For 39 years now, Greeks have been commemorating the massacre of university students at the Athens Polytechnic University on Nov. 17th, 1973. This year, the commemoration is especially poignant because of the open return in public life of the fascists and Neo-Nazis which plagued Greece in the 1930s, the quislings under German occupiers in the 1940s, the revaunchists of the post-Civil War 1950s, the junta that stripped civil liberties from 1967 to 1974.
For background on the Massacre, click on the second video at the link below, start at minute 38:
The massacre was a poignant turn in Greek history. People had to die, apparently. Because prior to that, a good portion of the Greek population lived in ignorance (not blissful) of the loss of civil liberties and democratic values. Those who opposed the junta but found themselves silenced and unable to resist effectively, gave over to a sense of fait accompli. If you want to see the general air of Greece prior to the events of November 17th, watch the first video in this link, at precisely 7:15:
You see the tortured expressions of young people asked to speak about the country's political state. The last man in particular is being reined back by his friends who tell him to clam up and say no more.
Commemorating this massacre has become a bulwark against the evils of fascism. Indeed, Greece's reaction to the junta years had swung to the other side, as the country maximized civil liberties and self-expression, while also going to great pains to avoid the sort of fascist gov't operations it saw during the years of the colonels, such as the forced detention and jailing of opposition politicians. Right after the fall of the junta, the resistance galvanized by the massacre, Greece passed a law that banned the prosecution and incarceration of MPs in the Parliament (you can guess how such a law impacts, say, government corruption).
Never had I imagined that we would somehow be back to a point when the spawn of the mafia thugs (these Golden Dawn-ers are indeed children of the 70's thugs--literally--and also a part of Greek organized crime) would be back to haunt the Greek people. They are now up to 10-14% of popularity according to the polls. They have done so by filling in the vacuum where gov't can't (i.e. gov't has cut expenditures by over 34%, and is slated to cut another 18% next year), providing food and so-called security for citizens in distressed areas of the cities especially.
Now we see a certain gov't empowerment of the fascists, with police turning a blind-eye when it comes to fascist sweeps of illegal migrants, with the government trying to overturn a law giving amnesty to migrants and allowing them to become Greek citizens in the first generation, with prosecutor's charging blasphemy against those who insult the church (for instance, a play that portrayed Jesus and the disciples as gay cohorts), with allegations of police torture of leftist protesters going totally uninvestigated--denied even.
If this keeps up without Germany or other countries demanding an end to it through EU channels, then we might say that Greece is roughly at the same period as it was in 1964 when the leftist MP Gregory Lambrakis was assassinated. This assassination was the event depicted in the Costas Gavras movie Z:
The police, the right-wing MPs, collaborated in that instance. It was a mere 3 years later that the military threw its weight behind the thugs.
There can be no doubt that these people will fill the vacuum even more when Greece's government increasingly becomes less effective.
Greece's projected gov't budget for next year is 51.5 billion. 15 billion of that goes toward servicing the debt which will be over 200% of GDP. There is no credit in the country with which to conduct business. No lending. Less and less currency circulates because the treasury isn't printing. They are in full depression. The social fabric has already frayed. We're seeing a countdown to fascism countenanced somehow by the rest of Europe.
When Greek protesters show up in the squares, most westerners perceive it as people who don't like their social welfare checks cut back (similar to the "takers" argument here) but what the people are really protesting is the end of the social economy, the end of civil liberties, the wholesale kleptocracy that has somehow managed to endear itself to the EU (since plenty of EU governments were in cahoots with it in the first place prior to the economic meltdown).
November 17th, 2012 for Greece essentially means that the clock is ticking toward a historical repeat.