Over twenty children and their parents participate in lessons at Golden Dawn’s Artemida offices Saturday, February 23 (Enet)Golden Dawn has been recruiting high school students for some time, and now its tactics are geared towards an even younger crowd. The party is hosting special seminars for children between the ages of six and 10.
The first session was held last weekend at the party’s Artemida offices, about 25km east of Athens. It was focused on “the birth of the ancient cosmos in accordance with ancient Greek thought, the Olympian gods, the ancient Greek pantheon, and the Christian faith”, according to the party’s website.
Golden Dawn, an extreme-rightwing nationalist party with 18 seats in the parliament, says it seeks to promote a “new cycle of spiritual awakening”, claiming the “Repousi government teaches anything but Greek history.”
Maria Repousi is a Democratic Left MP and historian who generated controversy several years ago over a sixth-grade textbook that she co-authored. The book was withdrawn following intense criticism from the Orthodox church and rightwing parties over its treatment of Greek-Turkish relations.
‘Primary stage of propaganda’
The lessons are part of a series of actions “against the propaganda” to which Golden Dawn says it is subjected.
The party is distributing a document, posted on its website late January, that includes excerpts from a book called Propaganda: Methods of Educating the Masses, written by Giorgos Georgalas in 1967. Georgalas held various posts during the 1967-74 dictatorship and served as its ideological spokesperson.
The document says that “young ages are ideal for cultivating tendencies and ideals”. Quoting Georgalas, it continues: “It does not matter if the hero was real or imagined. And if he was real, it does not matter that he had these ideals or not. When it is engrained in a child’s psyche that someone was a hero – that is the primary stage of propaganda.”