The Greek bail-out negotiations are so tortuous that they require a knowledge of quantum physics to track their progress.
The next “crunch date” is July 24 when the so-called “troika” representing the Euro-banks, the IMF and the European Commission return with their final report on what the Greek people must sacrifice to satisfy the German, French and UK bankers.
There is open hostility to the Euro-thieves in the tavernas, shops and cafes. In parliament the strangest coalition of parties is pledged to cancel any bail-out agreement reached with the New Democracy-Pasok coalition.
The refuseniks include:
Syriza, the major Opposition party which is an amalgamation of ex-Greek communists, anti-globalisation campaigners and New Leftists;
Independent Greeks, a splinter from the ruling right-wing New Democracy;
KKE, the Greek Communist Party and;
Golden Dawn, the far-right neo-Nazi party.
Confused? So are many Greeks.
CIVIL WAR TRAUMA
Greece’s liberation came in October 1944 when the occupying invaders from Germany, Italy and Bulgaria withdrew their forces leaving a power vacuum.
The pre-war Greek state barely existed. The single most commanding authority was the National Resistance, the armed partisan movement, and its component parts.
The largest was ELAS, the Communist Party-led Greek People’s Liberation Army, which had 100,000 guerrillas and 60,000 reservists, and controlled almost two-thirds of the country.
Its ranks also comprised women of all ages who made a critical and heroic contribution to the partisan struggle against the Nazis and Fascists.
The Greeks had suffered heavy casualties in the war – 15,000 killed and 60,000 wounded – and they looked forward to the peace and prosperity for which they had sacrificed so much.
But external forces now took steps to deprive them of their victory. The “Big Three”, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, had agreed that Greece remain inside the Western sphere of influence in return for Soviet control of eastern Europe, the buffer states that later formed the Warsaw Pact.
In consequence, the Greek government-in-exile returned from Cairo to Athens and the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) was re-established to restore Western capitalist democracy – at gunpoint.
The British government, which had been giving arms and training to the Greek partisans since 1941, abruptly switched sides and began sending arms, supplies and military personnel to assist the DSE’s liquidation of Britain’s former allies in the guerrilla movement.
ENTER THE CIA
The bloodshed during the civil war (1946-49) was frightening. Tens of thousands were imprisoned, tortured, killed or sent into exile.
The West did not have a mortgage on treachery: Stalin wanted his share as well. He instructed the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and ELAS to lay down their arms and take part in the capitalist reconstruction of the Greek state. There was to be no socialism for the loyal comrades in Greece!
At Varkiza, south of Athens, in February 1945 all the Greek parties, led by the KKE, signed a treaty with the Allied (British) command to demobilise and hand over their arms. The betrayal was immense: Stalinists began to line up with the ruling elite to smash the remnants of the partisan movement and the recalcitrant socialist left.
THE WHITE TERROR
US President Truman ordered the newly-formed CIA to undertake its first overseas assignment – restore capitalism to Greece and destroy all those opposed to Western democracy.
American special forces, US arms, warplanes and suitcases of US dollars were despatched to Athens. The Truman Doctrine was born and so was the Cold War.
It marked the start of the so-called White Terror with assassinations carried out in villages across Greek (a prelude to Washington’s murderous operations in central America in the 1950s, Britain’s counter-insurgency against the Mau Mau in Kenya and the CIA’s Phoenix Program in Vietnam in the 1960s).
In the Peloponnese right-wing death squads caught left-wing activists, beheaded them and left their bodies in the village square.
Hundreds of Trotskyists were executed or hunted into exile, an estimated 100,000 leftist combatants were killed and more than 40,000 thrown in jail, some of them for a decade or more. Every Greek had lost a family member in the fight against Nazism and Fascism or in the civil war. Some had lost their whole family.
When the civil war ended in 1949 there were celebrations in the West because “Greece had been saved from communism” and the reactionary, parasitic monarchy (Phil’s the Greek’s mob) had been restored to the throne.
The reality was that a corrupt, incompetent, distrusted and dysfunctional state had been imposed on a traumatised people who had been brutally betrayed by the East and the West.
Greece never recovered.