Ideological hegemony

The past week was marked by three incidents that betray psychological violence and even underlying fascistic tendencies, which should give Greece’s intellectuals and politicians plenty of cause for worry. Respected filmmaker Pantelis Voulgaris stepped down from the helm of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival only a month after he was appointed its president, citing an «unprecedented war» against him, «instigated or tolerated by the previous management of the festival» (director Theo Angelopoulos). Surprisingly, Voulgaris reacted in an apologetic and defeatist fashion, telling his leftist critics that he is not a right-winger. The day before, a few dozen young anarchists had prevented some 100 people who attended a book launch at the Athens Polytechnic from leaving. Among the captives were PASOK MPs Evangelos Venizelos and Christos Verelis as well as other politicians and academics. Save for a few exceptions, most tried to put a cool face on the incident. Venizelos described the mob’s swearing and threats as an «interesting» and «constructive» conversation – even as a fellow-politician exited the complex with anarchist graffiti sprayed on the back of his jacket. In Larissa, where the local Greek-American association held a conference on anti-Americanism in Greece, Takis Tsiogas, a young deputy of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), followed by a crowd of leftist supporters, invaded the premises demanding the cancellation of the event. For about an hour, the conversation degenerated into a KKE protest against the US. The three incidents variously demonstrate that a section of the left treats the realm of culture and the arts as its private fief. Accordingly, they deem it right to set limits on our intellectual freedom, control the flow of ideas and choose state sector staff in order to perpetuate its ideological hegemony.