‘Greeks for the Fatherland’ seems to be here to fill the gap left by the legal troubles of Golden Dawn.
The emergence of a new party was announced by Elias Kasiadiaris one of the main defendants in the ongoing Golden Dawn trial. Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the leader of the party since its emergence in the mid-80s, along with numerous MPs have been arrested and charged for participating in a criminal organization. Pending the judicial verdict, Kasidiaris, former MP and former spokesperson of Golden Dawn, was the latest added ‘alumni’ in the list of members and former MPs who decided to leave the party after the 2019 elections, following various rumors on disagreements regarding the leadership of the party and Michaloliakos himself.
The announcement of the resignation came after his proposal for the ‘reorganisation’ of Golden Dawn, something that was rejected by the leadership, who also refused to cooperate with ‘fake patriots’ who fight against the party. In the first key points of the proposal was the election of a new leader, (a proposition that informally points to the transfer of leadership from Michaloliakos to Kasidiaris), and limitations to the leader’s absolute power.
Kasidiaris also proposed a change of the party’s name in order to attract more people, the rejection of Nazism or Fascism (including the use of insignia) and an overall effort to denounce any elements that challenged the legality and legitimacy of the party. This proves a clear admission pending the court’s decision about the accusations against the party. To the reader the proposal of Kasidiaris appears to acknowledge the accusations of the court that claim that Golden Dawn is ‘a strictly Nazi-oriented organization with law-abiding executives’, that violate the national criminal law. Therefore, the effort of the author can be seen as a series of suggestions, focusing on the reorganisation and restructure of the core of the party, in order to avoid any further potential accusations and persecutions, like the one already being faced since the beginning of the trial in 2013.
The announcement was on YouTube, in a video in which Kasidiaris targets the current political system as a whole, including both government and opposition, and calls for a new modern national party that will oppose the ‘dirty political system’ and become similar to successful dominant parties in Europe.
With the familiar slogan of the radical right ‘Greece belongs to Greeks’, Kasidiaris invited the audience to active participation by joining the discussion online and becoming members of this new initiative in order to make Greece ‘strong and powerful’ again. In a second video, the name and the emblem of the party is revealed: ‘Greeks for the Fatherland’, a movement for the ‘national preservation and revival of Hellenism’, and its emblem is ‘the eternal Greek who fights for freedom’.
The ‘borrowed’ emblem of the party seems familiar, resembling that of Lega Nord in Italy. Blue and white combined refer to the Greek national colours, while yellow, represents the light of Hellenism together with the image of the eternal warrior.
Kasidiaris seems to be making an opening to the European radical right, by embracing a similar narrative on nationalism and patriotism, and by using similar aesthetics . As with other far right movements, social media is at the heart of Kasidiaris’ strategy to spread the ideology of the new party.
However, the new party’s ideology doesn’t seem to differ much from that of Golden Dawn: reward motherhood, focus on ending illegal immigration, support the expansion of the Greek Geo-strategic Doctrine and exploitation of national resources, strengthen the defensive doctrine, zero-tolerance law and order, and end corruption.
Only a few months after its emergence, and with already 20,000 registered members, there is still no clear idea about the new party’s potential electoral performance. It is expected to attract floating supporters of Golden Dawn and Greek Solution, along with some conservatives from New Democracy.
With speculations about the party’s future performance, the ‘Greeks’ comes as an alternative on the radical right scene, aiming to fill the gap left by Golden Dawn. Despite Kasidiaris’ effort to present a modernised party, in forms of communication means and political activism, the alternative ‘Greeks’ is rather too well-known in terms of ideology and profile both on the Greek political scene and to its electorate.
Dr Vasiliki Tsagkroni is a Senior Fellow at CARR and Lecturer of Comparative Politics at the Institute of Political Science, Leiden University. See full profile here.
© Vasiliki Tsagkroni. Views expressed on this website are individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect that of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR). We are pleased to share previously unpublished materials with the community under creative commons license 4.0 (Attribution-NoDerivatives).
This article was originally published at CARR’s media partner, Open Democracy. See the original article here.