This is the third and final part of the text, covering the period from 2008 to today, comparing and contrasting the various struggles against austerity with the recent anti-Macedonian protests.
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.
At any rate, and largely considered retrospectively, the outbreak of the crisis in Greece and its entry into the period of surveillance of budgetary policies, calls the Greek State to take care of how it will manage the necessarily deep restructuring and the imminent widespread devaluation of capital; this time around, there are no cheap immigrant workers from the collapse of the Eastern Bloc or an expansion of Greek capital to the Balkan hinterland to save the Greek fatherland. Nor the exploitation of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East is enough to reverse the fall of the rate of profit and the deviation between wages and productivity .
Suddenly, the high symbolic announcement of the then prime minister George Papandreou from the most remote point of the country indicates a direction, the Greek State projected itself as being weak and announced towards all directions that it’s cornered, threatened and shrunken. The nation is informed by the State leadership that it has to identify with the borderline Kastellorizo as it is threatened and has to make sacrifices to endure the burden of an enormous debt; it must, perceiving itself as lesser and weaker, act as a guardian against the danger that comes from the outside, only from the outside. At the same time that -amidst an intensifying global recession, certain functions of the State, as well as dominant capitalist forms such as debt and credit, displayed their partially denationalised character- decision-making was explicitly removed from the jurisdiction of the people, creating rifts to parliamentary representation and legitimation in the eyes of Greek citizens. The protests were nationalised primarily against the supranational market regime and the executive authorities of EU. At the same time that Greek parliament was voting measures which the Greek bourgeoisie wished for so long; at the same time that these measures are voted in the parliament by coalition governments, since no party can achieve by itself majority in the parliament, beyond any representation of the popular interest which is openly declared as being the opposite of the national interest; at the same time that these measure are voted in the parliamnet only under its heavy protection by the police forces; at the same time that Merkel is declared the ultimate enemy of the Greek nation. All these while the State devaluates and depreciates not only the working class, but also the fractions of capital that are less competitive. The event of the dissolution of PASOK, the par excellence party that’s considered to be the representative of the people since the Regime Change era, has condensed the whole conjuncture and marked a historic turning point; along with the domestic working class, which now has to disproportionately, but along the non-competitive petty bourgeoisie, bear the burden of overcoming the crisis. The whole people is stripped of representation and appear in protests as a nation in crisis. This nationalisation of the social conflict is expressed by SYRIZA and ANEL, as the “down” and “upper” parts of the Greek indignados in Syntagma square respectively, in the end becoming government. The rhetoric about “Germanosoliades” [“Germanotsoliades” is a Greek derogatory term for the Security Battalions, Greek military groups that collaborated with Germany and Italy during the Axis occupation of Greece] and “traitors of the nation” against governments that voted the Memoranda, reached its peak when it was felt for the first time, directly and tangibly, that membership in EU always entailed the voluntary loss of a part of national sovereignty. And this applies to any State that chooses to be within EU, without this meaning that all member-States are the same or that there are no unequal relations between them. The nation, however, historically creates itself as a resistance against a hierarchically superior enemy, hypothetical or not, and this time made EU its enemy. Within the broader anti-austerity movement (indignados, neighbourhood assemblies, committees against haraç, etc.) [“haraç” was the popular name given to ENFIA (Single Tax of Land Owing). The real haraç was a land tax levied on non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire. It’s clear that the usage of this term implies a fear of some national threat from an undetermined national enemy], SYRIZA and ANEL actively promoted the nationalist narrative that resulted in the demand for the restoration of sovereignty under the name of “real democracy”. Let’s not forget the slogan “We don’t sell, we don’t owe, we don’t pay” [meaning we don’t sell our national assets and wealth, we don’t owe money to international creditors, so we don’t pay the debt, with that “we” being us as the Greek nation], the endless debates about the “odious debt” and the various movement’s proposals towards the Greek State regarding the strategy the latter must follow towards the creditors. The existence of the inner enemy, who has to be devalued in order for the nation to rebuilt, was carefully obscured by nationalists of all colours.
1st addendum: From 2011 with the Greek indignados up to the referendum in 2015, SYRIZA-ANEL, and especially SYRIZA, relied on the triadic structure of political unity analysed by Nazi theorist Carl Schmitt, initially to raise their electoral percentage and then to govern:
The new State structure is marked by the fact that the political unity of the people, and thereby, all the regulation of its public life appear to be ordered intro three distinct series. The three series do not run parallel one to the other, but one of them, the Movement, which carries the State and the People, penetrates and leads the other two. Three formations move side by side, in their own order, meet in certain decisive points, particularly at the apex, have distinctly different contacts and direct links with each other, which however are not allowed to cancel the distinctions, and as a whole, effected by the carrying series, all shape the constitution of the political unity. Each has moulded itself from a variety of viewpoints and, if I may say so, of different materials, but all, even if in various ways, are swept along by the public legal order. Each one of the three words: State, Movement, People, may be used alone to denote the whole of the political unity. At the same time, however, it indicates yet another particular aspect and a specific element of this whole. In this way, the State may be regarded strictly as the politically static part; the Movement, as the dynamic political element, and the People, as the apolitical side, growing under the protection and in the shade of the political decisions. But it would be false to make sophistically out of them alternating and mutually exclusive opposites, and play off the State against the Movement, or the Movement against the State, the People against the State, or the State against the People, the People against the Movement, or the Movement against the People. […] The Movement, in particular, is as much the State as it is the People, and neither the present-day State (in the sense of political unity) nor the German people of today (the subject of the politcal entity which is the “German Reich”) would be imaginable without the Movement.
The analogy with Nazism doesn’t imply any kind of moral criticism on SYRIZA; we leave it to its anti-fascist voters who believed that SYRIZA’s parliamentary strengthening could ever be an obstacle to the nationalisation of the social question. On the contrary, Schmitt himself admits that this triadic model didn’t apply only to Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, but also “in the Bolshevik State of the Soviet Union” where “a triadic structure had been attempted, of State, Party and Trade-Unions as a total encompassing of the political and social realities”. According to Schmitt, the Movement needs a Party, whose members are “recruited from all the strata of the People”. The sphere of the People is “left to auto-administration, that comprises the professional economic and social order, as well as the communal auto-administration (based on the local neighbourhood). Even a corporative State of the Fascist State, which rejects the principle of an autonomous territorial administration and tolerates only types of technical or ‘functional’ autonomous administration, a system of trade-unions and associations, a ‘popular social order’ […] might fill the space of a non-statal, public and legal auto-administration and introduce an autonomy that might be possible within the general frame of the political leadership, a corporatism or a union of various kinds of association, in the political life of the People”. The triadic structure of political unity by SYRIZA was in no way as comprehensive as in the case of national-socialism, since nazism cannot historically reappear as there’s a lack of a possibility of corporatist integration of the working class into the State. But parallels do exist. The Party-SYRIZA was the “politcal body” in which “the Movement found its specific form”, and the Party became the hegemonic power of the Movement. Τhe greatest power of SYRIZA was at the neighbourhood level. We had SYRIZA mayors that supported various local collectivities, mainly the committees against haraç, with the mayors declaring “resistance” and coming forward to mediate the demands, we had self-organised social health clinics organised by local cadres of SYRIZA for a rudimentary medical care [SYRIZA members participating in the self-organised social health clinics were quasi-secretly collecting data (age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, income level, etc.) about the people visiting these clinics in order to make statistics about the people in urgent need of free rudimentary medical care. SYRIZA at first was thinking to incorporate the self-organised social health clinics into the National Healthcare System when it would be elected government, but in the end abonded this project], antifascist initiatives, etc. Thus, the Movement was led to the ballot boxes and voted its Party. The Party may haven’t become the State, but it became the government. This triadic structure of political unity achieved by SYRIZA reached its apex with the 2015 referendum, when State-People-Movement became one fist based on the “no” vote, as the pro-government rallies in support of “no” vote in Syntagma square were organised by the Movement, the body of those attending the rallies being the People, and the speeches given at the rallies by Tsipras and other members of the government affirming the presence of the State in the rallies.
2nd addendum: It’s no small thing for the renewed, from its struggle against the “Germans” and the “loan sharks”, people to see in the government those with whom it struggled together in the streets and squares. And, ultimately, to see the distance with the State being minimised to zero. This is, moreover, the most tangible, of geometric inspiration, proof for the reappearance and victory of populism as a movement. This is also the only resemblance, a superficial one, of SYRIZA’s victory in the 2015 elections with PASOK’s victory in 1981, regardless of whether many leftists and anarchists imagined the revival of the Greek National Liberation Front. Among other things, however, the historical particularity of SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government is the speed it adapts the movement of the squares within the State, as the definition of national interest in popular terms is quickly abandoned in favour of its definition in State terms: just in a few months, through a democratic process such as a referendum, but also through the national elections of September 2015. The State has continuity, democracy is a form without content and is able to digest even the most contradictory versions of national interest, and the very movement of the 2010-2012 period could want Greece within EU and the euro as its currency while simultaneously denouncing troika and fiscal cuts. SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government expressed the culmination of this contradiction and, in the summer of 2015, its democratic eruption; after the second national elections of 2015, it reflected the unstable coexistence of a State nationalist realpolitik -recognising that without the intervention of the ECB giving the Greek banking system loans with lower rates than those of the international markets in order for the latter to maintain a level of liquidity, the Greek State would have declared bankruptcy with Argentina-like consequences- and a popular indignant nationalism which would gradually collapse contributing to a gradual stabilisation, as it had already shed any specific reference to the workers’ interests. Not to mention, of course, the complete absence of questioning the gendered and racialised power relations. With or without Grexit, all those who felt nationally, i.e. socially, superior knew well who must suffer the violent shocks of overcoming the crisis when they uttered that “the first years will be difficult, but there will be growth in the spring”.
3rd addendum: Inseparably linked to the query -unanswerable for those who still speak the old language of the Regime Change era’s national State regulation, even though it collapses in front of their eyes- whether SYRIZA is a social-democratic or a neoliberal party, is almost scandalous fact that a left-wing party formed coalition government with a far-right party. It’s still difficult for the orphans of Stalinism, in all their planetary variants, to accept that the antithesis between left-wing and right-wing was nothing else than an opposition between two different statutory variations of national interest, the contemporary expression of the opposition between nation and democracy that always divided the political spectrum almost since the very creation of the bourgeois State, but also interior of every political party. The political function of this opposition is to present as polarised the one and indivisible people, while at the same time subsuming it under the interests of bourgeoisie; the only class whose interests must be constantly represented within the State and whose hegemony is produced, everywhere in Europe in the period of the crisis, on the basis of the creation of social blocs permeated by the dilemma “in or out of EU” and on what terms. The partially nationalised character of the State was pointed out anew during the crisis when, through the coalition governments of politically heterogeneous parties leading to that of SYRIZA-ANEL, the articulation and elaboration of State nationalism must be fueled by various party-mediated nationalisms and not just a single one. Since the necessity to overcome the overaccumulation crisis and to restore stability requires the elimination of all political priorities related to the popular interests, the people is pushed to the background; what remains is the lower-income strata claiming national preference, the adaptation of the definition of the nation and the national interest to their own standards, as they stumble, unconnected with each other, seeking guarantees of survival in individual institutions and apparatuses. It’s the upgraded position within the circuit of exploitation and reproduction of capital that leads a business executive or a civil servant to regard his own interests as more “universal” than those of others, despite if those others are also Greeks or not; it’s his very position as middle-class. However, what is fragmented at the level of civil society, must appear as single and unified at the level of the State, however difficult and temporary may be the line connecting the popular interests with the interests of reproduction of the State’s institutions and apparatuses. Popular nationalisms can potentially multiply, but State nationalism must be coherent and, in its capitalist core, unaffected by the rotation of different governments. The movement of the squares, at least in its Greek version, pointed out the dissolution of the people because each particular social group -always Greek to the core- that protested was demanding from the State to into account only its own particular interests, leaving aside the interests of the other social groups. And this despite the nationalist reunification of all under the Greek flag. The demand for differential treatment disclaimed its corporatist character and displayed its racist content, since it presupposed and realised the invisibilisation of the immigrants and the women.
4th addendum: During the movement of the squares, the support of SYRIZA in the 2012 and 2015 national elections, the rise of Golden Dawn, the processes leading to the SYRIZA-ANEL administration and the 2015 referendum, the political powers of the whole, now obsolete, political spectrum of Regime Change era, and despite their intentions, addressed the Greek people and articulated different versions of the popular interest, contributing to the emergence of popular nationalism as antisystemic and debasing all the other contradictions within the Greek social formation as secondary and undermining the people. The consequences of this crucial turning point for antagonistic discourse and action still remain to be seen in their entirety, especially after the mini-riot in front of the Greek parliament during the anti-Macedonian protest on 20 January 2019, with the violent clashes between nationalists and the cops. Despite the widespread slogan, the cops and the Nazis stated publicly through their actions that they are not one and the same.
The anti-Macedonian protests of the beginning of 2018 and 2019 in Athens and Thessaloniki, inherently distinct from those organised sporadically in various small cities, can be understood only in relation to the dynamics of the previous period of the anti-austerity struggles, and not in the context of a disorienting relation with the anti-Macedonian protests of the 1992-1994 period. We could refer to a series of similarities with the recent movement of the squares -social media as grassroots and non-partisan way of connecting the participants with one another, the rejection of extreme nationalist references and far-right violence, democratic addressing of demands to the State and respect for parliamentarianism, middle-class attitude and vibes in the protests. The organisers’ attempt, more blatant in the case of Athens, to present the anti-Macedonian protests as a reconciliation of left-wing and right-wing, as an expression of the authentic people, is indisputable in this respect. After four years of SYRIZA-ANEL administration, of a deep restructuring of fiscal policies and of stabilisation of capital accumulation in the Greek social formation, the State nationalism has been strengthened and can once again bypass the popular nationalist nostalgia for a Macedonia that’s supposed to be only Greek. Reaching this time, through the Prespa Agreement, to the point of recognising openly to the Greek audience what has already been signed at the level of international organisations: the existence of Macedonian nationality and language within Northern Macedonia. It may appear to be the existing hierarchical and differentiated State-system that initiated the new definitions of both Greek and Macedonian nations through the supranational institutions overseeing the process, but the historical nationalisms within the two States aren’t simple supporting actors. On the contrary, the social weight of nationalism is produced mainly endogenously, within State territory, tossind aside definitions of national interest that aren’t in line with the needs of total social capital. The Greek State reminds this to all directions, especially to the members of the military and the Church who participated in the anti-Macedonian protests and believed that, on the basis of the historical weight of the two institutions in defining the nation and the national interest, they could prevent the Prespa Agreement. The military and Church leaderships, however, avoided direct confrontation with the government, at least at this stage, understanding that the nationalism they promoted threatened to lose the prestige of universality it bears and become simply an individual nationalism next to others and expose itself in the self-organised spectacle of social medias. It is no coincidence that modern internationalised State nationalism is so exacerbated against the popular nationalism in such a degree that, at the same time that the Republic of North Macedonia is being helped to join NATO, the Greek State decided to expel Russian diplomats for the first time in the diplomatic history of the two countries on the basis of allegations that they attempted to bribe a far-rightists in order to participate in an anti-Macedonian protest in Alexandroupoli.
The Greek State contributes to the stabilisation of the Western Balkans -the only part of the Haemus peninsula that remain outside the EU and is the ground for the reproduction of highly devalued parts of the Balkan proletariat with confounded expectations and open to Islamic influences- actively participating in what Evangelos Venizelos calls “internationalisation of a Constitution of a country in crisis”; a crisis created by the long-standing confrontation of different nationalisms within the Republic of Macedonia that had the result that the Macedonian State nationalism couldn’t take a consistent form in the passage of time. SYRIZA-ANEL administration kept the national policy on the Macedonian question not only because it accepted an erga omnes complex name with a geographical qualifier, but mainly because it continues to participate in the management of the Balkan proletariat inside and outside the Greek borders. In a new context this time, as the historical context is now different. Some Greek enterprises may still exist in different Balkan countries, the almost 30% decline of Greek GDP in the years of the crisis couldn’t leave unaffected the position of Greek capital in the Balkans, since the long-term recession and the restructuring needs led to failure of the aggressive expansion of Greek banks in Southeastern Europe and their bet of emergence as regional actors. The 80% of Greek enterprises in the Balkans are virtual, without personnel and economic activity, simply transferring or maintaining their headquarters abroad due to more favourable taxations, or are reopening offices in Greece as the labour power here has become cheaper. Greek Public Electric Power Corporation may have made a significant, for its investment plans, acquisition, Greece may remain in a high position with regard to the position among foreign investors and the share of foreign direct investment in the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Prespa Agreement may, in any case, generally reinforce the presence of what’s left of Greek capital in the wider region, but none of these explain the timing of the Prespa Agreement. The timing of Prespa Agreement, of course, isn’t a product of chance but is indeed related to the formal exit of the country from the Memoranda and the national uplifting accompanying it, necessarily abandoning the nationalist burdens of the past. Beyond the abstract geopolitical analyses of “prestige” that fetishise the States and their policies for supposedly long-term defense of their national interests, we need to bring back to the forefront the way in which the proletariat affects domestically and regionally/cross-borderly the State policies. Prespa Agreement should therefore be understood within the continuity of the police-military management of the mobility of the world proletariat, in this case of the Balkan proletarit, since the creation of Balkan “migratory flows” towards more capitalistically developed countries must be prevented in the case of a new deeper crisis. A crisis which, let’s not forget, has long been announced that it will be deep. Since the Syrian refugees crossed the Greek-Macedonian borders in 2015, following the Balkan route to Germany, why shouldn’t others be expected to do the same?
1st addendum: Gudrun Steinacker, member of the German diplomatic mission and among else ambassador in Montenegro in 2014-2016, wrote:
European Commission, in its announcement on February 6, has indeed chosen unusually clear expressions to describe the situation in the Western Balkans. It refers to “State capture elements”, a term meaning the capturing of the State by various (mainly political and private) interest groups,including links to organised crime and corruption at all levels of government and administration. This strengthens a sense of impunity and inequality. In all six countries, there is widespread political control of the mass media; the economy in the region is not competitive due to high political involvement and an underdeveloped private sector. None of the Western Balkan States can be seen as a functioning market economy. Bilateral controversies held back and hampered a solution. These and other instabilities should not be introduced in the European Union.
Approximately nineteen years earlier, as the specific report of the European Academy reminds us, the plan was formulated somewhat different:
With the approval of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 bringing an end to the violence in Kosovo and the aerial bombardment of Serbia by NATO, the broader international community appeared committed to pursuing a comprehensive regional approach to the stabilisation of the Western Balkan region. The Stability Pact which was signed into being in June 1999 was an integral part of the shift from reactive crisis membership to the emergence of a long-term incremental transformational approach to the entire Western Balkan region. With the EU taking the lead, the SP brought together more than 40 countries as well as a range of international organisations in an intergovernmental body to coordinate technical and financial assistance and support regional initiatives with the objective of facilitating the political stabilisation of the region by fostering “peace, democracy, respect for human rights and economic prosperity”. The Balkan region was to be stabilised by means of a dual-pronged approach to fostering broader integration with Western economic and security structures as well as renewing and developing regional integration through economic cooperation and a major a programme of reconstruction. Further down the road EU accession would be attainable through the newly established Stabilisation and Association Process. The beneficiary states were Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Romania and after 2000, Yugoslavia, and June 2001, Moldova; the neighbouring countries of Hungary, Slovenia and Turkey; members of the EU; non-EU members of the G8, the U.S., Russia, Canada and Japan as well as broad range of international organisations including the EU and European Commission, the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, UNHCR, NATO and OECD; international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the IMF, World Bank, EIB, EBRD and Council of Europe Development Bank; and regional organisations such as the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Central European Initiative, Southeast European Cooperation Initiative (SECI) and the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP).
Unlike Western Europe after World War II, the Western Balkans, after the end of the Kosovo War, don’t have the corresponding political coherence nor the ability to create endogenous regional dynamics of capitalist growth, despite their about 25 million inhabitants. They weren’t given a Marshall-like plan, but only the promise that if they keep the Stability Pact for the five-year period 1999-2004 and respect the Copenhagen criteria, the road to EU membership is open and the same as for all countries, without discrimination based on a strategic position or a specific threat that may exist. Berlin Wall may have been demolished in 1989, but Gulf War in 1991 and the first Yugoslav War that was completed in 1995 would hinder the comprehensive preparation and implementation of EU’s enlargement plans. The next phase of activation of these plans in 1998 will be interrupted anew by Kosovo War. Nine countries (Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania) more or less entered into negotiations for joining EU, but not the two Balkan countries (Bulgaria, Romania) that didn’t engage in the Yugoslavia War. On the other hand, NATO in 1999 had significant military presence in countries (Kosovo, Bosnia) that have no immediate hope of joining NATO, while, like EU, NATO was totally absent from the two countries that had declared their aspirations of joining it. EU and NATO worked together for the first time in Kosovo, and political weight was given to the internationalisation of the conflict with the Milosevic regime and the promotion of humanist and democratic values; the real universal ideological arsenal of the developed West. In addition, it’s the need for Germany to adopt Agenda 2000, an agenda which would profoundly restructure the welfare State and employment conditions, that would slow down the integration procedures of West Balkan countries and restrict their financing; it would also restrict the adoption of the then Common Agricultural Policy. However, this aforementioned internationalised arrangement, managed to raise some billions of euros and planned the implementation of dozens of infrastructure projects. Provided, however, that the States involbed would constantly demonstrate that their will for cooperation, even on a cross-border basis. Through this path, the conflicts between countries will supposedly be overcome by changing the very culture of these civil societies, highlighting the superiority of the European perspective. We can therefore conclude that the Stability Pact seeked to transform the relation between the State and civil society in the Balkans by setting as a fundamental prerequisite for EU membership not only the existence of States that are relatively stable and powerful, but also States that aren’t organised on a national basis, since the latter has proved to be the matrix of the Balkan woes. In the words of George Schopflin, director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at the University of London:
In 1989, it is not only the Communist systems that have collapsed, but also the Communist States, the State collapsed, and its prestige remain weak […] In the West, the foundation of the State is the consensus of the citizens; in the East, there’s a tendency for the State to rely, in the absence of anything better, on the feeling of belonging to an ethnicity.
We should not forget that the national States that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union are proof of both the relatively tolerant central policy towards ethnicities during the so-called real socialism and the failure to build a poastnational Soviet identity, which was conceived as constructed and was gradually abandoned as the State crisis intensified. In keeping with historical proportions, this is the same process as the one that took place in the case of Yugoslavia.
2nd addendum: A well-formulated overview of the situation in the Balkans, written in the summer of 2015, must find its place in the reasoning we submit here:
The Balkans, an area profoundly influenced by the western orientalist view, are trying to shake it off by imposing their own orientalism on those who arrive there. These unstable States with enormous contrasts both domestically and among one another, give us a clear picture of the conjuncture: the (Balkan) nation-State is in crisis due to the migratory flows caused by the attempt to resolve the global crisis of capital, the antagonisms caused by this crisis, but also due to their inability to reconstruct their own production process and accumulation. This, in turn, provokes intra-State antagonisms such as the anti-austerity movements in Macedonia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria. However, as these movements are movements in which their confrontation with the State apparatus is not negative but positive, they are unable to come into contact in any way with the immigrants, as they see them as one of the factors destabilising the “solution” of the problem. It is striking that the events of the squares in all countries -the “domestic damned”- are a separate world from the world of migratory flows. In these movements, the “citizens” don’t seek to negate the State or its functions. On the contrary, they see the State, more or less explicitly, as a prerequisite for the solution of the problem (austerity), which “for some reason” isn’t yet solved. The criticism of these movements is that the fuctioning of the State apparatus has deviated from what the State-form is supposed to be as a relation of the bourgeois society. We see that even within the permanent now surplus-population there are different speeds and subjects, various forms of organisation of life and body which, for noe, don’t converge anywhere into a single identity. There’s a part of surplus-population within States and a part captured between States, that is, people coming from areas where the crisis of nation-State state has advanced to a greater degree, and now they carry it with them and regenerate anew into the core of the “developed” countries, further intensifying the crisis beyond the preexisting contradictions. At the same time, the processes within EU, on the one hand, and the asylum legislations and policies of devaluation, on the other hand, must be seen as a move in two directions, an urban “bouble bind” resulting from the very contradiction of capital. On the one hand, the labour force must be managed, be depreciated but also be used within European accumulation, so a at least precarious status should be recognised. On the other hand, those who aren’t needed must be further depreciated, they must be excluded, and those who are integrated must internalise the exclusion experience to the fullest.
However, the civil law of man, resulting from the universality of bourgeois relations, is supposed to be universal through the abstraction at its core, and so it’s perceived as the essence of man, a biopower, a power that anyone can invoke anywhere, which is owned by every man himself, and it’s supposed to be “his value”. On the other hand, its realisation is achieved only within the State, only within the political form and the condensation of bourgeois relations, within the political community of the State and its citizens. Migration flows cause a crisis in this ideological and organisational core of the State and the EU as a law, i.e. the universality of bourgeois society and its values on the one hand, and the disorganisation of the State-form that’s responsible for the realisation of this law and that subject on the other hand. Such a universal recognition of the civil rights of immigrants would bring the State to its limits, as it would further disorganise the very capitalist accumulation that the State itself has as a precondition for its existence. Thus, the various legal and ideological apparatuses of State-forms come into conflict in an effort to balance their own contradictions and to find the new political form appropriate to the circumstances of the time, a recodification of the bourgeois habitus, which currently remains suspended: this is the real meaning of the conflict between “humanitarian” and far-right policies, the real meaning of the conflict between Firdesz and UN, NGOs and fascists, the Church, the frightened citizens, etc. The only solution emerging for the State-form and the bourgeois society is the reconceputalisation of democracy and rights, with an explicit reference to the State and its community as the only guarantor of democracy and rights, finding refuge in nationalism (but not as a misdirection, which is the way most understand this process) since it’s the most flexible but also future-proof consant of the State’s community, and for this very reason nationalism can move more easily between the contradictory bipolar of “civil/human rights” and the management of migration flows. As the nation appears to be precapitalist or pre-State, it’s the natural line of equilibrium of the State, the logical response to its current crisis and form, as something preexisting, in the name of which anything can be legitimised, any violation of bourgeois logic. What we can predict isn’t the emergence of fascist States (in the sense of 1930-1940) but rather of nationalist democracies. In this sense, and only in this sense, Hungary is the spearhead of State-forms and not a backwards “guinea pig” of a pioneering EU. The bottom has no (visible) end.
3rd addendum: In 2015, Stefan Alscher, Johannes Obergfell and Stefanie Ricarda Roos published a study entitled Migrationsprofil Westbalkan: Ursachen, Herausforderungen und Lösungsansätze [Migration Profile of Western Balkans: Causes, Challenges and Solutions] for the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. From its conclusions, some of which are outlined below by us, we can understand the importance of the Western Balkans for the managers of immigration in times of crisis:
- The region of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) is politically, legally, economically and ethnically very heterogeneous. There is a tendency to diversify the management of so-called migration flows, especially since Croatia joined EU in July 2013.
- Western Balkan countries have traditionally been the countries of origin of immigrant workers since the 1960s. Within Europe, labour migration focuses on a few countries (Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Germany), which developed particular interests and relations in the wider region.
- This region is the central area of origin of asylum seekers to EU. The numbers of asylum applicants from the Western Balkan countries increased greatly due to the revocation of obligatory visa for Macedonian, Montenegrin and Serb nationals (December 2009) and for the nationals of Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina (December 2010). Germany is the main country of destination of asylum applicants from the Western Balkans. In 2013, Germany received 60% more applicants than France, which is second in the ranking. In particular, the number of Serbs has almost doubled between 2009-2013. The reason for the increase in asylum applicants, especially after the autumn of 2012 -in addition to visa liberalisation- is the decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court on July 2012 to improve (financial) benefits to asylum applicants. In 2014, while the entry of asylum seekers in Germany continues to increase, of the 10 main countries of origin, the five are Western Balkan countries: Serbia (2nd), Albania (5th), Kosovo (6th), Bosnia- Herzegovina (7th), Macedonia (8th). However, the number of asylums granted to applicants from these countries is well below the average, as these applicants don’t meet the formal conditions, while the majority of them are Roma. There is, therefore, the need to address this type of unwanted immigration, which, as the graph above shows, has increased the pressure to Germany as destination country. These unwanted immigrants seem to have used the Balkan route concurrently with the rise of large refugee flows due to Syrian Civil War, when the slogan “refugees welcome” had become the central motto of European humanism.
- Despite the return of refugees and the internally displaced to Western Balkan countries, migration processes in the region are still characterised by the consequences of the Yugoslavia Wars. The wars in former Yugoslavia have led to the largest refugee flows in Europe since the end of WWII. About four million displaced, about half of which were from Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are multiple challenges for the Western Balkan authorities (recognition of property rights, lack of housing, obstacles to free return, integration, etc.). Western Balkan States, as well as the States of the former Eastern Bloc in general, have been structured mainly on an ethnic basis, but without the Western-type experience of democratic management, relative flexibility in population management and integration of foreigners, minorities, subcultures, etc. Modernisation of the State and its civil society is a difficult and complex process in which play a central role the NGOs, the experience of contact between local institutions and apparatuses with their European counterparts, but also the various social movements that emerge and demand more democratic rights.
- Western Balkans is a transit region for many immigrants from third countries who cross illegally from Greece or Turkey to a Central European State. European States managed to agree on a common way of managing the financial crisis, despite the frictions that arosed between them; but a common strategy has become impossible in the case of refugee management. This fact shows the extent to which States, especially those of Eastern Europe, consider the arriving refugees as a factor destabilising their nationalism, since arrival of refugees raises sets racism and the extra privileges (that their “own people” should have in constrast to immigrants) at the centre of the discourse. And this is not a question that can be easily opened, especially by States that have failed to fully express the general interest and rise above the various particular interests of civil society, i.e. above the interests of individual capitalists. Such a condition is an obstacle for the adoption of the Western model of managing class and social antagonism via the national differentiation of the proletariat and the stratification of the labour market.
- The measures adopted by the Western Balkan States towards immigration are determined by their intent to become members of the EU and are generally directed towards limiting the mobility (e.g. the classification of these States as “safe States” dictates the return of asylum applicants who are their nationals). But at the same time, these States are criticised, either domestically or abroad, for their harsh policies, as shows the Macedonian Constitutional Court’s decision in June 2014 to declare unconstitutional the measures restricting the mobility of migration. There is, therefore, a clear correlation between the asylum policy and asylum law of each country and its procedures for EU integration in the context of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
4th addendum: Besides the domestic black bloc, EU’s managerial staff also remembers the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003, but for different reasons: there was officially put forward the question of linking the Balkan countries to the European perspective. And there, of course, was again asserted the position of Greece as main mediator for this perspective. Thirteen years later, the total trade of Western Balkans with EU was over 43 billion euros, already increased by 80% compared to 2008 and with growth prospects; European companies were the main investors in Western Balkans; in the past five years, foreign direct investment had exceeded 10 billion euros. The data comes from the European Commission study entitled A Credible Enlargement Perspective for and Enhanced EU Engagement with the Western Balkans, published in February 2018, on the first page of which we read that
The interlinkage and interdependence of the [Western Balkans] region with the European Union was evident in the migration crisis.
We leave to those who enjoy the paralysing warmth of anti-NATO propaganda to indicate to us another way that the broad cooperation of the Balkan ruling classes, understood as exploitation and oppression, as police management and exclusion, was brought out in practice than their cooperation against the practical negations of refugees and immigrants – that is, immigrants blocking the railways, the riots against police in Idomeni, their attacks against border guards, the tresspasings of national borders, their protests, the ignoring of bans, the riots in detention centres, the (limited) interaction with local solidarity movements, etc. So, the “interlinkage and interdependence” wasn’t just “evident”, as the authors of the study would have wanted; it became “evident”. The universal ideologies of humanism, of the democracy under threat, of the anti-Arab racism were defetishised with hard work and blood. In the conclusion of the study mentioned above, there’s a description of the five major initiatives EU is conducting in Western Balkans (security and migration, support for socio-economic growth, interconnection of transport and energy networks, digital agenda, support for reconciliation and good neighbourly relations) which are supposed to be fully integrated during the next wave of EU enlargement in 2025. But after the so-called refugee crisis, nothing will be the same.
5th addendum: In 2012, the more than 300 racist attacks in just one year have been the most significant contribution of Golden Dawn to Greek State so far, as its racist political program coincided with the country’s needs for “decongestion” from immigrants. The violence prompted many immigrants to leave from Greece, decompressing an already tense social situation. This is what, in a non-openly racist way, was called “immigration of workers” and “extraction of contradictions” to other countries. The problem of Eastern European States is that they are meant to provide cheap labour; and let it rot quietly in times when it becomes surplus. Although the recent economic recession has affected Western Balkans only indirectly -e.g., reduction the remittances from Albanian proletarians living in Germany or the consequences of the collapse of Greek banks- the economic recession and the devaluation of the proletariat had consequences and caused further convergence of the reproduction conditions in all the Balkan countries. This situation, however, makes more likely the possibility of a simultaneous collapse of their fragile labour markets. The insurrection in Bosnia still reminds us that the traditional nationalism has ceased to be a considerable force in manipulating social aspirations. Moreover, no European State is able to withstand socially and politically the arrival into its territory of other immigrants. The hypothetical European origin of the Balkan proletarians won’t change anything in their future. In particular, the Macedonian State must stabilise not only to play the role of the embankment in the event of a wider Balkan collapse, to the standards of the not so long time ago Kosovo War when Macedonia created refugee camps not letting the refugees to go further south, but to also prove that it can sufficiently manage its domestic proletariat. This is the point of improving its position at the current juncture beyond any fantasies of extracting benefits due to a geopolitical upgrading abstractly related to the passage of natural gas pipelines from its territory in an unknown future. This is apparent from the dialogues in the Macedonian council of political leaders that have now become public:
Nikola Dimitrov: “Our stance in the negotiations important, even if there’s no solution. It’s important that we play our cards. We do not want to seem as non-constructive in the eyes of other countries. What’ll be happening in Greece after the next elections? New Democracy will be in power with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who has studied in the West. We have to rush. While we quarrel, things are getting easier for the Greeks. It’s easy for them to block us when we give them arguments to do so. Our main argument is the stabilisation of the Balkans. The refugee crisis has shown how the situation would depelop when we become a problem for the EU. Noone in Macedonia wants to solve the problem. But non-solution is a problem”.
Zoran Zaev: “We must ensure that Greece won’t be able go to NATO and the EU blaiming Macedonia. We want to prove to the EU and NATO that FYROM wants to resolve the issue. Over time circumstances are becoming more and more unfavourable to us. Since the Interim Agreement, the stakes of the negotiations was the name. Now the language and identity are added. I think we have to solve the issue as long as we still have the opportunity to do so. With every postponement, the situation becomes more and more difficult. Stonewalling and suspensions led to a political crisis in Macedonia. If we don’t find a solution now, we will lose ten years. The refugee crisis has rekindled interest in the region. We must take advantage of this interest (followed by NATO’s interest) and find a solution”.
In this respect, it’s better for the Macedonian State to relaunch a domestic process of nation-making on the base offered by the “Northern Macedonia citizenship” rather than to maintaining in its interior proletarians that might feel that their national identity is too artificial, in order for the Macedonian proletariats to, in a case of a deeping of the crisis, feel as responsible Macedonians and not as Stateless and denationalised. Putting definitely aside the elitism and political depreciation of social processes in the smaller countries that the geopolitcal analyses imply by definition. Regarding the Macedonian referendum on 30 September 2018 about the Prespa Agreement, Athena Skoulariki wrote:
The clear renunciation of any relation with ancient and modern Greek Macedonia creates reactions. The national narrative following the independence of the Republic of Macedonia has increasingly emphasised antiquity. During Gruevski administration, the tendency of “backdating” became an official ideology of the State, to the point where the references to the Slavic origin of the nation were excluded. Against the arguments of Greece that a Slavic people can not relate to ancient Macedonia, the solution was to deny Slavicism and invoke a direct origin from the ancient Macedonians. In previous years, the term “Slavs” has come to be considered offensive. Against the revision of the national narrative by VMRO-DPMNE nationalists, Social Democrats, Leftists and Liberals had developed a clear anti-nationalist speech. They denied the myths of ancient origin and insisted on Slavic origin and culture (the connective tissue of Yugoslavia in the past). However, these ideological-political conflicts did not resonate to the entire population. The return to Slavic identity with the rise of Zaev’s Social Democrats is very recent. Many find it difficult to accept this absolute separation between Greek antiquity and Slavic North Macedonia.
The conflict between different definitions of national interest, both between the more conservative and the progressive fraction of the Macedonian bourgeoisie and between the Macedonian and Albanian bourgeoisie as ethnically defined, agonised the Macedonian State almost since its independence. Initially, during the insecurity caused by the Yugoslav Wars throughout the 1990s, then during the armed confrontation with the Albanian minority in the early 2000s. What caused breaches in the dominant nationalism was the 2015-2016 movement against VMRO’s corruption, as for the first time Macedonians and Albanians protested together against the regime. In keeping with the social and historical proportions, this is the same form of movement as the Greek movement of the squares, which triggered the emergence of a new form of national reconciliation. Of course, the basic difference is that Zaev’s social democratic SDSM managed to transform itself so that it can interact with and represent the movement, in contrast to SYRIZA, which managed to represent the Greek movement of the squares only after PASOK’s dissolution. The ratification of the Prespa Agreement seems to be supported by a broad social basis in both countries, a social basis which supports the convergence of the dominant definition of national interest with pro-Europeanism. For its part, the less democratic and more ethnic version of nationalism on both countries has no real alternative to suggest to the population, despite intense verbal confrontations. Can a solid social and political bloc be built on the basis of “Fatherland, Religion, Family”, on the basis of what is fetishisedly called “pro-Russianism”, as a counterweight to the Western perspective?
Those who participated in the recent anti-Macedonian protests in Athens and Thessaloniki are looking more like the indignados who tried in the autumn of 2011 to deviate the national parades and transform them into a sphere of expression of the people, rather than the self-contained “Macedonian fighters” [the name given to the Greek armed forces that fought in the Macedonian Struggle, a conflict between Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbs over Macedonia]. For example, we shouldn’t hold only on the fact that 87% of the participants in the Athens protest in February 2018 stated that they participated “to express their opposition to the developments in the Macedonian issue”, or only on the fact that 68% of the participants believe that “today’s protest looks more like the 1992 anti-Macedonian protest”, and on the fact that all these are said by standing firmly in Syntagma Square; perhaps the only possible symbolic ground for any mass mobilisation of the current period. The same poll shows that 54% of participants voted “no” in the 2015 referendum against just 24% who voted “yes”. The connection between the movement of the squares and the anti-Macedonian protests, while largely preoccupied the statisticians in the service of dominant thinking, left generally indifferent the so-called subversive circles, which are increasingly adopting the rhetoric of the domestic bankrupt far-left, coveting its audience.
1st addendum: The strategic exponents of national interest understand better what they’re up against to:
However, to be honest, the most important problem is the nature and intensity of the reaction of a very large part of Greek society, of public opinion, which obviously has no legible and rational motivation, but this constitutes a reality that noone should underestimate. In this case, it’s a vengeance of nationalism-populism, since the recent big protests in Thessaloniki and Athens about FYROM’s name are not an evolution of the 1992 protests, but an evolution of the way in which the social and political reaction was organised during the crisis. The current protests are the evolution of the “squares of the indignados”.
The most important thing is the reaction of society towards an accumulated sense of defeat, not in the field of foreign policy and national affairs but in general. A question of national humiliation that the collective subconscious must overcome by acts of resistance and pride, with the assumption, of course, which is dangerous, that symbolisms are often more important than reality. After a while, we all understand that reality is immeasurably more important, and whoever underestimates reality in the name of symbolisms and, in fact, of oppurtunist symbolisms, does not offer service to the national interest. Hyperpatriotic rhetoric is not the same with the real, modern and practical patriotism that implies knowledge, ability to take risks and the ability to understand and change the real balance of forces. Words are easy, action is difficult. But I understand very well a phrase that, within quotation marks, would say “alas, not by Skopje” when we have been humiliated by our European partners, by the International Monetary Fund, by other actors of the international world. But this is a reaction that does not have the elements of strategic rationality that serves real patriotism.
As the Greek State moves consistently on the basis of the national policy regarding the Macedonian question, with the negotiation procedures being at the centre of the media spectacle from the beginning of 2018 onwards, a range of definitions of national interest of different institutional origin are developed, not necessarily from State’s institutions, at the same time with proposals, demands, and protests that address the State about the policy it must adopt. Variety is a great, clear indicator that Greek modern nationalism, both at the social and Statal level, has entered irrevocably into its postmodern version. Every gleaning bears in it, necessarily, a prejudice: from Yiannis Boutaris, mayor of Thessaloniki and a groundbreaking, for Greek standards, bourgeois figure who dined with Zaev in New Year’s Day in 2018, and Giorgos Kaminis, mayor of Athens, who in April 2018 signed a cooperation agreement between the municipalities of Athens and Skopje; the appeal to the Council of State on behalf of the Pan-Hellenic Federation of Cultural Associations of Macedonians and 13 Pan-Macedonian Unions of the expatriate Macedonians [here, in both cases, by Macedonian is referred to Greeks from Greek Macedonia] for the suspension and cancellation of the Prespa Agreement; the demonstration, in July 2018 at Perama, organised by Golden Dawn’s trade-union “Aghios Nikolaos”, with the main slogan “Macedonia is ONLY Greek”; the protest in June 2018 at Serres with main slogans “There’s only one Macedonia and it’s Greek” and “dual name means betrayal” [with “dual name” meaning that “Northern Macedonia” could also be reffered to plainly as “Macedonia”], where two of main speakers were the metropolitan bishop of Serres and Nigrita, Theologos Apostolidis, and the mayor of Serres, Petros Aggelidis; the riots at the Thessaloniki International Fair in June 2018 by PAOK’s hooligans [PAOK is a football club in Thessaloniki] aiming to cancel SYRIZA’s event on the Macedonian question; the Fofi Gennimata’s veto in KINAL’s meeting [KINAL or Movement for Change is the new name of PASOK, Fofi Gennimata is the president of the party] on the Macedonian question, since all other members of KINAL’s Political Council supported the Prespa Agreement; the main opposition’s [ND] charges that “SYRIZA handed in recognition of Macedonian language and ethnicity to the Skopjans”; the resolution of Aris FC (another footclub in Thessaloniki) calling people to participate in the anti-Macedonian protests on the basis that “Macedonia and Aris are identical concepts”; from the callout of the Trade-Union of Specials Guards of the Hellenic Police of Attica towards all their colleagues to participate in the Athens anti-Macedonian protest, since “the concession of the name ‘Macedonia’ is a concession of our fatherland” to the callouts of the Sacred Association of Clergy of Greece, the Armed Forces Reserves Club and the Cretan singer and lyra player Psarantonis. In many analyses, these expressions of nationalism, instead of being conceived in their coherence with the nation and the people, are downplayed to simple epiphenomena, to empty signifiers. Perhaps the most fundamental cause of this baneful misprision of reality is the still strong ideological hegemony of the Left that politically privileges the anti-right and anti-fascist ideology by considering the political rival as unified whenever and however it suits it to justify its existence, both at the theoretical and at street level. From here results the designation of “Macedonian fighers” as the main target of the movement against the anti-Macedonian protests, to which was added the necessary tone of ridicule by the pro-government media. Generally speaking, antifascism has historically emerged from the interclass logic of the popular fronts, thus antifascism is bound by the polarisation between right and left and, by definition, because of its binary logic, it’s unable to distinguish between the people the nation, thus avoiding confrontation with them. Until then, it can be part of the left-wing State propaganda, which, in blatant contrast to 1992, did not have to openly turn against any dissident anti-fascist. In fact, the left-wing State propaganda and its cops, in some cases, didn’t leave those who participated in the counter-protests to be prey to the organised fascists. It remains to be seen whether, under the pressure of the retreat of social struggles, domestic antifascism can transform itself and focus critically on left-wing political management, against the very left of the capital and the State. But also against national identity and national preference, which this time are mainly produced by the grassroots. The criticism to every individual nationalism is a prerequisite for the possibility of a non-fragmentary anti-national critique, which would eventually be unifiied on the basis of the critique of everything existing. It must accept the power of the nation-form, which not only had effected the dissolution on the party system of both countries and thuse changed their political map, but also penetrated the political microcosm of the anarchist/anti-authoritarian milieu.
On 26 November 2017, Pakistani immigrants who had gathered for a religious celebration in Omonia Square were attacked by PAOK hooligans who had gathered for their own reasons somewhere nearby. The official version of the events on the media claimed that the immigrants allegedly attacked the PAOK fans because they wore black clothes, as the members of Golden Dawn use to wear during their attacks; we leave the verbal condemnation to those who only know to feel sorry for the immigrants who, if anything, tried to respond and assert their presence in the public space. Together with the arson of Libertatia squat -at the end of the first and only massive recent Thessaloniki anti-Macedonian protest on 21 January 2018- an arson in which participated PAOK fascist hooligans with connections to the Savvidi family [Ivan Savvidi is a Greek-Russian bussinesman, mafioso and owner of PAOK FC], these two attacks are two novel events produced by the conjuncture and showing that there is now a street nationalism that doesn’t directly need the usual police support [like Golden Dawn] to attack squats and immigrants. At the same time, the one hundred schools occupied by their students in Thessaloniki against the Prespa Agreement, and dozens in other provincial cities in Greece, on the occasion of a far-right call on Facebook in November 2018, show that the prerequisites for an autonomous formulation of nationalist ideological demands are present. Anti-fascist realism proves to be a virtue only when it doesn’t try to sweep under the carpet the fact that the threat of its political extinction is twofold: on the one hand, the fascists replicate your practices in the streets trying to gain approach the “wild youth” and tilt the balance of forces in the public space permanently in their favour; on the other hand, the left government, that is, the State itself, presents you as its “comrade” in your common anti-fascist struggle.
1st addendum: State nationalism offered everything in an attempt to reconcile and relativise the beaten-up, mainly north-Greek, nationalism regarding the Macedonian question: new football stadium for PAOK; establishment of an international university in Thessaloniki; re-inauguration of the still unfinished subway; and in the course of time, the immediate expansion of Greek territorial waters from 6 to 12 miles in the Ionian Sea. But apparently, without result. It remains to be seen what the full effect of the Macedonian question will be for the parties seeking to mediate traditional popular nationalism: let us recall that VMRO in Macedonia got fractured in the face of the Prespa Agreement, while ND -the only party from the Regime Change era that remained relatively unharmed during the crisis and the Memoranda- seems to absorb the shocks. But for how long? At present, ethnic nationalism remains undisputed at the social level, searching its political representatives, including several adventurous figures such as Michalis Patsikas, one of the organisers of the anti-Macedonian protests. and is in search of political alliances.
Empiricism justifies its existence with the need to devise a solid background, which would prevent all opinions from being considered valid, justifying only those germane to the events under consideration. In its attempt to draw the truth from experience, from whatsoever external present, empiricism elevates the information and feeling received via the senses to the form of general representations and laws. Although unconfessed, the hegemonic position empiricism holds as a methodology for discussions and verification of conclusions in the subversive circles is linked to the subjective aspect of empirical knowledge and to the fact that “consciousness within the perception via the senses is directly present and sure of itself”. In the psychological core of empiricism resides is the need to understand oneself as free from all prejudice so one can restore an uninterrupted relation with his external environment. This “axiom of liberty”, especially in its particular anarchist/anti-authoritarian version, introduces a fundamental criterion of validity during the reading of the events, since the one reading them must himself watch them and know that he himself is present in them. Even if you are physically absent, the informative posts and the countless photos and videos force you to participate in the empirical narrative at the expense of marginalisation if you don’t want to behave as an alternative journalist. Experience offers the perception of many distinct objects or events, their successive or parallel changes, but is unable to talk about their essential interrelation. The portrayal of everyday experience can never substitute theory. A collage of other’s opinions will never provide the solution of the puzzle to the mind of the one who tries to solve it, unless he spends time himself to compose the solution.
1st addendum: Again, from the pamphlet entitled Thessaloniki, June 2003: A Critical Appraisal:
By the time this pamphlet will be published, about a year and a half would have passed since the events. This exceptionally original for the anarchist/anti-authoritarian milieu, as it experiences a continuous temporal contraction: its own history falls into temporal layers according to the development of events. The result is that on a constant basis, the history of the recent past seems to be something distant and already half-forgotten, already buried by everything that followed, and especially the events of the current affairs. That is why the only thing we were told writing this text over the past few months was: “are you still concerned with that”?
The lock-in of anarchist/anti-authoritarian milieu in a constant present isn’t, of course, a product of metaphysics; it emerges from its age composition, as for over 30 years the Greek anarchist milieu remains a youth movement. Additionally -and not at all unrelated to the inherent youthfulness of the milieu- there is a (perhaps) excessive focus on direct action. Obviously, the recording of history can wait for our (inevitable) victory.
Hasta la victoria siempre, but, in the meanwhile, the many little stories that make up the shared history are lost in time without being recorded. And whenever someone wants to know about history and the events of the past, he will simply collect scattered (and sometimes contradictory) oral narratives. And the conflicting realities of the different narratives will almost permanently lose any meaning of continuity; the sense that every struggle of today is indissolubly linked to yesterday’s struggles is lost, since the “yesterday” has come to be a permanent field of confusion.
But the loss of the sense of shared history isn’t the only effect of the lack of recording. It leads in a deterministic way to the latent emergence of the few older comrades as bodies of collective memory, being the only ones who know the interrelation between the struggles of yesterday and today – and, thus, make sense of them. Therefore, the anarchist movement ends up being a subjective history with different references and paths according to the person who is (or claim to be) able to attempt the recollect its history. That’s clearly a currency of power in the anarchist milieu, directly payable upon displaying it.
In communications that began to circulate after the first of the recent anti-Macedonian protests appeared some ambiguous formalities, e.g., “Macedonia is only one and it belongs to NATO”, that attempted to grasp the conjuncture and, obviously, don’t guarantee by themselves the actual influence of the written content. Yet, beyond the creation of impressions, judgement means to define a concept and prove if it’s symmetrical with the subject under consideration, if it grasps its particularity. Judgements differ from simple propositions; if you say “a car is passing”, that would be a judgment, a subjective judgment, if and only if it was doubtful whether it’s the car that’s moving or our point of reference. Thus, it would be a judgement only if we were interested in identifying a representation that hasn’t yet been identified. Verbalism, however, constitutes a retreat in face of the concepts, or excessive confidence or deliberate mental resignation in the face of a capitalist reality that exceeds the person talking about it. Apart from this example, nonetheless, it would be unfair not to talk about inhibitions, of political origin this time, which clearly show that when it’s needed there’s a reflection on concepts and through this is revealed the extensive discussion that preceded their use. Nothing is currently more indicative than the avoidance of using the name “Macedonia” in texts and communications, and instead using conventions such as “the neighbouring country”, “FYROM”, etc. How can this choice be explained, if not by the disproportionate focus on magic keys-words that supposedly have the ability to overshadow what you say politically? By bowing in front of the common sense -this ghost built by empiricism- that must, transformed now into “the common citizen”, to not “misinterpret” what you are writing. The pretexts cannot be taken as basis for political analysis; on the contrary, they indicate a lack of political analysis, as well as the unwillingness to detect points against the (Greek) nation and the (Greek) State. However, how can you take a position against the nation and State in general, when you avoid talking specifically against your particular nation and your particular State?
1st addendum: One year later, and with the advantage of time and the publication of two additional texts released by Taksiki Antepithesi in the meantime, we can finally see the structural features of Taksiki Antepithesi’s approach and where they could politically lead.
The recent revival of the Macedonian question, on the initiative of the United Nations (i.e., NATO, i.e., USA), has brought to light one of the questions through which the local bourgeoisie and its State have shown, since 1992, […] their upgraded role in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. (Text 1)
From the very first paragraph of the text, it’s implied that it’s possible such an important question for the history and the positions in the region of the Greek and Macedonian States to be revived without the initiative of these two States, but by others instead. This is shown by other formulations, like “the plan and the need of EU and USA, seem to impose a definitive solution of the question of the officially recognised name of the neighbouring State of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)” (Text 1). Thus, from the first moment, the international factor appears to have an external relation not only with the needs of the local political personnel, but also with the local bourgeoisie, since State and bourgeoisie are inevitably coordinated with each other. Euro-Atlantic Imperialism imposes “with either diplomacy or arms” the “realism” and “solutions”, and Taksiki Antepithesi calls us invites us to oppose them. When, however, did arms wear used to force the recent solution of the Macedonian question, and against whom? It’s just another verbalism that tries to be imposed on the reader not on the basis of the content of the theses being expressed, but by mere sensationalism.
The same absolute and anti-imperialist formulations of externality between the internationalised institutions and the Greek State are not missing even a few months later: “Of course, the solution of the Macedonian question is nothing more than a smokescreen for the further advance of capital and the complete mooring of the neighbour country to the chariot of NATO imperialism, putting another brick to the fortification of EU and NATO interests in the Balkans in the face of intense competition with Russia and China” (Text 2). That is, those who participate to the anti-Macedonian protests, and the majority of the political personnel of the Greek State who regards as “old-fashioned” the battle cries of the ’92 protests “after the ‘realism’ formed by the given degradation [of Greece’s position] in the international capitalist division [of labour]”, are so wrong about the dispute around Macedonia’s name that they haven’t understood that it’s a “smokescreen”. Nation and nationalism become invisible, the only thing that can supposedly explain everything is imperialism. And, in fact, only the Euro-Atlantic imperialism, not the Russian imperialism the action of which the authors fail to explain to us, not only regarding the Macedonian question, but also regarding the events in Ukraine and Syria. Nothing is accidental, you will end up where your theoretical and political tools guide you. Further down the text, Taksiki Antepithesi refers to the strategy of Greek capitalism, main goals of which are
the economic stabilisation and growth trough the deepening of the anti-workers and anti-popular policies of the past 8 years, and the upgrade of the geopolitical role of Greek capitalist formation, via the intensification of its military, economic and political dependence to US imperialism. (Text 3)
The shift of emphasis, in comparison to Text 1 where it was argued that “the degradation [of Greece] is given in the international capitalist division”, is obvious. They don’t explain this shift. Should we suppose that they perceived their excessive resemblance to the traditional analyses of the Left, a resemblance which cannot be avoided just by a demonstration of militant mood on the streets? For our part, we interpret it as the necessary shift from criticism against the “Macedonian fighers” to criticism against the Greek State, so now is described the activity of Greek State.
Further below, for better clarification, Taksiki Antepithesi wrote:
Playing the role of “good and docile NATO soldier”, the Greek State shapes the conditions for a new and aggressive swoop of the Greek capital in the Balkans and Southeastern Mediterranean, a strategy fortified and strengthened, despite the intrabourgeois variations, by the bourgeois nationalism as a constituent part of the dominant ideology and a basic factor of political and social unification around the expansionist ambitions that Greek bourgeoisie and its State have historically maintained against their neighbours. Not only is there no divergence between these two basic traits of Greek capitalism, dependence on the one hand and nationalism on the other, but, in fact, these two traits are intertwined and supplemental one to the other. In spite of bourgeois cosmopolitanism, the Greek expansionism, as the core of the ideology of the Greek bourgeoisie and its State, was expressed historically under the auspices of the Great Powers and Imperialism. The more eloquent -as well as destructive- expression of this relation was the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 and the Smyrna Catastrophe in 1922. (Text 3)
Here, in contrast to the two previous texts in the manner in which the Greek State and its bourgeoisie is perceived, Taksiki Antepithesi recognises that the precondition of any upgrading of the Greek social formation is the domestic stability of exploitation, as they recognise production and the importance of nationalism for the interior of the territory. In addition to Taksiki Antepithesi’s turning a political blind eye and attributing these characteristics only to bourgeois nationalism -as if non-bourgeois nationalism didn’t produce such phenomena, e.g., in Eastern Bloc, in Arab countries, in Africa or in Asia- it is worthy of wonder how bourgeois nationalism is related to some kind of “dependence”, while simultaneously in essence they are “intertwined and supplemental one to the other”, in mutual aid and cooperation. Formulated marginally, by each State according to its capabilities to each State according to its needs. We are far from a military or a trade war between Greek and US States. Taksiki Antepithesi insists on the use of the term “dependence” in order not to abandon the virtual certainties and the presumed prestige that the reproduction of anti-imperialist ideology gives to themselves and to their circles. The fact that there is inequality between States and different roles in the division of labour within the State system doesn’t in any way imply that it’s possible, e.g., for USA, to build out of nothing some kind of Greek nationalism or give to it the shape that USA wants. These were the devastating mistakes, primarily, of the Left and, secondarily, of the anarchists who didn’t oppose the nation and nationalism, and felt they could handle them politically. The historical result was that nation and nationalism manipulated and integrated all sorts of political powers that referred to them.
Any anti-imperialist who respects himself must search where is the closest war in order to ideally relate to it and unravel his strategy. If we were indeed in a phase where Greek capitalism is preparing again for a military campaign in the Balkans on an expansionist basis -which we doubt since the essential conditions of the 1990s are now missing- what corresponds to us is a new desertion, as was practiced in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 or, more recently, by the Syrian refugees who refused to fight on any side of the Syrian Civil War. But, what would Taksiki Antepithesi do if the Greek State were involved in a war? Would they object it or would they first analyse if the war has a progressive character for the Greek people, their favorite subject, and their emancipation?
In fact, however, in this Agreement, Greece participated in a position of power, both because, as a nation-State formation, it’s higher in the international capitalist division, and because Northern Macedonia is the one that benefits more (even marginally) from the consequences of the Agreement (joining NATO and EU). (Text 2)
So, Greece, which is in a position of strength, helps Northern Macedonia to benefit more from the deal, giving it some rewards. Is this called imposition or altruism? If there’s a mistake in the wording here and what Taksiki Antepithesi intent to say is that both States benefit from the Agreement on the basis of their unequal position in the international capitalist division of labour, they should somehow explain how this is made possible on the basis of the capacity of recognising mutual benefits and not with formulations such as “This Agreement strengthens the dependence of both countries and deepens their involvement in the imperialist ‘games’ in the Balkans” (Text 2). Nowhere have we found such an explanation because, in the last instance, the one pulling the strings have to be the deified world imperialism. States and their interests cannot, however, be erased so easily from the general picture. This is why so many years have passed since the Interim Agreement between Greece and FYROM in 1995, in order to reach a solution to the dispute of the two States. Otherwise, Taksiki Antepithesi must at some point explain us in detail why “dependence” hindered its resolution for so many years. At present, we accept that, mutatis mutandis, as between Greece and EU or Greece and NATO, so between Greece and Northern Macedonia, some things were agreed as mutually beneficial; certainly on the basis of a hierarchy, concerning the change of the Macedonian Constitution, but without easy comparisons and assessments as to which State benefited most. It remains to be seen how much (possitively?) the “social unification” of Northern Macedonia will be effected from the recognition of Macedonian language and ethnicity, which is inevitably linked with the recognition of the Northern Macedonian citizenship and the recognition of the Albanian language as an official constitutional language, and how much (negatively?) the unity of the Greek State will be effected by the strengthening of Greek-Macedonian nationalism.
It’s no accident that Greece has been turned into a weapons depot and large airport for NATO, that the government has seeded NATO bases and military installations throughout the country and that in Souda are docked aircrafts which “secure order and restore peace” in the Middle East. In addition, for the Greek capital, the Agreement is a springboard for a new dive into the Balkans, now in a “friendlier” environment. The bourgeoisie of the two countries and their political staff are see in the Agreement their geostrategic upgrading, they see flows of dollars and euros, they see natural gas pipelines being built. But in order for their plans to be realised, the labour power must be Chinesed further [a Greek popular term, comparing the devaluation of labour power and the worsening of working conditions to the conditions of Chinese labour force], labour rights must be crushed and the real living conditions of the workers must become even worse. (Text 2)
Does Greek capitalism see an opportunity opening for further accumulation, an opportunity that Greek capitalism is able to take, and where? Are there investment opportunities in the Balkans? How is this related with turning Greece into a weapons depot? As we know, weapons don’t produce value, surplus-value and capital. Neither investments in Εxclusive Εconomic Ζones and energy networks will give an impetus to the development of Greek capitalism similar to that of the 1990s, when it overcame the overaccumulation crisis. Where are the “flows of dollars and euros” and why these money haven’t yet spurred capital growth in Greece? We don’t expect any of these questions to be answered as long as the connection between the realisation of the expansion plans of Greek capital, the confirmation of the Greek State as a “good and docile NATO soldier” and the “Chinisation” of the labor power remains an abstraction. For us, the first two cannot be conceived without talking about exploitation, i.e, the third one. Military and militarism can be forced on capital accumulation only in time of war, and again temporarily. Military and militarism, in their interaction with industrial capital, are necessarily posited to the limitations of the valorisation of capital, and they cannot escape industrial capital without devaluation.
Especially with regard to the productively drained North Greece (and Thrace) of the poverty and unemployment, US economic interest is found in the strengthening of trade with the industrial capital of Northern Greece and the joint utilisation of its resources. Particular emphasis is placed on the energy sector through the promotion of energy agreements around the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) […] This is an issue of major importance for USA, not only from an economic aspect but, above all, in a geostrategic aspect, for the American attempts to control the energy paths leading to Europe, with the aim of reducing Europe’s energy dependence on Russia (almost 1/3 of Europe’s energy needs are covered from Russia) and the economic and political Russian influence over Europe created by this. (Text 3)
We leave aside the reactive reflexes that the phraseology about “productive drainage” and “poverty and unemployment” would induce to the population of Νorthern Greece under the current conditions of acute nationalism. There are a number of questions that remain answered: are there really Americans interested in investing in Northern Greece and who are they? The truth is there’s no American investments in Northern Greece. In the eyes of an anti-imperialist, the Prespa Agreement must be the result of American imperialism, and so he sees foreign capital even where it doesn’t exist in order to denounce it. But, for a moment, let’s pretend that these American investment do exist. According to Taksiki Antepithesi’s reasoning, and since there is a big social problem in the region, why whould the local population not support the investment plans of any US industrial capital since, according to Taksiki Antepithesi, these investments would help them? Taksiki Antepithesi don’t mention any alternative. Can the solution be “American investors go away, the resources belong to the locals”? Or do they believe that it’s possible for both American and Greek bourgeoisie to be simultaneously overthrown? Or do they support the most “feasible” gradual solution: first, to shoo the Americans by allying with those who don’t want them, and only then turning against the Greek bourgeoisie? What should be the position of the consistent anti-imperialists on the productive reconstruction of Northern Greece? Τhe specific questions annoy them, because they reveal the poverty of the late anti-imperialist phraseology. Especially when anti-imperialists dissociate the geostrategic analyses from the social balance of forces, from the, analytically and politically preceding, class relations.
Taksiki Antepithesi refer to immigrants only once, in Text 3, refering to “the Greece of concentration camps for refugees and immigrants”. Anti-imperialism has always sought to focus its analysis the oppressed people of the nation which is the weakest link in the imperialist chain. This people will be the single and indivisible revolutionary subject, and the task of thorough analysis is to set the central antithesis to strong imperialism; in this case, NATO and EU. All other antitheses within the people were, at best, “secondary contradictions”, which had to be marginalised in the name of the unity of the people.
2nd addendum: The genuine anti-imperialists, relying on the fact that the country’s position has actually changed throughout the crisis, conveniently classify Greeks in the oppressed nations according to the orthodox Leninist manual and point to NATO and EU as sole administrators of the Macedonian question; implying that the Greek government simply obeyed orders, and making Greek nationalism invisible in all its versions. Their participation in the anti-Macedonian protests [referring here not to Taksiki Antepithesi but to some leftist organisations and parties], rightly diagnosing them as a late manifestation of the movement of the squares, may have been largely undeclared, but at least consistent with their theory; today’s popular struggle is tomorrow’s class struggle. The anti-imperialists who didn’t participate in the anti-Macedonian protests did so due to their erroneous reading of the protests as supposed manifestations that have nothing to do with the people -i.e., the revolutionary subject of their theory- and that they are dominated by Nazis, fascists and whatever else their refracted analysis has invented. Because the people, accorind to them, can only be progressive and torchbearer of the light of Enlightenment. The interchangeability between people and working class in their theory is feasible since they perceive the workers’ State as the only end of genuine class struggle; and of course, the party must guarantee the removal of anything that may resemble hierarchies and its conflicts within the people and the working class. Luckily for us, and unfortunately for them, the composition of the proletariat in modern capitalism has irrevocably changed, and now it isn’t nationally, racially or genderly homogeneous. There will never again be a new Greek National Liberation Front and a Greek People’s Liberation Army; nor the terms for a theory of gradual transition. Nationally closed areas of accumulation are a thing of the past, as well as the perception of a, by definition, unified working class. We leave the exotic reading of the history of capitalism to the nostalgists of Che Guevara, Arafat, Samir Amin and Velouchiotis.
3rd addendum: The overcoming of the racist conditions of the existence of the people, the real encounter of Greeks and immigrants, won’t be a pleasant encounter; the 2008 riots are socially much closer, although ten years have passed since then. Back then, among other things, Greeks were not those rebels who didn’t accept mass lootings and chose to politically consider themselves in terms of superiority and abstraction, supposedly without material needs and desires? Much have happened since then: immigrants were hunted down by anarchists as alleged thugs; dissidents were declared as apoliticals, nihilists and politically irresponsible, and were beaten and evicted from squats; armed protests have occured in Exarcheia, Athens; many shops have paid protection racket. At a turning point, however, in an insurrectional turmoil that there will be no people to be represented at the barricades, what will the self-appointed anarchist militias do? To whom will they turn their guns?
4th addendum: The selective opposition to nationalism or, in the best case, to some of nationalisms, can be acute and militant, but never wonders about the overall picture. However original may be the criticism of the popular nationalisms, the theoretical and political danger is that this critique may turn into the inverted image of the anti-imperialist critique when it forgets the dialectical relation between State and civil society, and hence between State nationalism and popular nationalism. When the criticism goes beyond the scope of particular nationalisms -it should be noted, though, that the criticism of the particular nationalisms is essential for the struggle at the level of everyday life- and enters the scope of the universal, it must first of all be able to distinguish between the State as a particular form of totality and powerful nationalism which the State produces and implements. Although the nation-form cannot be directly derived from the categories of the capitalist relations of production as they’re described in Marx’s Capital, nor its emergence was historically associated with a particular form of authoritarian State, nevertheless the nation-form is neither self-existent nor theoretically and politically secondary. The nation is a form of existence of power relations, it doesn’t coincide with the empty signifier “Greeks” outside and beyond their social and political definition. Being Greek is not just an identity, as the ideologically anti-Greeks [the Greek equivalent of antideutsch] erroneously believe, adapting it to their own measures. As long as the nation is not approached in its universality -together and alongside other equally universal categories such as State and capital which, with another terminology, are nothing more than concepts that express the basic forms of socialisation in capitalism- it will continue to be perceived just as subjective behavior and manifestation of those who feel Greeks, it will continue to be perceived as a cultural event. Conversely, what makes someone a minority is not only his subjective experience of oppression, but also the State policies in all their individual manifestations. This is why -however important it may be to struggle against the oppression of a national minority within a social formation- the recognition of a minority by the State strengthens the democratic functions of the State at the expense of its non-democratic and non-inclusive functions. And this was known in advance, before the struggle for the recognition of a national minority became the flagship of anti-Greeks. In any case, every social struggle selects the means of conducting itself, and it does well. But how can we turn against the current representative of the general interest of the Greek social formation, i.e., SYRIZA, which had always been a pro-feminist political organisation, supporting the rights of immigrants and minorities and in close connections with the anarchist/anti-authoritarian milieu? Unless it is unnecessary to do so, due to an implicit appreciation that with SYRIZA “something positive was finally done on the Macedonian question”. For its part, Kommounistiki Protovoulia apo ti Skala Lakonias [Communist Initiative from Skala, Laconia] is honest about this:
From this point of view, the only consistent, anti-fascist and internationalist attitude to the Macedonian question was that which held the communist movement in Greece until the end of the Civil War: solidarity with the Macedonian minority; common struggle for the defeat of Greek nationalism […] In this direction, the Prespa Agreement between the Greek State and the “Republic of Macedonia” which the latter’s name to “Northern Macedonia”, constitutes a partial victory of the official Greek nationalism, as it’s expressed by the ministry of foreign affairs and SYRIZA. The only positive thing about the Agreement is it recognises the Macedonian ethnicity and language. From this point of view, and because of the very fact of the Agreement, we can also speak of a partial defeat of Greek nationalism, a defeat of the “ethnarch” Mikis Theodorakis, the clergy, the far-right and the fascists.
If, on the contrary, our primary concern is the opposition to the Greek State and its nationalism, then the consistent ideological anti-Greeks should be for the annulment of the Prespa Agreement and the non-recognition of Macedonian ethnicity and language which Prespa Agreement, albeit limitingly, promotes. Everyone knows who have tried to accomplish this so far – the anti-Macedonian protestors. The problem, therefore, lies in the anti-Greek thought itself, which even in its most advanced anti-State versions [rejecting the Prespa Agreement for being nationalist], deliberately doesn’t take into account in its analysis the preferences of the Macedonian minority itself. What could be done during the debate on the Prespa Agreement but did not happen? All of these are real questions for all of us. In principle, and only at the theoretical level, only when the distinction between State and nation is made, and the importance of simultaneous criticism to both nation and democracy is brought out, can the anti-authoritarian discourse go beyond the horizon of the nation as such. Otherwise, it leaves the left-wing government free to appear as applying the Leninist policy of support to the weakest nation, and thus to appear as supporting the right of minorities to self-determination.
The old anti-imperialists of the autonomous milieu have so far mentioned two dates from the past, 1992 and 1996, using them to describe a Greek social formation supposedly entrapped in the constant present of the nationalist anti-Macedonian protests (1992) and the Greek-Turkish war that almost happened over the Imia skerry (1996). The meaning of such a regression cannot be traced back to its analytical value, as it has never been able to explain why it took 26 years for the anti-Macedonian protests to be repeated, nor why the notorious war between Greece and Turkey haven’t occured so far. The very request for explanation has been abolished in order for the theory to walk its ideological path unhindered, but such an interpretation isn’t enough. It’s a reminiscence of a time when the theory was gaining consistency as it accompanied the emergence of a political tendency linked to the reality of the multinational proletariat, both domestically and outside abroad. Over the years, the tendecy gained “prestige” and its theory must constantly conceal its internal structural instability, since its basic references to the workers’ movement date back to 1968 and never admitted the consequences of the collapse of the workers’ identity. No sophisticated geopolitical analysis and no fictitious anti-imperialist reference can substitute the requirement that theory must follow the historicity of class struggle.
However intense the conflict may be between different definitions of national interest, the conflict takes place on the basis of enhancing the merit of the people, the nation and the State. On what basis can there be a discourse opposing national imperatives, a proletarian prospect worthy of its name? As has already been stated, “the place is full of class-oriented apologists of national struggles who constantly see the class within the nation, but not the nation within the class”. According to a critique that seeks to go a little deeper, since nationalism is not just an ideology but is the sum of everyday practices reproducing the nation, the first step of an antinational perspective is the sincere acknowledgment that we cannot put ourselves outside the nation; as long as we live within the Greek territory, we cannot escape nationalism, not even in the sphere of ideas and discourse. How, then, can we specifically turn against the imperatives of the nation, the Greek first of all, since the nation contains us? It is indeed convenient, on the basis of an abstract internationalism, to equate the nationalism of your own State with that of other States, because then all those local points of connection with Greek nationalism that would bring any antinational attitude before its responsibilities are avoided. Such an abstract critique of nationalism “from wherever it comes” can be palliative in its inability to make concrete distinctions and assign appropriate priorities. It can even conceive itself as the highest point of social antagonism, while at the same time it adopts the phraseology of the Greek State. The slogan “no nation unite us, no name separate us” can be acute only when it turns against all aspects of domestic nationalism. Since the key element that emerged in the previous period is the intensification of the internationalised character of Greek nationalism and since the priority of the opposition to the Greek nation and the Greek State has remained the only guiding principle of a political attitude that wants to be against everything existing, then this opposition must also internationalise, not in abstraction but in a real connection between all those who struggle against nationalism in the Balkans. This is the real meaning of the slogan “against all nationalisms” as an evolution of the abstract internationality of the past, which considered as self-evident the existence of nations even after the revolution.
We will succeed together with the people who support the change of Greece’s course, we have nothing to fear. There is no illusion, we will go ahead, we’ll open a new optimistic chapter in our history, we will do everything we can, and we’ll succeed. (George Papandreou speaking to Cabinet, 12/2/2010)
Today, the tone of certainty that the former prime minister had making this statement may seem funny, but during the first seven months of his administration -from PASOK’s victory in the October 2009 elections till the IMF’s support mechanism in April 2010- this pattern was repeated everyday. The pre-electoral program of “there are money” [George Papandreou was attacked that his program exceed the capabilities Greek GDP, and his answer was “”there are money”, meaning there are money to implement the program] had been thrown into the dustbin, and because of the economic crisis that hit the country, the worst attack on labour incomes and rights had come into being. Wages, pensions, benefits, allowances, everything had entered the slaughterhouse of the so-called Stability Program. The propaganda about the supposed majority of the citizens who, togerher with the government, worry about the country’s future, who are willing to endure the “painful but necessary measures”, those months took unprecedented dimensions. Hours of TV time, tons of ink in the newspapers, were spent to dress the sacrifices of the Stability Program with the mantle of a national, heroic affair to which everyone should yield […] An integral part of the propaganda was that the pact concerns only the public sector, not the private one. The aim was to “tidy up” public finances, as it was repeated in all tones, and will only affect the “aristocrats” amongst the civil servants. Employees in the private sector had no reason to worry. At this point, the citizens should be happy too. The crisis would be a first-rate opportunity for Greece to escape from its “evil” self […] Against all the propaganda and lies about the people’s consensus, on February 10, 2010, in the first 24-hour strike of ADEDY against PASOK, a large part of the country stood still […] Despite GSEE’s refusal to call a strike on the same day, the workers of OSE finally participated in the strike, POEDID (covering public sector contractors), PAME and primary trade-unions such as Wind Employees Association or Association of Bookstores Employees. The photo of the workers with the placards that formed the words “Δεν πληρώνω” [“I refuse to pay”] at the head of the protest made the headlines of the international press.
As early as March 11, 2004, just four days after the elections, the new Finance Minister, Georgios Alogoskoufis, ordered a fiscal census for 2003, the findings of which would gradually reveal the false image about its economy was promoting the Greek State to EU, inaugurating what ND would call a “re-establishment of the State”. Since then, creditors’ views on the future of the Greek economy have become an integral part of the official definition of national interest. Especially since 2008, when the effects of the crisis began to acquire Greek characteristics. On the eve of 2009 national elections, George Papandreou stated:
The plan we will propose to EU will be credible, ambitious and realistic. On this basis, we will be negotiating a three-year extension of the deadline for reducing our deficits. It will be a difficult negotiation, because the outgoing government proved totally unreliable in all its commitments. We know very well -the market also knows it- that the situation is far worse than the official figures.
In October 2009, Fitch Ratings downgraded Greece’s creditworthiness, followed by Standard and Poor in December 2009, and in mid-January 2010 the then minister of finance, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, met with an IMF delegation. For the next three months, the Greek State would experienced the social responses to the austerity measures it gradually adopted: according to the The Labour Resistance to the Memoranda: Chronicle of a Six-Year Struggle, on February 10 occured one of the biggest protests in the history of public sector strikes, while the participation in the strike on February 24 -a strike that took place during the visit of EU economic inspectors to Greece- is lage, and on March 5, a day the parliament was voting for austerity measures, the employees of the National Printing Office proceeded in a four-day occupation to prevent the Stability Program from being printed in the Government Gazette in order for the measures to not be implemented. Papandreou’s announcement from Kastellorizo for Greece’s entry into surveillance occured on 23 April, one day after ADEDY 24-hour strike (PAME and other trade-unions have declared a 48-hour strike for the weekend of 21-22 April); with Papandreou’s announcement, the Greek capital had choosed officially to pass the necessary structural fiscal measures through for the overcoming of the crisis with the help intenational assistance.
1st addendum: At the top of the list of GSEE demands for the strike of May 5, 2010, we read “refuting the Troika’s (European Commission, ECT, IMF) neoliberal blackmailings and demands that crush the labour and economic rights of employees”. Even before the emergence Greek indignados, the institutional pillars of the regime sought to shift the blame towards the “foreign factor”. We cannot know whether all those who participated that day at the greatest strike after the Regime Change had in mind that “the greatest enemy is imperialism”. The only sure thing, after all, is that there is a correlation between the magnitude of the particular protest and the effort to make the austerity measures the Greek parliament voted lool like a national subjugation to the foreigners’ attempts, making invisible the Greek bosses and their chronic demands. Again, what needs explanation is the timing. More widely speaking, the way in which left-wing organisations -and some parts of anti-authoritarian milieu- contributed to the nationalisation of the social question, at a time when the organised right-wing was not openly involved in the mobilisations, remains buried for their ideological followers.
2nd addendum: We all remember the solidarity movements for the nine-months strike at Hellenic Steelmaking SA, for the strike at Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation in 2013, for the Public Power Corporation SΑ strike in 2012, for the Attiko Metro SA strike in 2013, for the inhabitants of Skouries in same year, etc. Why there wasn’t similar solidarity movements for the striking immigrants at Skala, Laconia in 2014, for the striking immigrants at Manolada in 2013, for the rioting immigrants at Amygdaleza detention center in 2013, for the immigrants hunger strikers in 2011, etc – beyond, of course, the solidarity of some left-wing and anarchist/anti-authoritarian organisations? Why did immigrants and their struggles were de facto put aside as something different of the so-called anti-austerity movement, while in December 2008 riots natives and foreigners took the streets together? And, by extension, why the anti-NATO campaigns never have been able to criticise with the same intensity both the Greek people and its supreme enemy, the imperialism?
The recent anti-Macedonian protests are the only mass incidents after the rallies in favor of the proud “no” vote in the July 2015 referendum -which in turn were the last incidents of the circle of the so-called anti-memoranda struggles- and any attempt in interpreting them cannot ignore this basic fact. The self-appointed representatives of the people may exercise in making theoretical and political acrobatics, but the people does have a memory and appropriates those forms of struggle that offer it recognition, legitimacy and dynamism. That is why the people returned to Syntagma square to protest in favour of the Greekness of Macedonia. Ernesto Laclau, the main, perhaps, inspirer of the left-wing strategy in recent years for a left-wing populism, stated that:
Until the middle of the 20th century, the epicentre of the antisystemic mobilisations was the working class organisations. Then, however, they began to decompose because of the growth of the tertiary sector of the European economy (as wealth is now mainly produced by the service sector). The “enclaves” of the working class in the cities ceased to be effective in the reproduction of a “proletarian” culture. Thus, the social alliances of the non-privileged took a new form, much more fluid, since its ideological content sometimes moves to the left and sometimes to the right. References to the “proletariat” no longer find any response, because industrial workers constitute a very small part of the workforce. In short, the multidimensional concept of the people replaced that of the proletariat as the epicentre of the antisystemic/oppositional political discourse […] The boom of populism is due to the crisis of the traditional forms of mobilising the working class. For example, in France, until the 1960s, there was something called “the world of the left”. The term refers to that network of trade-unions, institutions and cultural forms that gave a certain identity to the working class. This is no longer the case. Populism is located on both sides of the ideological spectrum. There are some differences between “left” and “right” populism in terms of content. However, the structure of populist discourse and the conditions that give birth to populism are common. For example, when the Communist Party of France decided to join the electoral coalition, the protest vote moved to the right-wing. Many of today’s voters of Le Pen have been former supporters of the Communist Party. In French political slang, this phenomenon is called “left Lepenism” (gauche lepenism). Populist logic, whether from the left-wing or the right-wing, has only one basic characteristic: the division of the social field between “privileged” and “non-privileged”. The populist is addressing the latter -bypassing the institutional framework of society- and calls for their support to overthrow the existing “establishment”. This is a classic form of populism.
What needs to be concretised and explained every time is precisely how this “division of the social field” is produced. In our case, the population was deeply divided by two intertwined ways: on the one hand, by presenting the overwhelming majority of wage earners and capitalists as “productive workers” who, without any antitheses between them, have a common interest in struggling against the bankers, Troika, etc, who covet the wealth they produce; on the other hand, by presenting the Greeks as victims threatened by foreigners, both of the elite, like Schäuble, and the immigrants. The fetishistic anti-capitalism, thus, acquired a national popular form, making apparent the question which is at the heart of the current conjuncture: that, due to the very structure of EU, any measures are presented as something that comes from the outside -yet, this is not true, because participation in the eurozone offers many benefits to its member States- the State is being criticised for not being sufficiently national, for not functioning properly for the benefit of the people. This creates the field to raise the question of defending national sovereignty and giving a more appropriate definition of what constitutes the national interest. The debt crisis, as a distorted form of the crisis of the class relation, produced the tension that resulted in a dielectric breakdown, and the people flowed towards the State. Not to overthrow it, but to be asserted through it, to define its own national interest, seeking in the State a port in the midst of a world market storm. The antagonistic relation between the State and civil society, as this relation was shaped in that period, is the necessary background in order to make sense of this sequence of events: movement of the squares – 2015 referendum – anti-Macedonian protests. Of course, also taking into account all the discontinuities of this sequence.
1st addendum: The monetary union of the member States of the eurozone isn’t a fiscal union. However, EMU sets the framework for fiscal policy and polices observance of agreed fiscal conditions in member States, rejecting deficit financing and requiring fiscal discipline. The catchphrases are vigilance and coordination of national budgetary policies. However, EMU is neither a modern Leviathan nor it possess political sovereignty by itself. All EMU fiscal policies for the competitiveness of the labour markets can be implemented only by the individual member States. Monetary policy is separated from fiscal policy, with monetary policy being positioned in a supranational sphere of responsibility and fiscal policy in a national sphere of responsibility. This separation has created a system of federated political responsibility, which undercuts traditional forms of democratic government and parliamentary democracy. It has also created a system of decentralised decision-making in territorialised labour markets that are regulated by supranational rules and requirements. Thus, the market rules are a strong formative factor of the European society, and the modern role of each member State has shifted towards the safeguarding of smooth conditions for capital accumulation. By removing the conduct of monetary policy as far as possible from the influence of social struggles and conflicts, economic lobbies and meddling parliamentary majorities in member States, any “economic failure” under EMU expresses a failure of government to secure the demands of supranational money internally through the achievement of competitive labour relations on a world market scale. The monetary union sets the standards for the monetary conditions of the union as a whole, and each member State have to support euro by achieving domestically higher labour productivity. In addition, each member State have to support the union by not implementing protectionist fiscal policies, since such policies would create problems to the rest member States, undermining the foundations of a unified economic area based on the principle of free competition. In fiscal policy, there’s a combination of two factors: on the one hand, there are supranational fiscal rules for the member States; on the other hand, each member State is sovereign over its fiscal policy. The supranational fiscal rules for the member States represent a fear of fiscal extravagances on the part of the member States that would threaten a destabilisation of euro. The State sovereignty over its fiscal policy represents a fear of Keynesian deficit spending and interventionism, this time not at the national, but at the supranational level. Thus, EMU takes on the task of coordination and surveillance, as well as the ability to recommend modifications of national fiscal policies, and apply sanctions against member States that breach the agreed-upon rules. EMU determines the rules of the -inherently asymmetric- game, keeps parliamentary compliance under surveillance and offers hard-to-ignore opinions on submitted draft budgets before they are presented formally to the member parliaments for discussion and approval. But EMU doesn’t play the game. It neither votes on national budgets nor it imposes them without being approved by the national parliaments. The national parliaments remain the sovereign source of legitimation. If a State wishes to remain in the eurozone, it must pass and impliment the necessary measures. If a State wants euro, a sound money not liable to sudden appreciation or depreciation in value that functions as world money, i.e., as tool of capital accumulation on world scale and as a geopolitical weapon, then it must actively contribute in euro remaing such currency. Therefore, the member States implement measures which cannot considerably be affected by class struggle, because that would mean the country exiting the eurozone; because, of course, exiting eurozone for a national economy that cannot stand alone in the world market, would mean even harsher measures for the proletariat of that country, so that national economy would by competitive without EMU’s aid: this is the reason that, in general, in none member State of the eurozone has the proletariat raised seriously the question of exiting EU -even in Greece during the 2015 referendum- since the proletariat recognises that eurozone membership means beneficial conditions for it, both economically and at the level of social rights – always, in contrast of exiting eurozone. This fact explains why in Macedonia there were no harsh reactions to the Prespa Agreement and the change of the country’s name: the Macedonian proletariat recognised that its future will be less grim inside EU than outside EU, to such a point that accepted the concessions demanded from it by the Greek State nationalism. However, the Macedonian State, apart from the prospect of entering NATO and EU, was also given the recognition of Macedonian nationality and language, in order to be able to, in combination with safeguarding of the conditions of reproduction of capital, stabilise the Macedonian social formation.
2nd addendum: Since not only labour, but the whole social formation, is subsumed under capital, and the social formation’s economic elements and, more generally, its economical performance is judged by a variety of financial instruments, the concept of risk and the limitation of risk necessarily takes on a wider biopolitical dimension; that is, apart from the fundamental foundation that exploitation, repression, and discipline of proletarian bodies can be also conceived as something that concerns the bodies as such, as productive agents of life beyond national, gender, etc, characterisations. In this sense -especially in times of crisis- the State appears more narrowly to define (and be defined by) not only what is competitive in economic terms but also who are identified as surplus-population. We are referring to the question of how the State functions are related to the separation, classification, stigmatisation, exclusion and suppression of those who are deemed as suitable for exploitation and who are not, and how this suitability is defined. Since the supranational factor, symbolised primarily in the euro as a currency administrated by the ECB, is increasingly identified with this fundamental foundation, the national resistance to it will employ all means to discourage any substantive discussion about the nature of the powers which are domineering our lives, obscuring at the same time the specific nature of the governmentality that stands before us, according to which whole collective phenomena, regardless of scale, can now be classified and characterised as “natural” or “unnatural” depending on whether they contribute to the regulation of social contrasts, the repayment of loans and the promotion of capital accumulation. And according to which, conversely, the stability of a social formation depends on the State’s ability to manage the embedded risk and is rated for its performance, while the failure of a member State to secure its domestic conditions for membership in monetary union affects the conditions of the eurozone as a whole. The problems of an individual member State achieve a disciplinary dimension and become a collective problem for all members. Therefore, the international enters anew the social dynamics as their constitutive moment, destabilising on permanent basis the mediation between economic structures and ideological formations. Thus, unavoidably, destabilising the State and its institutions. As someone else put it:
This dimension seems to me absolutely determinant, and it takes us back to our earlier question regarding the articulation between racism and nationalism, and the form this takes in the present conjuncture. I would like to propose the following thesis. In essence, modern racism is never simply a “relationship to the Other” based upon a perversion of cultural or sociological difference; it is a relationship to the Other mediated by the intervention of the State. Better still -and it is here that a fundamentally unconscious dimension needs to be conceptualised- it is a conflictual relationship to the State which is “lived” distortedly and “projected” as a relationship to the Other.
60. Year 2008 is important not only because of the NATO Bucharest summit but also because the real labour costs per employee significantly outperformed the productivity of labour, combined with the first impact of the outbreak of the subprime mortgage crisis a year earlier. The graph comes from Elias Ioakimoglou’s study, Κόστος Εργασίας, Περιθώρια Κέρδους και Ανταγωνιστικότητα στην Ελλάδα, 1995-2009 [Labour Costs, Profit Margins and Competitiveness in Greece, 1995-2009], GSEE-ADEDY Labour Institute, 2011.
61. Carl Schmitt, State, Movement, People: The Triadic Structure of the Political Unity & The Question of Legality, Plutarch Press, 2001, p. 11-12.
62. In a similar way, hypocritically opposed to EU, former foreign minister Nikos Kotzias could write on 2/12/2012 that: “Debt is the special apparatus by which Greece lost its independence. From this point of view, Greece is not yet another semi-colony of commercial relations of the era of internationalisation, although it has trade deficits which affects its debt. On the contrary, Greece is a semi-colony of the domination of financial capital in the era of globalisation. It preserves certain aspects of its formal sovereignty, while its economic and social policy is controlled by foreign creditors and the Commissioners -at the top of the Greek administration- imposed by the creditors. Therefore, I argue that the Greek case is strictly scientifically a semi-‘colony’ of a new type. Greece isn’t just a commercial colony, but a debt colony. In order to facilitate the public debate, I introduce and propose the term ‘debt colony’“. Additionaly, in his article in Kathimerini on 10/12/18, he presents himself as a geostrategically realist, presenting the international regional networks in which the Greek State participates precisely due to his participation in carving out EU’s security and cooperation policies, giving thus a real meaning to the concept of “internationalisation of the Greek nationalism” and showcasing his ego.
63. Valia Aranitou, in her very useful book Η Μεσαία Τάξη στην Ελλάδα την Εποχή των Μνημονίων: Μεταξύ Κατάρρευσης και Ανθεκτικότητας [The Middle-Class in Greece in the Age of Memoranda: Between Collapse and Εndurance], records in detail the different ways in which old and new middle-classes have received the impacts of the Memoranda. She concludes, among other things, that the old middle-class showed greater adaptability to the new conditions of recession than the new middle-class, and so the old middles-class’ income didn’t get as decreased as that of the new one.
64. It’s no coincidence that a debate on how one is to acquire Greek citizenship, and therefore who can be considered a Greek citizen, runs throughout the crisis, by Ragousis law in 2010, its declaration as unconstitutional in 2012 and its partial voting by the SYRIZA-ANEL administration in 2015. Although it’s a breakthrough for the Greek State, as it offers the possibility of acquiring citizenship on the basis of birthright rather than blood relations, in the first two and a half years of its application only 13,425 immigrants acquired Greek citizenship. This development, a slow but clear indication of the strengthening of the Greek State, continues to our day, linked to the wider policy of attribution of European citizenship, to wealthy citizens of non-Europeans countries and not to proletarians, since according with the 130181/6353/2018 decision of the ministry of the interior, “to the permanent residence permits accepted for the naturalisation of foreigners not of the Greek genus with the regular provisions (Article 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure) were added the permits of indefinite duration, the ten-years permits, the residence permits for investment activity and the residence permits of owner of real estate and the permanent residence permits of investors”. However, the so-called “golden visas” to foreign investors has gone through various alterations and have only been linked to the attribution of residence permits rather than citizenship.
65. Moreover, a military leadership that supports the European, and by extension NATO, country’s perspective, couldn’t draw the controversy to its limiet, as we’re reminded by Kathimerini‘s the article entitled “Φρ. Φράγκος: «Ηχηρό ΝΑΙ την Κυριακή” [“Frangoulis Frangos: This Sunday, a Loud YES”] back in 2015, refreferring to the referendum [Frangoulis Frangos is former chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff and former minister for national defence and one of the organisers of the recent anti-Macedonian protests]. On the other hand, as early as May 2018, the request of the so-called schismatic Church of Skopje to rejoin the Ecumenical Patriarchate without calling itself a “Macedonian Orthodox Church” shows that the clergy in both Greece and Macedonia understood the historical turning point and hastened to renegotiate their positions, showing how quickly “chronic” issues can be resolved when there’s political will. The 22 metropolitan bishops of Greek Macedonia may “strictly warn” against the ratification of the Prespa Agreement, but what concerns the leadership of the Church of Greece is the possible autocephaly of the Macedonian Orthodox Church in the spiritual education of its “flock”. But the Greek Chuch was assured by the Greek government that its interests will be safeguarded, so it wasn’t actively involved in organising the recent anti-Macedonian protests. The limits of the redefinition of the relation between the Greek State and the Greek Church, as those limits were expressed at the level of the upcoming revision of the Greek Constitution, show that the deal was satisfactory for both sides.
66. See Financial Times’ article “Greece to expel two Russian officials amid Macedonia dispute” at the following url: https://www.ft.com/content/68e75e3a-8511-11e8-96dd-fa565ec55929.
67. From the articles “Οι ελληνικές τράπεζες έχασαν οριστικά το στοίχημα επέκτασης στη ΝΑ Ευρώπη” [“Greek banks have definitely lost the bet for their expansion in Southeastern Europe”] in Kathimerini and “Βάζουν πωλητήρια στα Βαλκάνια οι ελληνικές τράπεζες” [“The Greek banks are selling their Balkan branches”] in Next Deal.
68. The data comes from Naftemporiki‘s article “Κ. Παπανάτσιου: Το 80% των ελληνικών επιχειρήσεων στα Βαλκάνια είναι εικονικές” [“Katerina Papanatsiou: 80% of Greek enterprises in the Balkans are virtual”] [Katerina Papanatsiou is Greek deputy minister of finance]. For an all-around assessment of the prolonged recession and how it affected Greece’s position in the Balkans, see Ritsa Panagiotou and Anastasios Valvis “How is the sovereign debt crisis affecting Greece’s relations with the Balkan countries and Greece’s standing in the region? An initial impact assessment” at the following url: https://www.eliamep.gr/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/How-is-sovereign-debt-crisis-affecting-Greeces-relations-with-the-Balkans-May-2014-FINAL.pdf. Reading it, we can infer the stabilisation, from 2012 onwards, of the level of financial transactions between Greece and the Balkans at a significantly lower level. But we can also infer the role of the “pillow” that Balkan economies and societies seemed to play against Greece falling into further recession. The study closes with the request to improve the European profile of Greece, since Greece’s position as an “ambassador” of the European vision in the region has diminished with the successive Memoranda. According to the writers, this is the biggest non-direct economic blow to the Greek State. We are leaving to the late anti-imperialists to analyse how the Prespa Agreement contributes decisively to the reversal of the declining diplomatic capital of the allegedly NATO-dependent and EU-dependent post-Memoranda Greece.
69. See Vima‘s article “ΔΕΗ: «Πέφτουν» στα Σκόπια οι υπογραφές για την εξαγορά της EDS” [“Greek Public Electric Power Corporation: Signatures for the acquisition of EDS in Skopje”].
70. See I-Efimerida‘s article “Η Ελλάδα στην Τρίτη θέση μεταξύ των ξένων επενδυτών στην ΠΓΔΜ” [“Greece in third place among foreign investors in FYROM”]. Let’s not forget that about half of the Prespa Agreement concerns the upgrading of economic, military, educational, research, etc., cooperation between the two countries.
71. See Michael Roberts’ text “Ten years on”, at the following url: https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/ten-years-on/.
72. Gudrun Steinacker, “Der Westbalkan und die EU-Erweiterung: Fiktion und Wirklichkeit”, Südosteuropa Mitteilungen, no. 4, 2018.
73. Gordon, Sasse & Sebastian, Specific Report on the EU Policies in the Stabilisation and Association Process, European Academy, January 2008, p. 13, at the following link: http://www.eurac.edu/en/research/autonomies/minrig/Documents/Mirico/24_SAP.pdf.
74. Especially Bulgarian nationalism, having suffered a two-fold heavy defeat in the past (Balkan Wars, WWII), proved more provident and patient in this respect.
75. Excerpt from a Le Monde‘s article on 2/10/1999.
76. Excerpt from the introduction at the following url: https://ourbabadoesntsayfairytales.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/η-άλλη-άκρη-του-δρόμου-μεταναστευτικέ/.
77. It can be found at the following url: https://www.bamf.de/SharedDocs/Anlagen/DE/Publikationen/WorkingPapers/wp63-migrationsprofil-westbalkan.pdf?__blob=publicationFile. The graph is from Daniel Göler, “Der Westbalkan als Quell- und Transitraum von Fluchtmigration: Quo vaditis?”, Südosteuropa Mitteilungen, no. 6, 2015. You can also see Frontex’s study Western Balkans: Annual Risk Analysis 2016, at the following url: https://www.statewatch.org/news/2016/jun/eu-frontex-west-balkans-risk-analysis.pdf.
78. “Greek government’s contribution to the gradual removal of European contrasts was reflected in Greece as a vindication of ‘national visions’: it was experienced with great gravity by the Greek State as a symbolic completion of the long integration process into the new supranational formations. Greek authorities attempted to imply that the history of the country entered a new age, by blackmailing the social consensus for a set of enforcement projects that had enacted in the past” (Θεσσαλονίκη Ιούνης 2003. Μια κριτική αποτίμηση [Thessaloniki, June 2003: A Critical Appraisal], autumn 2004, p. 24, a pamphlet written by people who had participated in the protests). Immediately after the above passage it’s written that: “From the point of view of the movement, the Summit was simply an excuse -an excuse that was obviously fulfilling all the necessary conditions- for its own central political event. This is even more apparent compared to the Athens Summit on April 16, 2003, which, although much more important as an international political event (enlargement of EU the same time massive anti-war mobilisations for Iraq were taking place) and objectively with a higher symbolic gravity for the authorities, although for the imaginary of anarchist milieu and consequently for its actions, this Summit was much less charged and meaningful. On the one hand, there was a more or less composed collective choice of creating a central event and, on the other hand, the collective inability to evaluate and effectively appropriate it”.
79. European Commission, A Credible Enlargement Perspective for and Enhanced EU Engagement with the Western Balkans, February 2018, at the following url: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/communication-credible-enlargement-perspective-western-balkans_en.pdf.
80. For these significant events that were directly directed against nationalism, without, though, completely overcoming it as such, you can see the text “Gather us From among the Nations: The February 2014 Protests in Bosnia-Herzegovina” in Endnotes 4, at the following url: https://endnotes.org.uk/issues/4/en/endnotes-gather-us-from-among-the-nations.
81. From a Kathimerini‘s article entitled “Στο φως οι συνομιλίες των ηγετών της ΠΓΔΜ” [“Τhe discussions between the leaders of FYROM are now public”]. Although it’s not explicitly mentioned here, the need to manage immigrants is also more closely related to the issue of security, as Ahmad al-Mohammad, one of the perpetrators of the Islamic State’s assault at Stade de France on 13 November 2015, have passed through inspections in Preševo, Serbia, holding a Syrian passport about a month before the attack.
82. From the Efimerida ton Syntakton‘s article “Βόρεια Μακεδονία: διαψεύσεις και προσδοκίες” [“Northern Macedonia: Refutations and Expectations”]. Incidentally, the Prespa Agreement provides the Macedonian State with access to the history of Byzantine Empire in order to be able to devise its own tradition, while at the same time excluding it from the possibility of extracting legitimisation from antiquity. On the other hand, we can conclude that the internationalised Greek nationalism upgrades the “love of antiquity” as a component of the Greek national identity vis-à-vis to Orthodox Christianity. It remains to be seen whether this is done to secure a competitive advantage in the tourist industry or if the clergy will start wearing toga.
83. See the insightful article “The struggle that holds the future of Macedonia” by Artan Sadiku, written in June 2015, at the following url: http://www.criticatac.ro/lefteast/struggle-for-macedonia/. The author describes the initial social basis of the opposition to Gruevski administration in which one Albanian party participated, the wide-reaching slogans and the subsequent attempt by social-democrats to accompany the movement, revealing the scandalous content of intercepted telephone conversations between members of the coalition government. The 22 dead of the clashes between Albanian rebels and Macedonian police in Kumanovo in May 2015 won’t be able to impact the demonstrations in the traditional nationalist way. Generally speaking, one can find interesting articles about the situation in Macedonia at criticatac.ro. For our part, we stress that both the State and civil society in Macedonia demonstrate “advanced” elements in terms of the deepening of both exploitation and the struggles, which are worthwhile to research.
84. The data comes from the relevant survey by KAPA Research entitled “Η ακτινογραφία του συλλαλητηρίου της Αθήνας. Σύγκριση με την αντίστοιχη έρευνα στους «αγανακτισμένους» του 2011” [“The radiography of the Athens protest. Comparison with the corresponding survey on the ‘indignados’ of 2011”], which took place on Sunday 4/2/2018.
85. From an Evangelos Venizelos’ speech.
86. In addition to PAOK, Savvidi seeks to control the entire Thessaloniki in various ways, from official large investments in hotels and the port of Thessaloniki to funding departments of the Aristotle University that promote Slavic studies. His close ties with Russian nationalism, the Orthodox Church and Putin were never hidden, but they couldn’t by themselves support a dynamic continuation of the anti-Macedonian protests in Greece, apart from the original protest in Thessaloniki. No other available domestic political support was found, and the mafioso remained by himself. After, of course, it had been revealed that he had tried to intervene in the referendum in Macedonian about the Prespa Agreement.
87. There’s also the attack with stones, Molotov cocktails and slogans about the Prespa Agreement against a squat at Petralona, Athens on 24/06/18, while the squatters were inside. It is worth noting that this particular attack, which took place during an anti-Macedonian protest in Thessaloniki with very low participation, was widely covered by every type of media, and the ruling party itself issued an anti-fascist announcement condemning the attack, indicating that SYRIZA can play politics on the backs of the antifascists of the local assemblies who were injured and arrested on this incident.
88. There are some poll results that show double-digit percentages of Golden Dawn in all the prefectures of Central and Northern Greece, as presented in TVXS‘ article “Δυο κρίσιμα «αποτυπώματα» στις νέες δημοσκοπήσεις” [“Two Crucial ‘Impressions’ in the New Polls”]. A no auspicious prospect appearing on the horizon is the Macedonian question becoming the catalyst in the coming series, strengthening the far-right at all institutional levels.
89. See News24/7‘s article “Πατσίκας: Προκλητική η στάση του Τσίπρα” [“Patsikas: Tsipras’ attitude is provocative”].
90. Θεσσαλονίκη Ιούνης 2003. Μια κριτική αποτίμηση [Thessaloniki, June 2003: A Critical Appraisal], autumn 2004, p. 12-13. For the pamplet, see note 78.
91. We refer here to the announcement issued by Taksiki Antepithesi (Omada Anarchikon kai Kommouniston) [Class Counter-attack (Anarchist and Communist Group)], entitled “Μακεδονία είναι μία και νατοϊκή: πισω φασίστες, εμπρός σύντροφοι!” [“Macedonia is only one and it belongs to NATO: fascists retreat, comrades march!”] (hereafter, Text 1), which was posted at their blog on 24/1/2018. Such views are representative of a certain perception regarding the Macedonian question, a perception shared by a large part of the Greek anarchist/anti-authoritarian milieu.
92. These are the texts entitled “Σχετικά με τη συμφωνία Τσίπρα-Ζάεφ και την ευρωατλαντική ολοκλήρωση των Δυτικών Βαλκανίων” [“On the Tsipras-Zaev Agreement and the Integration of Western Balkans in NATO”] (hereafter, Text 2), published on 27/6/2018, and “ΔΕΘ 2018: Τα αποκαλυπτήρια της «οικονομικά σταθερής και γεωστρατηγικά ισχυρής Ελλάδας» σηματοδοτούν το επιστέγασμα της κρίσης και το πέρασμα σε μια νέα, ακόμα πιο αναβαθμισμένη, φάση της καπιταλιστικής-ιμπεριαλιστικής επίθεσης” [“Thessaloniki International Fair 2018: The Unveiling of the ‘Economically Stable and Geostrategically Strong Greece’ Marks the Capstone of the Crisis and the Passage to a New, Even More Advanced, Phase of the Capitalist-Imperialist Assault”] (hereafter, Text 3), published on 6/9/2018.
93. Why does Taksiki Antepithesi not explain how a social formation is upgraded as a whole, which means the upgrade of all classes within it, the upgrade of its entire population? We, for our part, accept that this can happen, and it did happen, for example, with the arrival of immigrant workers in the early 1990s or with country’s entry into EU, when, for whole decades, the benefit of European subsidies has spread throughout the social hierarchy, of course not in a coequal way. It’s a given for the populations of both Greece and Macedonia that they have something positive to look forward to in the Agreement and that participation in such institutions (NATO, EU) has to offer security. In regards to the Macedonian question, a broader interpretation of the conflicting definitions of national interest in Greece -on the basis of different appreciations about what EU is and in what degree Greece’s future should be linked to it- would have much to offer.
94. From their pamphlet Ενάντια στη Λήθη #05: Ιστορικές σημειώσεις πάνω στο Μακεδονικό ζήτημα [Against Oblivion #05: Historical Notes on the Macedonian Question], p. 21.
95. Rainbow, the political party of the Macedonian minority, in a letter to the Greek University of Macedonia published on 18/2/19, ask for the teaching of the Macedonian language at the university, arguing, among other things, that “with the ratification of the Prespa Agreement, a long period of controversy over the name of our neighbouring country, the nationality of its inhabitants as well as the Macedonian language which is now officially recognised by that name from our country, Greece”.
96. Stability Program was the name of package of measures devised and implemented by Papandreou administration, it should not be confused with EU’s Stability and Growth Pact.
97. From Lena Verde & Stelios Michaelides, Η Εργατική Αντίσταση στα Μνημόνια: Χρονικό των Αγώνων μιας Εξαετίας [The Labour Resistance to the Memoranda: Chronicle of a Six-Year Struggle], 2016. As stated in the title, the publication contains a detailed chronicle of the mobilisations that took place in the private and public sectors from the 2009 elections to the beginning of 2016. The fact that one of the main pillars of fiscal reforms was to restructure the state’s operation -the other was to reduce direct and indirect wages- asks the question of how the nation should invest in state institutions making them again national and what the people’s new relation with them should be. Throughout the Memoranda, this new investment relation was investigated and defined almost exclusively by employees in the narrower public sector, private sector executives and employers. In other words, by the strongest portions of the middle-class and the capitalists.
98. From Ernesto Laclau’s interview at TVXS “Ο αναγκαίος λαϊκισμός»: Συνέντευξη του Ερνέστο Λακλάου” [“The Necessary Populism: Interview with Ernesto Laclau”].
99. The following analysis of EU draws from Werner Bonefeld, The Strong State and the Free Economy, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.
100. Étienne Balibar, “Es Gibt Keinen Staat in Europa: Racism and Politics in Europe Today”, New Left Review I/186, March-April 1991, p. 15.