Greece, The Golden Dawn, and Modern Paganism

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 3, 2013 — 58 Comments

Last month, in one of my regular link roundups, I mentioned the extremist Greek political party Golden Dawn, and how Greek Jews were increasingly fearful of their rabid antisemitism. In closing that brief blurb, I made mention of the fact that the party had, when it suited them, appropriated Hellenic and pre-Christian trappings to reinforce their pure Greek identity.

“For those wondering, the party did/does embrace nationalistic pseudo-pagan trappings, but has also realized the populist potential of catering to Greek Orthodoxy. Like most fascists, belief and tradition are simply avenues to power.”

Shortly after that post, I received an email from a supporter of the Golden Dawn, chastising me (as a Pagan) for not being on-board with the controversial political party.

Golden Dawn rally at Thermopylae, congregating around a statue of King Leonidas of Sparta

Golden Dawn rally at Thermopylae, congregating around a statue of King Leonidas of Sparta.

“In an article by Jason Pitzl-Waters, you make mention that Greece’s Golden Dawn is only using tradition and esoteric nostalgia to get into power, and accuse them of also working in [with] Greek Orthodox Christianity. Yet you make no mention of the Greek Orthodox turning against Golden Dawn and accusing them of being ‘Pagans.’ The church asked the party to clarify its position on paganism, including worship of ancient Greek gods. Golden Dawn accused them of kowtowing to the establishment. Why have you not mentioned this? And why have you not spoken about the Golden Dawn’s pilgrimage to the oracle in delphi? Or the recent spiritual honoring of King Leonidas at a statue built in his honor? They have also been accused of making sacrifices to ancient Greek gods. Who knows if that is true, but have you heard of any political parties anywhere in the world this open and friendly to paganism? yet you attack them with your words. Why not be friendly to these people, who only want to save Greece and crush international Zionism and the banking system. Golden Dawn may only be around for a short time maybe only decades who knows, maybe a lifetime, but while they are here, a task has been assigned to them. Golden Dawn are not followers but leaders, and any church that has attacked us can be sure to receive wrath in the future. Any group that we have extend our hand to in kindness that then turns around and attacks us will be handled without mercy. This can be said for any church or religion that has attacked our Golden Dawn and our great leaders, including the Greek Orthodox church. Not to mention those who we never approached in friendship like the jewish, Zionist controllers of Greece today. Today is only a day but tomorrow a great golden dawn will rise, not just in Greece but across all Europe and the world. As our great leader Nikos Michaloliakos has promised ‘When we are strong, we will be merciless!’

I’ve spared you the link to the white nationalist/supremacist site Stormfront that was included in the message, though I think the anti-Semitic rhetoric and with-us-or-against-us language makes it pretty plain where the writer stands. I was going to simply ignore the letter, archiving it my ample “cranks” file, but I felt this issue deserved more attention. Especially now that the Greek government has taken action against Golden Dawn for their role in the murder of an anti-fascist musician and activist.

Extreme-right Golden Dawn party senior lawmaker Christos Pappas is escorted by anti-terrorism police officers to a courthouse in Athens October 3, 2013. Photo: Yorgos Karahalis/REUTERS

Extreme-right Golden Dawn party senior lawmaker Christos Pappas is escorted by anti-terrorism police officers to a courthouse in Athens October 3, 2013. Photo: Yorgos Karahalis/REUTERS

“Some 35 people associated with the political party Golden Dawn, which gained 18 MPs in parliament last spring, were arrested on Saturday in a crackdown sparked by the stabbing murder of an anti-racism rapper last month. ‘This government is determined not to allow the heirs of the Nazis to poison our social life, to commit crimes, to terrorize and to undermine the foundations of the country that gave birth to democracy,’ Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a brief televised address after the death of rapper Pavlos Fyssas.”

So how deep are the Golden Dawn’s ties to Hellenic polytheism and modern Paganism in Greece? Do any of them support this party with deep ties to fascist ideals? I turned to Christos ‘Pandion’ Panopoulos, a Hellenic polytheist in Greece, who admitted that the issue of Paganism/polytheism in Greece is “a pretty complicated picture,” but that, for the most part, Hellenic polytheists and Greek Pagans aren’t falling in line with the toxic racism and ultra-nationalism of the Golden Dawn.

Christos 'Pandion' Panopoulos

Christos ‘Pandion’ Panopoulos

“As far as organizations are concerned , at least the few 4-5 visible ones, usually they do not openly support any political party, although looking at leading members opinions within can show tendencies. The only exception to the rule has been as far as I am aware of Panagiotis Marinis the leading figure (and founder) of Elliniki Etairia Arxaiofilon (one of the first and centered around a personality groups, now mostly inactive and most members having moved to YSEE), who has made several open statements in favor of GD, despite its Christian characteristics with  the “logic” that the biggest problem from modern Greece is the immigrants etc. All this of course falls alongside with his known racial – in the strict term of the word-  outlook on many things.  I think his opinions and reasons can sum up for most of the few polytheists who have done the same.

Other than that I can only speak for myself and for my community “Labrys,” but probably expressing the opinions of a major percentage of Hellenic polytheists as well, that having as a defining characteristic a. Religion b. The Hellenic culture, we find almost all modern political  ideologies more or less incompatible with our culture one way or another even more so concerning parties that are openly pro-Christian for religious reasons and even more so parties with fascist ideologies that are not only pro-Christian but totalitarian in the deepest and worst monotheistic example, which of course is the exact opposite of our ancestral culture. As such we see GD as a threat and even if we try to publicly abstain from political debates (in order to keep the religious character as our primary guide without further and for the most part objective distinctions) individually we usually raise our voices against such phenomena.  Personally I have written a few blog entries addressing some of these issues after this effort to mark pagans as GD supporters or GD as a pagan party appeared which you can find here.

To sum up I cannot possibly think of any reason that a Hellenic polytheist would vote for or support GD and I strongly believe that the character of such parties/ideologies etc are deeply monotheistic in their origin having nothing to do with traditional polytheism (not only the Hellenic one but others as well) and they are just using our imaginary, myths, holy symbols etc just to promote their agendas and at the same time causing issues for us.”

Panopoulos points out that some of the confusion stems from ”arxaiolatres,” a term used for Greeks fascinated with ancient Greece, but not in an explicitly religious fashion. Several Golden Dawn supporters in recent years, according to Panopoulous, have embraced a romantic view of ancient Greece to justify their beliefs.

“In the last couple of years it seems that there was a rise of Golden Dawn supporters within the larger umbrella group of “arxaiolatres” not to be identified with actual polytheists, mainly involving those that have ‘found’ ancient Greece for the wrong reasons. Atheism and antisemitism, antisemitism becoming anti-Christianism, easily found ‘brilliant’ quotes out of context to support whatever modern twisted ideology etc, pumping up of lost national pride with childish videos about Spartans (of course containing the 300), stupid articles of how the Greeks were always better and fought for freedom and things like that, being targeted to and created by semi-educated middle class people that never learned many things about their history and feel better parroting low quality blog articles etc.”

Scholar Alexandros Kalozoides, who wrote a paper on the history of Greek Paganism and radical politics, echoes Panopoulos, and points out that there is “no central community – no such thing as a ‘Greek Pagan Community’ in the sense that it is found abroad.”

“There are lots of small groups which come together for some festivals, but are usually at each others throats the rest of the time. The official body representing Hellenic Paganism, (Supreme Council of Ethnic Hellenes) is not anti-semitic, it’s anti-Christian in the sense that Christianity is perceived to have destroyed the old religion. It certainly does not support the Golden Dawn, but their followers may well drink from both cups, and it would not make the slightest difference whether they came out with an official statement or not. However, their response to questions regarding their political values in their FAQ is both unambiguous, and encouraging.
 The other thing is, the Golden Dawn are not openly pagan, they are deliberately vague about religion. The ‘Pilgrimage to Delphi’ was marketed as paying tribute to ‘our ancient ancestors.’ The dynamics of paganism are different here – you get faithful Christians who still partake in the practice of honouring the ancient ancestors without it being a matter of faith – it’s a matter of shared (mythic) history.”

Kalozoides also pointed to an editorial published in a prominent Greek esoteric magazine, penned by editor Georgios Ioannidis, that clarifies and debunks the notion that the Greek Golden Dawn is somehow connected to the magickal order of the same name.

“The syncretic magical system followed by the HOGD has a clearly esoteric character that supports the mage in his attempt to know and contact the subtle planes of the universe, with the aim of spiritual regeneration, which is to say a golden dawn of his transmuted self.  This model of thought and practice is far removed from the “paganism” of the nationalist movements, that, just as with German national socialism, was cultivated only to the degree whereby it could forge a connection between modern man and the ancestral tradition, thus creating an illusion of unbroken continuity, with the ultimate aim of stressing the sense of cultural and racial superiority in relation to religions that originated mainly in ancient Palestine.”

All of these views, coming directly from Greeks familiar with the Pagan, polytheist, and esoteric communities in Greece, underline my initial thesis: that the Golden Dawn party utilizes Hellenic culture and religion to gain power and followers, but have little to do with organized Paganism or esotericism in the country (despite the preferences of scattered individuals). They wrap themselves in a flag of “Greek-ness” and purity, and will gladly exploit any community that will further their noxious goals.

As for the wider world, Pagan, polytheist, and esoteric groups have been quick to publicly condemn the values of the Golden Dawn, and clarify that they in no way support the controversial political party. In late September US-based Hellenic polytheist organization Hellenion recently released a statement clearly rejecting the use of Hellenic polytheism to promote any kind of hatred. Earlier in that same month, The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn categorically rejected any possible connection with the “racist, and arguably fascist, Golden Dawn political organization of Greece.”

“The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn stands against racism and intolerance. Our Golden Dawn tradition stems from a magickal Order begun in Victorian-era England, and we are not in any way aligned with the racist, and arguably fascist, Golden Dawn political organization of Greece (The People’s Association – Golden Dawn, Greek: Λαϊκός Σύνδεσμος – Χρυσή Αυγή, which has been in the news recently. We are a constitutional democratic institution and reject authoritarianism in its fascistic or other forms. We accept applications for membership from all sincere applicants who are local to an OSOGD Lodge, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, physical abilities, ancestry, gender identity, religion, or sexual orientation.”

In addition, author and magician Donald Michael Kraig has issued a call to all Golden Dawn leaders to make plain their views on the political party, stating clearly that “Greece’s Golden Dawn does not represent the ideals of any group claiming to be associated with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.” As a result, more orders are doing exactly that.

Whatever happens in Greece, and with the Golden Dawn political party, we must remain vigilant that fascists and violent ultra-nationalists do not co-opt our faiths, and we must stand firm with the Hellenic polytheists, Greek Pagans, and esoteric practitioners in Greece as they weather this crisis. There will always be groups and individuals that will try to exploit our faiths, using a brew of romanticism and nationalism to claim power in the name of the people. We must not allow that to happen, not in our names, and certainly not in the names of our gods.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Thank you, Jason, for covering this subject in TWH, particularly for not discarding that letter but posting it. Out of their own mouths these folks condemn themselves far more thoroughly than you or I could do in opposition.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    Many ancient Greek and Roman polytheists recognized the Jews as being among what the philosopher Numenius called “peoples of renown”. Obviously ancient polytheists could not accept monotheism, but at the same time Judaism was (at least by some) admired as an ancient and respected religious tradition, and whose followers were to be commended for the care with which they preserved the traditions of their ancestors. In addition to Numenius, other ancient Pagans who voiced similar positive attitudes toward Judaism include Varro and Celsus, as well as the Emperor Julian.

    • Rebel Druid

      Didn’t Julian go so far as attempting to rebuild one of the old Jewish temples in Jerusalem?

      • Deborah Bender

        He pledged to underwrite the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple, but was killed in battle before that could happen.

        Julian may have had multiple motives for this in addition to the facts A. Platonicus cites. By his time, the Jews were on the outs with the Christians, as was Julian, so giving public support and approval for Judaism was a way to repudiate Christian claims. Second, Julian was trying to revive the pagan practice of animal sacrifice, and sacrifices at the Jerusalem temple had been central to Judaism while it stood. Julian favored restoring and supporting older religions and their customs in general, sort of like Prince Charles in a different cultural field.

  • http://www.forgingthesampo.com/ Kauko

    You’d think that anti-semites would come up with some new rhetoric; the whole ‘OMFG the International Zionist Conspiracy™ controls everything!!!!’ routine is getting so old.

    • Ambermoone

      I know, right? YAWN.

    • Ryan Smith

      Well ya know it’s not like fascist or neo-Nazi groups have ever ACTUALLY had an original idea of their own EVER.

  • dantes

    I still wonder how one could say that no real pagan could vote for the Golden Dawn. They might be Fascist, they nevertheless are the only party which oppose the rape of their nation by the European Union and the IMF. All the other are just servants of the bankers.

    • Gaddy

      “They might be fascists, but…”

      Aaand…. This discussion is over!

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        The fascism shouldn’t be the problem. The virulent racism should be.

        Fascism is just a model of political thought, after all.

        • Ryan Smith

          A model of political thought which actively encourages racism, anti-semitism, and all other forms of ethnic and religious violence.

          Separating fascism from hate is like trying to say the heart is not connected to the lungs. It is embedded in the ideoloyg’s DNA.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            The same things have been said about Communism.

            Any ideology taken to extremes is not good.

          • Ryan Smith

            That is most definitely NOT the case with Communism compared to fascism.

            In the case of communism you could make a solid argument based on Marxist texts, the practices of the international communist movement, and other such sources that Stalinism and Maoism were aberrations and Marx himself would probably have been horrified by their excesses.

            The actions of groups like Golden Dawn, by contrast, are perfectly in line with the ideas preached by men like Mussolini and Hitler. If you have any doubts on that I suggest you do some research into the nature of Mussolini’s fascist government, the solutions Hitler urged in Mein Kampf, the writings of men like Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist, and for a really good one for keeping you up ALL NIGHT check out Generalplan Ost.

            Other fascist and fascistic governments in history have an equally vile track record. Communist and socialist governments, by contrast, run the gamut with quite a bit of variety in implementation which is not to say they didn’t have their own problems, abuses, or atrocities to their name. The difference is in Communism such actions are not part and parcel with the ideology; in the case of fascism you cannot separate the ideology from its obsession with force, violence, destruction of an other perceived to be a threat to society, and the glorification of military power at the expense of all else.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            You will note that I did not say that it was the “case with” Communism. I said that the same things have been “said about” Communism.

            Personally, I think there are good and bad ideas to be found within most ideologies, but find myself somewhat outside the political compass.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

      Any group that espouses religious bigotry (such as the vile antisemitism of the Golden Dawn) is the enemy of all true Hellenes. Judaism flourished in the ancient Hellenistic world, as did the other uncountably many religions that all lived side-by-side. These religions sometimes had their petty (and sometimes not so petty) squabbles among themselves, but the facts speak for themselves. Communities of Jews existed in every region of the ancient known world, and Jews probably constituted up to 10% of the population of the Roman Empire. Judaism spread through peaceful and respectful “proselytism”, which, as a matter of fact, is where that (Greek) word originally comes from. Those who worship the old Gods and revere the old ways can have nothing whatsoever to do with the psychic poison that is antisemitism or with those who spread that poisonous ideology.

  • antianon

    now if only the Heathen community could stop attacking antifascists and start openly disassociating with KNOWN racists like the leadership of the AFA and their buddies in the New Right…

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      We on this side of the pond can’t assume the problem here is restricted to Heathens. I’ve heard of wiccan-style white Pagans suggesting an African-American seeker would be “more comfortable” (read: more acceptable) with an Afro-Caribbean practice.

      • ChristopherBlackwell

        The very fact how white the Pagan movement is in the United States, shows that we have not convinced others that they are welcome. We still may be just a bit to middle class white for them. If we staying i our little white groups they might think we really didn’t want them in our community. We are improving there but we still have a ways to go.

        I saw another article of the Roman empire and a stone carving showing black priests leading ceremony in the cult of Isis. Apparently the Roman members had no problem and it pointed out how strong the Nubians has been in the worship of Isis.There was even a time when they ruled Egypt. I posted that out to one of my black friends.Visual documentation from Herculaneum destroyed by Mount Vesuvius

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          It’s cultural, I think.

          People still largely equate culture with race, even when cultures change.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          If we think of the US Pagan movement as including Vodun, Santeria, the Hoasca churches, etc, it’s not so white.

          • Ryan Smith

            The question there is do they consider themselves to be part of the US Pagan movement? I would gladly consider them part of the broader animistic polytheistic movement in the world but I wouldn’t go so far as to slap a label on them which they do not apply to themselves.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I would certainly not try to ram down their throat a label they reject. But in response to the question, “Why is Paganism so white?” it’s a reasonable observation.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            ” I would gladly consider them part of the broader animistic
            polytheistic movement in the world but I wouldn’t go so far as to slap a
            label on them which they do not apply to themselves.”

            Well, do they apply “animism” and “polytheism” to themselves? Even the word “religion” is not something that can unproblematically be applied to people who do not use that word. We can’t afford to crucify language on the cross of political correctness. Ancient Pagans had no such qualms. They looked around themselves and saw a word full of Goddesses and Gods, and also a world full of human beings who worship those Goddesses and Gods.

          • Ryan Smith

            From a purely academic standpoint they fit there but that is a fair point as to whether or not they see themselves as such.

            The thing is even the terms “animism” and “polytheism” are products of the largely post-Christian modern academic Western establishment; there IS language within it for discussing ideas like that but it isn’t exactly well-equipped for it since the means of understanding are very much outside of the context that existed and exists in cultures defined as animistic and polytheistic.

            Sorting that out is not going to be quick, easy, or painless but it’s going to be a process we as Pagans and indigenous spiritualities in general need to go through; it’s not so much they have to get codified and defined like Christianity so much as figuring out the right terms, ideas, and concepts for discussing what exactly it IS that we’re doing. All the frames of reference we’ve got were built based on the assumption that any form of religion not written down in a single book are either idol worship or primitive superstition which doesn’t really give a good foundation to work from if you’re trying to assess what it describes as animistic and polytheistic on their own terms.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            Also, if we think of modern Paganism as a continuation (or, if one prefers, a revival) of the ancient polytheistic religious traditions that were (largely, but not completely, at least in my opinion) displaced by Christianity (and later by Islam), then this spiritual heritage is largely (even predominantly) non-European.

            Even if one limits oneself to Hellenism, Hellenic culture (Including religion) was as much an Asian and African phenomenon as it was a European one.

          • Rebel Druid

            At the risk of trying to correct someone who isn’t actually wrong; do you mean Hellenistic as opposed to Hellenic?

            Just curious.

        • Deborah Bender

          The Romans were less racially conscious than modern Europeans. Their social lines of superiority and inferiority were based on class and family line. Generals and even emperors came from all parts of the empire.

      • Ryan Smith

        Which is very true but the fact is Heathenry gets all the attention on this matter (although even Mattias Gardell will admit the racists are at best a vocal minority) because the problem there has reached a much higher degree of visibility and penetration in our specific community compared to the broader Pagan community.

        As Robert Paxton, a recognized expert on the question of fascist takeovers, argued in the Journal of Modern History’s March 1998 issue there are five stages in the development of a fascist movement leading up to its takeover. Stage one is where the movement has developed and exists in a particular population, stage two is where it reaches sufficient critical mass to achieve a level of power and influence, stage three is the tipping point where they make alliances with elites in those communities which empowers them, stage four is where they actually take over, and stage five is where they either rampage or whither on the vine.

        I think based on that scale it would be safe to say the Pagan community as a whole is facing a stage 1 to a weak 2 while the Heathen community is facing a strong 2 that’s edging a little too close to becoming a stage 3 manifestation. Racism is definitely a serious problem in the whole of the Pagan community but only in the Heathen community is it reaching the point where it is threatening to take over and start purging the heretics.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Purging heretics in a new religious movement in the USA is a thankless task. The heretics will just form their own outfit.

          • Ryan Smith

            Doesn’t mean they won’t try or that it can’t be done. Nobody has ever accused racialist philosophy of being rational for a reason.

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    “Today is only a day but tomorrow a great golden dawn will rise, not just in Greece but across all Europe and the world. As our great leader Nikos Michaloliakos has promised ‘When we are strong, we will be merciless!’”

    I can ignore everything else, but that is a direct threat. It is also pretty idiotic. We now know they intend to be asshats, if they get power. So we prevent them from getting power.

    • Andrew Johnson

      Worked for the Teaparty

  • Dscarron

    “Where in the world are Pagans so appreciated?” Iceland, Denmark, most places with native religions at this point…

    “as political parties?” Now that is a different kettle of fish, indeed. On this side of the pond we take a dim view of mixing church and state. While in Europe many countries traditionally fund them. Clearly, these guys are not doing good things with their money, let alone time…

  • Amun Cam

    What really stands out for me about the GD is that they’re homophobic and transphobic yet they still try to claim a connection to Hellenic Polytheism. Have they not heard of Apollon and Hyacinth or Zeus and Ganymede or Hermaphroditus?

    • http://sihathor.wordpress.com/ Sihathor

      They have, and seem to think it’s disinformation. I recently saw some XA-style idiot post a video “debunking homosexuality in ancient Greece” on an online group related to Greek philosophy. The depths of their delusion know no bounds.

  • Conor O’Bryan Warren

    Seeing stuff like this fills me with UTTER RAGE. That stuff being GD of course, I’ve been monitoring them (naturally, being a Hellenist) since shortly after I got into the online community. They keep getting worse and worse.

    I sincerely hope that the Greek government cracks down on them hard and mercilessly. It may sound violent, but I want them to be destroyed and their strength smashed asunder.

    I only pray that the Greek people don’t let anymore of these assholes come into power.

    And to Nikos and all the other Golden Dawn scum reading this: βάλλ’ εἰς κόρακας

    • Rebel Druid

      I agree for much the same reasons. Golden Dawn are making Greece look as though it is a nation full of violent murdering barbarians.

      The only problem I have with this is it seems to be a repetition of the history of a very similar and very dark political movement which evolved in one of the nations of Western Europe…

      • Conor O’Bryan Warren

        I know. ..the similarities are terrifying

        • dantes

          And just like 1919, the dominating power seem to have forgotten what happens when you humiliate, bully and starve a whole nation…

    • dantes

      Sure, let’s “crack down” on the country’s third most popular party. Let’s call them “criminals” and forbid them. While we’re at it, let´s “crack down” on press dissent, political gatherings and internet expression…

      What happening in Greece is Critical. I guess most people here are from the New World so I would not be surprised that you don’t understand the situation: Greece is in taters and nothing of what the current government does will stop that.

      60 per cent of youth under the age of 30 are unemployed, people are actually getting hungry and countless families only survive on food handouts. People don’t have the means to get medicine while they are sick and several impoverished citizens have come to end their own lives.

      Greece’s debt crisis won’t end because of more money from the IMF. The only solution from Greece is to get out of all these political schemes and finally focus on their citizens first.

      Coming to Racism, the Golden Dawn sure is racist, and is strongly against immigration. I don’t condone racism, but what Greece needs the less of right now are impoverished foreigners. you might not know that (not being from Europe), but when an illegal immigrant is caught, anywhere in Europe, he is sent back to the country from where he entered the EU, which happens to be, in 60 per cent of the cases, Greece. Last year, 37000 migrants were arrested and sent back to Greece. Once again, the EU just leaves Greece taking care of that huge problem all by itself, which strains its finances and creates more insecurity and crime.

      Again, the only party which advocates doing what´s right is the Golden Dawn. I am completely aware of the fact that if (when?) the Golden Dawn comes to power, they will turn Greece into a totalitarian state, but they will also stop all the nonsense that led to the dramatic situation that Greece is in today. I don’t know if they could actually return Greece to its former state, but The Golden Dawn is surely the least worst option for Greece right now.

      • Deborah Bender

        Right with you up until the last paragraph.

        The only way the GD might benefit the Greeks is if it alarms the EU, the World Bank, or the US State Department enough to get them to do something effective to ameliorate Greece’s dire economic problems.

        Italy has a pretty large African immigration problem too, but Italy’s far right isn’t growing as quickly as Greece’s.

        • dantes

          Well, Let’s agree to disagree. I do believe that, as things go, it will only get worse, and the EU and the other technocrats will only react when they’ll be nothing left to do. There´s already a big outcry from “leftists” parties in Europe concerning GD and sooooo many news outlet here have been incredibly supportive with the crackdown on the party. If GD was to gain power, they would certainly “rip it up and start again”, for the better or worse, but at least the Greek people would be in control of its destiny.

          And @f8949b81170097930c8d7e04ace68dd2:disqus: I agree that the EU should do something to compensate Greece, but again, it´s unlikely. Still, since the tragedy of the sinking boak off Italy´s coast there seem to be some call to action let´s hope that they will be met.

          Ha, and @073720951ca749d6ddcb84c8b8abb08d:disqus: There´s still the Casa Pound Movement in Italy as far as I know, but they are much less extreme than GD.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            EU compensation remains unlikely so long as there is no political pressure to bring it about. Look, the Germans are sitting back and saying, “The Greeks have no work ethic, won’t save and don’t know how to collect taxes. We helped them once, let them pull up their socks now.” That’s a political stereotype that can only be cracked by a political impact, a new, hitherto unmentioned factor.Repatriating the undocumented to their nation of entry — and not their nation of origin, which a respectable federation with a real border patrol would try to do — is an objective Greek grievance that should not only be fodder for the likes of GD. But it can be expressed in euros without any reference to race, and thus need not be GD fodder only.

          • dantes

            I agree totally. Every Greek party should bring forth measures such as these which would alleviate the pain of the Greek people. However, they do not, most likely because they are way too entwined with the EU institutions and the financial lobbies to do anything. Hence the rise of GD. Again, I would be the first one to cheer if the socialists or the conservative would actually put the Greek people first, but as long as they don’t, GD is going to rise.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Let’s see if we can find a better solution than a totalitarian state. Such as, the EU could compensate Greece for the expense and dislocation arising from the fact that it happens to be a favored country of entry for the undocumented. That compensation could take any number of forms, one of which could be a break in the austerity requirements.This is no perfect solution but it takes the form of ordinary politics. One need not trash democracy anywhere in Europe.I was not aware that Southern European countries have been made into a catchment zone for illegals. Thanks for the information.

      • Conor O’Bryan Warren

        Yes, lets crack-down on a group of violent, homophobic, and racist fascists who want to destroy the minority groups in their country. Have you seen this yet? http://www.tovima.gr/en/article/?aid=531646

        The Golden Dawn is EVIL.

        • dantes

          You sound so christian…

          And to answer you, Yes I know GD is a violent, homophobic and racist group, and to repeat my point, they still are the less
          worst political party out there.

          If you want to ban an “evil” group, why not banning Greec´s government parties? Aren´t they responsible for the utmost misery, and even the death of their own people ?

          I call that double standard.

          • Conor O’Bryan Warren

            No, any political party that wants to do what the Golden Dawn wants to do is AUTOMATICALLY the worst political party. End of story. Any group that inspires GENUINE FEAR in the hearts of reasonable people is scum. The Golden Dawn is SCUM.

            And I sound Christian? That is the retort of one who wants to disparage what I say yet cannot formulate a real retort. Having a standard of morality is universal. Some things are evil. Simple as that.

          • dantes

            I just feel like painting everything in black and white and oversimplifying things are a bit easy that´s all.

            GD inspires fear, I agree. They are dangerous, I agree. But if they got to power, will only bad things befall on Greece?

            I doubt so. Immigrants, Non-whites, LGBT and Leftists will definitely suffer. Is that a good thing? No. Could the party ameliorate the life of the Greek people? Maybe/probably, and that would definitely be a good thing.

            GD has already conducted bad and good deeds alike. The bad, I guess you know them already, but you can find a ample of their good deeds on one of their propagandist website:

            http://golden-dawn-international-newsroom.blogspot.gr/p/the-green-wing-and-volksland.html

            http://golden-dawn-international-newsroom.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-green-wing-donates-5000-euros-to.html

            http://golden-dawn-international-newsroom.blogspot.com/2013/07/nationalism-means-ecology-and-solidarity.html

            http://golden-dawn-international-newsroom.blogspot.com/2012/11/massive-food-distribution-by-golden-dawn.html

            I would doubt that any of these actions (protecting the fauna and flora, cleaning up the landscape, preventing forest fires, handing out food) could be deemed “intrinsically evil” except if one defines evil as an invisible black goo that oozes from evil peoples´pores and contaminates everything they touch.

            Again, I am not saying that GD is a great choice or a great party, but I am still saying that they aren’t necessarily pure evil and could actually help the Greek people.

          • Conor O’Bryan Warren

            You won’t win me with honey-words. A few pictures of those Nazis petting puppies and cleaning up trash does not change the fact that they have evil and hatred within their hearts.

            I’m done being polite, fuck the Golden Dawn and fuck you for trying to justify their behavior. I’m done here. You will get no more replies from me.

          • dantes

            I am surprised how unnerved you’ve turned. I just wanted to have a polite discussion about a controversial topic but I only got vague accusations and relentless whining from your part.

            It makes me wonder who´s the one with the most hatred in the heart…

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Dantes, Conor is writing not from hatred but from frustration and extreme impatience. I show extreme patience for the same reason: Conor and I both know enough European history to be aware of what happens when a frustrated, genuinely hurting national population turns to fascism as a last hope, even with eyes wide open to the fact that fascism carries some nasty baggage.The core problem is that the nasty baggage inevitably turns out to be the core of fascism. Europe has been stitched with crossroads for thousands of years, and in every country there is some least favored minority that can be scapegoated. European national boundaries have been drawn and redrawn for centuries, and there’s always some cohort of “our people” just across the border with whom reunification is at least a sentimental goal. Fascists turn these feelings into racism and war fever; it’s how they operate, perhaps out of having limited horizons.Fascists always make good use of genuine grievances of the people — such as austerity or dumping of the undocumented — but have no doubt, they will make common cause in a heartbeat with the people responsible for those grievances, if that will aid their rise to power.A wise European once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” It is indeed hard work, but work not only worth doing but making the theme of one’s life. You would be better off in the long run not throwing away that potential to the Golden Dawn fascists.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Least worst option for Greece would probably be ejection from the EU. Then they would be able to repatriate powers and deal with their own problems.

        • dantes

          I agree totally, the only problem being that GD is the only party to have such a policy.

      • kenofken

        There were a few special parties that were the “least worst option” for Germany, Italy and Spain in the 1930s and 40s. Any society with the benefit of contemporary world history which whores itself out to fascism DESERVES to be crushed by its ills, be the runaway immigration or poverty.

        • dantes

          I totally agree that a lot of the problems that plague Europe today are the fault of Europeans themselves. Still, I do believe that regardless of the past, it is legitimate for a nation to try to mend, fix or change its situation. Fascism may not be the best option, but I don’t think many Greeks are okay with the idea of their nation disintegrating completely. Again, Fascism is never the best option, but the Greek people is sovereign after all. This choice is theirs.

  • ChristopherBlackwell

    Thanks Jason for going in deeper about the Golden Dawn and asking Pagans in Greece for their views.

    I think the Golden Dawn supporter revealed himself quite well with a couple of quotes: “Any group that we have extend our hand to in kindness that then turns around and attacks us will be handled without mercy.” “As our great leader Nikos Michaloliakos has promised ‘When we are strong, we will be merciless!’“

    I always tend to be wary of followers of any “Great Leader”.

  • Pandion

    A thanks from my part as well Jason for a much needed
    article addressing these issues in the Anglo sphere.

    Having now read the so called GD supporter’s mail I believe some further
    details are needed.

    It becomes obvious that inside GD, or within some of its supporter’s a notion
    of “Acceptance” to the traditional religion is cultivated. This is reflected
    also in the party’s official “thesis” on religion and in some remarks in the
    media by its parliament members where they have often stated that they do not
    make “religious distinctions”. The official thesis stated that all religions “that
    do not harm the country” are allowed to exist” although at the same time the
    goal of the party is to re-enforce the role of the orthodox church within
    modern Greek society and cultivate the “Greek-Orthodox” ideals within it. It is
    apparent from the last sentence of the GD supporter (and the national pride
    fiesta’s in Thermopylai) in what context this religious tolerance is understood amongst their ranks. As long as you
    are in line with the party’s usage of ancient Greek thematic, or distortions to
    support their ideas, mainly due to the fact that there is a big current of
    arxaiolatres that the party needs to attract for votes, then everything is ok. If for some reason opposing voices are heard
    then you might be regarded as an enemy of the party with whatever results,
    showing with absolute clarity the live ideology behind this which is no other
    than the “monotheistic” totalitarian view of either with us (the truth, the
    order of the leader etc) or be burnt like a witch. So no matter how many
    meanders they design, or visits to Leonidas they organize, the fact remains
    that they have nothing to do culturally/religiously etc with ancient Greece and
    polytheism or paganism.

    Now the argument that the church started accusing them as pagans is at least laughable
    not only for the fact that this happened only recently and after party had already
    received much public support from the orthodox church (High ranking priests
    lately found to be supporting economically the party), but also because of what
    they themselves have supported (the thesis I mentioned above), and the actions
    they took (rallying against an “anti-Christian” theatrical play along with
    priests – long live the middle ages- , mass visits at the church with their
    black t-shirts, official meetings with church leaders etc (http://megaseniautos.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/blog-post_30.html)

    Anyway what is strikingly unbelievable (at least for me) is that there might be
    people, distorted psychologically so much with hate or modern political ideas,
    that they would actually believe GD a
    good political vehicle for “paganism” –the paganism on their heads- like the GD
    supporter on the article.

    At the end even if modern Greek pagans/traditional polytheists wanted to have a
    political expression they could very well do so by bringing forth the classical
    political thought and ideas that their religion gave birth to without having to
    be dragged along behind some openly Christian, totalitarian party (it’s
    important to note here that many GD voters till lately used to support the now
    failed right wing party of LAOS the O in the name being “Orthodox”) that only
    allows them to exist in order to make use of their numbers, symbols and social
    approval/popularity.

    PS: Naturally the Delphi visit was a planned historical discussion/speech on
    the area, from the local party organization, initially announced to happen in
    their offices but then decided to take place at the archaeological site in
    order to take advantage of the fact that the site was open to the public for
    the summer’s full moon which attracts many visitors and thus audience for their
    propaganda.

    Christos Pandion Panopoulos