April 8, 2013
May and June 2012: Double-round parliamentary elections in Greece, and the far-right party of Golden Dawn receives 7% in nation-wide level. Almost one year later and according to latest polls, Golden Dawn is the only party that achieves to rise its percentage, reaching 12% and turn to be the third political power in Greece. But this is only one aspect of this dangerous shift.
There are many strong indications that democracy in Greece is under serious decline. These indications are not always measurable. Besides polls, somebody has to read behind the lines to discern some meticulously developed facts. The first is that racist feelings are constantly growing in Greece being mainly concentrated around major accusations for the current high rates of criminality to be attributed to the migrants. Accusations stemming from every possible party involved (i.e. Golden Dawn MPs, owners of security companies, merchants, citizens) waging on the fact that many police departments across the country are under-recruited and therefore unable to cover the growing fears of the citizens and control a wide range of criminal acts, from simple burglary to homicide.
The second fact stems from the rhetoric of the political parties. In constant manner, MPs of the coalition government parties are accusing the front opposition left party of SYRIZA that it goes hand in hand with the Golden Dawn in one of the major issues discussed at the Committees of the Greek Parliament and dealing with the so-called “Lagarde List”. Moments of tensions are growing in daily basis triggered by MPs of Golden Dawn in issues that range from pro-semitic comments in a theatrical piece to direct accusations of other parties’ MPs and appaling acts against tv channels (i.e. the spokesman of Golden Dawn urinating publicly in the front door of one of the biggest networks in Greece, Mega Channel). In addition to that, there is growing disrespect against the conventional regulations of the Greek Parliament in terms of phraseology and the general parliamentary bahaving by MPs of the Golden Dawn, phenomena that are increasing as Greece gets deeper into political, economic, and social crisis.
The third fact stems from the role some mainstream media play and deals with the way they decide to present and host the ideas of the Golden Dawn. In almost every talk show in the Greek television, MPs of Golden Dawn are excluded either as a result of their decision or as a result of the denial of other parties’ MPs to seat in the same table with the racists. The conclusion is that there are only few journalists hosting MPs of Golden Dawn in their shows, actually being working at the same channel, called SKAI, which is by the way one of the most influencing and vast news network of the country. The polemique that has been developed as well as the harsh rhetoric and the beliefs from Golden Dawn are something somebody with the least sensitive democratic credentials could not withstand. Nontheless, there is an increasing part of the Greek society that is stimulated by anger-like statements, clashes, and definitely by racist feelings against migrants and foreigners.
The fourth-and last- fact is that Golden Dawn’s strategy is so well-developed and launched on the axis and the gap created between extreme populism and plein barbarism. People in large part are getting emotionally attached to the idea that Golden Drawn could overbreak stalled political and economic conditions in Greece.
After all, I cannot personally explain how come a political party which has never been in the center of mainstream politics steadily representing 0,30% of voting in national elections, literally achieved in one night to gain such significant support. This unexpected development gets even more weird dimensions when someone takes into account how slow are the political developments in Greece and the electoral shifts of the Greek society. In a merely bipolar political system, with center-right and socialism dominating the game, the tremendous rise of Golden Dawn can be strongly explained by various reasons.
Personally, I firmly believe that Golden Dawn has technically “grown” by the deep political establishment itself as a counter-active party that could gather and let unveil all the unrest of the Greek society in times of austerity politics, but in a very controlled manner so that this tendency can never gain majority. Nonetheless, the excessive and numerous deadlocks of the Greek politics have dismantled Golden Dawn from the monitor and now this party can largely designate its political future and influence in the Greek society. In this turning point lie my deepest fears that as Greece has no plan for escaping the crisis, Golden Dawn can hereafter be the chariot of revenge of the Greek society against the political establishment that is accused and blamed for these political and economic deadlocks that have blocked economic growth, rised unemployment, poverty, and criminality rates.
Otherwise, if this scenario is not the case, we should need to ask ourselves whether the Greek society is finally a racist society that for so many decades was masked under the rules of parliamentary democracy and the deep bipolar political system.Dimitris Rapidis