And they are tapping into a deep well of discontent with the parties that have dominated Greek politics for decades, conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK.
"Our children have no jobs. They cut my husband's pension," said Evlambia Spantidaki, sitting on the porch of a friend's house in Artemida. "For a while I voted New Democracy. I changed and voted for PASOK. But now nothing, none of them."
This year, her vote will go to Golden Dawn.
"All those people who are following us at the moment, let's be realistic ... they didn't suddenly become nationalists from one minute to the next," said Giorgos Germenis, a member of the party's political council responsible for ideology. He is running as a Golden Dawn candidate in the wider Athens area. "It is a vote of protest. They find confidence in the face of Golden Dawn, that it will enter Parliament and really shake up the system."
With none of its more than 220 candidates, bar its leader, a recognized politician, the party also plays to voters disillusioned with the political elite.
"We will never become politicians. We are soldiers and we will die soldiers," said Anyfantis. "We are soldiers fighting for a cause."
In a country that suffered famine under Nazi occupation and saw arbitrary detentions and torture under the 1967-74 military dictatorship, the party's growing popularity has alarmed many.
"I have been surprised and very worried by the explosion in the opinion polls of Golden Dawn, the most extreme form of the extreme right," Athens University political science professor Ilias Nicolacopoulos said shortly after elections were declared in mid-April.
So the mainstream has been scrambling to win back the right-wing vote, putting immigration at the top of the agenda. Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis has pledged to build detention centers for 30,000 illegal immigrants by 2014, with the first one to open within days. Police have raided migrant apartments, and legislation now allows authorities to force migrants to have health checks and medical treatment.
Immigrant groups say there has been a spike in racist violence recently.
"There is a worrying trend of racist attacks directed against non-EU foreigners in Greece," said Ketty Kehagioglou, UNHCR spokeswoman in Athens. "In times of instability it is always easy to look for scapegoats and extremist groups take advantage of this situation."
In an Athens hospital ward, Pakistani migrant Mohammad lies propped up on a bed, his right arm in a cast, stitches in the back of his head, his nose broken — the result of a severe beating one recent Sunday night by a group of about 25 men armed with wooden bats and iron rods, he said.
Across town in a small one-bedroom flat, his friend Ahmad is recovering from head and hand injuries from the same attack.
"They just asked 'what's your country?' and then they start beating us. ... With hands and wood and the iron rod," Ahmad said. Neither had spoken to the police about the incident. Fearing reprisals, they asked for only their first names to be used.
For their part, Golden Dawn seem confident of taking up parliamentary seats after May 6 — even if it is on a protest vote.
"That is why the whole system is fighting us," said Anyfantis. "Because they are afraid that when we get into Parliament, the Greek people will understand that we are neither a gang, nor Nazis, nor children of Hitler. ... We are just Greek patriots, we love our country. We are prepared even to sacrifice ourselves for our beliefs, for the country, for its people."
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