely of the crisis. In the modern era, Greece has always had a strong authoritarian political tradition and a strong fascist element. Authoritarianism and fascism thrived in Greece from the 1940s through the mid-1970s. Censorship, political imprisonment, torture, concentration camps and killing political opponents run like a red thread through Greece's modern political history....
Big capital - and the notorious shipping tycoon business community - always backed the most reactionary political forces in Greece. So did, unfortunately, a sizable percentage of the Greek citizenry, especially among the rural population and the petty bourgeoisie....
After the re-establishment of parliamentary democracy, much of the extreme right and the "silent majority" that had backed the junta gravitated toward the conservative party of New Democracy. In the decades ahead, what remains of the fascist movement is a handful of die-hard fanatics, but this does not mean that the extreme right is extinct. It is still everywhere, with a particularly strong presence in the ranks of the police, which has always been an employment magnet for the most conservative and reactionary elements of Greek society....
The close ties between the Greek police and the neo-Nazis are beyond dispute. Polls seem to indicate that the majority of police officers voted in the previous elections for the Golden Dawn Party....
Equally appalling, behind the political violence orchestrated by the Greek neo-Nazis has been the position of the Greek Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection, which has launched its own pogroms against immigrants and has so far used double standards in the way it reacts to the violence of the left and to the crimes committed by Golden Dawn....
The surge of neo-Nazism in Greec certainly would not have been possible without the ongoing economic catastrophe and the social decay caused by the policies of fiscal sadism conceived by the EU and the IMF and enforced by the servile and thoroughly incompetent Greek political establishment in exchange for the bailout loans; but neither would it have materialized had it not been for the presence of a long historical tradition of authoritarianism and fascism in Greece....
Another point of clarification. Golden Dawn in Greece does not qualify as a political party of the extreme right. It is a neo-Nazi party, imitating all the habits and practices of Hitler's National Socialist German Workers' Party. It is an outright criminal organization, engaging, among other things, in protection rackets. And like Hitler's party early on, it is being used by others for various political purposes, including political destabilization....
A major question around Golden Dawn involves the funding of its activities, which lately include efforts to purchase mass media outlets. There is a widespread rumor that it receives substantial financial support from the Greek shipping community. This would come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Greek politics were it proven to be true. In past history, all reactionary political forces in Greece - including the monarchy and the junta - enjoyed the financial support of shipowners. This is a show of their gratitude to Greek democracy for being exempt from paying taxes to the state on their profits.
Truthout | Opinion
The Surge of Neo-Nazism in Greece
C. J. Polychroniou | Research Associate and Policy Fellow at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College (USA) and an interviewer and columnist for the nationally distributed Greek newspaper The Sunday Eleftherotypia.

Collaboration of big capital, rightists in government, police, and extremists. Sound familiar to anyone?

2 comments:

y said...

'Polychroniou'. What an excellent name.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Who’s calling who a “Nazi”?

One of the defining characteristics of Nazism in the 1930s/40s was invading other countries for no good reason and killing thousands of their inhabitants.

Republicans and Democrats, aided by both the main political parties in the UK and various others invaded Iraq for no good reason, or at least for reasons which were very debatable. And million Muslims were slaughtered.

Then Golden Dawn allegedly kills JUST ONE singer or whoever he was, and the elite in the US, UK and elsewhere go into a fit of righteous indignation.

The hypocrisy and double standards are just awesome.