The Spanish radical left has had much to celebrate these days. The Occupy-inspired socialist party, Podemos, is cruising to a crushing electoral defeat of everyone from mainstream conservatives to the country’s official Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). In the midst of this leftist awakening, however, the radical right, in the form of the Greek Nazi Party, Golden Dawn, seeks to expand in Spain.
Golden Dawn has registered as an official political party in the Spanish city of Alicante, under its Spanish translation, “Amanecer Dorado.” Spanish newspaper ABC reports that it will be helmed by Spanish officials–not Greek transplants–and that those on the official party paperwork all have a history of working with fascist groups. The official registration allows the party to nominate candidates to national office, including Parliament.
Amanecer Dorado’s leader, Antonio Vicedo, has previously run for office with the party National Alliance, “a group that has declared itself the ideological heir to European fascism.” Vicedo has been previously arrested for disseminating Nazi propaganda, a crime in many European countries.
El Diario de España notes that Valencia, the province in which Alicante is located, appears to be nursing something of a resurgence in fascist ideology. Neo-Nazi groups organized a march in Valencia in October, and as early as March, nationalist groups organized a food distribution for the poor, accessible only to Spanish nationals, excluding poor immigrants by design.
Spain’s downward economic spiral, though not as severe as Greece’s, has certainly placed it in the same conversation regarding the need for austerity measures and a reduction in spending. Greece, too, is suffering from a surge in popularity for a radical leftist party; like Podemos, the Greek party SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) is making inroads and demanding parliamentary elections to strike while the iron is hot.
Like Greece, Spain’s economy has been ravaged by years of left-wing spending under Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the kind of damage that the conservative tenure of current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has yet to fully undo. Like Spain, Greece’s Antonis Samaras replaced the left-wing George Papandreou and has yet to fully reconstruct a coherent economy in the struggling nation. SYRIZA’s relationship to Samaras’ administration echoes perfectly the Rajoy-Podemos scenario.
Perhaps it should not be much of a surprise that Spain has attracted the attention of Golden Dawn–though if Greece is any indication, this may quickly lead to violence. As the ABC report notes, Golden Dawn elected 21 of its candidates to Parliament in 2012. Six of them are in jail, most for inciting violence. One of those arrested, Christos Pappas, compiled a “mini-museum” of Nazi and Adolf Hitler memorabilia in his home. Greek police have had to resort to tear gas to subdue Golden Dawn supporters, and Golden Dawn members have stood accused of violent attacks and homicide.
While Amanecer Dorado has not yet had time to make any noticeable impact on Spanish politics, the potential clash between the nationalists of their party and the often-violent Occupy “Indignados” should concern Spanish authorities.