Golden Dawn declared a criminal organisation
September 28, 2013 5:00 AM   Subscribe

Earlier today, the leader of Golden Dawn and three deputies were arrested (BBC, Guardian, NYT) after the neonazi party was declared a criminal organisation. Two more deputies are wanted. The criminal investigation started after the murder of a 34-year-old rapper Pavlos Fyssas that sparked waves of protests and a police shakeup as the ties between Golden Dawn and the police are under investigation. Supporters of the neonazi party knifed a woman (video interview) the day after the murder of Fyssas and have caused violence against immigrants to skyrocket. The police connects Golden Dawn to 30 such attacks. This map of attacks on migrants provides more details about separate incidents. Previously: 1 2 3.
posted by ersatz (54 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Good. I hope they can make the charges stick.

These are actual Nazis in Europe, actually killing immigrants, actually subverting police forces and actually displaying real political power.

I'm scared for how weak the Greek state is at the moment, and I hope they have the resources and drive to really stop these fuckers in their tracks.

I hope Greece (and much of the rest Europe) can get its shit together so that these kind of fascists don't retain their appeal.
posted by lalochezia at 5:13 AM on September 28, 2013 [27 favorites]

Apparently the murder of a Greek citizen rather than a migrant was a bridge too far. Recent polls show them shedding a third of their support and that battle won't be won until support for neo-Nazi ideas diminishes and becomes laughable once again. However, facing the consequences of the law for their actions rather than hide behind parliamentary immunity or an 'understanding' with law enforcement, and the other parties treating them as the pariahs they ought to be is a good first step. The Greek society is facing massive unemployment (28%), poverty and a lack of prospects on top of receiving 50-90%* of immigration into Europe in recent years despite having 2% of the total European population, which is lopsided due to the Dublin Regulation. These issues must be tackled, but blind hatred won't solve anything.

For once, I'll feel safer showing my city to my foreign friends after today. Hope all racist attacks get the treatment they deserve.

*in 2010, 90% of all apprehensions for unauthorized entry into the European Union took place in Greece (75% in 2009, 50% in 2008)
posted by ersatz at 5:35 AM on September 28, 2013 [13 favorites]

This is the danger in crippled peripheral states with dysfunctional governments ... Nasty bastards like this find it all the easier to blame immigration for their woes rather than decades of corrupt, top heavy officialdom that they were complicit in.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:37 AM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

This IS how it starts.

Unstable ground is where such plants grow. I am pulling for Greece and hope they can subdue these elements of hate. Such a wonderful place.
posted by FauxScot at 5:54 AM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

I thought, for a second, that GallonofAlan had misposted thinking this was the Federal Shutdown thread...

More seriously, while this is a good first step, it's worth remembering that Fascist groups in the 20s and 30s were criminalized and still bounced back to horrible success. If the Golden Dawn (and/or successor organizations) are going to be smashed, it's going to take a lot of work in Greece and Europe generally to fix the underlying problems. Otherwise, the best we can hope for, long term, is that the problem recurs in, say, Italy. Or gets worse in Hungary.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:55 AM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]

When I first heard of Golden Dawn, I was literally sick to my stomach. My dad's uncles and father were Greek partisans during WW2. They risked a lot to subvert fascism. I gather that the Golden Dawn folks don't celebrate on October 28.
posted by Calzephyr at 6:05 AM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]

I really hope this is the start to ending the Golden Dawn, rather than the start of the Golden Dawn launching a coup attempt.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:38 AM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]

Let's not get carried away here: they are an evil bunch, but nobody thinks they are smart or powerful enough to be talking about coups. Parasitic thuggery amongst the less fortunate is more their style.
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:10 AM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]

(Also I presume the troika would veto any attempted coup on fiscal grounds)
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:12 AM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

It was scary to see how fast they seemed to become known and popular.
posted by rtha at 7:23 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is good news to hear, and should make us hopeful that Greece is on the upside.
posted by Thing at 7:52 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

First they came for the neo-nazis...
posted by Samuel Farrow at 8:39 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Let's not get carried away here: they are an evil bunch, but nobody thinks they are smart or powerful enough to be talking about coups. Parasitic thuggery amongst the less fortunate is more their style.

It's like you want someone to Godwin the thread.

It took Hitler a little over a decade to move from a bit of mischief in a beerhall in Munich to becoming a legitimate politician, and then before you knew it Dresden was getting firebombed.

These groups always start small.
posted by Mezentian at 8:40 AM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]

There's a reason godwinning is seen as a counterproductive argument.

Golden Dawn called for a protest rally outside police headquarters after the arrests this morning. About 100-200 people showed up, and it's Saturday. It's too early for celebration, but it looks like their public support has been seriously eroded since the murder of Fyssas.

This is a group that has been active since the early 1980s, without much success until the last couple of years: again, too early to tell but this looks more like them peaking than starting small.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:50 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, that's good to hear. Things looked pretty skeevy around the time of the last election, with reports of GD militia and a parallel government sort of set up.
posted by Mezentian at 8:54 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

First they came for the neo-nazis...

Not even as a joke, dude.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:58 AM on September 28, 2013 [13 favorites]

It's like you want someone to Godwin the thread.

I don't think it's Godwinning to talk about Nazis when the subject is bro-nazis....
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:10 AM on September 28, 2013 [8 favorites]

This is the face of austerity.
When a nation is crippled by austerity programs and its citizens are powerless, broke, and reduced to subsistence level existence, it empowers the most primitive and hateful ultranationalist racist groups.
posted by Enigmark at 9:34 AM on September 28, 2013 [14 favorites]

The Golden Dawn movement is something we should be reading more about, here in the US. It's a warning about what happens when demagogues, criminal goons, and sociopath opportunists perceive openings available to them, from social disarray and fragmentation. Everyone needs to be careful; this kind of thing can happen almost anywhere there is social instability, especially is there are opportunities to "blame" others for one's plight.

the Greeks need to put a muzzle on those Gold Dawn goons, convict them, and put them away for a long time. Along with that, Europe needs to help Greece to clean up its mess in a way that doesn't cause even more social and economic dislocation.

Not to derail, but one cannot help remembering that along with the incompetence of the Greek government and its bureaucracy, big-time bankers had a lot to do with triggering this crisis, and sustaining it. Yet, how many of the banker sociopaths are in jail? They are the quiet criminals behind a lot of what we're witnessing in Europe, including Greece.
posted by Vibrissae at 9:43 AM on September 28, 2013 [12 favorites]

That really is excellent news. But as above, I also worry that somehow they will get out of this and bounce back with renewed support by playing some kind of oppressed-underdog role.

Also, people's desire to dismiss the Golden Dawn as just a few wackos who have momentarily lucked out is extremely unsettling. There is good cause to be very, very concerned. They have infiltrated the police and the government. And they are neo-nazis. And they kill people. I would rather see people get carried away with concern than try to convince themselves it's no big deal. These guys are poison and there is very real threat the poison will spread. I would definitely be on guard for a coup. Remember, they have a good chunk of the police on their side. Also, there are greek nationalist-socialists getting field training at this very moment in Syria supporting Assad. Not necessarily Golden Dawn members, but potential GD allies.
posted by molecicco at 9:48 AM on September 28, 2013 [8 favorites]

important to remember 'our' role in using Greece as a test or Guinea Pig for severe austerity (not us, really, 'them', but sadly representing 'us')
posted by maiamaia at 9:50 AM on September 28, 2013

445supermag, that link is...I don't even know. Puzzling. Scary. There are references I don't get, not being deeply familiar with the situation, but this demand especially made me go "I have no idea what this means":

- protection from Hostile Elongation at the Aegean Sea, Macedonia, Epirus , Thrace and Cyprus , with parallel suppression of various groups operating in these areas.

Can someone help me grok?
posted by rtha at 10:16 AM on September 28, 2013

I'm not entirely sure, but I would guess it's a slight translation quirk and they mean "protection from escalating hostilities". The mention of Cyprus and the Aegean Sea have to do with long-standing disputes between Greece and Turkey. I believe there are all sorts of Greek-Macedonian conflicts (and arguments about who is allowed to call themselves Macedonian). Thrace and Epirus, I don't know what's going on there.
posted by molecicco at 10:22 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

The original Greek is ΠΡΟΣΤΑΣΙΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΗΝ ΕΧΘΡΙΚΗ ΕΠΕΚΤΑΤΙΚΟΤΗΤΑ, protection from hostile desire for expansion. molecicco has it mostly right - it's Turkey for Thrace and Albania for Epirus they are complaining about, the Balkans being what they are you can't have a border area without a history of conflict.

Not to be overly dismissive, but I am not sure there is much more to KEED than a blogspot website for people who where in the special forces during their compulsory military service. They have been thoroughly mocked on the Greek internet since the proclamation.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:33 AM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Does anyone think it's... well, ironic might not be the right word, but I can't think of one right now ... that one of the arrested Golden Dawn MPs is wearing a "Kansas" T-Shirt? That's not even Greek script!
posted by dhens at 11:24 AM on September 28, 2013

So does he mean it in "We're not in Kansas anymore" context, the band Kansas' "Dust in the Wind" or "Carry On Wayward Son", or "What's the Matter With Kansas?"??? Or is he too much a stupid thug to care or just thinks it's American English for "Can Sass!"
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:18 PM on September 28, 2013

This is the face of austerity.

That, and the Dublin Regulation.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:22 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Golden Dawn’s secret army.
The secret training, the beatings and how the organization has managed to remain undercover.
posted by adamvasco at 1:05 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Into the Fire : The Hidden Victims of Austerity in Greece.

Currently on tour, and excellent. The Dublin Regulation is very relevant here.
posted by plep at 1:46 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Now if America could do the same with groups like the Hells Angels and other biker gangs.
posted by usagizero at 1:55 PM on September 28, 2013

In case anyone was in doubt, that was supposed to be "neo-nazis." I have no idea how autocorrect came up with "bro-nazis," but it may be a term whose time has come.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:35 PM on September 28, 2013 [18 favorites]

I'm getting too old. Thought it said "Goldie Hawn".
posted by IndigoJones at 4:20 PM on September 28, 2013

Federal prosecutors do go after biker gangs as criminal enterprises on occasion.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:50 PM on September 28, 2013

posted by ersatz at 4:51 PM on September 28, 2013


Holy shit.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:08 PM on September 28, 2013

This sort of thing on the blue always makes me feel a little oogy. I don't know how to explain it. I guess I don't really see an American parallel, so I may not get it.

I see everyone advocating for the silence and arrest and prosecution of a group, and I don't really get it. Silencing a democratically elected group of representatives does not seem like a win to me, no matter what they are saying. I know free speech of the American variety is not something that happens around the rest of the world, but I feel it should be. It should be a universal right to say what in the fuck ever you want to.

We have representatives in our own congress that say or infer as much, but we don't round them up and arrest them and ban their group. It just doesn't seem right to me.

And here I am defending just one of the most awful parties of people that you'd ever meet.

posted by sanka at 8:48 PM on September 28, 2013

I see everyone advocating for the silence and arrest and prosecution of a group

They have been charged with criminal offenses, including murder. Surely those committing those acts should be subject to arrest, prosecution, and ejection from their elected offices if convicted.
posted by rtha at 9:09 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]

Golden Dawn's leaders are charged with a number of crimes besides fomenting violence, including money laundering, extortion, and murder. The party has been reclassified as a criminal organization because it behaves as one, though its motives are political.

On preview, seconding rtha.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:14 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

Sanka you do understand that these funds kers are full on fascists don't you.?
There is no polite debate with them, there is no discourse. If you object publically to what they say and preach you get beaten up badly or worse.
I am on a phone so cannot link but check out some of the past Golden Dawn threads.
Makes KKK look pleasant. Comparison with 1930,s German national socialist movement is about right.
Look at their involvement with right wing nationalist Serbs and tacit blessing of the Greek orthodox church.
Many Police are onside with them so they can beat up and intimidate people with no fear of arrest. Greece is beginning to look like Weimer Germany.
posted by adamvasco at 1:04 AM on September 29, 2013

Yeah, they are being arrested and prosecuted for what they did, not what they said. And what they did was racist, terrorist, murder and intimidation. the only thing that makes me squeamish is fear of the arrest and prosecution being carried out incorrectly, golden dawn bouncing back, and even more instability.
posted by molecicco at 1:51 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yet another analysis.

The fact that many people worry about a retaliatory backlash to the legal action taken against Golden Dawn kind of highlights the violent and reactionary nature of the group, which is one of the major reasons for the arrests and criminalization in the first place, eh?
posted by eviemath at 6:39 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

There is another political aspect to this, that hasn't seen much play in international media: GD currently hold 18 seats in the 300 seat parliament, and have been threatening to resign en masse since the murder of Fyssas. Deciding the fate of these seats may trigger a political crisis, which is a much more valid concern than fears of a coup IMO.

In the first few days after the murder, it was not yet clear that GD involvement could be proven in court - the killer, Roupakiotis, claimed to be only a sympathizer, and not acting under party orders. In an attempt to discourage further investigation, GD threatened a mass resignation of MPs, under the mistaken impression that this would trigger a general election. Non-coalition parties where somewhat sympathetic to the idea, and urged the government to hold an election even if (as it turns out) it is not called for by the constitution.

Right now it doesn't look like a general election is in play, but GD MPs won't lose their seats until convicted (and presumably, appeals are exhausted): a separate, local election will be held for the seat of every MP that is convicted or resigns. There is some concern GD MPs will start resigning sequentially, one every few weeks, to draw the process out and keep political and media attention on themselves - after all, aggressively trolling the entire political spectrum is the only kind of politics they know.

As to potential backlash, it seems that swift removal of their top leadership, coupled with an allegedly very leader-driven party mechanism, has left them headless and confused - for now at least. The last of the wanted MPs turned himself in this afternoon, after evading capture for a day - it is not very clear who is calling the shots in GD right now. Small groups of supporters gathered outside police HQ and the courts yesterday, while a bunch of minor members were arrested at night trying to sneak out incriminating evidence like clubs and riot shields from their offices around the country, which have remained mostly shuttered.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:49 AM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]

Damn, I read "Goldie Hawn declared a criminal organisation"
posted by Boggins at 3:51 AM on September 30, 2013

Bogins - We've already heard that one.
Golden Dawn arrests are just the beginning (comments are rancid) meanwhile the collusion between GD and the police force continues as Kasidiaris tweets from custody, where mobile phones are banned.
The people don’t forget, they hang fascists,” goes a chant that Greeks have been hearing for decades. This year, seeing the fascists being put behind bars will suffice for most.
posted by adamvasco at 5:46 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's too early for celebration, but it looks like their public support has been seriously eroded since the murder of Fyssas.

Something like this happened in Indiana once.
posted by snottydick at 8:12 AM on September 30, 2013

These people are Nazis. Who have connections with and work as organized crime, down to having turf wars with other gangs and making deals with Albanian and Pakistani mobs (while beating up and killing random Pakistanis in Athens). Who apparently are funded by shipping magnates, clergymen and businessmen. And who are (I can't say were yet) protected and supported by police. The last bit is crucial: wherever GD fought antifascist groups in comparable numbers they got their arses kicked. It was only due to police intervention that they could claim the streets. And all this started according to the preliminary investigation (but you could ask even me and I'd tell you, all of what they found has been public knowledge for ages) in *1987*. They were collaborating with the police and building support for 25 years and the political establishment did nothing at all to stop them. Most of the media were implicitly "normalizing" them...
Had Pavlos Fyssas survived the attack I reckon that the police would throw the book on him and his attacker would get a hand-slap. This has been going on for ages.

This is what happened last year to the anti-fascists that confronted Golden Dawn: The police arrested and tortured them.

GD went three steps too far, too soon (three steps: attacking very right wing but non-GD members in a memorial service - I kid you not - for Nazi-collaborators executed by partisans during WWII, attacking Communist Party members with clubs and then killing a Greek), and if the government didn't act now things would have gotten completely out of hand for them. That and the unanimous horror that the murder caused in the EU and the US.

Still this is possibly the most right wing government in Europe (along with Hungary) and its attitudes towards immigrants, law and order and popular protests isn't that far from that of the Nazis. So while the organized crime part of this terror might subside, I'm not sure at all that institutional terror, via police brutality and government legislation will disappear... The day after Pavlos Fyssas' murder we were tear gassed by riot police as Golden Dawn thugs were by their side throwing rocks at us... As a Greek Human Rights NGO activist put it in a recent article: About Golden Dawn, I am angry for the past, happy for the present and worried about the future...
posted by talos at 6:35 PM on September 30, 2013 [6 favorites]

Heh, looks like the photo linked by anemone of the state above is going to stick around.

(It might be somewhat dissonant to be using these violent thugs and killers as an opportunity for lulz, but since acquiring importance and projecting a powerfull image is one of their goals, I feel we're not done with them until they are both in jail and thoroughly ridiculed)
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:03 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

More Greek nonsense.
Greece retries journalist who leaked 'Lagarde list' of suspected tax evaders.
Kostas Vaxevanis published details of of more than 2,000 wealthy Greeks with cash deposits in Switzerland.
posted by adamvasco at 8:18 AM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

It is shameful that the Greek government and the European leadership have pretended they didn’t know what was happening. Now, they have run out of excuses.
posted by adamvasco at 5:20 AM on October 19, 2013

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