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#79 Regime Instability and the State in Peripheral Capitalism: A General Theory and a Case Study of Greece

By Nicos Mouzelis

This paper stresses two major features of peripheral capitalist formations with relatively long political independence and parliamentary traditions, features which explain the specific structures of these States as well as the endemic regime instability characteristic of them:

  1. The relatively late and dependent development of industrial capitalism, which meant that political modernisation (i . e ., State expansion , the development of non-oligarchic political parties, etc.) occurred at a time when the industrial bourgeoisie and proletariat were either non-existent or too weak to have any effective impact on shaping the post-oligarchic political system;
  2. The restricted and uneven development of the capitalist mode of production, which, even in countries which have been industrialised, tends to be seriously incongruent with the horizontal and relatively autonomous organisation of working-class interests.

These two features mean that the kind of political integration of the working classes found in western parliamentary democracies--a political integration characterised by a strong civil society setting limits to State manipulation and repression·--is extremely difficult to institutionalise irreversibly in peripheral capitalist formations. What is found there instead is a weak civil society linked to a paternalistic/repressive State through clientelistic or populist modes of integration--or, whenever these fail to cope with the entrance of the masses into active politics, with dictatorial controls which are equally unstable. It is this which explains regime instability in these formations, and the constant alternating between dictatorial and quasi-parliamentary forms of rule.

In Part II of the paper, this general model was applied to the case of Greece, showing how the development of capitalism is related to the structure of the Greek State as well as to the rise and fall of the post-war military dictatorship.


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