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1821: Tracing the nation, the state and the great idea



1821: Tracing the nation, the state and the great idea




This book repositions the most critical issues of modern Greek history: the formation of the Greek nation and its borders, the building of the Greek bourgeois state in its original republican and later “authoritarian” forms, the legacy of the revolution and its ideological uses to date.

Since 1838, the Greek state celebrates the beginning of the Greek Revolution on March 25 every year (coinciding with the Annunciation of the Virgin of the Orthodox Church). This date obscures an issue that is before our eyes: that the Greek Revolution was proclaimed on 24 February 1821 in the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia by Alexander Ypsilantis, with the position that “Peloponnese, Epirus, Thessaly, Serbia, Bulgaria, the Islands of the Archipelago, all Greece immediately took up arms to shake off the heavy yoke of the Barbarians”. This belief, that all the Christians of the Ottoman Empire are Greeks, starts from the revolutionary texts of Rigas Feraios and the Hellenic Nomarchy, and is maintained with minor modifications until the middle of the 19th century. It is at the same time the ideological ground of the Great Idea, of the expansionist policy of the Greek state during the first century of its existence.

This study shows that Greek nationalism, the Greek national consciousness, is a social process that begins after the end of the 18th century, half a century before the other Balkan nationalisms, and has a clear political content: the demand of the masses for a state, when it did not exist, and then for political rights and national “purity”, internally, and for expanding the influence of the state and “correcting” its borders, externally. This national politicisation of the masses expresses the historically new, “modern” form of their subordination to capital, as its permanent function is to integrate class rivalries into the general capitalist interest which appears as “national unity”, and at the same time to seek popular support for the expansionist-imperialist strategies of the state.

(Edited and translated blurb from publisher’s website)

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The influence of the Great Powers in the Greek Revolution

Position: 5621 (11 views)