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Rise of the far right in Europe.

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Rise of the Greek far right raises fears of further turmoil | World news | guardian.co.uk

 

Twenty-five years ago Makis Voridis was an axe-wielding fascist who patrolled the streets of Greece in hot pursuit of leftist fellow students.

 

Not much later, after his expulsion from Athens University's law school, he headed the youth wing of Epen, the far right party founded by the imprisoned former dictator Georgios Papadopoulos.

 

With a seat in the European parliament the group enjoyed close ties with Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former leader of the National Front in France, openly espousing many of his extremist views.

 

Today Voridis is a senior member of Greece's coalition government, embraced by the business community as the near-bankrupt country navigates its worst crisis in modern times.

 

"Some bad things were done in the past but we've all put water in our wine," says Alexandros Xenakakis, who has long worked with the politician. "We're not Nazis. We're patriots who care about our nation."

 

In an interview with the Guardian, Voridis said: "I was a rightwing student activist and, yes, it's true that when I was the head of the Epen youth I had ties with Le Pen who we brought to Greece and, yes, I agreed, not with all but with some of his views.

 

"But am I a crypto-fascist, with a hidden agenda who wants to abolish democracy and human rights? The answer is no. And do I have a problem with Jews and homosexuals? No, I don't. I'm terribly OK [about that]. Sexuality for sure is a personal choice," insisted the politician whose best man, Carl Lang, was deputy president of the National Front before he parted ways with Le Pen.

 

The rise of the far right – in government for the first time since the collapse of military rule almost 40 years ago – led to opponents taking to the streets and leftist politicians decrying the development as a "historic mistake". Jewish groups have called the inclusion of the extremist Popular Orthodox Rally (Laos) in the three-party administration "deeply troubling".

 

Voridis' party boss, Giorgos Karatzaferis, a former bodybuilder who formed Laos in 2000, has been criticised for making a succession of anti-Semitic remarks on his own television channel, Telecity. At the founding congress of his party, he said: "They say that to get ahead you have to be one of three things: a Jew, a homosexual, or a communist. We are none of these ... Vote for a parliament without Masons, without homosexuals, without those dependent on Zionism."

 

Karatzaferis, a high-school dropout who ran a modelling agency before going into politics, has denied being anti-Semitic and has attributed his inflammatory remarks to getting carried away in his dealings with an insistent media.

 

"[His] participation besmirches the respectable image of a country known for being the birthplace of democracy," said Serge Cwajgenbaum, general secretary of the European Jewish Congress.

 

"I am not dogmatic," the 64-year-old said after the new government headed by Lucas Papademos, a technocratic economist, was sworn in last month in an attempt to save Greece from default.

 

Unlike the maverick Karatzaferis, whose ability to flip-flop on policies has seen him increasingly being dubbed a political opportunist, Voridis is disarmingly open about his past.

 

Now 47 and greying at the temples, the minister of infrastructure and transport, one of four Laos deputies in the government, does not deny he is a reconstructed fascist.

 

He describes himself now as a "national liberal", and says the enemy is not so much the liberal left but the hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants who have either succeeded, or will try, to get into the Mediterranean country, now seen as the easiest backdoor entrance into the EU.

 

But with Laos (which means the people in Greek) also playing on the fears and insecurity of an austerity-weary nation struggling to make ends meet, there are mounting concerns the ideologically eclectic party, which garnered 5.6% of the vote in the 2009 elections, will add to the turmoil stalking the eurozone's weakest link.

 

Just as Greece's crisis has enabled Voridis to escape his past – and also resulted in the spectacular rise of the left – there are fears it will allow extremists of every hue to extol their dangerous ideas.

 

Tellingly, an MRB poll released this week revealed the fascist Chrysi Avgi (golden dawn), a party to the right of Laos, picking up 1% of the national vote for the first time.

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Call me paranoid.

 

You're paranoid.

 

On topic though I'm sure we'll see more and more disenfranchised groups holding up a banner of inclusivity, as long as you're prepared to exclude.

 

History teaches us that fractions in society create factions of those who perceive injustice against themselves (both in an individual and communal sense), it will always be this way, in my opinion, because as humans we have fears and we can project these fears against common, again perceived, enemies, without looking to understand where our own fears and inadequacies come from.

 

The most brutal truth though is that there is no catch all answer to this, it is what it is and no amount soapbox/ivory tower thinking will ever be able to instill a philosophy that we are all equal, we all get wet in the rain and we'll all die and it will be forgotten and that's a shame, but also a sad fact, our lives are our own nobody else's and we are free, within the societal bonds, to do what we like with them.

 

Sad really that the enlightenment only exacerbated the ascent of individualism and didn't attain it's ambitions of celebration and unity.

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You're paranoid.

 

On topic though I'm sure we'll see more and more disenfranchised groups holding up a banner of inclusivity, as long as you're prepared to exclude.

 

History teaches us that fractions in society create factions of those who perceive injustice against themselves (both in an individual and communal sense), it will always be this way, in my opinion, because as humans we have fears and we can project these fears against common, again perceived, enemies, without looking to understand where our own fears and inadequacies come from.

 

The most brutal truth though is that there is no catch all answer to this, it is what it is and no amount soapbox/ivory tower thinking will ever be able to instill a philosophy that we are all equal, we all get wet in the rain and we'll all die and it will be forgotten and that's a shame, but also a sad fact, our lives are our own nobody else's and we are free, within the societal bonds, to do what we like with them.

 

Sad really that the enlightenment only exacerbated the ascent of individualism and didn't attain it's ambitions of celebration and unity.

 

A sad but very true fact. That individualism has manifested itself in the desire to acquire wealth and power. We as a race, will never fucking learn no matter how many Noam Chomskys come around.

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Newsnight at half ten tonight has something about neo-nazis in Germany on it. Might be worth a watch.

 

BBC News - Germany's new breed of neo-Nazis pose a threat

The security services in Germany are scrambling to track down and arrest far-right fugitives and Germany's federal and state interior ministers have announced they are taking concrete steps towards banning the country's far right National Democratic Party, the NPD.

 

This comes after a public outcry following revelations in November that a neo-Nazi cell had apparently been able to go on a nationwide spree of racially motivated murders over several years, under the noses of the German intelligence services.

 

The group of three are being held responsible for the deaths of eight Turkish and one Greek immigrant between 2000 and 2006, as well as a German policewoman in 2007.

 

Yet the existence of the group, dubbed the Zwickau cell after the name of the town where they spent most of their time in hiding, only came to light in November when two of its members died in an apparent joint suicide or murder-suicide and the third handed herself in to the authorities.

 

The NPD has been linked to the group, though the allegations have yet to be accepted in a court of law.

 

The trio had made a DVD in which they boasted of the killings and said they had acted to serve the German nation and its people, describing themselves as the National Socialist Underground - echoing the national socialism (Nazism) of Hitler's Germany.

 

"Martin" Former neo-Nazi

 

The story of the killers has dominated headlines in Germany for months now and given rise to one of the biggest scandals in post-war Germany.

 

It turns out intelligence agencies had had the group under surveillance for years, and even found a bomb-making factory in their garage back in 1998.

 

So why were the trio not stopped earlier? Why were they allowed to disappear and then stay underground? And why was it that security services blamed the murders on the Turkish mafia at the time? A right-wing motive was never investigated.

 

The failures have prompted some to ask whether there is more than incompetence to blame, whether Germany's police and security services contain elements sympathetic to the far right - an accusation the institutions vehemently deny.

 

A parliamentary inquiry is currently under way into their activities, and Newsnight has seen a secret internal report revealing serious blunders by law enforcement agencies.

Police limitations

 

When we spoke to Peter Altmaier, a senior official in Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat party, he admitted that mistakes had been made:

 

"You have to know Germany is a federal state, and competencies are shared and divided between federal and state levels... and because we have drawn the lessons from the Nazi dictatorship, we have very limited powers of police and security institutions.

Far-right supporter Intelligence services say young professionals are forming part of a new breed of far-right supporters

 

"There have been hints and indications of right-wing extremism that were not taken seriously enough, and therefore we have put this very high on the political agenda."

 

Another question that now worries many Germans is just how big a threat the far right poses.

 

Human rights groups say more than 180 people have been killed in right-wing attacks in Germany over the last 20 years.

 

Neo-Nazis have murdered more people in post-war Germany than any other single group, including Islamists and the far left. But this is not yet reflected in official data.

 

Could it be that Germany's sensitivity to its history has made it want to play down modern-day right wing extremism?

'Tie Nazis'

 

"Martin", a former neo-Nazi leader who asked to be quoted anonymously for fear of revenge attacks, was an active member of the far right for 11 years. He has now left the movement and encourages others to do so through an organisation called Exit.

 

Uwe Dreisch Former head of a now-banned neo-Nazi group

 

Martin told us the revelations about the Zwickau cell should have come as no surprise to the authorities:

 

"The militant scene has always said we need people who are willing and able and trained in case it comes to civil war, and neo-Nazi propaganda always talks about civil war. The scene is armed. It's military.

 

"Weapons training is carried out in secret. In the Arab world, for example, with freedom movements there. The right-wing scene sees itself as a freedom movement."

 

There is a growing collection of secretive far-right groups in Germany which call themselves the "Free Forces".

 

Intelligence services say this is the fastest-spreading section of Germany's far-right movement.

 

They say the cliche of the neo-Nazi being a boot-wearing, young, unemployed male skinhead is out of date. Nowadays you cannot always tell who is a neo-Nazi and who is not.

 

The Free Forces are attracting a new crowd, including students and middle-class professionals. Germans speak of a new generation of Kravattennazis, literally "Tie Nazis", as opposed to the traditional Stiefelnazis, or "Boot Nazis".

 

They use modern forms of protest and are harnessing social media.

Flash protests

 

Take The Immortals, for example - anti-globalisation, anti-capitalist and anti-democratic, they warn of the impending extinction of the German people and call for a Germany for the Germans.

 

Hard for the authorities to catch, they use text messaging to organise spontaneous night-time demonstrations across the country, especially in university towns.

 

The protesters wear black cloaks and white masks, reminiscent of the hacker-anarchists Anonymous, to hide their identity. After 15 minutes on the street, they are gone.

 

"The leadership is always trying to attract members of the so-called upper classes and students who, one day, can act as lawyers or doctors for the far right," Martin explained.

 

"It's all done very quietly, out of the public eye. You would never imagine that some of those people would support the movement and they may deny their affiliation in public, but they are very much part of the scene."

 

"You can't describe the far right as a fringe group any more. All parts of German society are found in it."

 

But what exactly do they want?

 

Far-right activists are camera-shy. They say they are hounded by police and hemmed in by post-war German laws which make it illegal to question the Holocaust and demonstrate public appreciation of Nazi Germany, leading to a number of far-right groups being shut down and their members prosecuted.

 

We visited Berlin's best-known neo-Nazi pub, The Executioner, to see if we could tempt the punters there to talk.

 

Most people in the dimly lit, windowless establishment eyed us with suspicion and distaste, but after a couple of "Himla'' cocktails, Uwe Dreisch, the former head of a now-banned neo-Nazi group, sat down with us and said:

 

"Who are we? We are nationalists. We care deeply about our fatherland. We don't like the state that exists here right now in Germany. We want to rebuild our country for our citizens, the German people.

 

"We want to protect our culture, our country, our religion. In Britain, you're also proud of your country, but here I, as a German, am a second-class citizen. This is because we live with eternal war guilt here in Germany. Others get preferential treatment, not us Germans.

 

"Those outside here who say this pub is full of evil Nazis, how would they know? They're afraid to talk to us. They just try to ban us."

 

What many lawmakers in Germany say they do not like is that the far right rejects the German constitution and the Federal German Republic.

 

Supporters of the far right want a new order in Germany, but while they live under the current system, some are establishing what they call "national liberated zones", dotted across the country.

 

The most famous example is Jamel, a village in northern Germany which has been largely taken over by the far right.

 

In the middle of the village is a brightly painted Nazi-style mural in which a traditionally dressed German mother cradles her baby, surrounded by her other children.

 

Also painted there is a proclamation that Jamel is free, social and national.

Birth-rate campaign

 

We spoke to Udo Pastoers, number two in the NPD, the legal political wing of the far right, and the leader of the party's elected representatives in the regional parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the area in which Jamel sits.

 

Mr Pastoers was keen to discuss the NPD's current campaign calling for more indigenous Germans to have children.

 

He showed me a campaign poster emblazoned with the phrase "German children need our country. Stop the German people dying out" in which two beautiful blonde parents frolic at a sandy water's edge with their blonde and beaming children.

 

Mr Pastoers said the birth-rate in Germany was far too low and that women should "reproduce" more, so that Germany could still deserve the name Germany.

 

"Imagine a country called Germany that is filled only with Africans, Arabs, Asians. Biology is our priority," he said.

 

The NPD does not do very well in the polls. Still, it has elected representatives in two of out of Germany's 16 regional parliaments.

 

Mr Pastoers told us the party was virtually gagged by the German authorities. If they really could speak openly, he said, a huge chunk of the German electorate would support them.

 

The NPD insists the stigma of being associated with the far right in modern Germany means that people who would like to vote for it do not dare to.

New message

 

In an attempt to boost its numbers, the party is currently concentrating on social issues, taking advantage of widespread unease caused by the global economic crisis.

 

They and the wider far-right movement run youth centres and football clubs, and offer welfare advice and family outings for those short of cash.

 

Former neo-Nazi Martin, who spoke of close links between the NPD and extremist groups like the one he used to lead, said the party's social card was insincere.

 

"They can't win over all parts of society with anti-Semitic and Nazi rhetoric. The welfare debate touches most people these days, but it is fake.

 

"One well-known neo-Nazi activist said: 'We'll make sure to be where people are suffering most, where they are shouting for help... Eventually we'll have them where we want them.'''

 

Germany's far right is a minority movement but one the country's authorities cannot afford to ignore.

 

Watch Katya Adler's full report on Newsnight at 22:30 BST on BBC Two on Tuesday 27 March, then afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.

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One has to wonder about the psyche of some nations.

 

Something hard wired that cannot be truly eradicated. I read a book called "hitler's willing executioners" (something like that anyway) and it is truly horrifying.

 

As I said, some countries and cultures appear to be more easily led ( in bad directions) than others. There is no fucking way a political movement like Nazis would have been able to flourish and take control of Britain. Which is one reason why we fought and beat them

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Brazil ended up as a haven for quite a few Nazis to be fair.

 

We fought it because it was in our best national interest to do so, nothing more, nothing less. It had fuck all to do with stopping them killing Jews or anything like that

 

Nor did we go alone, Uncle Sam helped as did Uncle Joe lets not forget

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Brazil ended up as a haven for quite a few Nazis to be fair.

 

We fought it because it was in our best national interest to do so, nothing more, nothing less. It had fuck all to do with stopping them killing Jews or anything like that

 

Nor did we go alone, Uncle Sam helped as did Uncle Joe lets not forget

 

That's not quite true. There is no chance, not EVER, that we would have allowed 6m people to be murdered in that fashion. It happened only 65 years ago. Things don't change that quickly. Something was wrong. And still is in many places.

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We knew about the camps and did fuck all to stop it for a long time

 

Plus we didnt enter the War to stop them killing Jews cos as I say we didnt even know till towards the end so how could we?

 

We entered to protect our national self interest

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Ask oswald how much we welcome fascists.

 

Germany would love the world to think that the 'nazis' were some kind of virulent, rogue strain of insane power hungry despots that wrested control of their country from decent, normal Germans.

 

Complicit. And they are terrified of admitting it. Hence the money and funding

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It would be interesting to see how we would react to the onerous terms included in the treaty of versaille were applied to us after a war.

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It would be interesting to see how we would react to the onerous terms included in the treaty of versaille were applied to us after a war.

 

This.

It's very easy for us with the power of hindsight to wag the finger. If I was the age I am now in 30s Munich I think the pull of the national socialist party would be incredibly strong. I'm not a racist or anti semetic in the slightest but if I was young, hopeless and unemployed with older relatives who had died for seemingly nothing and I was introduced to a group that promoted national pride, unity and employment for all I think joining would be an attractive prospect. Indoctrination comes later, slowly as you may initially have misgivings about certain policies but being surrounded by soothsayers and party officials who will have developed arguments that will plant tiny seeds of doubt in your mind that your original opinion was wrong until after enough exposure you not only tow the party line but begin to do to new members exactly what happened to you.

 

There is nothing wrong with Germans or Germany. They were just exposed when conditions were perfect for a fascist grassroots uprising.

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This.

It's very easy for us with the power of hindsight to wag the finger. If I was the age I am now in 30s Munich I think the pull of the national socialist party would be incredibly strong. I'm not a racist or anti semetic in the slightest but if I was young, hopeless and unemployed with older relatives who had died for seemingly nothing and I was introduced to a group that promoted national pride, unity and employment for all I think joining would be an attractive prospect. Indoctrination comes later, slowly as you may initially have misgivings about certain policies but being surrounded by soothsayers and party officials who will have developed arguments that will plant tiny seeds of doubt in your mind that your original opinion was wrong until after enough exposure you not only tow the party line but begin to do to new members exactly what happened to you.

 

There is nothing wrong with Germans or Germany. They were just exposed when conditions were perfect for a fascist grassroots uprising.

 

Correct me if i'm wrong but it was you using the word 'jewed' in another thread, wasn't it? I think you said something like, 'the ref jewed them'. That sounds pretty anti semitic to me.

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Oh behave yourself.

 

So its in their genes? You sound just like a Nazi spouting shite like that

 

I think he means some nations are more used to strong leadership, pine for it even, and are more likely to go down whatever route that leader suggests. I thinks there's a point there.

 

The Nazis exploited crisis and crisis is all it takes. Bear in mind that during the English riots people were calling for troops on the streets. Throw the economic crisis into the mix and propogranda about foreign agents trying to undermine the state and you've got a heady mix to be sure.

 

People are maliable when theyr'e afraid.

 

I don't susbrcibe to the view that it couldn't have happened here though. The British empire may not have had gas chambers but it certainly did its fair share of killing, I'm sure the Irish lads on here will have their views on that.

 

The Nazis plan if they'd conquered Britain was to use the ruling classes to control the rest of the population via the likes of Eton college. (In the Robert Harris book Fatherland there's an SS academy at Oxford University)

 

You couldn't see fascists taking control in Briatin back then but that's because it didn't suit the agenda of those in charge at the time (I've always been amused at how a country with such centralised wealth and influence could marshall the lower classes to fight people by invoking fear of control, having shitbags like the Duke of Wellington getting some poverty stricken drummer boy to take a musket ball from Napoleon's troops for instance).

 

Hitler was a tool of the industrialists in the early days, if they'd needed a similar tool over here rest assured they would have found one.

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Correct me if i'm wrong but it was you using the word 'jewed' in another thread, wasn't it? I think you said something like, 'the ref jewed them'. That sounds pretty anti semitic to me.

 

100% correct. It was about Joubert in RWC final, forgot about that old chestnut! Still I don't feel I am, but I suppose that's opinion. Rest of my post still stands though. And Joubert is a whopper.

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I

I don't susbrcibe to the view that it couldn't have happened here though. The British empire may not have had gas chambers but it certainly did its fair share of killing, I'm sure the Irish lads on here will have their views on that

 

Cromwells campaign in drogheda in 1649 caused the deaths of 500,000 people. I read somewhere that the average killed per month rivalled Stalins purges in the 1930's.

As bad as that was I'm not sure that the British ever wanted to exterminate an entire race though although many argue that the potato famine in the 1840's was exploited by the government to cull a lage percentage of an ever growing irish population at that point in time.

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Cromwells campaign in drogheda in 1649 caused the deaths of 500,000 people. I read somewhere that the average killed per month rivalled Stalins purges in the 1930's.

As bad as that was I'm not sure that the British ever wanted to exterminate an entire race though although many argue that the potato famine in the 1840's was exploited by the government to cull a lage percentage of an ever growing irish population at that point in time.

 

I'm not saying you agree with that but I'm Irish and I don't believe that for a second.Wasn't there a change of government in the uk during it?from labour to Whig and Whigs had a lazzez fairre (sp) approach to government policy so they failed to intervene thoroughly ? There were public works put into place to pay the poor so they could feed families and grain imported but they didn't realise the scale and intensity of the food shortage. There was incompetence no doubt but to claim malice is a big statement

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I'm not saying you agree with that but I'm Irish and I don't believe that for a second.Wasn't there a change of government in the uk during it?from labour to Whig and Whigs had a lazzez fairre (sp) approach to government policy so they failed to intervene thoroughly ? There were public works put into place to pay the poor so they could feed families and grain imported but they didn't realise the scale and intensity of the food shortage. There was incompetence no doubt but to claim malice is a big statement

 

No mate I dont agree with it. I already said that I dont believe the british empire ever wanted to destroy a whole race. I believe it was happened as a result of neglect and total incompetence on their part. You could see where people would have that opinion though. Millions of people existing off just the one food crop

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I'm not saying you agree with that but I'm Irish and I don't believe that for a second.Wasn't there a change of government in the uk during it?from labour to Whig and Whigs had a lazzez fairre (sp) approach to government policy so they failed to intervene thoroughly ? There were public works put into place to pay the poor so they could feed families and grain imported but they didn't realise the scale and intensity of the food shortage. There was incompetence no doubt but to claim malice is a big statement

 

Just to let you know that it was either Tory or Whigs.

There wasnt a Labour Government elected until 1924 and it only lasted less than a year.

Smeared by the Daily Mail of all things.

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Just to let you know that it was either Tory or Whigs.

There wasnt a Labour Government elected until 1924 and it only lasted less than a year.

Smeared by the Daily Mail of all things.

 

Cheers must have been Tory/liberal to Whig, probably me mixing Liberal with labour there like a numpty

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