Communist Party of Greece

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Communist Party of Greece


(CPG, Kommunistikon Komma tes Hellados), founded on Nov, 17, 1918, during an upswing in the country’s revolutionary movement caused by the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. Until 1920 it was called the Socialist Labor Party of Greece (SLPG); after the Second Congress (April 1920), which approved the party’s membership in the Comintern, it was known as the SLPG (Communist). The Third Extraordinary Congress, held in 1924, renamed the party the Communist Party of Greece. A factional struggle within the leadership between 1929 and 1931 resulted in an intraparty crisis, which was overcome with the aid of the Comintern (address of the Executive Committee of the Comintern to the CPG in November 1931). The sixth plenum of the Central Committee of the CPG (January 1934) elaborated party strategy and tactics with the help of the Comintern and proclaimed that the impending revolution in Greece would be a bourgeois democratic one and that it would rapidly develop into a socialist revolution. When General J. Metaxas established an openly fascist dictatorship in Greece in August 1936, the CPG was outlawed.

During World War II (1939–45) the CPG took the initiative in creating the National Liberation Front (EAM) in September 1941 and the People’s Liberation Army (ELAS) in December 1941. In March 1944 the EAM formed the Political Committee of National Liberation. Numbering 435,000 members in October 1944, the CPG led the heroic struggle of the Greek people, which laid the foundation for popular-democratic rule in the country. The process was interrupted, however, by the armed intervention of British imperialists in December 1944. The antidemocratic forces that came to power in Greece supported by British bayonets established a regime of terror, setting the country on the road to civil war. Having incorrectly analyzed the situation and having failed to use all the opportunities for peaceful struggle, the leadership of the CPG allowed itself to be drawn into a civil war. The Democratic Army of Greece, created in October 1946, waged a just struggle against domestic reaction, against the interference of British and American imperialism in Greek affairs, and for national independence, democracy, and social progress. In December 1947 the CPG was again outlawed, 40,000 Communists were imprisoned, and tens of thousands emigrated.

After the civil war ended in September 1949, the party began to concentrate on organizing the economic and political struggle of all the strata of the working people. Nevertheless, the leadership of the CPG was unable to evaluate the changes in the country correctly and to elaborate a precise party program. It pursued an ultraleft, sectarian policy, introduced the cult of personality of N. Zachariades, the general secretary, and violated Leninist party principles. The sixth enlarged plenum of the Central Committee and of the Central Control Commission, held in March 1956, analyzed past errors and their causes, restored Leninist principles in the party’s work, and elected a new leadership of the CPG. The Bureau of the Central Committee, formed at that time, was the provisional governing body until February 1957. The Eighth Congress of the CPG, held in 1961, summed up the experience of the revolutionary movement in Greece over a 20-year period (1941–61) and adopted a new party program. After the establishment of a military dictatorship on Apr. 21, 1967, the CPG led the struggle to consolidate all antidictatorial forces into a united front and to overthrow the regime.

The Ninth Congress of the CPG (1974) critically analyzed the party’s activities over the previous 12 years, removed factional elements from the party, and approved a new program under which Greece would achieve socialism through a unified revolutionary process consisting of two stages of revolutionary transformation—a democratic, antimonopolist, and anti-imperialist stage and a socialist stage. After the fall of the military dictatorship on Sept. 23, 1974, the CPG was legalized. In the parliamentary elections held on Nov. 17, 1974, five CPG deputies were elected. The CPG advocates the establishment of a new democracy in Greece that will bring to power democratic and anti-imperialist forces.

Delegations of the CPG attended the International Conferences of the Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow in 1957, 1960, and 1969. The CPG approved the documents adopted at these conferences.

In accordance with the rules adopted in 1961, the CPG is organized along the principles of democratic centralism. The highest body is the party Congress; between congresses the work of the party is directed by the Central Committee. The executive bodies are the Politburo and Secretariat of the Central Committee. A. Grozos is the chairman and C. Phlorakes first secretary of the Central Committee of the CPG. The central organ is the newspaper Rizospastis and the theoretical organ is the journal Kommunistiki epitheorisi. (See Table 1 for a list of the congresses of the CPG.)

Table 1. Congresses of the Communist Party of Greece
1Held illegally
First ...............PiraeusNovember 1918
Second ...............AthensApril 1920
Extraordinary Preelection ...............AthensSeptember 1920
Extraordinary ...............AthensOctober 1922
Extraordinary Preelection ...............AthensSeptember 1923
Third (Extraordinary) ...............AthensNov. 26–Dec. 3, 1924
Third (Regular) ...............AthensMarch 1927
Fourth ...............AthensDecember 1928
Fifth ...............AthensMarch 1934
Sixth ...............AthensDecember 1935
Seventh ...............AthensOctober 1945
Eighth ...............1August 1961
Ninth ...............1February 1974


VIII s ”ezd Kommunisticheskoi partii Gretsii. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Greek.)
IX s”ezd Kommunisticheskoi partii Gretsii. Moscow, 1975. (Translated from Greek.)

K. A. SHEMENKOV [12–1588–1; updated]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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