You are here

The Guardian, Greece and a 'Marshall Plan'

Yesterday's Guardian published an article by Larry Elliot on the Greek crisis and the original Marshall Plan which describes the speech made at Harvard by General George Marshall in 1947.

"In the days to come, the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, will be arguing that was good for Germany in 1953 would be good for Greece in 2015."

Here's part of the 1947 speech at Harvard:

"Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Such assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a piecemeal basis as various crises develop. Any assistance that this Government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a mere palliative. Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full co-operation I am sure, on the part of the United States Government. Any government which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries cannot expect help from us. Furthermore, governments, political parties, or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States."

The paragraph above was included at the beginning of our own 'Marshall Plan' proposal which was delivered to Ukraine's government sixty years later in 2007.

The primary focus of this Marshall Plan were as stated:

'This is a long-term permanently sustainable program, the basis for "people-centered" economic development. Core focus is always on people and their needs, with neediest people having first priority – as contrasted with the eternal chase for financial profit and numbers where people, social benefit, and human well-being are often and routinely overlooked or ignored altogether. This is in keeping with the fundamental objectives of Marshall Plan: policy aimed at hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. This is a bottom-up approach, starting with Ukraine's poorest and most desperate citizens, rather than a "top-down" approach that might not ever benefit them. They cannot wait, particularly children. Impedance by anyone or any group of people constitutes precisely what the original Marshall Plan was dedicated to opposing. Those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, must be helped first -- not secondarily, along the way or by the way. '

From the start , when first published in 2007, it was under threat of being stolen. in his notes founder Terry Hallman wrote:

“As the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan came around in June 2007, noise was emerging within Ukraine of a certain political boss preparing a Marshall Plan for Ukraine.  This person was a reputed mob boss — exactly the sort of entity that the original Marshall Plan meant to oppose.  It seemed most likely that whatever he came up with would be self-serving, hijacking the label ‘Marshall Plan’ and turning the whole notion on its head.  I reviewed the original Marshall Plan and realized that what I had written was, in fact, the definition and spirit of the original Marshall Plan.  Thus, in June 2007, I appended the original title with “A Marshall Plan for Ukraine.”  After some discussion among trusted colleagues over timing, I published an abbreviated version of the paper in two parts in August 2007 in the ‘analytics’ section of the Ukrainian news journal”

With this plan now at risk of hijack in the guise of crowdsourcing,, by a group which included an oligarch and three members of thre House of Lords, I wrote to one of those who was approached at the time, underlining the point about those who profit from human misery.

Open letter to Lord Risby