On the streets of Greece, it’s now common knowledge among immigrants like Hussein that black clothes are the unofficial uniform of Golden Dawn, or Chrysi Avgi—a kind of cross between Hezbollah and the Tea Party. Since 2008, Golden Dawn supporters have assaulted immigrants with brass knuckles, knives, and batons. There have been nearly 500 attacks this year alone, according to the Migrant Workers Association, some of which have been captured on video and proudly posted on Golden Dawn’s YouTube channel.

But Golden Dawn is not just a gang of radical right-wing thugs. It is now the fourth-largest party in Greek politics. In elections this year, it won 18 of 300 seats in parliament on an explicitly anti-immigrant platform. Its growing constituency includes many ordinary Greeks who fear that waves of impoverished foreigners are draining the state’s dwindling resources and taking their jobs in a country where nearly a quarter of the population is unemployed. And as the country’s economy continues to collapse, Golden Dawn is becoming increasingly entrenched in the mainstream of Greek political life. …

And yet, despite its blatant displays of brutality, Golden Dawn’s approval ratings have climbed by ten points since last May, to 22 percent, according to the Financial Times. If you speak with Greeks, it’s not hard to understand why. People from all across the political spectrum—from teachers to car mechanics to smallbusiness owners—believe that their country has become the scapegoat for a wider crisis not of their own making. In their view, they are double victims: oppressed by northern Europe and overwhelmed by waves of immigrants who bring nothing but problems. Feeling bullied and trapped, the Greek public began to seek others to bully.