Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State

Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State

Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 256
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    Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State
    Book Description:

    WINNER OF THE 2011 VICTOR TURNER PRIZE, Society for Humanistic Anthropology WINNER OF THE 2011 EDMUND KEELEY BOOK PRIZE, Modern Greek Studies Association HONORABLE MENTION IN ARCHEOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY, 2009 Prose Awards This book simultaneously tells a story-or rather, stories-and a history. The stories are those of Greek Leftists as paradigmatic figures of abjection, given that between 1929 and 1974 tens of thousands of Greek dissidents were detained and tortured in prisons, places of exile, and concentration camps. They were sometimes held for decades, in subhuman conditions of toil and deprivation.The history is that of how the Greek Left was constituted by the Greek state as a zone of danger. Legislation put in place in the early twentieth century postulated this zone. Once the zone was created, there was always the possibility-which came to be a horrific reality after the Greek Civil War of 1946 to 1949-that the state would populate it with its own citizens. Indeed, the Greek state started to do so in 1929, by identifying ever-increasing numbers of citizens as Leftistsand persecuting them with means extending from indefinite detention to execution. In a striking departure from conventional treatments, Neni Panourgi\~ places the Civil War in a larger historical context, within ruptures that have marked Greek society for centuries. She begins the story in 1929, when the Greek state set up numerous exile camps on isolated islands in the Greek archipelago. The legal justification for these camps drew upon laws reaching back to 1871-originally directed at controlling brigands-that allowed the death penalty for those accused and the banishment of their family members and anyone helping to conceal them. She ends with the 2004 trial of the Revolutionary Organization 17 November.Drawing on years of fieldwork, Panourgi\~ uses ethnographic interviews, archival material, unpublished personal narratives, and memoirs of political prisoners and dissidents to piece together the various microhistories of a generation, stories that reveal how the modern Greek citizen was created as a fraught political subject.Her book does more than give voice to feelings and experiences suppressed for decades. It establishes a history for the notion of indefinite detention that appeared as a legal innovation with the Bush administration. Part of its roots, Panourgi\~ shows, lie in the laboratory that Greece provided for neo-colonialism after the Truman Doctrine and under the Marshall Plan.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-4714-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xxii)
  5. FROM NOW ON …
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
    (pp. xxix-2)
  9. 1 1963–2008: History, Microhistory, Metahistory, Ethnography
    (pp. 3-38)

    It was late one evening on a winter preceding the junta. The day the junta came to power was April 21, 1967, when I was about to turn nine years old. This incident happened two or three winters before, in 1964 or 1965. There was a knock on the door, and when my mother answered a middle-aged man (or so he seemed to me) was standing there, dressed in not tattered but certainly old-fashioned clothes, a dark suit and white shirt, no tie, with a light sweater underneath his suit jacket, no overcoat, but a scarf around his neck, and...

  10. 2 1936–1944: The Metaxas Dictatorship, the Italian Attack, the German Invasion, German Occupation, Resistance
    (pp. 39-62)

    On May 8, 1936, a major strike and demonstration by tobacco workers was organized in Thessaloniki. The response of the gendarmerie was immediate and brutal. The next day the strike spread to other professions, and a new demonstration took place. This time the response of the gendarmerie, aided by the army, which sent in an equestrian force and a motorized unit, was not only brutal but lethal, leaving twelve dead and thirty-two seriously wounded, all of them demonstrators. The photograph of the mother of Tasos Tousis, one of those killed by the gendarmes, leaning over the body of her dead...

  11. 3 1944–1945: The Battle of Athens
    (pp. 63-77)

    Early one morning in the summer of 2005, at our summer house, where my entire family was spending a few days together, I went downstairs and outside to the garden to have coffee. My uncle-in-law Kostes and his wife were already there. Before I could get any coffee, Kostes, who was reading a hefty book, looked up from it and said, “I am reading about the involvement of Aris Velouchiōtēs in the civil war, and I am amazed …”

    I interrupted him, still half asleep and without thinking too much, saying, “Aris had no involvement in the civil war; he...

  12. 4 1945–1946: White Terror
    (pp. 78-80)

    Following the Dekemvrianá and the retreat of ELAS from Athens, the vacuum in policing and surveillance in the country became acute. It was felt not only by the Greek government but also by the British, who, as Mazower notes, needed their troops elsewhere as quickly as possible (1997: 143). In haste they expanded the already formed National Guard (Ethnophylake), a body that had been set up in November 1944 and manned primarily by conscripts from the “class of 1936,” called to military service during the Metaxas dictatorship (and hence by definition anti-Communist and largely anti-Republican), a move that EAM considered...

  13. 5 1946–1949: Emphýlios
    (pp. 81-116)

    In a letter written in 1972, Foucault mentions in passing that his real interest was not “to analyze the phenomena of power, nor to elaborate the foundings of such an analysis” (2003: 284). In a sense, Foucault was not interested in producing laundry lists of where power can be found and what that power did. He was far more interested, he says, in producing a “history of the different modes by which, in our culture, human beings are made subjects” (ibid.). As a way of arriving at this genealogy of subjectification, Foucault mentions that he wanted to analyze power relations,...

  14. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  15. 6 1950–1967: Post–Civil War
    (pp. 117-123)

    Western European governments saw the end of the Greek Civil War as a victory in the fight against world Communism, so much so that President Lyndon B. Johnson later considered Greece the Vietnam of the 1940s.¹ The greatest irony about both the British involvement and the Truman Doctrine was that the Soviets neither actively nor implicitly supported the Communist Party’s efforts to assert its size and become by force part of political power in Greece. Quite the contrary, they repeatedly advised the leadership of the KKE not to undertake a military campaign and made it quite clear that there would...

  16. 7 1967–1974: Dictatorship
    (pp. 124-149)

    On April 21, 1967, a group of colonels from the far Right, some of whom had been trained at the War College in the United States, some of whom had participated in the Tágmata Asphaleias, some of whom had been members of “X,” and others of whom had been torturers in Makrónisos and Yáros, seized power from the government, using as an excuse the political instability and tension of the time, and established a dictatorship. The leader of the coup, Georgios Papadopoulos,¹ was a member of the paramilitary organization IDEA (Ierós Desmos Ellênōn AxiōmatikÔn, “Sacred Bond of Greek Officers”). He...

  17. 8 1974–2007: After History
    (pp. 150-180)

    The fall of the junta, on July 23, 1974, was precipitated by a number of things: a botched attempt at a coup in Cyprus by the junta; a botched attempt at the assassination of the president of Cyprus, Makarios, by the “unionists [enotikoi]” of ex-Chi leader George Grivas (Parergon 8.1); the “de facto” (and long sought by the British) partitioning of Cyprus; and the fiasco of a general mobilization of the army, calling to arms against Turkey, the strongest member of the NATO alliance after the United States, the entire Greek male population between the ages of twenty and forty-five,...

    (pp. 181-210)
    (pp. 211-272)

    Of course, the occupation was by the Germans, the Italians (until 1943, when Mussolini collapsed), and the Bulgarians, but the locution commonly used implicated only the Germans, referring only occasionally to the Italians and, at least in southern Greece, almost never to the Bulgarians. Nikos Doumanis (1997) has dealt with the different ways in which the occupation by the Italians has been remembered in the Dodecanese, especially in relationship to the memory of the Germans. He argues that the Italian occupation has been passed on as a relatively peaceful encounter, whereas the memory of the German occupation has been the...

    (pp. 273-294)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 295-302)