Magazine article Monthly Review

Counterrevolution: The Greek Example

Magazine article Monthly Review

Counterrevolution: The Greek Example

Article excerpt

Dear Professor Newsinger:

I read with great interest and no little emotion your article "Counterrevolution: The Malayan Example" in the February 1994 issue of Monthly Review. I was struck by a number of similarities between the events in 1945 (British return to Malaya) and events in Greece in late October 1944, when the German occupation army left the country; similarities between the attitudes of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and the Communist Party of Greece (CPG); and between the subsequent British policies in the two countries.

In Greece, during the Second World War, the British had to some extent, allied themselves with the National Liberation Front (NLF), which was created, organized, and directed mainly by the CPG. With the end of the German occupation the NLF (and thus the CPG) was the undisputed master of the country, its prestige among and support by the people was immense. It would have been a trivial matter for the CPG to seize power and prevent the first British units from landing. Instead, in the big demonstrations organized by the CPG that flooded Athens in October 1944, the British soldiers were cheered and carried on the shoulders of the demonstrators, and there were as many British flags as there were Greek, Soviet, and American flags. I was an eyewitness (then a young child) to these events, and I challenge anyone to deny them.

During November 1944 a number of aggressions by Greek rightists took place. At the end of the month there was a clear violation of agreements with the NLF. The violation was committed by the overwhelmingly center-to-right government; apparently Leaper, the Ambassador of England in Athens, bears a heavy responsibility.(1) The culmination of rightist aggression came on December 3, 1944, in Athens with an attack by the rightist police against unarmed NLF demonstrators who were protesting against the violation; many were killed.(2) Subsequently the NLF militia took certain limited steps toward resistance. In the meantime the British were bringing reinforcements. Nevertheless, the rule of the government and the British was still confined in a small part of the center of Athens; in the rest of the city and the country the NLF was the absolute master. At that time (beginning of December 1944) a more decisive action by the NLF could have easily thrown the British and their collaborators into the Aegean Sea. …

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