Golden Dawn, Austerity and Young People: The Rise of Fascist Extremism among Young People in Contemporary Greek Society

The contemporary rise of popular support for fascism is investigated in this article through an examination of Golden Dawn’s remarkable appeal to a section of Greek youth. This leads to the problematization of mainstream explanatory and interpretive discourses that attribute Golden Dawn’s electoral and political attractiveness almost exclusively to anger and a will to punish the political system which is regarded as being responsible for the country’s collapse and the harsh consequences of austerity and recession. Drawing upon the findings of ethnographic research on Golden Dawn and its young voters’ and supporters’ ideology and political activism conducted as part of the MYPLACE project, we argue that Golden Dawn’s young voters and supporters are much more than angry youth. Their choice to support a fascist political agenda and practice cannot be reduced solely to an emotional reaction to the crisis but rests on wider ideological and political affinities and links that have been building over the previous two or three decades. In this sense, the contemporary rise of fascism in Greece appears as not merely a straightforward and simple outcome of the crisis but the complex result of previous socio-political transformations, sharpened, magnified and accelerated by the current systemic crash.

Tags: Extreme Right, Radicalisation, Youth