Americans should learn from recent rise and fall of fascist politics in Greece

by Panagioti Tsolkas

The neo-Nazis in Greek Parliament who celebrated Trump’s first election, have since been ousted from the government and labeled a violent, criminal organization.

But their presence as elected officials for nearly a decade speaks to deeper political and social trends that are mirrored in other counties including the U.S.

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Golden Dawn supporters at a rally in Athens in 2014. Photograph: Yannis Kolesidis/AP

As a former Golden Dawn elected official and spokesperson, Ilias Panagiotaros, said to a reporter in 2016, “Trump is the planet’s keeper. He’s the president of the world’s superpower, and whether you like him or not, his policies are now validating beliefs and concerns across the globe.”

He continued, “Trump’s policies have given us a new wind of support. It’s validating and reinforcing our nationalistic and patriotic policies — policies that we have been advocating for years.”

Here in the U.S., groups with views similar to Golden Dawn have been growing support under Trump. At the first presidential debate last month, rather than condemn violent right-wing extremists like the Proud Boys, he told them to “stand by.”

For those of us who grew up as Greek-Americans, its very likely that our parents or grandparents knew what it meant to live under both a fascist occupation and the military dictatorship that arose in its aftermath (as is similar for many with recent immigrant backgrounds in the county). They also knew what it meant to be immigrants and refugees searching for better lives.

Let’s remember that for when we go to the polls this week and perhaps more importantly, for whatever may come next if the militia groups Trumps told to stand by decide to step up.

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For more on Golden Dawn and the recent Greek court ruling, I suggest checking “Why did Golden Dawn’s neo-Nazi leaders get away with it for so long?” by Daniel Trilling, published in The Guardian, 10/8/2020

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