19 June 2014

Why did Golden Dawn do so well in the 2014 elections

Many people wondered why Golden Dawn did so well in the Greek EU elections, despite being presented as a criminal and violent organisation. As a French living in Greece and as an ex-candidate for D66 in the Netherlands, now trying to help Greek social liberal Kinonia Axion, I think it is pretty clear why Golden Dawn is having good results, despite the heavy charges weighing on its leaders.

First, they are the only current Greek party with a very intensive grass root organisation and grass root activities. One might not like what they do (and obviously murder and racket of immigrants is the worst kind), but most people only see the “nicer” face of the organisation. It is the face which distributes food to the poor, helps older members of the community, defends households against the rising violence. Also, it should be noted that most people don't trust the media (owned by the Greek families which are manipulating the country behind closed doors). These media present in a very spectacular way Golden Dawn as a terror group. People don't trust that, just like they don't trust the police or the government. Everyone knows here there is little to expect from the corrupt justice system and law enforcement apparatus.

Another obvious reason is that, unlike Portugal, Greece is totally unused to mass immigration. And one has to recognize that in the last 10 years, immigration has literally exploded in Greece. The Western media always speak about Lampedusa (in Italy) or Melilla (Spain). But the fact of the matter is that the majority of immigrants to the EU enter via Greece. For such a small population and poor country, it is simply unbearable. Nothing is ready to tackle the flow of migrants, often arriving in absolute misery but meeting even worst conditions when detained here, following the idiotic Dublin 2 rules that the EU imposed on Greece. No wonder they turn to criminality or prostitution, facing as a consequence the hostility of the locals. Golden Dawn thrives on this kind of feelings. Many Greeks see no problem in an organisation which gets rid of some of the "dark skinned guys who roam our streets and are ready to kill an old lady for a 20 euro note".

Last but not least of the reasons why Golden Dawn is doing so well is, unfortunately, the nationalistic and conservative traditions of the Greek system. Greece is a very religious, traditional and in many regions quite conservative country. Beyond the rather “leftist” Athens, most provinces have deep nationalistic roots. It is not so far ago that the government was a military junta. While this junta was toppled by the rich families dominating the Greek politics, allied with the leftist youth of 70′s Athens, it had quite a lot of popular support. God, fatherland, family values and the “Great Greece” idea still sell quite well in the Greek political landscape… no wonder that the most disgruntled vote Golden Dawn.