The current economic situation in Greece has prompted a resurgence in nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric. Golden Dawn, the Greek neo-nazi party, has enjoyed electoral successes. In May 2012 the party won twenty-one seats. In the most recent election Golden Dawn lost three seats, meaning that they now have 18 seats less than a year after starting with none.
Since enjoying recent success Golden Dawn has done little to establish a professional reputation. Its members have assaulted political officials on TV, read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion aloud in parliament, held Greek-only food handouts, organized Greek-only blood banks, and demanded landmines on the borders.
Recent polling shows that Golden Dawn is enjoying 14 percent support, despite having only received almost seven percent of the national vote at the most recent election in June. This level of support makes Golden Dawn the third most popular party in Greece. Some of Golden Dawn’s popularity is a reflection of dissatisfaction with the current Greek government, with 81 percent of polled Greeks saying that the country is on the wrong track.
Some members of the Greek Orthodox church are now showing support, with priests blessing a new Golden Dawn office in Coritnth.
Rod Dreher, Senior Contributor at The American Conservative and Orthodox christian, reflected on the recent ordination:
There is, of course, an ugly history of Christian churches collaborating with fascists (e.g.,the Croatian Ustase and Roman Catholicism). Golden Dawn represents the rule of the mob, and rule by brute force. However rotten the Greek left and even the Greek mainstream parties may be, Greek fascism must not be allowed to contaminate the Church.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we can expect Golden Dawn's popularity to fall any time soon. Long term economic decline is a breeding ground for Golden Dawn's politics, and good news coming out of Greece is hard to find these days.