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The Greek urban bourgeois class and the left-wing

For anyone who has even a slight friction with politics knows for sure that the political forces that define themselves as left (at least in its radical form) see the country’s bourgeoisie as an enemy.

This is not wrong, as in the years of austerity the popular strata saw a huge drop to fill the crisis created by the “Greek” bourgeoisie.

So why at the end of this world-historical year I decide to write this article?

One could say, “since your enemiy is the bourgeois class, because you do not join the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) or any other party of the left, calm down.”

The answer is simple.

I agree with the wording of the KKE and the left that the bourgeoisie of Greece are parasitic elements that we must get rid of, but beyond that, findings with them are diametrically opposed.

Why, I will try to explain below.

From April 11-14, 2013 took place the historic 19th congress of the KKE.

Historic not only because after 23 years the leadership of the party changed, but also for a series of “innovative” positions that were formulated.

One of the positions says:

“Greek capitalism is in its imperialist stage of development, in an intermediate position in the international imperialist system, with strong dependencies on the US and the EU.

“The adaptation of the Greek market to the Western European one began with its accession to the European Economic Community in the early 1980s, with its accession to the EU in 1991, and especially to the Eurozone in 2001.

“With its participation in the restructuring of NATO and other imperialistic transnational alliances, the Greek capitalist state became more organically integrated into the international imperialist system.”

So what is the KKE telling us here?

How Greece, which in 2013 was already going through 3 years of recession and austerity, with the contraction of GDP, the fall of living standards and the loss of sovereignty via International Monetary Funds control mechanisms.

In 1995 at the 15th Congress, which incidentally helped the KKE come closer to a world of the more right-wing popular classes, said:

“Greece is in an intermediate, dependent and inferior position in the world imperialist system. Its above characteristics were determined by historical reasons.

“From the slow and torturous development of capitalism in Greece, under the direct economic, political and military involvement of the powerful capitalist states and in terms of dependence on foreign capital.

“Monopoly capitalism in our country developed later than in the developed capitalist countries and the international imperialist system had already been formed, as a result of which it relied on a relatively low material and technical base.

“In the post-dictatorship years, as the 10th Congress emphasized, state monopoly capitalism grew stronger and stronger, and dependence on foreign monopoly capital and international imperialism grew.”

What does the KKE tell us here?

How Greece’s position in the international imperialist system is dependent and in essence purely post-transactional.

Develop the reasons why this is true. changed at a time when Greece had been further downgraded and the degree of dependence had become disproportionately higher, in order to characterize it as imperialist in the meantime?

In order for a country to become imperialist, it must pursue an aggressive foreign policy by military and economic means.

So in the years 2010 and after, what policy does it follow to prove the above reasoning?

Has it attacked any country to exploit its resources?

Has it exploited wars to make a profit?

Or is it that Greece and its bourgeoisie are completely incapable of not only pursuing an imperialist policy but also effectively protecting the country’s territorial integrity?

Proof of the above beyond the international economic system and we also see the political collapse of the status of Greece and its foreign policy, which is characterized by intense defeatism, submissiveness and phobic syndromes.

Such a thing would be logical to a large extent if our country had against it a giant like China or Russia whose deficit of power would be disproportionate to our detriment.

But against us we have a new imperialist country, Turkey, which although strong militarily, demographically and logistically, it does not make its prevention something unthinkable.

At the moment we have disproportionately large Armed Forces in relation to our economic situation and our population. So what is it that prevents Greece from effectively dealing with Turkey’s expansionist aspirations?

Is it a lack of strength or something else?

Population and logistics does not make its prevention something unthinkable.

To answer this question we must clearly see the historical course of the Greek bourgeoisie from the founding of the Greek state in 1830 to the present day.

In a future article I will try to present this development intensively in every detail, but here I will refer from the first days of the small Greek state when it was obvious that the future of Greece as a state was predetermined.

Closed on the small border of Amvraki-Pagasitikos with the Cyclades islands, this state was doomed to remain underdeveloped due to lack of 1) large areas of arable land, 2) small population, 3) lack of raw materials, 4) impossibility of integration of the Greek bourgeoisie living in other parts of the Ottoman Empire and other Balkan states, and 5) lack of sufficient area that would give prestige and self-confidence in Greece.

For this reason the Greek bourgeoisie of the time through the intriguing John Koletti, developed the new national idea that the Greeks should have, the idea of expanding the Greek kingdom and the liberation of the unredeemed Greek brothers of the Ottoman Empire who were many times more than those who lived within the borders of free Greece.

From 1830 to 1920 the efforts of the Greek bourgeoisie were directly connected with the need for integrating lands in which the Greek bourgeois lived and in which they had their flourishing production units.

Proof of this is the fact that the guerrilla national liberation uprisings in Crete and Macedonia often financed the modernization of the Greek armed forces.

The beneficial results of the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 brought significant gains for the ruling elite by controlling industrial centers such as Thessaloniki and Kavala, as well as strategic points with the port of Thessaloniki and of course the island of Crete.

Greece for the first time since 1830 with the power of arms managed to double its size, while now the possibility was open for greater expansion in areas of Thrace and Ionia.

This possibility would put into practice the Megali Idea (Great Idea), the feeling that prevailed in Greece, from the ordinary poor worker and farmer to, of course, the Greek cosmopolitan bourgeois.

Of course, this fact contained a great deal of opposition.

The popular strata saw it as a historical justification for the liberation of their enslaved compatriots and the re-establishment of Greek sovereignty in historic Greek lands, while the bourgeoisie saw this expansion less romantically and as a prime opportunity to invest in areas that would officially belong to Greece and from which they would make greater profits.

This situation changed irrevocably with the tragic events of the 1922 catastrophe.

Earlier, intra-bourgeois controversies had developed over whether Greece should join the First World War with the Entente or the Central Powers, contradictions that led to the national division of 1915.

The results of this division will be one of the causes that brought the national tragedy of 1922.

But from there on we see a new tendency to prevail among the Greek bourgeoisie.

They are not interested in the expansion of the country but in the consolidation of the profits they had from the addition of the new territories.

However, the Greek bourgeoisie will make its final change during the Second World War and the Axis occupation.

In this case we see the bourgeoisie not having a particular problem with the conquest of the homeland but more with which of them will be more privileged in the talks with the occupying forces.

At the same time in the German occupation zone, a new bourgeoisie emerges, not of an aristocratic nature like the previous ones.

These are the adventurers and opportunists who found an opportunity to make the misery experienced by their compatriots at the time in the prospect of uncontrollable enrichment, to emerge as a new bourgeoisie, whose survival depended directly on its relations with the occupying forces.

The new bourgeoisie that emerged from the tragedy of the occupation wanted to play an important role in post-war Greece.

With the withdrawal of the Axis forces, the docile bourgeoisie not only avoided punished for their treacherous relations with the occupying forces and their crimes against the rest of the Greeks in order to get rich, but they crossed the Siloam swimming pool to be able to be the collaborators and watchdogs of the British and then the Americans in Greece.

This was in the midst of civil war and the containment of the communist threat.

So Greece may have been the only country where the collaborators of the Germans (and not only the bourgeois) were not punished as traitors, but on the contrary were a few times honored as national heroes!

Along with these new developments, we are more dependent on the American-British.

The Marshall Plan and the help that Greece received from it permanently tied tied it as a dependent small force in the Atlantic chariot.

In the 1990s, due to the fall of bureaucratic socialism in the countries of the Eastern Coalition, it was a useful opportunity for the Greek bourgeoisie to maximize its profits. a

As a result, Greeks closed their businesses in Greece and transferred them to FYROM, Bulgaria and Romania, leaving thousands of Greeks without work and opening the bag of Aeolus of the complete deindustrialization of Greece.

Closing the historical background, I would like to add the views of Paul Porter, the American Ambassador who was sent by the USA as a guardian of the American intervention in Greece.

So what did Porter write about the Greek bourgeoisie?

“From this dismal fiscal outlook, as well as from other indications, notably a failure on the part of the Government to withstand demands for wage increases by Government employees and others, it is apparent that another serious round of inflation may be approaching.

“It is inevitable unless the Government will realistically plan its program of expenditures and revenues within the limits of reduced foreign assistance. We are meeting with the Ministers concerned to explore methods of narrowing the gap between what they have been loosely thinking in terms of probable expenditures and receipts.

“Statistically we can reduce to about $50 million the $175 million deficit in the too generous balance of payments estimated by UNRRA and the Greek Government. This presupposes, however, effective utilization of United States surplus property and the development of exports to the levels we have indicated to the Government.

“The situation is particularly acute when one considers the volume of UNRRA supplies which have been poured into the economy during the past two years, although stocks of UNRRA stores in Greece and in the pipeline mitigate the problem to a degree.

“While there are a few bright spots here and there on reconstruction, less has been accomplished since liberation than would be expected. Matériel from abroad for the reconstruction of transportation facilities, as well as drachmae for concurrent local expenses, are extremely limited; however, railways are in operation with scant equipment in much of Greece and temporary highway bridges have replaced most of those destroyed.

“The use of credits granted by the state bank and private banking institutions has aided the recovery of agricultural output and assisted to some extent in furthering trade and commerce, but has not been adequate to finance long term capital investment.

“Such little liquid capital as there is in private hands has sought outlet in gold or foreign exchange rather than in development.

“For example, I have been unable to find a single residential unit in Athens that has been built since liberation for investment purposes; this in spite of an estimated increase of 200,000 in the population of Athens during the past two years.

“People are not investing in productive enterprise in this atmosphere, and the responsibility rests primarily with the State which has taken no effective steps to create a climate of confidence or to prohibit capital from hedging its risk outside the national economy.

“Discussions with Ministers and industrialists always end up on the political note. They claim it is futile to adopt any policies or to undertake any permanent reconstruction until international and domestic security is achieved.

“I have insisted that the two must go hand in hand; that this country cannot afford to wait until the United Nations Investigation Commission successfully completes its work before instituting obvious economic reforms.

“However, we have made but little progress in convincing the Government to adopt this view. Expediency and a hand-to-mouth existence are the order of the day.

“One of the underlying causes of the lag in recovery in Greece is the unhealthy psychological condition of the people.

“Much of what we observe may be no more than the inherent differences between Greek and American thinking, but in addition to this there appears to be a sense of helplessness on their part; a feeling that because they suffered during the War they should now be cared for by their richer allies; a belief that the external factors in their problem are so large that their individual efforts are futile.

“There is a pathetic dependence upon the United States.

“Our presence here is used by the Government to arouse unjustified hopes among the people.

“There is a consequent misunderstanding throughout the country of the purpose of the Mission, which I have undertaken to correct on every appropriate occasion.

“I have been meticulous in pointing out that our only proper function is to make friendly and appropriate suggestions to the Greek Government and to carry back to our own Government information upon which it can make intelligent judgments; this has done little to remove the wide-spread belief that our job really is to bail out Greece irrespective of the cost.

“There is really no State here in the Western concept.

“Rather we have a loose hierarchy of individualistic politicians, some worse than others, who are so preoccupied with their own struggle for power that they have no time, even assuming capacity, to develop economic policy.

“While I have no actual proof of venality in high places, the discussions current in journalistic and commercial circles claim that there exists a high degree of corruption.

“The civil service is a depressing farce. I will not burden you with the amazing details of its lack of organization and system, but will set forth fully in our final reports the almost complete deterioration of competence in governmental services.”

In the above excerpt, the American bourgeois Paul Porter seems to be more concerned about the situation in Greece than the Greek bourgeoisie.

But he very vividly describes the new situation that prevails in the Greek bourgeoisie.

Not only doe they not care about the country, but they are so busy with greed for more profit, that in 1947 when the civil war was at its zenith and everything is played for the political, economic and biological survival of the bourgeoisie, they not only do not take measures to curb the conditions that favored the spread of communism, but behave as if they live in a completely different reality from the one that prevailed in Greece.

As history has shown us, this behavior of the bourgeoisie continues unabated to this day.

So why did I do this great historical retrospect? And what has this modern left got to do with it?

“The aspirations of the Greek bourgeoisie are promoted, among other things, through a unilateral and unsupported effort to declare an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), based on a reactionary and dangerous axis with the butchers of Israel and the fascists of Egypt, ignoring the rights of other peoples and states in the region (including the Palestinian), with the backs and support of the US-EU. It has been answered in great detail and documented what exactly is happening with the proclamation of the EEZ and it is not that difficult to understand, if at least take off your ‘national glasses’.”

The above quote is from an article by (New Left Current) discussing Greek-Turkish issues and criticizes the KKE because its positions are rather nationalistic!

But to see how “nationalistic” the KKE is:

“The relations between the two countries are complicated by the competition of the bourgeoisie of Greece and Turkey, for which it will become a ‘hub’ of energy and a transit ‘center,’ and their fierce struggle for the distribution of its energy wealth. It is part of the overall conflict between the bourgeoisie, monopolies and imperialist alliances, which has already bloodied the peoples of Syria, Libya, and is threatening to ignite the Persian Gulf region. These conflicting interests have nothing to do with the interests of the peoples!”

The above is an excerpt from the joint statement between the KKE and TKP (Turkish Communist Party) on July 25, 2020.

So what do the KKE tell us?

While in the whole announcement says very right things in this passage, it shares the responsibilities for the current situation between the bourgeoisie of Greece and Turkey.

It could be right if the Aegean was an area like Kashmir claimed by two different states (India, Pakistan), or a zone whose status has not been settled by an international treaty.

But is this also the case in the Aegean?

In this case we have unilateral and arbitrary Turkish claims, while the Greek bourgeoisie at best shows a passive attitude to these impositions, expecting the mediation of the Great Powers to stop Turkish provocations.

In the same vein, another announcement about the Greek-Turkish issue highlights the prevailing ideology dominating the Greek left, even in relatively consistent forces.

“The recent agreement between Turkey and Libya to establish an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is another episode of the general escalation of all conflicts and rivalries in the SE Mediterranean region. It comes as a continuation and as a consequence and moves by the Greek ruling class and its political personnel by forming an axis with Israel and Egypt for excluding Turkey.

Announcement by the KKE on the agreement on the definition of the EEZ between Turkey and Libya – December 10, 2019.

The above is indicative of the inability of historical formations of the left with some influence (some more and some less) to escape the ideological and strategic autism imposed on them by the dogmatic interpretation of capitalism and Marxist-Leninist principles on the question of capitalism in Greece and Imperialism.

At a time when our country after many austerities of submission and impoverishment has become a protectorate, if not a colony, at a time when more and more production and industry are under the control of foreign capitalists, such as ports, airports, transportation and land.

These parties talk about the evolution of Greece from a dependent to an intermediate imperialist country.

This outrageous claim comes at a time when Greece is increasingly accepting painful compromises on its national issues (Cyprus, Prespa Agreement, Greek-Turkish problems), which pose great dangers, not only for the country’s territorial integrity, but also for its own survival.

It is now becoming clear that due to their attitude, their influence in large sections of the popular strata is small and seems to be shrinking more and more.

At the same time it is becoming clear that new anti-capitalist patriotic forces must emerge to fill their gap and lay the foundations for the creation of a national salvation front in the face of the difficult times that our country is living through.

Marios Mathios-Josefidis is a historian and Balkan researcher who runs the Manin High Castle blog.

The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Greek City Times.

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