A worrying rise of the far right is occurring across Europe, and not for the many reasons people want to claim it is; while some argue it’s the result of economic disparity and financial distress, this is an issue that runs far deeper than that, as researcher Matthew Goodwin identifies. All nations have the potential to experience a sudden increase in far-right politics if a political party is savvy enough to play on themes of national identity, anti-immigrant sentiments, and ‘traditional values.’ Economic woes simply become a convenient vehicle for exploitation, rather than the cause of extremism.
The biggest story to come out of this month’s Greek elections has been the 21 seats won by the neonazi party Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi.) Golden Dawn secured seven percent of the vote, with 750,000 Greeks casting ballots for the party, which promises to rid Greece of “the stench of foreigners,” to line the Turkish border with land mines, and to impose a strict litmus test for citizenship that prizes birthright over time spent in the country. Elias Panagiotaros spoke to Vice last year, explaining the party’s organizing principles: