Crisis, Authoritarian Neoliberalism, and the Return of “New Democracy” to power in Greece

  • Yiannis Mylonas
Keywords: Neoliberal authoritarianism, postmodern Far-Right, propaganda, racism, anticommunism, EU


This article focuses on New Democracy (ND), Greece’s main conservative party, and its return to power in 2019. The study enquires into ND’s hegemonic strategy and governance. ND’s hegemonic strategy is grounded in both neoliberal and Far-Right premises. This enabled ND to create a hegemonic block that ranges from centrist liberals to far-rightists, while advancing an anti-leftist ideological project, connected to progressing upper- class interests. The ND administration unfolds an autocratic form of executive governance that is based on legislating class-related reforms, propaganda and effective control of the mainstream media, and coercive force. These features reflect the development of neoliberal authoritarianism in Greece, like elsewhere. They represent “the new form of bourgeois republic in the current phase of capitalism,” bearing the traits of autocracy, illiberalism, and Far-Right mainstreaming. The study deploys examples from ND’s political discourse and from policies that the ND administration has launched.

Author Biography

Yiannis Mylonas

Asssociate Professor of Cultural Studies and Media Sociology
Department of Media National Research University Higher School of Economics,
9/2 Maly Tryokhsvyatitelsky Pereulok, 109028, Moscow, Russia


AthensVoice (2020) “Άδωνις Γεωργιάδης στο Αουσβιτς: Κάθε Άνθρωπος Πρέπει να Έρθει Εδώ.” [Adonis Georgiadis in Auschwitz: Everyone should come here].
Avgi (2020). “Αναπαραγωγή του Κυβερνητικού Αφηγήματος από τα ΜΜΕ στον Καιρό της Πανδημίας” [The reproduction of the governmental narrative by the media during the pandemic].
Benjamin, Walter (1940). “On the Concept of History.” Marxists Internet Archive.
Bruff, Ian. (2014). “The Rise of Authoritarian Neoliberalism.” Rethinking Marxism 26.1: 113–29.
Coe, Jonathan (1994). What a Carve Up! New York: Viking Press.
Callinicos, Alex (2010). “The Limits of Passive Revolution.” Capital and Class 34.3: 491–507.
Dardot, Pierre, and Christian Laval (2019). Never-Ending Nightmare: The Neoliberal Assault on Democracy. London: Verso.
Davidson, Neil, and Richard Saull (2017). “Neoliberalism and the Far-Right: A Contradictory Embrace.” Critical Sociology 43.4–5: 707–24.
Dirlik, Arif (2014). “Developmentalism, a Critique.” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 16.1: 30–48.
European Jewish Congress (2019). “New Greek Minister Denies Dark Antisemitic Past.”
European Social Policy Network (2019). “ESPN Thematic Report on In-work Poverty: Greece.”
Eurostat (2020). “Government Expenditure on Public Order and Safety.”
Fabry, Adam (2019). “Neoliberalism, Crisis and Authoritarian–Ethnicist Reaction: The Ascendancy of the Orbán regime.” Competition and Change 23.2: 165–91. Fabry, Adam, and Sune Sandbeck (2019). “Introduction to Special Issue on ‘Authoritarian Neoliberalism’.” Competition and Change 23.2: 109–15.
Fraser, Nancy (2019). The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born. London: Verso. Galanopoulos, Antonis (2020). “Ψηφιακές Πολιτικές Διαφημίσεις: Συγκρίσεις και Προβληματισμοί” [Digital political advertisements: Comparisons and inquiries]. Parallaxi. seis-sygkriseis-kai-provlimatismoi
Gallas, Alexander (2016). The Thatcherite Offensive: A Neo-Poulantzasian Analysis. Leiden: Brill.
Google Transparency Report (2020). “Political Advertising in the European Union and the United Kingdom.” gion/EU?hl=en&fbclid=IwAR3qutfNrZshYv96tfe19KGljPvM5ktjnqJxSVlfoIEuZrS- GRDz8tKsDF4A
Hallin, Daniel C., and Paolo Mancini (2004). Comparing Media Systems: Three Models of Media and Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Hall, Stuart (2011). “The Neoliberal Revolution.” Cultural Studies 25.6 (2011): 705–28. Harvey, David (2019). “'The Neoliberal Project Is Alive but Has Lost its Legitimacy': David Harvey.” The Wire.
Hatzistefanou, Aris (2020). “Πόσο Φασίστες Eίναι οι Eχθροί του Aντιφασισμού;” [How fascist are the enemies of anti-fascism?]
Ho, Karen (2009). Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
I Kathimerini (2019). “Κωδικός “Μεσαία Τάξη” η Στρατηγική Μητσοτάκη” [Code “middle class” and Mitsotakis’s strategy]. I Kathimerini. (2020). “Βορίδης : Διαμορφώνονται οι Όροι Aνατροπής της Hγεμονίας της Αριστεράς” [Voridis: Formulating the terms to overthrow the left ideolog- ical hegemony]. (2020). “Ο Μητσοτάκης Συγκρίνει την Εισβολή των Περσών με τους Πρόσφυγες” [Mitsotakis compares the Persian invasion with the Refugees]. fyges/
International Press Institute (2020). “The Covid-19 Crisis Highlights Greece’s Media Prob- lem.” clid=IwAR0chLL12ikXMdXWWwc7XOY28zkxAXqYyt2z22820qe9mG01-Nx1h8rbGXk
Jessop, Bob (1985). Nicos Poulantzas: Marxist Theory and Political Strategy. London: Palgrave McMillan.
Keep Talking Greece (2020). “10% Holds 42% of Greece’s Net Wealth, 55.4% of Greeks ‘Financialy Vulnerable’.” greece-greeks-inequality-rich-wealth-financially-vulnerable//
Kostopoulos, Christos (2020). Journalism and Austerity: Digitization and Crisis during the Greek Memoranda. London: Bingley Emerald.
Kourdisto Portokali (2020). “Mόνο Ένας Ιχθύς θα Mπορούσε να το Eίχε Kαταφέρει Όλο Aυτό” [Only a Pisces sign could achieve all of that]. olo-ayto/
Koutouza, Dimitra (2019). Surplus Citizens: Struggle and Nationalism in the Greek Crisis. London: Pluto.
Kouvélakis, Stathis (2018). “Peripheral Authoritarian Neoliberalism: The Case of Greece.” Paper presented at “Europe after Brexit” conference, SOAS and King’s College London, September 2018.
Laclau, Ernesto, and Chantal Mouffe (1985). Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso
Littler, Jo (2017). Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobility. London: Routledge.
Malm, Andreas (2018). The Progress of This Storm: Nature and Society in a Warming World. London: Verso.
Mandravelis, Paschos (2019). “Η... Kανονική Kανονικότητα” [The... normal normalcy]. I Kathimerini.
McManus, Matthew (2020). The Rise of Post-Modern Conservatism: Neoliberalism, Post-Modern Culture, and Reactionary Politics. Cham: Palgrave McMillan.
Reactionary Democracy: How Racism and the Populist Far Right Became Mainstream (2020). and the Populist Far Right Became Mainstream. London: Verso.
Morton, Adam David (2010). “The Continuum of Passive Revolution.” Capital and Class 34.3: 315–42.
Mouffe, Chantal (2018). For a Left Populism. London: Verso.
Nelson Coutihno, Carlos (2012). Gramsci’s Political Thought. Leiden: Brill.
Parker, Martin (2018). “Why We Should Bulldoze the Business School.” Guardian.
Poulantzas, Nicos (2014). State, Power, Socialism. London: Verso.
Proto Thema (2016) “Μητσοτάκης: Η Eξεταστική Eπιτροπή θα Гίνει απο την Eπόμενη Βουλή” [Mitsotakis: The examining commission will take place under a new parliament].
Psarras, Dimitris (2010). Το κρυφό Xέρι του Καρατζαφέρη: Η Τηλεοπτική Αναγέννηση της Ελληνικής Ακροδεξιάς [The furtive hand of Karatzaferis: The medial resurrection of Greek Right-Wing extremism]. Athens: Alexandreia.
Psarras, Dimitris (2013). “The Rise of the neo-Nazi Party ‘Golden Dawn’ in Greece.”
Psarras, Dimitris (2015). “Golden Dawn on Trial.”
Rancière, Jacques (2007). On the Shores of Politics. London: Verso.
Reporters without Borders (2020). “2020 World Press Freedom Index.”
Robin, Corey (2017). The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Roos, Jerome (2019). Why not Default? The Political Economy of Sovereign Debt. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Ryan, Matthew DJ (2019). “Interrogating ‘Authoritarian Neoliberalism’: The Problem of Periodization.” Competition and Change 23.2: 116–37.
Sandbeck, Sune, and Etienne Schneider (2014). “From the Sovereign Debt Crisis to Authoritarian Statism: Contradictions of the European State Project.” New Political Economy 19.6: 847–71.
Sandbeck, Sune, and Etienne Schneider (2019). “Monetary Integration in the Eurozone and the Rise of Transnational Authoritarian Statism.” Competition and Change 23.2: 138–64.
Skeggs, Beverly (2003). Class, Self, Culture. London: Routledge.
Slobodian, Quinn (2018). Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Smith, Helena (2020). “Backlash Grows over Greek Energy Deregulation Law.” Guardian.
Smyrnaios, Nikos (2010) “Οικονομική Συγκέντρωση και Θεσμικό Πλαίσιο στην Ελληνική Ιδιωτική Τηλεόραση” [Economic concentration and institutional framework of Greek private television]. In Ο Κόσμος της Τηλεόρασης: Θεωρητικές Προσεγγίσεις, Ανάλυση Προγραμμάτων, και Ελληνική Πραγματικότητα [The world of television: Theory, program analysis and Greek reality], ed Ioanna Vovou, 141–74. Athens: Irodotos.
Souvlis, George and Despina Lalakis (2020) “Organic Crisis and Counter-Hegemonic Responses in the Interwar Era and the Era of Memoranda in Greece.” In Back to the ’30s? Recurring Crises of Capitalism, Liberalism, and Democracy, eds Jeremy Rayner, Susan Falls, George Souvlis, Taylor C. Nelms, 75–96. Cham: Springer.
Statista (2020). “The 20 Countries with the Highest Public Debt in 2019 in Relation to the Gross Domestic Product.”
Stavrakakis, Yannis (2018). “Populism, Anti-Populism and Democracy.” Political insight 9.3: 33–35.
Stavrakakis, Yannis, and Antonis Galanopoulos (2019). “Discursive Uses of ‘Abnormality’ in the Greek Crisis.” In Discourse Analysis and Austerity, Critical Studies from Economics and Linguistics, ed. Kate Power, Tanweer Ali, Eva Lebdušková, 177–96. London: Routledge.
Streeck, Wolfgang (2016). How Will Capitalism End? London: Verso.
Ta Nea (2019). “Μητσοτάκης: Η Συμφωνία των Πρεσπών Είναι Εθνική Ήττα” [Mitsotakis: The Prespes Treaty is a national defeat].
The Press Project (2020a). “Ένας Xάρτης για να Διαβάσετε πιο Eύκολα τη “Λίστα Πέτσα” με τα 20 Εκατομμύρια σε ΜΜΕ” [A map to read the ‘Petsas’ list’ with 20 million to the media]. ti-lista-petsa-me-ta-20-ekat-se-mme/?fbclid=IwAR1_OTFHmGik64yLnZuyUoQi-yGPXbKM61tBdtqThDdkR2WhYtRwJZIDqIb0.
The Press Project (2020b). “Λιγότερο από το 1% στον Αντιπολιτευόμενο Τύπο για το “Μένουμε Σπίτι”” [Less than 1% to the partisan press for the ‘we stay home’ campaign]. no-typo-gia-to-menoume-spiti/?fbclid=IwAR0DJmvKePkeIqOhZMjniCNnMbJGQ- JxfbHwlwvc3eKbcmtCaHw-CIuURVTA
The Press Project (2021). “Ένα νεοφασιστικό καρέ του Βορίδη, χωρίς τσεκούρ” [A neofascist sequel of Voridis, without an axe]. fasistiko-kare-tou-voridi-choris-tsekouri/
Thomas, Peter D. (2013). “Hegemony, Passive Revolution and the Modern Prince.” Thesis Eleven 117.1: 20–39.
Titley, Gavan (2019). Racism and Media. London: Sage.
Tsoukalas, Konstantinos (1974). Η Ελληνική Τραγωδία: Aπό την Aπελευθέρωση ως τους Συνταγματάρχες [The Greek tragedy: From liberation to the colonels]. Athens: Olkos.
Traverso, Enzo (2019). The New Faces of Fascism, Populism and the Far Right [2017]. Trans. David Broader. London: Verso. (2020). “Άρειος Πάγος: Αντισυνταγματική Διάταξη του Νόμου για τον Περιορισμό των Διαδηλώσεων” [Supreme court: Anti-constitutional article of the Law for the Delimitation of Demonstrations]. areios-pagos-antisyntagmatiki-diataksi-toy-nomoy-gia-ton-periorismo-ton-diadiloseon.
Varoufakis, Yanis (2017). Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment. London: The Bodley Head.
Vradis, Antonis, and Dalakoglou, Dimitris (eds) (2011). Revolt and Crisis in Greece: Between a Present Yet to Pass and a Future Still to Come. London: AK Press and Occupied London.
Wanner, Thomas (2015). “The New ‘Passive Revolution’ of the Green Economy and Growth Discourse: Maintaining the ‘Sustainable Development’ of Neoliberal Capitalism.” New Political Economy 20.1: 21–41.
Webber, Frances (2018). ‘Refusing Refuge.’ Race and Class 59, N 3 (2018): 98–105. Wilkinson, Michael A. (2020). “Second Time as Farce? Authoritarian Liberalism in Historical Perspective.” In Back to the ’30s? Recurring Crises of Capitalism, Liberalism, and Democracy, ed. Jeremy Rayner, Susan Falls, George Souvlis, Taylor C. Nelms, 132–52. Cham: Springer.
How to Cite
Mylonas, Y. (2021). Crisis, Authoritarian Neoliberalism, and the Return of “New Democracy” to power in Greece. Stasis, 10(2).