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Rise of Fascism in Greece and Europe – Event report

On Saturday December 8th the event “The rise of fascism in Greece and Europe” organised by Reinform took place at “De Brakke Grond” in Amsterdam. It included presentations and a discussion looking at how and why fascist ideas and movements develop in society, with a focus on recent developments in Greece where a neo-nazi party (Golden Dawn) has suddenly gained electoral support and has entered the parliament.

The event kicked off with a comparative look at the political, social and economic circumstances in Greece today and those of the Weimar Republic of Germany in the interwar period. To support the discussion, the audience was also presented with extracts from the BBC documentary “Warning From History”, showing the rise of the Nazi party in the Weimar times and the stance of the German establishment.
René Danen, chairman of the Antiracist Organization “Nederland Bekent Kleur” gave a brief talk presenting the history of far right political parties in the Netherlands and how they are treated by other political parties, the mass media and the Dutch electorate. The discussion also examined similarities and differences in the message and behavior of far right parties in the Netherlands and of those in Greece and in other European countries.

Next up was a quick historical overview of the far right fascist party Golden Dawn, from its creation and existence at the fringes in the early 80′s, to its entrance into Greek parliament in 2012 and its continuing rise in the polls. We also watched a Guardian video (produced by journalist Aris Chatzistefanou) showing neo-nazi practices of undertaking violent attacks on immigrants and threatening other minority social groups (e.g. homosexuals) and how the Golden Dawn party appears to have infiltrated parts of the Greek police.

Following this was an analysis of the ways in which Golden Dawn is taking advantage of the current economic crisis. Namely, promoting an image of being on the side of the (ethnic Greek) disadvantaged, while there is a strong case that it is in essence a systemic party, supporting policies which are in the interest of the Greek economic elite.

The final presentation discussed how immigrants are currently being used as scapegoats, with both the neo-nazis and the Greek government presenting them as the source of the country’s current problems. At the same time, geography and political developments in the middle east have led to increased numbers of economic refugees entering Greece from its eastern borders, adding to the social problems caused by the economic crisis.

At the end of the event, the attendees discussed possible ways to fight fascism and the causes of the economic crisis which have contributed significantly to the rise of fascism.

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