Eleftherotypia: Left - Right and Terrorism in Greece [T. Michas, 10/8/02]
- ELEFTHEROTYPIA - 10/08/2002
Left - Right and Terrorism in Greece
[translated by GHM from the original in Greek:
By TAKIS MICHAS
In his recent oral and written statements, Andreas Andrianopoulos, the
conservative politician and television interview-show host, accused the
Greek Left and of being largely responsible for terrorism in Greece. He is
right on some points and wrong on others.
It is absolutely legitimate for Mr. Andrianopoulos to raise the question of
the connection between the ideology the organization invokes and the
practice it follows. One can be sure, had it been discovered that "November
17" was a royalist organization, then the leftwing newspapers would have
filled their pages with stuff on the connection between the ideology of
"monarcho-fascism" and the organization's terrorist practice. Thus, at the
level of political rhetoric, Mr. Andrianopoulos is absolutely correct to
raise this question.
However, one wonders whether the purported ideological connection between
the Left and "November 17" has any basis at the more profound level of
political analysis. The ideology of "November 17" - a blend of
national-bolshevism, nationalistic anti-imperialism and vulgar
anti-Americanism - runs rife throughout every political body and faction,
including the New Democracy Party. Besides, Mr. Andrianopoulos himself has
repeatedly stressed that on every crucial issue - globalization, the market
economy, NATO, the war in Bosnia, US relations, etc. - the views of top New
Democracy political delegates are virtually identical to those of certain
After all, wasn't it Mr. Molyviatis, the elder N.D. statesman, and Mr.
Pavlopoulos, the N.D. Parliamentary spokesperson, who signed appeals in
favor of Abdullah Ocalan in Greece? Wasn't it Yannis Manolis, the chief
N.D. trade unionist, who launched a tirade against globalization on the
occasion of the Genoa meetings? Isn't it a fact that Mr. Lykourezos, a N.D.
candidate, was never asked to recall his campaign leaflet containing photos
of Bosnia's arch-terrorist, General Mladic? Mr. Andrianopoulos also ignores
in his analysis what the poll published in the April "PRESS" magazine
revealed - namely, that in some instances the number of those supporting
"November 17" was higher among New Democracy voters than among supporters
of the socialist PASOK governing party
To be specific, the percent of New Democracy voters who saw "November 17"
as "social revolutionaries" exceeded the corresponding percent in PASOK -
9.3% as opposed to 7.8%
Likewise, the percent of New Democracy backers who agreed with the
political-ideological positions of the terrorist organization exceeded the
corresponding percent of PASOK - 23.6% as opposed to 21.8%.
Finally, the percent of individuals who suggested that the organization
continue with its terrorist activities was higher in the New Democracy than
it was in PASOK - 7.8% as opposed to 5.5%.
In other words, it is highly problematic to view the ideology of "November
17" as having any particular connection with the Left because, in the final
analysis, the Left - Right dichotomy has no meaning in Greece these days.
When the Archbishop of Greece Christodoulos recently told a communist KKE
deputy that he agreed more with the deputy's views than with those of other
parties; when, during the war in Kosovo, the leader of the New Democracy
party accused Prime Minister Kostas Simitis of not being anti-imperialist
enough (!); and finally when the honorary president of the New Democracy
ascribed the overthrow of Mr. Milosevic to a German conspiracy (!), then it
is obvious that the concepts of Left and Right are totally inadequate in
describing the ideological set-up that prevails in Greece today.
One wonders of course whether the Left - Right dichotomy has ever been a
useful conceptual tool for analyzing the deeper significance of events in
Greece. Isn't it true after all that this political-ideological dichotomy
is the offspring of the European Enlightenment, and as such an integral
part of Western European cultural development? And if this is the case,
then how can we use it in order to shed light on developments in rural
Balkan societies, such as Greece - societies which, as Cyril Mango and,
more recently, Samuel Huntington have maintained, never had any particular
relationship or connection to the culture of the West?