Monday, June 29, 2009

The social, economic and political basis of Greek Neo-Ottomanism Part 5

This is the last part of a summarised translation of George Karabelias's article, "The social basis of Neo-Ottomanism" which appeared in the November-December edition of the Greek magazine Ardin. The last Antipodes post can be accessed here.

Karabelias continues on how the Greek Neo-Ottoman elite requires complicity from the broadest possible segments of society in order to continue their project undisturbed; and therefore
, attempt through tourism and the selling of real estate to Europeans, to corrupt the last remaining Greeks. He also describes how on the islands of the eastern Aegean, there are growing calls for local businessmen to integrate economically with the “neighboring coast". At the same time, “Left-wing pacifists” make “friendship festivals”, that help to pave the way - despite Turkey's purported grey areas and the continued airspace violations - for the occupation of the Aegean.

Despite the doom and gloom which pervades Karabelias’s article he ends on a note of potential optimism about how the present crisis may galvanise people into resisting Neo-Ottomanism:

That is why, furthermore, the political and spiritual landscape looks so unhealthy and stalemated in our country because there are no parties of political, social and spiritual subjects who could offer resistance to this deadlock. However, the two major global deadlocks of our time, the ecological and economic collapse of globalization, will pose a tough test to Greek parasitism in Greece and Cyprus. And perhaps, as in all crises, it will trigger a set of questions that would lead a party of the people and intellectuals who will consciously oppose voluntary servitude and decline.
Obviously, Karabelias's analysis owes much to Marx and material dialectics; despite, showing few signs of sympathy for the contemporary Greek Left. His analysis of the de-nationalisation of certain parts of Greek ship-owning and other capital, Churchmen and intellectual New Leftists is accurate. There is a lack of data supporting some of his claims but it is only an article in a magazine. However, he does fail to mention the globalisation of the old Left and the working class where they sought to reach out to their Turkish (and Bulgarian, Skopjan and Albanian) working class counterparts in solidarity despite aggression against the Greek people.

Certain parts of the Greek Diaspora also manage to escape Karabelias's wrath. This is unfortunate because this is where some
of the most apparent signs of Neo-Ottomanism are present. For example, during the recent adulation poured on President Barak Obama by Archbiship Demetrios during Greek Independence Day celebrations, where he idiotically compared Obama to Alexander the Great, he failed to mention Turkey's miserable role in the bloody saga. Obviously, he was sensitive to American geopolitical designs which have recently elevated Turkey as a paragon of freedom, democracy and peace in the region.

Source: Ardin (George Karabelias), Antipodes


  1. On a slow news day, you can always count on the American media to lash out against the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Since he became President in 1998, he has stood up to both the Aristocracy, which accounts for only 3% of the population but controls more than 3/4s of the land, and the United States, which sees him as a menace to their influence in the Americas. Chavez's "crime" is that he puts the welfare and interest of his nation first. A "crime" he commited a few years back was to target the foreign oil corporations and demand 30% of their profits instead of the paltry 16% (remember, it's Venezuela's oil). Why such a heinous "crime"? He wanted to improve the dismal lives of the Venezuelan people.

    I brought up Chavez because he epitomizes what Greece so desperately needs: a nationalist, i.e., nation first, everybody and everything else second!

  2. There is nothing wrong with an aristocracy which is aristocractic in the original Greek sense, a people of excellence and virtue. However, most "aristocracies" become entrenched and do not like to give away power and prestige even if there are more aristocratic people elsewhere. The Italian sociologists and economists such as Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca wrote copiously about this phenomonen. They generally recommended a rotation of the elites. However, I cannot quite remember what they recommended as the mechanism to make this happen. I suppose good information via the press and other sources will help but in most European capitalist societies; particularly Anglo-American ones, these are controlled by the elites themselves.

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  4. I agree, A: "an aristocracy which is aristocratic in the original Greek sense, a people of excellence and virtue." Unfortunately, the word aristocracy has changed somewhat over time (in the English-speaking world, at least,) to mean "the hereditary elite," as in the case of the Venezuelan Aristocracy which traces its roots to the Conquistadores. I think the word meritocracy now conveys the original meaning of the Greek word aristocracy.


  5. We should always be careful of how the Latins, then Franks, and finally the Anglo-Americans, have corrupted the Greek language and concepts. We Greeks should be even more careful in learning these meaning of these concepts from the English rather than going to the original meaning. This is another form of subjugation.

    Chavez and Morales scare the hell out of the entrenched Anglo-American powers. Just like the French revolutionaries, Napoleon and then Napoleon III scared the conservative powers of Europe.