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Commentary Adamantia Pollis As a philosophy, liberalism has undergone many transformations since its early formulation in the late 18th century. Its latest manifestation under the guise of neo-liberalism is exemplified by the writings of Allan Bloom. However, in its early embodiment in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which coincided in western Europe with the emergence of capitalism, the doctrines of liberalism advocated a minimalist state in which individual rights, including but not limited to the right to private property, should prevail. It was the philosophy of the emerging bourgeoisie forged in their confrontation with monarchical power. The rights which they claimed against the state and the freedoms they demanded were designed to further their interests as an economic class and to enable them to acquire political power. Andreopoulos, in his study "Liberalism and the Formation of the Nation-State" in which he undertakes an analysis of the liberalism of Venizelos and the Liberal Party in Greece unfortunately does not clarify his own understanding of liberalism. Consequendy the criteria by which he evaluates the Liberal Party's liberalism remain somewhat obscure. He tends to view the Liberal Party as espousing what he labels radical liberalism according to which the state has a positive interventionist role in promoting freedom, but he concludes that such a role was overshadowed by the Venizelists' devotion to irredentism. And this is the author's most significant contribution. There is little doubt that the Megáli Idea, which embodied Greece's nationalist ideology and its derivative irredentist policies, provided for national unity by transcending the primacy of local identities and loyalties and by deflecting from domestic strife, including class conflict. The Megali Idea however collapsed with the defeat in Asia Minor. Greece turned inwards in an agonizing search for a new unifying symbol which culminated in Metaxas' Third Greek Civilization. While Andreopoulos discusses numerous policies pursued by Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Volume 7, 1989. 227 228 Adamantia Pollis Venizelos he fails to distinguish analytically the post Megali Idea period during which Venizelos' principles and his class allegiance became starkly evident. Hence Andreopoulos' argument is partial, since he cannot explain post 1922 Liberal policies in terms of an abandoned Megali Idea. Venizelos' brand of liberalism was apparent not only after he returned to power in 1928 but earlier when he was selected as leader by the Military League. While the Military League had no coherent ideology and became the focus of discontent among many social groups, Venizelos, its chosen leader, advocated policies beneficial to the diaspora and incipient domestic bourgeoisie while receiving his greatest support from the diaspora bourgeoisie. Later, as capital-labor strife intensified, he not only enacted legislation favorable to the bourgeoisie 's economic interests, but he restricted the rights of workers. He has the distinction of being the first modern Greek political leader to enact repressive legislation. It is in these actions that Venizelos' brand of liberalism becomes apparent. The Megali Idea, while serving as a unifying force, simultaneously served the interests of the diaspora bourgeoisie and the state's hoped for growth of a domestic capitalist class. If liberalism is understood as the ideology of capitalism then clearly the Liberal Party was its proponent. That Venizelos violated individual rights speaks to Greece's particularity in its historical evolution which was not comparable to that of western Europe. Andreopoulos validly criticizes most writing on the Venizelist— Royalist split as highly partisan. However, he also undertakes a rather exhaustive critique of Greek scholars who locate Greece's development either within the Marxist or non-Marxist literature. And while there are legitimate disagreements over the appropriate theoretical interpretation , the basic thrust of his criticism is misplaced. While agreeing that more research is needed on the linkages between the state and the economic oligarchy, which Andreopoulos points to, the fact remains that the state and the state bourgeoisie has been a central actor in the development of Greece. Rejecting the category of state bourgeoisie , in essence replacing it with his people/power dichotomy, the author negates the relevance of class, however defined, as a valid analytic tool for Greece. Unfortunately his power/people categorization is far less explanatory than the analysis provided by Tsoucalas...


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