This dissertation examines the structure of Cypriot anarchist ideology and the way it challenges Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism, as it developed in the first decade following the partition of the island of Cyprus. It aims to contribute to the understanding of grass root political activity in Cyprus, by examining the early expressions of anarchism in the island. Ideology has been argued to function around the use of key discursive signifiers, through which the mediation of a fixed meaning is structured and social reality is experienced. This research confirms this position, but explores this function within a non-hegemonic ideological structure, in the context of a post-conflict society. The primary data consists of Cypriot anarchist magazines and brochures published in the Republic of Cyprus from 1985 to 1994, with an emphasis on the magazine Train in the City. It employs qualitative thematic content analysis to analyse Cypriot anarchist ideological public discourse in the period studied. The dissertation argues that Cypriot anarchist discourse is structured around two key signifiers, that of “Authority” and of “Autonomy”, through which Cypriot anarchist ideology organizes and mediates its fixed set of meanings. It further argues that Cypriot anarchist ideology challenges Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism, based on its support for social difference. This is expressed predominantly by the new signifiers of identity formulated in the discourse, that of the “Native” and of “Cypriot Identity”. The dissertation concludes with a theoretical interpretation of Cypriot anarchist ideology in the context of the post-partitioned Republic of Cyprus.


I would like to thank the group Syspirosi Atakton (Συσπείρωση Ατάκτων), for making their archive at social space Kaymakkin available, as part of my data collection. This dissertation would not had been possible without the group’s generous help and co-operation. I would also like to thank Dr Dominic Pasura, who served as my dissertation supervisor during the research and writing period. His critical comments and informative suggestions have greatly enriched the quality and content of the dissertation.

I would also like to thank here my parents, for the continuous support they have given me during the duration of my studies at the University of Glasgow. Finally, I would like to offer my appreciation to my friends Alexis Ioannidis and Nikos Moushouttas. Their friendship, theoretical concerns, critical readings and our shared discussions have been, and continue to be central in my self-development, as well as in shaping, expanding and challenging my understanding of social, economic and cultural theory.

1. Introduction

This dissertation examines the structure of ideology of Cypriot anarchism, as it presented itself through its public discourse from 1985 to 1994 in the Republic of Cyprus. While there is a continuous, anarchist-influenced grass root political activity in the island, there is no research on the ideological content of Cypriot anarchism, or in its emergence and early development.

This dissertation sets out to fill this empirical gap, by answering the following primary question: ‘What is the structure of ideology of Cypriot anarchism in the period from 1985 to 1994?’, and the question ‘How does Cypriot anarchism challenge Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism within the discourse?’, as a sub-question to the primary one. The dissertation begins with a brief modern history of Cyprus in order to contextualize its object of research. It follows with the discussion and outline of the theoretical frameworks utilized, followed by a discussion of the general methodology, as well as the methods of data collection and analysis employed in the research. It continues with a preliminary contextual analysis of the structure of ideology of Greek Cypriot society in the period studied, followed by the presentation and analysis of the key findings. It concludes with a summary of the findings and recommendations regarding future research.

The Cypriot population consists of multiple ethnic and religious communities, of which the Greek Cypriot is the majority, and the Turkish Cypriot the largest minority (Hannay 2004: 35). The island of Cyprus, an ex-British colony located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, became an independent state in 1960 under a bi-communal constitution, where the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities held an equal share in political representation and the decision-making process under the new state mechanism (Dodd 1993: 5). Contrary to other colonial people, the Cypriot anti-colonial struggles did not focus on demands for independence (Varnava 2012: 159). The ideologies of ethnic nationalism that emerged on the island, along with Marxist-Leninist communism, focused on the one hand, on the annexation of the island by the Greek state, and on the other, on the division of the island on ethnic grounds[1] (Hatay & Papadakis 2012: 28). The first was the demand of Greek Cypriot nationalism for Enosis, union with Greece, the later was the demand of Turkish Cypriot nationalism for Taksim, the division of the island on ethnic lines (ibid). The two contesting nationalisms symbolized Greece and Turkey respectively as their motherlands and Cyprus as their child (Bryant 2002: 509). Both nationalisms reached the point of hegemony within each community by the 1950s. Their contestation after the independence of Cyprus became aggressive, resulting in inter-communal violence in the 1960s, with civilian deaths, the enclosure of the Turkish Cypriot population in enclaves and their loss of political representation, as well as the interference of the states of Greece and Turkey in the internal affairs of the newly founded island-state (Dodd 1993: 7).

The conflict reached its climax in 1974, when president Makarios was overthrown in a coup backed by the Greek military dictatorship for the aim of Enosis, triggering the invasion of the island by Turkish military forces, the occupation of approximately 38 percent of northern Cyprus, the forced displacement and exchange of ethnic populations to each side and the de-facto partition of the island both geographically and ethnically[2] (Kliot, & Mansfield 1998: 503–4). In 1984 the northern occupied part of Cyprus declared itself an independent Turkish Cypriot state, the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC), remaining recognized internationally only by the Republic of Turkey (ibid). The rest of the island remains populated by the Greek Cypriot population and is considered the area under the control of the internationally recognized “Republic of Cyprus” (Alemdar 1993: 91). The two sides have been engaging in negotiations, led by the United Nations, since the 1970s to find a consensual agreement on a bi-communal federal solution, to what has been labelled the Cyprus Dispute, and reunify the island under a single state mechanism. The conflict has been a traumatic experience for both communities (Volkan 2008: 96). It resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Cypriots, the creation of an enormous, for the size of the country, refugee population, the death of civilians and military personnel and the permanent separation of the two communities, with a militarized, United Nations’ administered buffer zone dividing north and south Cyprus (Kliot, & Mansfield 1998: ibid).

Cypriot anarchism emerges in the city of Limassol in the mid-1980s[3], as a political ideology distinct both from Marxism-Leninism, which is predominantly expressed by the AKEL party, and Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism (Ioannou 2013: 126, Panayiotou 2012a: 79). The activities of Cypriot groups which describe themselves as either anarchist, or are anarchist-influenced, have drawn the interest of social science researchers in recent years, primarily because of their grass root character and their ability to formulate both a political praxis and an ideological discourse situated outside of the dominant Cypriot ideological narratives and political practises (Parsanoglou et al. 2015, Foka 2015, IlicanIliopoulou & Karathanasis 2014, Ilican 2013, Antonsich 2013). The case of Occupy Buffer Zone, a grass-root movement influenced by the global Occupy movement in 2011–2012, where activists occupied the space between the Ledra/Lokmacı checkpoints in the United Nations buffer zone in the city of Nicosia, in protest over the division of the island, is perhaps the most evident example (Ilican 2013: 57). However, other such activities include the anti-capitalist grass root protests that followed the Cypriot financial crisis of 2013, the bi-communal actions for the demilitarization of the city of Nicosia; and the subcultural and grass root political activity that had developed in the walled city of Nicosia in the past years (ibid, Parsanoglou et al. 2015: 107, Iliopoulou & Karathanasis 2014: 176, 180, 188). This research aims to expand our understanding of this grass root political activity, by investigating early Cypriot anarchist ideological public discourse, in order to inform future research on the ideological structure of Cypriot anarchism in its early historical development. On a secondary level, this research aims to contribute on our understanding of the interaction between social trauma and political ideological formation, by examining the relationship between Cypriot anarchism and the events of 1974 from the lenses of Lacanian theory, as it has been formulated in the work of Slavoj Zizek (2009).

2. Literature Review

In their critique of 19th century German Idealist philosophy, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels conceptualized the social prevalence of specific ideas in terms of the historically conditioned class structure of a given society. Their general conclusion that “[t]he ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas” (1998: 67), reflected their position that a dominant set of ideas, an ideology, was the product of the dominance of the ruling class of that society, situated within the unequal economic relations formed in historical space-time (ibid). Marx and Engels argued that the class controlling the means of material production maintains also, though its political power and material resources, the control over the production and prevalence of ideas within society (ibid). In the classical Marxist analysis of ideology, the ideological constitution of the non-ruling classes of society are therefore, so far as those classes have no material capacity for their own mental production, subsumed (in general) to the dominant ideas of the ruling class (ibid).

Working within the Marxist tradition, Antonio Gramsci distinguished in the Prison Notebooks between the function of hegemony, utilized by the dominant group of a society; and the function of direct domination exercised by the state (2014: 12). Where the later rests essentially on the execution of coercive power, the former functions through the formation of “spontaneous” consent, conditioned by the dominant social group and imposed on the social life of the general masses of the population (ibid). Hegemony, in its Gramscian formulation, is situated within the sphere of the superstructure, it is however organically linked with the continuation of the relations situated within the economic base of a social structure (ibid). Hegemony produces the consent necessary for the dominant social group to maintain its privileged position within a society, in contrast, direct domination is utilized at the point where the spontaneous consent has failed, in other words, the coercive power of the state mechanism is employed as a secondary measure of control when the hegemonic function has deteriorated (ibid).

Both the classical Marxist and the Gramscian positions refer to the social dominance of a set of ideas connected with the interests of the ruling, dominant social group, enabling it to maintain its socio-economic position in society. From the lenses of ideological criticism, the dominance of a social group/class within a broader social structure is maintained primarily through the function of ideology/hegemony, achieving the necessary consent of the subordinate classes and/or social groups, for the successful reproduction of the unequal relations of the socio-economic whole.

Ideological criticism was conceptually enriched by the theoretical investigations of Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser, who produced a structuralist account of the function of ideology in modern society. Althusser agrees with Gramsci on the premise that the reproduction of the unequal relations of the social whole, which in the Marxist framework constitute primarily the relations of production, is secured primarily through the employment of ideology (2008: 22). Althusser, following Gramsci, distinguishes between the ideological and the coercive sphere, though his distinction between the Repressive State Apparatuses (RSA) and the Ideological State Apparatuses[4] (ISA) (ibid: 17). The RSAs function through the threat of the use of force, or the actual use of force, where the ISAs are institutions which function primarily through ideology (ibid). Such institutions include for Althusser the school system, the family, the media, the trade unions, organized religion, institutionalized sport and cultural production (ibid). Their ideological function rests on producing ideological representations of material reality which enable the reproduction of the relations of production in historical space-time (ibid).

For Althusser, “[i]deology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence” (2008: 36). Ideology however does not represent the real, concrete and material relationships of individuals to their conditions of existence, it is not thus a reflection of those relations through representative concepts (ibid: 37). Ideological representation entails a distortion of concrete material relations; its function is precisely to veil those very relations through a presented, imagined representation of the relation of the individual to her material reality (ibid: 39). For Althusser, ideology is not merely immaterial, but has a concrete material expression in the existence of the ISA, as is for example religious ideology and the institution of the Church upon which it depends (ibid: 42). Ideology itself depends on the category of the subject, of the category of the autonomous, unique free consciousness abstracted in place of the individual. The process by which ideology addresses individuals as subjects is called by Althusser the process of interpellation (ibid: 49). In so far as we accept the process of interpellation as an existing element of the social sphere, Althusser’s conclusion that “individuals are always-already subjects” maintains its validity, as ideological interpellation functions within everyday discourse and human interaction (ibid: 48). In the example provided by Althusser, even the unborn individual is already ideologically interpellated, as the subject-will-be’s name and ethnic, gender, religious and sexual identity is decided prior to the child’s birth (ibid: 50). One is therefore born into interpellation and therefore into ideology, the social existence of an individual is constantly situated within the ideological sphere; and ideological criticism is itself constructed within ideology itself (ibid).

We can draw at this point a fundamental difference between Gramsci and Althusser, in that the former emphasizes the predominance of an ideological unity situated in hegemony, transcending class or other social distinctions in the process of producing consent, the later, by focusing on the multiple institutional expressions of ideology, as well as on the process of interpellating the subject, points to the existence of contradictions within this perceived unity of ideological interpellation (ibid: 20). Althusser of course maintains the notion that the function of ideology is primarily connected with the reproduction of the relations of production, it is therefore the same as that of Gramscian hegemony, however, it is for Althusser the function which maintains the unity of the multiplicity of dominant ideological discourses and not their content, which is often contradictory (ibid: 20). The field of the ISAs becomes itself a space of class; or other forms of confrontation, where non-dominant ideologies conflict and contrast themselves with the dominant ideological structures of society (ibid: 21).

As Slavoj Zizek points out, the Althusserian conception of ideology fails to provide a consistent theoretical explanation of how the ISAs achieve the process of interpellation, the Althusserian narrative does not address sufficiently the process by which the subject internalizes the interpellated ideology (2009: 27–28). Addressing this inherent problem of Althusserian theory, Zizek draws on the work of French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and his theorization of the spheres of the Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real, as well as his investigations over the constitution of the subject. For Lacan, human identity entails within it a lack, an alienation from the social identity formed by ideological and other forms of social construction, identity formation, Lacan argues, always concludes in a failed, fragmented identity (Stavrakakis 1999: 29). This is first experienced in the sphere of the Imaginary, where the individual first encounters unity in her comprehension of her own self-image, during a period which Lacan calls the mirror-stage (ibid: 17). The interaction of the individual’s reflected image produces identification with it, constituting the first totalizing, unified identity (ibid). The image however produces an alienated identity, its representation is not equal with the object it represents – its size, inverted nature and externality from the individual fails to produce a stable, synthesized identity, identification with the image of the Imaginary sphere is faced with an “irreducible gap” (ibid: 18). The shift is therefore taken from the Imaginary sphere, the sphere of self-imagined representation, to that of language signification, the sphere of the Symbolic (ibid).

The Symbolic sphere is one constituted by language, by a complex system of inter-connected signifiers, a symbolic construction of representations. In the Symbolic sphere, identity is constructed through the signifier and is subsumed under it. Identification in the Symbolic is the identification of the subject with the signifier, signification becomes therefore the key process by which the representation of the subject takes place (ibid: 20). As in the Imaginary, the identification with the signifier results in an identity which is both alienating and incomplete, its inability to capture the human totality leaves it entailing within it a lack, its own impossibility (ibid: 30). As Yiannis Stavrakakis points out, “[w]hat we have then…is not identities but identifications, a series of failed identifications or rather a play between identification and its failure” (ibid: 29). Stable identities are never successfully constructed, rather, what we have in the Symbolic is the circular process of identification with signifiers, always however entailing a lack and the impossibility of stable identity construction: “any identity resulting from identification is always an unstable identity…since every identification is marked by an alienating dimension” (ibid: 34).

Symbolic identification does not develop in a vacuum, the Symbolic, as a complex, inter-connected system of signification; pre-exists externally the subject and superimposes itself upon her (ibid: 20). Attempted identification is therefore determined and dependable upon the socially available, socially constructed discursive structures of signification found in the Symbolic sphere, such as political and other ideological constructs (ibid: 36). The on-going lack of a stable identity makes possible the circular process of Symbolic identification to take place, to link the subject with different signifiers mediating ideological meaning. Here the distinction of the floating signifier and the master-signifier becomes useful in comprehending ideological signification/interpellation; and the relationship of the signifier to the subject. As Zizek explains, floating signifiers are signifiers which constitute no particular identity, they are in-themselves empty of a fixed, tied meaning (2009: 95). Such cases are for example, signifiers such as “freedom”, “equality”, “democracy” and “socialism” (ibid: 112). Their meaning is determined not by their own content but by their determination from another signifier, which constitutes and crystalizes the meaning of the floating signifiers. Such a signifier is called the master-signifier; it acts as a nodal point through which the meaning of the floating signifiers is crystalized (ibid), producing “the necessary illusion of a fixed meaning” (Evans 1996: 149). Such a signifier is self-referential, ambiguous and teleological. For example, the master-signifier “class struggle” determines the meanings of the above mentioned floating signifiers in the Marxist-Leninist Symbolic order, another master-signifier, such as “the nation”, mediates a very different and even contradictory set of meanings to those very same floating signifiers within a nationalist Symbolic order (Zizek 2009: 96). Different master-signifiers therefore constitute differentiated mediations over the same floating signifiers; the identification with a Symbolic signifier determines for the subject the constructed Symbolic order within which she functions and experiences social reality.

The Symbolic sphere, attempting to represent the totality of experience through language, is itself captured in its own impossibility of achieving a total representation. The Symbolic order, as Zizek points out, is a not-all, that is, it fails to capture completely its object through signification, the Symbolic order itself entails in-itself a lack, that which escapes its representation in language (ibid: xxiv). What remains impossible to represent through the mediated meaning found within the Symbolic, is what has been described in Lacanian theory as the Real (Stavrakakis 1999: 98). Conceptually, the Real covers the sphere of the non-signified and non-represented, an externality impossible to represent within the system of signification; and therefore laying outside of both the Symbolic and the Imaginary spheres (ibid: 67). The Lacanian Real is not reality, but that which, having resisted symbolization, disturbs the very Symbolic itself, affects its mediating meanings and exposes it as incomplete, as lacking total representation within its inter-connected structure of signification (ibid: 69).

For Zizek, the Real functions as a point of disturbance of the smooth functioning of the Symbolic order of the subject (2009: 192). The Real entails the possibility of the disintegration of the subjective Symbolic sphere, through the disturbance of the mediated meaning produced by the master-signifier and its overdetermined floating signifiers (ibid). An encounter with the Real is an encounter with an event which dislocates the mediated meaning of a Symbolic order, of ideology, with the subject being unable to represent the event, to incorporate it within her Symbolic representation. The encounter exposes the incapacity of the Symbolic sphere to represent and encompass the totality of social experience, disintegrating in the process the identification of the subject with the socially constructed Symbolic sphere of the master-signifier (ibid: 182). Such a development follows with the attempt to capture the Real into the Symbolic, formulating new signifiers for its incorporation, only to fail again to represent the Real in totality, maintaining the not-all character of the Symbolic sphere (ibid: xxiv, Stavrakakis 1999: 67).

As Zizek points out, an encounter with the Real is a traumatic encounter; and trauma, escaping Symbolic representation, itself can function as the Lacanian Real, fracturing hegemonic ideological structures (ibid: 74). It is within this context that the interplay between the Symbolic and the Real become useful in ideological criticism, for they direct us towards the processes which dislocate hegemonic ideologies, helping us to identify the moments and events initiating the displacement of hegemonic ideological structures, as well as the emergence of new ideological representations. An encounter with the Real, if it is experienced as a collective social trauma, disorients the Symbolic orders of dominant ideologies and disturbs the hegemonic structures of interpellation.

The concepts of Ideological State Apparatuses, hegemony and interpellation, as well as the Lacanian concepts of the Real and the Symbolic, provide a solid theoretical basis for organizing the structural dynamics of ideology in the context of the post-partitioned Republic of Cyprus. These theoretical frameworks allow for a preliminary analysis of ideology in the Republic of Cyprus on the structural level, enabling us to situate out object of analysis within the historical context and the overall structure of ideology of Greek Cypriot society. The theoretical contributions of Slavoj Zizek provide an ontological and conceptual framework through which the signifiers found within Cypriot anarchist ideological discourse can be abstracted, and their inter-relations investigated and organized. This research therefore utilizes these theoretical frameworks on two differentiated, but interconnected dimensions – for the theoretical contextualization of its object of analysis on the one hand; and for the abstraction and theoretical organization of the identified themes on the other.

3. Methodology

Social scientific epistemology has traditionally been divided between positivism, on the one hand, and interpretivism on the other. Positivists maintain that society can be studied, investigated and theoretically conceptualized through the utilization of methods associated with the physical sciences (Cheal 2005: 59). Such a position pre-supposes that society, as an object of study, is not fundamentally differentiated from physics or chemistry, and can therefore be understood objectively through the same approaches — by the formulation of hypotheses, tested on the grounds of empirical data, which will either verify or falsify the hypothesis formulated (ibid: 60). Émile Durkheim’s epistemological essay The Rules of Sociological Method is a classic exposition of the positivist position, where the social sphere is understood as a collection of established social facts, abstracted from gathered empirical information (1982: 33).

Interpretivism, in contrast, maintains that the social sphere should not be approached as an object of analysis similar to the physical sciences, where the object of study is primarily inanimate matter; and the scientist’s relation to her object of analysis is essentially distanced (Cheal 2005: 69). The social scientist, in contrast to the physical scientist, is intrinsically linked to her object of study, being permanently within the sphere of society and developing within it (ibid). Moreover, the concepts, theoretical frameworks and analytical tools utilized in social scientific discourse are understood as being themselves the product of social relations and social processes, influenced and conditioned by the social, political, economic and cultural surroundings within which they develop (ibid: 70). The establishment of objective analysis, on the same standards as those of the physical sciences is therefore, from an interpretivist viewpoint, impossible (ibid: 69). Sociology therefore cannot merely reproduce uncritically the epistemological and methodological framework of physical science, its task is rather, in the words of Max Weber, to “interpret the meaning of social action and thereby give a causal explanation of the way in which the action proceeds and the effects which it produces” (1964: 88). Interpretivism, in the broadest sense, is therefore an epistemological position focusing on the critical interpretation of the meaning mediated by social action and produced by social actors, through the careful conceptualization of theoretical frameworks and conceptual tools of analysis, rather than the empirical verification of formulated hypotheses (Cheal 2005: 83).

This research rests on an interpretivist epistemology, agreeing with the interpretivist critique of positivism. As Zizek and Stavrakakis note in their theoretical investigations, there is no metalanguage, that is, a language able to reduce the gap between Symbolic signification and reality, as language is always already situated within the sphere of Symbolic inter-subjective representation and signification (2009: 175, 1999: 66). The conceptual framework by which a social science proceeds in its description and casual explanation of the world is therefore already located within an individual or collective value system (ibid: 177, Cheal 2005: 69). On the empirical level, the research utilizes qualitative thematic content analysis to address and answer the research questions. It utilizes Lacanian theory in its interpretation, as it has been developed by Slavoj Zizek in his work on ideological criticism. The questions posed for this research are not hypotheses in the strict empiricist sense and cannot be verified or falsified through empirical data. They have consciously been constructed in an open-ended structure, in order to address and investigate the ideological structure produced and reproduced in early Cypriot anarchist ideological public discourse.

3.1. Data Collection Strategy

The research rests empirically on documentary data produced in the period from 1985 to 1994. The documents collected are the publicly distributed magazines and brochures produced by anarchist groups in the Republic of Cyprus, in the period covered by the research. The data collection strategy employed rests on non-random, convenience sampling. The research focuses specifically on Cypriot anarchist ideological discourse, rather than the general ideological discourse of the period covered. It does not aim to produce an analysis of ideological discourse in the Republic of Cyprus in general, but aims to examine the particular internal processes and ideological formulations found in Cypriot anarchist discourse. The publicly distributed Cypriot anarchist written documents produced in the period are relatively small in number, in contrast to the number of Cypriot anarchist material produced in the 21st century or other, more historically present ideological discourses. This makes the use of a randomized collection strategy unnecessary and unfeasible, as the available material can be collected and analysed without the need of systematic exclusion. The use of convenience sampling on the other hand has the advantage of locating a significant amount of documentary data in a short period of time. In the context of this research, convenience sampling has saved a significant amount of valuable time, while also providing a representative collection of documentary data for the object of the research.

The data collected and analysed are primarily the magazine Train in the City ( Τραίνο στην Πόλη ) (1987–1994), the first consistent Cypriot anarchist magazine to be published, being also the first continuous and consistent Cypriot anarchist discourse in printed form (Ioannou 2013: 24). The data were collected from the public archive of social space Kaymakkin, a libertarian social space located in south Nicosia. The data consists of all issues of the magazine (11 issues in total), with the exception of issue 9 which was unfortunately not located in time; and 3 brochures, published in 1985, 1988 and 1992. The data numbered 501 pages in total. All documents were originally written in either Modern Greek or in the Greek Cypriot dialect. Most articles in the Train, as well as 2 of the 3 brochures, were either published anonymously or under the names of existing or fictional political groups. The anonymity of the authors is preserved in this research. A single hard copy of each document was created for the purposes of the research.

A number of documents that would have undoubtedly enriched the analysis have not been collected, as they were not available in the Kaymakkin archive, nor are they available in public archives[5]. These include the complete set of leaflets produced by the anarchist group Anafentos ( Ανάφεντος ) [6] and by the Initiative Against Social Racism ( Πρωτοβουλία Ενάντια στον Κοινωνικό Ρατσισμό ), many of which were reproduced in Train in the City, as well as various anarchist posters of the period, many of which were also reproduced in the magazine. The inclusion of Train in the City, which was the key anarchist text of the period, makes our sample however representative of the Cypriot anarchist public discourse of the period.

3.2. Analysis Strategy

The research followed a qualitative thematic content analysis of the data. The process of analysis was carried out in 4 steps, outlined below:

  1. The analysis initiated with a close reading of the data, to establish an in-depth familiarity with its content and the Symbolic meaning it mediates.

  2. Following the establishment of close familiarity with the data, the coding process of the data was followed. Themes that repeated themselves in the data were identified and categorized. Themes were identified in relation to the research questions. In particular, the identification of themes was targeted at the critique of Cypriot anarchist discourse to the hegemonic ideology of Greek Cypriot nationalism; and the identification of repeated signifiers mediating a web of common meanings situated within the discourse.

  3. Identified themes were scrutinized through a repeated close reading of the data. This process was carried out in order to identify possible contradictions between the identified themes and the collected data. Themes found to be in contradiction with the data were dropped, or where data supported it, reformulated into new themes or merged with identified ones.

  4. The themes identified, as well as the relationship between them, were then interpreted by utilizing the theoretical tools outlined in the literature review chapter, with particular emphasis on Slavoj Zizek’s theorization around the concepts of master-signifier, floating signifier and ideological interpellation.

The analysis strategy aimed to address the research questions by identifying systematic themes in the discourse, mediating a fixed set of meanings through inter-connected signifiers. The identification of signifiers did not merely rest on signifiers which emerged exclusively within Cypriot anarchist ideological discourse, but also on the reuse of floating signifiers, infused and mediated with differentiated meaning within the discourse. The relationship of Cypriot anarchist discourse with the hegemonic ideology of ethnic nationalism was also investigated. The examination of this relationship aimed to establish the signification processes through which Cypriot anarchism distinguished itself from the hegemonic discourse; and constituted its Symbolic order in relation to it.

3.3. Discussion of Methodology

The collection and analysis strategies aimed to make this research easily replicable in the future, making further research in this topic comparable to the conclusions of this research. The methodological approach utilized also allows for the comparative use of the research’s results, as the identified themes can be placed in comparison with themes identified in other forms of ideological discourse, both within the context of post-partitioned Cyprus, as well as in the context of other post-conflict societies.

The research as a whole; rests on a limited amount of documentary data. This result is not strictly the effect of the collection methodology utilized, but of the (relatively) small amount of publicly distributed documents produced by Cypriot anarchism in the period examined. As the documents are absent from official archives, a more appropriate methodology for the gathering of complimentary documentary data would be snowball sampling, in order for the researcher to come in contact with people who have relevant documentary material in their private archives, preferably individuals who were involved in the anarchist groups and actions of the period. Although time constraints have deemed such an approach unfeasible, interviewing such individuals would also would enrich the analysis, offering another layer of interesting data for analysis.

Qualitative thematic content analysis has as a method the benefit to produce results with a limited amount of documentary data, as it allows for the in-depth analysis of the documents collected. This has allowed for the careful examination of the discourse, its signifiers, mediated meanings and their inter-relations. The in-depth investigation of the documents, although time consuming, has made possible the identification and analysis of common themes in relation to the research questions. The method of qualitative thematic content analysis has therefore enabled the research questions to be addressed effectively, without the limited amount of documentary data becoming a significant barrier to analysis.

The methodology utilized does however face a number of limitations. Although qualitative thematic content analysis can provide a thorough examination of how a discourse develops, mediates and structures its particular meanings, it remains a descriptive form of analysis. The implications of this shortcoming is that the analysis cannot provide explanations of why a discourse emerges at a particular historical point in time, but can only help to describe sociologically the content, structure and development of the discourse itself. The research therefore reflects on what has been produced in the discourse, but not the underlying social forces and material conditions which have produced it. Although this research does not aim to address such questions, its conclusions are limited by this very inability to address them, as the social processes contributing to the emergence of the discourse affect how the discourse developed, as well as its connection with the broader socio-historical processes of the period. Some conclusions can be drawn from the utilization of theory and the relevant literature on the period, but they remain highly theoretical and abstract.

My own positionality in relation to the object of the research should here also be highlighted. As a Greek Cypriot man, born and raised in the city of Nicosia, I certainly maintain an interest in how the experiences of the Cyprus conflict are represented, as well as how Cypriot identity is formed. Although the methodology was consistently applied, particular emphasis on specific content and/or interpretations may have been influenced by my own background. This is of course also an after-effect of the limited historical scope of the research, however, the possibility of differentiated interpretations or emphases on different themes by individuals with different positionalities to the object of the research should be here recognized.

The explanatory limitations of qualitative thematic content analysis, as well as its merely descriptive character, limit our understanding of Cypriot anarchism’s relation to the broader socio-historical processes of the period. Although the utilized methodology can provide a thorough sociological understanding of the inter-connected themes, signifiers and mediated meanings which constitute the structure Cypriot anarchist ideology, as it was expressed publicly in the first decade of post-partitioned Cyprus, it stands unable to situate Cypriot anarchism within the material reality of the historical period.

4. Findings and Analysis

This chapter presents the themes identified in Cypriot anarchist ideological discourse, their analysis and the identified structure of Cypriot anarchist ideology. It utilizes the theoretical contributions of Slavoj Zizek to abstract, organize and identify the structure of signification within the Cypriot anarchist Symbolic order, through the identification and deconstruction of the function of particular themes within Cypriot anarchist discourse. The chapter begins with a preliminary theoretical analysis of the structure of ideology in post-1974 Greek Cypriot society, in order to situate Cypriot anarchism within the ideological context of the period. It continues with the analysis of the two predominant themes identified in the discourse, those of “Authority” and “Autonomy”, exploring their positioning in the organization of signification of the Cypriot anarchist Symbolic order. It moves on to explore the themes of social difference and homogeneity, with a particular emphasis on the signifiers of the “Native” and of “Cypriot Identity”; and how they challenge ethnic nationalism within the discourse. It concludes with a theoretical interpretation of the Cypriot anarchist Symbolic order, in relation to the structure of ideology in the post-partitioned Republic of Cyprus. A thematic map of the findings is available in Appendix C of this dissertation.

4.1. Preliminary Analysis: The Structure of Ideology in Greek Cypriot Society

The war of 1974 has certainly left its mark on Greek Cypriot political ideology. The achievement of the Turkish Cypriot nationalist utopian Telos of partition; marked at the same time the end of the dream of Greek Cypriot nationalism for Enosis (Mavratsas 1997: 720). The old Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism; which had concentrated in the signifier of “Enosis” the social, economic and national aspirations of the Greek Cypriot population, collapsed in the aftermath of the war (ibid, Thrasivoulou 2016: 58, Alecou 2016: 16). With the object of Enosis ideologically unsustainable under the reality of partition, Greek Cypriot nationalism was forced to enter a process of transformation and by the mid-1980s, Enosist nationalism had been replaced with a non-Enosist ethnic nationalist formulation (Mavratsas 2003: 43).

The new ethnic nationalism maintains as its pivotal point “the Nation”, it focuses however on the perceived Hellenic character of the island rather than the goal of Enosis (ibid). Hellenic identity becomes the signifier through which the Cypriot state is mediated as the independent political entity of the Greek Cypriots, and the relationship of the Republic of Cyprus with the Greek state is re-symbolized here as a process of political, cultural and military integration, rather than one of annexation (ibid). Similarly, the Greek Cypriot political left, centralized primarily around the AKEL party[7], faced its own ideological deadlock in the aftermath of the war. The Marxist-Leninist utopian Telos of achieving the higher socio-economic stage of socialism; is abandoned by the party as a prospect after 1974, with the party declaring that the solution of the Cyprus Dispute is a necessary prerequisite for the socialist transformation of Cypriot society (Charalambous 2012: 154). The Symbolic order of the leading political ideologies of Greek Cypriot society are therefore found fractured and in ideological crisis, standing destabilized and dislocated in front of the traumatic event of the war, or in Lacanian terms, in the encounter with the Real.

This ideological crisis of Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism did not lead to its displacement from a position of hegemony, but merely on the internal reorganization of its Symbolic structure of signification (Mavratsas 2003: 80). Ethnic nationalism, although challenged in the late 1970s and the early 1980s by Cypriotism, a form of Cypro-centric bi-communal civic nationalism, managed to maintain its hegemony in its non-Enosist reconstruction (ibid). The absence of a developed civic society, as well as the dominance of Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism over key ISAs in Greek Cypriot society, such as the public education system, the National Guard[8], the Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church and the mass media, in which the Cypriot state held a television and radio monopoly until 1990, sustained its hegemonic position in the post-1974 Greek Cypriot structure of ideology (Mavratsas 1999: 98, Mavratsas 2003: 128, Papadakis 2008: 132, Vassiliadou 2007: 204). Ethnic nationalism in the post-partitioned Republic of Cyprus functioned as the ideological suppressor of social criticism in public discourse, by silencing public discussions addressing issues unconnected with the Cyprus Dispute, on the pretext that they undermined the “national issue”, that is, the Turkish occupation of north Cyprus (Kamenou 2011: 121, Panayiotou 2012a: 79). Critical discourses were therefore systematically undermined, displaced and silenced from public discourse, corresponding to what Paschalis Kitromilides has identified as the “dialectic of intolerance” of Greek Cypriot nationalism (1979: 5, Kamenou ibid).

The continuous emergence of critical discourses in the post-1974 period suggests however, that the Symbolic order of ethnic nationalism has never recovered to its pre-partition position of hegemony. In the first decade following the war, we see a multiplicity of political ideological discourses emerging; ranging from non-party affiliated feminism, ecology and anarchism, to Cypro-centric civic nationalism, LGBT rights activism and liberalism (Mavratsas 1997: 724, Kamenou 2011: 152, Ioannou 2013: 22, 25, Panayiotou 2012a: 79). This phenomenon was not merely restricted to political ideology, but was also actively expressed in the arts, with the example of the poets of the “generation of 74”, the young poets of the war generation, being indicative of the broader dialectical processes that were set into motion (Ioannou 2013: 126).

These varying ideological discourses maintained as a key point of unity their continuous critique of both Greek Cypriot nationalism and Marxism-Leninism, and their challenging attitude towards dominant social norms and ideological constructs (ibid: 21). Cypriot anarchism emerges as a concrete ideological position in the city of Limassol in the mid-1980s, situated within this dialectic of ideological contestation, sharing the critical and challenging attitude of the emerging non-dominant political ideologies of the period (ibid: 22, Panayiotou 2012a: 79). In its process of ideological political public expression, Cypriot anarchism claims for itself a distinct ideological space from Greek Cypriot nationalism and Marxism-Leninism, by formulating its own structure of Symbolic signification, concentrating within it a set of cultural and political signifiers, unified through the function of a single master-signifier.

4.2. Authority, Autonomy and the Structure of Signification

Thematic content analysis has identified the signifier “Authority”[9] as the central master-signifier, around which Cypriot anarchism structures its signification process and Symbolic order. Cypriot anarchist discourse mediates its meaning through the concertation and subsumption of multiple floating signifiers under the signification of this specific signifier. This process of signification enables Cypriot anarchist discourse to identify its competing Symbolic orders (for example, ethnic nationalism), position its discourse in opposition to them and unveil its own discursive narrative, in relation to its own master-signification. Examples of “Authority” as master-signifier are spread throughout the collected documents and are characteristic of the discourse as a whole. For example, in the brochure Cyprus: The National Issue and the Anarchists, ethnic nationalism is described as the “ideology of authority” (Anon 1985: 3). In the anonymous author’s discussion concerning an ideal anarchist society, multiple coercive structures and institutionalized social inequalities are either subsumed or linked to the signifier “Authority”:

“The state (centralized or bi-zonal), the other forms of authority (patriarchy, capitalism etc) and the mechanisms of violence (army, paramilitary groups), of course have no place in this society. [the anarchist society]” (ibid: 5–6)

In those examples, floating signifiers such as “nationalism”, “patriarchy” and “capitalism”, become meaningful precisely because they are connected to, or conceived as, particularized expressions of the master-signifier “Authority”. The discourse found in the anarchist magazine Train in the City, follows the same pattern of signification. A characteristic case would be the discussion regarding the institutionalized hierarchy between the official, codified language employed by the state and the dialects used in the everyday interactions of a society. This relationship is understood by the anonymous author as “the attempt to provide a homogeneous oration for the authority of the state, which enforces its authority on a heterogeneous population” (Anon 1988b: 34), drawing parallels with the unequal, institutionalized relation of the Greek Cypriot dialect and the official use of the codified Modern Greek, in the Republic of Cyprus. In an article in issue 10 of the Train, Cypriot society is described as having “3 key centres of authority: the government, the Greek embassy and the church” (Afrodites 1993: 13). Those key centres constitute, within this specific narrative of the discourse, the forces of authority determining Greek Cypriot social relations. Similarly, another example of this signification process is the discussion regarding the relation between truth and authority in issue 4 of the Train:

“…[Y]ou find yourself facing an irrationality which emanates from your attempt to explain the unexplainable. And they are not explained precisely because they are not real. And they are not real because we experience our life through a lie which works thanks to the fake truths which are served by multiple forms of authority, be they named family, school, church, state, army and of course the catalogue is infinite.” (Anon 1988a: 4)

It is not the content with which the signifier “Authority” is filled in Cypriot anarchist discourse which situates it as the master-signifier. As Zizek points out, following Lacanian theorizing, the ideological experience “is supported by some ‘pure’, meaningless ‘signifier without the signified’” (2009: 108). It is its function as this pure, abstracted signifier which characterizes the master-signifier in an ideological Symbolic order, a signifier which is projected as a pure, teleological category, its meaning not determined by another signifier within its constructed Symbolic order. Rather than its content, it is the function of the signifier “Authority” which elevates it as the master-signifier in Cypriot anarchist ideological discourse, this function of signifying an “infinite”, ambiguous catalogue of its forms. “Authority” is thus a teleological signifier within the Cypriot anarchist Symbolic order, its content is never defined and its explanatory limits are never placed within the discourse. Its content remains ambiguous and the signification of its meaning self-referential. Through the signifier “Authority”, Cypriot anarchist discourse positions floating signifiers and competing ideological Symbolic orders within its own constructed meaning, its own Symbolic organization of signification.

By employing this fixation of meaning, the discourse places competing Symbolic orders and floating signifiers within its own constructed Symbolic conflictual binary of “Authority” and “Autonomy”. The theme of “Autonomy” appears repeatedly throughout the discourse and signifies resistance to any identified “Authority” located within the discourse’s multiple and diverse narratives. While the ideological aspirations of Cypriot anarchism become concentrated around the signifier “Autonomy”, this signifier cannot be comprehended as the master-signifier of Cypriot anarchist discourse. Its meaning becomes mediated only through its fixated relation to the master-signifier “Authority”. As a signifier, “Autonomy” becomes comprehensible within the Cypriot anarchist Symbolic order only through its negative relation to the master-signifier, as the master-signifier’s opposite. It is therefore an oppositional signifier in the discourse, a signifier which organizes floating signifiers in a negative relation to the master-signifier. The repeated use and diverse utilization of the master-signifier and oppositional signifier, organize the ideological narrative of the discourse, structure the process of signification and position the discourse’s content within the ideological conflictual binary.

The positioning of floating signifiers within the binary relationship of “Authority” and “Autonomy” is a process found throughout all of the texts studied; and is an integral element of Cypriot anarchist discourse as a whole. Perhaps the most directly visible example is found in the discourse Cypriot anarchism develops in relation to Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism. A representative case is a text published anonymously in issue 7 of the Train magazine, regarding the need for a bi-communal rapprochement movement[10]. Early in the text, Cyprus is described as having ‘been a “‘gendarmerie stop’ …for the rulers that imposed periodically their authority in the area”, due to its geographical location (Anon 1989b: 10). This has led to the Cypriots developing a “weakness, until today…to comprehend themselves as rulers of their place, as autonomous individuals in an autonomous society” (ibid). The discourse continues with the statement that “the current de-facto partition is the result of the two communities’ national liberation movements (Enosis and Taksim) which express the logic of subjection” (ibid). Previous bi-communal class struggles and insurrections are declared to have failed because they “did not develop their autonomous speech and praxis” (ibid), while nationalism is identified as an ideology of “homogenization…identifying the population with the state”, being the “internalized ideology of authority, imported through the educational systems of Greece and Turkey” (ibid: 11). It is argued that the new, post-1974 Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism “will create a new majority of voters…which will oppress again minority groups” (ibid). It is then stated that rapprochement “pre-supposes the existence of autonomous different groups — pre-supposes the existence of ‘Others’” (ibid). “Autonomy” is described as the “realization of the possibility of self-rule and self-management” (ibid: 12). The text concludes with the rhetorical question “will we prefer autonomy-freedom with its responsibilities and its creative chaos, or are we accustomed for the next century as the servers of multinationals?” (ibid: 13).

“Authority” is here positioned early on as the master-signifier, conditioning the historical experience of Cypriot society within the discourse. Ethnic nationalism and its ideological Symbolic order become discursively attached to the master-signifier of “Authority” as its expression within historical space-time. Nationalism’s mediated meaning is therefore conditioned by the master-signifier. The homogeneity of national identity is identified with the mechanisms of the state, which is generally understood to be an authoritarian and coercive institution. The signifier of “Autonomy” is introduced as oppositional to “Authority” and rapprochement is identified with the pluralism of “autonomous” social groups, in contradiction to the homogeneity produced and imposed by nationalism through the state. The mediated meaning of rapprochement and social difference is therefore fixed by the oppositional signifier of “Autonomy”, whose meaning is itself mediated by its negative, antagonistic relationship to the master-signifier. At this point the conflictual binary of “Authority” and “Autonomy” has been crystalized within the discourse. Ethnic nationalism and its Symbolic order express the “Authority” of the Greek, Turkish and Greek Cypriot states and the “logic of subjection” to identified centres of “Authority”, while rapprochement and social difference are signified under the oppositional signifier of “Autonomy”, mediating the possibility of freedom from that “Authority”. The mediation of the meaning of the floating signifiers and the competing Symbolic order of nationalism are now fixed in relation to the master-signifier, having been positioned within the ideological binary of the Cypriot anarchist ideological Symbolic order.

The process of crystallizing floating signifiers within the binary of the master and oppositional signifiers, of “Authority” and “Autonomy”, is the primary process of the organization of signification within the Cypriot anarchist Symbolic order. The structure of Cypriot anarchist ideology is organized through the construction of this binary, positioning the multiple social, economic, cultural and political issues within it. A full table of identified floating signifiers and their mediated meaning within the Cypriot anarchist conflictual binary is presented in Appendix B of this dissertation.

4.3. Difference, Homogeneity and Identity

Cypriot anarchism subsumes social, cultural and ethnic difference under the oppositional signifier “Autonomy”, positioning them as expressions of the process of social “Autonomy” from the homogeneity of identity imposed by authoritarian institutions or ideologies. The themes of social difference and cultural homogeneity are an ongoing element of Cypriot anarchist discourse. Indicative of this is a text published in the (double) issue 2–3 of the Train:

“Society in Cyprus has not realized itself as a collective autonomous from the state… As a society open to heterogeneity and difference… The claim to autonomy runs through the expression of a minority speech and praxis of the new postmodern minorities…From the eggs of the students, the autonomous women’s march against the occupation, the resistance against syndicalist bureaucracy, the march for the right to be different, out of context graffiti [stating] ‘Down with the State’ ‘Down with the Army’…” (Anon 1987a: 7)

The meaning of the floating signifiers “Difference” and “Heterogeneity” are mediated here through the oppositional signifier. Multiple political and social actions and activities receive their mediated meaning as actions of resistance against the homogeneity of the state, against an expression of the master-signifier, of “Authority”. The support of social difference and heterogeneity by Cypriot anarchist discourse is grounded on their interpretation within the discourse as expressions of a resistance to the centralized, homogenous identities of centres of “Authority”, a resistance viewed as a claim for social “Autonomy” from them.

The organization of social difference and heterogeneity within the Cypriot anarchist Symbolic order has two distinct dimensions within the discourse. On the first level, there is a continuous support of the struggles and activities of marginalized and oppressed social groups within the discourse. The groups and activities supported range from youth subcultures and workers’ strikes; to marginalized social groups (such as homosexuals and Turkish Cypriots). A case in point of this process is how Cypriot anarchism interpreted a student protest that took place in Nicosia in 1987, involving the throwing of eggs to the teachers:

“The insurrection of the eggs will stay in history as a sign in the process of the youth’s autonomy from the society of adults.” (Anon 1987c: 9)

The same process is repeated in a case of a love affair between a Greek Cypriot teenager and a Turkish Cypriot in 1989, which received repeated coverage by Greek Cypriot media with nationalist undertones:

“Nationalism…has a direct connection with the phallus, with control, with authority…The holy patriarchal family was challenged…And it is not necessary to fall in love with a Turkish man to make some steps towards independence-autonomy.” (Anon 1989c: 6)

In both cases, events are signified and are supported as claims for “Autonomy” from a specific, identifiable form of “Authority”, as instances of resistance to the authoritarian structure of social relations. Every particular case of social difference is supported in the discourse on the same grounds; it is positioned within this conflictual bipolarity of “Authority” and “Autonomy”, identified as part of the process of the decentralization of the “Authority” of oppressive social and political institutions; in the struggle for a self-determining, autonomous society.

The second dimension of this Symbolic organization of social difference and heterogeneity is directly linked to the hegemony of Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism and the counter-hegemonic character of Cypriot anarchist discourse. In opposition to ethnic nationalism; and its ideological claims over the unquestionable historical and contemporary Greekness of Cyprus, Cypriot anarchist discourse employs a continuous critique of nationalism, but more interestingly, also a set of signifiers that disturb and destabilize the nationalist Symbolic order.

Cypriot anarchism often employs parody and satire as a literary tool for critiquing ethnic nationalism. For example, in issue 2–3 of the Train, nationalism is critiqued as a “fairy-tale” by constructing a satirical nationalist narrative claiming the Netherlands as the historic national mother country of the island, demanding the Enosis of Cyprus with its Dutch motherland (Anon 1987b: 4). In the issue 1 of the Train, it is declared that “…Cyprus belongs to its Mouflons” (Anafentos 1987: 20), parodying the left-wing and right-wing political slogans contesting the claimed rightful ownership of Cyprus[11]. Parody and satire are not merely literary techniques for entertainment, their function is to expose the hegemonic Symbolic order as ridiculous, internally inconsistent and fictitious, delegitimizing its political and ideological claims over the island.

Ethnic nationalism is repeatedly mediated in Cypriot anarchist discourse through the master-signifier. Within the Cypriot anarchist Symbolic order, it signifies the ideology of authoritarian institutions and in particular the (nation) state, as it was indicated in the previous subchapter. However, nationalism receives a further signification as the ideological expression of Greek and Turkish colonialism over Cyprus:

“[the] elites of authority…utilize ‘Greekness’ (or ‘Turkishness’) as the dominant discourse to keep the Cypriots under the status of a colonized population” (Independent Cypro-Centric Publications 1992: 2)

The new, post-1974 Greek Cypriot nationalism is situated within the same dimensions of signification:

“[the neo-nationalists] in the name of a blue and white yuppiesm and a vulgar thirst for authority and self-promotion want to reduce us again to the level of a colony of the national-centres[12] (Anon 1993: 3)

Nationalism is therefore mediated not merely as the ideological expression of the state, but of a “national colonialism” over the Cypriot population itself, which transformed the Cypriots into perceived “barbaric natives”, positioning them within an unequal cultural hierarchy with the national-centres of Greece and Turkey (Panayiotou 1994: 7). Cyprus is signified here in a dialectical colonial relationship with the national-centres, into a dialectic of colonizer and colonized. The national-centres are positioned as engagers in a process of colonization, of “Authority” over the island, by imposing cultural hierarchies and national identities upon the Cypriot population. Nationalism is signified as the key ideological mechanism within the process of national colonization, functioning through the imposition of the Greek/Turkish national identity upon the Cypriot population, at the same time as it denotes local culture to the level of barbarism in relation to the national culture and national identity, within the constructed cultural hierarchy[13].

The introduction of the signifier “Native” in the discourse enables Cypriot anarchism to develop the narrative of national colonialism; without employing the socially internalized categories of national identities themselves. Within the discourse, the “Native” becomes a category inclusive to the whole population of Cyprus; it is a category with no eternal or internally homogenous identity, its point of reference being the teleological identification with the geographical entity of Cyprus, rather than an external political, cultural or geographic space such as Greece, Britain and Turkey. The “Natives” are the residents of the island, located within the discourse in a continuous colonial relationship with the national-centres:

“In the island the occupation of the space and time of Aphrodite continues by the loveless traders, soldiers and all sorts of settlers: Greeks, Turks…the fundamental difference between the genuine natives and the settlers: we love and they trade their being and our future” (Anon 1989a: 3)

Here the “Natives” are positioned as the “genuine” population of the island, where the Greeks and Turks are signified as “settlers”. The signifier “settler” is here strategically used, as it is borrowed from Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalist discourse, its meaning however is differentiated and inverted. In its nationalist usage, “Settlers” are signified as a homogenous category, representing within nationalist discourse the large number of people from mainland Turkey, who migrated to north Cyprus after 1974 (Jensehaugen 2014: 58). They are differentiated from the local Turkish Cypriots and are understood as part of a colonizing process carried out by the Republic of Turkey (ibid). Cypriot anarchist discourse however reverses the nationalist meaning, placing Greeks as well as Turks in the signifier of the “settler”. It is the historical ethnic homogeneity of the island that is here disputed. Ethnically clean identities are here associated with national colonialism, repositioned to cover both Greek and Turkish nationalist aspirations against the “Native” population of Cyprus. This is further made clear in the following extract from issue 10 of the Train:

“…in the last 100 years all of them [foreign powers] have engaged in an amazing race to convince us that we, the native residents of this island, should not want to be here. We should want to be somewhere else – in Athens, in Ankara, in London, somewhere in Europe but not here…We should had felt and we should, the official ideology states, feel Greek, Turkish, English, Phoenician…anything but Cypriot” (Panayiotou 1993: 18)

In the early 1990s, Cypriot anarchist discourse begins to employ “Cypriot Identity” as the central signifier of a counter-hegemonic narrative, claiming the “Autonomy” of Cyprus from the national-centres and the hegemonic nationalist Symbolic order. Cypriot historical experience is reinterpreted from the position of the heterogeneous Cypriot “Native”, embodying a “Cypriot Identity” which has as its characteristic the historical cultural pluralism and cultural heterogeneity of the island’s population. The terms “Greek Cypriot” and “Turkish Cypriot” begin to disappear from the discourse, replaced with the terms “Greek-speaking” and “Turkish-speaking Cypriot”.

Cyprus is reinterpreted as having “always been a space of cultural cohabitation and interaction” (Panayiotou 1992: 11), a “mosaic of cultures” (ibid), with the “pluralist model” being the “quintessence of the Cypriot experience” (ibid). “Cypriot Identity” is here a signifier of both a political and a “cultural identity” (ibid: 10), “claiming a cultural autonomy from the national ideologies of Athens and Ankara and a politics of devolution/independence from the national-centres” (ibid). The signifier “Cypriot Identity” concentrates in Cypriot anarchist discourse both the mediated meanings of “Autonomy”-through-heterogeneity, as well as the resistance to the colonialism of the national-centres and the hegemonic nationalist Symbolic order. An important element of the signifier is that it transcends not only the nationalist mono-communal identity, but also the bi-communal Cypriotist identity often associated with the Cypriot leftist movement, as it does not reduce the cultural pluralism of the “Cypriot Identity” merely to the two constitutionally recognized communities of the Republic of Cyprus.

The “Native” and “Cypriot Identity” signifiers are fundamental to the ideological function of the Cypriot anarchist Symbolic order, not merely because they are central to the claims for “Autonomy” from the identified national-centres of “Authority”, but precisely because their ideological function makes those very claims possible. They enable the discursive production of new genealogies, contradicting the nationalist historical narrative not merely on its factual dimension, but also on its conceptual and moralistic basis. Ethnic nationalism is here found inverted. From being the signified ideological force of anti-colonial liberation, it becomes transformed into a colonialist ideology subjugating and oppressing the “Native” and her “Cypriot Identify”, in the interests of the “Authority” of the nation-state and of Greek and Turkish colonialism. The signifiers enable the denationalization of Cypriot historical and social experience by providing new categories of historical representation, allowing for claims of cultural heterogeneity and social “Autonomy” to be made on conceptual and historical grounds, crystalized in the consistent counter-hegemonic narratives which are characteristic of the public discourse of Cypriot anarchism in the 1990s.

The signifiers of the “Native” and of “Cypriot Identity” in Cypriot anarchist discourse are fundamental in the organization of its Symbolic order. They become the central signifiers by which the subject is identified and symbolized. They thus enable the re-symbolization of the island’s population under new terms; whose meaning is not determined by the dominant ideological Symbolic orders. By employing the signifiers of the “Native” and of “Cypriot Identity”, Cypriot anarchism developed the very language through which the claimed “Autonomy” from the national-centres and from the homogeneity of the nation-state could be expressed. Their discursive use transcended the hegemonic limits placed on subjective identification, opening up the space for the symbolization of Cypriot social, historical, political and personal experience, outside of the institutionalized structure of ideology of Greek Cypriot society.

4.4. Theoretical Interpretation: Utopia, Interpellation and the Real

“In a utopian level, of course, we know what we want: an anarchist organisation of Cypriot society, based on the values of non-authority, pluralism and autonomy-decentralization.” (Anon 1985: 5)

The destabilization of the dominant ideologies of Greek Cypriot society following the war of 1974, had as an effect the negation of their utopian Teloses (Enosis, Socialism) from their public discourse. The collapse of utopian discourse from the central ideological apparatuses, indicates the ideological crisis of Greek Cypriot political ideologies in the face of the traumatic event, their inability to incorporate within their Symbolic orders the collective trauma experienced by Greek Cypriot society. One significant aspect of Cypriot anarchism is the re-introduction of utopia in public discourse, even if that utopia is expressed as a “utopia-as-direction” (ibid: 6), as an imagined Telos functioning as a guidance in political praxis. The re-introduction of utopia within public political discourse rests on the ability of Cypriot anarchism to partially symbolize the encounter with the Real, the traumatic event of 1974, within its overall discursive narratives.

Cypriot anarchism develops a discourse not merely able to conflict with the claims of hegemonic ethnic nationalism, but also to address the subject, without being dependant on floating signifiers previously fixed by the dominant Greek Cypriot ideologies of the period. This process of addressing the subject, of interpellation, becomes possible through the introduction and repeated use of signifiers of identity which do not originate from Cypriot anarchism’s competing ideological Symbolic orders, enabling it to mediate a fixed set of meanings situated within its Symbolic structure, unburdened by contradictory master-significations. The signifiers of the “Native” and of “Cypriot Identity” act as the signifiers of subjective identification, they address the subject as an integral part of the Cypriot anarchist discursive narrative, positioning her as the agent within its ideological conflictual binary. They interpellate her with an alternative, anti-nationalistic identity whose meaning is mediated primarily through the anarchist Symbolic order. Cypriot anarchism has produced through this process new signifiers of interpellation, but also new categories of Symbolic historical representation.

The utilization of the signifiers of the “Native” and of “Cypriot Identity” as abstracted categories for the representation of historical agents, enabled the re-symbolization of Cypriot social history within Cypriot anarchism’s bipolarity of “Authority” and “Autonomy”, of the “Native” resisting Greek, British and Turkish national colonialism, of the pluralistic “Cypriot Identity” attacked by nationalist colonial homogenization. Historical events, agents and ideologies are re-symbolized and repositioned within an anti-hegemonic narrative of historical progression, with its own implicit historical Telos, the formation of a Cyprus autonomous from national colonialism, characterized by a pluralistic and heterogeneous identity of belonging:

“Because memory in this place was and is always a dangerous matter…It is the memory of a different Cyprus–a Cyprus that will always be independent, autonomous. A Cyprus that is the ancestor of the neo-Cypriot generations from the 60s onwards. The Cyprus of the insurrectionary peasants of 1804 and of 1833 that were slaughtered by the order of the Aghases and the priests. Of the first communists that were marching against Enosis in the 20s, of the murdered workers of 1958 by EOKA and TMT, who complete the ethic of Afxentiou and Matsis. Of the hidden truth of the slogans “Cyprus for the Cypriots” of the 1960s. Of the resistance of the dialect to the demolishing language of Athens. Of the small resistances to the big lies. Of the small demands for life and autonomy in opposition to the necrophilia of authority.” (Anon 1993: 3)

It is a central aspect of this process of re-symbolization, that Cypriot anarchist discourse avoids emphasizing the Cyprus Dispute in its overall narrative, thus decentring it from its hegemonic centrality in public discourse. Cypriot anarchism focuses instead on the re-symbolization of history through its own historical narration, a narration which attempts to symbolize Cypriot society’s encounter with the Real, the traumatic events of inter-communal conflict, war and partition, through its own categories of signification:

“The past needs to be viewed on its correct dimensions, not to be repeated, but to be transcended. Nationalism, as an ideology of homogenization, of projection of threatening “Others” and of the identification of the population with the state, has been the key lever of the division…[It] reinforced the feeling of insecurity of the Cypriots about themselves, by identifying them as a barbarian, a lacking part of a national whole – Hellenism and Turkism. It also shaped the internal clashes on the dimensions of the mythological conflict of Hellenism and Turkism.” (Anon 1989a: 11)

While only partially symbolized, this symbolization of the Real is important. The (partial) symbolization of the Real allows Cypriot anarchism to account for the traumatic events of war, displacement and partition within its discursive narration, positioning them within its overall process of signification. The division of both the Cypriot population and the island is incorporated within the narrative of national colonialism; and is projected as its historical climax. The traumatic events are made here consistent with Cypriot anarchism’s re-symbolization of history, and its categories of representation, as they are situated in the bipolarity of “Authority” and “Autonomy”. Cypriot anarchism is therefore not situated within the post-1974 crisis of Greek Cypriot ideology, but on the contrary, it could be maintained that it is one of its many effects, one of the first attempts to renegotiate the traumatic experience of Cyprus through the lenses of the Symbolic, by radically re-organizing the Symbolic sphere itself.

5. Conclusion and Recommendations

This dissertation aimed to investigate and outline the ideological structure of early Cypriot anarchist ideology. It further aimed to examine how this ideology challenged the hegemonic Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism of the period. It generated its findings by utilizing a qualitative thematic content analysis of Cypriot anarchist public ideological discourse between 1985 and 1994, interpreted by employing Slavoj Zizek’s Lacanian theoretical framework of ideological criticism.

The structure of Cypriot anarchist ideology has been identified as binary, functioning through a repeated process of subsumption. Multiple social, economic, cultural and political issues are repeatedly subsumed under two key signifiers, the master-signifier “Authority” and the oppositional signifier “Autonomy”, the first expressing oppressive and authoritarian structures situated in society, while the second expresses the resistance to those very structures. Cypriot anarchist ideology is primarily structured upon this conflictual binary, and the meaning it mediates is organized according to the positioning of a social group, political activity or social issue within this binary.

Cypriot anarchism critiques ethnic nationalism by subsuming its Symbolic order under the master-signifier “Authority”, while it challenges its discourse and ideological consistency on the level of historical narration, identity and historical representation. On the first level, Cypriot anarchism mediates nationalism as an authoritarian colonial ideology, imposing the “Authority” of the Greek Cypriot state; and the national colonialism of Greece, over the Cypriot population. In its discourse, it transforms nationalism’s mediated meaning by inverting it. The hegemonic anti-colonial narrative, which focuses on ethnic nationalism’s anti-British history, is transformed by Cypriot anarchism, by signifying nationalism as a colonial ideology itself, imposing the colonial interests of the Greek state upon the island. Greek Cypriot ethnic nationalism is also equated with Turkish Cypriot ethnic nationalism, positioning it as merely one of the many expressions of national colonialism over the island.

Cypriot anarchism challenges ethnic nationalism beyond mere negative criticism, by formulating new signifiers of identification in its discourse, that of the “Native” and of “Cypriot Identity”. The use of these new, non-ethnic discursive forms of identity, are utilized to produce new categories of historical representation, which enable the expression of alternative, anti-nationalist and non-ethnic historical narratives. They challenge directly the claims of ethnic nationalism over the formed identities of the island, their perceived eternal historical presence or the perceived homogenous character of Cyprus, both in the past and in the present. The formulated new identities, as well as the narratives which they make possible, challenge ethnic nationalism’s empirical, historical and moral claims over the island. The continuous emphasis on heterogeneity and cultural pluralism destabilizes the nationalist Symbolic order, as it is depended upon a narrative assuming a holistic, historically continuous and homogenous ethnic/national identity over the island of Cyprus. Cypriot anarchism reintroduces utopian thinking; re-negotiates identity and re-interprets history upon these foundations, with a historical Telos uniting autonomy, independence and pluralism. This Telos, unsurprisingly, entails indirectly a solution to the Cyprus Dispute, by imagining a future pluralistic and peaceful society through the lenses of Cypriot anarchist ideology.

This dissertation rests on the interpretation of themes identified through the qualitative content analysis of the public discourse of Cypriot Anarchism. Its object of analysis has been specific and limited over a particular historical period. Cypriot anarchism is however not an isolated phenomenon of the period, but emerges alongside multiple other forms of discourse and political praxis. It has been outlined above that theoretically, we can interpret Cypriot anarchism as the effect of the encounter with the Real in 1974, of the encounter with the traumatic event. We can therefore maintain here the hypothesis that the emergence of these multiple discursive forms after 1974 is not coincidental, but that those discourses are themselves also effects of the encounter with the traumatic event. Cypriot anarchism can therefore be conceived as merely an expression of a broader socio-political process, a process coming to terms with the experience of conflict, displacement, war and the dispute over Cyprus.

Future research could therefore seek to examine how the new, post-1974 discourses re-structured the Symbolic sphere in relation to the traumatic event, how they have re-imagined Cyprus as a reunified political entity through this re-structuring and what identity forms, political consciousness, historical narrations and Teloses have been formulated within this process of re-imagination. More importantly, future research could seek to examine the connection of this re-imagination and Symbolic re-structuring with the materialization of concrete peace-resolution political praxis, ranging from the rapprochement movement, to LGBT-rights activism, the ecological movement, liberalism, feminist politics and anti-militarism.

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6.1. Full List of Primary Sources

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[1] The Cypriot communist party initially campaigned for independence; but it shifted its position to annexation in the early 1940s.

[2] A map of post-1974 Cyprus is available in Appendix A of this dissertation.

[3] As a consistent ideological position, anarchism is traceable to the 1980s. The first Cypriot anarchist writings however, start to appear in the late 1970s (Ahniotis & Panayiotou 2017).

[4] Although Althusser includes the word ‘state’ in the name, Ideological State Apparatuses include both private and public institutions (2008: 17).

[5] The key reason for the absence of these documents from official archives is that neither the published material, nor the groups which produced them were officially registered in state institutions.

[6] The word comes from the Greek Cypriot dialect and its literal meaning is; the person with no master.

[7] AKEL has a number of institutions that act as its ISAs, including one of the largest trade unions (PEO), an active youth branch (EDON), its own newspaper (Haravgi), and localized political associations. They are described by Andreas Panayiotou as an organized subculture within Cypriot society (Panayiotou 2012b: 87).

[8] The National Guard functions as the armed forces of the Republic of Cyprus since 1964 and its personnel is derived from forced military conscription of all male adults reaching the age of 18, for 24 months. Since 2016, conscripts serve 14 months.

[9] The Greek word used is “εξουσία” (eksousia), which translates to both power and authority in English. The word can also be used as a verb, with no direct translation in English. The word “Authority” will be used throughout the following chapters as a translation of “εξουσία”, in order to transfer more faithfully in English the singularity of the signifier expressed in the discourse.

[10] The term “rapprochement movement” is used in Cyprus to characterize various institutional and non-institutional initiatives aiming to bring Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot people together.

[11] A mouflon is a subspecies of wild sheep, with a further subspecies being indigenous only to Cyprus. The slogan is a parody of the left-wing slogan “Cyprus belongs to its people”, which conflicts with the right-wing slogan “Cyprus is Greek”.

[12] The term national-centre is used in the discourse of Greek and Greek Cypriot nationalisms to connect the island to the mother-land. In such a discourse, Greece is the national-centre, the core of the nation, where Cyprus, along with the Greek diaspora, is understood to exist in the national periphery of the centre.

[13] It is worthwhile to note here that this narrative is almost identical to the analysis of the internalized inferiority of the colonized, found in Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (2007).