Entangled Paths Toward Modernity

Entangled Paths Toward Modernity: Contextualizing Socialism and Nationalism in the Balkans

Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 474
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  • Book Info
    Entangled Paths Toward Modernity
    Book Description:

    The book is a study in comparative intellectual history and discusses how socialist ideology emerged as an option of political modernity in the Balkans of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Focusing on how technologies of ideological transfer and adaptation work, the book examines the introduction and contextualization of international socialist paradigms in the Southeast European periphery. At its core is the presentation of three case studies (Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece), intertwined at times through similar, but also divergent paths. Each case aspires to tell a different and yet complementary story with respect to the issue of modernity and socialism. The book analyses the introduction of socialism against the background and in conjunction to other prominent options of political modernity such as nationalism, liberalism and agrarianism.

    eISBN: 978-615-5211-67-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VIII)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. IX-XII)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. XIII-XIV)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. XV-XVI)

    • [I. Introduction]
      (pp. 1-5)

      More than any other ideology of the nineteenth century, socialism came into being as a trenchant political answer to the challenges of modern mass industrial society. Born of the underbelly of capitalism, socialism proposed a comprehensive futuristic vision of a fairer social order and offered a vastly powerful ideology to those who sought to change the world and who repudiated distress as the predestined condition of humanity. From its origins in Western Europe, socialism spread to other parts of the world, informing the political imaginary of societies that sought to cross the threshold of modernity. How was the international socialist...

    • 1. Methodology
      (pp. 6-9)

      The current work makes use of the analytical advantages offered both by transfer² and comparative studies.³ Far from agreeing on their methodological incompatibility or mutual exclusiveness, pointedly argued by some of the most articulate proponents of either fields,⁴ this study makes a strong case for their methodological complementarity. With no pretensions to constitute a new paradigm, transfer studies have raised a whole agenda of methodological issues that deserve attention when studying transnational processes of cultural and intellectual transmission. The current study embraces several of the sensitivities raised by transfer theorists,⁵ whose contribution most pertinent to this work on the transfer...

    • 2. Context, Ideology, Adaptation
      (pp. 10-16)

      Socialist theory was born in the Western context both as a result of and a reaction to the exigencies of the Industrial Revolution and the maturation of the capitalistic process. It reflected and wished to address changes in the social, economic and political structure of the Western part of the old continent, envisioning their radical transformation. Socialism, an offspring of the Enlightenment legacy, followed up on the inadequacies of liberal politics and questioned anew a whole set of issues like the relationship between man and society, the creation and distribution of wealth, the configuration of relations between capital and labor,...


    • [II. Introduction]
      (pp. 17-18)

      Intellectuals functioned as the basic vehicles of transposition for most intellectual currents entering the Balkan area from Enlightenment thought to liberalism and socialism alike, and they were the principal links connecting the Balkan lands with the broader currents of European thought. Intellectuals were also the major “fabricators” of the narratives of modernity and the identities they suggested, as well as the multiplicators of those same narratives. If, previous to the establishment of the nation states, education had been the prerogative of the slowly ascending social strata or was exclusively connected to the educational activities of the church, with the creation...

    • 1. The Russian Connection and the Geography of Revolution
      (pp. 19-24)

      If the itineraries via which Enlightenment thought entered the Balkans encompassed a broad geographical space, predominantly Western and Central Europe, and to a far lesser extent Eastern Europe, the itineraries of early socialism signaled a reversal of this geographical configuration. For the central-northern part of the Balkans (Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania) Russia was to become the major revolution-exporting country. Exposure to Russian influences was instrumental in the adaptation of early socialist theory (1870s–1880s). This does not go to say that variants of Western socialism did not exercise any influence in these countries, they were, however, proportionately of subordinate significance....

    • 2. Models and Master Texts
      (pp. 25-37)

      The Russian influence was not limited to the transmission of literature or the plain adaptation of theoretical populism. The Russian revolutionary movement (from the 1860s to the 1880s) also furnished the intelligentsia model that Balkan socialist intellectuals (Greece is always excepted) were to adopt. Despite the fact that neither the Serbs nor the Bulgarians were to come close to achieving anything like an intelligentsia in the full sense that it acquired in Eastern Europe, that is, forming a distinct social stratum, they adopted the outlook and the programmatic function of their Russian colleagues and self-fashioned themselves according to the Russian...

    • 3. The Balkan Disciples
      (pp. 38-47)

      The fact that the Russian model provided for emulation is attested in the texts of several Balkan socialist intellectuals, stressing the regenerating, avant-guard role of the intelligentsia and the moral duty of intellectuals to advance progress and enforce social justice. Commenting on his early student years and the impact that his Russian colleagues exercised upon him and his fellow Serbian students in Switzerland, Pera Todorović, a leading figure of the Serbian Radicals, stressed that:

      In any case, the living example of the Russian nihilists influenced us more than any other. Faith is contagious—and when we saw how our Russian...

    • 4. Intellectuals and Political Systems
      (pp. 48-50)

      Models are conducive, but do not account for the total formative experience of intellectuals. The Russian model of the intelligentsia found application in some of the Balkan countries, partially for similar structural reasons to those in Russia, that is, the absence of solidified middle classes, and a long-standing intellectual tradition, as well as an answer to the broader problematic of modernization. It was also nurtured, however, by local political dynamics: the political system within which these intellectuals operated induced them either to accept or to discard their political environment, and consequently determined their pro- or anti-systemic attitudes. In the case...

    • 5. Social Descent and Professional Integration
      (pp. 51-58)

      In the three countries under analysis (Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece), in the nineteenth century, the Serbian Radicals and the Bulgarian Socialists appear to display a more egalitarian social structure. The Radical intellectuals in Serbia, with negligible exceptions like Pera Todorović and Svetomir Nikolajević, were predominantly of modest social origins, not far removed from the social groups (peasants, artisans) that they claimed to represent. The founding father of Serbian radicalism, S. Marković, wrote in relation to this:

      Fifty years ago in serbia there were hardly any other classes but peasantry. We are all sons or grandsons of peasants. The educated people (and...


    • [III. Introduction]
      (pp. 59-60)

      Of all the Balkan countries to have come under the influence of the ideas of Russian populism (Narodničestvo), only in Serbia was this to initially materialize as a genuine political and social movement and, subsequently, into a mighty and hegemonic party formation. The Serbian radical movement was certainly an original adaptation of the populist doctrine, while the radical phenomenon was unique of its kind in the Balkans. As a movement it managed to capture, articulate and instrumentalize the patriarchal pulse and aspirations of the peasant masses, whose purposeful mobilization was to become a new explosive ingredient in the Serbian political...

    • 1. Some Notes on the Historiography
      (pp. 61-64)

      Indeed, it has been the ideological mutation of the later Radicals that is the hottest issue in the historiographical debate as to the “true” character of the Radical Party and its potential classification within an orthodox typology of political parties. While there is more or less broad consent with respect to the initial Narodnik matrix, as epitomized in the thought of Svetozar Marković, the founding father of the radical movement, serious dissent prevails on the issue of the continuity of his legacy. What was the “true” character of the party that managed to curb the autocratic pretensions of the Serbian...

    • 2. The Ideological Roots of Serbian Socialism
      (pp. 65-69)

      As conceived by its founder, Svetozar Marković, radicalism was an original synthesis of multiple theoretical socialist influences both of the Eastern and the Western variety. Acknowledging the concrete conditions in their homeland—which was a predominantly agrarian country with weakly developed capitalism, but increasingly exposed to the vicissitudes of the international market and commercial capitalism—the Radicals incorporated the elements that they deemed fit to address their local specificity. The early Radicals were exposed to a variety of theoretical influences such as pre-Marxist French and German socialism (Blanc, Lassalle),⁹ but also those of Marx, from whom, just as their Russian...

    • 3. Modernization and Its Antecedents
      (pp. 70-75)

      The Radicals’ response to modernization cannot be considered independently from the commensurate attempts of their predecessors and contemporaries. The radical reply was partially inspired, and to a great extent was spurred, as a reaction to the modernizing visions and efforts of the political elite en place. In the second half of the nineteenth century the political landscape was just starting to take shape, and it was precisely this period that was to witness the major struggle for the locus of sovereignty in Serbia from the preeminent claim of the prince to be the prime and sole political authority in the...

    • 4. A Moral World Imperiled
      (pp. 76-78)

      Feeling threatened by the encroaching forces of modernity, the corrosion of the traditional social structure, the alterations in morals and customs, the intrusion of foreign capital, the growing influence of foreign powers, and the modernization schemes of those who aimed to transform Serbia into a modern state according to Western European standards, the Serbian Radicals were well aware of being at the crossroads of modernity. Conscious of the poverty and backwardness of their country, and under pressure to find a timely answer to the thorny issue of development, the Radicals were persuaded that time was running against them, exposing them...

    • 5. The Mission: Saving Serbdom
      (pp. 79-81)

      The metamorphosis of patriarchal institutions into modern productive associations was to be accomplished by grafting them with the most contemporary scientific knowledge. For the early Radicals science meant the axiomatic rule of the universal and objective principles of truth and was considered a value-free property. Applying, thus, modern science to social engineering meant for the Serbian socialists the instrumentalization of Western, predominantly technological, know-how, but without its broader contextual reference. Interestingly enough, here we seem to have a reversal of a common topos, whereby scientific and technological civilization has a pernicious homogenizing effect, that is, a tendency to level out...

    • 6. The Individual and Society
      (pp. 82-84)

      In the Radical’s view, Serbia belonged clearly to the Slavic typology of civilization, the principle of which feature lay in the indivisibility of the notions of state and society. Slavic civilization did not recognize a distinction between the private and the public sphere. As the basis of social organization of a whole society the Slavic community guaranteed to each and every member the necessities of life, not on the basis of a written law or through the implementation of force, but through benevolent patrimonial practice. The Slavic community arranged its public affairs independently, and its institutions were the exact opposite...

    • 7. The Radicals and the Nation
      (pp. 85-88)

      Marković advanced a most challenging and original response to the question of serbian liberation and unification. The initial vision concerning the form of the future serbian state had been provided by ilija Garašanin in his Načertanije of 1844.58 His project of “Greater Serbia” took the mediaeval Serbian state as its starting point and the blueprint of a future state constellation. It envisioned the expansion of Serbia upon the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which was thereupon called to play the role of the Balkan Piedmont. Appealing not only to the historical rights of the Serbs, but also to their leading...

    • 8. A l’attaque
      (pp. 89-92)

      In 1868 Marković explicitly defined the strategy of the intelligentsia:

      Having risen to leadership, be it through luck or coincidence, the minority has the duty to speak to the people—so that they come to realize what they don’t know, [that is,] that they have been flattered and anaesthetized—, and also tell them the truth as sharply and clearly as possible and ensure that this truth is heard by the majority. This is the only way to inform the majority on [the issues] that the minority already knows [for] all popular goals can only be achieved through popular toil....

    • 9. The Railway
      (pp. 93-95)

      The discourse generated by the creation of the railway in Serbia is exemplary of the Radicals’ attitude towards modernity. The railway represented, in both real and symbolic terms, an intersection of economic, geopolitical and cultural preoccupations. The creation of the railway, far from being beneficial for Serbia, would only lead to the country’s economic exploitation by stronger nations and magnanimous neighbors like Austria, while in the case of war it would facilitate invasion by both Austria and Ottoman Turkey.75 The construction company in charge would gain control of the country’s import-export circulation, and Belgrade would be reduced to a petty...

    • 10. The Agrarian Radicals
      (pp. 96-98)

      Seminal in the development of the Radicals was the appearance of an opposition group of agrarian representatives in the Skupština of 1874, the first authentic grass-root expression of peasant discontent. Centered on the figure of Adam Bogosavljević, who was to be joined by a group of similarly minded delegates (Dimitrije katić, Milija Milovanović, Miloš Glišić, Ranko Tajsić), this constituted the first peasant group to be represented in the parliament. Coming from diverse regions in Serbia, they carried to the capital a message of provincial dissatisfaction, and the firmness and the bellicosity of the groups’ resistance to central authority made it...

    • 11. A Popular Party
      (pp. 99-103)

      The Radicals were the first political group in Serbia to organize politically, thus forcing their adversaries to organize. The Radical Party was conceived from the beginning as a massive and powerful organization, meant to literally embody the whole Serbian people.86 Svetozar Marković had provided a first blueprint for the projected Radical Party (1872), envisioning the complete destruction of the administrative system en place, the restitution of administrative, economic, educational and policing functions to local control, and broad and extensive powers of the community to regulate local affairs. It included the reform of the judicial system and its replacement by elected...

    • 12. The Watershed
      (pp. 104-107)

      In essence, the 1880s were a crossroad in the development of the Radicals. It signaled their procedural willingness to compromise with the exigencies of surrounding realities as they moved slowly from political activism to power politics. The development of the party into a mass organization inevitably also entailed the increasing transfer of its focus towards the political sphere. Its distancing from the original program is not to be understood as a simple throwing-over-board ditching of principles, but rather as a process. It aimed to take into account, to the greatest extent possible, the changing aspects of Serbian society, aspects that...

    • 13. A Church and an Army
      (pp. 108-111)

      The radical program appeared in January 1881, while the Radical Party was officially founded a year later, in July 1882. The Radicals proved to be the most innovative, modern and effective group in the field of practical political organization. They were pioneering in two concrete and unprecedented ways for Serbian politics. In the first place, they built a modern party machinery, a pyramidal organization, hierarchically operative and strictly disciplined. In the second, this same machinery allowed them not only to connect to the countryside, but most importantly to organize and mobilize it, a practice that no other political formation had...

    • 14. Slavophilism
      (pp. 112-118)

      Basic philosophical assumptions of slavophile doctrine were incorporated almost a priori into the Radicals’ social philosophy, informing their worldview on a variety of issues, like the relationship between societal organization and the individual, or the place of Serbia within the realm of world civilizations. Historically, the bridging of slavophile ideas and the ideas of Westernizers in Russia was achieved in the synthetic thought of Alexander Herzen. Via this modality slavophilic themes were to influence the development of populist doctrine. Moreover, they were modified and reorganized theoretically into a different ideological system. Despite the fact that slavophilism and populism developed into...

    • 15. To the People
      (pp. 119-125)

      Agitation was not exactly a new craft for the Radicals. The “Red Banner” affair (1875) and the concomitant trial a year later had given a first taste of the Radicals’ capacity to move public opinion and mobilize the population. The “Red Banner” protest was triggered by a vote of no confidence against the majority radical city council of kragujevac. Representing the first important and impressive radical victory at local level, the council had been fairly elected in accordance with electoral procedures. This victory was contested, however, by a group of citizens associated with the liberal and the progressive opposition. Through...

    • 16. Manipulating the Past
      (pp. 126-128)

      Radical discourse engaged in rhetoric as regards the Ottoman past. in their efforts to mobilize, the Radicals resolved upon a reassessment of the Ottoman past in a way very different from the sober tones of Marković’s assessment of the Ottoman system in his Serbia in the East. In the latter’s analysis, the Ottoman past figured in a fairly positive light and was credited at least with the retention of communal autonomy and the preservation of patriarchal community values. On the contrary, the Radicals instrumentalized the “Turkish past” by associating several of the government’s policies and measures with the experience of...

    • 17. Heading for Confrontation
      (pp. 129-133)

      The achievement of the Radical Party was bringing the masses into the political scene. Seeking out and politically organizing the peasantry by involving it in an elaborate party structure (consisting of party membership card and fees, local committees, regular party conventions, etc.) which acquired the dimensions of a nation-wide political organization, “the Radicals created the first political organization in the Balkans to give the term popular sovereignty a practical, visceral meaning.”146 At the same, through their populism, they released mass instincts, which, in multiple ways, ran counter to the broader prospect of modernization.147 From 1881 to 1883 the Radicals adopted...

    • 18. Constitutional Philosophy
      (pp. 134-136)

      The constitutional project of the Radicals is not only indicative of their political philosophy, but also reveals their Jacobite attitude towards power in more general terms. Far from having a conception of the institutionalized political game as “fair play,” the Radicals perceived of parliamentarism as a means for total domination. Whereas the 1869 constitution had subordinated the Skupština to the government, the Radicals sought a reversal of this relationship by elevating the Skupština to the highest authority and subordinating the executive to its prerogatives. The Radicals sought the total subordination of ministers to the rule of the parliament. an almighty...

    • 19. In Power
      (pp. 137-141)

      The basic building blocks of radical ideology already underwent changes in the 1880s. In Marković’s design, the community was understood as a self-governing, socio-economic unit, guaranteeing economic self-sufficiency and effectiveness. Progressively, the community would come to be treated as a simple administrative unit within a centralized state, and it would later be institutionalized as such. In their economic philosophy, the Radicals underwent a significant mutation. As capitalistic relations became more pronounced and the patriarchal institutions that had served as the core of their doctrine disintegrated, the Radicals progressively abandoned the initial conception of skipping phases of development, and the principle...

    • 20. Legacies of Radicalism
      (pp. 142-156)

      It was this legacy that the Independent Radicals would claim in their schismatic dissent in 1901. The split in the radical ranks was triggered by the Radical Party’s willingness to accept the more regressive constitution imposed by Aleksander Obrenović in 1901. This acquiescence to compromise on the constitutional issue (the new constitution envisioned the creation of a second house, a senate), the abandonment of the demands for universal suffrage, self-government and a popular army, and the prospect of entering into coalition with the Progressives, were perceived as a betrayal of programmatic radicalism, and provoked the critique of a younger generation...


    • [IV. Introduction]
      (pp. 157-163)

      The history of the Bulgarian socialist movement is a tormented story of fierce ideological debates, power struggles and multiple schisms (at least four occurred—1892, 1903, 1905, 1907—before the establishment of the Third International). Characteristically, and contrary to the more general experience, the Third International did not provoke a split. Rather, the “Narrow” faction of the Bulgarian Social Democrats—whose genesis we will follow in this chapter—was transformed into the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1919. This section concentrates on the 1903 schism¹ within Bulgarian Social Democracy, which divided the Bulgarian Socialists into two contending factions, the “Broads” and...

    • 1. The Historiography of the Schism
      (pp. 164-174)

      The historiography of the schism has often remained engulfed in the argumentation of the polemic itself. As can be foreseen, it was primarily dominated by the communist interpretation, which emphasized the opportunistic and heretical character of the Broads and was preoccupied with establishing a direct pedigree of continuity between Narrow socialism and communism. This hermeneutic framework stressed the disinterestedness and the theoretical orthodoxy of the Narrow Socialists in contrast with the heterodox and opportunistic attitude of the Broads. The most common argument—initially advanced by Dimitǔr Blagoev—regarded Broad socialism as a direct reflex of the revisionist debate.11 Blagoev was...

    • 2. Bulgarian Socialism
      (pp. 175-178)

      Early Bulgarian socialism is a neglected subject.43 This remissness is mainly due to the fact that Bulgarian historiography has concentrated overwhelmingly on the establishment of the Marxist paradigm, considering the preceding period “non-scientific,” and thus uninteresting. This unfortunate circumstance has created a distorted picture of the early period, which is regarded as a juvenile episode, coming of age only in the establishment of the Marxist paradigm.44 The early period, extending from the 1880s to the early 1890s was extremely colorful, eclectic and syncretistic. Diverse ideas from various paradigms (Proudhon, Lassalle, Blanc, Bakunin as well as Marx, Lavrov, etc.) coexisted, while...

    • 3. Sŭiuz vs. Partiia: The Priority of Political or Economic Organization?
      (pp. 179-184)

      The initial attempt to create a social-democratic party in 1891 found a number of intellectuals in disagreement. Conditions in Bulgaria were still immature for the official entry of the Socialists into the political scene. There was always the problem of reaction and persecution, but, above all, there was as yet no sufficient social material—workers—who could function as the party’s army. The Unionists deemed it thus more appropriate to start by laying the groundwork, by educating workers and assisting their economic organization. The Sŭiuz (Union) was to function as an association, a society for the propaganda of socialist ideas...

    • 4. Blagoev vs. the Narodniks
      (pp. 185-190)

      The establishment of the Marxist paradigm in Bulgaria has more or less accurately been credited to D. Blagoev. Although a similar ideological fermentation was taking place simultaneously among several of his colleagues—the late 1880s and early 1890s witnessed a slow shifting of paradigms and an ever greater orientation towards Western Marxism—Blagoev was pioneering in articulating and putting on paper a first analysis of Bulgarian socio-economic development within the trajectory of international capitalism. So indeed, his was the first attempt to conceptualize the development of Bulgaria within an evolutionary scheme of history, whereby Bulgaria was not to follow any original...

    • 5. Constructing the Social Subject: A Party with Two Voices
      (pp. 191-196)

      The predominance of Marxism and renewed unity in 1894, nevertheless, did not solve the big open-ended issues like the profile of the party, the identification of which part of the population should form its potential support base, or the strategy and tactics to be adopted. It was rather the baptism in the arena of concrete political practice that brought many socialist intellectuals to the realization of their own contradictory role, as they found themselves bearers of a theory castigating capitalistic development in a country in urgent need of economic growth. The Bulgarian Social Democrats found themselves in more than one...

    • 6. Modernization
      (pp. 197-200)

      If Social Democrats in Western countries saw their principle task in exposing, analyzing and mitigating the exigencies of the modernization process, the Bulgarian Social Democrats had first to persuade the public opinion and their adversaries that modernization was the desired, necessary and unavoidable path for Bulgaria. To the lamentations of intellectuals regretting the loss of the previous patriarchal order and the “demoralizing” phenomena that accompanied it, the Bulgarian Socialists answered with a firm look into the future. Bulgaria sooner or later—preferably sooner—would develop along the lines of Western capitalistic civilization.83 The Bulgarian Social Democrats were not combating capitalism,...

    • 7. Mentalities
      (pp. 201-203)

      If one were to agree with Jacques Le Goff that “mentality is the story of tardiness in history,”90 then the Bulgarian Social Democrats were up against a mental world that proved to be rather resilient. They not only had to face the fact that what they understood capitalism to be was not developing at the expected rate. They had to cope with the even more painful realization that the parts of the population exposed to it stuck to their own pre-capitalistic understanding of professional ethos, social status and social harmony. In fact, the Bulgarian lands within the Ottoman dominion had...

    • 8. The Profile of the Party
      (pp. 204-207)

      The most recurrent topos in the popular Bulgarian socialist narrative was the claim for economic frugality and prudence, coupled with the moral quest for social equality. Underlying most of the socialists’ concrete demands for reform, these were the principle values perpetrated by the socialist morality tale. It was like a metaphor for a “neat household,” formulated in terms of the common man’s logic and epitomized in the popular wisdom: “don’t stretch your legs beyond your capacities.” The most common quest of the Social Democrats was the necessity to cut down on superfluous expenses. It touched upon a whole series of...

    • 9. Flirting with the Peasant
      (pp. 208-223)

      An unsettled, yet recurrent issue was the party’s attitude towards the countryside. Despite warning voices that urged the development of a special agrarian program (for example at local congresses in Jambol and Tŭrnovo in 1895), addressing concrete peasant demands with the intention of attracting the peasants into the socialist camp, party congresses postponed any kind of serious deliberation between 1895–1898. It remained nevertheless, unofficially, contested ground within the party. Champions of an agrarian program like Gabrovski envisioned providing alleviating measures such as state subvention for the procurement of agricultural machines leased to individual peasants or whole communities on a...

    • 10. Obshto Delo
      (pp. 224-239)

      Before setting up Obshto Delo as an independent platform, Sakŭzov had officially requested the publication of a biweekly supplement to Rabotnicheski Vestnik in order to discuss theoretical issues. His request was turned down. While the debate, triggered by the appearance of Obshto Delo, focused initially on the clearly technical issue, that is, the legal status of the publication—the 5th Party Congress had prohibited the publication of any independent political journal apart from the officially endorsed party organs—, it was soon transformed into a debate of substance. The polemic lasted three years—from 1900 to1903—and its protracted character...

    • 11. “Alarm for Ghosts—Our Apostasy or Their Nonsense”
      (pp. 240-250)

      After the party split (1903), Sakŭzov wrote the “Alarm for ghosts,” elaborating on his positions, especially with respect to the issue of class struggle and class cooperation. A major point of contention between the two camps concerned the evaluation of the political situation in Bulgaria, the causal connections underlying political problems, and the means and tactics to be employed for their alleviation. A principal contention of the Narrows—particularly of Blagoev—consisted in explaining the problems of the political structure (personal regime, party coteries, the erosion of constitutionalism, etc.) as a reflex of the constellation of the productive forces (the...

    • 12. Historical Materialism Not Economic Determinism
      (pp. 251-256)

      In his Principles and delusions of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party,182 P. Dzhidrov discussed the epistemological foundations of Marxism, answering to some of the principle accusations of the Narrows. Dzhidrov identified the low and superficial brochure knowledge prevalent in the party as the basic obstacle in the comprehension of Marxism. Lack of sophistication led to a one-sided understanding of the essence of Marxist teachings. The precondition for the study of any social question was the development of critical thought, which should serve also as a security valve against the jeopardizing influence of brochure knowledge. Many of the party members, having...

    • 13. The Debate on Private Ownership
      (pp. 257-260)

      The already strained relationship between the two fractions was increased by the debate on private ownership in 1902. It was triggered by Sakŭzov’s parliamentary declaration that the Social Democratic Party was not an avowed enemy of all kinds of private property, but rather sought the socialization of the big means of production, the ownership of production that exploited human labor.188 Answering to objections from deputies who considered it inconceivable that the Social Democrats desired an amelioration of the contemporary government, given the fact that they were committed enemies of private property, Sakŭzov deemed it necessary to clarify in parliament the...

    • 14. The Debate on Party Membership
      (pp. 261-266)

      The wrangling for control over the party and the diverging notions of what social democracy ultimately stood for were manifested best in the debate on party membership. The debate could stand also as a holistic metaphor for the whole range of issues that separated the two sides, summed up in two very different notions of party types. In essence the debate on party membership reflected the culmination of the already perturbed coexistence within the party, as the polarization of the two fronts was to exceed the simple ideological level, reaching the stage where a practical solution was required. The debate...

    • 15. The Predicament of Bulgaria
      (pp. 267-268)

      The practice of social democracy, as emphasized Dimitrov, was a progressive movement aiming at the realization of the end goal, a process in which every moment had its own weight and significance. The objective was to move society towards higher stages, towards forms of increased productivity, with the greatest possible participation of the broad masses, enabling them to profit from the fruits of their productivity. The predicament in the Bulgarian case, however, rested elsewhere. How should a proletarian party, a party of social development, behave considering the fact that Bulgaria was not suffering from capitalism, but rather from the lack...

    • 16. Theory and Practice
      (pp. 269-272)

      A deeper and incessant preoccupation with theoretical problems remained at the core of Sakŭzov’s analysis of concrete Bulgarian circumstances. The dialectics and restraints of theory and practice consumed a major part of his intellectual reflections, and he returned periodically to the crux of this most contested partnership. For it had been, indeed, his contention that the diverging perceptions between Broads and Narrows were due to an “unreflected” implantation of Marxist theory irrespective of the specifics of the Bulgarian context. Sakŭzov insisted that it was not so much the verification of theory in practice that mattered, but rather the use of...

    • 17. How to Make Sense of Broad Socialism
      (pp. 273-278)

      Tracing the different ideological layers and their eclectic amalgamation in the discourse of the adherents of Broad Socialism seems a much more fruitful exercise than simply verifying Sakŭzov’s revisionism. The intellectuals that came gradually to form this group derived their ideas from a variety of thinkers, from which they picked and molded whatever they deemed appropriate. Despite the conspicuous influence of Bernstein, they incorporated also Lassalle, David, the neo-Kantians, the German Agrarian Reformists, populist themes, etc. It is precisely this aspect of ideological independence of the “broad heresy” that constitutes its most fascinating aspect, at least in its initial fermentation...

    • 18. Rethinking Bulgarian Politics
      (pp. 279-300)

      The role of the left and more specifically the emergence of Broad socialism cannot be understood independently of the political system operating in Bulgaria. The issue of the democratic deficit remained a pressing topic as the political system glided progressively into a kind of “regulated arbitrariness.” The promising liberal political life, inaugurated in 1879 through the Tŭrnovo Constitution, proved unable to live up to its liberal pledge, violated already in the late 1880s, initially by the arbitrary rule of Stefan Stambolov, and later on through the establishment of king Ferdinand’s autocratic “personal regime,” which elevated him as the principal arbiter...


    • [V. Introduction]
      (pp. 301-308)

      Admittedly, it is not wise to start a chapter with a pompous title. It does summarize, however, most concisely the principal argument of the Greek case study with respect to the two preceding ones on Serbia and Bulgaria. Nor is it wiser to start by juxtaposing the quotations of two contemporaries who had little to do with each other, not to mention their adherence to entirely opposite ideological camps. The first belongs to the most favorite repertoire of the Greek Communists from 1926 to 1927, used abundantly in their debates on their desperate attempts to find that missing link that...

    • 1. Historiographical Notes
      (pp. 309-314)

      Historiography is the self-reflexive story of history. It goes without saying that the seminal experience that shaped the historiographies on socialism, and the modality of their representation in the three countries under analysis, was the post-1945 political order. Political exigencies logically conditioned the retrospective reading of the history of socialism. Whereas in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria socialism was established as a “real” political system, in Greece the “eminent” period of the left, that being the resistance movement, was clouded not only by a traumatic civil war, but also by a final defeat that determined post-1949 political developments. Moreover, the left, due...

    • 2. Greek Nationalism: The Imaginary of Superiority
      (pp. 315-321)

      The formation of the political sphere in nineteenth-century Greece rests on a precarious, almost paradoxical combination. Whereas on the one hand the Greek state had a functional liberal constitutional system since 1864, perhaps the most liberal of its kind in the Balkans, on the other, it nurtured a very conservative and introspect intellectual establishment. In the realm of the history of ideas, this ideological “regression” meant a clear retreat from the liberal political ideals and visions that had inspired the movement of the Greek Enlightenment and the ensuing war of independence.⁷

      Until the military catastrophe of 1922, the act that...

    • 3. Some Particularities of Greek Socio-Economic Development
      (pp. 322-327)

      Greek nationalism, however, did not draw its strength solely from an imaginary postulating the indisputable superiority of the Greek nation. It was nurtured both psychologically and materially by a world much bigger and more affluent than the Greek kingdom itself. Despite the fact that the fortunes of this world were linked to centers external to the Greek kingdom, it influenced mainland Greece in multiple ways, from the realm of ideology to economics and social mobility. The constant flow of material and human resources between the world of the Greek Diaspora communities and the world of the Greek Kingdom explains some...

    • 4. Intellectuals: The Discrete Temptation of Submission
      (pp. 328-351)

      If intellectuals were the principal disseminating agents of socialist ideology in the early Balkan socialist movement, the failure to translate socialism in political terms in Greece was not due to a shortage in the production of intellectual cadres. On the contrary, the public status of intellectuals and the consciousness associated with the engagement in intellectual activity was well established already in the nineteenth century and appears to have solidified by the turn of the century. Intellectual formations like the “demoticist movement”34 have received adequate attention by Greek historiography in the attempt to furnish a history of the sociology of Greek...

    • 5. The Liberals: Progress, Expansion and Order
      (pp. 352-359)

      If one were to summarize Venizelos’ project in one sentence, Nipperday’s assessment of Bismarck that he was determined “to rule with the forces of modern society and not against them” seems to fall in place.85 Venizelos showed the practical and tactical skills of Nikola Pašić and, just as his Serbian colleague, he constructed a biotic party that rose and fell following the life cycle of its founding personality. In contrast to other modernizers in the Balkans, like Stefan Stambolov in Bulgaria,86 Venizelos was cautious about the need to preserve an aura of legitimacy for his modernizing design and legalized his...

    • 6. The National Schism: Metamorphoses of Political Polarization
      (pp. 360-366)

      The National Schism (Ethnikos dihasmos) was the particular political deformation that dominated Greek inter-war politics from 1915 to roughly 1936. Triggered initially as a consequence of the disagreement between Prime Minster Venizelos and king Constantine with respect to whether Greece should enter the First World War, the schism developed into the chronic pathology that characterized the Greek interwar political system. Venizelos considered that siding with the Entente would be the most effective way to materialize Greek irredentist claims and secure Greek sovereignty over the recently acquired New Lands in the north. The king, counting on a German victory, opted indirectly...

    • 7. “The Promise of the Impossible Revolution”
      (pp. 367-406)

      The failure of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) to develop into a considerable political factor in the inter-war period is a broadly acknowledged fact. Moreover, there is general consensus among scholars of the inter-war period as to the certitude that the KKE failed to win over the working class and its electoral allegiance. The consensus goes even further as to the generic reasons that led to this deficit connection. It is attributed, in the first instance, to the “dogmatic discourse” of the Communists and their choice of political “sectarian isolation.”128 The majority of the workforce sided either with Venizelism...


    • 1. Divergent Paths Towards Modernity?
      (pp. 407-413)

      The nineteenth century witnessed the introduction of diverse ideologies of mass representation such as liberalism, nationalism and socialism in the Balkan space suggesting a menu of new identities (political, social, national) and offering, in the first place, an “imaginary” integration of the predominantly peasant masses into the novel categories of modernity. “Wrangling” with the legacy of the Ottoman past, new “imagined communities” were to emerge proposing “bonds” of allegiance and solidarity quite different from the “habitus” and the hitherto experience of the majority of the Balkan populations. With respect to the fate of liberalism in the Balkans, it could be...

    • 2. Legitimacy and Mass Politics
      (pp. 414-416)

      The legitimization of social order is an imperative function of political systems. Turning peasants into political and national subjects was the primary goal of liberalism in the Balkans. Generally, it could be argued that the concept of popular sovereignty, central to the political philosophy of liberalism, targeted foremost the engineering of the national rather than the political community. As observed by Diana Mishkova, liberalism was more a constituent part of ideological and political nationalism than the other way around.³ Liberal nationalism, according to the same author, establishes legitimacy in two concurrent ways: in the first place, as an ideology, by...

    • 3. Socialism
      (pp. 417-419)

      Socialism in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Balkans was bound to address the imbroglio between agrarian structures and modernization rather than the effects of an absent or weak industrialization. The resilience and the long-lasting effects that populism had in the region, both as a version of agrarian socialism but also as an alternative version of modernity, testify to this. Altogether, the influence of populism in the Balkans needs to be re-evaluated. Despite its empowering vision, populism, due to its utopian qualities, could never materialize a real modernization of the countryside. It provided, however, the basis for related ideologies, such...

    • 4. Politics and the State
      (pp. 420-420)

      If socialist intellectuals function as the salient actors in this narrative on Balkan modernity, the concealed yet pragmatically dominant actor of modernity in all three stories is the state. The Serbian Radicals besieged the state in order to impede their opponents from bringing their version of modernity to pass. Through their ascendance to power, fashioned on the model and in the spirit of political Jacobinism, the Radicals sought to redirect and engineer evolution from above. Moreover, in their theoretical mutation from the notion of skipping phases in historical evolution to the acceptance of capitalism, the Radicals concentrated their efforts in...

    • 5. Legacies
      (pp. 421-426)

      Legacies form part of the longue durée in history. They provide for continuity of traditions in time and space. Concluding the presentation on intellectuals and paradigms, it is worthwhile emphasizing that there was not really a cross-Balkan fertilization in the adaptation of the various socialist paradigms in the nineteenth century. Generally speaking, none of the Balkan countries adopted its socialism from its surrounding neighbors, no matter how advanced theoretically they might have been. (For example, at the turn of the century the Bulgarians were in much better command of foreign literature and socialist theory. The Romanians, particularly Dobrogeanu-Gherea, advanced interesting...

    (pp. 427-448)
  12. Index
    (pp. 449-456)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 457-457)