David Frum

05.06.12

Shocker: Depressions Spawn Fascism

Something close to 8% of Greek voters cast their ballots for a neo-Nazi party on Sunday.

The party's supporters, routinely seen intimidating immigrants in run-down parts of the capital, wear black shirts, and its emblems resemble Nazi insignia. But [party leader Nichalaos] Michaloliakos has rejected the neo-Nazi label widely used for his party, stressing that it is staunchly nationalist.

Referring to immigrants, Golden Dawn's campaign slogan in television ads was "let's rid this country of the stench".

Javad Aslan, a spokesman for Greece's Pakistani immigrant community, urged other political parties to work together to isolate Golden Dawn.

"This is dangerous for everyone who is living in Greece," Aslan said. "This [result is] unbelievable for me. It is very serious, very dangerous. I can never believe a political party that comes with knives and bars against us, that hurts people and puts them in hospital."

Golden Dawn says Greece should reject its bailout commitments and write off its debt.

"No one should fear me if they are a good Greek citizen. If they are traitors – I don't know," Michaloliakos said.

Flanked by two muscly aides, he later told a news conference: "Those who betray this country – it's time for them to be afraid. We are coming."

He did not elaborate, but added: "We will fight to free Greece from the global loan sharks, for a Greece of dignity and independence, and for a Greece that is not a social jungle with all these millions of illegal immigrants that were brought here."

Communists and neo-Communists also ran strongly in Greece.

In the first round of the French presidential election two weeks ago, extremist parties of the left and right together won a larger share of the vote than the ultimate second-round winner, the socialist Francois Hollande.

As yet, Spain is untroubled by neofascism. But with 50% of young people unemployed, Spanish political stability looks like another big question mark.