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Workers’ International News, October 1945


Terror In Greece


From Workers’ International News, Vol.6 No.1, October 1945.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The following article appeared as an editorial in the June 30th issue of the Trotskyist Workers’ Struggle, organ of the Internationalist Workers’ Party of Greece. It gives a graphic picture of political life in Greece at the present time. The translation is by N. Kastinos. – Ed.

A wave of naked terror weighs like a yolk [sic] on the shoulders of the workers. Thousands of arrests are taking place all over the country. The number of detained victims, groaning in the galleys of Greek capitalism, is the greatest ever in the history of the “free” Greek state. In the dark recesses of the national prisons, horrible crimes are being committed. The most barbarous beatings, sadistic tortures and terrible mutilations are daily occurrences.

The pent-up hatred, the bestiality and depravity of the executioners towards their victims is unbelievable. It surpasses the precedents of the August period (August 4th, 1936 – N.K.) and the worst excesses of the SS.

Police and National Guards organise themselves into bands in Athens and the Piraeus and parade through the working class quarters, beating people up. Murderous attacks are launched on unarmed groupings and workers’ meetings.

Bludgeonings, abductions, murders, mass executions. Constitutional liberties are evoked. Trade union rights are abrogated. The head-quarters of workers’ political parties are broken up; working class news-papers are torn up and burnt.

This is the triumph of the new “democratic” state, imposed by the victors over Fascism; it is the triumph of the “democratic” lie, of this “liberation” humbug!

The murderous assault in the Samarsi theatre at the meeting of textile operatives, the wild assaults at the Hermes and Lyric theatres, planned and organised by the satanic X-organisation in conjunction with the civic guards and local police, show the full extent of the terror and the moral corruption to which capitalism has sunk.

This state of terror is nothing new. It is but the natural extension of the many-sided capitalist oppression which, in different phases, has manifested itself from the first moment of “liberation”, from the time of the EAM-Papandreou coalition.

The workers have perceived, through their own experience, the full tyranny of all the successive administrative phases. The slogans of the KKE (Greek CP – Ed.) for a representative government, a new government of national unity soon to relieve the people of their abominable status, will no longer deceive the masses. Their concept of peoples’ democracy collapsed in a few hours in the melting pot of political reality!

The differences between royalists and republicans comes down to a squabble as to which military political clique will be able to take the reins of force in its hands.

The demogogy of the Plastiras and Venizelist rascals has only that motive. No one is deceived.

It is not only the deluded workers of the nationalist EAM, who in “free” Greece are reaping the fruits of the “national liberation struggle” of EAM-ELAS. Pursued, persecuted, arrested, they are the tragic stooges of the ELAS leadership. They were shamelessly handed over at Varkiza to the fury of “retribution”, right into the hands of their executioners, bartered that ELAS leaders might save their hides and open the path for surrender.

With these crimes we have nothing in common. We condemned and ruthlessly exposed vacillations and deceit. We asked the masses to stigmatise the disgusting murders of dozens of Trotskyists, pure adherents of the proletarian revolution. We announced that it was a scandal for workers to be submitted to heavy fines and condemned to death by capitalist statesmen whose hands are still dripping with the blood of butchered workers and poor peasants; and judges who spare the lives of Rallis and Sias.

But at base the terror today hits our whole class. Working class political and trade union liberties are of stake,

The bloody terror, coupled with the hell of hunger, don’t constitute mere black spot in an otherwise “free” Europe as was hypocritically announced at the 11th Congress of the KKE. It is its very picture and image. The masses feel that their status is but little different from what it was under fascism.

To face this state of affairs we call the masses to a life and death struggle. The Stalinists, plotting new deceptions, say the only path is the “Democratic Front”. And Zachariades, lackey of the bourgeoisie and of the Kremlin underworld, is ready to place himself under the orders of Plastiras as easily as he had previously placed himself under the orders of Metaxas. The KKE put a brake on the workers’ strikes and the degrading pretence that striking would provoke a royalist coup d’etat.

We announce to the masses that only implacable class struggle can paralyse the hands of black reaction. Only independent class action against t capitalism and its political parties can break the terror!

The problems confronting our class will be solved on the class arena through proletarian revolution and not through treacherous “democratic fronts”.

In the struggle against the terror, for political and trade union rights, against all the attacks of capital, for the smashing of the militaristic, terroristic counter-revolutionary hordes, the small forces of our Party will fight bravely, and in the front line, regardless of the dangers and sacrifices.

We believe in the strength and in the victory of our class. We scorn the yellow dogs of Stalinism and pseudo-socialist reformism who wag their tails to win the benevolence of their “democratic” or royalist masters.

Despite all this, we are ready, with their will or against it, to find ourselves in a united front with every working class organisation, even the KKE, in the struggle against the terror. We will participate in the struggle for the political and economic demands of the exploited masses, on the basis of class methods of struggle.

In such a struggle we would be implacable critics and we would not hush up the crimes and betrayals of the KKE or the reformist parties.

The wave of terror must be broken, It will be broken on the rock of the United Workers’ Front!

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