Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Allow the free repatriation of the Slav-Macedonian political refugees and their families

The social-democratic leadership of “K”KE: militant vanguard and standard-bearer of the nationalist reaction

During the past few weeks, Greek mass media have focused on the letters sent to the Karamanlis government and the international organizations by the ultra-reactionary and nationalist Gruevski – a puppet of American imperialism. However, two very important issues are being systematically hushed up:

1. The fact that the Slav-Macedonian political refugees and their families are forbidden to return to their homeland

2. The denial of the existence of a local Slav-Macedonian population in the Western part of Greek Macedonia

Towards both of the above issues, the reactionary bourgeois class and its parties – the nazi-fascist LAOS, the monarchist-fascist ND, PASOK and the social-democratic parties (“K”KE, SYN) – maintain a hostile attitude adhering to a chauvinist policy that often culminates in nationalistic outbursts.
Of course, the revolutionary Marxists know very well that nationalism, religion and minorities are utilized by the great imperialist powers in order to steer trouble in smaller countries; therefore, they are adamantly against such efforts and decisively fight them without any vacillations. But they are also aware of the fascist and repressing policy of the reactionary bourgeois class towards the minorities; a repression that, on one hand, precipitates their natural resistance – supported by the communists without any reservations actively standing by their side – and on the other hand “drives” these minorities to seek for unlikely protectors among the various imperialist powers. Such an attitude is a disgrace in the history of their struggle and the communists must condemn it; the reception of the NATO imperialists by the Kosovar Albanians and the Anglo-American troops by the Iraqi Kurds as saviors and liberators are some of the latest cases.
All this, of course, by no means allow to deny the reality, in other words, to declare minorities as non-existent, a practice followed by the Greek bourgeois class and its parties including “K”KE and the social-democratic leadership of Florakis-Papariga (“there is no Slav-Macedonian minority for KKE”, “Rizospastis” 16/9/1988, p.3).

A. Allow the free repatriation of the Slav-Macedonian political refugees and their families.

As it is known, the issue of the free and unconditional repatriation of the political refugees was resolved as late as 1982, 35 years after the end of the Civil War, with a joint decision from the Ministries of Interior and Public Security. This decision mentions, among others, that “only those of Greek origin (our italics) who fled abroad as political refugees during the Civil War, 1946-1949, can return to Greece even if they have been deprived of the Greek nationality”. It is obvious that formulation “of Greek origin” excludes the Slav-Macedonian political refugees, that is to say, they are not permitted to “to return to Greece”: they are forbidden to come back to the place where they were born, grew up and lived, the place for which they spilled their blood for its liberation by the invaders when the country was under the Nazi-fascist occupation. It was a crime of massive scale, without precedent in the history of the country, that has been committed by the reactionary bourgeois class against thousands Slav-Macedonian political refugees and their families.

Through this decision, the bourgeois class took – and is taking – the most brutal revenge on the Slav-Macedonians; more brutal than cutting off partisans’ heads and showing them in common view during the Civil War: it forbids them to return to the place where they were born grew up and lived; the place for which they fought under arms, sacrificing everything, against the German, Italian and Bulgarian invaders, with a view to see their country liberated from monarchism-fascism, Anglo-American imperialist dependence and capitalist oppression and exploitation.

Apparently, the reactionary bourgeois class hates the Slav-Macedonians because of their anti-fascist struggle against the foreign invaders (Germans, Italians and Bulgarians) whereas she collaborated with them. She hates them even more because of their struggle in the ranks of the Democratic Army of Greece (DAG), in 1946-1949, against herself, monarchism-fascism and Anglo-American imperialism.

In relation to the above– unacceptable from every point of view – decision a fundamental and well-timed question is raised: is the decision to forbid the repatriation of the Slav-Macedonian political refugees an act of only the bourgeois government of PASOK or of all parties that serve the reactionary bourgeois class, that is, act of an “inter-party” consensus? It is the second as it is shown below.

In connection to this issue, the honorary president of the monarchist-fascist party ND, K. Mitsotakis, is most revealing. In the foreword of the book “In the name of Macedonia” by Th. Skylakakis, he writes the following: “the citizens of Slavic consciousness (sic) who had fought together with the communists left after the end of the Civil War” and he informs us that “all the Greek parties (including the orthodox Communist Party) have agreed (our italics) that they are not going to return”.

Following this, he discloses that the issue of the Slav-Macedonian refugees had been discussed amongst all the parties since the time of the military junta’s regime having agreed not to permit the return of the Slav-Macedonian refugees to Greece: “during the military dictatorship, when I was in close collaboration with K. Karamanlis, I had discussed the issue with the Greek left and we had agreed that after the fall of the junta there was going to follow the legalization of “K”KE and the return of all the political refugees except (our italics) the Slav-Slav-Macedonians (sic)”

Having written what is above, Mitsotakis reveals that there was already since the time of the junta regime a SECRET inter-party agreement among the bourgeois politicians and the “K”KE leadership not to allow the return of the Slav-Macedonian political refugees to Greece.
Besides this most revealing disclosure by Mitsotakis, the existence of an AGREEMENT is confirmed also by the following:

First, the leadership of “K”KE never denied this particular disclosure, confession made by K. Mitsotakis.

Second, the leadership of “K”KE never vigorously protested about this grave crime committed against the Slav-Macedonian political refugees. Its “reaction” was lukewarm, at best; a demagogic, a show of reaction just enough to avoid the political cost and cover up its treason.

Third, never, until today, did they fight for the return the Slav-Macedonian political refugees and systematically avoid dealing with the issue.

Fourth, never did raise this question in the parliament.

Fifth, they did not raise it even when “K”KE participated in the reactionary Jannis Janetakis government allying with the monarchist-fascist party of ND and in the all-party government of X. Zolotas.

Sixth, the political refugees’ organizations attached to all parties (PASOK, “K”KE, SYN) did not even raise the question of the return of the Slav-Macedonian political refugees to Greece let alone fight for it.

Seventh, not only was the return of the Slav-Macedonian political refugees to Greece forbidden but the Janetakis government exempted them from the benefits of the so-called “national reconciliation” and the “final removal of the consequences of the civil war”. The only statement that H. Florakis made (for demagogic purposes), at the same period, was that the formulation in the 1982 decision deprives a certain number of Greek refugees of the right to repatriate because they have “a different origin” without daring to mention even the word “Slav-Macedonians” since according to him and his friend Mitsotakis, “there is no Slav-Macedonian minority”.

Eighth, the social–democratic leadership of “K”KE not only betrayed the Slav-Macedonian political refugees by concluding an agreement with the reactionary bourgeois politicians so that they will not return to their place but reached a point of no return: the denial of the existence of Slav-Macedonians in the western part of Greek Macedonia: “for KKE there is no Slav-Macedonian minority” (Florakis’ statement published in “R” on 16/9/1988). Such shameful and treacherous statement was, quite justifiably, praised by the whole reaction.

The above statement first confirms that the existence of an agreement between the bourgeois politicians and the social–democratic leadership of “K”KE as to forbid the return of Slav-Macedonian political refugees to Greece and second goes much further: it adopts the crude bourgeois lie that there no Slav-Macedonians today in the western part of Greek Macedonia, aligning thus with the nationalist reaction.

Given the double treason on behalf of the social–democratic leadership of “K”KE, i.e. a) the agreement with the bourgeois parties as to ban the return of Slav-Macedonian political refugees, b) the denial of the existence of a Slav-Macedonian minority in the western part of Greek Macedonia, “Rizospastis” has the unbelievable insolence to manipulate the name of the heroine Slav-Macedonian teacher Mirka Ginova, a member of the Stalinist KKE 1918-1955, who was executed by the monarchist-fascists on the 26th of July 1946, in a demagogic piece with the title “Mirka, do you hear them?” (“Rizospastis”, 20/4/2008, p. 15). This was done allegedly in order to “refute” the “Rainbow” party which claims to defend the national and cultural rights of the Slav-Macedonians living in Greece. This organization the only thing that really knows is to look for new “bosses” and imperialists-“protectors” like the US General Consulate inThessaloniki Blandford, with whom representatives of the “Rainbow” party has a meeting in late August 1992.

But had Mirka survived the war and also ended up as a political refugee, she would not have been able to come back to her birthplace and she would have died in a faraway country like thousands of other Slav-Macedonians including leading members of DAG such as Dimitris Prikos (brigade commander) and, recently, Pantelis Vainas (division commander).

B. The existence of Slav-Macedonians in the Western part of Greek Macedonia.

Although the monarchist-fascist reaction in Greece, before 1945-46, was compelled to partly accept the existence of a few thousands of Slav-Macedonians, who were subjected to the most brutal suppression, the official estimate of their number was always much smaller – about a factor of 2/3 – than the actual one. Since 1950 onwards, their existence has been, one or way or the other, doubted and today it is denied altogether. This myth is being propagated by all bourgeois parties: ND, LAOS, PASOK, “K”KE while SYN avoids to express a clear opinion.
In July of 1945, an article in “Rizospastis” with the title “The truth about Slav-Macedonians”, in reply to the claims made by the then assistant Press Secretary, D. Zakinthinos, that, allegedly, there was no “national minority” and that “the people who speak the Slav-Macedonian idiom” are not more than 82,000, estimated that “145—150,000 are Slav-Macedonians” (“Rizospastis”, 8/7/1945). In the following January, in an article with the title “The barbarous persecution of the Slav-Macedonians” (“Rizospastis”, 13/1/1946), S. Grigoriades estimated them to be about 180,000, while the “People’s Voice” (12/4/1946), organ of the Slav-Macedonian Bureau of the Central Committee of KKE, estimated them at 180,000-200,000.

During the second partisan struggle (1946-1949), thousands of Slav-Macedonians decisively joined the DAG and heroically fought against monarchism-fascism and the Anglo-American imperialism and this fact augmented the reaction’s class hatred of them, a hatred that has not died out until nowadays. A part of the survivors fled to the People’s Republics, another ended up in jails and exile while the rest continued living in their places.

The fascist, repressive and fascist policy of the monarchist-fascist governments towards the Slav-Macedonians is briefly described by our party, KKE, headed by N. Zachariades: “the national minorities, and first of all the Slav-Macedonians, are subjected to an annihilating persecution. Abolition of the right to be called Slav-Macedonians, prohibition of using their native language, deprivation of the most basic national rights, forceful de-nationalization, humiliations, degradations, imprisonments, exiles, assassinations, steering of chauvinism and racial hatred – this is the policy of the monarchist-fascist governments towards the Slav-Macedonians culminating in the barbarous uprooting pursued by Papagos on the basis of the Law no. 2536 of 4/8/1953 “On the re-colonization of the border areas” with the aim of national and physical extermination of the Slav-Macedonian people” (“Draft Programme of KKE”, March 1954, p. 55).

A completely different situation was experienced by the Slav-Macedonians in the People’s Republics. Besides their deliverance from exploitation, secured employment, insurance, free medical treatment, free education etc, they could learn their native language and the party saw to the printing of primers and other books in Slav-Macedonian for the different grades of primary school: “considerable work has been done in the field of our own national matters. The potential for our national development is secured. The majority of the Macedonians learned to read and write in Slav-Macedonian. We have schools teaching the Slav-Macedonian language. In all countries where Slav-Macedonians live, there is a special supplement in Slav-Macedonian in the newspapers issued by the political refugees. For the further development of our language and the satisfaction of our needs, a Slav-Macedonian publishing house was established producing 60,000 copies of various books and planning to publish 4,000 pages within 1952. This happens for the first time in our history. Moreover, cultural work has commenced among the Slav-Macedonians in all countries (songs, dances, theatres etc)” (“Introductory speech by P. Vainas in the 1st Congress of the ILINDEN organization”, April 1952).

The last official census, in 1951, that reports “around 40,000 Slavic speakers” (K. Tsitselikis, D. Hristopoulos: “The phenomenon of minorities in Greece”, p. 376, Athens 1997) is obviously unreliable because this number is intentionally decreased compared to the real one. The secret estimates made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs according to which the number of Slav-Macedonians, referred as “slav-speaking”, is about 130-150,000. This estimate is close to earlier estimates made by “Rizospastis” in 1945-46.

After the fall of the military dictatorship, however, the bourgeois class completely denied the existence of a Slav-Macedonian minority: “it is certain, that after 1950, such a minority does not exist in our country” (Th. Skylakakis, “In the name of Macedonia”, Athens 1995), arbitrarily crossing off even the “around 40,000 Slavic speakers” reported in the 1951 census.

The reason for not recognizing the existence of a Slav-Macedonian minority was, according to Mitsotakis, “to prevent the occurrence of a second minority problem in the region of Western Macedonia” (Th. Skylakakis, “In the name of Macedonia”, Athens 1995). And in order for this not to happen, the Slav-Macedonians in the Western part of Greek Macedonia are made disappear as if by magic, first by Mitsotakis and then by the social-democrat Florakis.
But before the adoption of this bourgeois myth by the Florakis-Papariga group, it is known that the Khruschevian leadership of the “K”KE after 1956 accepted the existence of a Slav-Macedonian minority: “the 7th Plenum once again declares that, through the struggle for the rights of the national minorities and having as a premise the situation arisen in Greece and in the Balkans, KKE fights for the equality of the Slav-Macedonians that reside in Greece” (“Neos Kosmos, 3/1957).

However, in 1988, thirty years after the “7th Plenum” of “K”KE, the “SlavSlav-Macedonians” disappear: “there is no Slav-Macedonian minority for KKE” (16/9/1988) – a shameful and treacherous statement that rightfully gained a enthusiastic reception by the nationalist, monarchist-fascist reaction.

Since then, and in every opportune moment, Papariga repeats the same statement. On April 2008 she entered a new stage: she joined the militant vanguard of the nationalist reaction outdoing the nazi-fascist LAOS, the monarchist-fascist party of ND, the PASOK nationalists, the priests and others. She raised the banner of the reactionary bourgeois nationalism in the Parliament about the “non-existent” minorities in Greece, she issues warnings and she carried it inside the European parliament: the “K”KE MPs sent an “open letter” to the president of the parliament, the heads of all Political Groups and to all other MPs urging them not to “raise the issue of a Slav-Macedonian minority in Greece” (“Rizospastis”, 12/4/2008) – a nationalist campaign, of course in the name of the imperialist threats against the country, which was carried out throughout April with full-page articles in “Rizospastis” and resumed every now and then.
All this explains why the social-democratic leadership of “K”KE stopped maintaining that there is a Slav-Macedonian minority in Greece and why it came into an agreement with bourgeois politicians as to forbid the return of the Slav-Macedonian political refugees to their homes: the latter, the former partisans of ELAS and DAG, were apparently “transformed” into “agents” of imperialism posing a “threat” to Greece.

Movement for the Reorganization of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-55
August 2008

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