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TRUTH AS IT IS AS IT IS / JOURNALISM AS IT SHOULD BE
By Costas Vaxevanis
By Costas Vaxevanis
Many of the analyses that have been made recently of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avghi) overlook one decisive factor in its record to date, and are perhaps unfair to that factor, namely the leader Nikos Michaloliakos. Yes, the rise of Golden Dawn, of fascism in Greece, can be explained in political and sociological terms. It has to do with people’s desperation, with the image projected of the political system, with the preparation of the political scene to accept Golden Dawn, preparations set in train by its forerunner LAOS, with the decision of the New Democracy party to make immigration phobia the number one item on the agenda, legitimating the party of Michaloliakos. But Michaloliakos himself must be given credit for some of the achievement. It is an impressive trajectory: starting with beatings and bomb attacks, adding a dash of poetry, paganism, national socialism, secret services and naturally an abundance of lies, and it enabled him to make his entry not only to the Agios Panteleimonas neighbourhood but also to mainstream television. His frequent appearances on television may indeed be explicable in terms of ratings, but to have the largest-circulation newspaper in the country presenting you as a boy scout who helps old ladies to go to the bank is no mean feat. Particularly when the old lady in question is in reality the mother of one of your parliamentary candidates and is advertised as benefiting from selfless good works. Nikos Michaloliakos is regulator of the most decisive part of the political scene: the part that does not show. And he has the unique good fortune to be in receipt of funding from a lottery. But Michaloliakos’ greatest success is to have become the nice Führer from next door. And if he is Führer, why can’t every other Aryan be the same?
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here are two phrases which Nikos Michaloliakos is very fond of and uses in his speeches and internal briefings. One of them is “we shall return, and the earth shall tremble”. This is a phrase of Goebbels. Hitler’s propaganda chief. The other is: “If one day all become disloyal, we shall remain loyal, because there is a flag.” These are lines from the hymn of Hitler’s Black Guard. But to which flag does the leader of Golden Dawn refer? And what is Nikos Michaloliakos? A Nazi? A nationalist? A junta-supporting Royalist? A far rightist? Or a populist politician? In the articles he has published since 1980 in the “Golden Dawn” magazine he has at one time or another declared himself to be all of the above. Unfortunately for Michaloliakos he is not able to efface either the articles in which he describes Christianity as “a movement for downgrading the world” or the tearful 42nd anniversary ceremony of the death of Hitler, which ended with the invocation “Heil Hitler”. Long before raising the flags of Orthodoxy and Byzantium he had raised a flag of paganism and another flag of convenience. In the article Michaloliakos capitalizes everything pertaining to Hitler or the word “leader”. The same treatment is accorded to him personally in the organization’s publications. He is the Leader, the unquestioned one, the enlightened one. Reference is made not directly to his person, but generically to the Leader of the organization, so as to focus attention on all the Leader’s attributes. It is characteristic that in the Golden Dawn leaflet “BELIEVE-OBEY-FIGHT”, the reason cited for Greece’s not having in the past seen anything like Golden Dawn is that “despite the fact that there has been no shortage of intellectual personages, despite the fact that the resonance of developments outside Greece has been very powerful, despite the fact that there have been people willing and able to put up a fight, what has not emerged has been the most important conjunctural factor: the single accepted organizational Leader and guide. The person who might enlighten, forge unity, provide direction.” This judgement appears hilarious to many of Michaloliakos’ former collaborators. In the non-Golden Dawn national-socialist milieu in Greece Michaloliakos is not what he writes about himself in his publications. In his book “Demolishing the Myth of Golden Dawn” Charis Kousoumvris, former deputy to Michaloliakos, gives a different picture of the national-socialistically enlightened Michaloliakos. He writes, specifically, “I wonder at myself that I needed to waste thirteen entire years in the most unnatural of environments to understand what becomes obvious in the first minute to anyone who succeeds in escaping the shipwreck. Golden Dawn, which is taken so seriously by certain people, is nothing more than a run-of-themill quasi-ideological shipwreck that has been run aground by a bribed captain with an eye to collecting the insurance….. Inside it, apart from restless instinct, there is nothing that might begin to provide an answer to the many questions asked by life itself of those believing that they are “ideologists”. The only constant was the systematically cultivated
HOTDOC. • 2NOVEMBER 2012 • 3
While Michaloliakos was in custody, with his name in the newspapers, he became a reserve officer. Three months prior to his arrest, while he was serving in Mytilene, his barracks had been searched in the course of an investigation into theft of weapons. weapons. He was acquitted of the charges.
need for a Leader, to the point where we satirized ourselves raising our hands in salute to a truly ridiculous figure, imagining that we were in the presence of at least fifty exemplars of Leonidas! As for the basic principles that are supposed to inform a family of comradely fellow-travellers, forget it! Our seedy little Führer wanted hangers-on and nothing more… When positive relationships and bonds developed between us (and they were continually developing) he hastened to split us in order to divide-and-rule. And his regime was one of continual oscillation between monarchism, paganism, Orthodoxy, adulation of Ancient Greece, demonism, idealization of the military junta and George Papadopoulos. With a dash of Buddhism, Old Calendarism, celibacy, anti-feminism, identification with the Metaxas dictatorship, police-stateism, paracapitalism and an infinity of confused perspectives.” The “little Führer”, according to one of his former deputies, is in a state of political and psychological confusion. What does he himself say in response to this charge? Nothing in particular, when it comes to what Kousoumvris says about him in the book. The only answer he gives is what can be found in the manuals of Michaloliakos. According to “Questions of Tactics” if the enemy attacks, “actions must be carried out in a ratio of 10 to 1 and against a softer target, to diminish it, humiliate it, wreck it, cripple it to the greatest possible extent.” Remember the maxim of Talleyrand: “If you persevere in slander, some of it will stick.” It is abundantly evident from Michaloliakos’s television appearances that he is applying the lessons of this manual.
During the 1967-74 dictatorship Plevris, who was best man to the juntist minister I. Ladas, was appointed head of his political office
circumstances at 147 Filolaou Street in a house that had little more than the bare essentials. His father was a lowranking guardsman and something of a curmudgeon. The atmosphere in the house was that of a barracks, moderated by a kindly mother. Nikos lived in the shadow of his brother Takis, now the well-known attorney Takis
“I am a fascist because I dress in black”
Michaloliakos grew up in the Pangrati neighbourhood of Athens, near the church of Agios Artemios. The young Nikos Michaloliakos lived in poor
Michalolias. He owes his ideological proclivities to his elder brother but also to Costas Plevris. In 1965 Plevris, a devotee of the Metaxas dictatorship, established the “4th August” organization and opened offices in Bouboulinas Street. During the 1967-74 dictatorship Plevris, who was best man to the juntist minister I. Ladas, was appointed head of his political office and other members of “4th August” took up key positions in the state machine of the dictatorship. During the reign of the junta, Plevris and the brother of Nikos Michaloliakos established contact with Italian fascists of the Ordine Nuovo organization who, as revealed in the book by Nikos Kleitsikas and Andreas Speranzoni “Phenomena of Terrorism: Greek neo-fascism in confidential Secret Service documents”, were being trained at a camp in Corfu run by the Greek Central Intelligence Agency KYP for the overthrow of the Italian government in line with the Greek model. Nikos Michaloliakos became politicized in these junta years. He visited the offices of the “4th August” organization and at the age of 16 declared himself a Fascist. When older people asked him: “Nikos, why are you a Fascist?” he answered “Because I wear a black shirt.” It was in this period, too, that he made the acquaintance of the man who was later to become a national-socialist personage in Greece Aristoteles Kalentzis. In 1976 Michaloliakos was just 19 years old. On 17th December he was to see his name in the newspapers for the first time. The previous day he had attended the funeral of the cashiered police officer Evangelos Mallios who had been executed by the 17th November terrorist organization as a juntist torturer. The funeral of Mallios was transformed into a rallying ceremony for the far-right. No juntists, apart from the very top leaders, were in prison. At the funeral the junta propagandist Georgalas issued the signal for an attack. The journalists
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According to “Questions of Tactics” if the enemy attacks “actions must be carried out in a ratio of 10 to 1 and against a softer target, to diminish it, humiliate it, wreck it, cripple it to the greatest possible extent.” Remember the maxim of Talleyrand: “If you persevere in slander, some of it will stick.” It is abundantly evident from Michaloliakos’s television appearances that he is applying the lessons of this manual.
who were present were its target, and victims. Six were taken to hospital with injuries from the beating they received. Among the protagonists in the attack was Nikos Michaloliakos, who can be recognized from photographs. In all 29 people were charged in connection with the attack. In July 1977 they were committed to trial. But Michaloliakos was given separate treatment because he had been conscripted to do his military service. Finally he was never tried for what he had done. The charges were waived. For the first time Michaloliakos was luckier than his companions. And there would be other such instances.
The bomber, with the gift of the gab and luck on his side
1977 was the year of bombs. Just three years after the fall of the junta, far-right fascist organizations were applying themselves to planting bombs all over Athens. The targets were trade unions, the offices of Leftist parties, newspapers and Among the protagonists in the attacks at the even…..elevators. It is now evident funeral of the juntist that the bomb attacks were not the torturer Mallios was work of some hotheads but part of Nikos Michaloliakos, who can be recognized from a complicated game including fasphotographs cists and secret services and serving political purposes. On 24th February 1977 the police arrested Aristoteles Kalentzis on bombing charges, these groups was also part of the plan. together with Kakavas and Christakis. Not only in conversation, but also publicly in two books, Kalentzis has Nikos Micholaliakos was among the suspects mentioned. Kalentzis denied named Costas Plevris, founder of the that he was involved with bomb - “4th August” organization and theoreing, but the police found what they tician of the nationalist milieu, as the called incriminating evidence: muni- man who played this role, denounctions and a duplicator. In a number ing his own comrades and abetting of the discussions we have had in the “showcase” arrests. recent years, Aristoteles Kalentzis As is evident from his deposition to has said that his arrest and much of the public prosecutor at that time, Plevris acknowledges that “in the what happened in those years had the stamp of state and para-state mecha- month of October 1976 I submitted to the Directorate of Police in Athens a nisms on it. In his view Karamanlis wanted to display a “dejuntafication” written report, delivered by hand to that he never implemented in reality. the Chief of Police Karathanassis, and prior to that to police officer Gournias, The solution was to carry out arrests of the far-right groups. The question, who took no action, in which I menof course, is whether the activity of tioned that Michaloliakos, Kalentzis,
Giannopoulos and Geronikolaou had formed a group entirely unrelated to the Party of 4th August, which was planning to proceed with illegal actions. I also mentioned that Kalentzis was concealing weapons and must have deposited them at the place where he had hidden the duplicator. Note that I also told the police how the duplicator might be found.” But Plevris did not just finger his own comrades. He was later to visit Kalentzis in prison and to have discussions with him in the guardhouse, in which microphones had previously been planted by people from the Greek Central Intelligence Agency KYP. This incident is not only related by Kalentzis but is confirmed HOTDOC. • 29 NOVEMBER 2012 • 5
In 1978 dozens of bombs were planted at various points in Athens. Fortythree people were injured. In July the police announced that they had broken up the bombing gang. Nine people were arrested, among them the soldier Nikos Michaloliakos. During an adjournment at the trial Ioannis Giannopoulos and N. Michaloliakos are joking and provoking non-supporters.
The story of the fingering by Plevris does not seem to have bothered Michaloliakos, who was also a victim of Plevris, at least in theory. Whereas Kalentzis publicly called Plevris a police agent (and was vindicated by the courts when Plevris sued him), Michaloliakos collaborated with Plevris electorally in 1999.
by the then director of the prison among them the soldier Nikos Giannis Papathanassiou in his diary, Michaloliakos, who was charged cited by Giorgos Trangas in his book with collusion with a terrorist group. “Korydallos 1975-79”. Investigations, according to the police The story of the fingering by Plevris report, indicated that Michaloliakos is well-known in far-right circles, and his group had appropriated matebut it does not seem to have both- rials from military installations that ered Michaloliakos, who was also a were the same as the materials used victim of Plevris, at least in theory. in the bomb attacks. It also emerged Whereas Kalentzis publicly called from a tapped telephone conversation Plevris a police agent (and was vindi- that Michaloliakos had provided the group with the explosives, referring cated by the courts when Plevris sued him), Michaloliakos collaborated with to them with the code word “books”. Plevris electorally in 1999, founding Following his arrest Michaloliakos had the “Proti Grammi” (Front Line) party. made two depositions. In the second, But Michaloliakos, too, evidently supplementary, one he revealed the had no inhibitions about doing the names of all his collaborators. In reply same as Plevris. .After being arrested to the first-grade junior police officer for involvement in a second wave of Christos Gardikas, Michaloliakos said: bombing attacks, he also supplied “Question: Can you give the names of the names of all his comrades. In 1978 these people and describe your reladozens of bombs were planted at var- tions with them? Answer: They are all ious points in Athens. Two of them the people I have already mentioned were in the “Elli” and “Rex” cinemas, in my previous deposition, with one which were screening the Soviet film: more: Achilleas Pagonis. I became acquainted with Pagonis through “Rainbow”. Forty-three people were injured. In July the police announced Nikolaos Daskourelos, whom I have that they had broken up the bomb- known since we were little children, ing gang. Nine people were arrested, and neighbours. Pagonis has a very
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good record collection, and I have been to his house five or six times to listen to records. I don’t have any other connection with him. Question: In the confiscated letter number 31 from Kalentzis to you, dated March 1978, he mentions the name “Thanassakis” and describes him as precious capital for the future “sowing and harvesting”. Who is Thanassakis and what does he mean by ”sowing and harvesting”? Answer: I don’t know what he means because he is not speaking concretely. Question: In your letters that have been confiscated there is a letter signed by a Nikos who has addressed the letter to you. Who is Nikos and what are your connections with him? Answer: His name is Nikolaos Tsamis. We live in the same street, in Filolaou Street, and we have been friends since 1974. Politically he too has national socialist ideas. Tsamis is most likely serving in Lemnos. He is a reserve officer. Giorgos is Giorgos Nikiteas. I know Aris too, but I forget his surname. Dimitris is Papoutsas. I don’t know who Christos is. Thanassis is
probably Karakatsanis. Emilios must be Triantafillou.” Michaloliakos clearly enjoys excellent relations with the state, which he was theoretically fighting as a national socialist. While he was in custody, with his name in the newspapers, he became a reserve officer. Three months prior to his arrest, while he was serving in Mytilene, his barracks had been searched in the course of an investigation into theft of weapons. When he was about to go on trial, strangely, and in contrast to what happened with the other accused, the charges against him – which had been charges of the felony of collusion with a terrorist group – were commuted to charges of possession of firearms and explosives. He was sentenced to just thirteen months’ imprisonment and at the court of appeal this was reduced to eleven months. In his writing today for Golden Dawn Michaloliakos continues to maintain that the political establishment has hounded him and punished him. The truth is that they have evidently shown understanding for his wish to be useful to them.
Michaloliakos, too, evidently had no inhibitions about doing the same as Plevris. Following his arrest he had made two depositions. In the second – supplementary - one he revealed the names of all his collaborators after the bomb attacks.
HOTDOC. • 29 NOVEMBER 2012 • 7
RUGS, CLOGS, BAGS AND
In 1980 Michaloliakos appeared to be lone player in the field of National Socialism. Many of his old comrades were in prison. With the adventures of the 1970s still a recent memory, those who weren’t in prison contented themselves flirting with the juntist/royalist wing of the parliamentary right. Michaloliakos may also have been proud of having been imprisoned for his ideas, albeit only for a few days. PASOK was on the threshold of power and Michaloliakos decided to be leader of his milieu. He considered himself obliged to notify the person accepted by all as natural leader of this part of the political spectrum, Aristoteles Kalentzis, of this decision. Kalentzis was in prison. When Kalentzis was informed of these inclinations he replied to him: “My dear friend, you do not have the aesthetic of political thought. You are rugs, clogs, carryalls and floral nosebags.” Ignoring this unflattering appraisal , Michaloliakos proceeded with the founding of Golden Dawn.
olden Dawn is a nucleus of funding. The argument of luck would national socialists that com- be used again many times in the future menced publication of the by Michaloliakos to explain Golden periodical of the same name. Dawn’s being able to stand as a party How this enterprise was supported in the elections. Luck worked in their financially is an important ques- favour again to bring a host of good offers for the printing of leaflets and tion. In the first years of publication the magazine had sales of only a few ballot papers. And, as explained by the dozen. Nevertheless, the nucleus of one-time deputy C. Kousoumvris in his the group rented offices and none of “Black Book of Golden Dawn”, the orgaits members was in paid employment nization’s coffers never had more than elsewhere. In one of his old interviews 300 euros in them. Michaloliakos revealed that that publi- The positions put forward in the perication was a matter of luck (once again, odical are unabashedly Nazi. The first lucky Michaloliakos!) because a com- issues featured swastikas, tributes to rade turned up who had won the lottery Hitler. The texts finished with “Heil and made available the necessary Hitler” and there are innumerable
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The unknown Paterakis formulated the blend of mysticism and national socialism in Golden Dawn. Patrakis was a devotee of Lucifer. His meeting with Michaloliakos was decisive. In 1982 Michaloliakos even wrote the foreword to a collection of poetry by Paterakis entitled: “The Lustrous Darkness of Lucifer”.
analyses of kinship, race, blood. But amidst the ideological purity one also finds confused texts of juntist/royalist inspiration and above all certain incomprehensible, incorrigibly verbalistic screeds. What makes a particular impression, though, is the presence of mystical writings and articles in praise of Satan. Michaloliakos himself, though for years without any gainful employment, was - and is – an ideologist and a poet and it is he who has been the prime originator of the Golden
A DASH OF HITLER
Dawn’s characteristic blend of national socialism, mysticism and Satanism. His poems are of course hosted by his publications and one of them is dedicated to the god Pan: “Silence in the forest, the chill odour of crime, conceit of the moment and a human offering. Goat-like it butted out nostalgic for myth, Satanically splendid, great Pan. At the time of twilight as darkness rises and the exiles of the day, the bearers of light, the poets awaken. Sensuously with their red gaze bleary and overwrought they survey a yellow moon ascending. With the elements of night alive again, the gladiators and the hanged, the plotters of destruction. And the one inside the temple at the centre of the huge expanse of blood around the altar’s base, goat-like Satanically splendid the mighty Pan, eternal ruler, lauds the time of sacrifice, and instinct superb and savage.” Whatever one’s view of the poetic inspiration that moves the leader of Golden Dawn, the question remains: what role can Satanism and the concomitant metaphysics have in the mission of an organization such as Golden Dawn, which is shouldering, as it says, the burdens of the Hellenic race and of Orthodoxy? Jacques Bergier “The Morning of the Magicians” was published in Greece. The book contains a description of the mystical dimension of Nazism and there is a reference to Hitler’s relations with the mystic organization “Golden Dawn”. According to the book, Hitler was a mystic and the leader of this organization. This book became virtually the Bible of the Michaloliakos The baptism of Golden Dawn group after Michaloliakos had become and the Satanic lies acquainted with Paterakis. This was Michaloliakos would perhaps not be how Golden Dawn obtained its name. what he is if it had not been for two Michaloliakos says, in fact, that the things that happened in his life. The name symbolizes the rebirth of the first was becoming acquainted with Hellenic nation, its dawn. Georgios Papadopoulos in prison and By now leader of “Golden Dawn”, the second getting to know Odysseas Michaloliakos permitted free entry Paterakis. Papadopoulos later nom- to their magazine for every species of inated him as leader of the party odd writing that could link national youth, EPEN, but it was the unknown socialism to paganism and Satanism. Paterakis who formulated the blend of In 1982 he even wrote the foreword mysticism and national socialism in to a collection of poetry by Paterakis Golden Dawn. entitled: “The Lustrous Darkness of When he was still at school Paterakis Lucifer”. The poem “Golden Dawn” is took down icons from the walls and in this collection. treated them in a way that was not at all “Bend your arms, to the liking of his teachers, given that reach out and take my soul he was a devotee of Lucifer. His meet- for it is yours, Satan, henceforth and ing with Michaloliakos was decisive. always. It was about then that the translation I have dared, I too, of strange book by Louis Pauwels and and how, I ask, HOTDOC. • 29 NOVEMBER 2012 • 9
Christianity, according to Michaloliakos’ publication “appeared like an epidemic and spread like a religious pestilence”. Golden Dawn shock troops gathered outside the “Foundry” theatre and taunted theatregoers, judging as anti-Christian the play being staged there, at the same time as their parliamentarian Giorgos Germenis, is a member of the band Naer Mataron, whose music is thoroughly imbued with nationalist and Satanistic motifs.
can it be for the author of creation to be just” In this poet of Satanism Michaloliakos has discovered a splendidly creative spirit. In the foreword to the collection he writes: “What I have the highest regard for in “The Lustrous Darkness of Lucifer” is its intellectual boldness and ideological consistency. The intellectual boldness of a young person who disdains the obscurantism of twenty centuries and dares to mention the lost paradises of old, which are at the same time the future worlds of our dreams, which with an effort of will can become a reality. The obscurantism of twenty centuries is evidently the twenty centuries of Christianity. There is no doubt about that, not because of Michaloliakos’ foreword, but because of the articles published in Golden Dawn. The man who regards it as obvious that he represents Hellenic and Christian values, Byzantium and the superiority of the race and of Orthodoxy has for years in his publications maintained that “the Judeo-Christian ethic has brought degeneracy and disintegration.” An article entitled “Judeo-Christianity and the Religion of Europe” in the Golden Dawn of October 1988 makes the following striking revelation: ”Judeo-Christianity was transmitted to Europe at a time of cultural stagnation and profound crisis in traditional values, and succeeded within just a few centuries in implanting Jewish obscurantism in the body of European Civilization so as to sever it from its roots, turn it away from its historical mission and lead it to degeneracy and disintegration….Counterposed to the view of life by means of which the Judeo-Christian made its entrance into history stands the Aryan outlook with its Hellenic historical origins and the Traditional Values that for centuries now have graced European civilization. Within
Giorgos Germenis, the Kaiadas of the Naer Mataron group was singing: “For over half a million years God was sitting Watching men plucking one another’s eye And only then had the brilliant idea Of sending his bastard son, fucking Jesus Christ But now the Devil prevails This thing is balderdash We shall let the church to “rot as a gangrened hand” And slay upon their altars the idiots and the old scandal mongers The healthiest part of the Youth shall be with us The plower with his scythe shall ripe the new harvest rightly Burned, mutilated, millions of our ancestors Under Christian psalms of love We shall avenge... we thirst for blood!”
In the early eighties Golden Dawn established relations with racist and Nazi organizations in South Africa, France, Spain and Germany. It participated in conferences of the European far right. It was manifestly national socialist in character. Many of the texts in the magazine conclude with the salutation “Heil Hitler”. Golden Dawn’s publications contain dozens of tributes to Hitler and to Rudolf Hess. When in 1987 Hess died in prison Golden Dawn printed and distributed leaflets in Athens with the phrase “Rudolf Hess lives eternally”. Its Nazi orientation is emphatic. But Michaloliakos’ personal history, and perhaps his political confusion, or else expediency, has obliged him to retain links with anything that moves beyond the boundaries of the traditional parliamentary right wing. According to his former deputy Kousoumvris he has at times rendered services to the two main go-getter parties. Members
the Aryan and European world outlook whose exclusive exponent in our age is National Socialism, the dominant position is occupied by the religion of Europe: Paganism. Paganism epitomizes the religious sentiment of Aryan Man.” Christianity, according to Michaloliakos’ publication “appeared like an epidemic and spread like a religious pestilence”. Obviously Michaloliakos has the right to his religious convictions, as other Greeks are not fascists who would seek to deny them to him. The question is whether he is entitled simultaneously, when addressing the public, to wave Byzantine flags as flags of convenience and speak of Hellenic-Christian civilization. Golden Dawn shock troops gathered outside the “Foundry” theatre and taunted theatregoers, judging as antiChristian the play being staged there, at the same time as their parliamentarian
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The swastikas disappeared from the magazine to be replaced by the runes. These too are Nazi symbols, but they enabled Michaloliakos not only to dispense with defending himself but also to tell his lies.
of Golden Dawn served as attendants only to succeed in bringing more memand bodyguards to New Democracy par- bers to Golden Dawn, whose positions liamentarians at their functions. Their were legitimated through having been relations with the milieu of the junta adopted by one parliamentary party are exceptionally good, as are – paradox- (LAOS) and also, albeit timidly, by ically – their relations with the royalists. another (New Democracy). This political mishmash is entirely Throughout the 90s Michaloliakos in accord with the character, and the turned Golden Dawn towards a tactic of circumstances, of Michaloliakos him- alliances. He forged a pre-electoral alliself, who attempts to bring together ance with K. Plevris, who is said to have everything that is anti-democratic, informed on him in the past, establishperceiving mutual affinities. His rela- ing the “Proti Grammi” (Front Line) for tions with the former king are of the electoral purposes but also grouping same character. There is a story in cir- together bands of nationalists in the culation according to which ex-king “Patriotic Alliance”. Finally, instead of Constantine arrives at Gytheio in a looking for allies in the milieu of the yacht to confront a crowd hissing and ineffective far-right, Golden Dawn booing but also with a Michaloliakos chose to find its support at the level throwing watermelon skins at the of society. crowd to protect the monarch. It was in this way that the nationIn 1984 Golden Dawn suspended pub- alist rhetoric got into full swing. lication temporarily and in the same Michaloliakos, who had concluded year Michaloliakos stood for election his texts with “Heil Hitler”, began to with the EPEN of George Papadopoulos. attack those who called him a Nazi. It seems that he stood at the behest of “We are Greek nationalists,” he said. Papadopoulos himself. Shortly thereaf- The swastikas disappeared from the ter he withdrew from EPEN, with his magazine to be replaced by the runes. place in the juntist constellation being These too are Nazi symbols, but they taken by Makis Voridis. enabled Michaloliakos not only to Up until 1997 the organization’s dispense with defending himself but national socialist trajectory was pal- also to tell his lies. Thus, according pable, but it also began to embark on to Michaeloliakos the “Wolfsangel” a nationalistic course. It participated rune, the truncated swastika, the in the demonstrations around the symbol under which Golden Dawn Macedonian issue, securing support- became well-known, was the letter ers. Five members of the organization X, which does not exist in any other were sent to Bosnia to fight as volun- alphabet. The “Wolfsangel” symbol is teers. Golden Dawn demonstrated over in fact the symbol of the Reich’s 2nd Imia, but participated in other func- Panzer division. tions also, in honour of Leonidas and Golden Dawn is evidently fishing in Alexander the Great. These tactics won the troubled waters of despair and the them members. need for national pride. It has considerTo cite the phrase beloved of able numbers of supporters among the Michaloliakos “Golden Dawn comes holy fathers of the Church. Andreas of out on the street”. And it does not for- Dropolis and Anthimos of Kalavryta get, of course, to beat up dissenters and bless the shock troops of Golden Dawn foreigners. From the mid 90s it was to in inflammatory declarations. They lead the “struggle” against the foreign- are apparently unaware of the organiers. George Karatzaferis took over the zation’s occult and Satanist proclivities leadership of this struggle for a while, but what interests them is no doubt
the fact that they are a powerful barrier against democracy, something they never much liked. In recent years Golden Dawn has invested in the inchoate fear of migrants that has been generated by the absence of any policy on immigration. Its ideological orientation appears inconsequential for those who are on the lookout for someone to blame, preferably an immigrant, someone to punish and someone to yell at so as not to have to listen to their own fear. Golden Dawn denies that it has any responsibility for the murders of immigrants or for the knifed bodies on the footpaths of central Athens. “You have no proof. We have not had even one conviction,” shouts Michaloliakos. One of his contrivances in recent years, say people who have left the organization, is the krypteia. In ancient Sparta adolescent Spartans crept through the darkness in the endeavour secretly to kill as many helots as they could. This was part of initiation to manhood. Golden Dawn has in recent years come to maturity applying the krypteia to today’s helots. HOTDOC. • 29 NOVEMBER 2012 • 11
The Ser pent’s Rotten Egg
n the 80s Michaloliakos argued that there should be a strong national socialist party in Greece, which would not have any connection with corrupt elements. Included among the corrupt elements were not only Jews, democrats, leftists and artists. Many of his own former comrades were also to be included. The leader of Golden Dawn indicated that he sought to be the dominant figure of the far right, not only by virtue of his “ideological superiority” but also in terms of tactics. The way he dealt with one of his ideological mentors is characteristic in this connection. The person concerned had the misfortune to be in prison. Michaloliakos spread the word everywhere that he was a decadent pansy. The friends of this theoretician
“If I advance, follow me. If I fight, fight beside me. If I retreat, kill me.” This paraphrase of the words of Pavlos Melas bears the signature of Nikos Michaloliakos. His words very frequently convey the aura of battle, of sacrifice, of self-denial and gallantry. But this applies for his speeches and ideological analyses from the writing desk. Michaloliakos, says his former comrades, in reality describes heroic battles because he has never fought them. Those who have left his organization see the figure who is depicted – perhaps self-depicted - as the “mighty will of iron that demolishes all obstacles” as in fact the leader who through his machinations ends up devouring his own offspring. “His next victim,” they say, “will be Kassidiaris, who is quite a good communicator and will have the fate of his erstwhile deputy, “Periandros”.
of national socialism were angered by the rumour-mongering. Finally some of them escorted Michaloliakos, with a pistol at his head, to the house of the mother of their slandered colleague and demanded that he clarify to the old lady what he had said. Alarmed and afraid, Michaloliakos explained that he “had not meant that he is a fag in the sense that you took it, boys, but that he is very smart, he is an achiever.” But this was not the greatest shock for Michaloliakos. When a few years later the comrade was released from prison, he turned up unexpectedly at the offices of Golden Dawn. He knocked at the door of 54 Kefallinias Street and when the guard opened it and gave the fascist salute he saw that he was greeting a man wearing pink bloomers, pink pumps and a necklace. The visitor inquired coquettishly: “Tell me sweetie, is the leader in?” When Michaloliakos appeared the man fell on him and started hugging and kissing him. The decadent pansy had his revenge, showing what good relations he enjoyed with the leader. It is not clear whether the stories that circulate about Michaloliakos and his two-facedness towards his comrades are authentic or a reflection of bitterness stemming from internecine conflicts and ambitions. Nevertheless,
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Former members of the organization describe Periandros as quite capable of being leader of Golden Dawn. It is worth noting how, once Periandros turned himself in to the authorities, his organization abandoned him. “The next victim of Michaloliakos,” some say, “will be Kassidiaris, who is quite a good communicator and will have the fate of Michaloliakos’ erstwhile deputy, “Periandros”. ... In the middle: The victim of the Golden Dawn hate crime, Dimitris Kousouris.
manner and even denounce the judges. Behaviour entirely corroborative of the charge that “Periandros” was a member of a murderous fascist organization. After release from prison Periandros addressed a letter to the members of Golden Dawn. The document dismantles the image of Michaloliakos as leader, employing epithets such as “manikins, whores, garbage”. He writes, specifically: “…not to mention the thanklessness of certain subhumans posing as comrades, some of whom to this day style themselves leaders and defenders of patriotism while they were the same people who got me out of the way in 1998, working together with the regime, or exploited my manly silence to make me pay for something I didn’t do. Certain present and former members of Golden Dawn who were never called on to testify for anything at all to the public prosecutor and now keep their mouths shut like terrified whores know quite well that I was INNOCENT and was convicted for crimes committed by others. To the question of what they all did for me, when I have suffered tremendous losses these past twelve years – psychological and physical losses, economic and personal losses, social and family losses, and of course political losses, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Small people with their complexes, cowardly, nonexistent, who hide behind an idea of Titans, never called an open meeting in my defence, never said a word to refute the dozens of journalistic scoundrels who slandered me without evidence. Clowns who didn’t turn up at even one of my trials, who didn’t put up a slogan of protest on even one wall and of course didn’t have the guts to bust a single enemy nose, or even have their own busted, for my sake. Some of this trash even appeared on television to tell those who reminded them about wicked Periandros that Golden Dawn is not responsible for the criminal acts of its members….”
Kousoumvris, his one-time deputy, whose charge is that Michaloliakos betrayed him in the same way, says in his book that Michaloliakos called Plevris a nark or police informer but to his face addressed him ingratiatingly as “leader”.
The “Periandros” affair
On 16th July 1998 the student Dimitris Koussouris and two other people were beaten almost to death by a group of ten members of Golden Dawn while they were in a café. The culprits fled but information about them was provided via anonymous telephone calls. In fact the information was about one of them, named Antonis Androutsopoulos. He was deputy leader of Golden Dawn, with the pseudonym “Periandros”. Apart from being deputy leader, Periandros also headed the organization’s “Golden Eagle” phalanx. Former members of the organization describe him as a good communicator, aggressive and quite capable of being leader of Golden Dawn. On May 1st in 1998 “Periandros” and his group had attacked the MAT (Units for Restoration of Order) riot police in central Athens. The police had arrested a member of Golden Dawn and Periandros
launched an attack and succeeded in taking hostage the head of the MAT and exchanging him for the arrested Golden Dawn member. The same year, on the anniversary of the Imia events, Androutsopoulos had leapt into the sea from an inflatable dinghy and swam ashore on the rocky islets of Imia. He was finally arrested by the harbour police. Both of these events were kept hidden from the public, but they were common knowledge inside Golden Dawn, where Periandros was acquiring the reputation of being a combative leader, in contrast to the image of the stodgy bureaucrat of a Fuehrer. Following interrogation by the police for the beating of Koussouris, Periandros disappeared. For seven years the police were not able to arrest him and there were rumours that he was being sheltered by police officers. For all the time that he was evading arrest Periandros was a hero inside Golden Dawn. The organization’s publications were extolling him to the skies. On 13th September 2005 Androutsopoulos presented himself to the police and was arrested. His trial commenced a year later and he was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment. It is remarkable how, once Periandros turned himself in to the authorities, the organization ceased bothering about him. They abandoned him. It is also remarkable that, although Periandros was a member of Golden Dawn, no member of the organization was summoned as a witness. Not even Michaloliakos. Paradoxically, at the Court of Appeal a Golden Dawn phalanx made its appearance to salute its deputy leader in a provocative
The Holy Family of Michaloliakos
The electoral support enjoyed by Golden Dawn, its social base and the occupation of seats in parliament have paradoxically all contributed to making HOTDOC. • 29 NOVEMBER 2012 • 13
Whatever the principles of the organization, the Michaloliakos family owns the “New Dream” hotel, a half-board hotel where prostitutes consort with their customers
it more difficult for the organization to function. What Periandros in his letter blames the leadership for is admittedly not discussed in the black T-shirted circles that have adopted nationalism as a fashion, but it does bother many of the old guard. There is persistent whispering about nepotism and the excessive influence of Michaloliakos family members in the running of Golden Dawn. Nikos Michaloliakos not only managed to make all his family parliamentarians but also demanded the resignation of the parliamentarian Nikitas Siois so that the favourite of Michaloliakos’ daughter Artemis Matthaiopoulos could take over the seat. The finances of the organization are managed by Michaloliakos’ wife, without any particular oversight, and the whole party has the personal stamp of Michaloliakos on it, even using his tax identification number. Whatever the principles of the organization, the Michaloliakos family owns the “New Dream” hotel, a half-board hotel where prostitutes consort with their customers. The hotel’s website says that customers can choose rooms with the erotic color scheme of their preference and that entry to the hotel can be carried out discreetly. According to the Government Gazette not only is Michaloliakos’ wife Eleni Zaroulia a member of the board of directors of the hotel but Michaloliakos is also, and has been at least since 1993. But this is not the only matter concerning the hotel that is drawing comment from inside Golden Dawn. There have been a number of inquiries on how it can be that, while the
organization supports round-up operations against illegal immigrants in the Agios Panteleimonas area, it has avoided supporting them or conducting them itself around Attica Square, where the hotel in question is situated. Questions have also been asked about the relation between members of the organization and real estate around Agios Panteleimonas. Some individuals closely linked to Michaloliakos are said to be purchasing apartments at a time when prices are falling as a result of danger-mongering over immigrants and the operations of Golden Dawn.
Source of wealth (“pothen esches”)
No information is available on the source of Golden Dawn’s funding over the years it has been in operation. The takings from the organization’s publications are not enough even to cover the cost of printing, and prior to becoming parliamentarians Golden Dawn cadres are represented as having been without gainful employment. This includes Nikos Michaloliakos. According to Michaloliakos the organization has always been fortunate, in that it has received large donations from time to time. Nevertheless, Golden Dawn’s connections with entrepreneurs and vested interests do not sit well with its antiestablishment, anti-capitalist rhetoric. Golden Dawn recently proposed that shipowners be exempted from taxation, requesting a waiver for the approximately eighty million euros in back taxes they owe to the state. They did not make this demand for any of the other professional groups suffering
economic strangulation in the current situation. Just the shipowners. The “pro-worker” and “pro-people” Golden Dawn opposed the mobilizations at the Hellenic Steelworks, prompting the union to issue the following statement: “Golden Dawn has from the outset opposed our struggle, just as it opposes every struggle of working people. It has defended Manessis, saying that his proposal for sackings and a five-hour working day are reasonable under the difficult conditions that have been created on the market. Every business exists to make profit.” Later, admittedly, in a characteristic worker-friendly turnabout, its parliamentarians visited the steelworks. In the parliament Golden Dawn voted in favour of the disgraceful sellout of the Agricultural Bank of Greece to the Bank of Piraeus. The “against all of them” that it proclaims in its slogan evidently does not include bankers. Dozens of laws are passed every month by the parliamentarians of Golden Dawn together with the government, a government which according to Golden Dawn serves certain specific vested interests.
The boy scout myth and certain journalists’ version of “the truth”
Golden Dawn’s, and Michaloliakos’, great success has been to co-opt the mass media into alignment with its own political dilemmas. And above all with fear. There may be nothing sinister about Golden Dawn’s ascendancy over the media insofar as it may merely reflect the intrinsic interest of the Golden Dawn phenomenon in a
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Nikos Michaloliakos not only managed to make all his family parliamentarians but also demanded the resignation of the parliamentarian Nikitas Siois so that the favourite of Michaloliakos’ daughter Artemis Matthaiopoulos could take over the seat.
political scene of generalized confusion. But there appears to be something more than coincidence in the way that, through its unprecedented prominence in the media, Golden Dawn has succeeded in projecting not its policies but its myths. Prior to the May 2012 elections the organization that had been knifing immigrants and denouncing homosexuals succeeded in presenting itself as Robin Hood, or even as something like Boy Scouts. A dispenser of violence was suddenly transformed into a dispenser of services. On 1st April, a month before the elections, the PROTO THEMA newspaper ran a front-page article entitled “Send granny to…..Golden Dawn”. An impressive photograph depicted a member of Golden Dawn in his black shirt with the organization’s insignias waiting for two old ladies who were withdrawing money from a bank’s ATM. From the report by the journalist Panagiotis Savvidis we learned that the two old ladies had called Golden Dawn’s emergency service in order to be able to go to the bank and perform their transaction in safety. One of the old ladies spoke to the journalist and explained that they call Golden Dawn because they are afraid. The organization provides them with the security that is otherwise unavailable. The frightened old lady said characteristically that they don’t have jewellery on them when they walk in the streets, other than a ring, and they are afraid of being robbed of that also. The gentle and candid old lady who availed herself of the services of Golden Dawn is called Erofili Plomaritou. As revealed by the
In the report by the journalist Panagiotis Savvidis old ladies call on Golden Dawn for protection. But the gentle and candid old lady who availed herself of the services of Golden Dawn is none other than the mother of the Michaloliakos supporter and parliamentary candidate Alexandros Plomaritis (right). It has not been determined whether the management of the newspaper is aware of the terms on which Plomaritis’ report was compiled.
journalist Dimitris Psaras in his “Black future. Included in their construction Book of Golden Dawn” the spontane- team will evidently be zombies from ously interviewable lady is none other the political past: Pattakos, the ex-king, than the mother of the Michaloliakos mystics from the school of Nazi occultsupporter and parliamentary candidate ism, the devotees of Lucifer. Of course Alexandros Plomaritis. he has every right to want such a thing, We crosschecked the relationship because we still have democracy, which between them. We also contacted he hates. Panagiotis Savvidis, the journalist who The question is: who are the people wrote the report, and we asked him who believe in him? His former depto explain how he could have made uty C. Kousoumvris has an answer: a report of this kind that appeared to “The basic reason for entry into these be staged. He replied that he couldn’t marginal formations is the need to fill remember exactly what had happed an existential void. Those attracted then but that he hadn’t known that the are typically young people for whom lady was the mother of a Michaloliakos bourgeois society and the morally inadsupporter. Note that the journalist in equate family that is its product have question specializes in reporting on not succeeded in equipping with the Golden Dawn, taking care to give a full necessary self-confidence to make their account of their activities. The title of way in life with a modicum of existenthis contentious report was: “The boy tial autonomy. Anti-social individuals scouts of Golden Dawn”. It is an example of the journalism that contributed whose lives are centred on a fear of social impairment or who feel the need to the whitewashing of Golden Dawn and the establishment of an image of to join a herd for the sake of protection. social concern. It has not been ascer- They are the commodity most readily tained whether the management of at the disposal of the little fuehrers. It is from this great reservoir of victims the newspaper is aware of the terms that all these seedy bands draw their on which the report was compiled. personnel, and their petty bosses come from the same background, being in The future (what future?) Nikos Michaloliakos and his shock most cases representative specimens of troops want to be architects of the the same mass psychology.” HOTDOC. • 29 NOVEMBER 2012 • 15
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