The news out of Nevada about the wackadoodle couple who murdered three people, and some news out of Europe has me pondering the concept of neo-Nazism. I almost called this post "I don't get it " but I do: what could be more outrageous than styling yourself after the most despicable, violent political movement in history? The more puzzling part is why anyone would style themselves after the biggest loser of all time: Adolph Hitler. That, I don't get, or guys wandering about in SS uniforms. They should get their asses kicked on sight but attention is what they want so perhaps their asses should remain unkicked.

Speaking of Euro Fascists, EU elections are always good for extreme right wing groups. The European Parliament is essentially powerless so it's the ultimate protest election. The most pernicious manifestation of this tedious trend took place in Greece where the Golden Dawn seems to be coming out of the closet as a hardcore Neo-Nazi party:

Last Wednesday Greece got that jolt when Nikos Michaloliakos, Golden Dawn's imprisoned leader – who stands accused of murder and assault – made his first public appearance in almost nine months. The politics of hate took over Athens as the 58-year-old was hauled before parliament, ahead of a vote to lift his immunity from prosecution, on further charges of illegal weapons possession.

Emboldened by its recent success in European and local elections – in which the party emerged as the country's third biggest political force, thanks to a softening of image that has attracted ever-growing numbers of the middle class – the extremists drove home the message that they were not only on the rebound but here to stay. And as they ran roughshod through the house of democracy, hurling abuse at other MPs in an unprecedented display of violence and vulgarity, there was no mistaking what Golden Dawn is: a party of neo-Nazi creed determined to overturn the democratic order. For, far from being contrite, the handcuffed Michaloliakos was in unusually aggressive mood, giving Nazi salutes, telling the house speaker to "shut up", and instructing guards to take their hands off him.

Outside, black-shirted Golden Dawn supporters, lined up in military formation in Syntagma Square, gave a hearty rendition of the Nazi Horst Wessel song – albeit with Greek lyrics. All this was a far cry from the party's recent efforts to distance itself from the thuggery and racist rhetoric from which it was born.

"That day democracy felt a bit weak," said Pavlos Tzimas, a political commentator who has watched the party's rise from its fringe group beginnings in the early 1980s. "After all the revelations [about criminal activity], after all the prosecutions against its MPs, it still has the nerve to act in such a way, in scenes of hate that, frankly, I cannot recall ever being seen inside the parliament," he sighed. "Golden Dawn is not a passing phase, it will not disappear with the end of the crisis, it feels untouchable, it fears nothing, and what we saw this week is its real face. It is not like other extremist parties inEurope. It is a true neo-Nazi force whose aim is to use democracy to destroy democracy."

There has always been an extreme right wing in Greece. It used to manifest itself in royalism, militarism, anti-communism, and nostalgia for the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1975. This turn towards neo-Nazism is much more disturbing: Greece was brutally occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The Greeks were seen by the Nazis as unruly sub-humans. They got the unruly part right.

I spent about a year living in Greece as a kid during the junta days. Not even extreme right wingers had any words of praise for the Nazis or Italian Fascists. In fact, Greeks *hated* the Germans while liking the Brits and non-Greek-American Americans. The uber-malakas in the Golden Dawn don't make the connection between Merkel's Germany, which they hate, and the German scum they now aspire to emulate. It's creepy beyond belief, and I know it's turning the stomachs of older Greeks but bad times cause a lot of ugliness to ooze to the surface.

The rebound of the extreme right in the US seems inevitable in retrospect. Times are bad, the NRA is ascendant, and we have a black President who is also a Democrat. That last bit is a big part of it: the Clinton years saw the last explosion of right wing extremism here. This current group makes me *almost* nostalgic for the conservatives who were mindlessly pro-police. The Nevada nut jobs drank the Posse Comitatus kool aid, which led to the death of 2 cops in Las Vegas. The fact that they were "performance artists" gives me a whole new reason to hate them…

The whole thing has given me a nasty flashback to the back-to-back Gret Stetwide elections wherein David Duke was on the ballot. Duke scared the beejesus out of Blue Dog Democratic Senator J Bennett Johnston in 1990 before scaring the shit out of everyone else before losing to Edwin Edwards in 1991. At the time, people tended to focus on Duke's past as a KKK Imperial Wizard, but anti-African-American racism was subsidiary to his rabid anti-semitism. That's right, David Duke is a hardcore neo-Nazi. It wouldn't surprise me if he popped up in Greece, he's spent much of the last 8 years rabble rousing in Eastern Europe. Of course, Greeks are probably too swarthy for the Gret Stet Fuhrer wannabe's taste.

One more quote from Lisa Smith's fine Golden Dawn article in the Guardian about a disturbing conversation she had in an Athens cafe:

Dissmissing charges that Golden Dawn is a criminal gang masquerading as a political group, the second – a self-described government employee – said the far right was the best response yet to the great Jewish conspiracy of an interconnected banking system that has come with globalisation. "Let's not forget all the faggots and the Jews, the wankers who control the banks, the foreigners who are behind them, who came in and fucked Greece," he insisted. "The criminals who have governed us, who have robbed us of our future, of our dreams, need a big thwack."

You may notice that I bold faced a phrase because it's a literal translation of a Greek word familiar to First Draft readers: malakas. The Golden Dawn, however, have gone beyond malakatude to become a genuine threat to democracy. Like the character in this Peter Tosh song, they're dangerous, so dangerous:



4 thoughts on “Neo-Nauseated

  1. Damn, that sounds just awful, but…when backed into a corner, people will do just about anything. Embrace primitive tribalism and blind hatred? I guess so.
    Not that I’ve been keeping up, but Krugman’s blog regularly has a guest poster on the neo-fascist takeover in Hungary (is that where Duke’s slithering about?). And the-too-nutty-for-Cliven-Bundy duo weren’t even the only wingnut gun nuts of the week.
    I guess we’re living in interesting times, though I’d settle for relative boredom, thanks…

  2. Might also add to the rise of right wing extremism, not only did it rise in Clinton I and now we have a black, democratic president, but it is looking extemely likely that the next prez could be Clinton II – and a woman. Expect to hear more screams along the lines of the folks bused in to disrupt town meeting, falling to the floor, with groans about how the Amerikuh I know and love has ceased to exist.

  3. MichaelF, there is a part of my mind that has to keep this question: The Las Vegas shooters could have been asked to leave the Bundy gang. However, imagine they weren’t. Wouldn’t the statements about them being asked to leave be a typical statement from any corporation or country wanting to provide some distance between themselves and members who made bad publicity ?
    Now to mention the obvious – you take some folks who are psychologically predisposed to it. Then surround them with a group of like-minded people talking about revolution / how they are the moral good protecting the world from the evil / etc. (and also provide one of the few times in their lives that they have felt group acceptance). And in Bundy’s case even have your show of force apparently have some success as well as celebrating that you have the power to make the US Govt (which, of course, Bundy says doesn’t exist) to back down. Isn’t that how Al Q radicalizes Muslims ? Any question that some folks subjected to this will jump off the cliff ?

  4. Of course they’ll want to distance themselves — Lenny Bruce, in a very good/funny/but-also-makes-you-think bit about the establishment of police/law enforcement imagines some big shot saying “here’s a stick and a gun and you do it [i.e., crack some skulls]…but wait till I’m out of the room,” etc. etc.
    Likewise, the NRA, various “mainstream conservative” (e.g., Bill O’Reilly after George Tiller was murdered), and so on always insist they’re not responsible for actual mayhem…even though, as Greg Sargent (and others) noted recently, their rhetoric fuels the ever increasing rage of people like the Las Vegas shooters — who were, best as I can tell, completely insane, but also increasingly like a lot of Americans: young, marginalized, probably not very well educated, and little or no hope for the future…add the wingnut rhetoric, and you’ve got a bad recipe.
    And it looks like similar circumstances are fueling the fascist fires in Yurp.
    But hey, the one percent are doing great, right? Or at least the one percent of the one percent…

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