Whatever you think of Golden Dawn’s personnel, policies, and optics, the latest news from Greece is not good for democracy:
ATHENS — In a landmark verdict in Greece’s highest-profile political trial in decades, an Athens court on Wednesday found the neo-fascist party Golden Dawn guilty of running a criminal organization as it rose to prominence during the country’s financial crisis, systematically targeting migrants and left-wing critics. The ruling came more than five years after the trial began in a makeshift courtroom in Greece’s largest high-security prison near Athens, and as at the beginning of the trial, none of the party officials were in the courtroom where the verdict was announced.
But thousands of Greek citizens had gathered outside the court on Wednesday, waving banners reading, “They are not innocent,” “Nazis out” and “Life terms to the murderers,” as some 2,000 police officers patrolled the area and helicopters and drones circled above.
The three-judge criminal court tied the party to a string of attacks including the fatal stabbing in 2013 of a left-wing rapper, Pavlos Fyssas. The party member who stabbed Mr. Fyssas, Giorgos Roupakias, was found guilty of murder on Wednesday.
Another five Golden Dawn supporters or members were found guilty of attempted murder over assaults on three Egyptian fishermen in 2012, while four were found guilty of causing bodily harm over assaults on members of Greece’s Communist Party trade union in 2013.
Golden Dawn’s case is that the party had no direct link to the attacks and that the charges and trial are “politically motivated.”
Yes, some Golden Dawn members were involved in violent incidents. That is undeniable. But this did not occur in a vacuum. Golden Dawn was constantly subjected to violent attacks by antifa and extreme leftists, who were noticeably absent from the trial for their crimes, including this “unsolved” attack mentioned at Wikipedia:
On 1 November 2013, two men approached the party headquarters in Neo Irakleio, a northern suburb of Athens, and fired indiscriminately. Golden Dawn members Giorgos Fountoulis and Manos Kapelonis were struck and killed, and a third man, Alexandros Gerontas, was seriously injured. A witness reported that a man got off a motorcycle, wearing a helmet, and fired. Police described the shooting as a “terrorist attack”.
Despite constant vilification by the media, the party scored nearly 10% of the vote a few years back. This popularity was based on the party’s championing of working-class Whites hit hardest by Greece’s Neo-liberal and open borders approach. Golden Dawn activists also attempted to protect Greek citizens from ruthless immigrant gangs. This too could only lead to violence.
Greece’s establishment parties, through economic mismanagement and by allowing in hordes of migrants against the will of the Greek people, should be held responsible for creating these violent conditions.
As for Greece’s Leftist parties, these have been deeply involved in violent rioting for decades, with, of course, people dying.
In 2010 a Leftist “anti-austerity” demonstration saw a mob attack a branch of the Marfin Bank in Athens with Molotov cocktails. Witnesses said that protesters marching past the bank ignored the employees’ cries for help, while others just chanted anti-capitalist slogans. Two employees who jumped from the second-story balcony were badly injured and two women and a man were later found dead after the fire was extinguished. The demonstrators, of course, prevented the fire crews from reaching the building.
At the time Michalis Chrysohoidis, the Socialist Minister for Citizen Protection, declared:
Today is a black day for democracy. … Undemocratic forces have [latched on to] a peaceful demonstration of workers and now petrol bombs have killed three of our citizens and put an immediate danger to the lives of others.
Yes, quite! Even though several well-known Left-wing parties participated in the demonstration and riot that led to the fire, no parties were banned and nobody was arrested or punished. Oh wait, a correction — in 2013 three people were convicted. Three staff members of the bank — yes the bank!!! These unfortunates were sentenced for “failing to take adequate measures to protect their staff.” Isn’t this sometimes called victim blaming?
By considering the background of Greece’s largely Leftist-driven violence and the obvious double standard employed by the legal authorities against Golden Dawn, it is clear that what we are witnessing with this criminalisation of a political party is an anti-democratic move by the oligarchical Greek establishment to remove a political choice whose message resonates with large parts of the public, and which would be a threat to the main parties if a level democratic playing field was provided.
“Today is an important day for democracy,” the country’s president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, said. “Today’s decision is a confirmation of the fact that democracy and its institutions are always capable of fending off any attempt to undermine them.”
Yes, how “democratic” to ban a party for patently anti-democratic reasons. This is a perfect example of Orwellian double speak. But who would have thought it would be taking place in Greece, the cradle of Western democracy?
The parallels with the situation in the U.S. are obvious. Prosecutors in cities like Portland and Seattle are refusing to prosecute leftist rioters, resulting in months of assaults on police, destruction of property, and one murder of a counter-protester. Leftists engaged in violent assaults on the Charlottesville demonstrators have never been prosecuted, while some of those involved in the Charlottesville march are in prison while others are facing civil suits