Sunday, 23 October 2016

‘Greece Should Not Open its Legs as a Whore to Let in All Migrants’

Interview with Nikos Koundouros

Koundouros studied painting and sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts. During the war he was a member of the left-wing resistance movement EAM-ELAS, and because of this was subsequently exiled to the Makronissos prison island. At the age of 28 he decided to follow a career in cinematography. He started his career as a director of the film Magiki Polis(1954), where he combined his neorealism influences with his own artistic viewpoint. He cast Thanasis Veggos, who he had met at Makronissos, as one of the characters in Magiki Polis.[1] After the release of his complex and innovative film O Drakos, he found acceptance as a prominent artist in Greece and Europe, and acquired important awards in various international and Greek film festivals. His 1963 film Young Aphrodites won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 13th Berlin International Film Festival.[2] In 1985 he was a member of the jury at the 14th Moscow International Film Festival.[3]

He awaits for me in the garden of his house in Mets and is dressed as always in black. He walks slowly the result of the attack he had in house last October where four migrants robbed him and just missed killing him.
But Nikos Koundouros shows and feels like a rock. He doesn’t hide his rage, is sorry for his country being led to its present state but is ready even today to fight. But without a gun, as he did in EAM but with a new film.

Question: A few months ago you lived a horrific adventure in your otherwise adventurous life. First of all how do you feel today?
“Like a rock. My sides of course take months to heel, at least 7-8 but deep down I am happy I went through the torment.

Question: Why would someone feel happy for almost dying?

“The event forced me to see reality. I had a ridiculous sensitivity and generosity with the entrance or in reality the invasion of foreigners into Greece.
I used to argue we are children of this earth, let the world arrive in Greece, to get better, to feel secure, to eat, to drink Greek water. From the moment of the event forget all these teenage stupidities.
Four animals, four barbarians who screamed and stank wore masks and made me see the reality.

Question: What will you not forget about that night?

“When they said don’t hold him, choke the queer” said the only one who spoke in broken Greek. Me gay? Ok about choking me but where does the queer fit in? From that night onwards a stream of thoughts started in my mind about getting rid of all the migrants. It’s not correct and also from the point of view of social behaviour for it to open its legs like a whore. 1.4m migrants in the country? 15% of the population? How can this number be assimilated? But it has occurred. These are the consequences of the inferiority complex the Greeks have. Blame the governments. The Germans should have an inferiority complex not us.”

Question: What is specific to this even that makes you feel that way?
“They didn’t just want to rob. They wanted to kill. Another man further down the road they strangled with a pillow. I just was lucky to survive. They held the pillow to my face and I managed to breathe from the side. I saw revenge which was racial, class, social, national however you want to define it. It was pure hatred. As what they wanted to get they had already. I gave it to them. I went to my safe and gave them what was inside. They went into a house which for them was the Louvre and I took them directly to the safe and gave them what they wanted. From the stress I couldn’t remember the number of the safe and I made a mistake. They banged my head with steel. One two three times. For 15 days my face was black from the dried blood”

Question: Did you manage to meet a migrant after the even? If so what happened?
“After the event I was found to be a passenger in a car of a lawyer friend. A Pakistani came to clean the windows. My friend says ‘No’. I who had passed through what I had, said give something to the young man.
My friend gave him a coin. The Pakistani man looks at it and throws it back at us. I jumped out as if I was 18 years old, I grabbed him from the collar and dragged him with such hatred back to the car and told him find it. From behind the people saw the picture of a white man treating the poor Pakistani as if he were a dog. The picture that I gave was that the white race was mistreating a Pakistani dog. But the opposite had happened. Misunderstanding is part of life”

Question: It must be strange for a man who has seen so much: Occupation, Civil War executions, exile in Makronisos…

“I could have characterised the event as a bad instance in life but I would have debased it then. It wasn’t like the tram which hit me on the street which was my fault. Its was a by product of a status quo that exists in all of Greece. The humiliation of a nation to the point of it not being able to walk in the whole of Greece without its heart pumping that something bad may happen. As the police inspector who found me then told me “Athens is an unguarded city where hatred, fear and the unpredictable may occur”. Whoever can do whatever and accept anything. The police according to his own words can do very little even less in apprehending let alone prosecuting these events. Bad events occurred to the Greek nation after the Italian invasion, after the guerrilla war, after the victory of the Right, after Makronisos. All these events marked the bad fate of the Greek. Maybe fate one day will bring us a better life, freedom”

Question: Greece has held up all these years…
“It was held by the blood from some who faced death head on. What had they done? They had betrayed the country. But the betray the country dailys. Today MPs betray it, people with much money, they sell it out those degenerates who have managed our national funds – PASOKs Tzohatsopoulos for instance. We all know them. Today Greeks are degraded and with their heads bowed under. Only a terrible famine which is above all peoples heads will turn fear into panic and force people onto the streets. Did you see what happened in England. We will do the same, there is no other way out. With the call ‘Down with the Barbarians’. The financiers, Ms Merkel they are the barbarians. What are we guilty of? You might say that there isn’t a single person in a democratic society who is not guilty. Why are you at fault? Why am I at fault? There is this terrific generalisation. We all ate at the same table. What did you get to have or I? The Greek people aren’t participants by their very nature. Not only did the people not eat but they never had the possibility to eat under the tutelage of the democratic governments whether they were called New Democracy or PASOK. The terrorists of the people is the state. Who is more of a terrorist today than Mr Papakonstantinou (ex PASOKs finance Minister)? A poor person that takes up a gun and kills another poor person? It’s a game. The terrorists today aren’t something invisible. The terrorist has a name a surname a tax number. They have everything”

Question: What does a Greek artist do with this impasse?
“Its not easy being Greek in this period. Either you have to retreat home and basically observe things or if you want to take part in things you must become a name under control. Not of the police or power, but your neighbours, your brothers, history which surrounds you. You must always be accountable. My resistance was always to make films which weren’t for enjoyment but which wanted to document the unjust martyrdom of a peoples who were destined for a better fate. That is what I will do with my next film called the ‘Ship’

Nikos Koundouros father refused his three children joining the fascist youth of Metaxas. “We paid for that for years” the director states, “then came the war, the Occupation, hunger, in every corner we saw dead people or even piles of them. From the age of 17 I was in EAM in the armed Byron group. All these things aren’t easy for a teenager who grew up differently and existed whilst growing up. It was natural then to create a view from a young child who the only thing that was left for him was to take the gun and go to the mountains or be subjugated. Nothing else” The latter option didn’t fit in with Nikos Koundouros and his brothers.

The director laments Riga Ferraio (youth wing of EDA -1960s KKE) “Greeks refuse to be subjugated. I don’t know about today but when Greeks refused to be subjugated and humiliated the zero of a passive life. They preferred the most tough process even to come face to face with death.
Today death is a form of luxury. You see it in every hospital with three nurses round you and you bed pan to ensure your body isn’t humiliated. Its not the same as being face to face with a firing squad…

The night before the execution of Belogiannis the party (KKE) asked me to look after his wife in a car outside the Kallithea prisons so as to hear the noise of five-six bullets. All of these events you cannot forget and become part of your life. You adapt and you never take these things out of you”.

“The ‘Ship’ is a plan which was born from some strange truths’” states Nikos Koundouros with respect to his latest fil which is about to be produced. It will be in English and with unknown actors. “Two years ago we found out that a ship as black as Hell which was carrying wheat rested somewhere in the seas of the Ionian and after that it went towards Israel which as is well known produces nothing. Later we learnt that it didn’t have wheat but the latest war materials and in the same period of time the new attacks were occurring against Palestinians by Israelis.

All of these events were reported in the papers but were ignored. Koundouros took the journalistic reports and turned it into a film with the friendly cooperation of two writers. In the meantime the film will be added with other events also true.

“In two buildings one in Crete and one in the Pelloponnese, different characters collect girls from Eastern Europe and promise them work but turn them into prostitutes. There is a also a masonic lodge, middle men between Americans and Israelis”

On stage now is Theofilos Tsafos who is a common criminal who has been trained to denigrate human existence starting from himself. First he burns his own heart. After that heartless he tries to find victims to complete his Secret Mission. His hands become murderous weapons and he finally strangles the only love of his life during an erotic act. This play is being played by the Mihalis Kakogiannis foundation and it was written 38 years ago and it hasn’t been played and it was written in London during the Junta where Koundouros was exiled. The story for this play was inspired by real events which I had read from newspapers from that era. “It interested me, I researched it well and wrote it. I was then much more young as I believe that that work for its era contained a part of resistance”


Friday, 21 October 2016

Greece’s Neoliberal Wolves In Anti-Austerity Sheep’s Clothing

Greece’s Neoliberal Wolves In Anti-Austerity Sheep’s Clothing
Far from representing truly alternative voices, three Syriza leaders crafted empty public images as anti-austerity renegades and champions of democracy and justice.
By Michael Nevradakis @dialogosmedia | October 19, 2016

Protesters against new austerity measures hold a placard depicting Labour Minister George Katrougalos as the movie character Edward Scissorhands during a protest outside Zappeion Hall in Athens, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. The placard reads in Greek”Katrougalos Scissorhands”.
ATHENS — (Analysis) In January of 2015, opponents of neoliberalism and the harsh policies of economic austerity rejoiced at the electoral victory of Syriza in the Greek parliamentary elections.

Touted as the “first-time left,” the new Syriza-led government was portrayed as a “would-be savior” for Greece. It was further hailed as the regime that would reverse the country’s fortunes and stand up to the demands of Greece’s lenders in the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund–the trio collectively known as the “troika.”

Flash forward to today: One year after ignoring the result of a referendum which rejected further austerity measures proposed by Greek lenders, the Syriza-led government is enforcing the dictates the third memorandum, an even more onerous austerity agreement agreed to in August 2015. In the interim, further legislation has been passed which has ceded control over the entirety of Greece’s publicly-owned assets for 99 years and relinquished the sovereign parliamentary right to pass legislation on key budgetary and economic issues.

The end results of these agreements and the new austerity plan which has followed have been catastrophic. Already-battered pensions have been further slashed by as much as 50 percent or more. The port of Piraeus, 14 profitable regional airports, the national railway system, and the prime site of Athens’ former international airport have been sold off to foreign investors at bargain-basement prices and privatized. The sell-off of Greece’s municipal water utilities, which Syriza officials at one time claimed would occur “over our dead body,” is the next in line to be completed. Further, automatic budget cuts lurk ominously ahead, to be implemented automatically if Greece does not meet its troika-imposed fiscal targets.
After a long period of dormancy, lulled by the promise of a government that was purportedly engaged in hard negotiations with Greece’s lenders, the people of Greece have roared back to life. Air traffic controllers recently staged a wildcat strike, walking off from their jobs in protest of the privatization of Greece’s airports–a process slated to be expanded to the remaining facilities in which the Greek state still owns a share. With nothing left to lose, pensioners have taken to the streets to protest the virtual elimination of their already meager pensions.

A protester chants anti austerity slogans during a demonstration in central Athens, on Friday, May 6, 2016.
While back in January of 2015, the world celebrated as the “saviors” in Syriza removed barricades around the Hellenic Parliament and promised to dissolve the violent, corrupt riot police, nowadays the Syriza government prefers to unleash the very same riot police on elderly, impoverished protesters, who are also targeted with generous sprays of tear gas. Instead of tearing up the memorandum and austerity agreements, as had been promised prior to January of 2015 by current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and other Syriza officials, Syriza officials now express regret that the word “memorandum” has been “demonized.”

Within Greece at least, the hero worship previously afforded Syriza has transformed into a wide-ranging sentiment in which many citizens and voters now openly support “anyone but Syriza.” In such a climate, voters have once again begun searching in earnest for a new “savior” to rescue Greece from its death spiral of austerity, hopelessness, and crippling economic depression. Several such political personalities loom large in the imaginations of many voters, including “radical” economist and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, former speaker of the Hellenic Parliament and founder of the “Course of Freedom” party Zoe Konstantopoulou, and former energy minister and founder of the Popular Unity party Panagiotis Lafazanis.
Do these personalities represent a true hope for change and optimism? Or are they merely the next in line to follow Syriza’s footsteps in promising radical change but delivering continued austerity instead? Their respective backgrounds and actions while in positions of power reveal the likely answer.

Yanis Varoufakis: Radically promoting austerity

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis attends a news conference about the launch of a new left-wing pan-Europe political movement called ‘Democracy in Europe Movement 2025’ in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (Photo: Markus Schreiber/AP)
Yanis Varoufakis has crafted a reputation for being a “radical,” “anti-austerity” renegade economist who is unafraid to break conventions and tackle the status quo.
However, his record–particularly during his time as Greece’s finance minister from January to July 2015–tells a different story.
In his early days as Syriza’s finance minister, Varoufakis entered negotiations at the February 2015 Eurogroup summit proposing the continuation of 70 percent of previously implemented austerity measures for an additional six months. He refused to raise the possibility of a eurozone departure for Greece, not even as a “plan B” or a negotiation tactic. The 70 percent proposed by Varoufakis ultimately became an agreement for the continuation of 100 percent of the existing austerity measures for four additional months. Varoufakis, in his usual style, described the agreement as an exemplar of “creative ambiguity,” while suggesting that the troika now be referred to as the “institutions” instead.

In these early days of the “first-time left” government, Varoufakis hired Wall Street firm Lazard to advise the Greek finance ministry. This is the same firm which advised the government of George Papandreou (whom Varoufakis advised for six years) on the signing of the first memorandum agreement in 2010, the government of unelected technocrat Lucas Papademos on the introduction of further austerity in 2012, and the previous New Democracy-PASOK coalition government on the privatization of public assets.

Varoufakis’ “radical” rhetoric continued when he repeatedly stated, as finance minister, that Greece’s debt was legal and would be repaid “ad infinitum,” even while a parliamentary committee which was purportedly investigating the legality of this very same debt was in session.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Varoufakis stated that he would “squeeze blood out of stone” in order to repay the IMF, while in another interview, Varoufakis stated that he sought to develop good relations with Christine Lagarde and the IMF, which holds views that he said he personally agreed with. In an interview with Australia’s ABC, Varoufakis further stated that even if the government wanted to proceed with the “Grexit,” it was unable to mint its own currency, claiming that Greece’s mint was destroyed when the country joined the eurozone. In reality, Greece’s mint is still operational; it’s where €10 notes are printed today.

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, explains why he thinks Brexit could trigger dire economic consequences for the European Union.
Watch Yanis Varoufakis explain why he thinks Brexit could trigger dire economic consequences for the European Union:
As finance minister, Varoufakis tapped Elena Panaritis as Greece’s representative to the IMF. This is the same Panaritis who was a former World Bank official and who was the architect of the catastrophic “Fuji Shock” policies implemented in Peru under the regime of the now-jailed Alberto Fujimori.
These policies drove millions of Peruvians into poverty, resulted in price increases of up to 8,000 percent on basic goods, and led to the privatization of hundreds of public assets. Later, as a member of parliament with PASOK, Panaritis voted in favor of austerity and the memorandum agreements. In turn, Varoufakis, as finance minister, stated that previously implemented privatizations would not be rescinded and that he supported the privatization of public airports and harbors “under certain conditions.” He also spoke out favorably of the so-called “investments” of China’s COSCO, including the privatization of the port of Piraeus, describing this as a “positive development” for Greece.

Forging ahead in the spring of 2015, Varoufakis, in his capacity as finance minister, oversaw the implementation of a governmental decree which confiscated the cash reserves of the entirety of the Greek public sector. Later ratified by parliament, including Varoufakis’ vote, the decree authorized the payment of the May 2015 installment of Greece’s loans to the IMF with the confiscated funds. This action was then followed up by a 47-page proposal crafted by the finance ministry under Varoufakis’ watch as part of supposedly “fierce” negotiations with the troika. That proposal foresaw €8 billion in new austerity measures, including a perpetually increasing primary budget surplus (which would mean more cuts in order to maintain a surplus in a sinking economy) and the privatization of major public assets.

At around this time, Varoufakis presented a proposal for the introduction of a parallel currency, similar to the IOUs that had been issued by the state of California in 2009. He also announced the impending implementation of capital controls in the form of weekly limits on withdrawals from domestic bank accounts. These capital controls remain in place today and have significantly crippled the Greek economy, particularly small and medium-sized businesses which have been stripped of access to their own capital.

This set the stage for the July 5, 2015 referendum which was scheduled soon thereafter. Varoufakis did not present any proposals to the people of Greece nor give any indication of what the government’s plan would be should the “no” vote against austerity prevail, as it ultimately did. Following his resignation from his post as finance minister–a well-timed move which allowed him to make a heroic exit in time to avoid the forthcoming trainwreck, Varoufakis was absent from the parliamentary vote which ultimately authorized Prime Minister Tsipras to make a deal with the country’s lenders. Varoufakis did publicly state, however, that had he voted in parliament, he would have voted to give Tsipras authorization to reach an agreement—authorization which led to the third, and harshest, memorandum agreement for Greece.

Other highlights of Varoufakis’ tenure include his vote for corrupt conservative former New Democracy minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos as president of the Hellenic Republic, his asinine plan to hire tourists as “tax snitches” to report on cases of tax evasion, his high praise for Margaret Thatcher, and his statements calling for Greeks to lead an “austere existence” while he posed alongside his wife for a photoshoot at his luxury residence in Athens with a view of the Acropolis and a table set with a rich lunch spread.

Yanis Varoufakis poses with his wife on a terrace of the his luxury family villa Danae in Athens,
A scion of a family of wealthy Greek industrialists, Varoufakis is comfortable mingling with a crowd far removed from the “leftist” rhetoric he supposedly embodies. In January of 2015, just prior to that month’s elections, Varoufakis’ new book in Athens was presented by television talking head Babis Papadimitriou, infamous for proposing that the conservative New Democracy consider a future governing coalition with a “more serious” Golden Dawn, Greece’s far-right party.

This is the same Varoufakis who is now poised to “save Europe from itself” through his new pan-European “pro-democracy” movement, DiEM25. The movement claims to have a plan to “reform” EU institutions, yet ignores the deeply undemocratic, authoritarian foundations upon which it has been constructed. And it further refuses to raise the specter of abolishing the grossly neoliberal European common currency project or to advocate for the bloc’s weaker economies to depart from the eurozone, including Greece.

Zoe Konstantopoulou: Charting a new course or more of the same?

Zoe Konstantopoulou acknowledges the supporters during a pre-election rally, in central Athens, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015.
Even more so than Yanis Varoufakis, the political figure who has been presented as a beacon of hope and change in Greece in recent months is Zoe Konstantopoulou, president of the Hellenic Parliament during the first Syriza-led government of January to August 2015. Like Varoufakis, she stems from a prominent family: Her father, Nikos Konstantopoulos, had been the head of Syriza’s predecessor party, Synaspismos, while her mother, Lina Alexiou, is the acting president of the (essentially defunct) National Committee for Radio and Television, a rough equivalent of the United States’ FCC.
As president of the Hellenic Parliament, Konstantopoulou (via the same mass media which was purportedly battling her at every turn) engineered an image of a fierce champion of law and justice. This perception was formulated both as a result of the establishment of a parliamentary commission to audit Greece’s debt—overseen by Konstantopoulou—and by seemingly not being afraid to speak out against the male-dominated Greek political establishment.
The devil is in the details, however, and many of the details of Konstantopoulou’s tenure were overlooked. The debt audit commission began its investigation in parallel with statements repeatedly being made by Yanis Varoufakis, Prime Minister Tsipras, other Syriza government ministers, and even the newly-elected president of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, promising that Greece’s debt would be repaid in full.
Watch Zoe Konstantopoulou speak out against the Greek government’s agreement with the European troika regarding the political and economic countermeasures to the Greek government-debt crisis:

The otherwise outspoken Konstantopoulou did not respond to these statements, nor did she address actions such as the implementation of a decree to confiscate the cash reserves of the Greek public sector for the purpose of repaying an IMF loan installment. In fact, Konstantopoulou voted for Pavlopoulos in the parliamentary vote to confirm him as the Hellenic Republic’s president, just as she voted to confirm all of the austerity bills passed by the Syriza-led government during its initial term in power.

Far from speaking out, Konstantopoulou publicly stated in May 2015 that Syriza’s pre-election promises to “tear apart the austerity agreements” were a mere “figure of speech.” These are hardly the actions of a dynamic anti-austerity advocate of justice, and neither was her show of support in favor of the Tsipras government following the betrayal of the July 5, 2015 referendum result which rejected the lenders’ austerity proposals. Instead of speaking out against the government or resigning from her post–even at that late moment, even following the passage of the third and harshest memorandum agreement to date, Konstantopoulou continued to publicly support Tsipras and the Syriza-led government, just as she, as president of parliament, never suspended parliamentary debate as further austerity bills were being debated. Konstantopoulou courageously voted “present” (as opposed to “no”) in the parliamentary vote ratifying the third memorandum agreement. The public proclamations of support for the Tsipras government only ceased when Konstantopoulou and other Syriza “renegades” were informed that they would not be included on the ballot for the September 2015 snap parliamentary elections.
This tenure has apparently served as the perfect preparation for Konstantopoulou to now swoop in and save the day for Greece and its people. This past spring, she announced the establishment of the Course of Freedom political party, which promises to deliver an end to austerity and to chart a course for a “plan B” for the country—a plan, however, which does not encompass a departure from the eurozone or the European Union, but instead proposes a parallel domestic currency in circulation alongside the euro and the likely formation of a two-tiered economy of “haves” and “have nots.”

Panagiotis Lafazanis: Hardly a fresh face

Panagiotis Lafazanis, former energy minister and head of the left-wing Popular Unity party, flashes the victory sign during a pre-election rally, in central Athens, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015.

Panagiotis Lafazanis is no stranger to the political landscape. An old mainstay of the Greek “left,” Lafazanis has passed through Greece’s Communist Party (KKE), Syriza’s predecessor party Synaspismos, and Syriza prior to founding the Popular Unity political party ahead of the September 2015 elections.
In the first Syriza-led government of January to August 2015, a particularly sensitive time for such issues in Greece, Lafazanis served as energy and environment minister. His portfolio encompassed the issue of the controversial and environmentally damaging gold-mining activities in Skouries in northern Greece, as well as the potential privatization of Greece’s largest water utilities. Syriza, prior to being elected, campaigned heavily against the activities in Skouries and against the privatization of water utilities, which Tsipras had once said would occur “over our dead body.”

While Lafazanis did suspend two licenses issued to the operators of the Skouries mine, the Canadian-owned Barrick Gold Corp., gold mining activity in the region continued, as did the government’s talks with Suez and other foreign corporations which are interested in buying up Greek water utilities. Lafazanis delivered mixed messages, stating his opposition to the mining activities while referencing Greece’s “commitments” to its investors. Like Yanis Varoufakis and Zoe Konstantopoulou, Lafazanis voted in favor of the election of Prokopis Pavlopoulos as president of the Hellenic Republic; he also voted yes for all of the austerity bills presented by the Syriza-led government leading up to the July 5, 2015 referendum.

Like Konstantopoulou, Lafazanis also continued to support the Syriza-led government even after the betrayal of the July 5, 2015 referendum outcome. This support continued until Lafazanis, like Konstantopoulou, was not included on the Syriza ballot for the September 2015 snap elections. It was at this time that Lafazanis hastily announced the formation of Popular Unity, a purportedly anti-austerity party which essentially regurgitated the old Syriza promises from prior to its initial elections, while presenting mixed messages regarding its stance on a “Grexit” and whether Greece should remain in the eurozone or return to a domestic currency.

Discovering the savior within

A supporter of the communist-affiliated union PAME takes part in an anti-austerity rally in front of the parliament in Athens, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016.
Far from representing truly alternative voices, Yanis Varoufakis, Zoe Konstantopoulou, and PanagiotisLafazanis have acted as political opportunists. They’ve crafted a public image as anti-austerity renegades and champions of democracy and justice, even as their real actions while in a position of power and authority belied that empty rhetoric.

This matches Syriza’s ascension to power and its current ludicrous efforts to pass off the harsh austerity and privatization regime that they are enforcing as an example of “leftist” politics and a triumph of “social justice.” It is absurd to believe that political figures who voted for and justified the policies that they are supposedly denouncing, are capable of delivering on those same promises.

Instead of placing all their hopes with the next establishment-anointed political savior or an official electoral process, Greek voters have a golden opportunity to make their voices heard and demand real change. Each day is a chance to call for an end to stifling austerity and privatizations that are further crippling the domestic economy, the much-needed reform of Greece’s corrupt justice system and collapsing educational and health care systems, and a departure from the European Union and the eurozone, two institutions which have been so destructive for Greece, its people, and its economy.
Even as more and more rumors circulating in Greece of impending snap parliamentary elections, the time has come for the people of Greece to become their own saviors rather than place their homes with tired, discredited political retreads.

British Trade Union Solidarity and Greece: Aiding Reaction Then and Now Part Two

British Trade Union Solidarity and Greece: Aiding Reaction Then and Now Part Two

The Daily Worker, Churchill and the Labour/TUC war time coalition government

General Scobie with leaders of ELAS signing a truce agreement

During the final months of 1944 agreements were made between the departing Germans from Hitler’s occupation of Greece and the British. It has been reported since that Zahariadis (pre- war leader of the KKE) was brought to Greece by British airplanes having been held as a prisoner of war in Germany. British imperialists realizing that the partisan armies were strong in Russia, Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy and that this could have an impact in the post war situation and the geostrategic position of Greece in particular in relation to its sea, had to ensure that they remained in the Western sphere of influence.

Britain was in a race against time and could not create a new de-nazified political class so they just openly collaborated with the old by continuing where Hitler left off. Propping up the black marketeers on a local level, propping up the local quislings who had gone round attacking any and all resistance to the Third Reich and doing everything in their political power in bringing about the disarmament of the partisans. Churchill launched a full scale attack on workers in Athens and Piraeus using the RAF during the December events of 1944, creating fear and loathing to the armed masses, that they would get no justice for the years of Hitlers brutal occupation. He unearthed anti-communist generals from the past (General Plastiras) to provisionally run the anti-communist roadshow and create the right climate and conditions for a new civil war.

In this he could not of course have done it alone if he didn’t have the (dis)honourable help from his coalition partners in the Labour Party, the TUC and the KKE (which led the Greek partisans) in particular when the KKE agreed to disarm and its partisan guerilla leader Aris Velouhiotis went along with it for the sake of party unity (but was subsequently expelled and branded a traitor). The British TUC covered for Churchill blatantly by creating the image that the ELAS partisans were bloodthirsty extremists who would kill in the most abysmal way its opponents. Illuminating are the eye-witness reports of British soldiers and even RAF crew inside the pages of the Daily Worker who refuted this Goebells like propaganda. Many shop stewards from the engineering factories around London at the time lobbied Parliament to expose Churchills lies and black propaganda.

I would like to thank the Marx Memorial Library for making these pages of the Daily Worker accessible so people can read on their own what was written at the time and realise that within each union movement there are always people who stand on the right side of history not defending corporate lies, imperialism and outright gangsterism…

Daily Worker and Greece Album

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

One Year On: Reaction and Resistance to Migrant Hotspots in Greece Part One

When it initially started most people assumed the media narrative regarding Syrian ‘refugees’ was real. The reason wasn’t that they believed it but essentially since the fall of the Soviet Union all mainstream political parties run the same political line. Even the alleged right wing populists such as Golden Dawn have abandoned the area (Ag. Panteleomonas Central Athens) that brought them to national prominence and gone on to new pastures waiting for electoral victories, not a struggle for power on the streets.

The big waves of alleged migrants as written in a series of articles in the beginning of this book came in through Turkey and by boats from Libya etc. The Syriza government unleashed its paid NGO’s to lead a campaign of closing down migrant hotspots that had been set up by the previous governments of New Democracy as allegedly they were set up to hold migrants as captives. This was all a show to pretend they were closing them in order then to open around 80 up and down the country. Now they are talking of opening two migrant detention centres for those that get involved in outright gangsterism ie gang rapes, child rapes and body part selling.

Syriza has received EU money to house and feed all these migrants and instead of spending it has utilized the resources of the Greek state (army conscripts and army catering to deliver the food) and has pocketed the difference. Scandals have already emerged to that effect where blood relatives are given lucrative contracts for this process. Thousands of jobs have also been advertised to work on these migrant camps and of course Syriza NGOs and affiliates will have first priority. This isn’t solely about work but a globalist NWO calling.
Shipowners moved in on a new profitable business shipping over tens upon tens of thousands from the islands to Greece and they found it extremely lucrative as they were according to reports paid a lot more for their journeys out of government coffers. After all this is a shipowners government and always has been since the mid-1960s when the corporates became embedded as part of the Greek state, all else like Parliamentary politics is just for show for the masses like the X factor.

Illuminating was the case of Odysseas Voudouris from the Migration Ministry who had the post called the General Secretary of First Arrivals and Registration as if we are dealing with the concierge of a luxury hotel who resigned after falling out with Mr Mouzalas Minister of Migration and the argument is over who spends what and where when dealing with the migrant wave. It was later revealed that ‘EU’ money in relation to migration would go 75% to NGOs and only 25% to the Greek state and to tap these funds Syriza members placed bids to get contracts like the daughter of the regional governor of Serres Mr Tapas despite the fact that she had no relationship to catering whatsoever, but having secured the contract she could subcontract it getting a hefty commission of which some would appear as legal and the other under the table (has been the norm of Greek ministerial contracts since time immemorial).

We will now look at a few of the islands in the Aegean and how the situation has developed and how reaction and resistance has progressed. (Kos, Lesvos, Crete)

In Kos they landed thousands of migrant blow ins and the actual refugees are few and far between. Most migrants claim they are from anywhere and in Lesvos in the centre migrants have held up banners saying ‘we will destroy the island’. No one arrests them, crimes are committed and none are prosecuted for anything. This capitalist anarchy inevitably leads to power vacuums and in almost every island after the first year Greeks have started to mobilise against the presence of migrants. The mass media of disinformation will not report any instances of resistance only reaction. They will promote all areas where they will show Greeks opening their houses looking after a distressed child but not show anything else, people being robbed mugged or raped. Bosses seek to replace and displace millions of Europeans.

Avramopoulos EU Commissioner had eggs thrown at them, Mayor of Lesvos said we won’t hold elections, Kammenos Defence Minister had eggs thrown at them. No Greek or EU politician gets an easy ride on the Aegean islands any more. Illuminating is the fact that people said if no one is reacting then the government will get away with murder and manage to ensure that Greeks become a minority in their own country and an unlimited number of new arrivals come and no resistance occurs. Yet Kos set the stage of conflict and resistance, an island which has the fourth highest number of tourists but did not really have any militant past. People protested peacefully against the hotspot and the Syriza government reacted over the top sending in riot police from afar as Athens to crack heads open which they dutifully did. Problem is island communities are small and everyone knows each others business and their relationships with politics and the people organized themselves to counterattack back and they did. In one instance when the riot police was held up in a hotel the hotel came under a sustained attack by people using ship flares and according to reports the head of the police called for the army commander on the island to intervene but he refused.

These developments from Kos which occurred during the first six months of 2016 have now spread to Chios and Lesvos and there have been large gatherings of people with Greek flags demonstrating on the streets.

Now one cannot call the migrants illegal as allegedly no one is …illegal. In other words anyone who happens to find themselves in Greece has a right to be there allegedly by international conventions so the rights of sovereignty of nation states no longer applies as no measures can be taken to defend the population at large, imperialist humanitarianism has promoted the alleged refugee crisis to shift vast populations from various regions at whim. There are villages in Greece which are surrounded by thousands of illegal migrants and if they aren’t funded to survive at a basic level then conflict will arise and has arisen that may take on the form of a desperate population crushed under the IMF austerity in conflict with migrants in general. This wont be the first or last time as the ruling classes no longer have any allegiance to their own populations under globalization. Most work has gone offshore and now they are just involved in bringing on shore labour. The capitalist class owns the media, the NGO’s and the political parties lock stock and barrel. What they don’t own are the masses.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

New Book ....Mass Replacement Migration

Coming to a Country Near You..
The Example of Greece
Authored by VN Gelis

This is a marxist explanation regarding neoliberal globalisation and its offshoot mass replacement migration and how it is used and abused by global corporations in the way it affects Greece. Many eyewitness reports and historical analysis of the subject.

Publication Date:
Oct 15 2016
1539083667 / 9781539083665
Page Count:

Thursday, 13 October 2016

32billion Euro the Cost of (Illegal) Migrants in Greece

Greeces Foreign Minister Kotzias stated in Germany last year:
For another time in an interview in Suddentsche Kotzias mentioned waves of illegal migrants towards Greece and that if there is a collapse of Greece “Millions of migrants will start coming towards Europe and no one knows what will occur”
Previously the ex-minister of (Illegal) Migration Chrostodopoulou stated in Parapolitika 90.1 that the “aim of the Ministry is to register all those that are present on Greek territory and according to some information we are dealing with 200k people”
How many illegal immigrants are in Greece therefore? That is why Syriza made a big emphasis on open migrant centres. So no one knows who is here and who isn’t, who is coming and who is going.

According to Eurostat there were around 900k migrants who lived in 2009 in Greece who represented around 8.1% of the population. In 2011 once again based on official statistics ( ie those who stayed somewhere and they remained to be counted) Eurostat stated there are 1.2million people ie 11.1% of the population. In two years we had a 355k people increase.
Now four years later officially and unofficially how many foreigners do we have in Greece?

Why are they coming to our country?
Let us clarify that the lie regurgitated by the ‘solidarity’ brigade with refugees who want to maintain the NGOs with state money is the myth that illegal migration is linked to war zones or social problems etc. This is pure nonsense.
In the 1990’s decade Greece received no migration waves from war zones next to it in Serbia and Bosnia and in our days we aren’t really getting a mass wave of Iraquis, or Libyans or even Syrians. Wars aren’t directly related to migration waves as noted that in WW2 no Greeks went to Turkey, or French to Spain, or Danish to Sweden etc. The Korean war provoke mass migration towards Japan, Taiwan etc and the war in Iran-Iraq in the 1980s decade didn’t lead to a mass wave to Europe as the the 2006 war in Lebanon didn’t provoke one either or the 1967-73 Arab wars with Isarael.
As with the economic haemorrhage as expressed in Greece by the numbers of the Bank of Greece we see that Euro12 Billion leaves annually to go abroad by the migrants in Greece.
(…/externalsec…/balance/basic.aspx )

9 Billion Euros annual cost for loss of taxes and national insurance premiums by the black market in trade which is solely a function of (illegal) migrants.
2.7billion Euros the cost of hospitalisation regarding the uninsured illegal migrants. If one adds the visits to private health care centres that work with the state sector hospitals then this cost increases to 5-6.5 billion Euros (according to the the ex-Health Minister of PASOK Loverdos)
1.5billion Euros is the cost of policing the illegal migrants (these figures were provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs regarding the extra cost for policing and everyone knows in Greek gaols the overwhelming majority are migrants)
7.5billion Euros is the income from the illegal trade of migrants and if we add the shops that are forced to close the amounts which the state is losing is unbelievable)…
Thus only the direct immediate economic cost of illegal immigration comes to the astronomic amount of 32billion Euros. The indirect economic cost (eg. increased cost of protecting borders) cannot be accounted for.
To have a measure of comparison based once more on ELSTATS (Greek Statistics Agencys) figures the deficit of the budget for 2012 where we were dragged into the 2nd MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) was around 25billion Euros.
By working backwards then the bosses have used the budget deficit to impose vast cuts and the mass importation of labour to extenuate the gaps in the budget so they are getting the best of both worlds massively reduced labour costs and vastly reduced social labour costs turning Greece into the first Asian country in Europe…

Τα Βασικά Μεγέθη του Ισοζυγίου Πληρωμών
Οι βασικές κατηγορίες συναλλαγών που περιέχει το ισοζύγιο πληρωμών είναι αυτές των αγαθών, των υπηρεσιών, των πρωτογενών εισοδημάτων, των δευτερογενών εισοδημάτων (πρώην τρεχουσών μεταβιβάσεων), των κεφαλαίων (πρώην μεταβιβάσεων κεφαλαίου) και των χρηματοοικονομικών συναλλαγών. Το άθροισμα των ισοζ...

Friday, 7 October 2016

British Trade Union Solidarity and Greece: Aiding Reaction Then and Now Part One

Walter Citrine is in the middle

"When you leave the people to die on the streets, to be psychologically and physically destroyed and then you assert at the right time you will carry out a national liberation struggle, then you are a conscious liar and a collaborator of the enemy. Its like saying you will put coffins infront to fight" (Dimitris Glinos 'What is and what does EAM want? Athens 1942

The historical roots of today’s neoliberal globalists
Whenever British trade-unions have been involved in solidarity and Greece invariably they have served reactionary causes which are related to the political issues of the day. Despite the recent promotion of Greek solidarity via the TUC, Unite and trade union locals the reality is they have promoted a neoliberal agenda and are now seeking the globalist occupation of Greece by what are labelled ‘refugees’ but in reality are part of the 4th Reichs replacement of domestic labour via the tool of mass migration.

German Occupation of Greece
During the brutal occupation of Greece and the eventual armed resistance by Greeks creating a partisan army of 100k strong when the German front was going to fall as with other areas of the planet, Greece was to belong somewhere. In Churchills discussions with Stalin, Greece ‘fell’ to the West ie the superpowers handed over to where they agreed irrespective of the desires of the nation. Thus decisions were taken to disarm the Greek partisans which occurred in the Varkiza Accords by Theonas leader of the KKE, to then participate in a government of national unity. The leader of the Greek partisans Aris Velouhiotis disagreed but abided by party unity, without personally disarming.

During the occupation and whilst the German front was imploding a Russian army detachment left Bulgaria to pass on the message from Stalin that Greece would belong to the West. From a Russian point of view having been weakened significantly to the point of dissolution by the German imperialist war machine securing a peace which would allow it to recover was in its interests, but those interests weren’t necessarily the interests of Greece for that decision sealed its fate and all decisions taken subsequently by the leaders of the KKE were to serve the West, a policy which they have dutifully adhered to until today.

The problem Churchill had was how to disarm the Left, ensure the Left made no demands on society and no retributions were taken against the nazi collaborators. What pushed Churchill in this direction was the fact that tunnels which were in existence had partisans going under them all the way to where Churchill was staying (Grande Bretagne Hotel, Sindagma Sq) and as recent reports by Manolis Glezos have stated, they had dynamite under the hotel and were ready and willing to blow it up but an order was given and they stepped back. On the back of this Churchill organised the December events in Athens where they British Army and Greek nazi collaborationists shot an unarmed demonstration and many died.

This caused ruptures in the British Parliament as Churchill was still in coalition with the Labour Party and in order to minimise the issue they flew out the head of the British TUC on a delegation to meet with Greek ‘trade union leaders’, the opposition and to report back. There was no real substance to the delegation other than to alibi Churchill and cover for his pro-Nazi collaborationist leanings and the fact that he was preparing a civil war to crush the Greek Left for a generation, which is precisely what he did. When the coalition fell the Labour Party continued and started the Greek civil war proper and ran it until the end of 1947 when they handed over the reigns to US imperialism. Those were in leadership positions in the TUC (Walter Citrine) and the Labour Party (Bevin) at the time were real pieces of work having gone to the bourgeois courts in 1939 against the British Communist Party’s daily paper (Daily Worker) and won a judgement against them, for daring to tell the truth about the TUC supporting the imperialist war effort and wanting and seeking wage restraint on behalf of the bosses thus changing the nature of the trade union movement into open lieutenant dogs of capital. Below is a recently translated document from the historical archives in Greece

TUC Delegation in Greece: ‘Red Atrocities’ or the Greek Katyn

The streets of Athens and suburbs hadn’t dried up from being awash in blood from the heroes, children of the people that fell to the barbarity of the occupiers and their collaborators. The road to Kessariani was filled by the blood from the first days of last May. In Kallithea, Kokkinia, Dourgouti and Kolono the fascist barbarities were fresh. German quislings had filled up all the sewers with bodies as we witnessed them floating past every now and again in particular by the General Police headquarters. Hangings witnessed by our brothers happened before our very eyes. German collaborators were baptised ‘national heroes’ inside the courts provoking the population and the worst black marketeers, rapacious to the end showed off their wealth made by the blood of our children protected by the Germans.

All of this element who are traitors to our nation, of crime and tyranny are the same people who organised the fascist coup of December and they attacked the peole of Athens with foreign weapons, fighting alongside the German quislings. These are the same cliques that have no intention of leaving the people alone and they continue quiet to hound with the most violent attacks on the patriots, those who fought for Greece and in order to hide their crimes and erase from peoples memory their violent acts, they found a method worthy of their cause. They tried to present a series of crimes which allegedly were created by EAM so as to cover their crimes with a black cloak.. This is the deeper meaning of the propaganda with corpses post-December events. All the circles of local and foreign reaction up until Sir Citrine arrived were mobilised to globally propagate about the “deadly crimes of EAM”. Thus they attacked the heroic struggle carried out by the Greek people for their Independence and their Nation and Freedom and on the other hand they covered up their countless crimes, those which were carried out in the December days and the dark days of slavery. They concealed, thought they concealed them, but the blood that flowed was equivalent to a river and cannot be hidden.

Irrespective about this, it is time to be told the truth regarding the world renowned ‘crimes’ of EAM.
It is true that in our times the whole of the people, the real, the true, the much tortured people of Athens and Piraeus fought a valiant battle and uneven struggle, it is true that there were executions, either from being indignant in seeing that traitors remained unpunished and they regained their weapons. Any objective observer would understand inside the fire and brimstone of a severe conflict these would be unavoidable and there would be no means for them to not occur however much actions such as this damaged the peoples struggle.

But no executions occurred as presented by those who unearthed corpses and none of the vicious and disgusting acts occurred as presented by the organisers of the anti-popular campaign
Proving this truth is the purpose of this document. To show to every objective person the mastery with which these vicious stories, of torture, limb removals, blinding eyes and other such indescribably crimes were magnified. Proof of this will be demonstrated with indisputable facts. We invite whoever doesn’t believe our account to make their own investigations and cross reference what we say. The task of defaming every just struggle for the Greek nation must be uncovered. The truth can sometimes be blurry, but in the end shines more bright…

“How was the blasphemous campaign organised
The resistance of the armed population of Athens and Piraeus lasted for 30 days. In these 30 days there wasn’t one time when the suburbs of Athens and Piraeus weren’t attacked by planes, by cannons, by tanks. Thousands were its victims. They were buried in gardens, outside Churches, on sidewalks, in fields. When ELAS retreated and the British came all these countless bodies were unburied and put on trucks. They were found in Peristeri or Kipseli or the Turkmountains cut up without eyes and ears. Relatives were called to receive the bodies of the ‘citizens butchered by ELAS’ citizens. So for the mythology to work better they circulated that those who were killed by the ELAS partisans would gain a pension whilst those who were killed by accident (ie by planes, canons, tanks etc) would receive nothing. Thus everybody had an interest in appearing to show that his victim was a result of ELAS partisans. Newspapers were filled with names of butchered citizens and foreign correspondents and Sir Walter Citrine were called to witness at first hand the barbarities of ELAS. Thus the slanderous campaign was more successful.
If there was an honest person who didn’t want to become an organ of the traitorous clique abusers – despite all the promises for a pension – they then threatened them with the label of being a member of the KKE! ‘They need hanging’ was the response by those who unearthed the bodies of dead victims and trying to promote them for political gain.
But it wasn’t simply this: Whole units were organised which unearthed the bodies cut their eyes and their body parts and then showcased them so the ‘barbarity’ of the ELASites would be revealed. It’s the most heinous crime which only the people that collaborated with the Germans, the dishonourable students of the SS could think and put into action.
These are the means they used. Now for evidence we provide a list of events that confirm what has been said above. It’s impossible to write down all we have verified. But they are enough to give a final answer to the classical sycophants.
(A full list follows of Greeks known and how they died and where- translators note!)
We are dealing with Sir Walter Citrine who came to Greece allegedly to be involved with trade union unity. He became the main megaphone of the anti-EAM sycophantic campaign. The above give an answer to this gentleman. But let us see what was written regarding his role in the ‘Daily Worker’ of London in the issue 9th February 1945.

“The report by the delegation of British Trade Unions in Greece was based by evidence provided by Greek enemies of EAM, by the British Administration and British soldiers with immediate contact with the delegation itself … At the Press Conference where Walter Citrine where he explained in detail parts of his report we found the new facts:

1. That mass arrests occurred of citizens in houses where sharp shooters functioned. The delegation must accept that there is a number of victims of innocent citizens that exist caught by the Plastiras government.
2. The delegation does not directly condemn ELAS that have murdered those whose bodies were found in Peristeri at the end of January.
3. The identity of those executed are unknown to the delegation”

This was promised by Sir Walter Citrine to the representatives of the press so he can clarify his report, thus indirectly allowing the world the impression that ELAS committed these atrocities.
This is how Tribune answers (magazine of the Labour Party) regarding the stance taken by Sir Walter Citrine in Greece (23rd March 1945)
“Recently Sir Walter Citrine gave a report on Greece in the best fashion as propaganda material for Mr Churchill and the Tories for a long time”
Sir Walter Citrine arrived in Greece to justify the most violent intervention in our internal affairs. But the British people who have respected the struggles of our peoples haven’t fallen victim to this sycophancy with whatever dead bodies they unearth and whatever machinations are done with them…
Published by EAM 1945

Below is a large excerpt from an old deceased comrade Bill Hunter who knew a few things regarding Greece unlike todays know all know-nothings… regarding the Labour Party’s imperialist role.

In the closing stages of the war Bevin supported completely the attempts of British imperialism to establish the old pre-war corrupt, dictatorial and imperialist regimes in Europe and Asia. He played his most despicable role in assisting Churchill and the British ruling class in Greece.
The Greek organisation EAM — a coalition of seven parties including the Liberals and the Communist Party — had the mass support of Greek workers and peasants. ELAS, its military organisation, was the main resistance to the German occupation. The mass of the people were opposed to the return of the monarchy and the pre-war dictatorship. Eighty-five per cent of the Greek army had been interned by the British in Egypt because of its support for EAM.
British capitalism was determined to re-impose the rule of Greek landowners and capitalists under King George of the Hellenes. The British Military Government demanded the disarming of ELAS. Workers and peasants refused to give up their weapons while royalist officers retained their arms. In Athens on December 3rd 1944 there was a peaceful demonstration in support if EAM and in protest at royalist demonstrations in the previous days. The demonstration was led by women and children. British troops fired into the head of the march and killed 15 and wounded 148. A General Strike broke out throughout Athens.

In Britain, the rank and file of the trade union movement reacted with anger. Civil war began in Greece. A section of Ghurka troops in the British army deserted to ELAS. The Observer prophesied ‘serious labour trouble’ and said that even if victory over ELAS was won it ‘might break the coalition’. Bevin and other labour bureaucrats worked might and main to prevent a condemnation of the coalition government being passed at the special Labour Party conference which was to be held later in December.

Bullock in his biography of Bevin writes:

To avoid the danger of the party conference passing a direct vote of censure on the Government and its labour members, the NEC put forward a resolution calling for an armistice, without delay and the resumption of talks to establish a Provisional National Government in Greece.

Bevin lined up the block votes to carry the resolution and Bullock remarks that Churchill never forgot the debt he owed Bevin for this.
The Soviet bureaucracy pressurised the Greek Communist Party to accept an armistice. Churchill had visited Moscow the previous October and got the assurance from Stalin that Greece would be in Britain’s sphere of influence.
Fifty thousand British troops remained in Greece. Workers and peasants were disarmed. By 1947 there were 14,000 Greek political prisoners living on the penal islands, half starved, without sufficient fuel, bedding and water. Court martials were working continuously, sentencing to death civilians as well as soldiers.
It was Bevin’s ‘belief that foreign and defence policy, unlike domestic policy, should not be a matter for party politics’ wrote Bullock in The Observer of March 8th in an article on Bevin. Bevin clearly put the imperialist content of this belief at the special Labour Party conference of 1944, when he supported the repression in Greece.
‘The British Empire’ he said, ‘whether we like it or not, cannot abandon its position in the Mediterranean. It is impossible for it to do so.’
It was the rapidly growing hostility to capitalist policies that ejected Bevin and the other labour leaders out of the War Cabinet. Eden, in his memoirs, reports a conversation with Bevin in June 1944 about continuing the coalition in the immediate post war period. The growing opposition to the political truce and to foreign and domestic policy of the Government and the massive desire for a change made it impossible for Bevin to fight for his plan of a continuation of the coalition.

When the Labour Party swept the polls in July 1945, Bevin became Foreign Minister. Attlee appointed him at the suggestion of George VI. Mark Stephens tells us that Bevin was very intimate with King George VI. Is this supposed to impress T&G members? Stephens quotes the king, writing to his brother about the new Labour Government: ‘My new government is not too easy and the people are rather difficult to talk to. Bevin is very good and tells me everything that is going on.’
We find here that the ‘tough’ trade union leader who, we are told, was a champion of ‘his people’, has a deep and essential servility to the rulers of society and their institutions. The Jimmy Thomases and the Ernie Bevins love to drop an aitch in front of the monarch — but as one of his most loyal, hand-kissing subjects. The same loyalty and attention, of course, is not given to their trade union members. It would be quite against British tradition and constitution for workers to expect their representatives to treat them like they treat the rich, unelected monarch, and tell them ‘everything that is going on’ in the Government!

For a decade after the war ‘Bevinism’ was a dirty word in the British labour movement. Bevin was the arch defender of the interests of British imperialism and the alliance with America’s rulers. He was one of the leading protagonists of the cold war.


Bevin is reported to have said during the war that he wanted to see a ‘Peoples’ Peace’. But what sort of peace did he and the labour leaders fight for? With their help and that of the Stalinists in Europe the revolutionary wave after the war was defeated, workers and peasants disarmed and the old capitalist rulers firmly re-established. With those betrayals the choice of socialism or barbarism gained a new dimension — for the capitalism they saved now developed nuclear weapons. Bevin and Co. saw their task at the end of the war to maintain the basic capitalist imperialist relations existing in Britain and the Empire at the beginning of the war. Any role for the ‘peoples’ interests’ in the peace came about when imperialism was forced to retreat before the strength in struggle of the colonial people and the working class.

There is the myth that the participation of Bevin in the war-time government and the presence of trade union leaders in war-time government committees represented a big step in the upward climb of trade unions to a powerful place in society. Here, things are turned on their heads. Bevin did not represent the working class in the council chambers of capitalism. He represented capitalism inside the trade unions. In his forward in Mark Stephen’s book, Moss Evans declares:
‘Ernest Bevin both developed and exercised power on behalf of ordinary working people for a long time.’ The truth is that Ernest Bevin exercised powerr which came from the working class, but he exercised it on behalf of the capitalist class. That is the meaning of what Bullock tells us when he writes that in the War Cabinet Bevin put ‘loyalty to the coalition before party interest, to the anger of not a few members of the Labour Party’