Wednesday’s landmark verdict marked the end of Golden Dawn, but ideologies do not die with political organisations that represent them.
Marianna Karakoulaki, October 10, 2020
“Golden Dawn is a criminal organisation,” declared an announcer from the top of the Court of Appeals in Athens on Wednesday, making public the landmark verdict in the biggest trial of self-professed fascists since Nuremberg. Thousands of anti-fascist protesters who had gathered outside the court burst into cheers, hugging each other in celebration at a decision they had been waiting for for more than five years. The mood, however, quickly turned sour as police released tear gas and used water cannon to disperse the crowd.
The brutal police response that followed the verdict was indicative that the anti-fascist fight in Greece is still far from over. Yes, the leaders of Greece’s neo-Nazi party, which terrorised the country for years, will be behind bars. Yes, the party’s name will be erased from the Greek political scene. But its dangerous, divisive and often deadly ideology is still well embedded in Greek society.
Golden Dawn was born from the ashes of the Greek military junta (1967-1974) in the early 1980s. The party’s founding leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, a Holocaust denier and Hitler admirer created a cult of personality and charmed those who leaned towards the far right and felt like their views were not represented by Greece’s political parties by promising to make their voices heard. His words were the law for the party’s members.