With the benefit of hindsight, people today sometimes wonder how people in the 1920's and 30's could have allowed the Nazis to take over.
The common response is, "Well, they made the trains run on time."
The train was an express train to Hell, but it sure did run smoothly.
Of course, the "train" was only a metaphor. Before the Nazis took over society in Germany, and many other nations in Europe was chaotic. There were coups (usually by fascists), rising crime, terrible poverty and hunger. There was increadible suffering. Generally speaking, things did not work.
The public had been betrayed by the incompetence and greed of the political and financial elites. So they turned to strongmen who would put people to work (building weapons of war) and bring safety and security (with an iron fist).
It appears we haven't learned anything.
Golden Dawn is an in-your-face neo-Nazi party in Greece. They don't try to hide their political leanings, and like the brownshirts of the 1920's, they like to brawl in the streets. In fact, many of their trademark pledges are taken straight from the brownshirts.
Recently, elected members of parliament were filmed attacking immigrant street vendors. Golden Dawn proudly defended the action.
Meanwhile, the party vowed to continue raids targeting migrant street traders without permits. A statement posted on the Golden Dawn website said raids would continue across the country, until authorities “decide to do their job and stop encouraging illegality.”Golden Dawn members have assaulted liberal MPs on live TV, as well as beaten, murdered, and raped immigrants.
So where is the Greek police during all this?
Well, for starters, they are fighting each other.
Scuffles broke out as riot police tried to clear the entrance of several dozen police union members - many in uniform - chanting anti-austerity slogans and holding banners.Before you sympathise with the police, be aware that over half of them voted for Golden Dawn.
"They would not let riot police buses depart for Thessaloniki," a police official said, referring to the northern city hosting a weekend trade fair where anti-austerity demonstrations are planned.
Police, firefighters and coast guard officers plan to hold a separate protest later on Thursday in central Athens.
The government responded to the pressure from the far right with a massive crackdown on both illegal and legal immigrants.
So what does the Greek public think about this? They seem to approve.
Capitalizing on growing social unrest over record unemployment, resentment against immigrants and rising crime, and planned new government austerity measures, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has jumped into third place in popularity among Greek political parties, overtaking the once-dominant PASOK Socialists.Golden Dawn now polls better than TWO of the current coalition parties. To demonstrate how much things have changed, Golden Dawn only got 0.29% of the vote in 2009, while PASOK got 44%.
If the election was held today, Golden Dawn would get 10.5%, while PASOK would get 8%.
Things are so bad in Greece that 1/10th of the population has left in just a year.
Meanwhile the mainstream parties are looking to cut services and raise taxes yet again. They seem to be completely oblivious to the suffering and chaos around them, only wanting to satisfy their banking masters.
Fascism on the march in Hungary
It's important to remember that fascism is a populist movement.
In Greece, Golden Dawn is getting known for giving free-food to the hungry (but only if you can prove you are a Greek citizen) and fighting last summers wildfires.
But since Golden Dawn doesn't try to hide it's Nazism, it is unlikely to ever have a more than local political effect.
Jobbik in Hungary, on the other hand, is much more dangerous.
As Paul Krugman put it:
Jobbik, is a nightmare out of the 1930s: it’s anti-Roma (Gypsy), it’s anti-Semitic, and it even had a paramilitary arm. But the immediate threat comes from Fidesz, the governing center-right party.... Now Fidesz, which rammed through a new Constitution last spring on a party-line vote, seems bent on establishing a permanent hold on power.Thousands of Hungarian gypsies are appealing for political asylum overseas.
The real problem is that the Fidesz politicians are so smooth and professional even while preaching hate.
"this is important for everyone to understand very clearly—we are also not democrats.”
- Gabor Vona, Jobbik leader
What makes Fidesz so dangerous is that Fidesz also pushes programs that progressives would strongly support. For instance, they ban all GMO products.
In an effort to rid the country of Monsanto's GMO products, Hungary has stepped up the pace. This looks like its going to be another slap in the face for Monsanto. A new regulation was introduced this March which stipulates that seeds are supposed to be checked for GMO before they are introduced to the market.Wikileak documents have shown that Monsanto had deep connections in the corridors of Washington, but have failed to stop Hungary from defying them.
More importantly, Fidesz managed to pass a bank transaction tax, as well as restrictions on the central bank. Fidesz is actively resisting IMF demands for more austerity.
You can probably see how some people in Hungary might want to look the other way on the racism and authoritarian issues, while the government stands up for them against multi-national corporations, banks, and the IMF in this time of crisis.
We seem to be locked into cycle. Where the political and financial elite bankrupt the world through incompetence, then try to suck it dry through short-sighted greed. they break everything in the process. In the chaos that follows, a strongman always emerges that promises to fix things as long as we give him unlimited power and we scapegoat some the most helpless minority available.
When will we ever learn?