Joseph Hansen

Allies Foist New Puppet on Greece

George II Appoints Bishop Damaskinos as His Regent

Churchill Orders Troops to Continue Firing onGreek Workers in Month-Old Civil War

(6 January 1945)


Source: The Militant, Vol. IX No. 1, 6 January 1945, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcription/Editing/HTML Markup: 2006 by Einde O’Callaghan.
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Recognizing their complete inability to thrust the counter-revolutionary Glucksburg dynasty down the throats of the Greek people, British imperialism is now attempting to delude the masses into accepting a regency. After calling twice at 10 Downing Street in response to Churchill’s orders, the Greek puppet king, George II, on December 30 proclaimed Archbishop Damaskinos as his regent. The British hope with this new puppet, gowned in the black robes of the Church rather than the ermine of monarchy, to establish a stable pivot for a government that will maintain Britain’s domination and imperialist interests in Greece.

The shift from king to regent changes nothing politically. Regency is a classic device of monarchy to save, itself during times of stress. The regent takes over the functions of government until the mass struggle subsides or is smothered. Thereupon the regent retires and the king again steps io the forefront, sometimes with the formality of a rigged plebiscite.

King George knows the pattern well. He had to flee for his life in 1923, yet managed to return in 1935 to set up the military dictatorship of Metaxas a year later. The British put forward a regency in Greece in 1832 when they crushed the first Greek republic that was born in the democratic revolution against the Turkish overlord. That regency was followed by a monarchy whose brutality was not less than that of Metaxas.
 

Churchill’s Trip

Churchill flew to Greece, not to set up a regency – that was already decided upon – but to attempt to ease the pressure from British workers angered over the slaughter of their Greek brothers. Churchill’s critics in the House of Commons demanded a high-ranking minister be sent to Greece. The airplane trip was calculated to demonstrate that the Prime Minister was leaving no stone unturned in his effort to end the embarrassing Greek situation and to calm down the mounting domestic political crisis.

Churchill continues to pursue the same principled line of avowed reaction as before his flight to Greece. On December 27 during the negotiations for a regency with leaders of the ELAS (Greek Liberation Army) Churchill brazenly declared that British armed intervention would not stop until the differences between the Greek Government and the ELAS had been settled “either by free negotiation or by increasing the use of military force.”

Scobie, military representative of the Allies, is continuing Churchill’s line without deviating the slightest from the position he held before the appointment of Damaskinos. On December 31 he reiterated his ultimatum that ELAS must withdraw from Attica, hand in its arms and disband.

The new puppet, Damaskinos, who previously supported the Papandreou cabinet, is likewise continuing Churchill’s counterrevolutionary policy. On Christmas he issued a manifesto calling on the Greek workers and peasants to “fling away your arms and tear up that funeral shroud of Greece that your bloody conflict is weaving.” His first official declaration as regent January 1 was to “call upon those bearing arms to agree to lay them down at once.’’

General Plastiras, appointed Premier January 2, has denounced the ELAS since his arrival December 12 and called on them to lay down their arms.

Most decisive of all, of course, is the continued use of Allied arms against the Greek workers and peasants. For four weeks Scobie has been “methodically clearing” the Athens area, killing and wounding thousands, taking thousand prisoner. Tanks, artillery, bombs speak the language of British imperialism more imperiously than any of the proclamations of the royal and religious puppets.
 

Stalinist Role

The Stalinist role in this regency maneuver is as treacherous as it has been from the beginning of the conflict. Stalin aims to gain control over the elemental upsurge of the masses to prevent the further development of their revolution and to utilize this control as a card in his secret deals with the imperialist bandits.

Since the civil war broke out, the Kremlin has not said a word against Churchill’s use of force and violence. Moscow did not even withdraw recognition of the Glucksburg dynasty as the official government of Greece. Churchill, Eden and Bevin have all declared that British troops entered Greece with the approval of Moscow. Churchill emphasized this fact again on December 26 during his Athens visit: “We British ... came here with approval of President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin ...”

Inside Greece, the Stalinists have consistently blocked the movement of the masses toward socialism and supported the puppet governments set up by Churchill. Before the outbreak of the civil war – and even after – they welcomed British troops. They took posts in Papandreou’s cabinet and resigned only when the shooting began.

Rizipastis published an article by the Stalinist leader, Jean Zevgos, demanding the establishment of a regency. On December 15 PM published a dispatch from Greece declaring that “Some members of the ELAS were said to be trying to persuade all parties to accept an interim government headed by Damaskinos.”

The Associated Press reported the same day that the leaders of EAM (Stalinist-dominated National Liberation Front) in a proposed truce sent to Scobie called for creation of a regency. The offer was withdrawn “temporarily to meet British insistence that it be signed by heads of the ELAS.”

At the conference called in Athens December 28 by Churchill, the three delegates appearing in the name of ELAS were George Siantos, acting secretary of the Communist Party, Emmanuel Mandakis, reported to be a member of the Communist Party, and Dimitri Partsalides, a Communist Party member and secretary general of the EAM. First point in the proposal these delegates placed before the British as the basis for laying down the arms of the Greek workers and peasants was establishment of a regency. All present at the conference agreed unanimously on this point.

On December 31 the Stalinist Partsalides declared that he “wished to express the Greek people’s feelings on behalf of the EAM for the efforts of Mr. Churchill, the Prime Minister of our great ally, England, in coming to Athens.”

These facts prove irrefutably that the Stalinists functioning in the EAM and ELAS consider it hopeless to put over the Glucksburgs at the present time. They want to try a regency. The regency changes nothing essential while, it gives the Stalinists a new talking point. Time is gained by the counter-revolution, permitting the British to bring in more troops. With sufficient time, the Stalinists expect the armed people to dissipate their forces in the military struggle.

With the exception of the areas in Athens held by the British, all of Greece is now under the control of armed detachments of workers and peasants. The aims of these classes are absolutely clear. They want to rid themselves of the reactionary predatory Greek capitalists and landlords as well as the foreign imperialism that has inflicted upon them hunger, torture, misery and an unbearable political regime.

The government sought by the masses can only be a socialist government based on the expropriation of the capitalists and the introduction of a planned economy. The alternative is a puppet regime of counter-revolution resting on the bones of the Greek masses.

 


Last updated on: 4 April 2018