Saturday, November 03, 2012

COMMUNIST CAPERS

“About astrology and palmistry: they are good because they make people vivid and full of possibilities. They are communism at its best. Everyone has a birthday and everyone has a palm.” Kurt Vonnegut.

One wonders what Lenny Bruce exactly means when he postulates that Communism is like one big phone company. If his intention is to signify that communism, like a telco, is monolithic, inscrutable, unable to be challenged (even by an Ombudsman), whose widespread reception is a national myth and whose promised roll out of [insert here alternatively, a classless society or national broadband network] is only just around the corner, if only we work harder and make vast sacrifices, (for was it not the leader himself, Vladimir Ilich who posited that Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification (and/or wireless internetification) of the country?) then he may have a case in point. For while Ho Chi Minh may have admitted that it was patriotism that drove him and not communism, and while Ernest Renan may have asked whether communism was in fact, in conflict with human nature, the final word on all things communistic must surely come from the Chairman himself, Mao Tse Tung: “Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to smash the enemy.”

Contrary to common belief, Communism has not fallen. The Soviet bloc may have crumbed, but the ideology that underpinned it, at least according to Peter Seeger, “ is no more what Russia made of it than Christianity was made of by the churches.” As such, it lurks as the menacing shadow behind capitalist street corners, the harbinger of the black out caused by an electrical shortage, to rampant consumerism’s bright day, ever ready to snatch up the red banner and wave it wildly before the bull of exploitation, hoping to stick a few darts into its rump, simultaneously dodging a few horns along the way.

From the land of Greece then, we greet the Red Dawn, particularly so from the headquarters of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), headed by the unageable and unchangeable either in personal appearance or political beliefs Aleka Papariga, of whom it is whispered that while the Soviets learned to embalm their leaders for posterity after the death, the Greek communists have learned how to mummify their leaders while they are alive, thus dispensing with the need for a succession plan. When the KKE, which holds a sizeable thirteen of three hundred seats in the Greek House of Babblement, is not campaigning for social justice and an end to inequality, it has indulged in a vast gamut of diverse and interesting activities in the past, such as advocating that Macedonia and Thrace form an independent socialist nation, recognising the existence of a ‘Macedonian ethnicity,’ and that those fighting Hitler should not be aided because they were indulging in an: "...imperialistic war that the people of any of the countries involved should not participate in...". C. M Woodhouse, a British Intelligence officer stationed in Greece during WWII, wrote that on 18 March, when the Germans were moving unopposed into Bulgaria, the KKE advised Greeks to follow the example of "the heroic fraternal people of Bulgaria.” After the conclusion of that war, its partisans refused to disarm, determined not to take part in the democratic process to establish a new government and instead, aided by the Yugoslav Communist Tito (apparently they were unaware or chose to ignore the fact that Stalin had decided to keep Greece within the British sphere of influence) attempted a violent take-over of the war-ravaged nation that plunged it into misery and killed hundreds of thousands of its people. As older Greeks here in Melbourne who were eyewitnesses to the carnage can testify, some of the KKE affiliated army captains, such the contemptible psychotic killer Aris Velouhiotis tortured terrified villagers for pleasure. Today, in the interests of national reconciliation, his statue disgraces many a village square, for three reasons – 1. To prevent people criticising the KKE, 2. As a totem and talisman against the horribly evil King and his coterie of dictatorial colonels ever returning to Greece and 3. because a hitherto large and now merely ill informed section of the Greek populace at large, is still sentimentally attached to an ideology that has wreaked ecological, economic, social and spiritual devastation in every single country it has ever blighted.

Just when one could have been forgiven for thinking that the KKE, fresh from deriving groundbreaking and thoroughly radical methods of extricating Greece from the quagmire it has found itself in as a result of the corruption of Socialist and Conservative governments, such as, well going on strike and hoping the whole nightmare will all go away, new evidence of fresh beneficial KKE activity has been found, this time down under and for the benefit of us unemancipated and capitalistically exploited Aussie -Greeks.

During his triumphal visit of local KKE bastions in Australia (yes, G…reds under the bed definitely do exist, in the guise of local “friends of KKE” organisations, prompting one to think if there are any friends of Australian Labor, the Greens or the Liberals among expatriate Australians living in Greece), member of the KKE Central Committee Comrade George Marinos saw fit to ‘suspend’ the operation of the Sydney branch of the friends of KKE. And why, gentle reader did a member of a Greek political party suspend an Australian organisation? Simply because the Sydney branch of the friends of KKE voted in favour of the rapprochement of the Greek Community of Sydney with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia (as did 80% of the members of the Sydney community), thus healing a rift that has existed for generations.

The Sydney KKEites’ democratically arrived at decision was at variance with that of the Greek Communist Party, which believes that it is far more qualified to know what is best for the Greeks of Sydney, than the members of the Greek Australian community itself. According to the Greek Communist Party’s visiting potentate Comrade Marinos: “The KKE does not agree with the rapprochement… We have explained this clearly and whoever maintains that he is a friend of the KKE and did not take our position into account, must be held responsible for this.” As a result, dissenters must be punished.

Two horrifyingly ludicrous and yet disturbing questions arise out of this farcical blast from a Stalinist past. Firstly, are we to assume that the ideologically bankrupt KKE, having given up any semblance of trying to make Marxist dialectics relevant to the almost insurmountable challenges of modern Greek society and knowing full well that nothing in its bag of doctrinal tricks and slogans can offer any constructive solutions to the current crisis, has decided to jump ship and transplant itself within the Greek community in Australia? Are therefore to expect further visits and further interference in our community affairs by Greek communists? And will our local organisations, incorporated and formed according to State or Federal laws be expected to subject all their doings to the scrutiny of the newly formed Gr-comintern?

Secondly, and most importantly, now that we are witnessing the KKE openly “punishing” one of its “friendly” organisations for not towing the party line, on an issue that it has absolutely no business in proffering an opinion, are we to conclude that the KKE has in fact been behind the strife between the Archdiocese and the Sydney Community and a major factor in unnecessarily prolonging it? Further, in relation to similar conflicts that historically have polarised the Greek community in Australia, sapping its vitality, re-directing its energy into useless arguments and alienating a vast section of its youth, we now need to examine the extent of the nefarious role the KKE may have played in the past in creating and prolonging such internecine strife, to the detriment of all. It appears it has learned nothing from the past, seeking to maliciously indulge in similar mischievous and pointless machinations, solely to disrupt a community that has made immense sacrifices and compromises, in order to heal, re-group and consolidate in order to meet the challenges facing future Greek-Australian generations. This is something in which the ossified KKE is incapable of offering guidance.

Greek political parties, regardless of where they reside upon the political spectrum have absolutely no right to interfere in the affairs of the Greek Australian community. Where they have done so, it has never been for the benefit of our community. Unfortunately, a number of local community ‘leaders’ or ‘aspirants’ find validation and self-esteem in their contacts with Greek politicians and the ‘endorsement’ of their parties. What they don’t know, or if they do, they should be execrated for it, is that they are merely being used as pawns in a wider political game, aimed at attacking opposition parties who also attempt to have ‘influence’ over their Greek-Australian sympathisers. As a result, and we have seen it happen with some of our largest community organisations, our groups become riven with factions, beset by strife and they are no longer open or inclusive, leading to alienation and stagnation.

Here in Melbourne, we have managed to emerge from just such a period of stagnation and alienation to find that we need harmony and a plurality of ideas and voices if we are going to be relevant within the broader context, as a community of Greek Australians. Our community leaders must resist any further attempts of subordination or subversion by the morally bankrupt Greek political scene. As for the KKE, whose recent activities here in Australia are contemptible as they inexcusable, these words of wisdom by Adlai Stevenson: “Communism is the corruption of a dream of justice.”

DEAN KALIMNIOU

First published in NKEE on Saturday 3 November 2012

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