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The Red Scare: The Hammer and Sickle Flying Over Greece

ATHENS – From 1947-57 it was Sen. Joseph “Better Dead than Red,” McCarthy who put the fear of having no God into Americans with his political witch hunt trying to root out Communists – or suspected Communists – from government, the arts, schools, and wherever he imagined they might be. Americans were ripe for the bait, fearing the growing Soviet Empire, the Chinese Communists and seeing what the Berlin Wall had done as the Russians carved up Europe, a gift given to them (Greece spared in exchange for the Soviets getting Poland) by the U.S. as a post-WWII gift. There was plenty to fear in what became known as the second Red Scare, the first from 1919-21 a combination of real treason, with bombings and plots to overthrow the American government, and more of the scare-mongering that politicians and bankers like to use as weapons to control people.
Greece has its own McCarthy: New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, who led his party to the curious Pyrrhic Victory of a first-place finish in the stalemated May 6 elections, but with its lowest-showing ever and unable to form a government. One more such victory in the upcoming June 17 elections that are the most critical and fateful in the country’s modern history and New Democracy will be undone. So worried is Samaras, who has never worked a day in his life and doesn’t know what the term means, is that he got on his knees and invited back former Members of Parliament he ejected for opposing the austerity measures he told them to oppose when former PASOK Socialist leader George Papandreou was Prime Minister – but which Samaras then supported when it gave him a chance to join an uneasy coalition with Papandreou’s party and a platform to seek snap elections. He got what he wanted and it nearly wiped out the remainder of his conservative forces.
Samaras even offered former Minister Dora Bakoyianni, a shameless, unprincipled opportunist, the chance to return so he could shore up his numbers and try to win outright in the next elections. But the real ace in the hole for Samaras is scaring Greeks that unless he – or a New Democracy-PASOK pro-austerity coalition – wins in June, that the country will be taken over by…Communism. Greece is surviving on a first series of $152 billion in rescue loans from the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) Troika and a pending second bailout of $173 billion more. But those come with the deep pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and planned mass firings of public workers that enraged Greeks so much that they gave 68 percent of the vote to anti-austerity parties in a failed election which couldn’t create a government.
With less than a month before the next election, the Troika, German Chancellor Angela Merkel – whose country is putting up much of the bailout funds – and the likes of Samaras and new PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos have launched an all-out assault on the anti-austerity parties, especially the surprise second-place finisher, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) led by a 37-year-old former land surveyor, Alexis Tsipras, who soared on the backs of a mantra to scrap austerity. Never mind that PASOK and New Democracy created and perpetuated the crisis with generations of packing public payrolls with hundreds of thousands of needless workers in return for votes, a crime in actual democracies. Now they want a mandate to impose another $15 billion in cuts and they have the perfect weapon to scare the beejesus out of Greeks: Communism Is Coming.
Capitalists use the fear of creeping communism to scare people and it always works, although what the bankers and the political friends they enrich really want is slaves to debt. Communists want slaves to the state and that’s what Samaras is playing on.  “SYRIZA is a motley collection of groups that range from anarchists to those who want to revive the hammer and sickle,” Samaras said. The problem for Greeks is that he’s right, and that they have a Hobson’s Choice – no choice at all. Either they bring back the frauds who destroyed their lives, or elect SYRIZA and its aligned Leftist forces and Greece is forced to leave the Eurozone, goes back to a drachma worth half a euro, collapses into bank failures, chaos, anarchy, and gives the United States another chance to back a second junta of anti-Communists who’d put tanks on the streets if they could get away with it.
The tactics are working. The Troika-New Democracy-PASOK United Capitalist Front warnings are showing in polls that have pushed New Democracy from 18.8 to 25 percent of the vote – virtually tied with SYRIZA. Samaras needs enough votes to either win outright or for New Democracy and PASOK to gain enough together to be able to control Parliament. If they succeed, they will immediately scrap their promises to try to renegotiate the Draconian measures, say their hands are tied and they have to impose more austerity and get about the business of ruining what lives people have left, their futures destroyed by the dictators they were forced to re-elect.
The ammunition they have is fear: SYRIZA, by its definition, is a radical group and Tsipras was a leader of the Communist Youth. His most likely ally, Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis – who refused to join a New Democracy-PASOK coalition after the elections because he wanted to include Tsipras and feared being branded a traitor to the Left, was a founding member of the Communist Party of Greece, the one known as Interior, to differentiate it from the cuckoo-A Stalinist-Trotskyites of KKE led by Aleka Papariga, who wants Greece out of the Eurozone, out of the European Union, and out of Europe, sliced off and pushed either next to Cuba, Red China or North Korea. So desperate was Tspiras, who could best be compared to Venezuela’s leader, Hugo “Pink Tide” Chavez, that the SYRIZA leader offered the Prime Minister’s job to Papariga in hopes of forming his own Communist coalition that would have included Kouvelis.
Thank God (something you can’t say in Communist countries and why it’s better to be a Communist in a Democracy than a Democrat in a Communist country) that Papariga, who has no solutions or answers and wants only to oppose any government, which would have included hers if she could win outright. Papariga is Hotsky to Trotysky to reduce Greece to ruins. So now Baby Hugo Tsipras finds himself caught in a firestorm, pretending to want to keep Greece in the Eurozone but without the austerity measures that are the only condition that would allow Greeks to stay alive, albeit with a lifestyle closer to Cuba than Brussels, and akin to what life was life in former Soviet Republics. What would Papariga have to offer? 1957 Chevies and free spare parts?
I recently had to go to Albania for three days. A root canal without anesthesia is more pleasant. I had already been to Warsaw, Sofia and Budapest, the capitals of other former Soviet states where the primary occupation was standing in bread lines and hoping to avoid the Secret Police. Just visit the House of Terror, a frightening basement of torture, in Budapest to know what life was like under the Communist leaders. Durres, Albania is the country’s alleged luxury resort, along the Adriatic Sea, which which Albania uses as a sewer. Albanians walk along the waterfront – past a soaring grim Soviet-style statue of a worker with his arm outstretched, probably reaching for a piece of stale bread – and don’t mind the sight or smell of a sea that is sickly grey and filled with debris and filth.
But it was their lingering mindset that was the most frightening, people whose families lived under a Communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, the Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist-Trotskyist-Maoist-Cuckooist, who ruled from 1941-85 and essentially turned his country into Europe’s North Korea, using torture and mind control to create robots. Albanians still walk around like The Walking Dead, a precursor to what life would be life in Greece if SYRIZA and the Leftists win and Greece is forced out of the Eurozone. That’s the real end game of Communism, and Tsipras, whose rap has become dangerous demagoguery, would have Greeks believe they can have it both ways. That’s the Greek Contradiction, and it’s created a Political-Economic Civil War, unlike the battles after WWII when U.S. and British-backed Loyalists defeated Communists in another of the eons-old blood feuds in which Greeks are always at each other’s throats.
But what Greeks also have to fear is not creeping Communism or bounding Socialism, but Conscienceless Capitalism, the kind that Samaras and his banker buddies in the Troika use to keep people in line because what they want is to keep people buying just enough goods to support businesses and borrow money at usurious rates from banks they can never repay. Greece’s rich – people like Samaras – don’t pay taxes and hide their money in Swiss banks and offshore accounts and they want a government that will let them keep robbing the country they pretend to love.
Venizelos’ Anti-Socialists betrayed what few principles they had just to stay in power and turned their backs on the people they pretended to support. So what choice do Greeks have on June 17? It may be, as Communism’s only real intellectual in Greece, former journalist and another anti-austerity champion, Liana Kanelli put it: “Do you want to die or be killed?” It doesn’t much matter whether it’s with a bond or a hammer and sickle.
McCarthy wasn’t brought down until a man with integrity, a tough, bow-tied Boston lawyer named Joseph Nye Welch, took him apart piece-by-piece during a Congressional hearing in 1954, where McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee was on another fishing expedition but catching only Red Herring. When McCarthy impugned Fred Fisher, a lawyer working at Welch’s firm, as belonging to a Communist-sympathizing legal guild, Welch – sitting at the same table only arm’s length from McCarthy – said, “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness …”
When McCarthy resumed his attack, Welch interrupted him. “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” It’s a question that could be put to Samaras, and Tsipras too, because decency is all that can save Greece now.

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