The Greek parliamentary elections have seen the emergence as a electoral force of the Golden Dawn. Despite having a name which as helpfully pointed out by the twitter machine is reminiscent of a dodgy Chinese takeaway they are a un-reconstructed fascist organisation. They are complete with a Swastika-esque flag, a membership made up of rather unsavoury characters, and an electoral platform which consisted of calling for the land mining of Greece’s border and the use of the slogan “Let’s rid this country of the stench” in reference to Greece’s immigrant population.
The reaction in the media has rather understandably been that of horror followed by the usual navel-gazing about the rise of extremist right wing movements that fails to analyse just why such groups emerge in a meaningful way.
One key element that should be understood is that the space for such groups exists due to the fact that a form of extremism already holds the reins of power. I’m speaking of course of the campaign of austerity at all costs which is being imposed across Europe and elsewhere.
What word but extremism should be used to describe a movement that has maintained its ideological course for so long despite its unanimously disastrous effects upon both our economies and societies. A movement which has also shown an increasing amount of disdain for democratic values and even if necessary the democratic process such as became apparent in the debacle that saw George Papandreou deposed in favour of a technocratic led government under Papademos.
Is it any wonder with political systems from Ireland to Greece finding themselves increasingly delegitimised in the eyes of their citizens? As they continue their futile pursuit of austerity into the abyss it is natural that forces such as Golden Dawn are emerging. Extremism begets extremism.