THESSALONIKI – Prolific author, academician, poet, political thinker, and TNH columnist – he co-writes the biweekly Agora viewpoint – Greek-American Dan Georgakas is the subject of a documentary by Kostas Vakkas. The film is titled Dan Georgakas: a Disapora Rebel.
Georgakas, who is professor and director of the Greek American Studies Project at Queens College in New York, tells his life story and his experiences in growing up in Detroit.
The film, which attempts to show an alternative point of view to Greek-American history, is part of the 17th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, in Thessaloniki, with screenings on March 19 and 21.
Georgakas told TNH that “my rebellious perspective is linked to growing up in a working class district of Detroit and being born Greek and American. Life had greatly improved for all of us as a result of the leftist reforms begun in the 1930s. I wanted to accelerate that kind of change. As a child of immigrants, I was not programmed to consider all things American as normal and positive. This made it easier to go against convention. In a similar fashion, as an American, I was not programmed for traditional Greek culture either. Much of my subsequent writing and activism has been directed at melting the mind-forged manacles that prevent us from understanding a new economic order based on mutual aid would be far superior to our present competitive system.
Though the words “anarchist” and “leftist” are routinely used to describe Georgakas, one only need to read his Agora installments on any given week to conclude that his thinking does not seem to be radically outside the political mainstream. In fact, he and Agora’s other co-writer, Constantinos E. Scaros, a centrist who leans more to the right than to the left, typically find a fair amount of common ground on a number of political and social issues, and often agree more than they disagree.
In summing up where he stands, Georgakas says: “I am less influenced by [the philosophies of revolutionary Karl] Marx and [anarchist Peter] Kropotkin than by the logic of Aristotle.”