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’

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