Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

News & Supplemental  

That 30’s Show

COMMENT: In recent months, many arti­cles and op-ed columns have not­ed the par­al­lels between the present and events in the 1930’s. In par­tic­u­lar, com­men­tary has under­scored the causal­i­ty between the eco­nom­ic des­per­a­tion wrought by the Great Depres­sion and the rise of fas­cism in Ger­many.

 The link between finan­cial cri­sis and the ascen­dance fas­cist polit­i­cal sen­ti­ment echoes a cen­tral theme pre­sent­ed over the decades in the broad­casts and posts on this web­site.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of these arti­cles are a cou­ple of sto­ries fea­tured in a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly inci­sive post by “Pter­rafractyl.” They are worth reca­pit­u­lat­ing for empha­sis. After­ward, we will sup­ple­ment these sto­ries with commentary–none of these sto­ries note that this is not hap­pen­stance. Fas­cism and the Sec­ond World War were not freak occur­rences. 

Rather, they were out­growths of the most pow­er­ful and pro­found eco­nom­ic, reli­gious and “socio-philo­soph­i­cal” forces in our civ­i­liza­tion. Whether or not the hor­rors of “That 30’s Show” are repeat­ed remains to be seen.

After recap­ping a cou­ple of sto­ries, we will rumi­nate about the present politi­co-jour­nal­is­tic land­scape.

“Ghost of Nazi Past Haunts Haunts Aus­ter­i­ty-Gripped Europe: Euro Cred­it” by John Glover; bloomberg.com; 6/22/2012.

EXCERPT: The specter of the 1930s finan­cial cri­sis that cul­mi­nated in the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi par­ty and the Sec­ond World War is stalk­ing Europe.

In May 1931, Cred­i­tanstalt, found­ed in Vien­na by the Roth­schild bank­ing dynasty and the biggest lender in what remained of the Hab­s­burg Empire, suf­fered a run. Its col­lapse after a merg­er with an insol­vent rival sparked a cri­sis that left Ger­many and cen­tral Europe strewn with failed banks, caused defaults in Europe and Latin Amer­ica, knocked the pound off the gold stan­dard, and forced the New York Fed­eral Reserve by Octo­ber to raise its dis­count rate by 2 per­cent­age points.

“The biggest eco­nomic cat­a­stro­phe of the last cen­tury has been, of course, the big cri­sis after 1929,” Ewald Nowot­ny, gov­er­nor of the Aus­trian cen­tral bank, said at a con­fer­ence this week in Vien­na. “I tru­ly can say that when we had the big cri­sis of 2007 and 2008, it was in the back of the mind of every­body, all of us, every cen­tral banker, that we must avoid the mis­takes of the 1930s.”

What Harold James, pro­fes­sor of his­tory and inter­na­tional affairs at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity, calls the “vicious cycle” of con­ta­gion between banks and sov­er­eigns is spin­ning today, just as it was 80 years ago. Spain’s 10-year bor­row­ing cost has aver­aged 6.6 per­cent this month, more than a per­cent­age point high­er than a year ago, after it sought 100 bil­lion euros ($127 bil­lion) to bol­ster its banks.

Local Tax­pay­ers

The Euro­pean Union’s accord with Spain, trig­gered by the col­lapse of Bankia SA, the country’s third-biggest lender, will leave the nation with debt about equiv­a­lent to its annu­al gross domes­tic prod­uct. Ireland’s 63 bil­lion-euro bailout of its banks pushed sov­er­eign debt to 108 per­cent of GDP last year from 44 per­cent in 2008.

“The crit­i­cal thing now and in the 1930s is that you can’t dis­tin­guish between bank and sov­er­eign debt,” said Bri­an Read­ing, an econ­o­mist at Lom­bard Street Research in Lon­don. “As long as bank­ing sys­tems remain nation­al, it doesn’t much mat­ter how inter­na­tional the bank is, local tax­pay­ers are on the hook for it if it col­lapses.”

Under Germany’s aus­ter­ity poli­cies in the 1930s, tax­es rose, ben­e­fits and wages were reduced and unem­ploy­ment soared, stok­ing the pop­u­lar ire that Hitler har­nessed. Extrem­ists are gain­ing ground now as unem­ploy­ment in Greece pass­es the 20 per­cent mark after five years of reces­sion. The far-right Gold­en Dawn won 6.9 per­cent of the vote and 18 seats in the country’s most recent elec­tions. France’s anti-immi­grant, anti-euro Nation­al Front won two seats in par­lia­men­tary elec­tions June 17.

Weak Merg­ers

Cred­i­tanstalt in 1931, like Spain’s Bankia now, was cre­ated by merg­ers with lenders weak­ened by tox­ic loans and cap­i­tal short­falls. After Cred­i­tanstalt failed, the gov­ern­ment stepped in to prop it up, fatal­ly hurt­ing its own cred­it. A run on Austria’s bonds and the schilling ensued . . . .

COMMENT: Paul Krug­man has also not­ed the par­al­lels between the present finan­cial cri­sis and the Cred­i­tanstalt col­lapse, as well as warn­ing about the dan­gers of imple­ment­ing “aus­ter­i­ty” here in this coun­try, as Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt did in 1937, thus per­pet­u­at­ing the Great Depres­sion.

“The Great Abdi­ca­tion” by Paul Krug­man; The New York Times; 6/24/2012.

EXCERPT: Among econ­o­mists who know their his­to­ry, the mere men­tion of cer­tain years evokes shiv­ers. For exam­ple, three years ago Christi­na Romer, then the head of Pres­i­dent Obama’s Coun­cil of Eco­nom­ic Advis­ers, warned politi­cians not to re-enact 1937 — the year F.D.R. shift­ed, far too soon, from fis­cal stim­u­lus to aus­ter­i­ty, plung­ing the recov­er­ing econ­o­my back into reces­sion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this advice was ignored.

But now I’m hear­ing more and more about an even more fate­ful year. Sud­den­ly nor­mal­ly calm econ­o­mists are talk­ing about 1931, the year every­thing fell apart.

It start­ed with a bank­ing cri­sis in a small Euro­pean coun­try (Aus­tria). Aus­tria tried to step in with a bank res­cue — but the spi­ral­ing cost of the res­cue put the government’s own sol­ven­cy in doubt. Austria’s trou­bles shouldn’t have been big enough to have large effects on the world econ­o­my, but in prac­tice they cre­at­ed a pan­ic that spread around the world. Sound famil­iar?

The real­ly cru­cial les­son of 1931, how­ev­er, was about the dan­gers of pol­i­cy abdi­ca­tion. Stronger Euro­pean gov­ern­ments could have helped Aus­tria man­age its prob­lems. Cen­tral banks, notably the Bank of France and the Fed­er­al Reserve, could have done much more to lim­it the dam­age. But nobody with the pow­er to con­tain the cri­sis stepped up to the plate; every­one who could and should have act­ed declared that it was some­one else’s respon­si­bil­i­ty.

And it’s hap­pen­ing again, both in Europe and in Amer­i­ca.

Con­sid­er first how Euro­pean lead­ers have been han­dling the bank­ing cri­sis in Spain. (For­get about Greece, which is pret­ty much a lost cause; Spain is where the fate of Europe will be decid­ed.) Like Aus­tria in 1931, Spain has trou­bled banks that des­per­ate­ly need more cap­i­tal, but the Span­ish gov­ern­ment now, like Austria’s gov­ern­ment then, faces ques­tions about its own sol­ven­cy.

So what should Euro­pean lead­ers — who have an over­whelm­ing inter­est in con­tain­ing the Span­ish cri­sis — do? It seems obvi­ous that Euro­pean cred­i­tor nations need, one way or anoth­er, to assume some of the finan­cial risks fac­ing Span­ish banks. No, Ger­many won’t like it — but with the very sur­vival of the euro at stake, a bit of finan­cial risk should be a small con­sid­er­a­tion.

But no. Europe’s “solu­tion” was to lend mon­ey to the Span­ish gov­ern­ment, and tell that gov­ern­ment to bail out its own banks. It took finan­cial mar­kets no time at all to fig­ure out that this solved noth­ing, that it just put Spain’s gov­ern­ment more deeply in debt. And the Euro­pean cri­sis is now deep­er than ever. . . .

COMMENT: What con­tem­po­rary ana­lysts are NOT pre­sent­ing is the fact that the present state of affairs is not hap­pen­stance. Ger­many is hold­ing the world econ­o­my hostage, insist­ing that bailouts of threat­ened Euro economies by Ger­many will only take place if those coun­tries sur­ren­der polit­i­cal sov­er­eign­ty, allow­ing Ger­many deci­sive say in those nations’ eco­nom­ic mat­ters.

As we have seen so many times, this is no acci­dent. Ger­many is real­iz­ing the goals of the Third Reich which, in turn, sought the actu­al­iza­tion of the the­o­ries of Friedrich List.

Of course, nei­ther Paul Krug­man nor the oth­er com­men­ta­tors observ­ing the omi­nous par­al­lels between the present and “That ’30’s Show” are free to dis­cuss the full panora­ma of events. Whether writ­ing for The New York Times nor Bloomberg News nor any oth­er main­stream media out­let, they are not free to dis­cuss the full panora­ma of events. They are not to be fault­ed for this.

As the bril­liant polit­i­cal come­di­an Mort Sahl not­ed in his auto­bi­og­ra­phy Heart­land, “How many lies can you allow your­self to believe before you belong to the lie?” (Mort Sahl, by the way, was one of the inves­ti­ga­tors work­ing for New Orleans DA Jim Gar­ri­son in his inves­ti­ga­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion.)

Does our world belong to the lie?



5 comments for “That 30’s Show”

  1. How Ger­many is econ­omy hostage with­out or avoid­ing usa econ­o­my.

    Posted by nashir | July 17, 2012, 10:53 pm
  2. It’s kind of fas­ci­nat­ing how casu­al­ly the con­cept of a “Ger­man­ic Empire” is just thrown out there in this op-ed piece:

    Toron­to Star
    Rise of the Ger­man empire
    Pub­lished on Wednes­day July 11, 2012
    Thomas Klassen

    It has nev­er been easy to head an empire. Ask Angela Merkel, the Ger­man chan­cel­lor.

    The empires of the 20th cen­tu­ry have all van­ished. In the decades after World War II, the French, Eng­lish and Por­tuguese reluc­tant­ly with­drew from their remain­ing colo­nial lands in Africa and Asia, often with great blood­shed. The han­dover of Hong Kong from the British to the Chi­nese in 1997 marked the sym­bol­ic end of the old empires.

    But empires have not gone away, rather they have mutat­ed.

    Today, two great empires strad­dle the globe. The Amer­i­can empire is based on the pow­er of the U.S. dol­lar as the world’s reserve cur­ren­cy and the wide­spread adop­tion of U.S.-style cap­i­tal­ism.

    The oth­er empire is Ger­many. It dom­i­nates by its sheer size, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and the fis­cal pru­dence of its gov­ern­ment, the Euro­pean Union and the com­mon cur­ren­cy of most of Europe, the euro. That the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank — charged with set­ting mon­e­tary pol­i­cy for the euro­zone — has its head­quar­ters in Frank­furt is no coin­ci­dence.


    Trou­ble in empires often aris­es at the far fron­tiers. This was true of the Roman Empire and is again true today.

    The crises in Ire­land and Greece, at the fur­thest reach­es of the euro­zone, illus­trate that the rules set down by the emper­or are not always, or even usu­al­ly, obeyed at the periph­ery. As well, emper­ors have always kept clos­er watch on their near­est dom­i­na­tions and let their atten­tion wan­der from the dis­tant colonies.

    As the euro cri­sis drifts from Greece to Por­tu­gal and Spain and pos­si­bly next to Italy, the cit­i­zens of those coun­tries are being faced with a stark choice. Remain in the empire or forge an inde­pen­dent, and soli­tary, future.

    The empire offers pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty (from infla­tion, inter­na­tion­al com­pe­ti­tion and mil­i­tary aggres­sion) and oppor­tu­ni­ties (for jobs and edu­ca­tion) but exacts its price in unwant­ed and often ago­niz­ing oblig­a­tions. But this has always been the nature of empires.

    Chan­cel­lor Merkel, like emper­ors through the ages, well real­izes that sub­jects will grum­ble and com­plain but that open revolts are few. She can remain con­fi­dent that although the euro cri­sis has made the mus­cle of the Ger­man empire more vis­i­ble, it is in no dan­ger of decline.

    Yeah, that “mus­cle” is cer­tain­ly more vis­i­ble these days. Crack that whip Angela!

    Bloomberg News
    Merkel Says More Work Is Need­ed to Make Euro­pean Project Suc­ceed
    By Tony Czucz­ka on July 18, 2012

    Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel called on fel­low lead­ers to work hard­er to make Europe suc­ceed with­out wait­ing for uncon­di­tion­al Ger­man help, sug­gest­ing the euro will be in jeop­ardy unless pol­i­cy mak­ers do more to defend it.

    “We haven’t yet shaped the Euro­pean project in a way that we can be sure that every­thing will work, will turn out well,” Merkel said in an inter­view post­ed on her Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­t­ic Union party’s web­site today. “That means we have to keep work­ing. Still, I’m opti­mistic that we will suc­ceed.”

    One day before Ger­man law­mak­ers vote on a Euro­pean bank bailout for Spain, Merkel indi­cat­ed that she won’t take on addi­tion­al bur­dens to stem the euro area’s debt cri­sis with­out stronger checks on coun­tries’ bud­gets. The prin­ci­ple of “no lia­bil­i­ty unless we can real­ly exer­cise con­trol” is shared by “a large part” of the Ger­man pop­u­la­tion, she said.


    The econ­o­my, while show­ing signs of slow­ing, is still far­ing bet­ter than its coun­ter­parts. Unem­ploy­ment rose in June for the fourth month this year, yet remains at a two-decade low of 6.8 per­cent. The Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund on July 16 raised its fore­cast for Ger­man eco­nom­ic growth this year to 1 per­cent, while pre­dict­ing the 17-nation euro area will con­tract 0.3 per­cent.

    Ger­many “only does well if our Euro­pean neigh­bors are doing well,” Merkel said in the inter­view. Even so, that euro coun­tries can’t expect “sol­i­dar­i­ty” unless they make an effort of their own in return remains one of her “basic prin­ci­ples,” she said.

    Speak­ing to reporters lat­er after talks with Thai Prime Min­is­ter Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra, Merkel said that she was “opti­mistic” low­er-house law­mak­ers will approve Spain’s res­cue aid in tomorrow’s vote. The chan­cel­lor said that she saw “no indi­ca­tions” of any need for fur­ther spe­cial ses­sions of par­lia­ment this sum­mer.

    In the inter­view, Merkel, who grew up in for­mer East Ger­many and turned 58 yes­ter­day, said the col­lapse of Com­mu­nism still shapes her view of Europe and the world.

    “I’m inspired by the expe­ri­ence of free­dom,” she said. “I lived for many years in East Ger­many and I know what it means when you can’t trav­el and when you can’t speak your mind freely. It’s great that we have over­come the Cold War and that we don’t have to fear war today in Europe.”

    You have to won­der how much the Ger­man pub­lic has real­ly thought this though. The way this whole thing is being struc­tured now, if a euro­zone mem­ber breaks the new bud­get rules, it los­es sov­er­eign­ty and gets to go into the aus­ter­i­ty death-spi­ral. So main­tain­ing con­trol of this empire is depen­dent on NEVER RUNNING INTO ECONOMIC TROUBLES EVEN FOR A FEW YEARS. At some point Ger­many itself is going to have to break its own bud­get rules. After all, it’s already hap­pened. And south­ern Europe’s economies will EVENTUALLY reemerge...as the empire’s low-wag labor mar­ket. That’s the point of the “inter­nal deval­u­a­tion” Angela & Friends have been push­ing for this whole time. And when all those won­der­ful, high-wage/high-ben­e­fits jobs leave Ger­many (low­er wages help keep down infla­tion, and infla­tion is the biggest threat in the world, right?), we may and up see­ing a weird mer­ry-go-round of coun­tries get­ting to their own turns to crack the aus­ter­i­ty-whip. It’s not hard to imag­ine why amoral eco­nom­ic elites would LOVE this kind of set up, but it’s real­ly baf­fling why the Ger­man pub­lic wants this. Impe­r­i­al sol­i­dar­i­ty through shared beat downs. Sounds awe­some.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 18, 2012, 8:36 am
  3. This new piece on antiwar.com cov­ers some famil­iar ground for FTR listeners/Spitfirelist read­ers: http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2012/10/28/deja-vu-fascism-on-the-rise/

    Posted by Mike J. | November 5, 2012, 5:18 am
  4. http://www.dw.de/neo-nazis-form-expanding-networks-beyond-national-borders/a‑17104509

    Neo-Nazis form expand­ing net­works beyond nation­al bor­ders

    The coop­er­a­tion between right-wing extrem­ists from dif­fer­ent coun­tries is gain­ing strength. Experts warn that this phe­nom­e­non could have dan­ger­ous con­se­quences.

    The mur­der of Pav­los Fys­sas seems to have served as a wake up call for the Greek author­i­ties. An antifas­cist activist and rap­per, Fys­sas was stabbed to death on Wednes­day (Sep­tem­ber 18) near Athens.

    The sus­pect­ed offend­er was a mem­ber of the neo-Nazi polit­i­cal par­ty Gold­en Dawn. The par­ty, which gained near­ly 7 per­cent of the votes in the Greek par­lia­men­tary elec­tions of 2012, has denied any involve­ment.

    But the author­i­ties are nev­er­the­less deter­mined to take a stronger stance against right-wing extrem­ism. In sev­er­al Greek cities, police offi­cers have arrest­ed par­ty mem­bers who pos­sess weapons.

    Pan-Euro­pean net­works

    Gold­en Dawn has allies all over Europe. In 2004, it joined the Euro­pean Nation­al Front alliance togeth­er with oth­er Euro­pean far-right par­ties, includ­ing Ger­many’s NPD and Spain’s La Falange. In Ger­many, recent inves­ti­ga­tions into the mur­ders com­mit­ted by the neo-Nazi group NSU (Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground) have revealed an exten­sive inter­na­tion­al net­work that serves the inter­ests of right-wing extrem­ists.

    “Neo-Nazis began to net­work, also on an inter­na­tion­al lev­el, in the mid-1990s or even ear­li­er,” said Berlin-based polit­i­cal sci­en­tist and right-wing extrem­ism expert Hajo Funke.

    Andreas Speit, a Ham­burg-based author of sev­er­al books on right-wing extrem­ism, says that neo-Nazi activ­i­ty can be broad­ly divid­ed into three dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories.

    “You have to dis­tin­guish between three types: the sub­cul­ture scene, the vio­lent neo-Nazis and the pol­i­tics,” Speit said.

    He has observed that, on the cul­tur­al lev­el, net­work­ing is being done at right-wing rock con­certs. Ger­man bands with racist song lyrics tour all around Europe.

    “As a right-wing rock band, you can per­form in coun­tries like Italy or Greece,” added Speit. CDs with songs that are banned in Ger­many are pro­duced abroad and then brought into the coun­try.

    Ger­man neo-Nazis com­mit vio­lence abroad

    Experts have observed a form of cross-bor­der coop­er­a­tion between vio­lent neo-Nazis. Inter­na­tion­al­ly active groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Com­bat 18 and Blood and Hon­our can help indi­vid­u­als want­ed for right-wing crimes go into hid­ing in oth­er coun­tries.

    “Such groups have become stronger in recent years because domes­tic intel­li­gence agen­cies have allowed it to hap­pen,” Funke said.

    This inter­na­tion­al net­work­ing results in vio­lent Ger­man neo-Nazis com­mit­ting crimes abroad.

    “There have been inci­dents of Ger­man neo-Nazis trav­el­ing to the Czech Repub­lic and tak­ing part in attacks on Roma and Sin­ti peo­ple — or going to Greece to see how the Gold­en Dawn oper­ates,” explained Speit. “You could call this vio­lence tourism.”

    How­ev­er, right-wing extrem­ists also attempt to gain influ­ence through legal meth­ods. The Euro­pean Alliance for Free­dom and the Alliance of Euro­pean Nation­al Move­ments are two par­ties that plan to run for office in the next Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions.

    Ide­ol­o­gy of ‘eth­no-plu­ral­ism’

    But why do nation­al­ists from var­i­ous coun­tries work with each oth­er?

    “Neo-Nazis don’t think in terms of nation­al bor­ders,” said Speit. “They don’t hin­der each oth­er’s activ­i­ties but instead they want to see the white race main­tain pow­er around the world. And as long as for­eign­ers stay in their own coun­tries, the neo-Nazis have noth­ing against them. The ide­ol­o­gy at play here is eth­no-plu­ral­ism.”

    The one thing that unites the right-wing par­ties from all coun­tries is hatred of Jews. This is a rea­son why many neo-Nazis had great respect for for­mer Iran­ian pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad, who open­ly spoke against Israel and threat­ened to destroy it. The bond between Islamists and neo-Nazis is not a new phe­nom­e­non, how­ev­er.

    “Already in the 1920s there were strong alliances between the right-wing groups of Europe but also with the Arab world,” said Speit, adding that the ide­ol­o­gy behind this was banal. “The right-wing extrem­ists real­ized that the oth­er group was also fond of uphold­ing its old tra­di­tions, includ­ing those per­tain­ing to deal­ing with women.”

    Impact of eco­nom­ic cri­sis

    Accord­ing to Speit, right-wing ide­ol­o­gy is spread­ing inter­na­tion­al­ly. This is part­ly due to the effects of the eco­nom­ic cri­sis and the uncer­tain­ty felt by the mid­dle class. The net­work­ing between neo-Nazis only exac­er­bates the prob­lem.

    “We can expect that they will get more man­dates dur­ing the next EU par­lia­men­tary elec­tions,” said Speit.

    The move­ment is also “unbe­liev­ably active” on the music scene. Young peo­ple from small towns are eas­i­ly excit­ed by the local right-wing extrem­ists get­ting the chance to trav­el to Italy to attend a con­cert. This is why it is impor­tant to take pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures.

    “Turn­ing away does­n’t solve the prob­lem,” said Speit. “If you con­front right-wing extrem­ists, you have a chance to change them.”

    Posted by Vanfield | September 24, 2013, 11:09 am
  5. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e5046b8c-3261–11e3-b3a7-00144feab7de.html#axzz2hdEIdrGe

    Octo­ber 11, 2013 1:55 pm
    Greek police ‘infil­trat­ed’ by Gold­en Dawn

    By Kerin Hope in Athens

    Greece’s neo-Nazi Gold­en Dawn par­ty has pen­e­trat­ed the country’s police force, set up caches of heavy weapons in remote loca­tions and trained its recruits to car­ry out bru­tal attacks against immi­grants and polit­i­cal oppo­nents, accord­ing to the country’s top secu­ri­ty offi­cial.

    Nikos Den­dias, min­is­ter of pub­lic order and civ­il pro­tec­tion, said in an inter­view with the Finan­cial Times that Gold­en Dawn’s cult of extreme vio­lence was “unique” among Euro­pean far-right groups.

    He has assigned the police antiter­ror­ism unit to probe the party’s alleged­ly crim­i­nal activ­i­ties, after Pav­los Fys­sas, a left­wing rap­per, was fatal­ly stabbed on Sep­tem­ber 15 by a Gold­en Dawn activist in a low-income Athens neigh­bour­hood.

    But anoth­er rea­son for tak­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion away from the reg­u­lar police force is that it has been infil­trat­ed by Gold­en Dawn. Some police offi­cers in dis­tricts with size­able immi­grant pop­u­la­tions have gone beyond col­lud­ing with local neo-Nazis to set up polit­i­cal cells with­in their units, Mr Den­dias said.

    “I have brought in the inter­nal affairs divi­sion of the force to clar­i­fy exact­ly what sort of struc­tures Gold­en Dawn has with­in the police,” Mr Den­dias said. “We know these cells exist, we have evi­dence. We will take firm mea­sures.”

    Gold­en Dawn declined to com­ment on Mr Dendias’s alle­ga­tions when con­tact­ed by the FT on Fri­day.

    Greece’s con­sti­tu­tion bans the out­law­ing of polit­i­cal par­ties. How­ev­er, a Greek supreme court pros­e­cu­tor has ruled that the par­ty act­ed as a crim­i­nal organ­i­sa­tion, open­ing the way for a full-scale inves­ti­ga­tion of its 18 mem­bers of par­lia­ment and dozens of activist mem­bers.

    Nikos Mihalo­li­akos, Gold­en Dawn’s leader, and two oth­er deputies are in jail await­ing tri­al.

    The move to crack down on Gold­en Dawn fol­lows an esca­la­tion of vio­lent inci­dents in recent months. Ana­lysts say attacks became more fre­quent because of police foot-drag­ging over mak­ing arrests of Gold­en Dawn sym­pa­this­ers and reluc­tance by politi­cians to take a strong stand against it.
    More video

    Mr Den­dias rejects crit­i­cism that the coali­tion gov­ern­ment under pre­mier Anto­nis Sama­ras, leader of the cen­tre-right New Democ­ra­cy par­ty, has shown exces­sive tol­er­ance of Gold­en Dawn’s activ­i­ties.

    “I have been con­cerned about them since the day I was appoint­ed,” he said. “We were already inves­ti­gat­ing but it was the (Fys­sas) mur­der that made clear we had sol­id grounds to pro­ceed against them as a crim­i­nal organ­i­sa­tion.”

    Infor­ma­tion that Gold­en Dawn has stashed offen­sive weapons in strate­gic loca­tions around Greece appears to be accu­rate even though none have so far been found, Mr Den­dias said.
    “So far we have not been able to sub­stan­ti­ate these alarm­ing alle­ga­tions. We’re look­ing in some unusu­al places  . .  and the search will con­tin­ue”

    - Nikos Den­dias

    “We are search­ing across the coun­try but so far we have not been able to sub­stan­ti­ate these alarm­ing alle­ga­tions. We’re look­ing in some unusu­al places, monas­ter­ies in the coun­try­side, for exam­ple, and the search will con­tin­ue.”

    Some ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive priests in the Greek ortho­dox church have voiced sup­port for Gold­en Dawn, buck­ing the offi­cial dis­ap­proval of church author­i­ties.

    Pros­e­cu­tors called this week for six more Gold­en Dawn law­mak­ers to be stripped of their par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty. Among them is Eleni Zarou­lia, the wife of Mr Mihalo­li­akos, accused of send­ing a 9‑millimetre bul­let to her hus­band this week con­cealed in a pile of under­wear she took to Kory­dal­los prison.

    Opin­ion polls show Gold­en Dawn’s pop­u­lar­i­ty has plunged since the stab­bing from 11–13 per cent to around 7 per cent, the per­cent­age of the vote it won at last year’s gen­er­al elec­tion when it entered par­lia­ment for the first time. Nev­er­the­less, it is still the third most pop­u­lar par­ty behind the gov­ern­ing New Democ­ra­cy and Pan­hel­lenic Social­ist Move­ment.

    Yet the gov­ern­ment has not gained from the crack­down. It is still polling at the pre­vi­ous 20–22 per cent lev­el, neck-and-neck with Syriza, the rad­i­cal left oppo­si­tion. And some com­men­ta­tors have ques­tioned whether the move against Gold­en Dawn might back­fire if it is seen to be a polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed vendet­ta by the gov­ern­ment.

    Ana­lysts say Gold­en Dawn’s vot­er base is main­ly among peo­ple hit hard by the country’s eco­nom­ic cri­sis, both young Greeks try­ing to join the labour mar­ket and the over-40s, who feel angry and frus­trat­ed at los­ing their jobs.

    The crack­down has sharply cur­tailed the party’s activ­i­ties both in Athens and more than 50 region­al offices that pro­vide hand­outs of food and also organ­ise reg­u­lar activ­i­ties includ­ing mil­i­tary-style train­ing for would-be mem­bers and torch­lit neo-Nazi events, accord­ing to Anto­nis Elli­nas, a polit­i­cal-sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Cyprus Uni­ver­si­ty.

    “The num­ber of par­ty events has dropped sharply all over Greece since the stab­bing but the opin­ion polls show that core sup­port for Gold­en Dawn has not been affect­ed,” Mr Elli­nas said.” This might imply an entrenched accep­tance of the use of vio­lence in Greek polit­i­cal cul­ture.”

    Mem­bers of Greece’s Pak­istani com­mu­ni­ty, one of the main tar­gets of Gold­en Dawn’s attacks, say they do not feel any safer than before.

    “It’s too soon to say whether the racist attacks will stop,” said Mohammed Aziz, a ware­house super­vi­sor and Greek res­i­dent for more than 15 years. “It’s good the gov­ern­ment has final­ly react­ed but we know the neo-Nazis won’t give up so eas­i­ly.”

    Posted by Vanfield | October 13, 2013, 11:34 am

Post a comment