On Sunday 21 of January of 2018, about 30.000 people protested in Thessaloniki, Greece, against the Republic of Macedonia being called Macedonia. On the above banner from the protest is written that “Greece is not for sale because it’s property of Jesus”. During the protest, nationalists attacked two squats in Thessaloniki, burning down completely one of them (fortunately, noone was inside the squat). They also put a bomb the day before to another squat, causing only minor damages to the door. In the attack that led to the burning down of the squat, participated some hooligans of the PAOK FC, whose fans generally describe themselves as antifascists. A few months prior to these events, hooligans of PAOK had also attacked Pakistan immigrants in Athens, Greece.
First things first: the neighbouring country is called Macedonia. Someone might ask, innocently or not so innocently, “isn’t there a need of a geographical determination?”. No, Macedonia is a nation-state, so the name of the state doesn’t need a geographical but a political determination. It’s called the Republic of Macedonia, not North Macedonia or something else. Since a political determination exists, noone will get confused -and “be confused” about what? will someone who wants to go to Thessaloniki, Greece end up in Skopje, Macedonia, or vice versa?- between the Macedonia-as-a-geographical-region-of-Greece and the nation-state-Macedonia. Let’s take a look at another example, the nation-state of USA. Although America is whole continent, the nation-state of USA is defined politically as United States of America, and not geographically as this-part-of-America-between-Canada-and-Mexico.
Nationalism isn’t a mere false consciousness. It constitutes materially a social coherence necessary for the survival of the capitalist state (and the society of which is a doubling) within the crisis-ridden world economy. It produces a cross-class national community whose members have to struggle together against the “external threats” and provides social solidarity to the “have-nots” who are faced with problems to survive. Without the nation-state, the fundamental mechanisms of balancing conflicts both within and between classes would no longer be ensured. The state appears to express the “collective will” of the national community, a will that transcends the social relations of exploitation and domination. This is the fetishism of the state.
Sovereign state means political sovereignty on a territory. The terrirory, the land, or more specifically the ownership of land, constitutes a source of revenue, the ground rent. A nation that defends its sovereignty defends its ownership of the land and the surplus value that derives from that.
Any disagreement on the name “Macedonia” is nationalistic, either in the traditional notion of expansionism about Macedonia being Greek, Big Greece, etc, or as a “tool” against the integration of the Republic of Macedonia in NATO and EU – ie, Greece as a member of NATO and EU having an advantage against Macedonia which is excluded from them. Someone might say “but what about the nationalism of the ‘others’? If Greek nationalism has dreams about a Big Greece, the Macedonian nationalism doesn’t have dreams of a Big Macedonia?”. This comment is true. But, can someone claim with a straight face that the Greek veto on the name “Macedonia” could mean, if not today, under different circumstances, an attack to the Macedonian nationalism and simultaneously a solidarity to the Macedonian proletariat? Whatever name may have a nationalism (either “Macedonian” or “North Macedonian” or, why not, “Gummy-wormy”) its content will remain the same. Consequently, whatever the objection to the Macedonian nationalism, both Macedonian nationalism and the objection to it are indepedent to the name “Macedonia” and will remain the same whatever the name. If we oppose the Greek veto to the name “Macedonia” is not because we support the Macedonian nationalism, but because the Greek veto to the name “Macedonia” cannot be expressing anything else than the Greek nationalism. And to drive the final nail to the coffin of the idiotic rhetoric about a danger of Macedonian expansionism due to the name “Macedonia”, we should remind that Albania (to which belongs a small part of the geographical region of Macedonia) and Bulgaria (to which belongs a rather big part of the geographical region of Macedonia) have both the recognised the name “Republic of Macedonia”. If there are any expansionist tendencies, they are stronger in the Greek nationalism.
We read in the public announcement of Antarsya [Front of the Greek Anticapitalist Left] (http://antarsya.gr/node/4653) about the nationalistic protest in Thessaloniki that “[t]hose who supported the protest supposedly in the context of ‘anti-Memorandum’ unfortunately showed a tolerance to fascists and the only thing they achieved is to go hand-in-hand with the supporters of ‘We Remain in EU’ and the neonazi criminals”. Which exactly was the “anti-Memorandum” context of the protest that some groups and parties “exploited” to “push the masses” to the embrace of neonazis? Is there a connection between the protest against Macedonia and issues like, let’s say, the question of the wages or the pensions? The reference to the “anti-Memorandum context” states clearly that the question of the capitalistic restructuring doesn’t concern the Greek Left in terms of the attack against the proletariat, but instead in terms of power distributions between nation-states. The only common element between the protest against Macedonia anti the “anti-Memorandum context” is the Greek national interests: on the one hand, “Skopje” want to take “the Macedonia which is Greek”, and on the other hand, “the Germans” (or “the Jews”, for those more on the Right) want to take “our poor little Greece”. The national indepedence, for which the anti-imperialist Left rip apart its clothes in the “anti-Memorandum” stuggles, means nothing else but sovereignty and sovereign state. And it’s precisely the issue of sovereign state that the Greek nationalism feels that it’s getting questioned by the name “Macedonia”, as it also has the illusion that Greece is a “debt colony”, or whichever fancy name it gives to the theories of dependence. The Left nationalism may not attack immigrants like the neonazis (and, of course, this is no small difference) but, just like the neonazis, leads the proletariat to seek protection from the world-market’s temptest to the “seaport” of the nation-state.
Allow us a little digression from the main subject: the connection between the anti-Macedonian protest and the mainly cosmopolitan, middle-class and petit-bourgeois protest of “We Remain in EU” (which appeared during the Greek bailout referendum in 2015 and hasn’t appeared again since then) is an absurdity that only the anti-imperialist Left can make. In the grotesque conditions we experience, it wouldn’t surprise us if a group of the anti-imperialist Left or anti-imperialist leninist self-proclaimed anarchists (in reality, more like neo-bolsheviks) would claim something moronic like that the Greek veto on the name “Macedonia” isn’t nationalistic but a support to the Macedonian people so that they’d be saved from their integration to the “imperialistic mechanisms of NATO and EU”. We should notice that the many nationalisms on the Balkan region have historically proved that they need no NATO to start slaughtering each other.
There are reports that hooligans of PAOK FC participated to the attack to Libertatia squat, which was completely burnt down. This shouldn’t surprise us after the fact that hooligans of PAOK attacked Pakistan immigrants in Athens a few months prior. And it shouldn’t surprise us because, as we have noticed elsewhere about the antifascists hooligans of AEK FC who attacked another anarchist squat in Athens, Greece (the squat oppossed the building of the AEK’s football stadium and a shopping mall of the owner of AEK FC at a grove in their neighbourhood), that the violent clashes against Golden Dawn, if they are not included in a wider questioning of the proletarian condition, remain within the context of a defence of bourgeois democracy. And the defence of bourgeois democracy implies the defence of the nation-state.