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Paul G. Stevens

Events on the International Scene

(12 April 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 15, 12 April 1948, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“Aid” to Greece

“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” is a maxim we remember from our school days. It was part of ancient history when the rich men of Athens and Sparta ruled the civilized World. It has come down to us unchanged through the ages, but has completely lost its meaning. To understand it today, we would have to translate it as. follows: “Beware of Wall Street, Bearing Gifts.” And, with tragic irony, the present-day Greeks are among those who have the greatest cause to be wary of these modern gift-bearers.

Greece was voted a huge sum of dollar-aid by Congress, last year. Naturally, its sponsors swore that the main purpose was to feed the starving women and children in that country. Only incidentally was it supposed to help the blood-stained army of the monarchy.

But the way this help to women-and children has worked out is a different story. Here are some items, culled at random, as reported in the newspapers by on-the-spot correspondents:

“A Greek Lines ship left Pier 1 at Hoboken ... carrying 3,000 tons of equipment for U.S. Army personnel in Greece.” (Times, March 28). “Greek commanders will operate from plans that nearly 100 U.S. Army officers have helped draft.” (Times, April 4). From the same dispatch: “In Salonika 73 persons charged with being communist spies went on trial before a military court. There were 12 women among the defendants.” The outcome of the trial is not reported, but it is usually summary death.

There are literally hundreds of such items that could be cited in recent weeks.

But very special “gifts” have been reserved for the working class of Greece and its trade union organizations. Last Dec. 8 a law was passed by the Washington-run Greek government abolishing the right to strike and carrying the death penalty for strike leaders.

Now all these “gifts” of democracy had been whole-heartedly approved by our AFL and CIO top leaders. But the death penalty for strikers was a bit too raw even for them. Our “labor statesmen,” after some vain attempts to get Washington to have the law repealed, fell upon another scheme. They would show the world; that the Greek strikers were not the real labor movement of that country. The real thing was the “democratic” Greek “Trade Union Federation” operating by permission of the monarchy.

The “Trade union Congress” duly convoked its sessions at the end of March in Athens. 1,338 delegates attended. But the democratic processes have become somewhat snagged. It seems a “faction fight” broke out. 500 delegates led by John Patsantzis, described as the “politically moderate” Secretary General of the “unions” walked out. Another 289 delegates led by Aristides Dimitratos, formerly Minister of Labor under the Fascist dictatorship of General Metaxas also walked out. The remaining 558 delegates are led by Fotios Makris, a prominent leader of the “Populist” or Monarchist party.

According to the last reports, “D.A. Strachan, ex-socialist long associated with Walter Reuther in the auto union, labor adviser to the American Mission for Aid to Greece, and ... Irving Brown, of the American Federation of Labor (Associated with Jay Lovestone and David Dubinsky) were still seeking to conciliate the factions” (Times, April 5).

American “labor statesmen” and ex-radicals to boot – conciliating between the fascist and Monarchist. factions of the Greek “Trade Unions”! A veritable spectacle for the Gods, as the old Athenians used to say. Perhaps the ranks of the CIO and the AFL, who are asked to support and put up the money for this show, ought to look into this.

French Trotskyists Expel Albert Demazieres

The. following resolution was recently adopted by the Political Bureau of the PCI.

“At a meeting organized by the Revolutionary Democratic Rally on March 12, (Albert) Demazieres (former secretary of the party) made a speech calling for adherence to this organization. This step was taken not only independently of any party decision but in flagrant violation of the decisions of the Central Committee on March 8, which condemned the position put forward by Demazieres as a complete abandonment of the Trotskyist program ... The Political Bureau therefore finds that Demazieres has placed himself outside the party and that henceforth the PCI bears no responsibility whatsoever for Demazieres’ actions and words.”

The new neo-reformist character of the Revolutionary Democratic Rally was described in this column three weeks ago. Demazieres had long been at the head of a right wing group which sought to water down the revolutionary program of the PCI and pursued a line of adaptation to the Stalinist policy dominant in the French mass movement.

Peculiarly enough, the rabidly Stalinophobe Labor Action of Shachtman’s Workers Party hails the Revolutionary Democratic Rally and embraces Demazieres. A Marxist would consider such an alliance as unprincipled. A Marxist would point out that Demazieres program represents a conciliatory attitude toward Stalinism whereas the Shachtmanites adapt themselves to Trumanism: How then, can Labor Action embrace Demazieres, whose faction has displayed pro-Stalinist tendencies? Anti-Trotskyism obviously makes for strange bedfellows.

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