by Akis Gavriilidis
Recently, while in Cyprus, I spoke to a doctoral student who had just returned from Athens, where, as he informed us, he had visited several events taking place there in the framework of the Documenta14 exhibition. Among these, as he said, a performance “in a building close to Omonia square”. After one or two questions, it came out that this performance was actually not part of Documenta, but a sort of a “counter-event” staged as a satire, under the title dokoùmena (ancient Greek for “things believed/ seen as”, a title which obviously parodies the name of the institution). Our friend apparently mistook it as being part of the official program.
But was this really a mistake? If so, in what sense?
Documenta consists in a series of artistic works shown during a certain period of time Read More
by Akis Gavriilidis
The current conjuncture, in Greece and also beyond, is marked by efforts to make sense of what happened at the February negotiations within the Eurogroup. Sources close to the Greek government try to present their outcome as a «victory», while other people, outside but also inside SYRIZA, consider instead that this was a “defeat” or a “capitulation”.
I believe the latter impression presupposes a conception about strategy which is itself Eurocentric and masculinist (or phallogocentric, to use Derrida’s neologism); a conception organized around the image of the definitive battle where one has to show bravery and prevail over the opponent. Without sharing the view that this was exactly a “victory” –for roughly the same reasons.
In what follows, I will try in turn to read the strategy (if any) applied by the Greek government in these negotiations, and its gains (if any), through the lens of two closely related axioms:
– Power is not a thing, nor a substance, but it is the capacity of acting upon actions (Foucault).
– The good strategy is to try not to crush your opponent’s forces, but to use them –especially when these forces are devastatingly Read More
by Akis Gavriilidis
In an interview to the Macedonian Television in February 2011, the British diplomat Robin O’Neil declared:
“The Greece-Macedonia name row is the most bizarre diplomatic dispute in Europe today. No one outside of Greece can perceive why should Macedonia change its name. What is Greece’s national interest in doing this? Greece has not suffered in any way as a result of Macedonia’s existence under the current name in the past 20 years, and Greece never opposed Macedonia’s existence as part of SFR Yugoslavia».
He also said that “the consistent Greek opposition to Macedonia’s NATO and EU accession is especially difficult to understand” (ibid.).
O’Neil here states the obvious as regards diplomatic practice and international relations, but what he says is also valid epistemologically. I think that his statement is a very useful way to start a treatment of the issue from a political theory point of view as well: in fact, if diplomats had a hard time to figure out what Greece is trying to achieve or to avoid by its reaction, social theorists did not do much better up to Read More
Some weeks ago, a ‘blasphemous’ provocation against the ‘values of Hellenism’ took place in a Greek military camp. An official prohibited several soldiers to sing the ‘Famous Macedonia’ (Makedonia Ksakousti), a military march that celebrates the Greekness of Macedonia, a deviant act resulted in a hysterical public outcry. The song is commonly considered as the national anthem of (Greek) Macedonia and is present over and over again in anniversary marches, military camps, but also in state institutions with an educational role, such as schools. I can recount for instance our teacher of “Religion” in high school making us sing the song “as loud as we can” after the end of his class, with him as a self-appointed conductor waving a wooden stick trying to instill passion and militancy in the choir. The song had to be performed by the fifteen year old students as its g(l)oriness demanded; with a proud, determined and clear voice that gives the sense of unity and coherence to both the performing subjects and their enemies. The song, written after the Balkan wars and the annexation of Thessaloniki to the Greek state in 1912, stresses that freedom for the territory of Macedonia equals Greekness: Read More
του Άκη Γαβριηλίδη
Ένα κοινό ανάμεσα στο κίνημα των «αγανακτισμένων» και το Δεκέμβρη του 2008 είναι ότι και τα δύο κατηγορήθηκαν για «αφωνία», για το ότι ήταν ασαφή, συγκεχυμένα, χωρίς συγκεκριμένα αιτήματα.
Βέβαια, αυτοί που διατύπωσαν εκάστοτε την κατηγορία δεν συμπίπτουν.
Αυτοί που συμβατικά θα αποκαλούσαμε συντηρητικούς, φιλελεύθερους ή mainstream σχολιαστές, την διατύπωσαν και τις δύο φορές. Εκεί που διέφερε η κατάσταση ήταν στο Read More
Prva greška koju moramo izbeći, pokušavajući da shvatimo nemire koji su potresli Grčku u decembru 2008, jeste da ih čitamo kao ’’slepo nasilje’’ ili ’’emotivni izliv mladih’’ bez političkih implikacija.
Ovaj pokret, iako je sigurno imao afektivnu stranu (ili, precizno, baš zbog toga), već je direktno i eminentno politički, u mnogo dubljem i širem smislu nego što je uobičajeno. Tačno je da pokret nije istakao nikakve specifične ‘’zahteve’’ (nekom drugom na Read More
by Akis Gavriilidis
The first error we must avoid when trying to make sense of the riots that shook Greece in December 2008, is to read them as “blind violence” or as an “emotional outburst of the youth” without political implications.
This movement, although it certainly had an affective side, (or precisely because of that), is already directly and eminently political, in a much deeper and larger sense than the usual one. It is true that the movement did not submit any specific “demands” (to somebody else Read More