Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Golden Dawn is not going to go away

Helena Smith usually writes tendentious and inaccurate rubbish about Greece for the Guardian and much of this article on Golden Dawn is in the same vein. However, a couple of truths are mentioned at the end of the piece, and these are that despite the murder of left-wing musician Pavlos Fyssas and the vehement reaction to it – including an attempt by the Justice Minister Nikos Dendias to have Golden Dawn declared a criminal organisation – the fact is that Golden Dawn’s appeal, which currently has it as Greece’s third most popular party in opinion polls, is likely to remain in tact, if not fortified, and that this will reveal itself in local elections next year, when Golden Dawn may well take control of a number of councils across the country. (We should also bear in mind that because of a certain stigma attached to expressing support for Golden Dawn, the party’s poll numbers may not reflect the full extent of its popularity).

Smith’s article contains the following:
Although surveys have shown the vast majority of Greeks expressing outrage at Golden Dawn's tactics in the wake of the killing, polls have also revealed the party maintaining steady ground in the areas most affected by the economic crisis. One survey released on Monday showed the group sweeping Athens in municipal elections next year – prompting speculation that the government's crackdown on the group could backfire…
‘For the first time they are being given a huge amount of exposure and air time,’ said Alexis Mantheakis, a political analyst… ‘Before there was a media blackout and they rarely appeared on television. Instead of being deflated, all this coverage is boosting their image and boosting their support. The situation in Greece is much more serious than it seems.’
It is, therefore, wishful thinking on the part of Golden Dawn’s opponents to believe that the murder of Fyssas will result in a collapse of support for the party. Greeks were not in the dark about Golden Dawn’s predilection for violence and Fyssas’ brutal death has not presented them with a reality they were previously unaware of. Rather, Golden Dawn’s ferocity and militancy is part of its appeal to a large number of Greeks who feel sheer hatred for the political and intellectual establishment that has run the country for the last 40 years. Indeed, the unpalatable truth is that the more this political and intellectual establishment denounces Golden Dawn and tries to turn it into a scapegoat for the ills of the country, the more sympathy and support Golden Dawn is likely to attract.

*The video above is from Greek TV and has Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos denying that the alleged killer of Pavlos Fyssas was a core member of his party or that Fyssas’ murder was politically motivated. He also denounces the attempt by the justice minister to have Golden Dawn declared a criminal organisation.

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