Polish workers at anti-fascist music festival in London


This punk rock music video from England is called Clash – Live at Rock Against Racism, Victoria Park, London – 30 April 1978.

By Luke James in Britain:

Unite Against Fascism organises festival at stabbing site

Saturday 28th June 2014

A COMMUNITY music festival is to be staged today at the site of a racist stabbing in north London amid concerns over reprisals.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) organised the cultural event at Markfield Park in Tottenham, where a mass brawl was sparked last Saturday when Polish skinheads attacked another free musical event.

But the community is coming together to reclaim the park from the gang, which has used it as a recruiting ground in recent months.

Speaking ahead of the festival, factory worker Jacek Szymanski said the Polish community felt “angry and ashamed” by last week’s violence.

“Ashamed because they are Poles and brought disgrace on the whole Polish community in London,” he told the Star.

“And angry because we are afraid that this case will be used as a pretext for further attacks on the Polish community and the wider eastern European community.”

The attack had seen one man rushed to hospital with stab wounds and two Jewish men also targeted, with one having his kipah cap swept from his head.

Rocks, bottles and a flare were thrown in violent scenes as partygoers repelled the attack by the Zjednoczeni Emigranci (Immigrants Together) group of exiled Polish football thugs.

The group has since plastered the community in far-right stickers that show a crossed out hammer and sickle symbol.

UAF national secretary Weymann Bennett said the police were investigating but added that “the most important thing is that the community deals with it on the ground.”

Mr Szymanski said the fascist group represented a tiny minority and hoped “solidarity will emerge between the different local communities” after today.

He said: “It’s not about division between Poles and British people or Poles and Muslims. The man who was stabbed by the fascists in Markfield Park was a Pole himself.

“So the real division is about fascists and anti-fascists and we need to be united in the common good.”

The festival is being put on after more than 200 local people joined a display of unity organised by UAF at Tottenham Town Hall on Monday.

‘Gestapo back in Germany’


This video says about itself:

Gestapo, Hitler’s Secret Police

3 November 2013

The Geheime Staatspolizei (German for Secret State Police, abbreviated “Gestapo”) was the secret police of Nazi Germany, and its main tool of oppression and destruction, which persecuted Germans, opponents of the regime, and Jews. It later played a central role in helping carry out the Nazi’s “Final Solution.”

The Gestapo was formally organized after the Nazis seized power in 1933. Hermann Göring, the Prussian minister of the interior, detached the espionage and political units of the Prussian police and proceeded to staff them with thousands of Nazis. On April 26, 1933, Göring became the commander of this new force that was given power to shadow, arrest, interrogate, and intern any “enemies” of the state. At the same time that Goring was organzing the Gestapo, Heinrich Himmler was directing the SS (Schutzstaffel, German for “Protective Echelon“), Hitler’s elite paramilitary corps. In April 1936, he was given command of the Gestapo as well, integrating all of Germany’s police units under Himmler.

By Ulrich Rippert in Germany:

The return of the state secret police in Germany

27 June 2014

Last week’s edition of Der Spiegel published over 50 NSA documents that had been handed to the media by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden last year. These top secret documents make clear the extent of the close collaboration between the US intelligence agency and the German foreign intelligence service (BND) and domestic intelligence agency (BfV).

They contradict the claims by leading officials in the security apparatus and the interior ministry that they were surprised and shocked over the extent of the NSA’s activities in Germany. The Spiegel documents reveal that the BND and BfV, as well as ministerial representatives, were well informed about the capabilities and activities of the NSA.

Germany’s intelligence agencies apparently even pressed for closer cooperation with the NSA. The BND and BfV used the NSA’s spying activities on German territory to vastly expand their own operations and create a security apparatus that forms a state within the state and is free from any democratic control.

Der Spiegel wrote, “The documents paint a picture of an omnipotent American agency, which has developed increasingly close ties to German agencies over the past 13 years and at the same time massively expanded its presence.” In the Federal Republic, there was “a secret NSA surveillance apparatus like in no other country in Europe”, which was concerned “not only with the desire for security, but also the striving for total control.” The NSA reported having a dozen active collection points in Germany in 2007.

In the opinion of Der Spiegel’s editors, the documents suggest that the intelligence gathered in Germany is used for the arrest or killing of alleged terrorists. “Does Germany therefore serve as a bridgehead for America’s deadly operations against suspected terrorists?” the editors ask. “Do the CIA and American military use data collected by the NSA in Germany for their drone operations?” The NSA did not respond to questions from Der Spiegel, but the sole conclusion suggested by the facts is that the answer is “yes”.

The NSA’s activities exposed in the secret reports are illegal under German law. “Is it conceivable that the German government knew nothing about these NSA activities on German territory?” Der Spiegel went on to ask, before answering, “hardly imaginable”. The NSA had not only been active in Germany for decades, but it works in close consultation with the BND, which has its supervisory body in the chancellor’s office.

In a document with the title “NSA’s intelligence relationship with Germany”, from January 17, 2013, the NSA describes the long-term collaboration with the BND, BfV and the federal office for IT Security (BSI). According to the document, the collaboration with the BND began as early as 1962 with “extensive analytical, operational and technical exchanges.”

The document states, “NSA welcomed BND President [Gerhard] Schindler’s eagerness to strengthen and expand bilateral cooperation.” The German agencies had proven their own initiative and self-determination in the task of supporting America’s requirements, to improve their own SIGINT capabilities and to increase the exchange of information.

SIGINT is the abbreviation for signals intelligence, meaning the securing of information through the interception of electronic data, such as the interception of satellite signals or the wiretapping of communication cables.

Die Zeit also reported in detail about the document, writing, “In it there are multi-clause sentences like ‘NSA also has held several multilateral technical meetings with BND/BfV/NSA/CIA to introduce SIGDEV methodology and tradecraft to improve the BfV’s ability to exploit, filter, and process domestic data accesses and potentially develop larger collection access points that could benefit both Germany and the US’.”

The cooperation between US and German intelligence agencies went so far that the BND pressured the German government to loosen data protection in order that it could work more closely with the NSA, at least according to the American intelligence agency. The document states, “The German government modified its interpretation of the G-10 Privacy Law, protecting the communications of German citizens, to afford the BND more flexibility in sharing protected information with foreign partners.”

Under the “key issues” in the document, it states, “In May 2012, NSA turned over full responsibility of the FORNSAT collection mission to the BND, allowing NSA’s representational team to cultivate new cooperative opportunities with Germany.” FORNSAT stands for foreign satellite collection, i.e., surveillance.

In a secret report from 2007, the NSA wrote that the installation and integration of German systems had significantly improved the collection and development of high priority targets. The new or improved capabilities were, according to the document, automatic surveillance systems, meta-data collection, the processing of voiceover IPs, and metadata collections from mobile phone networks. To achieve this, NSA workers had taught their BND colleagues the theory and practice to improve their capabilities in network analysis.

In addition, the document referred to the DISHFIRE databank where the NSA holds data intercepted from SMS messages. The Joint SIGINT Activity (JSA), the NSA and BND’s joint technical intelligence operation, based in Bad Aibling, had opened up new data streams for the NSA’s databank. JSA sends 330,000 pieces of data from SMS messages daily to DISHFIRE.

The NSA’s illegal practices were therefore not only known to Germany’s security agencies. They were also directly involved in these surveillance operations. The BND, BSI, the Military Counter-Intelligence Service (MAD) and BfV exchange countless quantities of data on a daily basis with their US allies. Neither the US nor the German government has any interest in limiting this cooperation in any way. The new German government has done everything it can thus far to prevent the exposure of the NSA affair.

Nonetheless, they were forced to agree to the establishment of the NSA parliamentary investigative committee, and at the beginning of June general state prosecutor Harald Range was compelled to announce an investigation in to the wiretapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

The publication of the NSA documents, which have been in the possession of Der Spiegel for some time, comes in this context. In the media, business circles and sections of the political establishment, demands for more independence from the US and self-determination for the intelligence agencies have emerged.

This is not connected with stronger parliamentary control or a restriction of the surveillance apparatus. On the contrary, the criticism of NSA surveillance is linked with the call for a “strengthening of German defence” (Die Zeit editor Josef Joffe).

This demand is symbolised by the transfer of the BND’s agents to a new centre in central Berlin this summer. In the largest office block in Europe, more than 4,000 agents will be tasked with spying on the world’s population in close collaboration with other intelligence agencies.

The strengthening of the BND and other intelligence agencies is connected with a wide-ranging restructuring of the entire security apparatus. Under the pretext of combating terrorism, the powers of the police and intelligence services have been vastly expanded over the past decade. In 2004, the joint centre for defence against terrorism (GTAZ) was established, which brought representatives of all Germany’s intelligence agencies under one roof.

In a specially erected building in Berlin Treptow, the BfV, BND, the federal criminal agency (BKA), the federal police, the MAD, the customs regulatory agency, the federal prosecutor, the federal office for immigration and refugees, as well as all 16 state surveillance agencies and criminal agencies cooperate closely. All of the authorities involved have access to the BKA’s “anti-terrorism database”.

The separation of police and intelligence services established in the German constitution, a key lesson drawn from the crimes committed during the Nazi dictatorship, has practically been eliminated. The structures of a police state, which views every citizen as a potential enemy of the state and spies on them, are becoming ever more visible.

This is apparent above all on the question of war. The German population has responded with overwhelming hostility to the announcement from President Joachim Gauck, Social Democrat Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen that Germany’s era of military restraint was over and that it would intervene independently and with self-confidence in crisis regions.

The government has not only responded to this opposition with a comprehensive propaganda campaign, but also by strengthening the security apparatus and building up state structures. The return of German militarism thus goes hand in hand with the construction of a police state with powers increasingly reminiscent of those possessed by the Gestapo under the Nazis.

Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Britain


This video from England says about itself:

24 June 2014

Racist vandals have devastated a Jewish cemetery in north Manchester – knocking down memorials and painting swastikas on gravestones.

The sickening anti-Semitic attack was discovered at the site on Rochdale Road in Blackley yesterday afternoon.

Police were called to the scene at 3.40pm and found that a number of gravestones had been toppled over and others had been daubed with Nazi symbols and other racist graffiti.

Officers believe the graves were vandalised between 4pm on Sunday and 3.30pm yesterday.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

Anti-fascists demand arrests over racist mosque and Jewish cemetery attacks

Wednesday 25th June 2014

ANTI-FASCISTS urged police yesterday to come up with arrests over the increasing attacks by racists on mosques and on Jewish cemeteries.

In one of the most recent attacks nazi swastikas and other anti-semitic graffiti was daubed on gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Manchester, with some memorials toppled.

Police believe the attack happened between 4pm on Saturday and 3.30pm on Sunday last weekend. The attack is the most recent in a series at the cemetery in Rochdale Road, Blackley in Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police Inspector Mike Reid described the latest attack as “a sickening and cruel act of racism.”

But Gerry Gable, editor of respected anti-fascist magazine Searchlight said: “When are police going to make arrests?”

He warned that neo-nazi activity was continuing particularly through the activities of the British Movement, which was founded by the late Colin Jordan, and the Britain First organisation.

“The British Movement has a youth group. They are using Jordan’s writings to change and brainwash kids,” he said.

“They are clearly encouraged by lack of police activity in dealing with a whole series of very nasty attacks up and down the country.”

He said police in London were provided with video and other evidence of neo-nazi activities by some groups, but “nothing happened.”

Inspector Reid in Manchester said: “Extra patrols will be in the area in the coming days both to act as a visible deterrent and provide a visible presence for any concerned residents, and we will work with our partner agencies to investigate the matter.”

America’s hold overwhelming contempt toward Atheists & Muslims — and here are the biggest haters: here.

Greek Golden Dawn nazis news update


This video from New York City in the USA says about itself:

Golden Dawn, NYC (short documentary dir. Richard Ledes) 2014

10 June 2014

NYC Greeks vs. Nazi Greeks!

A short documentary film about the neo-Nazi party in Greece known as Golden Dawn and how the New York City Greek Community is confronting it.

Filmmaker Richard Ledes decided to find out what the Greeks of New York City thought about the extraordinary rise of the party. Placing Golden Dawn in the context of the price America has paid previously for complacency in the face of the rise of Nazism in Europe, Ledes starts by conducting interviews at the Greek Independence Day Parade on Fifth Avenue. The film combines man-on-the-street interviews at the parade with conversations with religious leaders, activists, heads of national organizations, the judiciary, intellectuals and members of the media.

Join us for further discussion on the official Facebook page.

Golden Dawn is threatening academics, activists and other Greek Americans in New York: here.

Book on Golden Dawn translated into French: here.

Golden Dawn wants ‘one-party state’: here.

Joe Louis, Hitler, boxing and racism


This video from the USA is called Muhammad Ali & Joe Louis Foolin Each Other on a TV Show (1966).

By John Wight in Britain:

A credit to the human race

Saturday 21st June 2014

JOHN WIGHT tells how Joe Louis became a symbol of the fight against racism

ON JUNE 19 1936 the Brown Bomber Joe Louis climbed through the ropes at the Yankee Stadium in New York to face German heavyweight contender Max Schmeling in front of a sell-out crowd to contest a non-title bout scheduled for 15 rounds.

Louis was just 22 when he faced Schmeling for the first time, undefeated in 24 fights. Schmeling had already won and lost the world title and at 30 was felt to be easy pickings for his much younger and more complete opponent, who was already on the way to establishing the legend he was destined to become.

The onward march of fascism in Europe was the backdrop to the fight. Adolf Hitler had been in power in Germany for three years, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was intent on reliving the glory days of the Roman empire and Spain was embroiled in a brutal civil war which foreshadowed the cataclysm that was to engulf Europe and the world just a few years later.

Meanwhile, the United States regarded itself as the home of freedom and democracy, even though for young black men like Joe Louis it was closer to hell, with lynchings still a regular occurrence in parts of the south and blacks treated as second-class citizens even in areas without formal segregation.

The fight itself proved that Schmeling’s claim to have identified a flaw in the Brown Bomber’s style was not mere hyperbole. Louis had a habit of lowering his left hand after jabbing with it, which Schmeling aimed to exploit with right hands.

The German dropped Louis to the canvas for the first time in his career with just such a right hand in the fourth round and by the time he finally knocked him out in the 12th he was ahead on all three of the judges’ scorecards.

It was a major upset. In black communities throughout the US Louis’ first defeat was met with huge consternation by people who saw in him their saviour and hope.

Meanwhile, after a personal message from Hitler congratulating him, Schemling told a German reporter: “At this moment I have to tell Germany, I have to report to the Führer in particular, that the thoughts of all my countrymen were with me in this fight.

“That the Führer and his faithful people were thinking of me. This thought gave me the strength to succeed in this fight. It gave me the courage and the endurance to win this victory for Germany’s colours.”

By the time of the second fight two years later, the world lay on the brink of war and the nazis’ terror campaign against communists, socialists, trade unionists, the disabled, gays, Gypsies and Jews was underway.

Schmeling and Louis were now political symbols for their respective countries whether they liked it or not and, as the fight on June 22 1938 approached, again held at New York’s Yankee Stadium, the tension far exceeded any that had been present in the lead-up to the first contest.

Despite his message praising Hitler following the first fight Schmeling was not a member of the nazi party and always denied nazi claims of racial superiority.

His wife and mother were prevented from travelling to the US with him to forestall the possibility of them defecting. His entourage included a nazi official to handle press and publicity.

It was this official who was responsible for issuing the infamous statement that a black man could not defeat Schmeling and that his purse would be used to help pay for more German tanks.

As for Louis, he attended a meeting with President Franklin D Roosevelt at the White House prior to the fight, where he was left in no doubt of the importance of the outcome to the country at large.

The irony was striking — a young black man whose people were being systematically denied their civil and human rights had become the champion of the country responsible.

Louis was a different fighter to two years earlier. Since losing to the German in 1936 he’d gone on to win the world heavyweight title and successfully defended it three times.

He was 25 and fully in his prime, which told from the opening bell when he went straight on the offensive, unleashing crunching combinations against Schemling’s body and head.

The German had no answer to the barrage and went down after just 90 seconds. When the action resumed, Louis picked up where he’d left off, again sending his opponent to the canvas.

This time Schemling’s corner, realising their man was being taken apart, intervened to call a halt to what by now was a public execution. The fight was over in the first round, causing the 70,000 people crammed into the stadium to go wild.

Perhaps the most famous line in the history of boxing was coined in the aftermath by the leading sportswriter of the day, Jimmy Cannon, who described Louis as “a credit to his race — the human race.”

The victory propelled Louis to fame and celebrity, though he was studious in not displaying any of the defiance or controversy that typified the career of his black predecessor Jack Johnson.

He knew his role and performed it to the letter, serving in the forces in World War II, in which his fame was exploited by the government in the war effort. He ended up broke as a greeter in a Las Vegas casino in his twilight years and died in 1981.

Schmeling donated money to pay for the funeral and also acted as a pallbearer, testimony to the respect and friendship both men went on to enjoy after sharing the ring together.

Schemling returned to Germany after the fight to find his status had plummeted. The nazis no longer treated him as a national hero or symbol of Aryan manhood — no great disappointment to the reluctant Schmeling.

Indeed, the German champion provided sanctuary to two Jewish boys later the same year during the Kristallnacht pogrom against the Jews.

After the war, during which he was conscripted to serve as a paratrooper, Schmeling embarked on a career in business. He died in 2005 just shy of his 100th birthday.

Louis, as with Mohammed Ali in later years, was more than just a boxer to his people.

He was a symbol of pride, strength and dignity in the face of the oppression they suffered in the land of the free.

Martin Luther King later described what Louis meant to them when he wrote about the execution of a young black prisoner in a southern prison.

As the poison gas pellets were dropped in the death chamber and the gas swirled upwards, his last words were: “Save me, Joe Louis. Save me, Joe Louis. Save me, Joe Louis…”

British paramilitary nazis threaten journalists


This video from Britain is called ‘Britain First‘ launch ‘Patrol’ to terrorise local community.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

NUJ condemns Britain First gangs for threatening reporters

Saturday 21st June 2014

JOURNALISTS condemned the Britain First fascist street gang yesterday for threatening reporters.

National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said that the union was “not prepared to have its members threatened or deterred from their work by thugs and bullies who would like to see press freedom undermined in order that their behaviour goes below the radar.”

It follows Britain First chairman Paul Golding’s threat on Thursday to “find out where you live” if journalists publish “nonsense” about the group.

Britain First also published a statement claiming that “direct action operations will be personal not online.”

NUJ members have been attacked by fascists in the past.

“We will take this matter up with the Home Office and police and robustly support any journalist targeted in this way,” said Ms Stanistreet.

Paramilitary neonazis Britain First exposed


This video is called Neo-Nazi group Britain First ‘invade’ East London Mosque.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Racist thugs exposed

Friday 20th June 2014

Anti-fascist group release details of Britain First racists terrorising communities

ANTI-RACIST campaign Hope not Hate exposed yesterday the thugs at the forefront of a fascist street gang targeting Muslim communities.

Christian fundamentalist far-right organisation Britain First is on the march, calling for a violent uprising against non-white groups.

“It believes it’s involved in a holy war,” said Hope not Hate director of research Matthew Collins.

The organisation has now published a thorough report on the activities and strategies of Britain First after following its development closely in the last few years.

Mr Collins told the Star that Hope not Hate wanted to “warn people that this group has different aims, different goals, different strategies” from previous far-right organisations such as the British National Party or the English Defence League.

“We are looking at a group that is drilled, uniformed and, more worryingly, is doing things like ‘mosque invasions’,” he added.

The group exposed the leadership of Britain First as a collection of violent individuals, most of which have police records for serious offences.

Mr Collins, a reformed militant of the National Front, said that Britain First was particularly dangerous because it had been successful at co-opting what he calls the “social-moral panic.”

Its propaganda is based on a lethal combination of Islamophobic slurs and anti-immigration policies.

It has been keen on capitalising from general feelings of disappointment with mainstream politicians, much like Euro-sceptic Ukip has done.

From animal abuse to “British values,” Britain First has tweaked its political agenda according to currently popular national sentiment.

Hope not Hate expects its report on the far-right group to be a “wake-up call” to politicians and individuals alike.

“So that people can extend a hand to the Muslim community,” Mr Collins said.

As reported this Wednesday by the Star, Britain First has been staging regular incursions into Muslim communities, pushing people around and provoking people into physical confrontation.

Before the so-called “mosque invasions” in Bradford, Glasgow and Luton, the proto-fascist group had already staged “Christian Patrols” in Tower Hamlets, promoting racial and religious hatred.

Speaking to the Star, Luton’s Muslim community leader Mohammad Shafait described how after Britain First’s incursions people started fearing spiralling bloodshed.

“Either they are going to lose their lives or he is going to lose his life,” said Mr Shafait of Britain First chairman Paul Golding’s storming of local mosques during prayers: “That’s what they are frightened of.”

Hope not Hate and Mr Collins also urged the government to take action.

“The police or whoever needs to put an Asbo on Britain First because wherever it goes its sole objective is to wind up fear,” concluded Mr Collins.

Founder:
Jim Dowson

Anti-abortionist, radical evangelical Calvinist minister. Former member and main fundraiser of the BNP. Hope Not Hate call him “the most powerful identity on the far right” today.

Chairman:
Paul Golding

Nick Griffin’s one-time protege and former editor of BNP youth magazine Excalibur. Elected as Sevenoaks councillor in 2009. He’s been in fights with members of other far-right groups and even from his own organisation.

Member:
Marco Spilloni

One-time leading member of the EDL. Owes his “street-cred” to being shot in the crotch during a fight in Sheffield.

Member:

Jayda Fransen
Only publicly recognisable female member. Will “suit-up” in uniform.

The founder of Britain First has resigned from the far-right group over its “provocative and counterproductive” mosque invasions: here.

Auschwitz nazi crimes suspect arrested in Philadelphia, USA


This video from the USA is called 89 Year Old Johann Breyer May Be Prosecuted as a Nazi War Criminal.

From the Daily Mail in Britain, 18 June 2014:

The Philadelphia Nazi: Retired toolmaker, 89, arrested for role as Auschwitz guard and helping kill 216,000 Jews

German arrest warrant unsealed today alleges that Johann ‘Hans’ Breyer aided and abetted in the deaths of the men, women and children while a guard at the Auschwitz death camp

Each of the 158 counts of complicity in the commission of murder against him represents a trainload of Nazi prisoners from Hungary, Germany and Czechoslovakia

Breyer’s attorney argued his client is too inform [sic; infirm] to be detained pending an extradition hearing

Golden Dawn, Greece’s open nazis


This video from Greece says about itself:

Golden Dawn Anthem – copy of Nazi Anthem [Horst Wessel song].

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

SS songs and antisemitism: the week Golden Dawn turned openly Nazi

Supporters of the far-right party gave Hitler salutes and sang the Horst Wessel song outside parliament last week. Helena Smith reports from Athens on how Golden Dawn has taken on a sinister new tone

Helena Smith

Saturday 7 June 2014 21.14 BST

It has been a bad week for democracy in Athens. All around this great Greek city, the politics of hate now lurk. On Friday I got a taste of it in the tiny Italian-style cafe I frequent off Syntagma Square.

It arrived in the form of two middle-aged men, both supporters of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn – and, by their own account, the holders of university degrees, well-travelled and well-informed. Over espressos, they began to engage in an animated discussion about all that is wrong with Greece.

The first, a self-described businessman decked out in designer suit, brogues and silk tie, blamed the country’s economic collapse on malfeasance, corruption and uncontrolled immigration. “The only way to teach our filthy politicians is to bring in Golden Dawn,” he trilled, his eyes locked in a fierce glare. “These gentlemen are patriots, proud Greek nationalists, and they know how to deal with the scum, the foreigners who never pay taxes, who steal our jobs, who have taken over our streets.”

Dismissing charges that Golden Dawn is a criminal gang masquerading as a political group, the second – a self-described government employee – said the far right was the best response yet to the great Jewish conspiracy of an interconnected banking system that has come with globalisation. “Let’s not forget all the faggots and the Jews, the wankers who control the banks, the foreigners who are behind them, who came in and fucked Greece,” he insisted. “The criminals who have governed us, who have robbed us of our future, of our dreams, need a big thwack.”

Last Wednesday Greece got that jolt when Nikos Michaloliakos, Golden Dawn’s imprisoned leader – who stands accused of murder and assault – made his first public appearance in almost nine months. The politics of hate took over Athens as the 58-year-old was hauled before parliament, ahead of a vote to lift his immunity from prosecution, on further charges of illegal weapons possession.

Emboldened by its recent success in European and local elections – in which the party emerged as the country’s third biggest political force, thanks to a softening of image that has attracted ever-growing numbers of the middle class – the extremists drove home the message that they were not only on the rebound but here to stay. And as they ran roughshod through the house of democracy, hurling abuse at other MPs in an unprecedented display of violence and vulgarity, there was no mistaking what Golden Dawn is: a party of neo-Nazi creed determined to overturn the democratic order. For, far from being contrite, the handcuffed Michaloliakos was in unusually aggressive mood, giving Nazi salutes, telling the house speaker to “shut up”, and instructing guards to take their hands off him.

Outside, black-shirted Golden Dawn supporters, lined up in military formation in Syntagma Square, gave a hearty rendition of the Nazi Horst Wessel song – albeit with Greek lyrics. All this was a far cry from the party’s recent efforts to distance itself from the thuggery and racist rhetoric from which it was born.

“That day democracy felt a bit weak,” said Pavlos Tzimas, a political commentator who has watched the party’s rise from its fringe group beginnings in the early 1980s. He has watched it grow from marginal group to mainstream party over the past three decades. “After all the revelations [about criminal activity], after all the prosecutions against its MPs, it still has the nerve to act in such a way, in scenes of hate that, frankly, I cannot recall ever being seen inside the parliament,” he sighed. “Golden Dawn is not a passing phase, it will not disappear with the end of the crisis, it feels untouchable, it fears nothing, and what we saw this week is its real face. It is not like other extremist parties in Europe. It is a true neo-Nazi force whose aim is to use democracy to destroy democracy.”

The crackdown against Golden Dawn – triggered by the killing of an anti-fascist rapper at the hands of a self-confessed party cadre last September – was meant not only to bring offenders to justice but reverse the group’s seemingly unstoppable ascent. At first the round-up of party leaders seemed to dent the ultranationalists’ popularity. For the first time since June 2012, when it was catapulted into parliament with 6.9% of the vote and 18 deputies, its ratings dipped. But in an alarming display of rehabilitation, the neo-fascists won 9.4% of the vote in the European elections on 25 May and, in the race for the Athens mayoralty on 18 May, were backed by 16.1% of the electorate even though its candidate, Ilias Kasidiaris, sports a swastika tattoo and assaulted two leftwing female politicians during a live TV show. In both cases the results were the most shocking endorsement yet of the anti-liberal party.

What worries Tzimas most is not just the coarsening of public debate but the “banalisation of violence” that is now stalking Greece. “We seem to be getting used to it, and that frightens me,” he said.

In an explosive political climate, where popular rage is at boiling point nearly five years into the country’s worst crisis in living memory, the politics of hate so embodied by Golden Dawn is becoming increasingly pervasive. “Who cares if six million Jews were exterminated?” asked the businessman back at the cafe, in a shocking endorsement of that reality. “I don’t care if they were turned into soap. What I care about is the salary I have lost, the never-ending taxes I am forced to pay, the criminals who rule this country, the anger I carry inside.”

In a global survey released by the Anti-Defamation League last month, Greece at 69% was found to be the most antisemitic country in Europe.

“This is the deeper explanation for the growth of Golden Dawn,” says Dimitris Psarras, author of The Black Bible of Golden Dawn, which chronicles the party’s meteoric rise. “Greece has deep cultural differences with the rest of Europe. After the second world war, it did not undergo real democratisation because we had civil war [1946-49]. And after that the deep state was never really purged [of extreme rightwing elements]. Even when it was a small group, Golden Dawn had ties to the Greek state.”

The party’s fielding of two retired generals on its European election ticket was testimony to those ties. With three Golden Dawn MEPs now about to take seats in Brussels, the burning question for many is how to confront the extremists. Following the poll, even France’s Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, ruled out relations with them.

The independent MP and prominent novelist Petros Tatsopoulos, himself the focus of much of the fascists’ fury in parliament last week, thinks there is no other way but to ban Golden Dawn. “It was a huge, historic mistake on the part of our parliament not to de-legitimise Golden Dawn,” said Tatsopoulos, until recently an MP with the radical left. “It should have been banned, not for its Nazi ideology but because it is a paramilitary force … who, if it could, would press ahead with a coup d’état,” he told the Observer. “We know how these people work. The fascist poison that Greece is experiencing is not just political, it is poisoning every aspect of social life, the way people think, the way they behave. I honestly believe that the 500,000 Greeks who voted for Golden Dawn were very conscious of what they were doing.”Was democracy in its own birthplace now under threat? “Golden Dawn is on stand-by,” he averred. “I don’t know how long it will take, but if this voluntary blindness continues, if the crisis goes on, it will be a real threat to democracy in the near future.”

When the Anti-Defamation League published its global anti-Semitism survey last week, Greece, the cradle of democracy, captured the ignominious title of most anti-Semitic country in Europe: here.