Last time around, anti-systemic rhetoric in Greece was linked to the economy and threatened democracy.
This time it is linked to the pandemic and poses a threat mainly, but not exclusively, to public health.
The common denominator is fear, conspiracy theories, contempt for logic, and violence.
Based on these characteristics, an effort is underway to create a new “movement” with extreme-right characteristics.
Branches and remnants of the now defunct Golden Dawn party, which was convicted as a criminal organisation exactly one year ago, are attempting to infiltrate the anti-vax current and to create a bloc that will on the one hand will make its presence known on the streets and on the other will form a party that can exploit the new direct proportional representation electoral law and enter parliament in the next general elections.
This dangerous osmosis must be confronted in two ways.
The first is the strict enforcement of the law whenever and for whatever reason public order is disrupted.
Now we know that downplaying the impact of the fascist monster can lead even to the loss of lives.
The second way is to distinguish loony fringe anti-vaxxers (conspiracy theories, etc.) from those who are simply afraid of being vaccinated.
Neither of the two categories of citizens should be handed over to the far right.
Although it would be well nigh impossible to persuade the dogmatic anti-vaxxers to abandon their irrational convictions, the fearful are open to the power of arguments and persuasion.
In the US, thanks to that power of persuasion, the percentage of those who had adopted a wait-and-see approach dropped from 17 percent to seven percent.
Moreover, the vaccine rollout “miracle” of Portugal indicates that in difficult situations citizens need guidance and not populist rhetoric.
Democracy does not fear its enemies and has a big arsenal to confront them.
In health matters as in politics, along with coercion there is also prevention,
The great power of democracy and its insuperable advantage is its soft power.