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(en) anarkismo.net: Early anarchist thought in Greece by Dimitri - MACG (personal capacity) [machine translation]
Sat, 25 Jan 2020 10:43:43 +0200
Dimitris Troaditis, Preface to the book "Early Anarchist Thought in Greece - The First Texts, the First Thoughts", in anthology-curated by
George Bourlis, Opportuna Publications, Patras 2018 ---- The diffusion of anarchism in Greece was the natural consequence of those radical
social ideas and movements that emerged and the uprisings and revolutions that rocked Europe by the mid-19th century, and it is there that
the ideas that lie behind them were introduced into the then Greek territory. Radiation, emitted by the revolutions of 1848-1849 and the
modern ideas of the time which are fully expressed in the Paris Commune of 1871, eagerly meets the minds of both Greek students at European
universities as well as intellectually socially sensitive young people.
In the interior of the country, political, social and economic life is characterized by volatility and intense clashes between different
political and economic factions with the aim of gaining more and more power and hence power. Feature of the period is the over-concentration
of the population in urban centers and the expansion of the small layers, as well as the local and weak development of industry. At the same
time, the brutal exploitation and repression of both the rural proletariat and the then young and still fervent working class in the cities,
which is eagerly trying to gain identity and to advance its claims. The artisanal passage to the lower layers of the people of all sorts of
religious and mystical superstitions should not be omitted,
Within such a climate radical and social ideas are being carried to Greece, although we cannot say that in every area of Greek society,
there is room for further development, since - naturally, the rise of such anarchist and socialist ideas depends on them. local, economic
and social conditions, and similar forms. For example, it is different to develop these ideas in rural areas plagued by poverty and
illiteracy. there is still a feudalistic relationship of power and exploitation - a pretty virgin and fertile field for sure - and different
in urban centers, especially in the higher education institutions there.
The first processes and fermentations that lead to the creation of the first socialist groups, which then flow more to the anarchist
perceptions of the time, are not accidental, nor are they cut off from the socially pervasive atmosphere, as they are mainly expressed
through the controversy. between the followers of Marx and Engels and those who embraced Bakunin's views and the International Socialist
Alliance within the First International.
These early ideas and ideas also vary on both a theoretical and a practical level. Carriers of these ideas are, on the one hand,
intellectuals, who try to instill in the broadest possible layers the conviction of the superiority of socialism over other ideological
forms and that it will come about with persuasion. But there are those whose reason is to overthrow the whole social situation and promote
views on the abolition of individual property, the state and all authority. And there is talk of the first anarchist socialists or early
It should be understood at this point that it is not easy to define anarchist or anarcho-socialist or anarchist groups in Greece at this
particular historical period, since the emerging collectivities are not always characterized by structured internal function and elaborate
theoretical and practical work. nor are they self-determined by clear agreement between their members. However, in keeping with the
prevailing political and social conditions of the time and the situation in which the movement was born, there were three groups that were
distinguished by some degree of theoretical and practical consistency and attempted to interpret and analyze the issues of their time and
place in the light of the then anarchist ideas.
The first of these was the "Democratic League of the People of Patras", followed by a group of old anarchists who rallied around the
newspaper "Epithe Perse", and finally the "Anarchist Group of Pyrgos", which somehow succeeded the previous collective. . In these three
shapes that originated and acted in the western Peloponnese - a fact that makes us say that this geographical region is the "leader" in the
development of the movement in Greece - the "Anarchist Workers' Association of Athens" is also added. ", An entity that seems primarily to
owe its establishment and existence to the movement of patriarchs and anarchists in the capital due to persecution, but for which, in
addition to the names of its members and the memorandum it sent to the International Anarchist Congress of Paris 1900,
We could cite the case of the anarchists and anarchists of Volos almost a decade later. But the lack of evidence prevents us from saying
that the anarchists and anarchists of this city acted as a coherent and politically coherent organization.
In 1875, then, the "Democratic Association" was founded in Patras, which after a year - and because the anarchists there intended to set up
a federalist type of organization that united the then similar movements and groups - was absorbed as founding and essential. but a member
of the newly formed People's Democratic League. What attaches particular importance to the character of the Association is that from the
outset it has come into contact with anarchist collectives and corresponding versions of Italy and France, but primarily with the Balkan
Trend Federation of the Swiss Jura, acceding to the accession of Switzerland. of its collective organs, that is to say, the stream of
collectivism that characterized the then young anarchist movement within the First International.
On the other hand, members of the Association had a relationship with specific movements and militants of the rest of Greece, relationships
characterized by an ideological affinity or relevance of views. We refer to the newspaper "Ergatis" by Panagiotis Panas and his circle,
which we can say was the only one covered by both transnational and federalist views. In fact, it was the first newspaper to publish the
news of the founding of the Association, as well as articles by its members.
We do not know whether the League, apart from the publication of the Hellenic Republic newspaper or the lectures it allegedly organized, had
further practical action and what its impact was ultimately on the working class, youth or other social groups in Patras and around area.
And perhaps the Association's somewhat blurry views on the role of the State or the inferior cleric should not be dealt with here, since
this is a work that requires more in-depth research and analysis and is not a work of a few pages.
A second group of Patriarchs formed around the Epiphany newspaper - in perhaps a more sophisticated form of anarchist organization than the
People's Democratic League - in the mid-1890s, as the development of an anarchist circle acting inside the "Socialist Brotherhood of
Patras", an organization-branch of Stavros Kallergis' central "Socialist Association", from which he originally published the ephemeral
version of "Front". This cycle was important both for the number of its members and for its action, and its natural consequence was its
withdrawal from the socialist-controlled socialist organization, since the conditions for a separate, political and a specific anarchist
The acquisition and subsequent conversion of Evmoropoulos's bourgeois-democratic newspaper Epiphany was primarily an initiative and work of
Yiannis Maganara, around whom the homonymous anarchist group came together. Although "On the Face" has attempted to give a broad rather than
anarchist texture to the publication of both socialist and reformist views (something which some Marxists mistakenly attribute to
ideological confusion), both its practical involvement and its theoretical work argue that the group around the newspaper primarily endorsed
the anarchist communist views as expressed by Peter Kropotkin and his companions and comrades at the time,
However, the events of 1896 with Dimitris Matsalis (who - to be stressed - had nothing to do with "On the Face") and the assassination
attempt of King George I in 1898 resulted in successive waves of repression since then. state mechanism (which targeted not only the
anarchists, but every progressive body in general), putting a brake on all activity.
This development gave another impetus to further ideological work and given that since 1898 the Epiphany group was no longer in the past,
some of its executives merged with Tower anarchists and formed the 'Anarchist' Group. Pyrgos "which in the same year published the newspaper
Neon Light. However, the ideological orientation of the Group and this newspaper differed from that of Epi Person in many respects. This
successive scheme was not a fundamentally anarchist communist or at least a cohesive collective, but rather a composition of views. Many
different tendencies coincided with it, mainly anarcho-Christian, as expressed by Vassilis Theodorides from the Arnellos circle. However,
It also appears that this figure, while continuing the work of its predecessor in Patras, maintained international contacts, and the proof
of this is that in 1899 it was invited to attend the 1900 Paris International Anarchist Congress. did not allow the members of the
"Anarchist 'Tower Group" to send representatives, and simply sent a Report to the Conference, where they only cited their action.
The continued repression and severe poverty that plagued the region resulted in massive urbanization and migration abroad, events that
greatly contributed to the gradual inhumane end of the Western Peloponnesian anarchist movement a few months later, with only a few
autonomous later agricultural rallies and revolts, especially in the city of Pyrgos and Ilia.
It is worth mentioning here that executives of both groups (Patras and Pyrgos), such as Yiannis Maganaras, Drosos Meintanis and Dimitris
Karambilias, settled in Athens and in collaboration with members of the former Socialist League of "Cosmos" proceeded to Anindos Labor».
This Association - which according to some scholars was essentially a work of Drosos Meidanis and had already been established by the end of
1898 - sent, as mentioned, his highly informative Memo to the Paris Conference of 1900, but was soon dissolved in 1901 , with Meintan's
death that same year.
Texts or text extracts from such intellectuals and agitators are anchored in this work. And although they are characterized by a whole host
of different views and interpretations of the social issue of their time, they share all of the elements and precepts that make up anarchist
worldview. Here, of course, are the clear and thorough analysis of the issues they deal with, the relentless critique of institutions and
situations, and the promotion of the anarchist ideal.
Monumental works are thus cited, such as "Thoughts of a Bandit or or Condemnation of Society," where the intellectual, writer and romantic
poet Dimitrios Paparigopoulos, openly stands by his time's rebels, so-called warlords and looters, .
It follows the first substantially anarchist text ever published in a Greek-language publication bearing the title "Anarchy" and is signed
by the municipality of Papathanasiou, a writer deeply influenced by the ideas of Pierre Joseph Proudhon and one of the few comedians of the
Pa. The following is an excerpt from a text entitled "Radical Political Reform" by Panagiotis Panas, one of the most radical Ionians and a
devoted supporter of early anarchist organizations.
As we have seen before, the People's Democratic League, the first historically registered anarchist group in Greece, has deliberately forged
specific relations with European anarchists, notably those active around the then Zura Federation in Switzerland, joining the collectivists.
The fairly important text of this group's Dionysi Ambelopoulos, entitled "A Study on Socialism in Greece", is part of the process of
analysis in the light of the then anarchist ideas and the prevailing social situation in the country.
The following is an excerpt from a text by Evangelos Marcantonatos, a member of the Central Socialist Association of Stavros Kallergis in
Athens, entitled "Luxury as a privilege deriving from gender and wealth," the side of the rulers.
Heracles Anastasiou, anarcho-trade unionist and also a member of Stavros Kallergis' organizations, was a self-taught researcher and author
of texts and analyzes. are involved in the individual electoral processes by which the state is consolidated, and the second entitled
"Handbook or Dispatcher of the Work?", where he criticizes the views of the reformist socialist (and by the way) s of the Greek social
democracy) Plato Dracula at the same time was released "Handbook of labor."
Paul (Panagiotis) Argyriadis became known for his involvement in the French socialist and anarchist movement as the publisher of the famous
"Almanac de la Question Sociale", as a rhetoric and lawyer who defended the socialists, anarchists and other socialists, anarchists and
others. However, his contribution to the depths of anarchist and revolutionary ideas in Greece was decisive, and excerpts from two of his
texts entitled "The hardships of the working class have not yet ended" and "Only emotion can make a revolution fail" .
One of those figures who set not only their pen and reason, but also their practical example in the assumption of the spread of anarchist
ideas in the lower social classes of Patras and the surrounding villages, the workers and the peasants, was Yiannis Maganaras . His writings
and translations constitute an important contribution to the emergence and development of Greek anarchist literature and literature. This
edition hosts the texts of "Emancipation of Women and Crime", "Golden Ages", "What the Anarchists Want and Want" and "The Voice of the Workers".
A notable figure of the anarchist movement in the western Peloponnese was Dimitris Arnellos, also an educated and translator of works of
anarchist literature in Greek. He himself, though inspired by some religious doctrines, gave authentic texts in which he first introduced
ideas and ventures new to Greek times, such as co-operatives in his article entitled "Co-operatives with other help and freedom".
The contribution of the Panos Machairas worker must also be considered important. emblematic personality of the anarchist movement also of
the western Peloponnese, whose intervention is entitled "Exploiter and Worker".
The following is a text by Vassilis Theodorides entitled "Erasing the Politician Forever", which also presents the first ecological concerns
on the part of anarchists in Greece, criticizing the galling industrialization of everything.
Although Marino Antipa's ideological and theoretical backgrounds were varied and not only anarchist, he is also regarded as the visionary
and leader of the revolutionary peasant movement, which in its early stages was influenced by, among other things, anarchist agrarians. Two
of his texts are published here, "We are rebelled" and "Our program".
Anarchist ideas were also attempted to spread to the urban centers of Thessaly. In Volos, the most important movement around which the
socialists and anarchists rallied there was the "Labor Center", which published the "Ergatis" newspaper. A key member of the Volos
anarchists of that time - most of whom favored anarcho-trade unionist views - was George Kosiva, originally from Egypt, a regular columnist
for the "Worker", from whom the text is cited here.».
And we come to one of the most accomplished anarchist fighters and intellectuals of his time, Stavros Kuchtsoglou, who had developed a great
deal of activity in Turkey, Egypt and Greece. This issue features a text entitled "I Do Not Vote-I Am a Worker", which shuns the electoral
institution and the damage it inflicts on the working class and its militancy, and the preface to the "Lower or Mask" brochure ( originally
published in Cairo in 1912) on how to spread anarchist ideas.
The appendix also contains excerpts from the Program of the first anarchist group in Greece, the "Democratic League of the People" in
Patras, as well as an analysis by the same League on the Eastern Issue at the time, published in a single issue of the newspaper. the
"Hellenic Republic", and are, as we have said, part of the process of theoretically approaching the major issues of Greek society at that
time and interpreting them in the light of anarchist ideas.
The following are two excerpts from the program posts of the anarchist group "On the Face", the first entitled "Our Ideas Should Not Shake a
Terror", possibly written by Maganara, and the second entitled "? Among the Social voluntary solidarity of persons, "published in their
newspaper in response to a wave of repression launched by the then Greek state at the expense of anarchists and socialists following the
events starring Dimitris Matsalis in Patras.
At the same time, the Memoir of the "Anarchist Group of Pyrgos" to the Congress of 1900 is cited, where reference is made to her theoretical
work to date, a memoir also published in her editorial body, the newspaper "Neon Light", entitled "The influence of ideas". us".
The publication also includes an excerpt from the Memorandum of the "Anarchist Labor Association of Athens" at the International Anarchist
Congress of Paris, which describes the group's action and the state of the movement in the country, and questions about what are the best
means of enlightenment. for the development of anarchist ideas at the discretion of the delegates.
The present work is one of those rare ones that aspires to overturn the stillness of the anarchist movement itself in terms of knowing the
history of Greek anarchism, lighting up a small spark of research, evaluation and drawing on experience and lessons learned from early
action. those intellectuals who acted mainly in the second half of the 19th and the first two decades of the 20th century.
That is why it aims to find its beneficiaries: those who call themselves anarchists or libertarians, offering them another tool drawn from
part of the history of the revolutionary movement in Greece, as well as those who are not comfortable with any kind of "historical"
preparations of specialists and rapists of all kinds in revolutionary history.
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