Hi everybody, I know it’s been a while. Sorry for the hiatus, a lot of stuff has happened including a global pandemic.
First of all, Black Lives Matter, and Black Trans Lives Matter. Many activists rightfully question the so-called nonprofit industrial complex, so I highly recommend reading critical race theory written by Black authors and donating to individual Black folks instead of to organizations (unless you are certain you can trust them). Here I suggest you donate to Erik, a Black trans artist.
Now I’d like to talk about the despicable Golden Dawn, given recent news. I’ve seen plenty of Classicists talk about them before for good reason — they, like many neo-Nazis and fascists, love to use ancient Greek motifs and imagery. That gets into the whole White Supremacist idea of so-called “Western Civilization”.
Anyway, a mere two days ago Golden Dawn was officially declared a criminal organization by the Greek government. This is amazing because a fascist, violent Nazi party having governmental representation is fucked up and does not set a good precedent. Yet, at the same time, a volunteer lawyer for the victims of Golden Dawn quoted in the article expressed concern that the system wasn’t taking this kind of fascist violent threat seriously, which I think is both true and a common fault in judiciary settings (they sure aren’t where justice happens).
This article covers what has transpired since 2013(!!) with the Golden Dawn and how the trial came about. I have to admit that I didn’t know the trial or investigation had happened.
In October, five months after the election, a coalition of NGOs including the UN’s refugee agency warned of a steep rise in racist assaults in Greece, many of which shared the modus operandi of Golden Dawn’s alleged attack squads. Other violent incidents began to stack up: one of Golden Dawn’s MPs slapped a female leftwing opponent in the face live on television; two others led a mass assault on a community centre in suburban Athens that offered language lessons to immigrants, in which witnesses described adults being beaten in front of terrified children. A string of assaults, increasing in severity, preceded the killing of Fyssas.Daniel Trilling, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/mar/03/golden-dawn-the-rise-and-fall-of-greece-neo-nazi-trial
The article also mentions the Greek police’s decisions to stand by or aid fascist attacks, much like police in Amerikkka. Both Greek police and Amerikkkan police have significant histories of police brutality, and Greek anti-Black police brutality is attested to in the article as well.
Now you may be thinking — okay, this is modern Greek politics? What does that have to do with paganism? Well, first off, religion is deeply political, and always has been. But more directly, the Golden Dawn loved Ancient Greece, and the article touches on its “occult” rituals documented in member homes. More directly: the Golden Dawn has a pagan element. Time and time again, I have seen Greeks deny their Nazi-ness by saying Hellenic Paganism doesn’t allow for such thoughts, that modern beliefs don’t fit with ancient ways. This is simply untrue, and can be seen in organizations formed more explicitly to this end like YSEE and the one group I won’t even bother naming because it’s so extreme and too niche (and I don’t want to give it free publicity, whereas YSEE is popular enough that I won’t be helping them much by merely mentioning them). Logically and rhetorically, this is no surprise, as much of the xenophobic ideology behind modern Greek pagan groups is that Judaism/Christianity/Islam are foreign and thus evil, which is more than compatible with classic fascist logic. For more on YSEE and fascism/xenophobia, check out these articles by Van Voulgarakis.
I think for those of us living on what is called the United States, this is an important lesson we can learn from. Greek resistance methods and the fundamental vulnerability of electoral politics could be something we learn from, especially as pagans.
For Thanasis Kampagiannis, a lawyer representing some of Golden Dawn’s alleged victims, the trial is only one tool among many to counter the party. He believes the case may not even have come to court were it not for mass anti-fascist protests in the autumn of 2013, which placed the government under public pressure and sought to reclaim city squares dominated by Golden Dawn. “We do not trust the institutions to dismantle completely this Nazi organisation,” declares a statement issued by Kampagiannis and other lawyers in 2013.
“For now it [the Golden Dawn] is our problem – migrants and refugees,” he had warned. “But soon it will be a problem for all of you Greek people too.”Yonous Muhammadi, quoted in https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/mar/03/golden-dawn-the-rise-and-fall-of-greece-neo-nazi-trial