Communist Party of Greece

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Communist Party of Greece

Κομμουνιστικό Κόμμα Ελλάδας
General SecretaryDimitris Koutsoumpas
FoundedMay, 1917
Youth wingCommunist Youth of Greece[a]
Trade Union WingAll-Workers Militant Front[b]
Political orientationMarxism–Leninism (de jure)
Left-opportunism / KKE Model (de facto)
Homophobia (de facto)
Political positionSyncretic
European affiliationNon-inscrits
International affiliationIMCWP

The Communist Party of Greece (abbreviated as KKE) is a political party founded in 1918, being the oldest political party in Greece. It is now the fourth largest party in Greece and one of the most influential communist parties in Europe. It is the initiator of the organization of the International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties.



The party was founded on 17 November 1918 as the Socialist Labor Party of Greece.

World War 1 and aftermath (1918-1922)

First Congress and Greco-Turkish war

Its First Congress took Place in the same month in Pireaus.

SEKE pushed the Soviet Union to persuade Mustafa Kemal Atatürk to give autonomy in Turkish areas with a large Greek minority, but opposed the imperialist Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 and also wanted Eleftherios Venizelos to withdraw Greek troops from Asia Minor.

Second Congress

During the Second Congress of SEKE in April 1920, the party got affiliated with Comintern and, as such, changed their name to SEKE-K (Socialist Labor Party of Greece - Communist).

Interwar Period (1922-1939)

People's Front

After the Comintern encouraged the formation of anti-fascist fronts worldwide, and as such SEKE-K formed the People's front, an anti-Metaxist front, the largest Marxist one during the time.

Third Congress

During the Third Congress of SEKE-K in November 1924, SEKE-K was renamed to Communist Party of Greece (KKE). Marxism–Leninism was adopted as an official ideology and democratic centralism was adopted as the party's system.

Macedonian Issue

KKE supported an independent Macedonia and Thrace, as this was the Comintern's position at the time, though some members of KKE disagreed with this position. In turn, many communists were expelled from Greece.[1]

KKE (and the Comintern) believed in the self-determination of the people in these areas and wanted to prevent a new imperialist war in the Balkans. The USSR was a model for an independent Macedonia, where all Greeks, Bulgarians and Turks could self-determine, just like how Russians, Ukrainians and Byelorussians could in the USSR.[2]


In 1929, as minister of Education in the government of Eleftherios Venizelos, Georgios Papandreou passed legislation against organised communist teachers, known as Idionymon. Such legislation was often used to prosecute KKE members and other leftist activists.

Metaxist Dictatorship

By 1940, KKE was in turmoil due to the Metaxist fascist dictatorship. By October 1940, half of the party's two thousand members were in prison or in exile. The Security Police (the secret fascist police) proved successful in dismantling the party structure; not only had it imprisoned the leadership, but it created a fake series of Rizospastis, the Central Committee newspaper. This generated further confusion among the remaining scattered underground members.[3][4]

World War 2 (1939-1945)

Before Nazi Occupation

The KKE was divided in whether it should support Metaxas in Greece's struggle against Mussolini or not. Whereas the "pro-Metaxas" faction was the one that the Comintern supported, as it encouraged KKE to fight against fascist Italy whereas the "anti-Metaxas" faction considered Greece as a de facto colony of the British Empire and that the war which was taking place was an imperialist one.

During Nazi Occupation


On 6 April 1941, the Germans invaded Greece and occupied Athens on 27 April following an unconditional surrender of the Greek forces by General Georgios Tsolakoglou, who was later appointed Prime Minister by the Nazis. Many of the communists in Crete, which wasn't yet occupied, asked to be freed so as to fight the Nazi invaders, but the Greek government-in-exile had no power to do so, so they escaped. The pro-Nazi occupation government handed some political prisones of KKE over to the Nazis fearing that they—following the pro-Soviet party line—would resort to sabotage in Greece following the commence of Operation Barbarossa. It became German policy—especially after it became obvious to them that they were losing the war—to execute civilians in retaliation for attacks against them by communist or non-communist partisans. Approximately 200 communists, delivered to the Germans on 1941, were executed at the Kaisariani Shooting Range on 1 May 1944. [5]

Resistance Movements

Along with five other left-wing parties, KKE formed the National Liberation Front (EAM) on 27 September 1941, in Athens and militia units, called the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS) on 16 February 1942. By 1943, ELAS had 50,000 members and 30,000 reserves in major cities.

During 1943, ELAS clashed with other resistance movements, which spend more time fighting communists than the Axis itself. This prepared the ground and tension for the Greek Civil War.

Nikos Zachariadis was freed from the Dachau Concentration Camp in 1945 and returned to Greece as KKE's General Secretary.

Civil War (1945-1949)

Main Article: Greek Civil War

In October 1944, the last German soldiers left Greece and ELAS reached Athens. After the Axis retreated, a National Unity government was formed under Georgios Papandreou. While the British released Nazis from prison, they also pushed for disarmament of ELAS. After leftists were prevented from joining the new army, the KKE withdrew from the government.[6]

On 3 December 1944, British snipers and Greek police opened fire on a communist demonstration in Athens. [7]Later that day, 60,000 rallied in Syntagma Square and began an uprising against the British. 25,000 people were killed in the Battle of Athens and 12,000 leftists were deported or imprisoned in its aftermath. The British set up machine gun nests and bombed proletarian neighborhoods. They also released thousands of fascist collaborators to help them fight the communists.[6]

Kingdom of Greece and Military Junta (1949-1974)

During the post-WW2 Kingdom of Greece, KKE was banned and communists were harshly persecuted by the US-backed police state. Most of its prominent members had to either flee the country or denounce communism. Nikos Beloyannis and Nikos Ploumpidis were executed in 1952 and 1954 respectively. In 1955, there were 4,498 political prisoners and 898 exiles while in 1962 there were 1,359 prisoners and 296 exiles.[8] During this period, KKE supported the United Democratic Left, a leftist party.

Since Stalin's death in 1953, Zachariadis (a supporter of Stalin) clashed with the new revisionist leadership of the USSR, and as KKE followed this leadership's line, Zachariadis was expelled from the party in 1957, a year after Khrushchev's "secret speech" was made, denouncing Stalin.

The CIA-backed military Junta which seized power in 21 April 1967 outlawed all political parties and persecuted communists even more harshly.

In 1968, a Eurocommunist faction split from the KKE and was named KKE (interior), claiming that the original KKE was directed from the USSR. During the same year, the Communist Youth of Greece was founded.

Third Hellenic Republic (1974-present)

Cold war (1974-1991)

The new Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis legalized KKE, however it was Andreas Papandreou who allowed communists to return in Greece and receive special pensions for their resistance in WW2.

During the 1989 and 1990 elections (and counter-revolutions of 1989), KKE participated under a left-wing alliance of parties (Coalition of the Left and Progress, commonly known as Synaspismos) under the leadership of Charilaos Florakis. They formed a coalition government with the parties of New Democracy and PASOK (only in the first temporary government).

In 1991, Aleka Papariga got elected as General Secretary. KKE would start, since then, to develop its current political line and ideology.

Days before the overthrow of the USSR, Zachariadis' remains were returned to his homeland of Greece, and he was given a funeral, which gave his supporters the opportunity to honour him.[9] At the same time, KKE left Synaspismos, but the reformist faction of the party split from KKE and remained there. Synaspismos would later become what is Syriza today.

Post-Cold War (1992-present)

In the 1993 elections, KKE had significant losses, mostly due to the trend of decline of the Marxist-Leninist movement around the world (as the aftermath of the overthrow of the USSR), as well as because it left Synaspismos.[10]

KKE actively participated in the anti-austerity protests beginning in 2010 and also supported Greek steel worker's strikes.[11]

In 2011, a National Conference of the Communist Party of Greece fully rehabilitated Zachariadis as General Secretary of the KKE and denounced the revisionist line followed from 1953 up until 1991. That was in line with the KKE's general political reorientation since the overthrow of the Soviet Union.[12][10]

In March 2022, the party announced it would not attend Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech at the Hellenic Parliament on April 7 after he banned several left-wing opposition parties.[13]

In the 2023 elections, KKE reached a 7.7% and completely won in Icaria.


Actually Existing Socialism

KKE recognizes Cuba as socialist In fact, it actively supports the country and has very good ties with its communist party. KKE condemns imperialist US efforts to overthrow the Cuban government. [14]

On the other hand, KKE does not recognize China as a socialist country and considers it as a capitalist and imperialist one instead.[15] However, its positions on Mao Zedong are not clear.

Its positions on Laos, Vietnam and the DPRK are mostly unclear.

KKE denounces US efforts to destabilize the DPRK.[16]


KKE believes in a pyramid scheme of imperialism, where some countries are "more" (imperial core) or are "less" (neocolonies) imperialist,[17] which can basically be summarized in the phrase "trading is imperialist". This scheme of imperialism lacks a coherent material analysis and as such may be considered as a left deviation, falling from the path of scientific socialism.

It considers the Russian Federation as imperialist, despite the fact that their economy lacks the financial power of the US.[15][18]

Material conditions of Greece

KKE, in its program, states that Greece has the material conditions to develop full socialism (like the USSR), despite Greece being a more service-based and agricultural economy with little heavy industry.


On December 2015, the KKE opposed the "Cohabitation Agreement" bill which would extend the family institution to same-sex couples. The reasoning for this position was to preserve the role of the family institution in "reproduction of the species", and to protect children from a "distorted perception of the biological relationship between the sexes."[19]

In fact, KKE has explicitly stated in an article in its newspaper, Rizospastis, that it opposes the recognition of same-sex families as families.[20]

This position could be described as biological essentialism, as it considers couples and the family a merely reproductive relation and institution respectively.

KKE has also stated that:[21]

Unacceptable and condemnable discrimination and violence against our fellow human beings, based on their sexual orientation and other personal characteristics, are not addressed by cheap declarations of equality and words of sympathy, but by strengthening legislation against perpetrators of sexism, racism and homophobia, with the full social support of those who suffer from such behaviors. A real shield against such discrimination is collectivism, the struggle for modern social rights for all people.

This stance has been criticized as hypocritical by many Marxists.

On 29 January 2024, KKE made a statement about voting against the gay marriage law. It claims it "abuses children's rights", that "it deprives children of maternity or paternity", that it "commodifies the family" along with other nonsensical, conservative in nature, statements.[22]

On 3 February 2024, a member of the party's Politburo claimed in an article published in a party website that "LGBTQ+ is backed by George Soros" and that "the promotion of LGBTQ+ is an agenda of NATO and the EU", which are infamous Trumpist and patriotic socialist positions.[23]


KKE's ideology is a form of anti-revisionism, being very close to Hoxhaism due to the unclear positions on Mao Zedong. This is supported by the fact that KKE is generally positive towards Socialist Albania. However, it is refuted by the fact that this ideology formed after rejecting the USSR's revisionist line (which they had for almost four decades) months prior to its overthrow, which means they had already taken a pro-Soviet line on the Sino-Soviet split, which happened 30 years prior, thus already not having good relations with the Communist Party of China, as well as the fact that they have good relations with Cuba. KKE's ideology also contains some conservative elements. As such, KKE's ideology could be perceived as a completely separate form of Marxism-Leninism.

Own media

In addition to Rizospastis, the party's official newspaper, KKE owns and operates the news web portal and the 90,4 FM radio station in Thessaloniki.

KKE also used to own its own television channel (902 TV) which ceased operations in 2013 due to economic difficulties. Its parent company (Radiotileoptiki) was sold to a Cyprus company without rights to the channel's name or logo.[24]


  1. Richard Clogg (1992). A Concise History of Greece (pp. 106, 141). Cambridge University Press.
  2. Vladimir Lenin (1914). For The Issue of Self-Determination of the People.
  3. Aggelos Elefantis (1999). The Promise of the Impossible Revolution, Greek Communist Party self-meditation and the bourgeois during the inter-war Period. Themelio.
  4. KKE. Official Documents: 'Vol. 5'.
  5. History of the National Resistance 1940–1945: 'Vol. 1'.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Arturo Rodriguez (2015-07-31). The Greek Revolution and Civil War: the Battle of Athens – Part Two Socialist Appeal. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  7. Arturo Rodriguez (2015-07-31). The Greek Revolution and Civil War: the Battle of Athens – Part One Socialist Appeal. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  8. Polymeris Voglis (2002). Becoming a Subject: Political Prisoners During the Greek Civil War (p. 223). Berghahn Books.
  9. "Μια ιστορική προσωπικότητα του κομμουνιστικού κινήματος (Translation: A historical personality of the communist movement)" (2003-08-03). Rizospastis.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Communist Party of Greece. "Parliamentary politics and the communist party: the electoral arena, experience and lessons from Greece and the KKE"
  11. Gus Lubin (2010-05-07). KKE actively participated in the anti-austerity protests beginning in 2010 [79] and also supported Greek steel worker's strikes.[80] Business Insider.
  12. Michael Karadjis (2012-05-16). "Greece: SYRIZA, the Communist Party and the desperate need for a united front" Links.
  13. "No to Zelensky: Why the KKE will not attend Zelensky's address to Greek Parliament" (2022-04-02). In Defense of Communism. Retrieved 2022-04-02.
  14. Press office of the Communist Party of Greece (2021-07-12). "Αλληλεγγύη στην Κούβα! Οι προβοκάτσιες των ιμπεριαλιστών δεν θα περάσουν! (Translation: Solidarity with Cuba! The provocations of the imperialists will not pass!)" Communist Party of Greece.
  15. 15.0 15.1
    “Many parties retain the title “communist”, but their ideological–political and organizational formation is not consistent with the communist characteristics, the ideology of scientific communism, the revolutionary strategy–Programme that corresponds to a revolutionary workers', Leninist party.


    The CPs' approaches are often dominated by bourgeois and opportunist ideological influences, turning any invocation of our world view from a theoretical basis and a scientific methodological tool for understanding and changing society into a “wish list”.

    Briefly, the overall negative picture remains, both in the leading capitalist countries (USA, countries of the EU, UK, Japan, China, Russia) as well as in countries and regions that are hotbeds of imperialist military interventions.”

    21st Congress of the Communist Party of Greece, Second Text (2017-04-02). [ "CHAPTER C


  16. Press Office of the Communist Party of Greece (2017-09-10). Communist Party of Greece.
  17. Aleka Papariga (ex-secretary of the Communist Party of Greece). "On Imperialism - The Imperialist Pyramid" El Machete.
  18. See our comments on their economy
  19. “The objection of the KKE regarding the amending of the CA and especially its extension to same-sex couples stems from the nature and evolution of the family institution, its role in the reproduction of the species. A starting point of our position is the need for the comprehensive social protection of children and to ensure as far as possible –in a capitalist society- the most favourable conditions for their physical, intellectual and emotional development.
    The biological origin of humankind is the result of a male-female sexual relationship, which as such, is of interest to and is regulated by society. Objectively a child that is raised by a same-sex couple, from the first determinative years of its life, acquires a distorted perception of the biological relationship between the sexes. A correct perception of this relationship is an essential ingredient for its smooth psychosomatic and social development.”

    Department for the Equality of Women of the CC of KKE (2016). "On the Cohabitation Agreement" Communist Party of Greece. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  20. “The goal through the bill is essentially the institutional recognition of same-sex couples' families, including – in a process – having children from them. And therein lies our disagreement.”

    "Η θέση του ΚΚΕ για το Σύμφωνο Συμβίωσης" (2015-12-20). Rizospastis.
  21. "Statement of Dimitris Koutsoumpas about the International Day against homophobia" (2022-05-17). KKE.
  22. Central Committee of the KKE (2024-01-29). "KKE's positions on civil marriage for same-sex couples and its impact on children's rights" Communist Party of Greece. Archived from the original on 2024-01-31. Retrieved 2024-01-30.
  23. “The promotion of gender identity, the right to continuous gender transition, postmodern positions of "individual self-determination" and the lumping together of people of different class status, political views and expressions of sexuality as a single "LGBTIQ community" are official strategies of the EU and NATO.
    A number of legislative regulations, such as the European Parental Relationship Certificate (which recognises a child's parental relationship with three parents of the same biological sex) have already been implemented.Mass entertainment platforms, like Netflix, bombard with identical messages and portray anyone who denies them as reactionary, religious and fascist.
    In this direction, the self-proclaimed leadership of LGBTQI, funded and supported by groups such as J. S. Johnson, is being utilized. Soros, of "JP Morgan", "General Electric". At the global forum in Davos, they recently discussed how corporate diplomacy will advance the agenda of "LGBTIQ leadership".”

    Μάκης Παπαδόπουλος (2024-02-03). "Οι στόχοι του κεφαλαίου μεταμφιεσμένοι σε «ατομικά δικαιώματα» στην εποχή του «ίντερνετ των σωμάτων»" Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  24. "Τους πήρε ο πόνος για τον «902»".


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