International Trotskyism

Robert J. Alexander

Trotskyism in Greece

Publishing information: Robert J. Alexander, International Trotskyism 1929-1985: A Documented Analysis of the Movement. Copyright 1991, Duke University Press. Posted with permission. All rights reserved. This material may be saved or photocopied for personal use but may not be otherwise reproduced, stored or transmitted by any medium without explicit permission. Any alteration to or republication of this material is expressly forbidden. Please direct permissions inquiries to: Permissions Officer, Box 90660, Durham, NC 27708, USA; or fax 919.688.3524.
Transcribed: For the ETOL February, 2001

During the first years of the history of Inter-national Trotskyism one of the largest national sections of the movement was in Greece. But as happened in a number of other countries internal dissidence and quarrels of the local leadership with Trotsky led by the end of the 19305 to the loss to the movement of most of those in Greece who had originally been attracted to it. World War II brought a further decimation of Greek Trotskyism at the hands of both the fascist invaders of Greece and of the Communist would-be "liberators" of the country. Although Greek Trotskyism revived modestly after World War II, it remained a tiny movement and suffered a series of internecine struggles and splits, in part as a reflection of the schisms taking place generally within the ranks of International Trotskyism.

The Archeiomarxists

One of the first groups to respond to Leon Trotsky's effort to rally the scattered Left Opposition forces in various countries to a new international movement was the Archeiomarxist Organization of Greece. This was a substantial group which at the time it joined the International Left Opposition was a serious rival of the Communist Party for control of the far left in Greece.

The origins of the Archeiomarxists go back at least as far as 1919, when Francisco Tsoulatis established the Union of Communism, a "secret group" within the Socialist Labor Party, which later became the Greek Communist Party. The Union of Communism was dissolved early in 1921, but later in that year some of those who had led and belonged to it began to publish a periodical, Archives of Marxism.

Professor James Dertouzos has noted with regard to the group which put out this publication that "the basic philosophy ... was enunciated in its slogan 'first education, then action.' That is, the communist movement must first prepare leadership and cadres along the lines suggested by Marx and Lenin as a preliminary to revolutionary activity. Tsoulatis was not prepared to organize a formal party until the educational process was completed.... Accordingly, the early activities of the Archeiomarxists were limited to the formation of conspiratorial groups the existence of each of which was kept from others. The purpose of these groups was indoctrination in Marxist-Leninist theory." [1]

In 1924, after the expulsion of its leaders from the Communist Party, the group around Archives of Marxism emerged as a more formally organized political group or party under the name Archeiomarxist Organization. By this time the principal leader of the organization was Demetrious Yotopoulos, better known within the international Trotskyist movement by his pseudonym Witte. Born in 1901, Yotopoulos was a chemist by profession. [2]

In June 1930 the Archeiomarxist Organization applied for admission to the International Left Opposition (ILO), which had been formally established a few weeks before. In October of that year the Archeiomarxist Organization held a national conference at which, among other things, it resolved to change its name to Bolshevik-Leninist Organization of Greece [3] (although it continued to be referred to in both its own and International Left Opposition documents as the Archeiomarxist Organization).

Meanwhile, Trotsky had arranged to have two representatives of the ILO visit Greece and to confer with the Archeiomarxist leaders. Subsequent to this visit, Trotsky wrote a letter in the name of the International Secretariat) addressed "To the Bolshevik-Leninist Organization of Greece ArchioMarxists [sic])." In this letter, Trotsky sought to clarify his attitude towards certain positions taken by the Archeiomarxists in their October 1930 conference.

Among other things, the Archeiomarxists had decided to function as a political party, separate from the Communist Party. On this point Trotsky wrote them that "in no case are we ready to surrender to the Stalinists the banner of the Communist International, its traditions, and its proletarian core. We are fighting for the regeneration of the Third International and not for the creation of a fourth....This does not, however, exclude the possibility in one country or another where the official party is extremely weak that the Opposition will have to assume, partially or totally, the functions of an independent political party leadership of the trade unions and strikes, organization of demonstrations, nomination of candidates)." Trotsky went on to say that he did not know enough about the Greek situation to know whether those conditions prevailed there. However, he added, "Even while acting as a party you must consider yourself as a section of the Third International, regarding the official party as a faction, and proposing to it unity of action in relation to the masses. A principled statement on your part on this question would be extremely desirable."[4]

Trotsky went on to warn the Archeiomarxists to expect some dissidence and some defections when they set about functioning as a party. But he added that "by infusing its ranks with more homogeneity and its activity with a broader political character, your organization will be able to replace one-hundredfold all possible individual desertions."

He also had words of advice for the Archeiomarxists concerning their relations with the other Greek organization which was sympathetic to the ILO, the Spartakos Group. He said that "it is difficult for us to judge whether unification is possible at the present moment. At any rate the possibility or the impossibility of unification can only become manifest in practice, that is, if you seek united action in the form of an agreement on each political question....In other words, we suggest a policy of the united front under these circumstances and at the present moment."[5]

In 1931 the Archeiomarxist Organization was recognized as the official Greek section of the International Left Opposition. At that time it reportedly had 2,000 members, being the largest ILO affiliate. In the following year, Demetrious Yotopoulos became a member of the International Secretariat re-siding in Berlin, and then after the triumph of the Nazis, when the headquarters of the is was transferred to Paris, he moved there with it.[6]

In June 1932 Leon Trotsky had an extensive conversation with several leaders of the Archeiomarxist Organization, who went to Turkey to see him. He sent to all the sections of the ILO a resume of that discussion. From that resume one is able to glean considerable information about the status and activities of Greek Trotskyism in the early 1930s.

Trotsky's discussion with his Greek followers indicated that the Archeiomarxists claimed about 1,600 members. They were active in the trade union movement, working in both the Communist Party-controlled United General Confederation of Labor and in its reformist rival, although having more influence in the former. In Athens they controlled the textile workers, cement workers, pretzel makers, and blacksmiths unions in the Stalinists' confederation, although they had been kept entirely out of the top leader-ship of that group by the Stalinists. They also controlled the cobblers, construction workers, carpenters, and barbers unions in Athens which were affiliated with the reformist con-federation. In addition, they had thirty-two "fractions" functioning in those Athens unions which they did not control. In Salonika the Archeiomarxists led six of the local unions as well as the unemployed workers movement.[7]

The Archeiomarxists were also active among the peasants. A recent party conference had put forward demands for cancellation of the debts of the poor peasants, and had drawn up a series of specific demands for wine, tobacco, and olive oil farmers. They were about to start a periodical appealing particularly to the peasants.[8]

The discussion disclosed that both the Archeiomarxists and Trotsky felt that there existed a "prerevolutionary" situation in Greece in 1932. With that belief the Archeiomarxists were actively pushing the formation of "workers congresses" composed of representatives of various political tendencies, which would put forward basically economic demands in the beginning but would hopefully work toward a revolutionary general strike.[9]

The Archeiomarxists had also had some electoral activity with somewhat disappointing results. In 1931 municipal elections in Salonika, where they had thought that they would outdraw the official Communist Party, they had received only 590 votes, compared with 2,300 for the Stalinists. They attributed this largely to the official Communists' ability to get support among the less militant workers and to the fact that the official party had around it the aura of the Bolshevik Revolution.[10]

The discussions of the Archeiomarxist leaders with Trotsky revealed certain differences of opinion between him and them. The most notable subject of such disagreement was the Archeiomarxist attitude to-ward "the Macedonian Question," that is, the right of Macedonia to autonomy or independence. The Archeiomarxists argued that for practical purposes there did not exist within Greece any such separate entity as Macedonia, since the overwhelming majority of the population there was Greek, to a large degree people who had come from Turkey in the early 19205 when Greece and Turkey had exchanged ethnic Greeks for ethnic Turks. Trotsky, on the other hand, argued that his Greek followers ought to take the position that, although they were not advocating separation of Macedonia from Greece, if the people there wanted that, they should be willing to support the demand.[11]

Separation of the Archeiomarxists from Trotskyism

In 1934 the majority of the Archeiomarxists withdrew from the international Trotskyist movement. They did not split over such issues as the Archeiomarxist leaders had discussed with Leon Trotsky in 1932, hut rather over questions of internal politics within the international movement in which Trotsky and the principal Archeiomarxist leader Demetrious Yotopoulos [Witte] took different and ultimately irreconcilable positions.

The disagreements of Yotopoulos with Trotsky appear to have centered particularly on the French Turn, that is, Trotsky's instructions to his French followers to enter the Socialist Party to operate as a faction there. There was an element) within the French League, centering on the Jewish (Yiddish-speaking element in Paris, which strongly opposed the French Turn, and which had within the International Secretariat the support of Yotopoulos in their position. In December 1933 that dissident element withdrew from the French League to form the Union Communiste, and to begin publication of a periodical, L'Internationale. The French group soon disappeared.

Long before the emergence of the Union Communiste Yotopoulos and Trotsky had begun to quarrel more or less openly. In a letter to the Is, dated October 8, 1933, Trotsky wrote that he had earlier communicated with Yotopoulos (Witte) to try "to re-strain Comrade Witte from further movements on the path he is travelling....I recalled to Comrade Witte that his splitting conspiracy in the Paris League would inevitably have an international repercussion and would reflect badly particularly on the Greek section."

Trotsky added that "the manner of his advance will make it quite obvious to the overwhelming majority of the sections, who have carried on the struggle against Landau, Mill, Well and others, that it is a reproduction of the struggle of these people, only in a worse form...."

Trotsky predicted in this letter that the struggle, if pursued, would result in Witte's attempt to have the Greek section confront the rest of the international organization. That Trotsky added, "will inevitably lead, by the very logic of the situation, to the disintegration of the Greek section and its transformation into a national section of Witte's.[12]

In that same month, October 1933, Yotopoulos abandoned his position in the Inter-national Secretariat and returned to Greece to rally the Archeiomarxist Organization, which then boasted some 2,000 members and was the largest section of the international movement, behind himself and the positions which he had taken. As a consequence, on April 5, 1934, Trotsky wrote a letter "To All Members of the Greek Section of the International Communiste League (Bolshevik-Leninists)" In this document he alleged that "Comrade Witte, starting with small and secondary questions, has set him-self sharply in opposition to our leadership and to all our most important sections."[13]

Trotsky rejected the assertion of the majority of the Central Committee of the Greek section that "the struggle concerns organization principles" He argued that organizational problems by themselves were not sufficient to justify any split, and claimed that the Greek leadership was demanding a kind of "anarchic" leadership of the international organization, but was imposing an arbitrary rule within its own group. He suggested the holding of a new congress of the party with delegates chosen by proportional representation, at which whatever differences of principles there were could be debated and decisions democratically arrived at. Finally, he reminded the Greek section of its obligation to adhere to international discipline.[14]

Although there was a faction, including Political Bureau member George Vitsoris, which opposed Yotopoulos, the majority backed him. As a consequence, the Archeiomarxists abandoned the international Trotskyist movement. [15] Subsequently, the Archeiomarxist Organization became more or less associated with the International Right Opposition and then with the so-called London Bureau. It came to be viewed by at least some of the Right Oppositionists in other countries as their counterpart in Greece. [16] It was represented at the Revolutionary Socialist Congress in Paris in February 1938, where the remnants of the International Right Opposition and the London Bureau organized the International Bureau for Revolutionary Socialist Unity.[17]

The Archeiomarxists survived the dictatorship of General Metaxas who seized power in 1936, as well as World War II. Michel Raptis insisted in 1982 that "during the second Greek civil war (1947-49) what remained of the Archeiomarxists joined the Greek Right. Today the Archeiomarxists no longer exist."[18]

The Reorganization of Greek Trotskyism

With the abandonment of the international Trotskyist movement by the Archeiomarxists it became necessary to establish a new affiliate in Greece. This proved a difficult task. There were three small groups remaining in Greece which proclaimed their loyalty to International Trotskyism. The oldest and most important of these was the Spartakos Group, founded in 1928 by Pantelis Pouliopoulis, former secretary general of the Greek Communist Party, upon his expulsion from the Greek CP. With the establishment of the International Left Opposition in 1930 the Spartakos Group announced its adherence to the ILO. [19] The ILO recognized the substantially larger Archeiomarxist Organization as its Greek section for which it was reproached by the Spartakos Group.[20] It was reported to Trotsky by the Archeiomarxists in 1932 that the Spartakos Group had about seventy-five members.[21]

The second element proclaiming its adherence to International Trotskyism after 1934 had come into existence as the result of an early split among the Archeiomarxists. That schism had taken place sometime be-fore Trotsky's talk with the Archeiomarxist leaders in the spring of 1932. Referred to by Trotsky as "the factionists," they called themselves the Unitary Group and the Leninist Opposition. They consisted mainly of students and their leader was Michel Raptis.[22]

Michel Raptis has noted that the Internationalist Communist League was established as a new Greek section of the movement in 1936.[23] This would seem to be the result of the merger of the Spartakos Group and the Unitary Group. However, according to Pierre Naville's report to the Founding Congress of the Fourth International there was in 1938 a second Greek affiliate of the International, the Internationalist Communist Union. Both the League and the Union were reported by Naville to be "regularly affiliated organizations" of the International.[24]

The Internationalist Communist Union would appear to have consisted of those who had broken away from the Archeiomarxist Organization at the time the Archeiomarxists abandoned International Trotskyism. That element was led by Georges Vitsoris, a Politburo member who was a comedian by profession and had met Trotsky in Prinkipo and later again in France, [25] and by Karliaftis Loukas (also known by his party name as Kostas Kastritis).[26]

Both of the Greek affiliates were tiny organizations. Naville credited the movement with having only about roe members in Greece at the time of the establishment of the Fourth International.[27]

The Founding Congress of the Fourth International adopted a special "Resolution on Greece" It declared that the unification of the two Greek affiliates "is required by the fact that the differences which presently separate the two not justify the continuation of the separation" Such unification should take place "on the basis of acceptance of the Transition Program of the Fourth International and of its statutes," and the new group should take the name Revolutionary Socialist Organization (Greek Section of the Fourth International). It ordered the establishment of a provisional joint leadership, the establishment of a joint commission among exiles to aid in the unification process inside Greece, and the publication of a periodical to be distributed within the country. No such unity was achieved among the Greek Trotskyists. Only after World War II was a united Trotskyist group finally established in Greece.[28]

The Greek Trotskyists were represented at the Founding Congress of the Fourth International by Michel Raptis, as a leader of the Internationalist Communist League. [29] He had gone into exile in France because of the persecutions of the Metaxas dictatorship, and was to live most of the rest of his life in France. In the documents of the founding congress, Raptis was referred to as Speros, and later was to be famous as Michel Pablo.[30]

Raptis took an active part in the proceedings of the Founding Congress, although he was still a very young man. In the debate on the Program of the new international he argued that it did not pay enough attention to the peasantry and its struggle against debt and governmental exploitation.[31] In the discussion of the situation in the USSR and the need for a "political revolution" there, Raptis argued that "we cannot stop the existence of a Soviet party, even a worker-bourgeois party. [32] In connection with the resolution on the coming war he argued strongly against any appeal to workers' patriotism: [33] There is no special indication that Raptis spoke on the Greek Resolution.[34]

Trotskyists During World War II and the Greek Civil War

The Greek Trotskyists suffered heavily during World War II and immediately afterward. During the Second World War they were victimized first by the Metaxas regime and then by the German and Italian invaders. At the same time, they were persecuted during the world conflict and in the civil war which followed by the Stalinists.

The most significant Trotskyist figure to fall victim to the Metaxas regime and then to the invaders was Pantelis Pouliopoulos, the leader of the Spartakos Group. He was arrested by the Metaxas regime in 1939 and fell into the hands of the Italians when they invaded Greece. In June 1943 Pouliopoulos was brought before a firing squad. It is re-counted that, knowing Italian, he harangued the soldiers, appealing to them as proletarians and antifascists, whereupon the firing squad refused to shoot him; their officers finally carried out the task.[35]

The Greek Trotskyists were active in the underground and among other things published a periodical, The Proletarian. It took what was by then the traditional Trotskyist line with regard to the Second World War, arguing that the participation of the Soviet Union in the conflict did not change the inter-imperialist nature of the war. It insisted that "the Anglo-Americans wish to return state power to the Greek bourgeoisie. The exploited will only change one yoke for an-other."[36]

Although the Greek Trotskyists suffered at the hands of the Metaxas dictatorship and the Italian and German invaders, their most merciless persecutors were the Stalinists. Even while the Nazi-Fascist forces still occupied Greece, this persecution began. The Trotskyists in the Agrinion region formed their own unit of EAM (National Liberation Front), which on a national level was controlled by the Stalinists. After this group was organized its leaders were summoned by Aris Veloukhiotis, the head of the ELAS (Popular Army of National Liberation), the military arm of EAM, to his headquarters at Agraphia, ostensibly "to coordinate activities." When the twenty Trotskyists involved arrived they were immediately shot by the ELAS forces. [37]

The real martyrdom of the Greek Trotskyists took place during the civil war which began at the end of 1944 and continued until Stalin's break with the Titoist regime in Yugoslavia. During this period EAM and ELAS tried to win control of the country from the government of King George II, who was supported first by the British and then by the Americans.

René Dazy has provided many details of the murders of Trotskyists during the period by OPLA, the secret arm of ELAS in charge of executing (or murdering) its real or alleged enemies. Even before the outbreak of the civil war OPLA had begun to kidnap Trotskyists or suspected Trotskyists. When members of the families of those who had disappeared appealed to Someritis, the president of the Greek Section of the League for the Rights of Men, he intervened with Acting Communist Party Secretary General Georges Siantos. Dazy has reported that "Siantos swore to the great gods that he knew nothing about it, that it is impossible that the OPLA could he responsible for such kidnappings. It could only be the action of provocateurs or uncontrolled elements. Investigations would be made, he promised. On December 4 the civil war began. There was no further news about the disappeared Trotskyists."[38]

The Trotskyists who were murdered—sometimes after being tortured and even dismembered—included a wide variety of people—among them, government functionaries, office workers, students, teachers, workers, peasants. One of the most notable victims was Georges Constantinidis, a lawyer who had defended many of those arrested during the Nazi-Fascist occupation. He was one of those most brutally tortured before being murdered, because, as Dazy has commented, "he also had committed the crime of apostasy: member of the Political Bureau of the CPG, he had joined Trotskyism."[39]

A 1946 report to the Central Committee of the Greek Communist Party by Barziotas, one of the members of its Political Bureau, said that 600 Trotskyists had been executed by OPLA. René Dazy has commented that "the figure is manifestly exaggerated." [40] Dazy is certainty correct, since there almost certainly were not that many Trotskyists in all of Greece at the time—and at least some survived.

Rodolphe Prager has gathered the names of those Trotskyists known to have died at the hands of the Metaxas dictatorship, the German and Italian invaders, and the Stalinists. He lists four executed by the dictator-ship, fifteen killed by the Germans and Italians, and thirty-four murdered by the Stalinists, including one member of the Trotskyists' Central Committee. [41]

The Greek Trotskyists emerged from the Second World War divided into four different groups: EDKE (Internationalist Workers Party of Greece), DEKE Internationalist Revolutionary Party of Greece), Peripheral Independent Organization of Macedonia, and a group which had broken away from the Socialist Party. In September 1945 the European Secretariat of the Fourth International decided to try to bring about unification of these factions into a single party. They sent Sherry Mangan (Terence Phelan) and Michel Pablo to Greece for this purpose. Mangan travelled ostensibly as a journalist (being on the staff of Time-Life-Fortune) and Pablo went along as Mangan's "secretary" They succeeded in organizing a unification congress which met clandestinely in a mountain village in July 1946, in the presence of Pablo and established the Internationalist Communist Party. [42]

The International Communist Party During and After the Papadopoulos Dictatorship

The seizure of power by the Greek military under leadership of Colonel Georges Papadopoulos on April 21, £967, was a severe blow to the Greek Trotskyists. Not only did it drive them—along with all other civilian political groups—deeply underground but it also provoked a major split in the ranks of the Internationalist Communist Party.

In an interview in 1972 Theologos Psaradelles, one of the principal leaders of the Internationalist Communist Party, indicated the cause of the split which occurred after the coup. "In the wake of the coup, the Greek section of the Fourth International suffered a major split, with the majority of its members following the spontaneist-bomber line, which was expressed in the Democratic Resistance Committees. These groups included all political tendencies, Stalinists, rightist groups, and monarchists...because of the type of organization they adopted, the young leaders who had left the Greek section soon found themselves in prison and a new beginning had to be made from scratch."[43]

Those remaining in the Trotskyist ranks made very clear their opposition to individual terrorism as a weapon to fight the colonels' clique. The July 1968 issue of their journal carried an article noting that "despite our sympathy for all terrorist fighters as heroic and tragic victims of the dictatorship, we categorically rejected the method of individual terror for strictly political reasons. Individual terrorism substitutes the individual, or a narrow circle, and heroic vengeance against a person for the masses and the class struggle."[44]

Refusal to resort to terrorism did not protect the Trotskyists from persecution by the military regime. It was reported in October 1970 that there were more than 100 Greek Trotskyists then in prison, many of them having been given long terms including life sentences. [45]

The Trotskyists were particularly active among the students. Theologos Psaradelles reported in 1972 that "it must be acknowledged that the students have been the first to be reached by the propaganda work of the Greek Trotskyists. This is for the good and sufficient reason that because of their higher educational level the students who participated in the mass mobilizations preceding the military coup, in particular in July 1965, were better able to understand the irrevocable failure of the traditional organizations of the left."[46]

The Trotskyists published an illegal mimeographed monthly periodical, Ergatike Pale (Workers Struggle), more or less regularly throughout the existence of the dictatorship. [47] When the pressure of the regime relaxed somewhat with the beginning of the 1970s, the Trotskyists developed a much wider publication effort. In addition to a printed magazine which appeared every six weeks and was said by Psaradelles to have "served as a center of regroupment for a whole series of groups that arose in the previous period,' they also were able to get into print a number of books. These included works by Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Pierre Frank, and Ernest Mandel. The magazine carried considerable material from the United Secretariat of the Fourth International.[48]

The colonels' dictatorship fell on July 23, 1974, as a consequence of the Greek military's unsuccessful effort to overthrow the government of Archbishop Makarios in Cyprus, which precipitated Turkish invasion of that island. As a consequence open civilian political activity was revived, and to some degree the Trotskyists of the Internationalist Communist Party were able to take advantage of that fact.

On August 10, 1974 the first legal issue of Ergatike Pale appeared, as a four-page weekly paper. A week later the size of the publication was substantially increased.[49] They also sought to mobilize such following as they had in the labor movement by establishing the Vanguard Organizing Committee. The first proclamation of this group appealed to the workers to form local Vanguard Organizing Committees "in every category, in every city, and in every branch of industry." It explained that "these groups must serve as provisional leaderships that can impel and direct the struggle to drive out the opportunists appointed by the junta, the labor skates who for years collected big salaries for their betrayals and whose sole mIssion was to send congratulatory telegrams to the murderers of our fellow workers." The proclamation set forth a seven-teen-point program for reorganizing the labor movement and presenting demands to the new government and the employers.[50]

The Trotskyists of the Internationalist Communist Party also participated in the first general election held after the end of the dictatorship. They were unable to get authorization to run their own candidates, so they endorsed the lists of the Enomene Aristera, the coalition organized by the Communists. [51]

The Internationalist Communists continued to suffer some persecution in the wake of the fall of the dictatorship. The Karamanlis government arrested leaders of the group on various occasions. The editor of the legal edition of Ergatike Pale, Giannis Pelekis, who had been a political prisoner under the dictatorship, was twice arrested In the months immediately succeeding its overthrow.[52] In 1976 he was arrested once again, charged with "moral responsibility" for a large demonstration on May 25. He and thirteen other defendants, including several other Trotskyists, were later acquitted by an Athens court.[53]

The Trotskyists strongly opposed a new constitution issued by the Karamanlis government. They decried its limitations on political freedom, and its "guaranteeing capitalist property and the bourgeois institutions of the church, the family, the educational system...."[54]

In September 1977 the Internationalist Communist Party merged "with another Trotskyist group" [55] to form the OKDE—Organization of International Communists of Greece, which continued to be affiliated with the United Secretariat. The publication of the OKDE was To Odhophragma (The Barricade), which like its predecessor continued to be edited by Giannis Pelekis.

In October 1977 Pelekis was arrested once again, charged with "moral responsibility for incidents in which members of anarchist groups clashed with the police during protests against the deaths of three imprisoned leaders of the Red Army Faction in West Germany." According to a statement of the Political Bureau of the OKDE, "The charge is based on an article written for the tenth anniversary of Che Guevara's death, on passages from the resolutions of the Tenth World Congress of the Fourth International published in Marxistike Dheltio, the theoretical magazine of the Greek section early in 1975, and on the leaflet issued by our organization on the day of Baader's assassination. ..."

The OKDE organized a campaign to free Pelekis and four fellow prisoners. They were joined in this effort by "three other far-left organizations—the OSE (Revolutionary Socialist Organization), KOM (Fighting Communist Organization), and the OPA (Group for a Proletarian Left)...."[56]

After a new conference of the OKDE in September 1975 the organization changed the name of its organ back to Ergatike Pale. In its first issue the new periodical commented favorably on municipal election victories by a coalition of Andreas Papandreou's Pan Hellenic Socialist Movement and the "exterior" faction of the Communists.[57]

The OKDE was active in the 1980 campaign against Greek participation in NATO. When one demonstration was broken up by the police with the resulting death of at least two of the demonstrators, the OKDE issued a statement to the effect that "the brutal police attack and its tragic consequences shows the real face of the government, a government of austerity and blatant terrorism."[58]

Other Greek Trotskyist Groups

In addition to the United Secretariat, several other factions of International Trotskyism have had affiliates in Greece in recent decades. Among these has been a group of followers of Michel Raptis (Pablo), who broke with the United Secretariat in 1965. It has been known as For Socialism.[59] For some time the group worked within the Pan Hellenic Socialist Movement of Andreas Papandreou, and Michel Raptis was an adviser of Papandreou. Relations between For Socialism and the Pan Hellenic Socialists were reportedly broken off after the latter's victory in the 1982 elections.[60] The For Socialism group published a periodical of the same name in Athens.[61]

The "Pabloists" in Greece were active in the Protagoras Political-Cultural Circle in Athens. This group organized a meeting of support for Polish Solidarity in Athens in January 1982, in protest against the martial law regime of General Jaruzeiski. About 5,000 people were present at the meeting, attended not only by the Pabloites but also by Socialists and members of the "interior" faction of the Communist Party of Greece.

Michel Raptis himself was a speaker at this meeting. He appealed to "Athens of the workers, Athens of the critical intelligentsia, Athens of clear reasoning and generous heart, remember the long struggles for liberty and democracy, the free democracy in the hands of the citizens. Arise to honor the Poland of Solidarity and carry your message to the whole nation, that today and tomorrow, and in the long future which will be necessary, we will continue our active solidarity with our brothers of Poland."[62]

Other factions of International Trotskyism have also had Greek sections. When certain elements of the old International Committee of the Fourth International refused to join in the so-called "reunification" which established the United Secretariat in 1963, the reorganized International Committee had in its ranks a Greek affiliate. M. Bastos represented this group at the Third Conference of the International Committee in April 1966.[63]

When the International Committee split in the early 1970s both the "Lambertist" and "Healyite" factions had Greek affiliates. The Greek section of the Lambertist Comité d'Organisation pour la Reconstruction de la Quatrième Internationale (CORQI) was represented at a conference of the group in Paris in mid-1980. The Moreno faction which broke away from the United Secretariat in 1979-80 had two Greek sections: the Socialist League, which published a newspaper Socialist Revolution, and the Socialist Group, which put out its own paper, The Socialist. Greek organizations affiliated with both the Lambertist and Moreno groups were represented at the "World Conference of the Parity Committee" organized by the two international factions in October 1979.[64] The Healyite International Committee also continued to have a Greek affiliate.[65]

One of the earliest Greek Trotskyist groups to be organized outside of the United Secretariat was that affiliated with the Posadas version of the Fourth International. Right after the Eighth World Congress of that group it was announced that the Revolutionary Communist Party (Trotskyist) had been established as the Greek section of the Posadas Fourth International, having been organized only a few days after the colonels' coup in 1967. It was publishing a periodical, Kommunistike Pali (Communist Struggle).

The statement of the International Secretariat of the Posadas group announcing the establishment of the Greek section attributed the organization of the Greek group directly to J. Posadas. It said in typical Posadas-like prose:

The most lively and most eloquent expressions of the role of the individual in history, when this expresses the needs which are not individual but collective and historical, when an individual armed with theoretical and political assurance, based on the scientific and Marxist concept is capable of concentrating and centralizing all the force, all the potency of the International; capable of concentrating in a conscious and scientific way the objective empirical and unconscious necessities of history. The role of Comrade J. Posadas in the constitution of our Greek section, is not the force of an individual, but all the power and the historical assurance of the IV International when this work is concentrating its preoccupation and its activities among the conscious centers which in united front with the revolutionary tendencies of the masses, will decide the future course of history in Europe and in all the world: the sections of the International.[66]

There is no information available about how long the Greek section of the Posadas Fourth International continued to exist.

It may well be that there have been other factions within Greek Trotskyism of which we are not aware. One unfriendly source wrote in 1979 that "The 'extreme Left,' the Trotskyists, are in the worst moment of their existence. There are thirteen groups. Two are in the Pasok [the Greek Socialist Party of Andreas Papandreou]; the other eleven are formed by less than 200 'friends.'..."[67]


[1] Letter to author from James Dertouzos, September 22, 1976

[2] Leon Trotsky: Oeuvres Mars 1933/Juillet 1933, Etudes et Documentation Internationales, Paris, 1978 (Volume I), pages 39 and 108

[3] Leon Trotsky: Writings of Leon Trotsky (Supplement 1929-35), Pathfinder Press, New York, 1979 page 365

[4] Ibid., pages 48-49

[5] Ibid., pages 49-50

[6] Ibid., page 365; and Leon Trotsky: Oeuvres Mars 1933/Juillet 1933. op. cit., pages 131-132

[7] Leon Trotsky: Writings of Leon Trotsky (Supplement 1929-33), op. cit., pages 131-132

[8] Ibid., pages 135-136

[9] Ibid., pages 125-126

[10] Ibid., page 132

[11] Ibid., pages 129-130, 133-135

[12] Leon Trotsky: Oeuvres Novembre 1933/Avril 1934, Etudes et Documentation Internationales, Paris, 1978 (Volume 3), page 21

[13] Leon Trotsky: Writings of Leon Trotsky (1933-34), Pathfinder Press, New York, 1979 page 130

[14] Ibid., page 281

[15] Ibid., pages 281-284

[16] Leon Trotsky: Oeuvres Novembre 1933/Avril 1934, op.cit., page 278

[17] Letter to author from James Dertouzos, September 22, 1976

[18] A New Hope for World Socialism, International Bureau for Revolutionary Socialist Unity, London, 1938, page 2

[19] Letter to author from Michel Raptis, June 18, 1982

[20] Leon Trotsky: Writings of Leon Trotsky (Supplement 1929-33), op. cit., pages 365

[21] Leon Trotsky: Oeuvres Mars 1933/Juillet 1933. op. cit., pages 39

[22] Leon Trotsky: Writings of Leon Trotsky (Supplement 1929-33), op. cit., pages 126

[23] Ibid., page 383

[24] Letter to author from Michel Raptis, May 10, 1982

[25] Rodolphe Prager (Editor): Les Congrès de la Quatrième Internationale. Volume 1: Naissance de la IVe Internationale 1930-1940, Editions La Brèche, Paris, 1978, page 215

[26] Leon Trotsky: Oeuvres Novembre 1933/Avril 1934. Op. cit., page 276

[27] Leon Trotsky: Oeuvres Avril 1934/Decembre 1934, Etudes et Documentation Internationales, Paris, 1979 (Volume 4), page 99

[28] Prager, op. cit., page 241

[29] Ibid., page 290

[30] Letter to author from Michel Raptis, May 10, 1982

[31] Prager, op. cit., page 434

[32] Ibid., page 216

[33] Ibid., page 219

[34] Ibid., page 225

[35] Ibid., page 231

[36] René Daly: Fusillez les Chiens Enragés... La Génocide des Trotskistes, Oliver Orban, Paris, 1981, page 267

[37] Ibid., page 265

[38] Ibid., pages 268-269

[39] Ibid., page 271

[40] Ibid., page 273

[41] Ibid., page 274

[42] Rodolphe Prager (Editor): Les Congrès de la Quatrième Internationale, Volume 2: L'International dans la Guerre (1940-1946), Editions La Breche, Paris, 1981, pages 464-465

[43] Ibid., page 349; and Interview with Rodolphe Prager, Paris, July 28, 1982

[44] Intercontinental Press, New York, November 13, 1972, page 1246

[45] Intercontinental Press, New York, November 17, 1969, page 1018

[46] Intercontinental Press, New York, October 12, 1970

[47] Intercontinental Press, New York, November 13, 1972, page 1244

[48] Intercontinental Press, New York, September 9, 1974, page 1122

[49] Intercontinental Press, New York, November 13, 1972, page 1245

[50] Intercontinental Press, New York, September 9, 1974, page 1122

[51] Intercontinental Press, New York, September 9, 1974, page 1152

[52] Class Struggle, New York, March 1975, page 2

[53] Intercontinental Press, New York, September 9, 1974, page 1122

[54] Workers Vanguard, New York, November 5, 1976, page 3

[55] Intercontinental Press, New York, February 3, 1975, page 160

[56] Intercontinental Press, New York, October 3, 1977

[57] Intercontinental Press, New York, November 14, 1977, page 1239

[58] Intercontinental Press, New York, November 17, 1978

[59] Intercontinental Press, New York, December 1, 1980, page 1242

[60] Interview with Gilbert Marquis, Paris, July 27, 1982

[61] Interview with Charles Michaloux, Paris, July 27, 1982

[62] Sous le Drapeau du Socialisme, Paris, June 1979, page 21

[63] Sous le Drapeau du Socialisme, Paris, May/June 1982, page 44

[64] Fourth international, London, August 1966, page 105

[65] Inprecor/Intercontinental Press, Special Number, December 1980, page 3

[66] Interview with Charles Michaloux, Paris, July 27, 1982

[67] RevistaMarxista Latinoamericana, June 1967, page 277

Last updated on: 13.2.2005