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Greece: the persistence of political terrorism



    1. Reader in Terrorism Studies at the University of Wolverhampton and the author/editor of six books, including Europe's last red terrorists, The barbarization of warfare and Playing politics with terrorism: a user's guide, included in the Independent's ‘Best Books of 2007’.
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    • The author is grateful to the Leverhulme Trust, the Nuffield Foundation and the British Academy for funding different stages of the research on which this article is based.


Greece has one of the most sustained problems of political terrorism anywhere in the world. From the mid-1970s to the present, the country's political and socioeconomic institutions have been confronted by systematic terrorist violence mainly at the hands of revolutionary guerrilla groups. The long story of Greek terrorism was thought to have ended in the summer of 2002 with the collapse of the country's premier terrorist group and one of Europe's longest-running gangs, the notorious Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N). 17N's dismantling and imprisonment, rather than demoralizing and emasculating the country's armed struggle movement, led instead to the emergence of new urban guerrilla groups and an increase and intensification of revolutionary violence. In consequence, the article places Greek extremist violence in a broader political and cultural perspective and explains why it has become a permanent fixture of national public life.