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