The following text is the outcome of an effort of a limited circle of comrades in and around this blog, but certainly reflects discussions and provisional conclusions beyond this circle, mainly during two public discussions in Athens and Thessaloniki in the timespan of almost a year. In terms of the time and hours spent, but also in terms of its length and documentation, one may deduce the importance that this text has for us, at first glance inversely proportional to the mass character of the anti-Macedonian protests; in any case, though, they were the first mass events after three years of SYRIZA-ANEL administration.
The main point discussed several times, and from several perspectives between us, was to establish a relation between the anti-Macedonian protests that took place in the beginning of 2018 and 2019 and the anti-Memoranda protests of the previous period culminating politically to the rallies promoting voting “NO” in the referendum of the July 5, 2015; to discern the continuities of the national question between these two periods of mass mobilizations. This is not to say that they were identical, but to juxtapose the “social” character of the anti-Memoranda protests to the “national” or “fascist” character of the anti-Macedonian protests would be a mistake. In this sense, and an non-negligeable part of the text can be read this way, we propose a reading of the latter protests that sheds light to the course took by the former, albeit the distance our current positioning offers. As a comrade formulated it: communists are prone to perceive the class inside the nation but not the nation inside the class. And this was something that we would like to avoid, especially since, during the writing of this text, we were confronted by the outcome and dissection of the Catalan mobilisations for the referendum as well as the “yellow vests” movement in France. These two form the invisible “outsider” background of our text. Since we ourselves have experienced the nationalisation of the social question here, we tried to retain a critical view and not easily dismiss as “fascists” or “reactionaries” all those that participated in the anti-Macedonian rallies; keeping in mind, we must admit, that raising once more the Macedonian question had many repercussions on the party system as well as the Greek society in general (precisely in its Northern part), of which the mass rallies had only been an aspect, though a fundamental one.
At the very first stages of our discussion, we were confronted by the bitter realisation that we were missing something concerning the relation between the State, the nation and the people, although we kept using useful definitions of “nationalism” and “populism”. This acknowledgment pushed us further into the elaboration of notions and analytical instruments that could prove helpful to us. Despite the fact that the text doesn’t contain any extended specifically theoretical references, a commitment to the Hegelian schema of the distinction between State and civil society runs across it, together with a certain autonomy of the nation-form distinguished from the people or the State-form. The state remains the dominant moment that determines what national interest is, but a plethora of similar definitions can emanate from within civil society, definitions that are dynamic and not always in resonance with the State’s definition. And sometimes they come in conflict, as the high percentage against the Prespa Agreement shows. A further clarification around those fundamental concepts needs to be done, but before this, one ought not proceed to a specific analysis of a specific situation without answering the question “what makes a nation ‘a nation’?”, “what makes a people ‘a people’?” and “what is their relation to the State?”, especially within this particular sequence of events. We tried to approach these issues by dedicating a significant part of the text to the history of Greek nationalism since the birth of the modern Greek state; showing that, from its inception, Greek nationalism has always been connected to the contemporary State system and continually evolved and deepened its relations to it.
In this context, we develop a twofold approach. On the one hand, we attempt to demonstrate in a condense way the consecutive phases of the Greece-EU (then EEC) relation, that, on the other hand, framed the Greek approach of the so-called Macedonian question through time. We show that the steady policy of the Greek State has been the stability of the Balkan region despite its attempt to realise a more independent policy towards ex-Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Furthemore, positing the difference between the huge rallies of 1992 and today’s ones as the axis of our approach, we propose a reading of the period in which Greek nationalism and the middle-class attitude shaped their social course having been heavily influenced by the emergence of racism towards the immigrants. Dealing with the Macedonian issue without explaining the attitude of the Left towards the question of the invisibilisation of the Macedonian minority in Greece is simply out of bounds. By this route, we discuss the attitude of SYRIZA as a main promoter of the Prespa Agreement (and in this way, the strategic interests of the Greek State and capital) promoting itself at the same time as the champion and guarantor of democracy and social stability as well as the protector of minorites. By means of the Macedonian question, we find opportunities to further comment on the nature of SYRIZA, its allies and their historical particularity.
Comparing the attitude of the Greek State at the beginning of the 1990s and today regarding the Macedonian question, we are able to describe at length the structural transformations of the Greek social formation that accompany and define the choices of the Greek government on this question. Containing and nationalising class struggle then, circumventing nationalism-from-below in the name of the internationalised interests of the Greek State and capital now. We found this necessary to explain not only the timing of signing the Prespa Agreement but also its articles in general, while avoiding the anti-imperialist discourse so amply present in Greece. We make attempt to criticise some mainstrem anti-imperialist views while pointing to the new position of the Greek State in the European division of labour which indispensably includes policing the so-called “migration flows”. No significant interpretation of the Prespa Agreement can be made without focusing on the need to stabilise the Western Balkans and to avoid any kind of population translocation, unemployed or not, towards Central and Northern Europe in a future crisis situation or whatnot. Conversely, after receiving heavy blows by 7 consecutive years of contracting economic activity, the Greek middle-class seeks to strengthen its position by all means possible, including the support of Greek Macedonia as the only legitimate Macedonia.
The text can be divided in 3 parts: 1) one discussing the period from the Greek national liberation to the early 1990s; 2) one discussing the period from the early 1990s (a decade marked by the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and, consequently, the first anti-Macedonian protests and racism towards Eastern European immigrants) to the 2008 crisis; 3) one discussing the period from 2008 to today, comparing and contrasting the various struggles against austerity with the recent anti-Macedonian protests. What follows is the first part of the text. The next two parts will be published the following month, and in the third part we’ll attach a pdf with the complete text.
Due to living in Greece, we may have considered some terms and historical events and correlations as obvious and self-evident while they are not. If so, post a comment below or send us an e-mail in order to clarify them.
If you were walking across a plain, felt every desire to walk, and yet found yourself going backward, it would be a cause for despair; but as you are in fact scaling a steep precipice, as sheer in front of you as you are from the ground, then your backward movement can be caused only by the terrain, and you would be wrong to despair.
– Franz Kafka, The Zürau Aphorisms, Aphorism 14
A few words about the publication
On March 3, 2018, as “proletarians against the nation and its friends”, we organized a public discussion at Prapopoulos squat in the northern suburbs of Athens, Greece, entitled “1992 Lies Back in the Past. Nationalism as Crisis in the Relation Between the State and the People”. About a year later, on January 26, 2019, we participated in the event against the nation organized by the squat Fabrica Yfanet in Thessaloniki, under the general title “1992 Lies Back in the Past. The Macedonian Issue in the Current Conjuncture”. What follows is a product, continuation and outcome of this public exchange of views, which we recorded, edited and chose to publish in the form of text. The “Continuities and Discontinuities of the Internationalised Greek Nationalism” do not include, in the strict sense, a partial or complete depiction of what have been heard, but it is the way in which we used and expanded a dialogue to approach the conjuncture theoretically and politically. Despite the extent of our writing and our determination to summarize the historical retrospection of this particular social form called “Greek nation/Greek people”, which is reproduced through a particular set of practices called “Greek nationalism” under the sovereignty of a political form called “Greek State”, our ultimate goal is the uniqueness of the current conjuncture to not be conceived in a limited way. This needs to be emphasised, because the limited number of references to news media and other sources that were ultimately used in the composition of the text doesn’t fully reflect the effort we paid to keep track of the political and social developments on a daily basis. On the other hand, this focus on the conjuncture is also the main reason for writing this text, beyond for our own theoretical and political use for the discussions among us. The Panbalkan Protest held in Thessaloniki on March 10, 2018, contributed in its own way to the necessity of writing this text. Lastly, we must state explicitly that our view was guided by the wider need to demonstrate that the factors that fundamentally determine the State’s nationalist choices are the class relations of power within each State and its needs of managing the proletariat.
It goes without saying that the signature of the text only states those who take the responsibility for the end result, but not the way it was produced. We thank our fellow comrades -they know who they are- about their invaluable contributions, without which we could do much less. Of course, any omissions and errors are solely on us.
There isn’t much that one can do to confront the constant sense that something is missing, and the theoretical debate remains a way out only when, paraphrasing something that someone said a long time ago, criticism remains the head of passion, not a passion of the head.
Otherwise, as someone else said, follow your road and let the people say.
Athens, March 2019
1992 Lies Back in the Past:
Continuties and Discontinuities of the Internationalised Greek Nationalism
One of the bitter lessons learned from the history of the workers’ movement is that the critique of capital not only doesn’t exhaust, but also doesn’t presuppose the critique of the nation-form. In the case of the State-form, the very existence of the Fordist compromise, either in the Keynesian or in the “real socialist” version, appears to be advocating the opposite, and in its more sophisticated versions, the critique of capital seemed to exhaust the question. It is indeed convenient, as the vanguard party of the working-class, to speak of the State of the capitalists and in practice to reduce it in a one-dimensional set of relations, in a battlefield where two camps are clashing and hence it is neutral, implicitly implying that the question of the nation is also neutral. Because, supposedly, what is the nation rather than a false consciousness which will be abolished with the proper political propaganda? By translating the State either as popular or as bourgeois, according to the political preferences of those who adopt it, the theoretical scheme always presupposed that State and capital are the womb producing the whole world, but denying that this womb may have more than one dimension. However, the transition from the Ancien Régime to capitalism didn’t result in the creation of the capitalist relations themselves, but the conditions for their development. As Heide Gerstenberger writes:
The essence of any bourgeois revolution was not the furthering of capitalism but the establishment of a bourgeois State. Its apparatus belongs to nobody – hence to “the nation”. The bourgeois State is separated from society in that it transforms the inequality of social positions into the equality of the subjects of law, while at the same time sanctioning the existence (and further development) of fundamental inequality in the material living conditions of citizens by sanctioning any sort of private property.
Therefore, the moment of recognition of the relative autonomy of the State, the people and the nation as the product of their interrelation and history is the starting point, the first necessary step for their critique. From now on, the main problem is to avoid their identification, the collapse of one into the other, and to distinguish the different qualities that constitute them, penetrating one another. No longer as a nation-State, where one is orderly and conveniently adapted to the boundaries of the other as preexisting entities, but as a national State where, on the one hand, is pointed out the necessary bindering between the two and the dressing of the bourgeois State with national characteristics, without, on the other hand, immobilising the rotation of the State around the nation and vice versa, freezing the dynamics between the two. State, nation and the people are not always identical, especially in times of crisis.
1st addendum: Undoubtedly, the Asian form of community, an integral part of the titular mode of production within the Ottoman Empire, is a precondition for what will later be approached as Greek nation after the bourgeois, and hence popular, revolution of 1821. Leaving aside the ideological references about the natural characteristics of the pre-capitalist communal forms and of the Gemeinwesen (community) related to the constitution of the Man as such, the anti-national critique needs to include the fact that the Asian community exhibited the longest duration and resilience in time before it was overthrown by the capitalist State-form; and the fact that the denial of the individual’s autonomy was strongly consolidated within the community and the need of its self-preservation, so the individuals were strongly subjected to it. Nor did the Eastern ruler himself was legally recognised the right to private property. Against the dissolution of the individual within the community, but also under the weight of the time he writes, since the individual he refers to doesn’t have any gendered, tribal, etc, determinations, Marx will go further than many of his descendants:
Each individual conducts himself only as a link, as a member of this community as proprietor or possessor. The real appropriation through the labour process happens under these presuppositions, which are not themselves the product of labour, but appear as its natural or divine presuppositions. This form, with the same land-relation as its foundation, can realize itself in very different ways. E.g. it is not in the least a contradiction to it that, as in most of the Asiatic land-forms, the comprehensive unity standing above all these little communities appears as the higher proprietor or as the sole proprietor; the real communities hence only as hereditary possessors. Because the unity is the real proprietor and the real presupposition of communal property, it follows that this unity can appear as a particular entity above the many real particular communities, where the individual is then in fact propertyless, or, property -i.e. the relation of the individual to the natural conditions of labour and of reproduction as belonging to him, as the objective, nature-given inorganic body of his subjectivity- appears mediated for him through a cession by the total unity -a unity realized in the form of the despot, the father of the many communities- to the individual, through the mediation of the particular commune. The surplus product -which is, incidentally, determined by law in consequence of the real appropriation through labour- thereby automatically belongs to this highest unity. Amidst oriental despotism and the propertylessness which seems legally to exist there, this clan or communal property exists in fact as the foundation, created mostly by a combination of manufactures and agriculture within the small commune, which thus becomes altogether self-sustaining, and contains all the conditions of reproduction and surplus production within itself. A part of their surplus labour belongs to the higher community, which exists ultimately as a person, and this surplus labour takes the form of tribute etc., as well as of common labour for the exaltation of the unity, partly of the real despot, partly of the imagined clan-being, the god.
According to Hroch’s theoretical scheme of the evolution of national liberation movements in Europe, and especially in the Greek case, the propaganda phase of the oppressed nation is rapidly politicised as it will early include a political program, while the proclamation of Greek independence will precede the mass participation in the armed resistance against the Ottoman regime. The adoption of a Constitution, one of the most liberal of the time, and more generally the establishment of a political system, follows the victory of the Greek revolution. The nation must be affirmed via the democratic path. Any industrialisation and social contradictions that the democracy create will take place after decades of consolidation of the new Greek regime, mainly commercial and shipping and only limited industrial, capitalist in any case, national without ambiguity. Let us remind here, incorporating some useful Hobsbawm’s observations, that the internationalised character of the Greek revolution isn’t determined only by the active engagement of the Greek diaspora in the Eastern Ottoman Empire of the era and the Russian Black Sea coasts, but also by the fact that Greek revolution was the
[o]nly one of the 1820-1822 revolutions [that] maintained itself, thanks partly to its success in launching a genuine people’s insurrection and partly to a favourable diplomatic situation […]. Greece therefore became the inspiration of international liberalism, and “philhellenism”, which included organised support for the Greeks and the departure of numerous volunteer fighters, played an analogous part in rallying the European left wing in the 1820s as the support for the Spanish Republic was to play in the later 1930s.
Let us recall, in this context, that for Alexander Ypsilantis the liberation of the Greek nation was synonymous with the liberation of the whole Balkan Peninsula. During the bourgeois national liberation revolution of 1821 and the subsequent establishment of the Greek State, being a Greek began to mean political support towards the Greek State, and this gradually reduced the range of the Greek national identity in the Balkans and caused the assimilated and Hellenised Balkan educated classes to turn towards the development of their own national movements. And this was despite the fact that the Christian religion was the basis for building the Greek national identity, and despite the fact that Orthodox Christian faith was common and widespread in the Balkan populations. The universality of religious ethics proved to be limited as an exclusive, cohesive basis for sovereign societies, in comparison to the ideals of the Enlightenment, at the time of the development of capitalist social relations and the formation of capitalist States.
1st addendum: Since its conception, the Greek national identity had as field of reference the broader area of the Balkans as a region of the Ottoman Empire and had, with a more modern terminology, from its very conception, internationalised features; it cannot be conceived without its interaction with the neighbouring national identities, and sometimes the conflicts with them. This, more or less, applies to every national identity and enhances its self-sufficiency instead of undermining it. Moreover, it could be claimed that the Greek nation was devised by the Phanariotes -who were the most privileged Greek-speaking stratum within the Ottoman administration apparatus- and, more widely, from the rich Greek diaspora in the Eastern Europe and the Balkans, but what must be explained are the conditions that made big numbers of people involved in the national-liberation struggle in mainland and insular Greece to consider themselves Greeks. This explaination cannot ignore the long-term experience of people as members of a particular milet of the Ottoman Empire and their intercourse with its local institutions. On the frontispiece of the Interim Government of Greece, which was drafted at the National Assembly of Epidaurus on January 16, 1822, is written that
The Greek Nation, subjected to the horrific Ottoman dynasty, cannot endure anymore the heavy and unprecedented burden of tyranny and, detaching itself from it with great sacrifices, is today declaring through its legitimate Represantives, […] its Political Existence and Independence.
In this declaration, nonetheless, we shouldn’t trace a pure reflection of influences from the Enlightenment. According to a member of SYRIZA’s think tank:
The political nation is the nation that results from the coincidence of the wills of the people living together. The political nation is a nation of choice and conscience, in the sense that it forges the solidarity bonds of its members on the criterion of the common will of belonging to it, irrespective of the origin of the people. On the contrary, the tribal nation is the one that sets the origin of the people as the sole criterion of solidarity. Only then it feels safe. In this sense, the political nation binds the present looking towards the future, while the tribal nation forges unity by looking in a past which is more devised by the tribal nation than discovered. The Greek nation has elements pointing to both the aforementioned traditions.
We need to think a little more about the choice of Christian faith as a criterion of Greek citizenship. Far from being a political expression of a desire for inertia and isolation of the newly established State, and apart from being an agent of conservatism and demanding for loyalty to all authorities, divine and secular, the universal and beyond-borders character of religion transfuses similar characteristics to the identity of the Greek citizen. The Greek identity is constituted dynamically and is coordinated with a newly established national State which sees Orthodox Christians, and therefore potential Greeks, in other non-liberated regions of the Ottoman Empire, and so it anticipates to annex these regions:
“I. The inhabitants believing in Christ are Greeks. […] XII. The inhabitants who don’t believe in Christ are Metics”. This extract from the Legal Order of Eastern Continental Greece, written in Salona in the autumn of 1821, is of peculiar interest. It doesn’t make citizens, since local governments didn’t have such qualities, but it shows in the most eloquent way the direction for the constitution of citizenship in the revolting territory. The raw material of the Greek citizen isn’t national. It’s, in principle, religious.
For nearly a hundred years, from the declaration of independence until the aftermath of the Smyrna Catastrophe in 1922 and the subsequent population exchange, the Greek citizenship remained potentially open, ready to include Ottoman citizens who will become the next citizens of the ever-expanding Greek State. Although in the future the right of blood and the principle of origin will become the core of Greek citizenship, this couldn’t be the case from the outset, because States, especially if they’re the products of a revolutionary process, must create their citizens on the basis of the preexisting ethnic material. This is done in a political way, but not arbitrarily as if nationality could be structured in any way. Of course, this “century of inclusion” isn’t as peaceful as the democratic phraseology suggests, and despite the abundance of the employed methods (land annexation, violent Hellenization, population exchange, enlistment in the Greek army, giving land to settlers), this particular definition of Greek citizenship reaches its historical limit with the defeat of the Megali Idea [Great Idea, the Greek irredentism begetting territorial expansion] during the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922. Despite the fact that the working class emerged as a social subject making demands at the last quarter of the 19th century, despite the fact that warfares resulted in political instability, coups and the National Schism, it is the arrival of immigrants from Asia Minor and their suspended situation between the people and the nation that in the end brought the prevalent policy for attributing Greek citizenship to its limits. The end of WWII and the Greek Civil War will shift permanently the interest of the Greek State to its interior, since the necessity to stabilise the national regime of accumulation is imperative in accordance with the international Keynesian standards. It must become clear who belongs to the Greek nation, who will enjoy the privileges of social policy and who won’t: women get a rudimentary right to vote in municipal and regional elections in 1930, only those who are over 30 years old and know how to read and write, but without having the right of being candidates in the election, and will get full political rights in 1952, which will be fully implemented only in the 1956 elections. However, the right of blood does stipulate that someone is of the Greek genus only if his father is Greek. From now on, you are born Greek, the right of blood and the distinction between people of the Greek genus and people not of the Greek genus, will penetrate the entire status of citizenship. A government circular of the Ministry of Interior from 1961 states that:
[T]he Ministry, in interpreting the terms “people of the Greek genus” and “people not of the Greek genus”, doesn’t take as a criterion only the racial origin of the person. On the contrary, in harmony with the opinion of the Council of Citizenship and the prevalent scientific views, the Ministry has always accepted that the main criterion for distinguishing “people of the Greek genus” from “people not of the Greek genus” is the national consciousness. Thus, in some cases people of Greek racial origin were evaluated as “people not of the Greek genus” since they were lacking a Greek national consciousness, while some people of non-Greek descent (e.g. Bavarians, Israelis) were evaluated as “people of the Greek genus” since they had a Greek national consciousness. Thus, the distinction between “people of the Greek genus” and “people not of the Greek genus” isn’t based mainly on the racial origin of the person (ethnicity, religion, language). The racial origin or ethnic origin of a person alone doesn’t define the concept of “people of the Greek genus” and “people not of the Greek genus”, but is an adjuvant element to be taken into account in the particular evaluation as to whether a person is of the Greek genus or not, and the answer to this question is mainly based on his/her national consciousness.
We notice here clearly the Greek peculiarity, where the factors structuring the nationality are two: the racial origin and the national consciousness, interchangeable with each other on a case-by-case basis. The construction of the citizen inevitably bears within the defining of the non-citizen, and it’s the needs of social antagonism that determine which criterion to use each time:
What is particularly characteristic of this period is that as the political rivals culminating in the Greek Civil War rise, the constitutive limit of origin is explicitly aborted, and henceforth “national consciousness” becomes the vital criterion. The defeated of the Civil War seem to not bear this “national consciousness”, and so they’re treated and fully assimilated to the “people not of the Greek genus”, although they’re “related by blood” to the “people of the Greek genus”. In simple words, the Greek communists were called “Bulgarians of the Greek National Liberation Front”, and became essentially non-Greeks. The political consciousness becomes genus and the genus becomes political consciousness. This is the ideological culmination of the wrap of Greek citizenship: the denial of citizenship to the genealogically suspected as belonging to the Greek nation due to their communist beliefs. The division between the people and the nation that marks the 20th century Greek history has as a necessary institutional conclusion the deprivation of nationality for the “enemy within”.
2nd addendum: The fact that the Greek State could only exist with the help of foreign powers as an international protectorate, contributes to the internationalised character of the Greek nation, to the multiplication of its points of reference, and doesn’t diminish its foundational power since, due to the long-term liberation struggle, the foreign support didn’t prevent its self-understanding in general as rebellious, revolutionary and therefore politically voluntaristic: In the minutes of the Greek National Assembly in Athens on September 3, 1844, is noted in retrospection that “[t]he [liberational] war was, in general, a war of the whole Greek race against the Muslims, and noone denies this”. The hetero-determination of the Greek nation from the Ottoman rule is strong, but it’s clear that the early Greek political community, subject to the Orthodox genus, is not constituted on the basis of racist connotations or zealously religious choices:
In chapter B of the Constitution of Troezen, we read that “[p]rovinces of Greece are those who have raised and will raise weapons against the Ottoman dynasty”. That is, already from the early constitutional texts, this element of political voluntarism coexists with any legal stasis of the genus. Of course, there weren’t many Muslims who fought on the side of the rebels, but it seems that those -mainly Albanians- who did rebelled, this choice of theirs have been possibly justified by the acquisition of Greek citizenship. Citizenship in Greece, within its husk of a peculiar religious ethno-tribalism, conceals a core of profound political voluntarism, with all its meanings: the answer to the question “who we are?” has the genus as a boundary, because it must have a boundary, and genus is the only safe boundary during the period in which a virtual boundary is delineated. Other boundaries -like language- shrink. What about the origin? It’s deemed as inscrutable and illusory […] After all, noone is a Greek citizen within the Ottoman Empire. The answer to the question “who are of Greek genus” has different readings, and the content and the tone of these readings are dictated by both the historical weight of the “genus” and its usefulness within the context of each conjuncture.
The violent Hellenization of the local populations during the Balkan Wars at the beginning of the 20th century indicates the real meaning of this political voluntarism which sought the national homogeneity of the ever-expanding, and thus constantly reconstituted, Greek State. It has now been shown that the Greek and Serbian State propaganda contributed greatly to the association of the Macedonian national identity with the ancient Macedonians and, more generally, with the ancient Greek civilization. This propaganda way sought to weaken the ties of the local residents with the Bulgarian national community and to contribute to the formation of a particular Macedonian national identity with its own reference points. About three decades later, in 1944, the Citizenship Council stipulated that a person of Greek descent who “has no Greek consciousness, cannot be considered as a person of the Greek genus”, while during the Greek Civil War, the fact that the Greek communists belonged to the “Greek genus” won’t prevent their citizenship to get taken off them en masse, since they weren’t considered as Greeks, but as “Bulgarians of the Greek National Liberation Front”, “Slav mobsters” and “Slav communists”. Those who lack national consciousness are assimilated to those “not of the Greek genus” by origin, and the political voluntarism of the winners of the Civil War takes the form of national totalitarianism, using against its opponents the national identity that those opponents themselves had contributed to create. The post-Civil War State, -better known by the name “the State of the right-wing” given to it by the left-wing political hegemony of the Regime Change era, a name conveniently levelling the different political views into the conservative camp- will do everything to preserve this political division within the Greek nation for the next three decades until the Regime Change, keeping in practice the leftists in an inferior position within the institutional and extra-institutional practice that produces and reproduces the Greek people. In addition to the Certificate of Social Beliefs (a legal document issued by the Greek police and military stating that its holder wasn’t a communist), the pillar of the regime was the everyday racism against the “communists”, a racism deeply politicised by the privileged of the State’s new clientelist system who felt victorious at all levels.
Especially after WWI and the rapid capitalist development of the Greek social formation, a development which had already begun since the end of 19th century and lasted roughly until the Axis Occupation of Greece, the Greek State ceased to be a protectorate of the three Great Powers (France, Russia, UK) of that era and considered that it can develop an autonomous expansionist policy. Greek nationalism will be punished for this, and the clearest proof is the outcome of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922. In spite the attempts of the Venizelists to modernise the State institutions, the burden of traditional institutions (kingship, church) and their widespread popular support by the Paleo-Greeks during the period of the National Schism will prove stronger in determining what is (should be) the Greek nation and what’s not. The Venizelists who supported the second government of Thessaloniki (mainly the Neo-Greeks from northern Greece and the refugees from Asia Minor) won’t be considered easily as Greeks like the rest. The army will be the only apparatus capable of balancing the individual definitions of national interest over a period of time, embracing the balancing the various definitions of the national interest in the long run, adopting itself the State-form’s role of stabilisation and balance -since the State was unable to develop its own institutions in a coherent way- and influenced decisively the political scene until the fall in 1974 of the Greek military junta. As the then anti-imperialist Theodoros Pangalos -a person who now is target for the darts of the antiMemoranda wannabe leaders who deliberately forgot the origin of their own anti-imperialism- put it in an old article of his:
The [Greek] military officers, associated with more liberal, more modernising and more expansive bourgeois elements, intervened in 1843 to impose a first Constitution; in 1909 to limit the arbitrary interventions of the palace, to modernise the State and to introduce the agricultural reform; in 1917, to expel the royal family from power and to cause the country to enter the Great War on the side of the Entente. Democracy was restored in 1923, and despite government instability, a broad program of social reform was undertaken. After a brief interim period of military dictatorships, more or less of the Bonapartists between 1925 and 1928, the failed coup of the liberal military in 1933 and the subsequent purge are a major turning point. The military from now on will be reactionary and faithful to the King. It will support Metaxas’ monarcho-fascist dictatorship and will provide many officials to the troops that cooperated with the Axis during the Axis Occupation, the so-called “security battalions”. Restored after the liberation, the military would brutally suppress the revolting communists and the populations that supported them. Therefore, the Civil War provided the ideological and political framework that allows the fascist currents to establish their hegemony in the military.
It is worth noting that, in the same article, the contradiction between the democratic and conservative perception about the nation -a contradiction which is deliberately ignored by those who characterise unilaterally as “right-wing Nazi collaborators” those who didn’t participate in the Democratic Army of Greece, which was under the reign of their beloved Communist Party of Greece (KKE)- seems to the run through the Greek military itself, when Pangalos writes that:
The conflict between liberal and fascist military officers is subdued and persistent. It was expressed violently during WWII: the liberals believed that their primary duty was to fight the conqueror by all means; the conservatives believed that what they have to do was to maintain their strength in order to restore the order when the Great Powers would liberate the country.
A later reflection of this primacy is Greece’s entry into NATO in 1952, during its its enlargement in the early years of the Cold War. However, it’s neither the conservative perceptions of the military personnel nor its supposed allegiance to the foreign powers, what determines the State’s choices; the capitalist State-form aims at the stability and the overall reproduction of the social formation, and not the individual confirmation of some fascists. The crucial element and indispensable necessity for joining the Western bloc, was the overcoming of internal instability, a condition which, more or less, characterised the Western Europe as a whole at that time. Therefore, it’s this condition that determined the choices of the Greek State and led it to sign over a part of its national sovereignty; and for this it would be generously rewarded by the Marshall Plan, and in fact without auditing by its financiers. Let us also recall that in 1948, Greece becomes on of the co-founders of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation -the precursor of the current OECD, of which Greece would also be a founding member in 1961- which is formed for the implementation of the Marshall Plan in Europe, and for the social and political impedance to the “communist danger”, with the simultaneous development of capitalist social relations. It’s no coincidence that, since capitalist militarisation and capital accumulation go hand-in-hand, NATO was created a year later than the Marshall Plan, after an agreement between twelve European and American countries.
1st addendum: In the Greek case, stability was achieved by restoring a privileged clientelist relation between the State and a part of civil society, the Greek people that won in the Civil War. It’s from this historically particular urgency to seize up the social contradictions that stemmed a concrete necessity for the creation and reproduction of an extended traditional middle-class as a pillar of the prevailing power relations. It’s this middle-class which, despite its internal differentiations, will be consolidated on the basis of conservatism, gendered supremacy, racist devaluation of the leftists, with its self-understanding as a coincidence of the people and the nation, gaining a strong self-image and self-referential representations. On the other hand, the lack of stability due to the continuous expansionist wars and coup d’états -but also the discontinuity of capitalist accumulation, whose intensification can be traced over certain periods of time (mainly between 1960-1973 for the period we are examining), which, in return, made discontinuous the expectations of the working class and, more broadly, of the oppressed, for a better and more democratic future- made the suspicion, the distancing of the people towards its own State, into a structural feature.
The traditional petty-bourgeois structure of the Greek economy may had strengthened the perception of self-sufficiency of the individual male producer, the head of the family unit -giving an additional air of political voluntarism and male freedom to the Greek nation, raising an objective barrier to the identification of him with his State- but this distance cannot be reproduced constantly as such, because what’s at stake is the social cohesion itself and the renowned national unity. The strengthening of the middle-class, along with the constant reproduction of a non-people on the fringes of the Greek people, constituted the structural way that the relative stability of the Greek social formation was achieved. A social formation which saw more than one million domestic workers, i.e. over 30% of the working population, migrating to developed countries in the period 1960-1975, changing in turn the composition of the population, and that turned into an additional factor that prevented the identification between the nation, the people, and the State.
2nd addendum: It’s within this complicated international framework that the Greek State will essentially resolve the Macedonian issue when, on the basis of a reorientation of its national interests always on the basis of the stability of the wider Balkan region, it recognized the State of Yugoslavia, despite the fact that the latter had a territory called “Macedonia” within it, something that strengthened and substantially re-established the national consciousness of its Macedonian nationals. As Nikolaos Misolidis put it:
The developments were accelerated by the Korean War, which lasted from June 1950 to July 1953. This war, which was triggered by North Korea’s attack on South Korea and dragged to it the two superpowers, demonstrated that the Cold War had no geographical boundaries […] Thus, mainly due to the unstable and dangerous international environment, the Greco-Yugoslav relations were given a new impetus […] The precarious economic situation in Yugoslavia, which was threatened by bankruptcy, and the possibility of a collapse of the workers’ self-management, forced Yugoslavia to speed up the processes. Tito requested a new loan from USA and he did received it, but Yugoslavia’s supply from Thessaloniki was more than necessary. In the light of these developments, Sofoklis Venizelos announced on 28 November  to the Greek Parliament the full rehabilitation of the Athens-Belgrade relations. An exchange of ambassadors took place in December […] and by mid-1951, their relations had been fully normalised.
This shows a stable national policy with regard to the Macedonian question, despite tensions among Greek politicians. Since then, the two states have been able to cooperate politically and militarily, while small-scale diplomatic incidents are emerging between them; but it’s sufficient for the two States to manage their proletariat properly and to keep it within their borders. The Greek State, forty years later, will support again the same national policy of the non-disintegration of the Yugoslav State, even when the Greek State apparently put forward the more “ethnoreligious” version of support to Serbia. But this was without success since, as we know, the instability generated by class and nationalist causes within the Yugoslav State were such that eventually led to its dissolution.
3rd addendum: Since the start of WWI in 1914 till the end of WWII in 1945, have taken place nearly 10 years of war, 20 years of political and economic crisis and 70 million deaths. It’s through this chaotic situation, and especially by the need for post-war reckoning, that arised the prospect of European integration and co-operation, and not from revolutionary wave, as many of the subversives of the time believed, though the fear of revolution in the minds of the managers of power was more than real:
This postwar settlement resulted in the rise of the welfare state, full employment, and the incorporation of workers’ organizations into the management of capitalist development. It also saw an unprecedented economic boom and a massive increase in international trade. The growth boom is remembered well across the Western world. In almost every country the thirty year period after 1945 has a unique name emphasising its novelty: Les Trente Glorieuses (France), Wirtschaftswunder (Germany), Rekordåren (Sweden), the “Economic Miracle” (Italy, Japan and Greece) or simply the “Golden Age” (United States and UK).
Through the establishment of the appropriate regulatory institutions, it has been possible to increase wages and improve the overall living standard while securing a rate of profit that would allow for new investments and an expanded reproduction of capital. However, the management of the expectations of the working class wasn’t the only field of interest for winners of WWII, the domestic bourgeoisies and their allies on the anti-fascist popular fronts. During the interwar period, not only the workers’ militancy was a factor of instability: in at least four countries (Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria), the extreme right-wing seized power by relying on the popular support of farmers who had been heavily injured deep recession and demanded greater national self-sufficiency and protection from the world market. The Common Agricultural Policy of the newly established European Economic Community will be set up in 1957 precisely to remove the risk of a recurrence of such movements.
4th addendum: Nowadays, reminiscence of the post-war golden age is still alive both in the left-wing and the right-wing of the State, among else as a period when the peoples have, for the first time, been able to contribute to the national policymaking.
A seeming paradox here is that this emergence of popular sovereignty went hand in hand with the development of a level of supranational governance that had never been seen before. Internationally, this was represented by the creation of the IMF, GATT, and World Bank. But this development was even more extreme in Europe, where a vast array of new institutions emerged: the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), which exists today as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), the Western European Union (WEU), the European Payments Union (EPU), and of course the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC).
The Treaty of Paris in 1951, which gave birth to the ECSC, created the embryonic forms of all the institutions that make up the modern EU: a High Authority (the precursor of the European Commission), a Common Assembly (the forerunner of the European Parliament), a Special Council (the forerunner of the Council of the European Union) and a Court of Justice (the forerunner of the European Court of Justice). Instead of the federalist mythology and self-image that was created by the creators of ECSC, the creation of the ECSC results from the specific needs for the safeguarding of stability in the wider region between Germany, Luxembourg, France and southeastern Belgium, where the richest coal and steel mines are located, a region that had been at the heart of all recent military conflicts. However, apart from its geopolitical position, this territory was also where the working class was better organized, making the risk of social conflicts higher in case of a liberalisation of the coal and steel markets and a transition to a liberal economic policy. This is why the Treaty of Paris must be understood not only as a diplomatic substitute for a peace treaty, but also as the moment when Belgium officially enters the mixed economy. The decisive step for the creation of the EEC was the Treaty of Rome in 1957, a treaty which to this very day makes up roughly 3/4 of the European Constitution. By creating the Common Market and abolishing tariffs and trade barriers between the member-states, EEC was a regional block with a unified customs policy vis-à-vis the rest of the world, within which trade has been liberalised. As the integration of the working class was unavoidable and the democratisation of political life led to more complex management requirements, the State had to extend its functions to spheres of social life that had previously not been under its control:
Therefore the integration of European trade after the war required not only the reduction of barriers, but also the means through which the reduction of these barriers could take place without threatening the living standards of European citizens. […] The creation of the EEC brought about the reduction of trade barriers, the expansion of trade within Europe and thereby contributed to growth and capitalist development. The creation of this supranational organization created a new means through which the rules of economic life could be set. It thereby increased the power of national states to set these rules and facilitated the increased democratic administration of economic life. It can now be seen how opposing national sovereignty to European governance makes little sense. Rather than threatening the power of the state, the EEC was created as a means through which the power of the state could be preserved and enhanced.
5th addendum: Already since the late 19th century, and more intensely during the interwar period, some political tendencies (socialists, communists, Christian Democrats, liberals) whose parties were organised on a national basis, became interconnected at the international level, with tendency giving a certain meaning to the concept of internationalism and international solidarity. The perception of a United Europe as a realisation of a certain type of internationalism will emerge after WWII and will draw on both the need for peoples to cooperate in order to avoid a war between them and the democratic objection to fascism and communist danger. In practice, this was envisioned by the emerging middle-class, a class which links its present and future with the accumulation of capital on an internationalised basis and the rapid improvement of living conditions. Political representatives of the emerging Europeanism -as a synonym of democracy, growth and progress- are the Christian Democrats, the pro-Europeans of the socialist parties and the liberals, while the first attempts for a coordination of parties on a European basis began in 1947, as we can read in Le Monde‘s article “Le Referendum sur le traite de Maastrich – Vers des partis politiques européens?” in 20 September 1992. The “formation of a European consciousness” and the “expression of the political will of the citizens of Europe”, however, will be greatly enhanced by the institution of the European Parliament and the establishment of non-national europarliamentary groups of the national parties since 1953. In Greece, the pro-European vision won’t be able to be expressed politically, since the middle class had linked its reproduction to the State balancing the consequences of the Civil War and therefore had a narrowly national vision and horizon. The European prospect was blocked for many years by the proponents of the “State of the right-wing” who didn’t associate their political survival with democratisation and modernisation – it was also refuted by the Stalinists for obvious reasons. Pro-European political forces will appear for the first time as such after 1974 during the Regime Change, while there were preceded several years of exposure of the junta’s exiles to the Western European “democracy”. In particular, the progressives came in contact with eurocommunism and the conservatives with the liberal right-wing.
If anything, the anti-imperialists of that era saw more clearly the growth of Greek capitalism:
Since WWII, the economic policy of the Greek State is divided between two necessities that are difficult to reconcile: a) on the one hand, the safeguarding the conditions of a national economic “greenhouse”, with the tendency to encourage the initiative of the domestic capitalism; b) on the other hand, the perpetual pursuit of system outflows in order for the internal inflationary tendencies to be absorbed. From a logical point of view, there should be here a contradiction that in principle is insurmountable: protectionism creates inflation which, in turn, requires the opening of the market to the outside; this game always ends with challenging the foundations of the protectionist policy. However, it’s on these axes, seemingly incompatible, that Greek growth was practically built in the post-WWII period. The traditional weakness of the Greek market and the high concentration of incomes have always discouraged investment in productive sectors. Funds were attracted towards maritime transport, banks, trade and construction. The small attraction of funds towards manufacturing isn’t the result of bad calculations on the part of Greek entrepreneurs, since the foreign funds flowing into the country are also proved to be reluctant towards manufacturing.
Between 1945-1953, the Greek economy was practically closed outwards. The failure of various reconstruction plans amidst strong protectionism, the explosion of inflation that became organic despite the seven devaluations of drachma (Greek currency) leading to the loss of 99% of its value in relation to the dollar, led to an economical condition almost without accumulation and without industrialisation, a not at all favorable condition for growth. Since 1953, with the adoption of an institutional framework to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and the establishment of branches of multinational corporations, a new economic model came to the fore: the remarkable, for that era, monetary stability that would accompany the country for many years was the result of a policy that combines protectionism (high customs, devaluation of the drachma) with the liberalisation of trade without quantitative limits and the rapid inflow of remittances from shipping and Greek immigrants from abroad, profits from tourism, funds from abroad and credit due to foreign borrowing. The political economy found the recipe that in the end demarcated inflation and really drove forward the growth of the Greek economy. The Greek State had since begun to be internationally re-orientated and sought to define Greek nationalism as a mixture of internal and external points of reference, so that the realisation of nationalism was slowly crossing over into to the field of international relations. In retrospect, one can reasonably assume that Greece joining NATO accompanied and secured the demand for a re-internationalisation of the economy and is linked to the first wave of growth until the early 1960s. It was the application for joining EEC in 1959, and its acceptance in 1961, which gave new impetus to the internationalisation of the Greek economy; and with it the definition of national interest. EEC may had discontinued Greece’s membership in 1969 due to the Greek military junta of 1967-1974 but, during the period 1960-1973, Greek economy grew cumulatively by 102%. That was mainly due to the growth of industrial production, which increased by 267% over the same period, through FDI (Pechiney, ESSO, etc.) the magnitude of which were unprecedented by Greek standards. In any case, the transformation of Greece into a paradise for cheap labour and monetary stability was primarily due to the restoration of class and wider social balance of forces. However, the State was a field of intense conflicts over the direction that the ongoing capitalist restructuring should follow, and the way in which the mass-emerging domestic working class should be disciplined. The Royal Coup of 1965 and the street clashes it generated, was the expression of the acute crisis of the relation between the State and the people, of the inability of the modernisation of the State apparatus in order to incorporate the needs of an unhindered free enterprise and the expectations of the old petty-bourgeoisie and the new salaried middle-class -within which leftists excluded from public life met progressives with centrist and liberal views- but also the aspirations of the emerging middle-class students who saw no future. The dictatorial regime may had tried to intervene by creating favourable conditions for the growth of manufacturing -for the first time, about 100 business projects in various sectors were supported by state subsidies- but this economic model would reach its limits in 1972-1973.
1st addendum: Vergopoulos mentions two major economic factors that led to the failure of State’s plans: an increase in the international price of oil that caused an uncontrollable reappearance of inflation across Europe and drachma’s pegging to dollar and its depreciation in 1973. Yet, it’s the rift in the interior of Greek bourgeoisie that made a decisive contribution to the dictatorial regime’s decline. In the words of another sophisticated anti-imperialist of the time:
The contradictions between the big comprador bourgeoisie and the domestic bourgeoisie, and the induced reproduction of the contradictions between the United States and the Common Market, are thus articulated to and focussed in the privileged centre of the national State, and therefore the form of its regime. If this is to be understood, we must not lose sight of the fact that the present phase of imperialism, and the increased internationalisation of capital and production, in no way detract from the role of the national State in the accumulation of capital – contrary to what has often been said. The process of internationalisation is certainly not a process taking place “over the heads” of these States, so that the role of the national States would either be replaced by that of “economic powers”, or else imply the birth of an effective supranational State (United Europe or the American super-State). If this were the case, it would be impossible to understand how and why this internationalisation, and the internal contradictions it has produced within the power blocs of the countries with which we are concerned, are focussed on the question of the national State and its form of regime. National States are still the nodal points of the internationalisation process, which actually increases their decisive role in the accumulation of capital (particularly by way of their economic functions), and this explains why they are still more than ever the privileged object of struggle in the conflicts between the various fractions of the bourgeoisie itself.
What’s also different is the relation of these two fractions of the bourgeoisie with the popular democratic discontent, peak moment of which remain the events of the Athens Polytechnic uprising in November 1973:
Now, the policy of the domestic bourgeoisie towards the popular masses, and towards the working class in particular, gradually came to differentiate itself from that of the comprador bourgeoisie which the regimes in question primarily expressed; it has evolved towards more open and conciliatory positions with regard to their demands. […] This difference in the policy of the domestic bourgeoisie is due above all to the fact that, concentrated as it is in the industrial sector, while not having as the multinationals do the possibility of rapidly shifting production from one country to another, it is in direct line of fire of the violent agitation endemic to this sector. Given the inability of the dictatorships to contain this agitation by mere repression, the domestic bourgeoisie is even more inclined to accept trade-unionism as a fact of life, for the sake of acquiring genuinely representative spokesmen to negotiate with, and thereby embarking on a process of resolving its conflicts with the working class. […] The domestic bourgeoisie is also interested in an endogenous industrialisation, and because of the structural difficulties that this presents, it implies an effective ideological and political mobilisation of the working class and the popular masses, which these regimes are incapable of carrying through. They are in fact distinguished from the classical fascist regimes (of the German or the Italian type) by their inability to develop genuine mass movements.
The Cyprus events in 1974 will irretrievably affect the prestige of the military junta and of the extreme right-wing nationalists in general, since these events were socially experienced as a heavy national defeat. However, it’s the national unity government of that era, under the progressive right-wing of Konstantinos Karamanlis, that directly linked, for the first time, the State nationalism with anti-Americanism, ordering Greece’s temporary withdrawal of from the military branch of NATO the summer of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. It’s this political milieu, the same with the political forces that have shaped the European course of the other member-states, that was able to fasten, permanently this time, Greece to the political chariot of the EEC. This was done by submitting a formal application for membership in EEC in 1975, an application accepted a few months later. What happened between the Regime Change and the Greece’s official accession in EEC on 1 January 1981, wasn’t just the return of the country to the military branch of NATO in October 1980 -a prerequisite for official membership in EEC- and the many months of negotiations. Against the efforts of a fraction of Greek bourgeoisie -a fraction which was favoured by the policies of the military junta and was afraid that membership in EEC would put an end to the protectionist policy- for a further destabilisation of the Greek social formation -which was already experiencing a a regime change that was accompanied by a profound change of the social structure of the last 20 years- through a “capital strike”, the Governor of the Bank of Greece, Xenophon Zolotas, declared in 1976 that:
This is the end of the era of strong economic incentives, excessive protectionism and low wage costs that ensured the easy and rapid accumulation of capital.
Meanwhile, Pesmazoglou, chairman of the Greco-EEC parliamentary committee during the same period, denounced the “protectionist misery”, warning entrepreneurs that “all privileged situations and existing exclusivities must disappear upon entry into the EEC”. And all this in a situation where poverty had vanished, unemployment in urban centres had reached almost 0% while formerly was 20%. Meanwhile, the first immigrant workers -more than 100,000, according to the data of the period, and of various nationalites- had arrived, most of them undocumented immigrants and employed in undeclared work…
Regarding the establishment of the eight-hour working day in Greece, with the official voice of the beloved of Stalinists of any political colour:
In Greece, the reduction of the working day was a key demand of the workers from their very first strikes. Such a demand, among other things, was put forward by the workers of Syros island in their historic strike mobilisation in 1879, the first big strike in Greece. Their goal was to reduce the working day from 12 or 14 hours to 10 hours […] The eight-hour working day became a worldwide demand of the proletariat after the blood-stained May Day in Chicago 1886, and in particular in the May Day mobilisations of 1890. Thus, in 1893, in the first major celebration of Labour Day in Greece, one of the central demands is “To limit the labour of the workers to 8 hours a day from 12 or more that is the current condition”. After that, in all big or small workers’ mobilisations, the demand for an eight-hour working day held a central position, though it would take a long time for the demand to become part of the Greek legislation. In Greece, by statutes of November 1909 and March 1910 is established the Sunday holiday for the country’s largest urban centres. Subsequent legislations in 1913 established a ten hour working day for the surface workers of the mines and an eight hour working day for the underground miners. Individual working day arrangements continued in the years to come, while the International Labour Convention for Eight Hour Working Day, which was established in 1919, was ratified in Greece only in 1920, but its implementation wasn’t direct and universal. As Fountanopoulos put it, “[m]ost of the laws had thousands of exceptions and individual arrangements for ‘special’ cases, which in fact canceled the legislation. Even for the most important of the international conventions, the one introducing the eight hour working day, Greece managed to fall into the category of countries where its implementation would be only gradual”. For example, in 1921, the eight hour working day was applied temporarily only in a few factories. Only electrical engineers and tram workers tramways had won, after many struggles, the eight hour working day. The adoption of International Labour Convention for Eight Hour Working Day became a demand appearing constantly, to every small or big labour struggle, demanding its universal application. Thus, the entire interwar period was marked by struggles for the eighth hour working day, with ruthless class conflicts and, of course, by the victories of the workers who achieved the expansion of the measure in various branches and divisions of the working class. The general application of the eight hour working day will be formally established by the 4th of August Regime, the Metaxa’s dictatorship, accepting in essence what had become long before a reality in practice. Naturally, we mustn’t miss out on the fact that the dictatorial regime had previously taken care to abolish and criminalise any political, class and trade-union activity.
The official adoption of the eight hour working day isn’t enough for the normalisation of wage labour. Many labourers’ experiences from the period of Regime Change point to the fact that many of the key elements of the labour legislation currently in place (eight hour working day, paid holidays, maternity leave, allowances, etc) weren’t applied in practice or didn’t exist at all. Contrary to the ideology of PASOKism, one can claim that Greece’s European course was a precondition for the harmonisation of domestic labour law with the European standards -in full accordance with what should be done with legislation in other areas such as, e.g. with the right of abortion and civil marriage, legislations which had to express at the legal level the social balance of forces of that era- and for the democratisation of the workplaces and the political and social life. The legendary national leader, Andreas Papandreou -the archetype for every Greek social democrat, armed or otherwise- who won the 1981 national election with the historical slogan “EEC and NATO are the same syndicate”, had already argued earlier that:
Greece’s participation in EEC will complete the attribution of a complementary and subsidiary character to Greece’s economy. It will complete the integration of Greece into the orbit of global capitalism. Here lies the true goal of those who are pushing for the participation of Greece in EEC. Such participation would deprive Greece the means of quantitative and qualitative control of the movement of goods, capital and labour. The decisions for the course of our country will be taken in Brussels and not in Athens. This contradicts any attempt at planning and, surely, any attempt of socialist planning. The most important issue of the socialist transformation in a Western European country is related to the integration into global capitalism and, more specifically, the participation in the EEC. We understand the arguments of the left-wing forces of Western Europe, according to which they must, since they are already within the Europe of the monopolies, carry out the battle from within. Why do they insist, however, that we, who are not in the same position, who are not fully integrated into capitalism, must enter the EEC cage and conduct the battle from within? It’s a pity that it’s not yet understood that the decisive conflict, the dominant form of class struggle in our time, is the conflict between metropolitan centres and the periphery, the conflict between imperialism and national liberation forces. The change will come from the South. This is why we take a stand against participation in the EEC.
The legend of the national leader surrounding Andreas Papandreou was constructed because he carried out the “Memoranda” of that era, seeking to integrate and assimilate the aspirations of the workers and the people into a new perspective for the state, national interest and democracy. Namely, exactly what SYRIZA did when it became government, of course keeping the historical proportions.
1st addendum: From the standpoint of State’s nationalism, PASOK of the 1980s will be remembered in history because it was during its days that the National Resistance was acknowledged (i.e., the State recognised the contribution of left-wing organisations to the Greek Resistance against the Axis Occupation of Greece), the leftists were restored as equal members of society and, in general, PASOK created the conditions for the people and the nation to coincide for the first time in Greek history. A necessary precondition for this coincidence was the confirmation of the dominance of the genus in the definition of Greek nationalism. This is implied by, above all, the exclusion of the Macedonian exiles of the Greek Civil War from the newly created national unity. As Panagiotis Lafazanis, the then high-ranking party member of SYRIZA and current interlocutor of the extreme right, already put it back in 2010:
To the Minister of Interior and the Foreign Minister
Subject: Refugees of the Civil War
Following Law 1285/1982 “On the Recognition of the National Resistance of the Greek People against the Occupation Troops of 1941-1944”, the Minister of Interior Georgios Gennimatas and the Minister of Public Order Ioannis Skoularikis of the PASOK government issued a joint decision (106841/29-12-1982) for the “Free Repatriation and Attribution of Greek Citizenship to Political Refugees” […] “in the framework of the Government’s policy for National Reconciliation and Unity”, and stated that “Those of the Greek genus who, during and due to the Civil War of 1946-1949, sought refuge aboard as political refugees, can return to Greece even if they were deprived of Greek Citizenship”. This distinction which excludes those Greek citizens not of the “Greek genus” is clearly unacceptable -as a discrimination based on ethnic origin, a discrimination that still persists- despite the repeated pledges of PASOK against this discrimination and the recommendations of European and international institutions towards Greece. We typically mention that the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance of the Council of Europe, in its report on Greece in 2009, “recommends again that the Greek authorities should take steps to implement, in a non-discriminatory way, their reconciliatory measures for all of those who fled because of the Civil War”. Since it is not possible to prolong today post-Civil War syndromes to the detriment of Greek citizens-political refugees of the Civil War living abroad just because their ethnicity isn’t Greek,
we are asking the Ministers:
1) More than sixty years after the end of the Civil War and twenty-five years after the return of most political refugees to Greece, what is the purpose of banning the return of the remaining political refugees?
2) Do they recognise that the still open wound of Civil War constitutes a stigma on the human rights in Greece?
3) When do they intend to remove from the aforementioned laws the prejudiced, racist and bigoted distinction around the “Greek genus”?
The members of the parliament:
Panagiotis Lafazanis, Evaggelia Ammanatidou-Paschalidou,
Thodoris Dritsas, Anastasios Kourakis, Vasilis Moulopoulos
During PASOK on government, it was possible for the first time in the history of the Greek social formation to conceptualise the national interest as single and universal, healing the various forms of Civil-War’s divisions that agonised the Greek State throughout the 20th century. This is why the power of pure PASOKist patriotism has no historical precedent. Nevertheless, it should not be overlooked that the formation of the modern national unity, which will accompany the course of Greek social formation, has taken place under certain conditions: the recognition of the workers’ identity and of the trade-union movement as an equal interlocutor next to the capitalists and State officials, subsumption of the workers’ interest under the national economic growth, ethnic homogeneity of the population, influx of European financial aid packages alongside the existing forms of external financing, patriotism, left-wing phraseology and alleged anti-Westernism, an increased percentage of self-employment, etc; however, at diplomatic level, alignment with the pro-Western/pro-European policy that was set out by the so-called conservative political milieu. Thus, the experience of the struggle against the Axis Occupation of the 1940s and the lost opportunity to restore national unity, came back to the fore, on more European, anti-fascist and democratic foundations. This type of national unity and its preservation will become an integral part of State policy from then on, making Greek nationalism even more complex. The reflection of this new national unity at the international level is the fact that Greece is one of the few European States that maintain relatively stable diplomatic relations with countries both of the Eastern Bloc and of the West, as well as of the Middle East and Africa; potentially with any State, boosting its integration into international networks of cooperation and, by extension, internationalising further the definition of its national interest.
PASOK, with the excuse of the demand for the denuclearisation of the Balkans, will promote the restoration of inter-Balkan cooperation, as well as the restoration of the bilateral and multilateral relations between Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Yugoslavia; in August 1987, it abolished its state of war with Albania, which existed since 1940, in order to enable Albania to participate for the first time in a conference with all the Balkan States. Greece’s membership in EEC dictated the promotion of regional cooperation in order for EEC to provide Greece with aid via European packages of financial support. Between 1981-1990, Greece received more than $18 billion, but who can claim that the Greek State is coerced to do the above when Greek capital has already set its sights on the Balkans? The period of austerity, which officially begins in the second quadrennium of PASOK governement and was preceded by two depreciations of drachma in 1983 and 1985 respectively, coincides with the period when EEC begins to evaluate closer the Greek economy and the management of financial aid. When in March 1990, the then president of the Commission, Jacques Delors, threatened to cut the European funding towards Greece and linked the new 2.2 billion-ECUs loan to 22 terms “which are tougher than what IMF could impose us” according to a Greek banker, inflation was already at 18%, the external debt was $22 billion, the budget deficit was 20% of GDP, and 35% of the budget is used to cover the black hole of public debt. Meanwhile, the State had already faced a problem paying the salaries of 660,000 civil servants at the end of 1989. And, of course, the black economy, from 15% of GDP in 1980, had reached 35% of GDP in 1991. However, the crisis is never just economic, since the reproduction of capital in Greece has, historically, always taken place under conditions of political crisis: from June 1989 to April 1990, three electoral processes took place and five governments were formed: a coalition governemnt of New Democracy (ND) with Coalition of the Left (Coalition of the Left, or Synaspismos, was at the time a coalition between Greek Left and KKE) between July-October 1989, a government of technocrats between October-November 1989, a coalition goverment of ND-PASOK-Synaspismos between November 1989-February 1990, a government of technocrats between February-April 1990, and then ND won the elections and formed an one-party government. The conditions for capital accumulation were rather stifling, the “enemy within” has taken the streets and already protesters were killed. At the Greco-Albanian borders, the first expulsions of Albanian immigrants had already begun, immigrants looking for a better future in Greece after the first moments of the collapse of the Eastern Bloc…
1st addendum: Greece was one of the first countries to ratify in its parliament the Maastricht Treaty in August 1992, with 286 votes for the Treaty, 8 against and 6 abstentions, which undoubtedly opened the prospect of joining the European Monetary System. Since the restructuring of capital was at that time in full swing and the austerity measures were met one by one with great social resistance, the Greek State gave priority to its relations with EEC, seeking to exploit its political and economic membership in EEC in order to support the expansion of Greek capital in the Balkans. Greek diplomacy focused on the name of the Macedonian State, which had declared its independence about a year ago, within this context of rearrangement of power relations in the region and the emergence of opportunities for the exploitation of the Balkan proletarians. The Greek State bypassed the Cyprus question and the question of its relations with Turkey, which constituted the main component of the State nationalist discourse in the 1980s in convergence with the anti-Turkish popular nationalism. The new definition of national interest calls for realism and developing a strategy. The sentimentalities about “the disorganised and poor little Greece”, “the brother-nation of Cyprus” and “the Cypriot brothers” are for popular consumption and had to give way. This shift was already apparent since 1988-1989, amid the propagandised euphoria about the Greco-Turkish reconciliation. The State must secure the conditions for the reproduction capital, and this reproduction now passes through regional cooperation, access to markets and comparative advantages beyond the national market.
2nd addendum: Some academics speak less ideologically than the consistent anti-imperialists:
The process of Europeanisation of Greek foreign policy has been lengthy and tortuous. It is more than the attainment of “Europeanness” or being considered “pro-European” or “European-oriented”. It has involved both Westernisation and modernisation. From the mid-1990s onwards, during a process of rehabilitation from the Papandreou years and the fallout of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, it involved the pursuit of normalisation. More recently, in what I call the period of postrehabilitation, key Greek foreign policy interests have been partly denationalised and multilateralised. In essence, the real Europeanisation of Greek foreign policy has occurred in the domain of the translocation of Greek foreign policy preferences and interests in at least two key issue areas, Turkey and Cyprus, onto the EU agenda. While Europeanisation has involved features of both the “top-down” and “identity formation” processes, it is argued here that the Europeanisation of Greek foreign policy can best be examined and understood through a specific kind of “bottom-up” approach. While the style of Greek foreign policy has become Europeanised under the impact of EU membership, Greek policy-makers have, at various times and in a variety of ways, Europeanised the substance of their foreign policy.
Those who participated in the recent anti-Macedonian protests, but also the self-proclaimed anti-establishment, are unable to escape the nationalist framework of thought demarcated by the Greek state. They forget that it was the Greek Cypriots themselves who prefered to reject the Annan plan in April 2004, almost thirty years after the de facto partition of Cyprus, on the basis of the realistic approach that they prefered to have a rich and powerful (Greek Cypriot) State rich and powerful rather than a united (Cypriot) nation. And, of course, at the same time, they prefer Cyprus to become a member of EU as Cyprus is now, although it’s partitioned. Economic interests affect people’s view, because they are socially and class determined, not ontologically. In accordance with this, and compared to 1992, the current debate in the businessmen’s and middle-class’ circles of northern Greece has already shifted from the assertions about the Greekness of the Vergina Sun [a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia] and Alexander the Great, to more realistic capitalist goals. Only in the future we’ll see this shift’s ultimate effects on the resolution of the national identity crisis of Northern Greeks and on the formation of a regional, specifically Northern Greek nationalism:
The name “Macedonia” and its derivatives is used in the brandname of 182 Greek companies in various sectors and by 39 enterprises belonging to the agrarian and food sector, while more than 4,000 enterprises use the term for some of their products. It is clear that entrepreneurs in FYROM/Northern Macedonia now acquire the right to use the name “Macedonia”. That is why there should be organised a constructive dialogue, coming to some necessary arrangements. Since there’s an increased uncertainty about a number of critical details, the best advice given by experts to Greek entrepreneurs is to rush to copyright their brands and trademarks in accordance to the existing European and international procedures. The Chambers of Commerce in Northern Greece have already been activated and offer legal and advisory assistance. It should be noted, however, that the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products are secured. Their registered trademarks are considered undisputed, since the have been identified through compliance with EU provisions, decisions and conditions.
3rd addendum: There’s always a correlation between the generation of theory and the emergence of intense social conflicts, and the anti-globalisation movement is no exception. We are still within this historical question, which emerged in the late 1990s and has generalised since then, seeking, inter alia, the relation between the sovereignty of the national State and the globalisation of capital. The very appearance of the crisis since 2007 and the outbreak of the “movements of the squares” show that we’re still deep in this question. However, many of those who participated in the international meetings of protest, even as members of the now legendary black bloc, have now manifested explicitly their affinity towards the governments of their own countries, especially if they’re left governments, thus reproducing in a grotesque manner the left ideological hegemony. Every crisis that is worthy of its name leads not only to the renegotiation of political agendas and theoretical tools, but also to the re-writing of our “history”, which is perceived in a new way that’s imposed by the current conjuncture. It takes a lot of effort and a many kilos of ideological cement to stay unaffected when large-scale social movements take place around you. Nevertheless, we allow the late Marxist ideologues to answer the question of whether the current anti-imperialist allusions and the recent compliance with Syriza were already set forth back then; for our part, we will suffice to point out that between the political preparations against the Summit of EU in Thessaloniki in 2003 -preparations combined with discussions on the internationalisation of sovereignty- and the current anti-NATO attitudes regarding the Macedonian question, have occured many things, one of which is the formal bankruptcy the Greek State, but also the ardent desire of transforming the anarchist/antiauthoritarian milieu into a “reliable” political force, a (non-bankrupt) Left in place of the (bankrupt) Left. The torrent and the depth of political arguments and analyses unleashed by SYRIΖΑ’s journalists, academics, politicians, sympathisers and “party friends” apropos of the Macedonian question, is enough to prove who’s the ideological hegemony in this country. The level of the range of criticisms articulated by the so-called subversive circles regarding the Prespa Agreement was, in terms of content and subject-matter, far below the public debate between KKE-ND-SYRIZA.
4th addendum: Perhaps, the first step in the elaboration of the modern relation between the global level and the local one, while maintaining the primacy of the State-form within an increasingly internationalised environment, is the undermining of those functions of geopolitics that reify the level of the national and, therefore, are unable to conceive the various levels in which the so-called globalisation takes place: from planetary and regional to sub-national and urban. Hence, the anti-imperialists fail to decode the specifically national character of a social event or a social relation, of what is represented and lived as national. The issue of scale is neither neutral nor reducable to a matter of a hierarchy of magnitude, it is a political question, and therefore the national level cannot be mutually exclusive from the planetary level. Examples exist and they’re familiar: the anti-globalisation movement have already caused
the emergence of forms of globality centred on localised struggles and actors that are part of cross-border networks; this is a form of global politics that runs not through global institutions but through local ones.
Unlike the earlier stages of globalisation of the capitalist mode of production, the current phase, which lasted for about four decades before receiving the repercussions of the recent crisis, saw the complex form of the national State establishing and prevailing all over the world. The growing density of world market networks, the modifications in international trade conditions, the industrial restructuring via the formation of internationalised value chains: all these are built on the basis of a more or less dense national framework under the authority of the State, with different temporalities in each case. Conversely, national level is the level at which are articulated all these processes refering to a planetary, regional, local, etc., level, even if they destabilise it:
[T]he history of the modern State can be read as the work of rendering national just about all crucial features of society: authority, identity, territory, security, law, capital accumulation. Earlier periods to that of the ascendance of the national State saw rather different types of scalings, with territories typically subject to multiple systems of rule rather than the exclusive authority of the State. Today’s rescaling dynamics cut across institutional size and across the institutional encasements of territory produced by the formation of national States. This does not mean that the old hierarchies disappear, but rather that rescalings emerge alongside the old ones, and that the former can often trump the latter. Older hierarchies of scale constituted as part of the development of the nation-State continue to operate, but they do so in a far less exclusive field than they did in the recent past.
It’s necessary to clarify how the national State is trying to adapt to new conditions -beyond misleading generalities about “neoliberal adjustment”, “interaction of capitalist economies”, “generalised deregulation” or “subordination to the dictates of international capital”- and to endogenise scale shifts, to incorporate the shocks of globalisation by giving it a national tinge. It is the primacy of State power -and, by extension, of the internal social balance of forces- over these processes that force each State to enter the globalisation process on different, ever-shifting, conditions that are never identical with one another. As long as it’s necessary to adopt common measures beyond a particular country, each country negotiates its position in a specific way and sometimes resists an unconditional internationalisation. The crucial element here isn’t the formation of an imperial, transnational level, but the need to denationalise certain institutional aspects of political, economic, military, judicial and legal power. This denationalisation carried out automatically or without frictions, because each institution has its own history and it’s perceived in a different way by the class, and wider social, balance of forces. The concept of national sovereignty imposes the linkup with the globalisation, not the subsumption of the former under the latter. Let us not forget that the Most Favoured Nation Principle and the National Treatment Principle remain to this day the cornerstones of WTO’s trade law.
1. Heide Gerstenberger, “‘How Bourgeois Were the Bourgeois Revolutions?’ Remarks on Neil Davidson’s Book”, Historical Materialism (2017), p. 13, at the following url: https://brill.com/abstract/journals/hima/aop/article-10.1163-1569206X-12341529.xml.
2. Karl Marx, Grundrisse, Penguin Books, 1993, p. 472-473.
3. Miroslav Hroch, European Nations: Explaining Their Formation, Verso Books, 2015.
4. Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848, Vintage Books, 1996, p. 116.
5. John Milios, in his irreplaceable book Ο Ελληνικός Κοινωνικός Σχηματισμός: Από τον Επεκτατισμό στην Καπιταλιστική Ανάπτυξη [The Greek Social Formation: From Expansionism to Capitalist Growth], poses an additional question, why the Greek revolution will at first break out and take root only in certain areas of mainland and insular Greece, a question that can be answered only on the basis of developed capitalist relations and the tolerance or participation in them of local agents of the Ottoman regime. He also claims that the State, the nation and capital are different aspects of the same capitalist authority, with capital being its political dimension and nation being related to its cultural and economic forms, since, we can add, arises historically with the emergence of the bourgeois civil society.
6. From a speech of Dimitris Christopoulos at University of Thessaly, 25/5/2015, occasioned by the celebration of the anniversary of Greek revolution. What follows draw from this, always with the concerns and the pessimism of what we should be talking about, what we actually talk about, and what they are talking about.
7. From the same speech as above. Metic is a legal category drawn directly from the ancient Athenian city-State. As this early Constitution states, the Metics, i.e. non-Christians, didn’t have full citizen rights, in particular they couldn’t participate in the political life neither by voting nor by being political candidates, and they couldn’t become army officers. But Metics had the right of owing land. The legal category of the Metic was different of that of the Foreigner. A Foreigner is a Christian man living in Greece who is a citizen of another country. Foreigners couldn’t own land, they couldn’t participate in the elections neither by voting nor by being political candidates, and they couldn’t participate in the army even as soldiers. Also, if a Foreigner got married with a Greek woman, then the Greek woman is regarded as a Foreigner, and their children and grandchildren are also regarded as Foreigners.
8. And it will sharpen its deviation from the everyday social, racist perceptions of the “normal” Greek nation, to which the Paleo-Greeks consider themselves to belong while considering the refugees from Asia Minor as “Turks”. Of course, the residents of the New Countries, as Northern Greece was called when it was annexed in 1912, were met with the same treatment by the Paleo-Greek and Cretan civil servants who were sent there to serve the newly established State apparatus. It is at that time that social racism is rooted as a large-scale phenomenon in Greek territory. A structural element of this racism is that it appears to distance itself from the formal State definition of citizenship by denying the State definition of the nation.
9. Dimitra Samiou, in her article “Τα Πολιτικά Δικαιώματα των Ελληνίδων (1864-1952)” [“The Political Rights of Greek Women (1864-1952)”], writes that “[t]he acquisition of political rights by women has its own history, a history that hasn’t been written down and hasn’t been captured in the collective memory […] The history of women’s political rights consists in, on the one hand, the understanding of what it meant for the social position of women their exclusion from the political sphere -which defined the relations of the two sexes for more than one century- and, on the other hand, recording the mobilisations and views developed by the women and men who supported the political equality, as well as the legal procedures that led to the establishment of women’s political rights […] The history of women’s political equality was of mixed interest: on the one hand, political parties and governments was interested in it, since women’s franchise would change the proportion of the politically represented population [i.e. the people] by increasing the electorate. On the other hand, it was important for the social position of women, the most populous category of citizens deprived of their political rights. As a result, the political empowerment of women was not just a legal issue; it was a social, ideological, political and party issue”. It’s noteworthy that the Greek Constitution of 1864, which establishes for the first time universal suffrage, obviously only for men, introduces the fundamental distinction between active and non-active citizens. This is the womb that generates the distinction between the Greek people and non-people, a distinction which, in turn, runs through the newly-built Greek state: “Active citizens are the citizens who are entitled to electoral rights and are actively involved in the state administration; non-active citizens are defined as women, children, foreigners, people with mental disabilities and criminals”. For us, for the issue that interests us here, we will only add that, in the post-civil war era, “the sudden shift in the dispositions of the political power from March 1951 to February 1952” can be explained as follows: “Greece will delay the signing of the Convention [on Women’s Civil Rights, drafted by the Commission on the Status of Women of the United Nations] in order to anticipate the signing of the Convention by attributing franchise to Greek women with a domestic law, because that would help covering up that the granting of civil rights was to some extent a product of external pressure […] [while] this will also play another role: it would come to cover the authoritarianism of the political regime and the flagrant violation of civil liberties, by presenting the regime as democratic”. It should be stressed that these historical processes don’t only concern a supposedly insulated political sphere of the State, since the (non-)inclusion of women in the Greek people has also effected, and still effects, the way in which political equality and participation in trade unions, parties and left-wing organisations is conceived.
10. Even today, the evaluation of the Leninist strategy that was adopted by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) remains well hidden in the dustbin of history of the so-called subversive circles, a strategy that from the start supported the Macedonian struggle of independence hoping for the dissolution of the Greek state through separatism, with KKE promising during the Greek Civil War an independent national State to the Macedonian National Liberation Front in order to strengthen the troops of the Greek People’s Liberation Army. Pandelis Pouliopoulos’ apology in the trials of 1925 (the General Secretary of KKE at the time) is quite clear in this respect. We’ll return to this issue further below in the text.
11. Theodoros Pangalos, “Le rôle des forces armées dans la vie politique”, Le Monde Diplomatique, November 1977, at the following url: https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/1977/11/PANGALOS/34467.
12. Nikolaos Misolidis, “Οι Ελληνογιουγκοσλαβικές Σχέσεις, 1950-1954. Από την Εξομάλυνση στην Υπογραφή του Β’ Βαλκανικού Συμφώνου” [“The Greco-Yugoslav Relations, 1950-1954. From Resolution to Signing of the Second Balkan Pact”]. During the ratification of the Prespa Agreement by the Greek Parliament, the only political leader who referred to this fundamental fact of Greek foreign policy was Golden Dawn’s Nikolaos Michaloliakos.
13. This passage and the following ones are from Oisín Gilmore, “Europe Forged in Crisis: The Emergence and Development of the EU”, Viewpoint Magazine, 2014, at the following url: https://www.viewpointmag.com/2014/10/26/europe-forged-in-crisis-the-emergence-and-development-of-the-eu.
14. Kostas Vergopoulos, “Le patronat et l’Etat devant l’adhésion à la C.E.E”, Le Monde diplomatique, November 1977, at the following url: https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/1977/11/VERGOPOULOS/34469. The following data are from the above article and also from Constantin Tsoucalas, “Modernisation économique et développement d’une classe ouvrière”, from the same issue of Le Monde diplomatique, at the following url: https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/1977/11/TSOUCALAS/34465.
15. Nicos Poulantzas, The Crisis of the Dictatorships: Portugal, Greece, Spain, NLB Press, 1976, p. 53-54.
16. Ibid., p. 55-56.
17. This withdrawal was done in accordance with the traditional left-wing’s anti-imperialist rhetoric since the Civil War, in a first attempt of a National Reconciliation. It’s not accidental that the same year Karamanlis’ government legalised KKE after 27 years (KKE was declared illegal in June 1946).
18. “Η ιστορία της οκτάωρης εργάσιμης μέρας” [“The History of the Eight-Hour Working Day”], Ριζοσπάστης [Rizospastis, “The Radical“, the official newspaper of KKE], 10 May 2005.
19. Andreas Papandreou, “Les structures de la dépendance”, Le Monde diplomatique, November 1977, at the following url: https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/1977/11/PAPANDREOU/34471.
20. This document was filed as a question to the ministers during a session of Greek parliament.
21. Greece was a founding member of the Six-Nation Initiative (Sweden, India, Mexico, Greece, Argentina, Tanzania), whose aim is was allegedly the promotion of disarmament and peace on the planet. Furthermore, Andreas Papandreou, beyond his personal relationship with Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, never condemned Wojciech Jaruzelski’s coup d’etat in Poland, while the infamous Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu will pay him a visit in Athens.
22. On January 26, 1976, was held in Athens a 10-day conference on Balkan cooperation: “It’s in fact a preparatory meeting of experts, but it differs from the numerous events taking place in the Balkan capitals as meeting points for technicians, wise men, doctors, archaeologists and journalists. This time the delegations are led by the deputy secretaries of the States. Greece, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia are represented. The conference is a personal success of the Greek Prime Minister, who returned to Athens on Saturday after a three-day visit to Egypt. Since the return of his country to democracy, Karamanlis has been stepping up efforts to boost Balkan cooperation, which remains one of the cornerstones of Greece’s general policy. However, Albania remains out of play and Turkey has somewhat delayed giving its consent. Similarly, the Sofia governors clarified that it would be better to consider the possibility of developing bilateral transactions, and nothing else, at least for the time being. There is no question of a new regional organisation or a grouping that could end up in a new bloc. There is also no question of raising such delicate issues as Cyprus, the Aegean Sea or Macedonia. The purpose of this conference is to take stock of what has been done so far and to identify the framework that’s capable of triggering the ongoing cooperation process. The multiple committees will examine the practical means of restoring more specific cooperation in the economic, technical, scientific, tourist and cultural fields. The Balkan countries will seek to achieve their common goals step-by-step” (froma an article in Le Monde, 27/1/1976). In 1979, bilateral trade between Greece and Yugoslavia would exceed 200 million drachma, and apparently the existence of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia within the Yugoslav Federation was no obstacle for this. Nine years later, in Belgrade, the foreign ministers of six Balkan countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Turkey and Yugoslavia) will sit at the same table for the first time since WWII.
23. All the data come from Christophe Chiclet, “La Grèce ou l’enfant gâté de la Communauté”, Le Monde diplomatique, March 1992, at the following url: https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/1992/03/CHICLET/44202.
24. Spyros Economides, “The Europeanisation of Greek Foreign Policy”, West European Politics, vol. 28, no. 2, 2005, p. 472-473. This article, written in 2005, also examines the view that, from the very start, Greece entered EEC in order to convert its bilateral issues with Turkey into a European issue. It also suggests that the Greek State held a tough stance on the Macedonian question in the early 1990s in order to renegotiate its position within the EEC, because it felt that, with the fall of the Eastern bloc, the European resources would most probably turn towards the democratisation of the Eastern countries, abandoning the democratisation processes in the countries of Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, Greece) that have been under dictatorial regimes for years. At the same time, of course, the Greek State wanted to balance out the increased power of Turkey, which had been actively involved in the Gulf War. In any case, however, the geopolitical approach, so popular in some political milieux, cannot be considered more important than the social-class analysis, an analysis that fetishises neither the nations nor the states, and attributes to each of the internal instability factors of each State the priority that corresponds to it.
25. Pavlos Papadopoulos, “Ελλάδα και ΠΓΔΜ απέναντι στο μέλλον” [“Greece and FYROM towards the future”], Καθημερινή [Kathimerini, a conservative/centre-right daily morning newspaper, one of the most reputable Greek newspapers, also one of the biggest circulation-wise], 3/2/2019.
26. Saskia Sassen, “The State and Globalisation: Denationalised Participation”, Michigan Journal of International Law, vol. 25, no. 4, 2004, p. 1145, note 5. For this part of the text we draw from Sassen’s general question about the partial denationalisation of the State. The next quotation is from the same article, p. 1149.