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New Left Review I/163, May-June 1987


James Petras

The Contradictions of Greek Socialism

The victory of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (pasok) in the Greek elections of 1981, a mere seven years after the party’s foundation, was perhaps the most dramatic breakthrough in the political recomposition of Southern Europe in the late seventies and early eighties. Its 48 per cent share of the vote and 57 per cent of parliamentary representation, almost precisely matching the results achieved by the Spanish Socialist Party in 1982, appeared to confirm pasok’s claim to have rallied behind it a new bloc of social forces committed to the modernization of Greek economy and society. The repetition of its success four years later, with only a slightly reduced majority, consolidated a position which has outlived the general decline of Eurosocialism, even if it is now showing the same signs as the psoe regime in Spain of being shaken by waves of protest against government economic policy. In the course of this article we shall try to draw out some of the reasons why Greece has so strongly participated in and then deviated from the dominant trends of contemporary West European politics.

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