Here’s a disturbing fact that got lost in the widespread (fully unjustified) relief that greeted New Democracy’s victory in the last Greek elections: that “Golden Dawn” party, basically a bunch of neo-Nazis, once again gained 7% of the vote, despite a scandalous TV appearance by one of that party’s leading politicians just prior to this second vote, in which he threw water at as well as actually struck a pair of women panelists who took exception to the far-right opinions he was expressing.
This news tidbit we get in a report out of Athens from Die Tageszeitung reporter Schwabinggrad Ballett (sic; you’ve got to hope that is some sort of nom-de-plume) entitled The Social Holes.
In fact, Golden Dawn’s pre-election outrages were not confined to the TV studio, but also extended to the streets (in the best private fascist army tradition – look up e.g. the Nazi SA, Mussolini’s Black Shirts) where they went around bashing immigrants. Still, they seem to have provoked little if any backlash, other than occasional anti-Golden Dawn demonstrations organized in immigrant communities. The author worries whether we are seeing here the granting of political legitimization to Golden Dawn which most feel they do not deserve.
But it gets worse. Ballett cites figures of between 17% and 25% support for Golden Dawn from the special ballot-boxes where police can go to vote on election day as they take a brief break from duty to do so. What is more, it seems that the party has even started engaging in providing an impressive list of social services to residents of a particularly supportive Athens neighborhood called Agios Panteleimonas: supplying medicines and food to those who need them, taking emergency cases to the hospital, and yes (it’s in the article, though I can’t tell if Ballett is being serious here), helping little old ladies across the street. After all, by and large provision of these sorts of services from the government has melted away, since that government can’t afford them anymore; that’s the meaning of this piece’s title, Social Holes. Golden Dawn leaders may not exactly be as crazy as everyone thinks.
You might want to click through and check out as well that rather chilling picture at the top of the article, apparently of a Golden Dawn street demo – looks like something straight out of Apple’s famed “1984″ TV advertisement.