Of all the troubles and concerns in the world, this is the most clarion to me, mostly because of the long European cultural memory associated with the Second World War. In the US, the National Socialist movement came back in a wave during periods of great social unrest: 1920s (foundation of the modern Ku Klux Klan); 1940s (Nazi Apologists, National Alliance, &c); 1960s (civil rights movements bring back the Ku Klux Klan who allies with the National Alliance and other far right political movements). Yet, though it seems so far removed, so far away from where we are today, some of the commentary by the members of the Tea Party Movement come across as very Nationalist-Socialist in bent (economic downturn). People always look for someone to blame when things go to pot and those people typically look far different than them and are often the economically and political marginalized (straight from Trouillot). To remove the equivocation, I made in the previous sentence, I would daresay that the political leaders associated with this movement have purposefully drummed up this fervor and intentionally used it. Hence why the political legitimatization of the Golden Dawn Party in Greece is such a terrifying proposition and why I’m discussing the semiotics of what I’ve seen of it.
Golden Dawn came to my attention when I found that Giorgos Germenis, a member of the Black Metal act Naer Mataron won election to the Greek Parliament as a member of the Golden Dawn (MetalSucks). MetalSucks also included their statement regarding their band’s views:
“Naer Mataron has been and still remains a pure-blooded black metal band, and as such, a non-political one. Any member of the band has the right to keep on to his personal beliefs and act accordingly. Therefore, any kind of legal political activity of any member, is a matter of personal choice and is respected as such. Attempts to put Naer Mataron under any political agenda are rejected by the band. In addition, any false accusations against the band will come across with legal actions on our behalf. The band stands only for black metal, and black metal is extreme music, not politics. Closing, anyone who is into the extreme music and thematology, but for any reason feels shocked or offended by non-extreme views and/or beliefs is none of our concern.”
This is an obviously attempt to distance from the member’s election; however, the word choice, emphasized by me in this case, demonstrates a very disturbing point of view. The use of pure-blooded black metal band in particular is chilling to me; yet it is not the most dense dialogue in the statement in which the band states, in regard to the events of Germenis’ election, that his political beliefs are not extreme and those offended are none of their concern. Therefore, even though, I’m a fan of black metal, but terribly and outrageously offended by National Socialism, I therefore do not at all matter in their scheme of thought. Meanwhile, Germenis is a member of this group who, like it or not will be identified by his political beliefs and representation. Generally, metal has been a vehicle to expressing the rage or dissatisfaction of National Socialists in the United States, Norway (Burzum), and many other countries. I agree with Justin Foley’s article in which we hope as fans that this will not continue; however, I carry little hope when Naer Mataron refuses to remove this member from this band (Foley’s article).
Expanding our view to the rank, above is an image from a Golden Dawn rally. Note the postures of the men in the picture. Certainly, the salute is different, they are holding flares in their hands. They shout, raising their hands high and straight. The only difference here is in the fact that their hands are not held straight, palm facing the ground as the picture below shows. The youths wear black, emblazoned with a symbol on the chest, and denim. They are populist, working class people: the most likely to succumb to this ideological bent.
Finally, the picture below demonstrates the leader of the party himself, Nikos Michaloliakos, sitting in front of his party’s black flag. The image on it is a thinly veiled type of swastika (a sun symbol of earlier faiths; it appeared in Native American, Indian, Middle Eastern, Classical Latin, and many other cultures and is a perfect image for a group calling themselves the Golden Dawn) surrounded by laurels on a banner that reads “People’s Association” which is not a far cry from the original name of of the German Nazi movement: Volkisch, which means “people-powered” or “folksy” (source is wikipedia). Below the picture of the leader of Golden Dawn, I have placed a picture of a parade from Nazi Germany (copyrighted to Getty) in which a flag of the party is seen over Hitler by whom the band marches. The swatiska too is matched wrapped in a laurels, albeit in a circle. To attempt to do less than compare directly the two groups’ symbolism and miss the connections is dangerously foolish. It is obvious that the movement attaches itself to the very fiber of the National Socialist movement in Germany.
I don’t pretend to believe in a world in which equality will ever be truly legislated. I hope to see that marginalization of individuals would end so that people have a voice; however, there is no room for hatred or exploitive ideology whose heredity dates through the eugenic movement and into the US Civil Rights fights (yep, this country really codified that aspect of it against all groups). If there truly is a sign of an impending, preventative apocalypse in this world, then this very well could be the beginning of something very dangerous with the issues between Turkey and Syria and the Golden Dawn movement and Turkey. I realize this is a response to the debt crisis in Greece; however, this does not justify hate speech and institutionalized violence.
Oh how far we’ve come that people still fall to superstition and simple manipultation still occurs far too often. Especially with those whose beliefs are so ethically disgusting, that really all one could ever want to do is merely forlornly shake your head at the offensive philosophy. In the end, hatred and neo-Nationalism is a bullshit power play done by bullshit people who are genuinely and disgustingly offensive.