[Marxism] Class structure in Greece, tendencies of transformation amid crisis, impacts on organisational forms, structures

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Thu Jul 2 16:02:47 MDT 2015


Thanks to Andrew Pollack for pointing this out as well as the other 
articles referenced there:

Historical Materialism article paywalled - available via Richard Seymour 
http://www.leninology.co.uk/2015/01/notes-on-greece.html, where Seymour 
writes,

"It is imperative to get this right.  Syriza's election is the first 
real event on the European radical left for decades.  I do not mind 
being over-excited about this fact.  I am well aware of the limits of 
this success, and of the ways in which left governments can be 
domesticated.  Yet I would sooner get ahead of myself with enthusiasm 
than submit to the wised-up cynicism according to which every gain is an 
accident, and every betrayal was pre-ordained.  And this breakthrough 
does demand some careful research and theoretical work.

To that end, I'm going to try to post links to good, scholarly articles 
offering background on Greek social formation, its working class 
movements and the political variations therein.  This post is a start in 
that direction."

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An examination of class structure in Greece, its tendencies of 
transformation amid the crisis, and its impacts on the organisational 
forms and structures of the social movement
Historical Materialism
Eirini Gaitanou

Abstract

The study of the Greek class structure is necessary for approaching and 
understanding the forms and structures of the labour and social movement 
in Greece. The class structure and the specific characteristics of the 
Greek social formation present special features compared to other 
developed capitalist countries of Europe. These features have 
historically resulted to the appearance of broader petty-bourgeois 
strata, in parallel to (and not competitively to) capitalist 
development. The tendency in the last twenty years (during the 
restructuring process) has been the expansion of capital into new areas 
and sectors of capitalist circulation, leading to the establishment of a 
range of services as capitalist commodities, and an expansion of 
unproductive, but necessary for the realisation of the surplus-value, 
activities (expanded reproduction of capitalism). Further, during the 
current crisis, we are witnessing a massive job destruction, along with 
a significant tendency of class polarisation and violent 
proletarianisation of the petty-bourgeois strata. Massive unemployment 
and precarious work are largely expanded, whilst the stable work model 
is eroded. This reality affects both the emergence and the forms of 
organisation of the labor and social movement. The working class is 
highly fragmented and heterogeneous, and the trade union movement has 
several weaknesses and pecularities. At the same time, large sections of 
the working strata cannot be expressed through the traditional trade 
unionism, because of conjunctural and structural reasons. Thus, there 
appear various forms of organisation that are beyond the scope of the 
traditional labor movement. The aim of this paper is to explore this 
landscape and the various possibilities open to collective action, its 
forms and manifestations at the political level.


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