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The rise of the Right and Far Right in Greece

April 21, 2016

 

Andreas Karitzis, a former SYRIZA member and former member of its Central Committee and Political Secretariat, has recently published a very interesting article on what he calls the "Syriza experience" and what lessons we can all draw from it. 

 

One paragraph stuck out the most:

 

"Today in Greece a ‘Left government’ is implementing austerity, leftwing people are confused and ‘The Left’ is turning into a pro-memorandum political force in people’s minds. Nationalists and fascists have remained the only ‘natural hosts’ of popular rage and resentment, the expected emotional outcomes of the burial of hope we witnessed last summer."

 

Of course the Left put up a fight, but against the European Institutions it lost. When the Troika took the fight against an elected government it didn't just punish the Greek Left, but empowered the Greek Right. 

 

This was predicted by Yanis Varoufakis when he said: "The "10 Nazis" of Golden Dawn would "inherit the mantle of the anti-austerity drive". 

 

In the last Greek election in September 2015 Golden Dawn, the neo-fascist group, came in third with 7% of the vote. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:

 

"In absolute terms Golden Dawn saw a small fall in support, with about 380,000 votes compared with 388,000 in January, however it was smaller than the fall in support for the other main parties."

 

The Guardian put:

 

"Before the outbreak of Greece’s great debt crisis, the far-rightists were a fringe party on the political scene gaining less than 0.5% of the vote."

 

Another more recent report has pointed out:

 

"If the Greek ultra-right Golden Dawn party was a political phenomenon difficult to stomach for many, it may be more interesting to look at the latest tribulations in the right of center politics in Greece. The cards are being reshuffled and a new party of the “genuine” right is being formed."

 

This concerns not only the declining support of SYRIZA, but the rise in what the author calls the Greek "New Right". 

 

The article mentions the creation of a brand new party in the country currently just called "New Party" unofficially, but likely to be called "Nation"

 

Georgios Karatzaferis, the leader, describes his new party as the “Syriza of the right,” implying a populist message from the right of centre. 

 

"Karatzaferis said the new party will attract those who voted for the Golden Dawn out of indignation, but also the disillusioned voters of New Democracy and the Independent Greeks, as well as the ones who voted to “mock” the system."

 

Gallingly, he recently said that Greece should be out of the eurozone and not pay its debts because “they [Europeans] owe us the teaching fees from when we were teaching them letters 2,500 years ago!”

 

As Karitzis, at the start of this article, points out the nationalists have remained the natural hosts of popular rage and that appears to be growing, among the Right and Far Right. 

 

When the Troika turned on a Left-wing government, it must have known that an unintended consequence (if it was so) was a gift to the Greek Right, but continued regardless. 

 

Now, with the refugee crisis and the constant state of despair in Greece since the financial meltdown - which the Greek people had no hand in - Golden Dawn enjoy a comfortable third place position - despite half of their leadership being behind bars. 

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