National Populism and Xenophobia in Greece by Aristos Doxiadis and Manos Matsaganis forms part of the second phase of Counterpoint’s “Recapturing Europe’s Reluctant Radicals” project. This second phase of the project aims to draw an in-depth picture of how populism emerges in specific country contexts across Europe through ten expert written country pamphlets.
The rise of the criminally anti-immigrant Golden Dawn in the 2012 general elections has caught the attention of world media, and has caused widespread consternation in Greece and abroad. In this pamphlet we argue that Golden Dawn is in many ways a manifestation of a worldview that is widely shared in Greece, albeit at its most violent extreme. We set the recent rise of xenophobic populism against the background of five distinct but related developments:
1 The consolidation of national exceptionalism as the default worldview of most Greeks
2 The discontent associated with the mass influx of foreign immigrants
3 The political fallout from the economic crisis
4 The rise of national populism as an economic ideology
5 The culture of lawlessness and disobedience, and lack of faith in the political system and in the institutions of law enforcement.