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New Left Review I/54, March-April 1969


J. H.

Introduction to article on Greek Communist Party

The article on the Greek Communist Party which follows first appeared in Literani Listy, the Czechoslovak weekly. It is of interest on three counts. First, it was published in Czechoslovakia during the summer of 1968. Second, it attempts to tackle historically the problem of the relationship between the left inside Greece and the exile groups which were once the leadership of the domestic movement (this is a problem common to all the three southern European countries under overt fascist régimes—Greece, Spain and Portugal—and, to a lesser extent, to West Germany). The split which surfaced among the exile groups in February 1968 was only a delayed reaction to a real movement which had been long going on subterraneously inside Greece itself. Thirdly, it evokes the rural preponderance in the Greek movement, as a historical fact. This, of course, sets the Greek movement apart from the only other movement in southern Europe which has engaged in anything like a similar struggle—the Spanish left in the late thirties—which had a powerful urban base. The two European movements which have waged successful guerrilla struggles, the Albanian and Yugoslav partisans, both based themselves on rural areas—but in specific conditions, those of a struggle against an alien occupying force in a situation of generalized warfare. At the time when the Greek left was first forming, Greece was a predominantly rural society, as evidenced by the fact that Greek cadres were trained in the Moscow University of the East, along with revolutionaries from Asia. The society is now much more highly urbanized, and much of the subsequent political radicalization has occurred in precisely these new urban areas. It is obvious that there is a significant political contradiction here.

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