|Supporters of the far right Golden Dawn party celebrate their success in elections, in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. Photograph: Grigoris Siamidis/Reuters|
Weimar is playing itself out on the streets of Athens:
Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party is increasingly assuming the role of law enforcement officers on the streets of the bankrupt country, with mounting evidence that Athenians are being openly directed by police to seek help from the neo-Nazi group, analysts, activists and lawyers say.
In return, a growing number of Greek crime victims have come to see the party, whose symbol bears an uncanny resemblance to the swastika, as a "protector".
For a lot of people in poorer neighbourhoods we are liberators," crowed Yiannis Lagos, one of 18 MPs from the stridently patriot "popular nationalist movement" to enter the 300-seat house in June. "The state does nothing," he told a TV chat show, adding that Golden Dawn was the only party that was helping Greeks, hit by record levels of poverty and unemployment, on the ground. Through an expansive social outreach programme, which also includes providing services to the elderly in crime-ridden areas, the group regularly distributes food and clothes parcels to the needy.
The European Elites are not particularly smart, and really haven't ever been - at least, the last two centuries don't offer a lot of evidence that they are smarter than anyone else. Indeed, looking at the record of the last decade and you are left with the description of the old French Bourbon monarchs - they have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.
But nature abhors a vacuum, and where the European elites retreat something will advance to fill the void. The the streets of the Cradle of Democracy glow with reflected torchlight. If they don't echo with the tramp of jackboots, the question is not why, but when?