ISSN: 2241-6692


THE DIASPORA AS A USABLE PAST FOR A NATION-IN-CRISIS: Media Readings of Palikari: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre (occasional paper)

The documentary Palikari: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre (2014, Nickos Ventouras) narrates one of the “bleakest and blackest” chapters in American labor history, the Ludlow Massacre.1 A hundred years earlier, on April 20, 1914, in Ludlow, Colorado, a strike for basic labor rights by exploited miners and their families, mostly immigrants, was violently ended by state militia. In the fight, the strikers’ tent colony was machine-gunned and burned to the ground, leaving over twenty people dead, including women and children. Louis Tikas (1886-1914), a Cretan immigrant and union organizer born Ilias Anastasios Spantidakis, was shot in the back in cold blood, as were two other strikers. Still considered a politically volatile event, in fact a dangerous past for the nation laying open the synergy of state and capital to brutally put down labor, Ludlow does not commonly find a place in celebratory official memory. Historians take note of its absence in public history textbooks. However, when Colorado inaugurated the Ludlow Centennial Commemoration in September 2013, a yearlong, statewide remembering of Ludlow, it marked a significant departure, adding an official seal so to speak to remembering what functions as an enduring symbol of working class struggle in the United States.2

Palikari adds a transnational as well as global dimension to Ludlow’s centennial commemoration. It is the work of a Greek team, a journalist writer/producer (Lamprini C. Thoma) and a novice film director (Nickos Ventouras).3 Filmed in several locations in the U.S. and Athens, Greece, and also screened widely in these two countries and across the world, Palikari enters Ludlow through a network of scholars, authors, and artists whose perspectives structure the narration. The bilingual story is organized thematically around twelve topics – Immigration, Exploitation, Racism, Union, Strike, Women, Intimidation, Easter, Uprising, Rockefeller, Legacy, and Memory – each visually animated with corresponding historical images and footage. Eschewing an omniscient narrator, the documentary privileges the point of view of the interviewees who recount the history and locate its significance. This mode of telling makes the film also function as a historical document of Ludlow scholarship, in addition to its work as a historical documentary. Palikari represents a collaborative project that utilizes the power of visuality to narrate Ludlow historiography, to indeed bring “academic text[s] to public eye.”4 This is public scholarship making history the subject of popular memory.

The filmmakers of course do not remain neutral instruments of recording. In addition to the angle of interviewing and narrative editing, they advance their own interpretative version, evident both in the title and the presentation of their work in the media. In this telling, Louis Tikas is cast as a key character in the historical plot and emerges as an individual of overlapping personal, family, regional, and, ultimately, national identities. The portrayal is about one who possesses admirable character attributes that are also Cretan and Greek. While various narratives have alternatively claimed this figure as American, Greek American, or Orthodox,5 this construction renders Tikas a Greek national hero.

If the Colorado centennial commemoration brings an explosive past more fully into national (American) view, Palikari brings Ludlow into an explosive national (Greek) present. The film aspires to global and diaspora resonance, and it strongly locates its relevance in relation to Greece as a nation-in-crisis. This review essay concentrates on media representations of the film, particularly the ways in which the filmmakers render its significance for popular consumption. Even before Palikari was released to the wider public, a range of texts in Greek and Greek American media – newspaper articles, Internet essays, blog entries, and the filmmakers’ interviews on the radio and in print– already circulated readings of the documentary, situating its contemporary importance. This seemingly ever-proliferating host of texts weaves popular renderings of history with actual historical facts to construct a “history story,”6 and to then position it as relevant to labor and immigration issues. Its connection to the nation-in-crisis looms large.

This analysis shows that the structure of Tikas’s media history story in relation to Greece resembles that of narratives that societies purposefully excavate from the past to address crises that confront them in the present. To effectively generate hope and guide action, such narratives animate a shared story from the past, which bears a close metaphorical association with the present they seek to reshape.7 This link is evident in the case of Palikari. Subjected to dual oppression – ethnic because of racism and economic because of immigrant exploitation – Tikas rose against abuse by performing a venerable national heritage, heroic resistance to foreign rule. Similarly, stigmatized as a nation and put under onerous economic strains, Greek people today are called to once again act out this heritage as a way to escape from humiliating dependency on global institutions. In this parallelism, an immigrant’s American story is turned into a Greek narrative via the recognizable trope of national heroism. A historical event situated in the intersection of immigrant experience and U.S. modernity is brought to Greek audiences, and incorporated into the nation as a familiar story of diaspora courage. The film and its meta-commentary therefore expand collective national memory to include Greek immigrant history, animating in this manner a suitable usable past for a nation-in-crisis.

The film stakes its political relevance on the belief in history as a lesson effecting social progress. My discussion traces the various ways in which the media claims the value of remembering the past as a tool for improving the contemporary conditions of workers, immigrants, and the nation. It carefully unpacks the rhetoric regarding the relevance of the film, noting that it opens up possibilities for a range of contradictory interpretations of Tikas’s activism, including class-related, religious, biological, and culture-based renderings. In this respect, institutions and popular culture incorporate the story into pre-existing narratives – notably, national virtues, heroic working class history, diaspora’s undiluted nationhood, or Christian martyrdom. In doing so they preclude new ways of placing this history vis-à-vis the nation. As a step in another direction, the conclusion registers a dimension that media readings sideline: Tikas’s hyphenated, that is Greek American, identity. What if the nation recognizes this figure’s dual affiliation, it asks, probing the listening of the story with an ear to its American accent. This new frame shifts the relevance of the Tikas narrative from history as redemption to history as imagining the nation trans nationally.

Colorado miners

Whose Palikari? Making a National Hero for a Nation-in-Crisis

The word palikari connotes a constellation of valued masculine attributes: youthful prowess and fearlessness; it may also encapsulate, as in the context of the film, a “brave fighter,” “courage and dignity under danger,” honesty and dependability. This definition opens the documentary, and the media keeps returning to this trope, repeatedly conferring the identity of palikari to Tikas. Commentary subsequently equates the personal with the familial and the local. It reaches deep into Tikas’s family biography to excavate a consistent record of heroic deeds among the kin in the ancestral island of Crete. We learn that ancestors sacrificed their lives in the infamous massacre in the Arkadi insurrection (1866) against the Ottomans. The extended family suffered losses in the fight for freedom during yet another nation-threatening era; two male kin were executed resisting the Nazis.8 In these instances, a family’s struggle against foreign occupation intersects with regional self-identity of Cretan insubordination in two events also standing as exemplars of national heroism. The image of concentric circles most appropriately captures this identity construction. Tikas’s personal courage is a component of family heroism, an attribute also of the region, and ultimately the nation. It is this constellation that Tikas eventually performs as a transplanted Greek when he rises against U.S. corporate abuses and racism against laborers. The film “returns” this labor figure home a national hero, a Greek palikari; a “great Greek” (ένας υπέροχος Έλληνας), according to the producer, “our own Louis” (ο Λούης μας).9 The narrative of heroism extracts a diaspora dimension from an American political event with transnational overtones, and turns it into a recognizable national narrative, which it offers as a usable past, as we will see, for both the working class and the nation.

The nationalization of Tikas as Greek in the media markedly contrasts the nationalization of him as American in the film. For a particular interviewee, poet David Mason and author of the verse novel Ludlow (2007), Tikas’s labor activism is an immigrant’s act of American anchoring. It is this aspect that turned Tikas into a compelling literary figure for Mason: “I fell in love with the problem he had to try to make himself belong here and his role in the strike was his effort to assert his right to be here.” Being an American citizen, this immigrant raises the question of national culpability to newcomers, a perennial issue in U.S. political thought. Who possesses the right to national belonging? What does the Tikas execution say about the nation when “we kill our own people,” he poignantly asks. While the Greek media repatriates Tikas as a defiant hero to Greece, the American poet delivers him as a political subject to America.

Conferring a national identity to “Tikas” then performs political work. If an American Tikas expands U.S. nationhood, what function does a Greek Tikas accomplish? The filmmakers situate its relevance in this context: “Tikas’s story can but reverberate in our time, in view of what is happening with the rights of workers and immigrants around the world.”10 It resonates in particular with Greece, a nation-in-crisis where the working class finds itself under utter collapse by drastic austerity measures and extensive privatization, and where immigrants are targeted by institutionalized racism and exploitation. To this public of disenfranchised and devalued laborers, Tikas simultaneously offers a national and working-class hero, an organic link with a history of struggles to defend the interests of all labor. Tikas was renowned as one who transcended Old World national rivalries; he eclipsed ethnic differences, as he should as a labor organizer, in the interest of class mobilization. This web of representations is politically layered. It empowers class-conscious workers, and those in the political spectrum who advocate class solidarity between Greek labor and immigrants. It also calls upon non-unionized workers to understand their predicament through the lens of class struggle.

There is an additional political space to which Palikari seeks to connect: general citizenry. According to the producer, “any smart person watching this documentary can deduce things about the position they find themselves in today and what Louis wants to tell them from where he is.”11 In a country where the economic crisis is felt as severe injustice and its dire effects cut deeply into the middle class, the documentary places itself in relation to this generalized discontent. The economic malaise coexists with an equally intense sense of national injury, of compromised national sovereignty. A wide sector of the population sees the country as a servant to neoliberal policies externally imposed by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank, the infamous troika. These are the circumstances within which the filmmaker calls reflective citizens to project their own experience onto and to draw lessons from depending on their own readings of the Tikas narrative. This open-ended invitation merits analysis, and I will return to it later. At the moment, once we place the statement in relation to generalized economic duress and national humiliation, a parallelism presents itself, advancing a diachronic truth that renders the crisis intelligible: unchecked capitalism as a ruthless system damaging people’s lives, then and now.

Significantly, it is not Ludlow as a historical event that offers itself as a source for identification; it is Tikas, the national hero, who speaks to citizenry from the past. The national subject bridges the Otherness of Ludlow – in time, space, history, and social experience–vis-à-vis contemporary Greek audiences. In this respect, the past is not objectified in memorialization, it is not removed from present-day lives. It is not an abstraction. Instead, Tikas represents a living national agency, speaking from the past to the present, in fact collapsing the past with the present. He is an abused Greek speaking to abused Greeks. As a target of American nativism and classist violence he does so from a position of resistance against national and economic subordination.

At this historical juncture, at least one political meaning in the documentary appears over-determined. As widespread discontent with the neoliberal ruling government is mounting, and the appeal of the Left as a pragmatic political alternative is rising among middle class strata, Palikari functions as yet another text generating opposition to neoliberal capitalism. It does so by capitalizing on the visceral experience of national and class subordination that Tikas brings home. Media readings of the film populate the public sphere densely, hailing Greeks to identify with a national hero who embodies collective mobilization for social transformation.

A National Hero for Everyone?

The range of the film’s circulation – it has been shown in Chicago, Detroit, New York City, San Francisco, Athens, Crete, Paros, Australia, and Ireland, among other places – underlines the global contemporaneity of the topic. The rendering of a U.S. immigrant hero into a symbol not only of Greek, but also working class resistance, produces usable pasts on a variety of scales. In Greece, as I have explained, it is positioned to resonate with the working class, the immigrants, and beyond that, the nation. On an international level and in view of Greece’s tarnished image, the circulation of Greek heroism as a usable past to contemporary issues offers a source of inspiration for labor and immigrant struggles everywhere by attaching global distinction to the nation. Ethnic pride makes its presence purposefully, as Tikas is cast by the producer as “one of the heroes that Greece gave to the U.S.A”; and, by extension, as a source of inspiration to the world.12 Tellingly, the film does not merely circulate among working class, leftist, and anti-establishment venues, but finds a hospitable circuit across national, ethnic, diaspora, and international communities.

Let me at this point return to the call for open-endedness (i.e., “person[s] watching this documentary can deduce things about the position they find themselves in today and what Louis wants to tell them from where he is.”). The filmmakers consciously refrain from a didactic telling: “Tikas is a didactic story that we did not want to tell in a didactic manner.”13 The audience is offered interpretive latitude, as a population in a state of siege is called to respond to the text on the basis of the crisis’s impact on the individual. Notably, the emphasis on subjective resonance leaves open the mode of collective resistance, or desired outcome of the opposition. It is not certain, for instance, whether Tikas’s example speaks to the necessity of a capitalist democracy committed to mediating disputes between labor and capital, or whether it may be taken as a call for radical social transformation.

Evidently, one could raise the question, how is it precisely that his voice speaks to citizens? As a Greek with wounded honor, a Greek Orthodox acting against injustice, or a political activist committed to class warfare? If we judge on the available narratives already locating Tikas’s relevance, the rhetoric of open-endedness accommodates contradictory readings. Greek Orthodoxy in the United States, for instance, claims Tikas as its own Christian martyr and further connects this identity with the Greek crisis.14 Popular writings in Greece posit honor (filotimo) as the driving force for his agency, not class-consciousness. Along this trajectory, one could imagine the appeal of a φιλότιμος Tikas to an emerging identity narrative that establishes honor as a diachronic Greek transnational value.15 There seems, then, to be a Tikas for everyone. All sorts of communities – religious, national, ethnic, regional, immigrant, leftist, Marxist, and diaspora, among others – could overlay their intended meanings onto Tikas, rewriting history for the purposes of respective interests. There is the working class hero for the Left, the heroic example for the nation, the universal hope for humanity, the ecumenical martyr for Orthodoxy, the global expression of the biologically-coded Greek genius for nationalism, and more. This interpretive plasticity diffuses one major aspect of historical Ludlow, class struggle, and explains the film’s resonance with a spectrum of communities ideologically at odds with each other.16 Because of these conflicting interests, intellectuals claiming Tikas ought to take an explicit position in the struggle over his identity. He cannot check “all of the above” for the attributes assigned to him.

Palikari travels well across national borders, performing a variety of political work. It revisits the violence of laissez faire capitalism, sustains historical memory, recognizes the sacrifice of labor, empowers working class struggle, fosters national distinction, and contributes to identity making. This analysis shows that the transnational circulation of dangerous memories for one nation (U.S.) may retain their political edge in the context of international labor-capital relations, but they may also be subject to domestication for maintaining the status quo. In other words, the Ludlow memory continues to be the subject of interpretive contestation. This is why cultural producers speaking about the film cannot possibly neglect the politics surrounding this remembering. Neither can they evade a host of issues, including historical responsibility in popular uses of the past. If Tikas generates different pasts, are all historical reconstructions equally valid, or is one better than the other? A multivalent text designed for public consumption, Palikari stands to exercise considerable cultural impact, and for this it requires further critical conversation.17 I will take on a particular issue for the remainder of this essay: its investment in the progressive function of history.

Beyond History as Redemption: Returning Tikas to Greek America

The belief in history as an example to effect social transformation runs throughout the media readings of this film. Historical memory functions as a tool for personal and collective betterment: a lesson to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, a route of action to achieve desired goals in the present.18 Far from being in vain, Tikas’s loss stands for a political and moral victory that shaped the course of American labor history for the better. This success justifies the story’s redemptive function, hence the producer’s call upon Greeks to act as Tikas’s true heirs and follow his example in the struggle for human decency.19 The past delivers a hopeful message to the present, and a redemptive map for realizing an improved future for a range of collectives, from the global working class to immigrants, and from the nation to humanity.

But this promise, let us note, stumbles upon a number of failed examples. The strategy of referencing injustices against diaspora Greeks to generate empathy with immigrants and correct xenophobia, for instance, has failed to prevent the rise of institutionalized racism in Greece, and proven inadequate to shape a considerable sector of the public. As early as 2001, scholars have explained why positions in Greek anti-racist struggles such as “Greeks were once Albanians,” or “America’s dirty Greeks” have been ineffective.20

Significantly, the more the media locate Palikari as an agent for social transformation, the more they buttress deeply entrenched narratives and institutions. National ideas of cultural singularity, Orthodox ideals of martyrdom, the conflation of national and regional virtues, the use of heroic history as an example for change, the nationalization of the Greek diaspora, are all fully animated in the national writing of Tikas. As Paul Cohen observes, communities-in-crisis appeal to narratives that rework the past to shape the present in ways that may validate preexisting worldviews; they “are content to live in a world of stories that support – rather than challenge – their strongly held beliefs and emotional preferences.”21 The analogical view of history as a progressive agent reinforces the practice of the familiar and the institutionalized as it disallows the imagination of the untried, the inchoate, what escapes systematization.22

Can we imagine alternatives in the cultural production of this narrative? An off-center idea presents itself once one acknowledges this figure’s multiple affiliations. At any one time or simultaneously, history and biography register Tikas’s connections with Crete, the U.S. via citizenship and performance of an American identity, and working class Americanism, among others. He emerges as a fluid historical subject eluding a single identity, yet, in a tragic irony, currently contained into national singularity. In the media texts I discuss, his transnationalism recedes into the background, lost in translation, so to speak, in the interest of a nation-centric reading. The making of a national hero from an immigrant reproduces the hegemonic narrative of Greeks abroad as an organic extension of the nation, an omogeneia, and neutralizes its connections to the host nation. What, then, if one advances Tikas’s multiplicity? What if one recognizes, in fact showcases, the hyphen in his identity?

Though our knowledge of Tikas’s life remains fragmentary and impossible to piece together into a whole, one fact is for certain. He was a product of American modernity and industrial capitalism as much as he was a product of Crete. His involvement with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) union makes it impossible to examine his life outside a U.S. framework. Though his intention for joining the labor movement cannot be known, his institutional position as labor organizer places him at the center of working class Americanism. It is in this capacity where one most visibly witnesses the distance from his rural background. In enforcing the principles of organized collective resistance – discipline to an institutional authority, the union – he fully participates in the political culture of industrial capitalism. Though the evidence is partial, it appears that negotiations with his fellow Cretans regarding adherence to union methods were a regular occurrence.23 In their willingness to take up arms against corporate abuses, Greek immigrant strikers were also palikaria. But in undertaking forms of resistance outside union strategies they were deploying a kind of bravery more akin to their Old World ideals of masculine honor. In contrast, Tikas filtered this ethos through New World unionism, performing both a Cretan and an American identity. If one still insists on using the term, he was a different kind of palikari; he was both the unionist Louis Tikas and the Cretan Ilias Spantidakis. To keep sentimentalization and national heroization in check,24 he stands for the formation of a new historical subject, a politically engaged Greek American class consciousness, emerging in the context of trade unionism across the mines, the railroads, and factories of industrial America at the time. It is for this reason that we cannot speak of a single Greek Tikas, but, to evoke historian Kostis Karpozilos in the film, a multitude of Greek American Tikases.

Acknowledging Tikas as a product of American modernity introduces a number of interventions in Greek society. For one, it brings about an uncomfortable yet necessary complication to not only the Greek Left’s but also Greece’s general political anti-Americanism. As a Greek American labor hero he obviously presents a challenge to the wholesale demonization of U.S. political culture, a prospect that is lost in his nation-centric rendering.

In a broader scale, Tikas’s American dimensions invite a rethinking of the diaspora, the nation, and the ways in which they mutually constitute each other. A syncretic product of cross-cultural encounters and diverse yet intersecting national histories, the diaspora enters into conversation with the nation not from a position of sameness, but internal difference: the diaspora not as an identical omogeneia extending the nation across borders, but as a complex interplay of resemblances with and disjunctures from the nation. Seen as a Greek American narrative, Tikas confronts the ideology of diaspora as national homogeneity; the hyphen undermines the duality of Self/Other –national/stranger.

Significantly for my purposes, the circulation of a Greek American Tikas in Greece presents the following emergent prospect: we can imagine that it could function as a refractive mirror through which the nation recognizes as its own not the sameness of the diaspora, but its otherness. In other words, the nation recognizes its syncretism, and one of its constitutive components, transnationalism. For, isn’t it that the making of Greece is historically associated with all kinds of relations and flows across national borders, including American ones? Isn’t it that American culture and art, politics, and sports – from Neil Young to Jack Kerouac, from Mother Jones to Mark Twain to NBA – have been compelling in the Greek imagination, shaping subjectivities? A nation’s recognition of its internal otherness animates new ways of speaking about Self and Other. It challenges dualities. This acknowledgement, for instance, moves beyond the view of immigrants as the absolute Other, introducing a different angle to discuss “foreigness” in Greece. It also questions the duality of the nation as a mere victim and the West as the oppressor, contributing to the difficult conversation of the nation’s multifaceted culpability in the crisis. A Greek American Tikas could offer a departure point for imagining Greek society differently, in a transnational and syncretic manner, beyond the comfort of recycled national truths.

Ludlow memorial plaque
(The plaque mistakenly lists Tikas as 30 years old when he died. He was 28)

As we keep remembering Tikas then, let us not have this escape us: if he were to speak to the nation, he would have done so with traces of an American accent, in speech, dress, action, and manners; he would have embodied difference, which cultural purists would have certainly scoffed at and dismissed, but socialists and cultural modernizers would have recognized as akin to their own ideals. An alternative way of honoring Tikas, then, is prevent this accent from drowning in the popular applause for the poster of his heroic nationhood.

Yiorgos Anagnostou

The Ohio State University

ACKNOLWEDGMENTS: I thank Zeese Papanikolas, Kostis Karpozilos, and Despina Lalaki for helpful insights.


1. Stegner, Wallace. (1991). “Foreword.” In Zeese Papanikolas, Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre (pp. xiii-xix). Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press [first edition 1982, University of Utah Press].

2. Because of this function, the labor movement has been consistently investing in its memory. Memorials, songs, documentaries, workshops, annual commemorations, popular and academic history, as well as collaboration with politically engaged scholars, are vital components of keeping Ludlow’s memory alive.

3. Thoma, Lamprini C. (Producer/Writer), & Ventouras, Nickos (Director/Editor). (2014). Palikari: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre [Motion picture]. Original Score: Manos Ventouras. A Non-Organic Production.

4. Thoma, Lamprini C. and Ventouras, Nickos. (3 October 2014). “Two Worlds in Conversation: From Academic Text to Public Eye.” Presentation in the Colloquium Revisiting Ludlow: 1914/2014. Sponsored by the Center for Modern Greek Studies at San Francisco State University.

Representations of Tikas, in narrative and performance, have a varied history in Greece. They include, Σταυρουλάκης, Γιώργος. «Λούης Τίκας: Ο ήρωας της ξενιτιάς» Αθήνα,1998; Zeese Papanikolas’s Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre translation in Greek [Αμοιρολόιτος: Ο Λούης Τίκας και η σφαγή στο Λάντλοου. Μετάφραση Πελαγία Μαρκέτου. Αθήνα: Κατάρτι, 2002.]; dance performances of the Greek troupe Lathos Kinhsh (2007); municipality events on Greek immigration, Nea Philadelphia (2008); blog postings in Istologion (, and (; film tributes as “working class hero,”; Palikari has already been incorporated in a most recent documentary tribute to the “Sacrifice of the Greek Miner Louis Tikas,”

5. Anagnostou, Yiorgos. (3 October 2014). “Reclaiming a U.S. Labor Hero: The Many Lives of Louis Tikas.” Presentation in the Colloquium Revisiting Ludlow: 1914/2014. Sponsored by the Center for Modern Greek Studies at San Francisco State University.

6. Cohen, Paul A. (2014). History and Popular Memory: The Power of Story in Moments of Crisis. New York: Columbia University Press.

7. ibid.

8. Malkoutzis, Nic. (2014). “‘Palikari,’ a Greek Migrant’s Story Destined to Echo in Eternity. Kathimerini (English Edition 17 April 2014). Retrieved from [accessed August 31, 2014].

9. Interview with Κώστας Εφήμερος. (2014). «Οι Ιστορίες είναι εκεί και σε Περιμένουν», 8 March. Retrieved from [accessed, August 31, 2014]. The Greek Australian press also circulates this national image, see «Λούης Τίκας: Ο Έλληνας ‘Ήρωας της Ξενιτιάς’ στις ΗΠΑ» (7/4/2014), [accessed 22 October, 2014].

10. [accessed 15 September, 2014].

11. Malkoutzis, Nic. (2014). “‘Palikari,’ a Greek Migrant’s Story Destined to Echo in Eternity. Kathimerini (English Edition 17 April 2014). Retrieved from [accessed August 31, 2014].

12. Interview in Dialogos Radio, July 30, 2014. [accessed 17 September, 2014]. Dialogos Radio is the official media sponsor for the U.S. screening tour of Palikari.

13. Malkoutzis, Nic. (2014). “‘Palikari,’ a Greek Migrant’s Story Destined to Echo in Eternity. Kathimerini (English Edition 17 April 2014). Retrieved from [accessed August 31, 2014].

14. This narrative denies Ludlow as class conflict. The analysis of making Tikas a martyr, both in Orthodox historiography and media constructions of Palikari, is work in progress.

15. “The Greek Secret.” (2014). Produced by The Washington Oxi Day Foundation, [accessed 25 September, 2014].

For culturalist, filotimo-based, interpretations, see: «Λούης Τίκας: Έλληνας Συνδικαλιστής στο Κολοράντο» (4 February, 2012),, and reproduced in, «Λούης Τίκας: Ο ‘ζόρικος’ Έλληνας που έγινε σύμβολο στις ΗΠΑ» (9 July 2014),λούις-τίκας-ο-ζόρικος-έλληνας-που-έγι/. There are biological explanations also, see, «Άγνωστοι Έλληνες: Λούης Τίκας, ο ήρωας της Αμερικής» (15 July 2014), «Γιατί οι Έλληνες, όπου κι αν πάνε, όπου κι αν βρίσκονται, δεν μπορούν με τίποτα να ξεχάσουν το ‘δαιμόνιο’ που έχουν στο DNA τους και το οποίο τους κάνει να μεγαλουργούν!» [Because the Greeks, whenever they find themselves, it is impossible to forget the genius encoded in their DNA, and which makes for their greatness!].

16. A comparison of Palikari’s reception in the U.S. with that of Greek American Radicals: The Untold Story (2013), another recent political documentary narrating the history of the Greek American Left, will be instructive [].

17. To those public scholars and cultural producers who are vested in further popularizing Ludlow in Greece, the American debate on strategies to reach out diverse audiences, including school children, offers an indispensable resource. See the Colorado Coal Field War Project (, and related publications from the perspective of politically engaged and Marxist archaeology; and Matthews, Christopher N. (2005). “Public Dialectics: Marxist Reflection in Archaeology.” Historical Archaeology, 39(4): 26-44.

18. Lamprini Thoma’s interview with Dialogos Radio, July 30, 2014. [accessed 17 September, 2014].

19. Αυλωνίτης, Ντίνος. «Συγκινούν οι προβολές του ντοκιμαντέρ ‘Palikari’» Εθνικός Κήρυξ, 2 October 14, p. 6.: «οφείλουμε να ακολουθήσουμε το παράδειγμά του, να σταθούμε παιδιά του στον αγώνα για ανθρώπινη αξιοπρέπεια». See also, “The Greek Immigrant who Changed the Course of American History and Labor Laws” (1 September, 2014), [accessed 2 September, 2014].

20. See, Laliotou, Ioanna. (2004). Transatlantic Subjects: Acts of Migration and Cultures of Transnationalism between Greece and America.Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press; and Konstantinidou, Christina. (2001). Social Representations of Crime: The Criminality of Albanian Migrants in the Athenian Press. Athens: Sakkoulas (in Greek).

21. Cohen, Paul A. (2014). History and Popular Memory: The Power of Story in Moments of Crisis. New York: Columbia University Press.

22. Karpozilos, Kostis. «Η ιστορία δεν κάνει τίποτα» (“History does nothing”), Τα Ιστορικά 57 (December 2003), pp. 528-534.

23. For instance, Greek strikers “performing individual deeds of Old Country revenge,” were putting themselves “at odds with the Union policy, at least before the Ludlow Massacre, of economic – not violent – resistance. The Union wanted to give no excuse to the mine guards and state militia for gunplay, the Union had seen enough of that in its history, most recently in West Virginia” (Zeese Papanikolas, personal communication). The Greeks “were difficult to control” (Duke 2008:25). Duke, Philip. (2008). “The Ludlow, Colorado, Coal Miners’ Massacre of 1914: The Greek Connection.” The New Griffon 10. Special Issue, The Archaeology of Xenitia: Greek Immigration and Material Culture. 21-27.

For Tikas’s dual identity, see Papanikolas, Zeese. (1991). Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. [first edition 1982, University of Utah Press]. For the intersection of class and ethnicity in Ludlow see: Larkin, Karin, and McGuire, Randal H. (eds). (2009). The Archaeology of Class War: The Colorado Coalfield Strike of 1913-1914. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.

24. As Philip Duke cautions, “We must also avoid the temptation to see Tikas simply as a transplanted palikari … or to sentimentalize this class of Greek maleness” (2008: 25). Duke, Philip. (2008). “The Ludlow, Colorado, Coal Miners’ Massacre of 1914: The Greek Connection.” The New Griffon 10. Special Issue, The Archaeology of Xenitia: Greek Immigration and Material Culture. 21-27.

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