AKEL is founded antifascist struggle
The explosion of the World War II saw the CPC carrying out its activity in illegality. The great anti-fascist war of the peoples created a new environment. In Cyprus the dictatorial measures of Palmerocracy were lessened. The CPC correctly foresaw that in the new conditions preconditions for legal activity were being created and decides to use them. Together with progressive elements of the bourgeois class it takes the initiative of establishing a new party. On the 14th April 1941 a convention is called in Skarinou where the foundation of the Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL) is decided. In its announcement of the convention the new Party presents itself as Democratic, Anti-Fascist, Anti-Hitler. From its first day AKEL sets out its own clear political and ideological stand allying itself with the forces fighting Hitlerite fascism. For three years, the CPC in illegality and AKEL operating legally carry out their activity in parallel. In 1944 it was decided that there was no need for two parties of working people to exist and so the CPC merged into AKEL.
From its very foundation and during World War II AKEL is in the forefront of the anti-fascist struggle of the Cypriot people. The climax of AKELs anti-fascist activity was the decision of 16th June 1943 with which the Party called on its cadres and members to voluntarily join the ranks of the army and fight Hitlerite fascism to strengthen the struggle for the liberation of Greece from Hitlerite tyranny, the liberation of subjugated countries and the attainment of the national, political and social future of the island. It is clear that AKEL approached the struggle against Hitlerite fascism also as a part of the struggle for the removal of the colonial yoke. In the 16th June declaration their was a massive and enthusiastic response. Eleven of the fifteen members of the Central Committee and around 800 members of the Party joined the army. Their example as a consequence was followed by many others. AKEL members fought on various fronts of Europe and the Middle East.
The refusal of the colonialists to discharge the Cypriot volunteers after the end of the war because they wanted to use them in their colonial wars led to the struggle for demobilization in which the AKEL members played a leading role. In the struggle for demobilization the AKEL member Takis Kythreotis gave his life whilst hundreds of AKEL members were imprisoned in concentration camps in Cyprus and Egypt. Finally the British were forced to demobilize the Cypriot soldiers.
World War II and the victories of the Soviet army as well as the struggle for demobilization represented a great school for those AKEL members in the army. Returning to Cyprus they strengthened the Party by their activity which already since the start of the war attained a mass influence and was transformed into a great political and social force. The swift development in the influence of AKEL proves that Cypriot society had a need for a party such as AKEL.
After the end of the war the British colonialists forgot their promises which they had given and refused the right of self-determination to the Cypriot people. The intentions of the British were made clear through their concrete actions. On the 25th March 1945 the colonial police fired bullets at the demonstration of the Peoples Movement in the village of Lefkoniko which led to the murder of the peoples fighters Andreas Exintaris and Andronikos Kyprianou as well as of an 8 year-old school student. On the 13th of July 1945 they banned the Pancyprian Trade Union Committee (PSE) and arrested eighteen members of its leadership who were sentenced from 12 to18 months in prison. For the Cypriot people no other choice was left open than that of continuing the anti-colonial struggle.
The anti-fascist victory, the creation of the community of socialist countries, the crisis of the colonial system created better international conditions for the growth also of the liberation struggle of our own people. The decade 1945-1955 was a decade of intense and persistent anti-colonial struggle which had as its goal the demand for the right to self-determination and for the winning of political rights for our people. AKEL and the organizations of the Left were in the forefront of this struggle.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
- Feb26 2015-02-26
- Nov13 2014-11-13