Neo-Nazis on the rise in Europe

Golden Dawn's flag. Looks vaguely familiar, huh?
Golden Dawn’s flag. Looks vaguely familiar, huh?

Filed under: “Shit Americans Won’t Pay Enough Attention to Until it’s Almost Too Late”–A new sort of fascism, not particularly different from the old kind, is making a bit of a comeback in Europe.

The Golden Dawn Party achieved a foothold in Greek government first. They took advantage of Weimar Republic-like economic woes and did just what the Nazis did in the late 20s and early 30s in Germany–they began providing what extremely distressed, impoverished households needed: scapegoats (immigrants); and assistance. Golden Dawn members made it into Parliament and were regularly appearing on Greek talk shows. With a recent spate of prosecutions against high-ranking Golden Dawn members for stuff like, you know, murder, the party’s power in Greece may be on the wane.

But that’s okay–from the fascist point-of-view, I mean–because International Business Times reports that extreme right wingers are doing just fine, elsewhere:

Since the rise of Golden Dawn in Greece, far-right parties have gathered momentum across the continent carrying with them a disturbing brand of fascism and xenophobia.

The collapse of confidence in institutions after the 2008 financial crisis, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the spread of populist and nationalist sentiment has acted as recruitment magnet for the dissafected and the angry.

At the forefront of the protest against the European Union – perceived as a bureaucratic, useless apparatus made to suck up growth -, neo-Nazis have focussed their action on the wave of migrants coming to Europe to escape from civil wars, genocides and poverty.

The article goes on to report about Slovakian Marian Kotleba, a former high school teacher who wears straight-up SS gear and who was recently elected governor of a region in the country on a campaign platform of hating the Roma. It then mentions the Swedish Resistance Movement. Just last December, 40 members of that group went in on anti-racist demonstrators in Stockholm, hurling rocks and fireworks at 200 demonstrators. The Swedish Resistance is just fine with using the old-fashioned Swastika, by the way.

And so on. There’s a Nationalist Party of Bulgaria. They want to “cleanse” their country of “foreign and alien immigrant scum.” In Hungary, they have the “ultra-nationalist” and Jew-hating Jobbik party, which holds down 43 seats in that country’s parliament and–more worrisome, if you actually think about it–two in the EU parliament.

This quote has been attributed to Mark Twain: “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” The quote is used often enough to approach becoming a cliche, but cliches sometimes come into being because they’re full of truth.

Having read history with at least a quarter of my brain switched on most of the time, it’s hard for me to learn about the renewed rise of fascism in any western country and not wonder where the rhyme scheme of this particular verse is headed, and if anyone capable of doing something about it will pay enough attention to try, before it’s too late.