The Apatride Society of the Political Others:
Integrated World Capitalism and the Ithageneia Condition
Coordinated by: Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, Nelli Kambouri, and Margarita Tsomou
In Greek the word most often used for “indigenous” is ιθαγενής (ithagenis). It is a term commonly used to describe Aboriginal Australians and Native Americans. Although notion of being “Greek indigenous” seems like a farce or a paradox, in bureaucratic jargon this same term is also used to describe Greek citizenship: a Greek who enjoys ithagenia (ιθαγένεια) is a person who belongs to the nation—genos (γένος)—and has full legal rights. In contrast, the term “citizenship” (πολιτειότητα, ιδιότητα του πολίτη) has not captured the imagination of lawmaking and bureaucratic linguistic apparatuses to any great extent. Perhaps this can be explained as the result of chance or force of habit, but it is certainly paradoxical in terms of word usage and the potential for identifying with decolonial practices of belonging.
Today Greece, the cradle of modern Europe and a present day paradigm of the indebted “European South,” is both home to the “Greek indigenous” and is a portal of passage for all sorts of African and Arab migrants and other flows of ithagenis. Greece now finds itself in a neocolonial predicament of creditor versus debtor, of aggressive neoliberal reform politics and externally imposed austerity programs that resemble the African, Asian, and Latin American crises of indebtedness during the 1970s and 1980s. In these crises, financial bailouts came with the violent neocolonial precarization of labor, the privatization of social and state infrastructures, and the concession of sovereign power to creditor intergovernmental bodies and governments through so-called structural adjustment programs (SAPs). Greece has become emblematic of a colonialism of a different order, bound to the mechanisms of “Integrated World Capitalism” (Félix Guattari) and its tendency to recompose productive and social systems according to its own shifting principles. It does not respect a unique cultural heritage, established territories, or foundational narratives; it is ready to eat up its ancestors, cannibalize its own guts, and ultimately lay siege upon and colonize itself.
By establishing the notion of ithageneia as a condition, the Apatride Society tries to go beyond a Eurocentric perspective, while encouraging the observation of the shifting forms and territories of contemporary colonialities and new imperatives in the production of global and local subjectivities. The ithageneia condition is the neoliberal state of all things—after globalization, after the 2008 financial crisis, after recent, huge waves of global mobilization and migrant mobility. In this sense, we recognize that the paradox of ithagenis (ιθαγενής), meaning both the absolute “Other” and the absolute “self,” which seems to constitute the condition of life in contemporary capitalism. In this ithageneia condition the status of each individual, vast groups of people, or entire populations can be transformed—from being “oneself” to being “the other,” from being “safe” to being “unsafe,” from being sovereign to being dependent or indebted, and vice versa. Thus, the ithageneia condition has to be understood as a flexible mechanism, like an ambiguous image or reversible figure that can be applied, altered, and gradually adjusted to the demands of neoliberalism’s economic imperative.
The ithageneia condition is the universalization of the Greek subject looking in the mirror and recognizing that what once was the cradle of European culture has become the backyard of its finance economy—in a moment when the self may very well have become the Other, either instantly or in a slow, imperceptible, and delayed process. At the same time, the ithageneia condition is a call for new forms of knowledge production, new forms of “indigenous” and decolonial epistemologies, new alliances and new sensibilities, the foundation of new existential territories, and the construction of new perspectives. The Apatride Society aspires to become a forum for debate addressing how political Otherness (including the conditions of migration, precarity, dispossession, and statelessness as well as political, racial and sexual minorities) can be articulated today through occupations, resistance, and acts of citizenship.
Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz is a Bolivian-German writer, editor, and philosopher specializing in materialist aesthetics, colonial economy, and the history of Latin American art. Since 2014 he has been a founding member of São Paulo’s Seminário Público Micropolíticas and cocoordinator of P.A.C.A. (Program for Autonomous Cultural Action). From 2008–11 he was co-curator of the exhibition and publication project Principio Potosí (The Potosí Principle), presented at Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and Museo Nacional de Arte (MUSEF), La Paz. He is the author of the book Hélio Oiticica and Neville D’Almeida: Block-Experiments in Cosmococa—Program in Progress (2013) and coeditor of several volumes, including Art and the Critique of Ideology After 1989 (2014). Hinderer Cruz lives and works in São Paulo.
Nelli Kambouri is a gender scholar who has been working at the Center for Gender Studies in the Department of Social Policy of Panteion University in Athens since 2005. She teaches classes on gender, labor, and social policy and conducts research on gender and logistics. She recently completed a research project on gender, science, and technology at the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) on Crete. Her research, teaching, and publications focus on links between gender theory, migration, precarity, and social movements. Currently her main interest is in seeking ways to view the “crisis” in Greece through the lens of postcolonial theory and decolonial movements. Kambouri lives and works in Athens.
Margarita Tsomou is a Greek author, publisher, dramaturge, and curator. She is the publisher of the pop-feminist magazine Missy-Magazine and writes for German newspapers and radio. Her artistic collaborations and curatorial projects have been presented at theaters such as the Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Maxim Gorki Theater, and Volksbühne in Berlin; Kampnagel, Hamburg; and the Onassis Cultural Center, Athens. She is currently finishing her book on the “Representation of the Many,” in the context of the Greek Indignados Movement and the occupation of Syntagma Square in Athens in 2011. She is part of the publishing collective b_books in Berlin and the activist/artistic group Schwabinggrad Ballett in Hamburg. Tsomou lives and works in Berlin and on the Greek island of Skiathos.