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Statement of the CC on the passing of H. Florakis

With deep sorrow the CC of KKE announces the death of the Honorary Chairman of the KKE comrade Harilaos Florakis, a communist whose political activity has put it’s own stamp on the heroic uphill struggle which our Party has waged for 87 years.

Comrade Harilaos passed away after leading a long and full life. He died of heart failure yesterday, Sunday the 22nd of May at 6 in the afternoon.

His whole lifelong comrade Harilaos Florakis was associated with the path taken by the KKE, which he served for all of 76 years, from a 15 year old member of the Party’s youth organization to serving as First Secretary and as General Secretary of its Central Committee. He is identified with the most important junctures of the people’s movement: the struggle of EAM (National Liberation Front) and ELAS (National People’s Liberation Army), the heroic struggle of the people against the British and the domestic bourgeois government of George Papandreou in December of 1944, the epic fight of the Democratic Army of Greece against the country’s bourgeois class and it’s Anglo-American allies. He is identified with the history of persecutions, imprisonments, and execution squads which thousands of sons and daughters of the KKE, EAM, and the Democratic Army of Greece endured.

A true man of the people, comrade Harilaos Florakis remained devoted to the interests of his own people and struggled with every means possible under all conditions.

The party activity of comrade Harilaos Florakis did not recognize “dilemmas”, only storms and great difficulties. He faced them all with courage and optimism, with his wisdom and his resourceful decisiveness as a communist who had a full appreciation of his mission and of the ferocity which characterizes the class struggle. He faced them with all his might and came out as the winner in spirit, as did so many thousands of communist men and women who did not hesitate to dedicate their lives generously so that better days would dawn.

During the Metaxas dictatorship and before it, during the years of Venizelos with their “special law”, during the Occupation and the armed struggle from 1946 to 1949, comrade Harilaos Florakis proved his many political and military qualities, there in the Pindos mountains, the land of eagles and legendary fighters, Nikos Beloyiannis, Captain Diamantis, Captain Yiotis, the men and women fighters of the Democratic Army of Greece, all of them heroes, there, where the intransigence against the class enemy went hand in hand with sensitivity towards every comrade, fellow militant and simple human being.

“Were you not afraid of death?” he was asked. “Of course we were frightened of it” he answered, “Who does not value his own life? Only a madman or someone devoid of feelings can avoid the fear of death. But what distinguishes the communist, is that he finds the strength, when it is needed to sacrifice the most valuable thing he owns overcoming his fear of death.”
Comrade Harilaos Florakis did not regret the path he had chosen and he used to reiterate that if it were possible to choose again, he would choose the same path .Because he knew that he had not been not mistaken. Because he understood that his life had been sweeter and that the essence of humanity is realized only through the struggle for social change.

In the great trial of 1960 he again breathed life into the fearless stance of the communists on trial in the past, their fierce defence of the KKE, its patriotic and internationalist contribution and its ideals, where the accused became the accusers.

Answering the charge of spying for a foreign power, along with his fellow accused comrades Roula Koukoulou, Kostas Loules, Avra Partsalidou and the rest, comrade Harilaos Florakis said in his defense, amongst other things:

“Of course Communist parties have relations with each other. A common ideology, common ideals, the friendship and fraternity of our peoples bind us. We also have a common enemy, Imperialism. This alone suffices for our solidarity. But there exist problems which we cannot face based on the ill-intended interests of one country. For example with the Cyprus issue, the British and Turkish communists opposed the views of the governments of their countries. Britain and Turkey have called them traitors, but in reality their stance was correct and patriotic, because our internationalism does not run counter to our love for our country and its interests. In 1957 the representatives of 64 communist parties gathered in Moscow and declared that the basic duty of communists is the defense of peace. Who can doubt that this is our national duty?”

“We fight and we sing”, EPON (EAM’s Youth Organization) stated during the occupation. This is what you are doing now” he said in Belgrade, during the bombing of the country by NATO and the EU. He was speaking at a rally of Yugoslavs, which the delegation of the KKE had visited in order to express its solidarity with their struggle.

The internationalist activity of comrade Harilaos Florakis was recognized and honoured by many communist parties. The following honorary distinctions stand out: the award of “the Friendship of the Peoples” presented by the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the “Karl Marx” prize from the German Democratic Republic, and the “Georgi Dimitrov” award given to him by the socialist state of Bulgaria.

From 1954 to 1966 comrade Harilaos remained in prison, since his death penalty had been converted to a sentence of life imprisonment, along with 85 other communists. They could have avoided all these hardships and deprivation if they had signed a statement renouncing the KKE and its ideology. But they preferred to endure their punishment.

His life as a “free” man lasted under a year. On 21st April, 1967 comrade Harilaos was exiled to Yiaros, then to Leros for four more years. His clandestine activity and escape abroad followed after the Party gave the order.

The title of “Historic Leader” which many are accustomed to assuming with no justification, is one that comrade Harilaos Florakis made his own. Because he showed that “the historic leader” is not someone who devotes many years to political activity, but someone who, when his life is ending, remains unbowed, having given his all to the revolutionary movement.

One of the most characteristic periods when the contribution of comrade Harilaos Florakis was highlighted was during the legalization of the KKE in 1974 after 27 years of illegality and many years without Party Organizations in Greece. Then comrade Harilaos Florakis led the KKE, a party which came to legality stripped of two generations of cadres. The first from the murderous blows of war and the persecutions that followed; the second because of the dissolution of the Party Organizations in 1958.

“We must fill this void quickly” he kept saying constantly in 1974, looking forward to the development of KNE and having faith in youth. And he never missed an opportunity to criticize the decision of 1958 to dissolve the Party Organizations to incorporate communists into EDA (Unified Democratic Left)

In these conditions comrade Harilaos Florakis achieved the quick adjustment of the Party into the new conditions and demands, uniting the old with the new, ie using the experienced militants, while being adamant in developing a new generation of KKE cadres.

It is true that the contribution of a leading cadre is not judged only on his own achievements but also, crucially, on his effort to enhance collective spirit and hand the torch over to the next generation.

When the counterrevolution started in the former socialist countries, during this process and afterwards, when the leaders of many communist parties retreated and recanted their beliefs, comrade Harilaos Florakis was one of the exceptions to the rule. He remained upright, he defended the KKE against those who plotted its dissolution with the help of bourgeois forces behind the scenes. His contribution was decisive in the so-called “broad plenary of the CC” in 1990, and at the 13th Congress of the KKE (February 1991), when the great offensive was launched to dissolve the KKE into Synaspismos; when the Party was attacked from within in the name of “renewal”, which meant the reconciliation of the KKE with the system. Comrade Harilaos could not conceive that it was possible for anything positive to happen in this country without the existence of the KKE.

Comrade Harilaos Florakis defended the contribution of the socialist system, especially of the Soviet Union, to the social rights of the people, to peace, to the struggle for a world rid of the exploitation of man by man. He knew their solidarity from firsthand experience as a political refugee, and also from their contribution to the revolutionary and national liberation movements of the peoples.

He had the unshakable conviction that socialism will come and that it iss the future of humanity, as he used to say “Capitalism exacerbates and cannot solve the problems of the people.”

Comrade Harilaos Florakis was a son of the KKE. The KKE and his own heroic struggles made him a leader respected not only by communists but also by many workers who did not identify with the ideology of our party. He was a leader of the people, because he was a communist. Only this identity could bestow on him what it did, only this could make him a leader of the people.

It is not at all accidental that in the farewell which he composed in September of 1994 and handed to the leadership of the Party, he did not refer generally to the KKE, or leave his property in general to the KKE, but rather wrote “Whatever belongings I had I have given to the Party, to the Communist Party of Greece with its well-known symbols, its Marxist-Leninist ideology, its program and its principles”

Communists, members of the KKE and KNE, supporters and friends of the Party bid farewell to comrade Harilaos on his last journey.

The CC of the KKE salutes Captain Yiotis of ELAS and the Democratic Army, who, in every circumstance, symbolized the continuity of the militant traditions of the fighters for national independence and the popular struggles which followed. He will rest in the mountains of Agrapha, from where the peoples keep alive the memory of the song and the rifle of the popular struggle.

Athens 23 of May, 2005
The Central Committee of KKE


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