Greece: A Modern Semi-Colony

The Contradictory Development of Greek Capitalism, Its Failed Attempts to Become a Minor Imperialist Power,

and Its Present Situation as an Advanced Semi-Colonial Country with Some Specific Features

By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), November 2015,

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List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Maps




I. Some Theoretical Considerations

I.1 What are the Respective Characteristics of an Imperialist vs. a Semi-Colonial State?

I.2 Is a Transition from Being One Type of State to Another Possible?

I.3 Is the Category of “Sub-Imperialism” Useful?


II. Brief Historical Overview of the Development of Greek Capitalism

II.1 The Emergence of the Greek Bourgeoisie under the Ottoman Empire and the Struggle for National Independence

II.2 Greece after the War of Independence (1821-29) until 1922

II.3 Excurse: Greek Chauvinism and the Macedonian Question

II.4 Greece as a Backward Capitalist Country between the Two World Wars

II.5 The Contradictory Process of Modernization after the End of the Civil War until the Accession to the EU

II.6 Excurse: the Greek Shipowners – A Semi-Diasporic Bourgeoisie


III. Greece’s Failed Attempt to Become a Minor Imperialist Power

III.1 Accession to the EU and the 1980s

III.2 Capitalist Restoration in the Balkans after 1989 and Greek Capital’s Expansion

III.3 Rising Migration after 1989

III.4 Failure to Overcome Backwardness and Increasing Indebtedness to Imperialist Powers

III.5 Excurse: Nicos Poulantzas’ Analysis of the Greek Bourgeoisie as Justification of the Popular Front Strategy


IV. The Historic Crisis of Greek Capitalism from 2008 until Today

IV.1 Destruction of Greek Economy by the Imperialist Monopolies and Great Powers

IV.2 Explosion of Debt and the Greece’s Near Total Dependency of the Imperialist Powers

IV.3 The EU-Troika: Greece as a De-Facto Colony of EU-Imperialism

IV.4 Excurse: The KKE and the Class Character of Greece


V. Programmatic Conclusions

V.1 The Tactical Slogan of Greece’s Exit from the EU

V.2 The Program for Complete Equality for Migrants

V.3 The Struggle against Greek Chauvinism: The Macedonian Question


VI. Summary Theses




About the Author

List of Tables:

Table 1: Ethnic Composition of Business in the Ottoman Empire by Percent (1912)

Table 2: Relative GDP per capita (column A) and relative levels of industrialization (column B) in 1913

Table 3: Main Headquarters of Greek-Owned Shipping Firms, 1914–90 (percentage of ship tonnage)

Table 4: Greece’s Economy Compared with the EU-12, 1981-1990 (Annual Averages)

Table 5: Greece: Wages for Various Categories of Workers as Reported by Farmers

Table 6: GDP Per Capita (1990 international $)

Table 7: GDP Per Capita Growth Rates (Percents)

Table 8: Gross Domestic Product at Current Market Prices per Capita of Population in 2013

Table 9: Structure of Gross Fixed Capital Formation in Greece, 2000-2007 (in %)

Table 10: Illicit Financial Outflows of Greece (€ Billion)

Table 11: Greece: FDI Flows as a Percentage of Gross Fixed Capital Formation, 1990-2012

Table 12: Evolution of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) number in Greece, 2006-2013


List of Figures:

Figure 1: Growth of Top Fleets, 1949–93

Figure 2: Greek-Owned Shipping Fleet under Greek and Non-Greek Flags, 1972-2000 (in gross tonnage [millions])

Figure 3: Greek-owned Shipping Fleet under Greek and non-Greek flags, 1996-2006

Figure 4: Bank Loan Portfolio to Greek Shipping 2001-05

Figure 5: Greece: Rate of Surplus Value (RSV), Organic Composition of Capital (OCC) and Rate of Profit (r) in 1958-1977

Figure 6: FDI stock, 1990, 1995 and 2000 (Billions of dollars)

Figure 7: FDI stock as a Percentage of Gross Domestic Product, 1990-2000

Figure 8: Banking Sector Exposure to Central and South Eastern Europe

Figure 9: Workers’ Remittances as a Percentage of GDP

Figure 10: Immigration and Expatriation Rates of Doctors

Figure 11: Greece’s Standard of Living Relative to the European Union

Figure 12: Labor Share in Business-Sector Value-Added, 1964-1995

Figure 13: Breakdown of Employment by Country and Company size (Total private sector employment in %)

Figure 14: Investment in Knowledge-Based Capital and Employment Allocation in the Manufacturing Sector in Greece, International Comparison, 2009

Figure 15: Technological Capital

Figure 16: Foreign Direct Investment in Greece, International Comparison 2009 and 2012

Figure 17: Capital Flight from Greece, 2010-2014

Figure 18 Gross External Debt by Sector in 2003 and 2010 (as percent of GDP)

Figure 19: Economy and Debt of Greece

Figure 20: Debt servicing ratios: Net Interest Payments as a Percentage of Current Receipts (Excluding Interest Receipts), 2005

Figure 21: Saving and Investment Rate in Greece 1995 (Q1) to 2008 (Q4)

Figure 22: Share of Banking Sector Assets, 2000 and 2008 (in%)

Figure 23: Greek and other OECD Net Foreign Assets

Figure 24: Current Account Balance (in % GDP)

Figure 25: Greece: Decline of GDP during the Great Recession, 2007-2015

Figure 26: Greece: Net Return on Capital, 1999-2015

Figure 27: Greece: Rate of Profit, 1958-2011

Figure 28: Accumulated Greek Deficit 1980–2014

Figure 29: Greek Debt, October 2011: 350 Billion Euro

Figure 30: Greek Debts—in the End of the Year 2014—321,7 Billion Euro

Figure 31: Greece: Holdings of Sovereign Bonds by Domestic Banks and Non-Residents as a Percentage of Total MFI Assets

Figure 32: Share of Foreign Currency Debt in Central Government Debt, 1900-2011

Figure 33: Who Owns Greek Government Debt? (2007-2011)

Figure 34: Foreign claims on Greece

Figure 35: Who Owns Greek Government Debt? (End of 2014)



List of Maps:

Map 1: The consecutive territorial enlargements of Greece

Map 2: Geographical Macedonia and Present Day State Boundaries

Map 3: Ethical Composition of the Southern Balkans

Map 4: Ethnical Composition of the Southern Balkans