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Reva Craine

Greek Events Testify

Workers Party Foresaw Events

(December 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 51, 18 December 1944, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The policy and activity of the British in Greece must rouse the indignation of. every thinking worker, every person who believes that the people of a country must have the right to choose their own government, without interference from foreign imperialists.

The events in Greece today, criminal and shameless as they are on the part of England’s rulers, and justified and right as they are on the part of the Greek people, have not taken us by surprise.

Nearly two years ago, the Workers Party forecast in general what would happen in the European countries under Nazi occupation. In its resolution, The National Question in Europe (published in The New International of February 1943), the Workers Party outlined the main course of events to come. The actual events are every day verifying what we wrote at that time. The power to predict – and to prepare – is based on the thorough-going analysis which the Workers Party made of the war, the role of the belligerents, and the position of the working class.

What are the majority of the workers and peasants, fighting in the resistance organizations in Greece and Belgium, demanding now that the Nazis have been driven out? Why are they refusing to give up their arms and surrender to the Allied military forces?

What the Greeks Fight For

These workers are fighting for something which is vital to their very existence. During the Nazi occupation, they fought to drive the invaders from their soil. They did not surrender to the fascists; they did not collaborate with them. On the contrary, under the most difficult conditions, risking their lives and. the lives of their friends and families, they organized in underground resistance movements to fight the fascists. But the, fighters in the resistance movements did not risk capture, imprisonment, torture and death to make way for another oppressor in place of the Germans when the latter were finally ousted.

The people who did not run away, they who stayed and fought fascism, did, so because they wished to be able to reorganize their countries in the way they thought best to prevent another war, another surrender and another occupation, with the, attendant sufferings.

Today the resistance fighters in ELAS, for example, are fighting for the right to elect their own government, to get rid of the Greek King and his agents, who are really agents of fascism and foreign imperialism. The Greek people do not wish to be told by Mr. Churchill when and under what conditions they may hold, an election; the Italian people do not wish to be told by Mr. Eden who shall represent them in the government or what form of government they shall have; the Belgian people do not wish to be told to leave the punishment of pro-Nazi collaborators in the hands of those who were responsible for the debacle of the war.

The people of the “liberated” countries want to liberate themselves. They want the right to elect their governments democratically; they are demanding the right to punish the collaborators; they want to put an end to the black market; they want food; they are demanding higher wages. In short, they are fighting for the right to live as free human beings. And they want to keep the arms they used in getting rid of the Nazis until some of these things are attained.

The WP Resolution

“To overthrow the regime of national oppression (the rule of the Nazis), armed struggle was needed. Even assuming that the burden of this struggle is borne by advancing Allied imperialist troops, a good deal of it will have been accomplished by armed, organized workers who have not been incorporated into regular imperialist formations. There, at the very outset, is the core of the future proletarian army. Despite all democratic illusions, experience has shown that this popular armed force will regard with suspicion and meet with resistance any attempts by the new capitalist government [Pierlot, Papandreou – R.C.] to disarm it in favor of ‘regular’ troops.”

The workers who helped rid their countries of Nazi occupation have every right to be suspicious of the

attempts made to disarm them, for the regimes which are being foisted upon them are not concerned with the need to purge the country of fascist collaborators, to get rid of the black market, raise wages, or hold free, democratic elections. They are primarily concerned with installing the old system, of putting in the saddle the capitalists who had run away and had sat it out together with the government in exile in London until it was safe to return, or those who remained to work with the Germans. It is precisely against this which the people who fought the Nazis are rebelling.

All this the Workers Party forecast two years ago. The resolution continues:

“In this resistance to the demands of the workers and peasants, the bourgeois elements in power will not hesitate to call for the armed intervention of big imperialist powers or even surrender real or nominal power to victorious imperialism in the hope of crushing the masses. [Italy, Belgium, Greece – R.C.] The latter will then see more clearly that the national struggle of their own bourgeoisie was only a husk covering the aim of restoring their old class property and power. From realizing this fact to a realization that the national struggle, of the masses was only a form within which they too must fight for their class position and power is not too far a step in the political development of the people.”

Allies Crush Democracy

The Allied imperialists will stop at nothing, not even the shooting and killing of workers, as in Greece, in order to crush this movement. Food – or, rather the withholding of food – is already being used as a weapon against rebellious people.

“From this standpoint, a tremendous responsibility lies upon the shoulders, primarily of the British and American working class. A series of revolutions in Europe is a certainty. To a large extent, however, it depends upon the workers of the two big imperialist lands whether these revolutions succeed – and the world rises to a new height – or they are strangled in the egg by imperialist intervention and blackmail – and the world is hurled to a new depth. Active, aggressive international solidarity, in deeds as well as in words, is mandatory upon the Anglo-American working class in this connection. For the European workers, who stand on the threshold of great decisions, this solidarity is an indispensable ingredient in the formula of victory.”

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