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Brief history

The Communist Party of Greece was founded in November 1918, as working class consciousness grew and the revolutionary theory of Marxism- Leninism spreader in our country, With only short periods of legal operation, KKE was from that time on until September 1974 banned and forced to work under conditions of clandestinity. Expressing the historical tasks of working class and other strata of working people, KKE has set the revolutionary transformation of Greek society through the elimination of capitalism and the building of socialism and communism as its ultimate goal.

Continuing the fight to implement the objectives of the national liberation revolution of 1821 and of the progressive democratic movement of the early 20th century, KKE has constantly been in the forefront of the struggles for democracy, national independence, peace and social progress. Conveying the ideals of working class along with the aspirations and the interests of the working people, KKE has, from the very time it was founded, organized and guided their struggles to enhance democratic liberties and their liberation from all exploitation and oppression.

After a fascist dictatorship was established under general Metaxas in 1936, Greek Communists were imprisoned or exiled to barren islands, but when Mussolini attacked the country in 1940 they - with the Greek people - voiced a resounding «NO» to the invaders and fought in the front lines to stop them. Greece was then occupied by Hitler’s Nazi troops in the spring of 1941, and KKE became the mainstay of the National Resistance, organizing and leading it with EAM and ELAS, which represented the overwhelming majority of the Greek people, providing a beaconof hope for a better and more just future.

The end of the Second World War meant further turmoil and struggle in Greece, with internal reaction and the British military intervention, succeeded by that of US imperialism (1946-1949). Thousands of fighters resorted to the mountains persecuted by the army and bands formed of collaborators of the Occupation and other anticommunist elements.

On the 28th of October 1946 the Democratic army of Greece was formed. DSE struggle emerged and developed as a result of the heightening of the class struggle in Greece. It was a just, anti-imperialist internationalist struggle. It expressed unfulfilled people’s dreams and turned against the coordinated attack of bourgeois parties on EAM movement and KKE. It was a struggle for power in Greece. The highest moment of class struggle in Greece against the allies of the domestic bourgeoisie, the Anglo-American military, political and economic power, the cold war “Marshal plan” and “Truman dogma”.

After scoring an important victory in December 1944, these forces attempted to change the correlation of forces, which did not content bourgeoisie, despite the Varkiza agreement that led to the disarming of ELAS. This was attempted through a terrorist assault against KKE and EAM and the enforcement of bourgeois repressive mechanisms financed by the USA.

The DSE was in every sense a democratic people’s army. Assemblies were held at the level of platoons. Political education was carried out systematically by the political officers assigned to every unit. Women played a significant role in the struggle making up to the 30% of the DSE’s fighting strength, and 70% of the medical and other support personnel. A medical service was established with training schools and hospitals. 125 health workers were trained.

During 1946-1949 the terror intensified which culminated on the 17th of June when the Greek parliament voted through “emergency measures” which effectively abolished individual and political rights and established martial law.
The countryside was cleared to deprive the DSE of support and recruits an estimated 700,000 people were driven away from their villages and became internal refugees in the towns and cities. The network of prison islands and concentration camps was extended, suspected leftists, their families, leftwing soldiers (it is estimated that between 1947-50 28,800 were sent to prison camps) were sent to these notorious dungeons, Makronissos, Yioura etc. Every form of torture and degradation was inflicted on those unfortunate to find themselves there.

After the Americans took over responsibility for managing Greece from the British with the Truman Doctrine, the range and amount of military help available to the Greek government increased dramatically. What is little known is that Napalm, used so devastatingly in Vietnam, was first used in Greece. In the battles on the mountains Grammos-Vitsi in 1949 388 Napalm bombs were used.

The number of people killed in the Civil war was close to 150,000. According to the official data of the General Staff of the Greek army, 38,839 DAD partisans were killed or wounded, 20,128 taken captive. The casualties of the governmental army numbered 55,528 according to the official data.

More than 65,000 communists and other fighters and supporters of EAM and DSE were forced to leave Greece and seek refuge in the Socialist countries (around 20,000 of them were deprived of their citizenship), 40,000 were sent to the prisons and concentration camps such as Makronnissos. The executions of resistance fighters continued until 1955 (at least 5000 were executed including the famous case of Nikos Belogiannis member of the PB of the KKE). The monarchy was re-established along with a reactionary regime notable for its subservience to Anglo-American imperialism, its repression of the left, economic mismanagement, its political and cultural bankruptcy.

Solidarity was raised by progressive forces all over the world in the face of this mass extermination campaign, as in the famous case of Nikos Belogiannis, a KKE leader arrested and executed in 1952. KKE came out against the transformation of the country into a military base of the USA and NATO, against the dispatch of Greek troops to fight in the Korean War and against nuclear weapons. It was in favor of cooperation in the Balkans but against Greek accession to the European Economic Community (now the European Union).

KKE stood in the forefront of the struggle against the US-imposed junta of the Colonels that came to power by coup d’etat on April 21, 1967, while at the same time dealing successfully with the revisionist faction that split from the party in 1968 under the name Communist Party of the Interior. Throughout this period of resistance to the military dictatorship (1967-1974), KKE played a decisive role in mobilizing the people, youth and students culminating in the November 1973 uprising at the National Technical University of Athens, which accelerated the fall of the junta in July, 1974.

In the post-dictatorship period the bourgeois parliamentary system was restore, and KKE was in vanguard of efforts to establish national independence, democracy and social justice.

In 1989, KKE took an initiative to set up alliance of political parties and public figures under the name «Coalition of the Left and Progress» (Synaspismos). But KKE withdrew from this alliance after an attempt was made by a faction of leading KKE cadres to dissolve the Party in the aftermath of the overthrow of the socialist system in Europe. These former cadres are active today in a new party called «Coalition» (Synaspismos), a false title they usurped after the original «Coalition» was disbanded in 1991.

The Party successfully dealt with this attempt to dissolve it from within and today stands strong and steadfast, a rallying point for all progressive people in our country. It maintains a strong presence in local government, trade unions, agricultural associations, students’ movements in secondary schools, technical colleges and universities and in the youth movement in general through the activity of the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE).

KKE was sole party in Greece to oppose the Maastricht Treaty and the enlargement of the EU, which it considers to be a union of European capital under the sway of three or four large powers, with Germany playing the leading role. The party is diametrically opposed to our country’s productive base being dismantled and to harsh austerity and unemployment, all of which are policies implemented over the years by two alternating ruling parties, PASOK and New Democracy.

KKE stands in solidarity with the Cypriot people in their struggle for just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, which the Party sees as being an international one, with a part independent UN member state (Cyprus) being invaded and occupied by another (Turkey). The problem must, thus, be addressed in the context of international law and the pertinent UN resolutions, rather than in that of the so-called «common foreign policy» of the EU or of the US «New World Order». KKE supports equitable and mutually beneficial relations being maintained with all countries. As regards the Balkans and the Mediterranean in particular, the party demands that imperialist intervention and NATO expansion be stopped.

KKE is in favor of a direct dialogue with all neighboring countries where problems have arisen, such as Albania, FYROM and Turkey (with which most of the differences constitute intra-NATO problems), within the framework provided by the UN. The Party demands that the Greek government cancel our country’s participation in the multinational NATO force in Bosnia-Herzegovina, close down the US-NATO bases in Greece - particularly the AWACS base at Cape Aktion and to abort the plans to create new NATO headquarters on Greek territories and a NATO Rapid Intervention Force stationed in our country.

Though its political presence and activity, KKE is striving to make it clear to the Greek people that the negative path followed by our country to date is reversible, that a positive political solution for the working people of Greece can be found and implemented. KKE estimates that the process of rallying the most vanguard forces of the people can and must continue. Through KKE policy and mass action, the communists of Greece are working to consolidate an anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly movement led by the working class, conscious of its mission to bring about radical change on all levels.

Following the internal party crisis and the split, the majority of the Central Committee (CC) that was elected at the 13th Congress led the Party to its 14th Congress (December 1991), which put forward the duty of rebuilding the party. The Congress specified the need to reverse the negative situation in which the KKE was. This situation was characterized by a reduction in membership, ideological, political and organizational disorganization with particularly severe consequences for the Communist Youth (KNE). The contribution of that Congress was to restore the ideological and political character of the Party.

The 15th Congress (1996) was a decisive turn-point, where the new Program and Constitution of the Party were developed and the political proposal for the establishment of the Anti-imperialist, Anti-Monopoly Democratic Front (AADF) was adopted. It demonstrated the character of our era, as well as the character of the revolution as a socialist one. At the 15th Congress, the foundations were laid for the strategy of the Party, on the basis of the systematic study of developments and changes in international and Greek reality. It reflected the effort to utilize, to some extent, the experience drawn from the struggle for socialism and its construction in the 20th century.

The 16th Congress (2000) developed further the programmatic directions and goals of the AADF. It went into the greatest possible analysis, under today's conditions, of the general characteristics of the people's rule and the people's economy.

The 17th Congress will not be limited exclusively to an assessment of the Party and CC activities since the previous Congress. It is necessary to generalize the experience of the reorganization that began at the 14th Congress and continued in the following years. To take a brave step towards the full-fledged strengthening of the Party, ideological, political, organizational. The discussion must not be limited to the positive aspects of the KKE. Our main interest is that the members of the Party, its friends, supporters and associates, help in bringing forth and studying, at a deeper level, the subjective deficiencies and weaknesses; to reveal what must be corrected and improved.

The course of rebuilding of the KKE and its rising course in the recent years, and even more after the 16th Congress, are irrefutable proof of the vitality of communist ideas.

The efforts of the enemy to marginalize the Party and deprive it of the stature it has earned in its historic course, have not borne fruit.

If, in 1989-1991 the KKE had been dissolved, if it had been liquidated into the Coalition of the Left and of Progress (Synaspismos), losing its autonomy if it had mutated into a party with social-democratic orientations, the loss would have been great for the popular movement and, more generally, for mass political action. This fact is widely recognized today by the popular masses, radicals, left-wing people and militants.

In the positive course of the Party, thousands of members and cadre, friends and supporters, as well as associates, progressive people with their own proposals and thoughts, have contributed. They have joined their action with that of the Party, supporting its initiatives regardless of their particular views

The valuable lesson for the Communist Party is that in periods of retreat and crisis in the communist movement, under conditions of imperialist counter-attack, the Party, in order to survive, must have steadfast faith in Marxist-Leninist ideology, in the principles and values of the movement, in socialism. It must be open to the critical and self-critical examination of its work. It must strive for the development of a contemporary theoretical analyses; it must be able to recognize every new tendency in a timely manner. With far-reaching vision, it must be able to foresee, to adapt and readapt itself when developments demand, without at any moment losing sight of the principal goal, the struggle for socialism with the prospect of communist society.

The permanent duty of ideological-political and organizational strengthening of the KKE is determined by the new needs as well as the new problems that have appeared in the process of the ascending course of the Party in the past 13 years. It is affected by the particular characteristics of our times, due to the multi-faceted consequences that capitalist restructuring brings to the lives of the working people, under conditions of victory of counter-revolution; under conditions where, objectively, the need for struggle and radical change at the level of political power becomes more urgent. The issue of the timeliness and the realistic possibility of socialism, of communist society, is brought forward.

Without underestimating the consequences of the change in the balance of forces, we must become more demanding of ourselves. We must become stricter so that not only do we consolidate and solidify what we achieved so far, but also that we move forward to a more dynamic phase of counter-attack and strengthening, at least to the extent that this depends upon us. We neither bow to the difficulties nor do we ignore them. We face our work with objectivity, without any subjective nihilism or beautification. We try to exhaust all possibilities that exist for the benefit of the popular movement.

The KKE, by its nature and character, must set forth vanguard goals. It must not restrict itself to the condemnation of human exploitation and injustice, of imperialist war and oppression, but must also show the way that the movement must follow in order to stand up against the forces of capital and conservatism, effectively and victoriously.

The strengthening of the KKE does not concern communists only. It is in the interest of all working people because such strengthening will have an immediate positive effect on the development of struggle, on their effectiveness and on the greatest possible social and political consolidation for building the AADF.

The developments in the world imperialist system, the position of Greece in this system and the domestic economic and political developments justify the policy of the Party; they impose us to take them under serious consideration when we set up duties that require the strengthening of the KKE.

It is our deep conviction that the KKE can move forward into a new phase of counter-attack. The 21st Century will be a century of regrouping of revolutionary forces, of repelling the attack of international capital. It will be a century of decisive counter-attack, a century of the new rise of the world revolutionary movement and a new series of social revolutions.

The 18th Congress of KKE was held in Athens on 18th-22nd February. Except from the activity of the party since the previous Congress, the duties of the party until the 19th Congress and the election of the new CC, the Congress discussed also the “Theses of KKE on Socialism”.

In that way KKE enriched its programmatic perception of Socialism incorporating, as much as possible, the negative and positive experience from the course of the socialist construction in the 20th century and drawing conclusions concerning the causes of the victory of the counterrevolution, mainly in the USSR. And this is more than important as the revival of the consciousness and the faith to Socialism and inextricably linked with the interpretation of the counterrevolution and the capitalist restoration. KKE believes that this duty is imperative and mature for our Party as well as for the every communist party in its country. Communists in Greece have already dealt with his issue in 1995 through the Pan-Hellenic Conference on the “first assessments on the overthrow of Socialism in USSR, central and eastern Europe”.

Furthermore in the period after the 17th Congress the utilization of the study-research work of the previous period intensified. The Party acquired new sources of information; we organized the theoretical symposium of the Communist Review in which representatives of communist journals, Marxist research centers and Communist Parties participated. Moreover, there has been an inner-party discussion on this issues which was carried out in three consecutive rounds. The resolution of the 18th Congress defends the contribution of the Socialist System and focuses on the theoretical positions of the Classics of Marxism – Leninism on Socialism as the first stage of communism. At the same time it examines the causes of the overthrow of Socialism in the USSR. In addition, it makes a special effort to study the economy of the USSR as well as the achievements, shortcomings, mistakes, deviations, during the socialist construction. It also studies the role of the Communist Parties as well as issues concerning the strategy of the international communist movement. It examines the stance of KKE in a spirit of self-criticism and clarifies issues that require further research. Last, it tries to generalize these conclusions and enrich the perception of KKE on Socialism.

The Resolution on Socialism constitutes a contribution to the international communist movement, to the struggle against imperialism. It intends to help the international movement to overcome the crisis in which it finds itself after 1991. it constitutes a weapon for the struggle against the various bourgeois and petty- bourgeois views, against social-democracy, against the opportunist views and illusions, against the old recipes for Socialism “with freedom and democracy” that appear again as new ones, against the views on “national particularities of Socialism” that lead to the longevity of capitalism”
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