Greece fact of the day (but how many bullets did they fire?)

by on May 14, 2012 at 10:29 am in Law, Political Science | Permalink

More than half of all police officers in Greece voted for pro-Nazi party Chrysi Avgi’ (Golden Dawn) in the elections of May 6. This is the disconcerting result of an analysis carried out by the authoritative newspaper To Vima (TheTribune) in several constituencies in Athens, where 5,000 police officers in service in the Greek capital also cast their ballot.

Here is more, via Chris F. Masse.

Andrew' May 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

How ’bout high speed car chases to get away from the irrationalities triggered by guns?

Parke May 14, 2012 at 10:49 am

I don’t understand the linked article. I can’t figure out where the newspaper article got information purporting to indicate the votes by “half of all policy officers in Greece.”

Here is an example: “Moreover, the four polling stations located near the riot police station (MAT), used by the police, recorded percentages between 13 and 19 for Chrysi Avgi’. These figures, To Vima underlines, are impressive, considering the fact that other polling stations close to the riot police station reached 7-10% of votes for the pro-Nazi party. Based on the electoral lists, 550 to 700 people have voted at each of these voting stations, of which 20 to 30% police officers. This means, the newspaper worked out, that 45 to 59% of police officers have voted for Chrysi Avgi’. (ANSAmed).”

Let’s have some fun inventing alternative explanations for a statistical finding that votes for a neoNazi party were elevated by several percentage points in polling stations near riot police locations.

dan1111 May 14, 2012 at 11:16 am

I agree, it looks pretty shoddy.

as May 14, 2012 at 10:51 am

To call this FACT of the day appears to me like a huge exaggeration. The article that you cite says nothing about the methodology that was used to make this ‘finding’. To me it seems likely that it is some back of the envelope calculation, which is probably flawed in a hundred ways.

Slugger May 14, 2012 at 10:58 am

When did being concerned about the potential for abuse of the police monopoly on firearms become laughable? The police is in a unique position in society, and their use of lethal force should be monitored by outsiders.
Radley Balko is not Don Quixote.

Andrew' May 14, 2012 at 11:56 am

That’s the thing. Cops should really have no more allowance for lethal force than a citizen. You don’t HAVE to arrest someone. They shouldn’t be that unique. They clearly aren’t as “highly trained” as the left thinks. They clearly aren’t as imperiled as the right thinks. They’d be less imperiled if the left and right stopped putting them in situations designed to instigate.

Willitts May 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

Ballots, bullets, what’s the difference?

mobile May 14, 2012 at 11:15 am

Is that like over half of the U.S. military voting for the pro-Nazi George W. Bush and John McCain?

Cliff May 14, 2012 at 11:49 am

Except for the pro-nazi part, yes.

Kanye West May 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm

George Bush doesn’t care about black people.

Jeff May 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I don’t read comments here all that often. Are you a regular troll, or did you just stop by today?

mobile May 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Regular enough commentor, generally very sympathetic to the commentary and tone of this blog. Please re-read my comment with “pro-Nazi” in scare quotes if it makes you think better of me.

Sigivald May 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm

If you’d left out that snark, it would be pretty compelling, though the even implied comparison to genocidal racism would be … unhelpful.

I was going to comment myself that perhaps the riot cops might vote for a “pro-Nazi”* party on the grounds of them being comparatively law-and-order and being sick of arsonist riots.

(Just as soldiers in the United States are naturally both a bit more inclined to vote for the party that tends to have the most sympathy for the military and, conversely, people who are far left are significantly less likely to join the armed forces, as far as I can tell.)

(* Judging from the internet, “pro-Nazi” appears to be strictly inaccurate in a very understandable way, because by God it sure looks like these nitwits want people to think they’re Nazi-ish, despite also “rejecting both labels [fascist and Nazi]” officially, according to Wikiwikiwackpedia.

They may well be completely honest in their Metaxas-ite nationalist authoritarianism as opposed to Naziism… but the difference is one primarily of interest to political theorists, so hey.)

Ryan Cousineau May 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I hew pretty far right, but it bears noting that Golden Dawn’s logo looks like a perfect mashup of the traditional Greek Key design and a swastika, rendered in red and black, and they enthusiastically use the Roman Salute.

They deny they’re Nazis, and their defensive claim is that they’re big fans of Metaxas. Ioannis Metaxas was a controversial and resolutely right-wing (maybe even fascist) leader in his own right, though he has the notable not-Nazi street cred of saying “No!” to the Italians in 1940, thus starting the Greco-Italian war, which effectively made Greece an Allied nation, at least until they capitulated in 1941.

Golden Dawn were among the fringe parties at all points in the political spectrum who benefited from anti-austerity/bailout platforms, to the detriment of the big centre-left and centre-right parties, whose collective support dropped (the incumbent PASOK lost big, centre-right ND gained small). They both saw seats go to anti-bailout splinters of their prior caucuses, too.

If you really want to be worried, note that Golden Dawn still got fewer seats than the KKE (communists) and far fewer than the “Coalition of the Radical Left” (SYRIZA) which is literally a coalition party for people too radical to be happy in the KKE, and which is now the second-biggest party in parliament. That seems more scary than Golden Dawn.

The other problem is a super-hung parliament: PASOK and the ND will work together, but their pro-bailout coalition would be 2 seats short of a working majority. The collected parties that are anti-austerity have a majority of the seats, but it would require an inconceivable SYRIZA-KKE-Golden Dawn coalition.

Brianto May 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Εrm, you don’t seem to know much about Greek politics and probably got confused by the name, SYRIZA is well to the right of KKE and is simply analogous to the left wing of most euro socialist parties.

As for who is more scary, maybe you should spend 20 minutes around each party’s members, particularly if you are somewhat dark skinned and tell us about the results of your experience.

jonathan May 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

If it was done “correctly” they made use of the sort of ecological inferences that Gary King has made famous. There are of course many more ways to make this calculation incorrectly, including making it up.

Petar May 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Golden Dawn promises to rid Greece of immigrants and police officers already know what group is commiting disproportionally more crimes than their representation in the population?

confused.lib May 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm

You’re a disgusting, raciss piece of shiz and I hope you get arrested for hate crimes by the evil, violent, raciss police.

theAJ May 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm

In a country that looks like its 90+% ethnic Greek? with the majority of the rest seeming to be perhaps ethnics from neighboring countries (that are probably settled close to the border in the first place). It looks like visible minorities (mostly South Asian) barely form more than 1% of the population.

Petar May 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm

What part of “disproportionally more crimes than their representation in the population” didn’t you understand? If they are 1% of the population (actually, South Asians and Africans are more like 3-4% of the population…not officially) but they commit 7% of the crimes, this IS clearly disproportionate.

TheAJ May 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Do they?

According to the BBC, the South Asian population constitutes no more than 1.5% of the population, including those illegally settled in Greece. I doubt the number of Africans is equal to that.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13968748

The point is, there are countries were the the problem is much more pronounced, like the US or Germany it does not appear that the civilian police there lean toward any sort of right-wing facist party. Even the normally conservative US military tends to have very insignificant numbers of veterans that are even interested in joining militias and right-wing outfits.. The point of the 1% remark is that even if they committed crimes at 5x the level of the native population, it would still be insignificant in the big picture. And based on what I’ve read of this group, it seems they might be responsible for a disproportionate share of violence then their numbers would suggest, which make further reject your notion.

Petar May 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm

So what? It is not happening in the US so it should not happen anywhere? Give me a break.

BBC is not a good source. No mainstream outfit is.

TheAJ May 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm

No, it doesn’t seem to be happening anywhere, and yes, I think parties with obvious neo-Nazi influences, that have been obviously been linked to hooliganism, should not happen anywhere. Forgive me if I’m being radical. You have not demonstrated there is any disproportionate crime levels yet either.

Who’s a good source? You?

Urso May 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Isn’t it so heavily ethnic Greek because all the ethnic Turks were forcibly shipped back (and vice versa)?

John Fistikis May 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm

This is a wrong estimation, which hasn’t been retracted and has been widely circulated. The correct numbers you can find in the even more “autorative” kathimerini. Police officers voted at most 25% for far right, and that in the center of Athens.

BTW, “authorative” To Vima is famous for reporting and a state visit that never happened (here).

Ryan Cousineau May 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Kathimerini seems to be a pretty good paper, and it has a perfectly nice English-language version here: http://www.ekathimerini.com/

It bears noting that the paper is an IHT/NY Times property; it’s my go-to paper for reading news about Greece when I’m there or here. Curiously, the article you linked to in the Greek edition has no parallel version that I can find in the English edition.

John Fistikis May 15, 2012 at 1:32 am

The english version “ekathimerini” is a joint venture between kathimerini and IHT. The greek paper, kathimerini is owned by Giannis Alafouzos, a greek magnate.

“To Vima” pulls the “one on two policeman” title out of thin air. The article is here. It states the same lower numbers (<25%) and then somehow interpolates the an assumed ratio of police to citizen voters.

Brianto May 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm

That’s not what the article says at all. It says that departments where policemen were voting had GD outcomes of 19-24% while adjacent ones where policemen were not voting had GD at 12-13%. Considering policemen were 20-30% of the voting population in the departments GD got a high vote share makes for an easy estimate that no less than 30% policemen (absolutely minimum) voted for GD. The only way this is lower is if there is some other variable that makes the police departments different to the adjacent ones other than police presence. But since this was a persistent pattern in various areas where police votes, I doubt it.

jk May 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Nice tie into your Polizie story Tyler…and polizie are not wimps. Most European police agencies have a lot of practice at stomping down rioters of any sort.

8 May 15, 2012 at 2:50 am

Greeks hate Nazis. Fascist, yes, but not Nazis. Also, there has been a growing problem of illegal migrants committing crime in the chaos that is Greece.

A far-right party doesn’t grab 7% (up from 0.23%) of the vote out of nowhere in a pro-bailout electoral wave. Politics moves in cycles and it’s the right-wing’s turn to control the elected fringe. Across the West, high rates of immigration/migration, legal or illegal, is favored by the political class and generally disfavored by the voting class. If you’ve noticed, issues such as identity and culture are becoming more important, the European crisis is at heart a rejection (whether a backlash or total rejection remains to be seen) of a united Europe. The “international” left is at a distinct disadvantage to any expression of national identity. Think of banning the flying of the English flag in England, the left is so far away from public sentiment that even flying a national flag (see the lapel pin battle in America) is enough for the right to score political points.

In Europe, the center-right or center-left will co-opt (see Sarkozy in France) or they will leave the door open to new parties (Finns). Where they leave the door open, the “far” right, be they equivalent to conservative Americans or actually jackboot wearing Nazis, the European press does not separate, will win power. Yes, cops and military who previously voted left-wing will seamlessly move to the right since most European right-wing parties support state spending.

Ray Lopez May 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Greek police are under a lot of pressure not to draw their weapon–that’s been a point of contention in Greece, since “pro-suspect” policies make it difficult to shoot at suspects. And robbers over their tend to have heavy weapons, unlike in the USA, like automatic pistols. As for Greek Nazis, that’s another matter, but there were collaborators with the Germans during WWII. I think this time around it’s more a protest vote however. I find that the extreme left (KKE, communists) and extreme right in Greece tend to be more “nationalists” than anything, though the Greek communists are dinosaurs in their thinking it’s true.

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