The banning of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn was hailed as proof of Greece’s return to normality after the painful crisis years. Yet far-right ideas are now firmly established in the mainstream, including within the ruling conservative party.
Rosa Vasilaki is an Athens-based sociologist and historian. She holds a PhD in history from Paris’s Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and a PhD in sociology from the University of Bristol.
Reports this month showed how Greek authorities have pushed at least 1,072 migrants into the sea, forcing them to fend for their lives on rickety rafts and dinghies. The murderous policy is a gross violation of international law — yet faced with a harshened anti-migrant mood, other European governments have remained silent.
Five years after Alexis Tsipras proclaimed his government’s solidarity with migrants, he has joined European Union leaders in calling for Greece to “close the borders.” The narrative of migrant “invasion” has mainstreamed far-right ideas — turning nationalist rhetoric into violent attacks on refugees.
Athens’s Exarcheia neighborhood has long been known as a center of political dissent. But the incoming right-wing government’s attacks on its “lawlessness” are a bid to whip up moral panic — and the pretext for a massive extension of police power.