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Golden Dawn and the "Dark Forces" | Jacobin

hange is in the air in Athens. We have felt it. This past November we were guests at a workshop attended by Greek and foreign academics and politicians, police union representatives, current and retired Hellenic Police officers (including high-ranking ones), and Syriza's members of parliament and central committee representatives. A meeting of the radical left and the police: it was unprecedented.

The discussions were remarkably candid. Reform -- radical reform -- of the police and the judiciary was on everyone's mind. The energy inside the workshop was matched only by the mood on the street. Hope abounded. Change seemed imminent.

Yet despite this momentum, a dark cloud hung over Athens. The police, of course, remained a conservative enclave. They harbored xenophobic attitudes and, in far too many cases, openly aligned with the far right. Last month, as Syriza was being propelled to power, the police once again voted heavily in favor of the fascist Golden Dawn party.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has pledged to "smash" the country's oligarchs. But can Syriza do so without taming the police?

Varoufakis knows firsthand how difficult this task will be. After he assisted journalists investigating various banking scandals in his previous position as economics professor at the University of Athens, he received an ominous phone call. "A stranger asked me whether my son had already come home," he recently told the German newspaper Stern. "The caller then described the route my son had taken and said: if you want him to come home safely in the future, then stop investigating the banking business."

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 08:08:27 AM EST

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