Thesis for the 80 Years of CPC – AKEL
In 2006 80 years will have passed since the foundation of the Communist Party of
Cyprus of which AKEL is its successor. It constitutes a very important anniversary in the history of the Left Movement in Cyprus but also generally in the history of Cyprus. AKEL is celebrating this anniversary with all the honour this event deserves. We honour 80 years of life, activity, struggles, service and sacrifices for the working people, our people and our homeland. We continue these struggles for a better future for the whole of the Cypriot people, Greek Cyprio
ts, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins.
The pioneers and the first struggles
1. In the middle of August 1926 the Founding Congress of the Communist Party of Cyprus (CPC) took place. It was the culmination of a process, which began during the first years of the 1920’s decade, through the appearance in Cyprus of socialist ideology and the first communist cells. With the foundation of the CPC the working class of Cyprus, the peasants, progressive intelligencia and generally the working people acquired their own autonomous party which appeared of the historical landscape as an independent political and social force.
2. The CPC was born out of the new economic and social conditions which began to be formed in Cyprus with the development of capitalism in the first quarter of the 20th century. The appearance and development of the working class was the jost important element in this development. The working class lived and worked in terrible conditions under the jost brutal exploitation. The wiping out of the poor peasantry continuously strengthened its ranks. The tyranny of British colonialism supplemented the oppression of the local ruling class, loan merchants and landowners. The historical need of class consciousness, organization and struggle of the working people for their rights and demands was born. This need was fulfilled by the foundation of the CPC.
3. The Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, its influence and impact of the international workers and revolutionary movement was the second important factor which gave a push for the creation of the CPC. The impact of the revolution was also felt in Cyprus. The ideals of socialism for a society of free persons, free from every kind of oppression and exploitation and based on equality, democracy and social justice moved and mobilized the jost conscious workers, employees, peasants, craftsmen and progressive intellectuals of the time. The seed fell on fertile land. Deep roots were planted that did not wait for long to grow.
4. The first duty which the CPC put was the organization of working people not only in their political party but also in their own labour and workers’ organizations. It’s for this reason exactly that one of the first and main goals of the CPC was the organization of workers, peasants but also of handicraftsmen. On the initiatives of communists in the decades of 1920 and 1930 the first class conscious workers unions were founded and the first steps to organizing peasants and craftsmen took place in their own organizations. Led by communists the first social-economic demands were set and the first class and social struggles were carried out.
5. Cyprus was a British colony. As a consequence the CPC set as its aim not only the struggle against exploitation but also the liberation of our country from British colonial yoke. With the foundation of the CPC for the first time the working people took part as an autonomous political identity in the anti-colonial struggle. For the first time an organized party based on principles, a programme and having concrete goals appeared on the scene of anti-colonial struggle and on the more general political landscape in Cyprus. The CPC worked to involve the broad strata of the people, that is those immediately concerned, in the struggle against colonialism. It projected the idea and fought for the creation of a broad united front of struggle of all the anti-colonial forces of our people including also the Turkish Cypriots.
6. The CPC, by implementing creatively the Leninist principle that communists should struggle for the promotion of their positions even within the jost reactionary institutions of the bourgeois political-social system, participated in election struggles of the time for the election of members to the so-called Legislative Council and Local Councils. Bearing in mind the anti-democratic electoral law the results of the elections for the CPC were not paltry. In the 1920 decade however the influence of the CPC was still limited.
7. The Communist Party from its first steps came face to face with the brutal reaction of English colonialism and local establishment. English colonialism saw the CPC as the jost consistent anti-imperialist force. That force which would constitute the jost serious threat to its rule over Cyprus. The ruling class of the time on the other hand and generally all of the conservative forces of Cypriot society justly viewed the CPC as that force which would question and fight their own class interests and unaccountability, that would awaken the oppressed and downtrodden, that would question their ideological and political monopolization and would fight for the emancipation of the people.
8. Local reaction and the colonialists came together in a “holy” anti-communist alliance which used every means at its disposal aiming at the wiping out of the communist movement and to nullify its influence on the workers movement of the country. Physical and mental terrorism was carried out, persecution, bannings, imprisonment, exile and enforced confinement all took place. Communists were being thrown out of their jobs in order to frighten them and so that they could not influence other working people. They and their Party were victims of ridicule, slandering and distortion. Every means was used without however weakening the belief of those pioneer communists.
9. In October 1931 a spontaneous uprising of the Cypriot people against the British broke out. During the uprising the CPC tried to implement the position for a united anti-colonial front. It attempted to co-ordinate its activities with the right nationalist camp, but at the same time it tried to promote common action also with the Turkish Cypriot community. After the violent repression of the uprising, during which Giorgios Filis a member of the Communist Youth was killed, the CPC faced the all-round attack of the colonialists who believed that the time had come for the decisive wiping out of the communist and workers movement in Cyprus. The CPC and its organisations were banned. The leaders of the party Charalambos Vatiliotis (Vatis) and Costas Christodoulides (Skeleas) were exiled abroad. Hundreds of cadres and members of the CPC were thrown in prison, tortured brutally or exiled in isolated villages. Among them was also the militant poet Tefkros Anthias. The publications of the Party were banned as was every book of progressive content.
10. It was a big blow however the British did not manage to destroy the CPC. On the contrary during the period of Palmerocracy (note: Palmer was the only organized political force which continued the anti-colonial struggle, in contrast to many of the so-called “national-minded” leaders of the Right who compromised and cooperated with the British. In the second half of the 1930 decade the CPC reorganized and not fearing the fierce dictatorial regime of Palmerocracy took the initiative to reorganize the workers movement. The communists were at the forefront of the workers and strike struggles of the time.
11. A bright page of internationalism of the CPC’s period was the participation of Cypriot communists in the Spanish Civil War. Cypriot immigrant communists in Britain and elsewhere, voluntarily joined the International Brigades and fought for the freedom against fascist attack. Over 60 Cypriots carried out in practice their internationalist and anti-fascist duty. Amongst them was also the future General Secretary of AKEL Ezekias Papaioannou. On the fields of battle of the Spanish Civil War about 20 Cypriot anti-fascist fighters of freedom and democracy left their last breath.
12. The pioneer Cypriot communists were people who had spiritual strength and resoluteness. They were characterized by a deep and unshakeable conviction in the working class and socialist ideology. They were completely dedicated to the struggle they fought and courageously confronted all the difficulties and hardships they faced. They held high the honoured flags of the Party even in the conditions of the jost backward reaction, local and foreign.
13. In about two decades of life and activity the CPC offered invaluable services to the working people and generally to the Cypriot people.
— introduced to Cyprus the ideas and ideology of socialism.
— laid down the foundations for the class-based workers movement connecting it from the beginning with the Marxist-Leninist outlook.
— projected the policy of worker and peasant alliance and the alliance of working people with small middle strata on the basis of common interests against capital.
— introduced the policy of a broad anti-colonialist anti-imperialist front which reaches out to all anti-colonialist forces, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The visions of the CPC for social and political alliances are up till today the basis of the policies of alliances which AKEL follows.
— fought for the emancipation of consciousness from nationalism, reactionary ideas and backwardness.
— formed strong foundations on which AKEL and the broader movement of the Left in Cyprus built on.
AKEL is founded – antifascist struggle
14. 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.
15. 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 AKEL’s 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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 People’s Movement in the village of Lefkoniko which led to the murder of the people’s 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.
19. 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.
Anti-colonial struggle and social struggles
20. In Cyprus two centres of liberation struggle had been formed. The Right and the ruling class came together around the Ethnarchy headed by every Archbishop of the time. The working people and the progressive elements of bourgeois class allied themselves around AKEL. The Ethnarchy wavered between the framework of so-called greek-british friendship and the need for struggle against the British. Ideologically the right and the Ethnarchy were characterized by extreme nationalism and fanatical anti-communism, which was being strengthened by the civil war and post-civil war climate in Greece. The Right and Ethnarchy rejected without any discussion the idea of a united front struggle of our people, they strove to monopolize the struggle and cultivated division. The confrontation between Right and Left was especially intense during the elections for the election of mayors and local councilors. In these elections the Left had great successes.
21. The Left viewed the struggle of the Cypriot people as being united with the general anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist struggle of the peoples which was developing those years. AKEL combined the struggle for freedom with the struggle for democratic gains. It rejected nationalism-chauvinism which led to confrontation with the Turkish Cypriots. It remained steadfast on the position for unity in action of all the anti-colonial forces on a democratic basis of cooperation and mutual respect.
AKEL and the Left never wanted to monopolize the anti-colonial struggle, nor did it question the patriotism of any political force. The split in the forces of the people is due to the policy which the leadership of the Right followed. This division objectively helped the British colonialists and weakened the freedom struggle of the people of Cyprus.
AKEL did not hesitate to call for a regime of self-government as a temporary stage for self-determination. However it withdrew from the Consultative Assembly (Diaskeptiki) when it came to the conclusion that the English did not have a sincere desire to move forward to a regime of real self-government. AKEL respecting the feeling of the great majority of the people and promoting the demand for self-determination took initiatives and energetically worked for the 1950 referendum. At the same time however it reached out to the Turkish Cypriots reaffirming them that AKEL would always defend in every way their own interests also.
22. AKEL correctly evaluated that by taking into account the conditions and realities of Cyprus the proper form of struggle was that of mass political struggle. Within the framework of this approach it continuously mobilized the people through demonstrations, rallies, political strikes and other forms of mobilizations. It took initiatives on the internal front as well as on the front of internationalization of the Cyprus question. The Cyprus problem was for the first time put before the United Nations in 1949 through a memorandum of the Left to the Security Council and the General Assembly which had the following characteristic title: “We condemn Britain”. Internationalization was also promoted by the sending abroad of delegations of the Popular Movement.
23. The decade of 1945-1955 was not only a period of intense political struggles and development of the anti-colonial fight. At the same time it was also a decade of intense class struggle. Even during World War II we saw great mobilizations of working people as was the struggle of the 1st of March 1944 for the cost of living adjustment (COLA). In the years after 1945 and until independence AKEL and the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) won the inalienable right to organize working people and the foundations were laid for the attainment of jost of the socio-economic gains which the Cypriot working people enjoy today.
24. The climax of these struggles was the great strikes of miners, metalworkers and construction workers of 1948. These strikes were special and without precedent in intensity, duration and heroism but also through great sacrifice. The working class with the support of the vast majority of our people in 1948 waged a great class struggle and won, despite the fact that foreign and local reaction, the colonial government, the leadership of the Church and the then strike-breaking leadership of SEK (the Right-wing Union) formed an alliance against it. The great class struggle of 1948, as well as others before and after, was waged together and in brotherhood by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot workers, thus forming the friendship and cooperation of the two communities. 1948 remains a bright landmark in the social struggles of the Cypriot working people.
The anti-colonial struggle reaches its
peak years of hardship
25. In 1955 the leadership of the Right by aiming at a drastic move to take the whole initiative of movements of the struggle in its hands and to try and isolate the Left, turns towards the wrong, as far as the conditions of Cyprus are concerned, form of armed struggle. In addition, the mistake is also made of assigning the military leadership of the armed struggle to Georgios Grivas, a man with fascist views, a declared anti-communist and chauvinist. A man without political virtues and capabilities. Despite the heroism and self-sacrifice which members and cadres of EOKA showed, the armed struggle led the Cyprus question into dangerous impasses. Deadlocks which British imperialism exploited in order to impose a solution which served their own interests.
26. AKEL disagreed with the tactic of armed struggle and predicted that “only harm will it cause to the Cyprus struggle”. AKEL stood its ground with resoluteness and consistency in favour of mass-political struggle and the need for the participation of the whole of the people with its forces united in this struggle. Due to this position AKEL and AKEL members were abused, slandered, condemned for treason. They did not however lose their way. Nor did they give in. They continued to struggle even in the jost difficult conditions for the removal of the colonial yoke holding always aloft the banner of unity.
The turn of events and the outcome of the struggle vindicated AKEL. Today many people who are not on the Left including researchers, historians and politicians acknowledge that the choice of the armed struggle was a mistake.
27. On the 14th of December 1955 the British exploiting the volatile situation which had been created found the opportunity which they had been looking for many years to destroy AKEL. The Party of the working people and a whole number of the organisations of the Left were banned and made illegal. They banned the publication of newspapers and other publications of the Party. They arrested and threw into prison and concentration camps 135 cadres of AKEL and the Left. Through these actions the British colonialists wanted to crush AKEL, the jost consistent, thus also the jost dangerous for them anti-colonial and anti-imperialist force.
28. However AKEL was deeply rooted in the heart and consciousness of the Cypriot people and that’s why the British failed in their aims. AKEL members who managed to evade arrest together with cadres who later managed to escape – including amongst them the General Secretary Ezekias Papaioannou – reorganized the Party quickly in conditions of illegality and continued with great intensity, resolve and decisiveness the anti-colonial struggle. In this struggle Andreas Georgiou and Argyros Nicola, members of AKEL, gave their lives. AKEL was banned by the colonialists until the 1st of December 1959, that is ten months after the signing of the London-Zurich Agreements. Their intention was to continue the banning of the Party also after independence. The pressure however of the people and the huge rallies in favour of the legalization of AKEL forced them to retreat.
29. During the four years from 1955 to 1959 the anti-communist frenzy of Grivas and his plans for the imposition of the complete rule of the right led Cyprus to the edge of civil war. Cadres of the Left were being murdered cowardly on the orders of Grivas accused unjustly of treason. The killing provoked a popular upheaval. Civil war in such a critical time in Cyprus history was avoided thanks to the patriotic stand taken by AKEL. The Party answered the provocation not by the same way but by popular mobilizations condemning the killings and the policy of division. The intervention of Makarios against the murders of Left people also played its own positive role. The Left comrades murdered in the 1955-1959 period are heroes and martyrs of the Popular Movement, are heroes and martyrs of Cyprus freedom. In the consciousness of the people their memory is vindicated. AKEL together with the Association of Relatives murdered for their political Beliefs in the period 1955-1959 are fighting for the vindication of the memory of the victims of the terrorism of Grivas also by the institutional organs of Cypriot society.
30. At the same time in the first years of independence the fascist terrorist Turkish Cypriot organization TMT headed by Denktash carried out killings and persecution of progressive Turkish Cypriots trying to crush the Left inside the Turkish Cypriot community. The murders and terrorism did not manage to damage the ties of the Left with the Turkish Cypriot community, which were built on strong foundations of common struggles.
31. Neither the suppression and the special measures of the British, nor the terrorism of Grivas managed to crash AKEL. After four years of illegality and repression the Party came out of the period of hardship even more stronger, even more larger with close links with the people and the working people.
The struggle against imperialist machinations and chauvinism
32. The deadlock in the armed struggle allowed the imposition of the London-Zurich Agreements. AKEL disagreed with the Zurich Agreements because it considered that they perpetuated imperialist presence on the island, putting Cyprus under the guardianship of the guarantor powers and that they imposed a divisive constitution. We advised Makarios not to sign the agreements, to terminate the armed struggle and unite the people to continue the struggle for real independence. Unfortunately AKEL’s proposals were not accepted.
33. The London-Zurich Agreements created a new situation, which AKEL approached in a creative manner. Sticking to its positions on the agreements it concluded that independence even in a curtailed form constituted a gain of the Cypriot people of historical importance. By taking this position AKEL defined as the main task in the new stage of struggle the fight for the completion of Cypriot independence and the gradual liberation from the negative elements of the Zurich agreements. This duty was included in the new programme of the Party which was adopted by the 10th Congress of AKEL in 1962. The new programme underlined the need for Cyprus to follow a non-aligned foreign policy. It also put forward the goals of democratization of the political and social life, the development of the economy and the living and cultural level of the working people. AKEL fought and achieved a lot for the implementation of these goals during the years of independence.
34. The Cyprus Republic from the very outset faced many difficulties and adverse complications. The expansionist designs of Ankara and the NATO plans for the transformation of Cyprus into an unsinkable aircraft carrier of the Atlantic Alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean, threatened the very existence of the independent Cyprus Republic. On the internal front of the country significant forces within the Greek Cypriot community as well as within the Turkish Cypriot community did not believe in independence. They saw it as a temporary stage the former as a stage towards enosis (Union with Greece) and the latter as a stage towards partition. That is the reason why there was not the necessary effort that should have been made so that the agreements would function despite all of its negative elements. This approach weakened the resistance front of our people and helped foreign interventions and the plans of the enemies of Cyprus. After the bi-communal clashes of December 1963 Cyprus was waging a fight for survival. The revival of the Slogan of Enosis during the 1964-1967 years was a great mistake which was exploited by the enemies of Cyprus.
35. The decade 1964-1974 was a decade of fight for the repulsion of foreign plots and for the defence of the independence and unity of the Cyprus Republic. AKEL was the main political force which stood by President Makarios with consistency and unselfishness, supporting his policy for the repulsion of the double enosis forces and of the partitionist designs. Our Party used its brotherly relations which it had with the governing parties of the socialist states to secure reliable allies of Cyprus in the difficult times. AKEL also supported the non-aligned foreign policy of the Cyprus Republic. Cyprus managed to repulse the NATO plans due to the entire mobilization of our people and also thanks to international solidarity and support, especially that of the socialist community and the Non-Aligned Movement. In the struggle for the defence of independence AKEL and the People’s Movement made sacrifices. Amongst the dead was Michalakis Kousoulides member of the C.C. of EDON (the youth organization of AKEL).
36. Even during the jost critical times of the bi-communal clashes AKEL did not stop fighting for the solution to the problems in the relations between the two communities through dialogue, for their peaceful existence, friendship, mutual respect and cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Our Party from the outset was a fighter against nationalism-chauvinism. At the altar of friendship and cooperation of the two communities Dervis Ali Kavazoglou Turkish Cypriot member of the C.C. of AKEL and Costas Mishaoulis Greek Cypriot cadre of AKEL and PEO gave their lives. Their sacrifice became a symbol of struggle for rapprochement and for a Cyprus common homeland for all Cypriots.
The struggle against fascism and Turkish occupation
37. The failure of the enemies of Cyprus to dissolve the independent Cyprus Republic through the imposition of the various imperialist plans led the foreign centres of power to follow a policy of undermining Cyprus from within. In these new abhorrent plans they found the junta in Athens and also the local extreme right-wing as willing cooperators. Plans were hatched for the overthrow by a coup and the murder of Makarios, for the destruction of AKEL and the other democratic forces. Illegal organizations such as the “National Front” appeared. Grivas comes to Cyprus who organizes EOKA B; and carries out an orgy of terror through the murder of democratic citizens, kindnappings, the blowing up of police stations etc. He even enrolled the Church hierarchy in order to overthrow Makarios. Anti-communism, patriotic jingoism and chauvinism take on amazing and new founded dimensions. All of these are carried out on the pretext of the so-called struggle for Enosis whilst in essence they are preparing the ground for the Turkish invasion.
38. In the years of struggle against the betrayal and the fascism of the junta and EOKA B’ AKEL was once again in the forefront of the struggle. It supports with consistency Makarios and his policy. It leads and takes the main burden of the people’s mobilizations which repeatedly foil plans for a coup d’ etat. It warns and discloses the subversive plans and calls for the taking of measures against the undermining of the state. It demanded the cleansing of the National Guard, Policy and the state mechanism. It projects the need to establish a people’s militia and offers for this purpose one thousand members and cadres to be used by the lawful forces of the state. It asks for the setting up of an integrated staff plan for the tackling of a possible coup.
39. Unfortunately the danger of a coup was underestimated and the proposals of AKEL were not adopted. When, on the orders of the Junta and the Atlantic centres of decision making, the tanks of betray rolled onto the streets the heroic resistance of the democratic forces was not in a position to stop the nightmare.
40. On the 15th of July 1974 the members and cadres of AKEL were among the first to defend democracy. AKEL called on the whole of the Cypriot people to rally around and carry out resistance to the foreign-inspired fascist coup. Cadres of AKEL, EDON and other organizations of the People’s Movement sacrificed their lives or were injured fighting for democracy. Thousands of AKEL members and other left people were arrested by the coupists and EOKA B’, imprisoned, tortured and their names went on lists for execution.
41. The fascist coup of the Junta and EOKA B’ opened the doors of Cyprus for the invasion of the Turkish Attila, as the Party had repeatedly warned. On the 20th of July 1974 AKEL calls for the defence of our homeland and declares that it will not compromise with the aggression. AKEL members and cadres once more are at the forefront in the defence of the independence of Cyprus. Many of them leave for the front straightaway from the prison cells where the coupists had thrown them in. The struggle is unequal and betrayed. Despite the heroic resistance of our people Attila takes possession of 37% of the territory of Cyprus and drives 1/3 of the Cypriot population into refugees. Many members of AKEL and the People’s Movement fell in battle or were injured in the battles against the foreign invader or are missing persons.
42. Despite the difficulties and trials in the years from the independence up to 1974 great socio-economic progress was made in Cyprus. We had gains in all spheres of political, socio-economic and cultural life. In the struggles and acquisitions of those years AKEL and the broader movement of the Left have their own indelible mark.
AKEL and the Cyprus problem
43. Since July 1974 the struggle of the Cypriot people takes on an anti-occupational content having as its main goal the restoration of the unity and territorial integrity of Cyprus. AKEL in the new conditions clearly defined its goals and tactics and from 1974 till today our Party is following with consistency and responsibility the same policy. Our people would have had every right to have fought against occupation by all possible means. However, the conditions of Cyprus and its surroundings , the balance of forces, the need for reconciliation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots led from the outset to the position that the struggle of the Cypriot people for the attainment of their rights should be peaceful and political.
44. For our Party it was obvious that due to the treacherous coup d’etat and the Turkish invasion the solution of the Cyprus problem would be a painful but necessary compromise. Having studied the new conditions created after 1974, AKEL reached the conclusion that in order to avert the finite partition and rebuff Turkey’s expansionist plans, the compromise would have to take the form of a federal solution. Our Party conveyed this position to Makarios in November 1974 by means of a document of the Central Committee. When, at a later stage, the high-level agreements were concluded, AKEL gave its support to them. Since then AKEL has consistently supported a bi-zonal bi-communal federal solution.
45. AKEL is struggling for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework of the United Nations and on the basis of the UN resolutions and the 1977 and 1979 High-Level agreements. The solution should provide for the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops and settlers. Should restore the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus without giving the right to a unilateral intervention to any other country. Should restore and safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, including the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties. AKEL has been consistently supporting the political equality of the two communities within the framework of the federation as this is defined in the United Nations resolutions.
46. Rapprochement between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots is a significant constituent element of AKEL’s policy on the Cyprus problem. Our Party considers rapprochement a necessary precondition both for reaching a solution and for the viability of the solution that will be found. AKEL struggled in the jost unfavourable conditions for rapprochement to become a part of the people’s consciousness and to be adopted as official policy of the Greek Cypriot side. It is mainly due to these struggles that today rapprochement is accepted by several political leaderships in both communities as well as by large part of the people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. AKEL is going to continue struggling on the rapprochement front and fight against every form of nationalism and chauvinism of whichever source.
47. Our concept of rapprochement is based on our internationalist ideology and our love for our common motherland. Our concept of rapprochement constitutes an extension in contemporary conditions of the common struggles of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots within the framework of the popular movement that took place in previous periods. We consider rapprochement a constituent element of the Cypriot people’s struggle against occupation, and we attain to it above all a political, social and class content. This is the reason why AKEL rebuffs apolitical and non-class based approaches that bring down rapprochement to the level of psychological exercise. Rapprochement is mainly and above all a cause of the Cypriots themselves and their organized groups. Any attempts by foreign centres to subjugate the rapprochement movement offer no good service to the struggle of the Cypriot people for the reunification of our country.
48. From 1974 onwards, all efforts to solve the Cyprus problem met with Turkey’s intransigence, its insistence on a solution of two separate state entities and its demands of dominance rights over Cyprus. Any possible mistakes in the handling of the Cyprus problem made over these years by the Greek Cypriot side do not absolve Turkey and the chauvinist Turkish Cypriot leadership in the least of the responsibilities for the perpetuation of the Cyprus problem.
49. The Turkish positions have always had resonance among Ankara’s NATO partners, who bear large responsibilities both for the creation and the perpetuation of the problem. The situation in the Cyprus problem became still more difficult after 1990. On the one hand, Cyprus was deprived of traditional friends and supporters such as the Soviet Union, the community of the social countries and the Non-Aligned-Movement. On the other hand, in the framework of the of the so-called new order a gradual deviation from the letter and spirit of the relevant to Cyprus UN resolutions; the Annan Plan is also a result of this. The Democratic Rally administration (NOTE: Party of the Democratic Rally, in government 1993-2003), with its mistakes, omissions, concessions and contradicting positions, is not free of responsibilities for this deviation.
50. Judging that the Annan plan had both positive and negative elements, AKEL accepted it as a basis for negotiations. It struggled with all its strength to bring about the necessary changes that would permit the plan to be accepted by both communities and lead to a viable and workable solution of the Cyprus problem. The tight timetables and the provided arbitration procedure by the UN Secretary-General did not permit a substantive negotiation between the two sides on the plan nor the conclusion of an agreed solution. The UN Secretary-General’s arbitration was unfair and biased in favour of the Turkish positions. The Party’s Pancyprian conference convened on April 14, 2004, called for postponement of the referenda in order to give time for negotiation to be held on those points causing the concern of the Greek Cypriot side and to cover the blanks in the plan. AKEL’s proposal was unfortunately not accepted by the Turkish side nor broader by the international factor. That is why AKEL was forced to call on the people to vote against the Annan Plan as this was put to the referendum. AKEL fully respects the result of the referendum. The position taken by our Party kept the perspective open for resumption of the negotiation procedure and the solution of the Cyprus problem the soonest possible.
51. In the light of the new world facts, with main criterion the concern for the solution of the Cyprus problem and the safeguarding of the future of our people, taking into also the feelings of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, and not being a dogmatic party, AKEL changed its position concerning Cyprus accession to the European Union. Considering that the accession of Cyprus to the EU in parallel to Turkey’s European ambitions could function as a catalyst for a right solution of the Cyprus problem and recognizing that the aquis communantaire could offer us additional strength in demanding such a solution, AKEL on the decision of its 18th Congress took a position in favour of the accession of Cyprus to the EU. We make use of the EU without any illusions over its possibilities and knowing that in the EU too interests work above any declarations of European values. At the same time we keep our critical views and evaluations of the political social and economic process in the EU.
52. In the current stage of the Cyprus problem out Party is working hard in cooperation with the President of the Republic and the National Council for the creation of the preconditions for the resumption of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem in the framework of the United Nations. The creation of the right preconditions is of outjost importance given that a new failure to reach a solution would have inflicted a strong blow on the Cyprus cause. We seek the earliest possible resumption of substantive talks without tight timetables and away from arbitrations with the aim to reach a negotiated solution. We attribute great importance to our contacts with the Turkish Cypriot parties that believe in the reunification of Cyprus. We work to convince of the need to bring such changes to the UN Secretary-General’s plan that would allow also the Greek Cypriots to accept it and would lead to a viable and workable solution. The changes we seek do not alter the philosophy of the plan nor do they concern the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community. We aim at a solution that would serve the Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots but not any foreigners.
Party of the People.
53. AKEL is the Party of the Cypriot working people. All through it 80 -years-long existence and activity it has consistently expressed their desires and visions, stood up in defence of their just demands and rights. It played a leading role in the struggles of the working people and of the broad popular strata for a better and dignified life. The social and economic achievements that the Cypriot working people are enjoying today constitute a result of their own struggles in which AKEL and the broader popular movement had also a defining contribution. In the years that have elapsed, unbroken bonds have been fostered between the working people, the broad popular strata and AKEL. We have the obligation to constantly enrich, consolidate and strengthen these bonds. From these very bonds the Party of the working people is getting strength.
54. On AKEL’s initiative and leadership a strong and broad Popular Movement was created and developed, that has played a is playing a significant role in the social economic and cultural development of Cyprus and the political struggles of our people. The Popular Movement is by itself a great achievement of the Cypriot people as a whole. The Popular Movement was expressed through the existence, functioning and struggles of the Pancyprian Trade union Committees (PSE) and later of PEO, of the Progressive Youth Organization (AON) and later of EDON, the Union of Cypriot Farmers (EAK) and later EKA, the Pancyprian Federation of Democratic Women (PODG) and later POGO, and the Pancyprian United Pupils Organization (PEOM). The Popular Movement was also expressed through the founding and functioning of hundreds of educational, cultural and sports clubs in rural communities and town neighbourhoods. The Left clubs became centres of cultural contribution and from them emerged hundreds of people of the letters and arts. Cadres of the Left worked with dedication for the creation of organizations of the small and middle businesses and other professionals and struggled in these organizations for the rights of the specific strata of the population. AKEL and the organizations of the Popular Movement played a leading role in the creation, support and broadening of the cooperative movement, that is one more precious achievement of our people. Groups of the Left that work in student, professional and scientific organizations contribute in the best way in the defence and struggle of their members’ rights, as well as more broadly in the promotion of progressive concepts and policies.
55. In its 80-yeras-long life and activity our Party has struggled and offered a lot:
• In the political struggles to rid the country from colonial regime, to defend the independence of the country against foreign interventions and conspiracies, against fascism chauvinism, for common struggle of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot and a peaceful living together of all communities on the island;
• In the achievement, broadening and consolidation of democratic freedoms and rights of our people;
• In the organizing and demanding the rights of the working people, employees, farmers, middle strata, women, youth, pensioners;
• In culture, education, sports and environment;
• In the Cooperative sector;
• In the local authorities sector and in many other sectors of our life;
• In the facing of the immense consequences of the coup d’etat and the Turkish invasion. AKEL struggled and continues to struggle of the verification of the fate of the missing persons, the safeguarding of the rights of the enclaved, for the organizing of the refugees and the solution of their problems, for the solution of the problems of that part of the population affected by the 1974 events.
Through its many-sided activity AKEL and the Left Movement have contributed to a large extent to the spectacular change of the Cypriot society for the better.
56. In its 80-yeras long course CPC-AKEL has naturally committed mistakes. It is, however, the sole political force in Cyprus that had the courage to recognize its mistakes and to go through self-criticism in an effort to correct its policy. An example of such self-criticism is that of 1957 in connection to characterizations used for EOKA and its cadres. While reaffirming the correct nature of its position for a mass political struggle and its objection to the armed form of struggle, the Party at the same time judged that the characterizations used were not correct, did not help the building of climate of unity and gave pretexts for attacks against the Party. Doing this self-criticism the Party expressed also its respect ad honour for the sacrifice of EOKA cadres. AKEL also went through self-criticism over the turn to self-determination-enosis in the Party policy in the period 1964-1967. This turn was judged to have been a mistake and a violation of the Party Programme and of the 10th Congress resolution that spoke of the completion of independence.
57. In its long life and activity our Party was tested by certain internal crisis that tortured the Party and inflicted a blow on its unity and effectiveness. The internal crises as the one in the second half of the 1940s or that of the years 1988-1990, each had its peculiarities and its own ideological and political parameters. They had, however, also some common points as was the refusal of cadres to accept the decisions of collective bodies and the faction activity they had proceeded to. Remaining devoted to its ideological and organizational principles and getting strength from the support of the broader layers of the working people of the country, the Party always found the strength to overcome the crises and then be strengthened even more.
58. The CPC-AKEL was founded from its very first steps on the Marxist-Leninist ideology, which it approaches not as a dogma but as guidance for action. AKEL is creatively implementing this ideology in the conditions of Cyprus in a way that strengthens the bonds of the Party with the people, that makes it play a leading role in the struggles of the Cypriot people for freedom and progress and that makes AKEL a decisive power in the political and social process of our country. AKEL is strongly convinced that despite the blow inflicted on the labour and communist movement internationally, the Marxist-Leninist theory, the way it should be developed and renewed with the continual progress of knowledge and economic, social and political development, remains a firm ideological base of the struggle for a better world, a world of peace, democracy, social justice and socialism.
59. Since the time the Communist Party of Cyprus (CPC) declared that "the people in Cyprus should not be differentiated into Greeks and Turks in order to fight each other", the CPC-AKEL remains a firm, continuous and consistent fighter against nationalism-chauvinism. Our Party fought for friendship, cooperation, mutual understanding and mutual respect between all Cypriots, irrespective of national origin. Fighters for the rights of the people, not just Greek Cypriots but also Turkish Cypriots emerged from the Party ranks and the Organizations of the Popular Movement. The Turkish Cypriot cadres of the Left were repeatedly at the target of the fascist chauvinist forces and a lot of them like Fazil Ontur (Sellas), Ahmet Yahya and Dervis Ali Kavazoglu were assassinated cowardlinessly or were victims of assassination attacks and were forced to emigrate, as in the case of Ahmet Sati. Common struggles and common sacrifice forged the brotherhood of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the framework of the Left Movement. Since 1974 AKEL has been struggling with consistency and persistence for rapprochement of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
60. Our Party has in deed exhibited ability to renew and modernize itself responding to the demands of specific times. This for example happened with the foundation of AKEL in 1941, when the new situation created due to the Second World War were used. The same happened at the end of the 1980s beginning of the 1990s, when AKEL moved boldly to its renewal and modernization; broadened the horizons of democracy in the party; modernized its concept of Socialism and more broadly its ideological approaches; made an opening to the broader democratic (political) spectrum. At the same time, the party remained attached to its fundamental ideological and organizations principles that define its character as a contemporary Marxist-Leninist party of the working people. Renewal and modernization are for AKEL a continuous duty that should always engage the Party particularly in the contemporary time of rapid changes and reclassifications. We stand before our history with respect, which we always approach under a critical prism, but we in no case nullify this history. It is an honoured and glorious history, full of contribution to the country and the simple man of manual and spiritual labour; a history which we rightly feel proud of. We honour those that made it with their struggles and sacrifice, whether they were leading cadres, or simple cadres and members of the Party and the Popular Movement. Their struggles and example constitute a strong motive for the new generations of AKEL members to work in a similar or even better way. Our veterans are the jost respected and honoured part of us members of AKEL.
61. AKEL does not only have political positions, ideological and organizational principles. AKEL at the same time upholds a set of moral values that make its members stand out for their behaviour and that strengthen the party. AKEL believes in comradeship, human approach and solidarity; in the respect of every person, in honesty and straightforwardness. It places the well being of the whole above any personal aims and well intended ambitions. It functions with criticism and self-criticism, respects the serves the people and the working people from where it originates and for whom it exists and struggles. It maintains and strengthens the bonds with the people and the simple men and women. It wins the respect of the society by its positions, struggles and example.
62. We live in a society and era that create individualism, foster vanity and unrestricted ambitions, glorifies profit, legitimizes self-promotion on every cost and damages values and ideals. This environment influences also the people of the Left. AKEL has the strength, the resistance reserves and ideological arms to fight against these negative phenomena and to project a different life stand which every honest person respects and appreciates.
63. True to the principles of internationalism and international solidarity, over the 80-years of its activity the Parry of the Cypriot working people has been in solidarity with all the peoples that have been struggling for independence, democracy, social progress and socialism. It mobilized the Cypriot people and sensitized them in favour of the struggles of other peoples struggling against colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism, fascism, reaction, racism, Zionism, oppression and exploitation. AKEL’s internationalist activity contributed to the broadening of international solidarity with Cyprus and its struggle, and this constitutes an addition contribution of AKEL to our people’s cause.
64. Our Party struggled and continues to struggle consistently for the abolition of the foreign basis in Cyprus and the demilitarization of the island. The bases have no place in Cyprus. They have been and they continue to be a source of trouble for our people. The Turkish occupation obliges us to turn our attention to the struggle for the reunification of Cyprus. This does not mean that we compromise with the presence of bases on the island. We hope for the day when Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will be struggling together in a reunified common country for the dismantling of the bases.
65. AKEL fought for peace and against the threat of a thermonuclear war. It fought against the proliferation of mass destruction weapons, for peaceful coexistence and for the right of every people to pursue the path they have chosen. In that sense, the activity of the Cyprus Peace Council -for the creation and functioning of which AKEL worked consistently- is particularly important. Today AKEL is struggling against the so-called new order, the offensive wars and the catastrophes it causes.
66. In the struggle for liberation, reunification and justice for Cyprus, AKEL pursues a patriotic policy that defends the interests of the whole of the people. From that respect, our Party has become a national political force that plays a leading role in the struggle of the Cypriot people and enjoys overall prestige and esteem. Layers of the people that do not ideologically and politically belong to the traditional area of the left, feel today that AKEL expresses them. AKEL is a party of all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latines.
67. Since the time that the CPC declared the policy of a unitary anti-colonial front, our Party remains devoted to the cause of unity of the forces of our people as an indispensable precondition for the success of the struggles to achieve and defend the freedom of Cyprus. AKEL, for the sake of unity, has in its long history made a lot of sacrifice and overstepping, putting above all the interest of the country. AKEL has had the conviction that unity should be based on several principles, the basic of which is the respect of democracy, of democratic institutions and the will of the people.
68. At the present liberation stage of the struggle, when the priority is salvation of Cyprus, AKEL does not seek to implement its long-term programme for a radical transformation of society. This of course does not mean that we desert our socialist vision and orientation. Our final aim remains the building of a democratic socialist society as this is outlined in general lines in the programmatic document of our 17th Congress "Our Concept of Socialism".
69. With the election of Tassos Papadopoulos to the Presidency of the Republic, for which our Party’s contribution has been defining, AKEL is participating in the governing of the country. We cooperate closely with the President of the Republic and the other forces that participate in the governing. The present government took over at a difficult time for the Cyprus problem. It inherited major problems from the ten-year long Democratic Rally administration the biggest one being that of the public deficit. There was not a correct negotiation of the terms of EU accession and preparation to face the problems. The present government took over at a time when the Cypriot society and economy are adapting to the new situation that accession brought along and face significant problems of which our party had warned years back. Despite these, the government of Change has started to produce work in the direction of the implementation of the programme on the basis of which the people gave it the mandate to govern. Participating in government as well as a significant political and social force, AKEL will continue to struggle for the rights and interests of the broad popular strata; it will continue to work hard for the implementation of the governmental programme, the elaboration and implementation of policies favouring the working people and the less privileged strata of the Cypriot society.
The modern world
70. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the community of the socialist states in Europe rendered imperialism led by the United Stated of America even more aggressive. The so-called new world order, ruthless neo-liberalism and globalisation of the multinationals and monopolies is the modern expression of capitalism. The “new world order” violates international law, attempts to guide and sideline the United Nations and to launch wars against entire peoples. Invoking the fight against terrorism and defending human rights and democracy is the deceitful pretext behind of which the economic and geo-strategic interests of the USA and their close allies are hiding. In the name of fighting terrorism democratic freedoms are also supressed. Neoliberalism undermines the living standards of peoples and curtails the socio-economic achievements of long struggles and sacrifices by the working people. Globalisation of the multinationals and monopolies condemns a big part of the planet in poverty and exhaustion. It causes great destruction to environment. The world civilisation is also another victim of modern imperialism that is sacrificed in the alter of the market, is humiliated by the industry of subculture and is enslaved by the propaganda mechanisms of imperialism.
71. Those who today define the fortunes of the European Union are driven by the same logics and the same policies of the new world order, neoliberalism and globalisation of monopolies, even if in certain issues they attempt to differentiate themselves from the United States. The draft Constitutional Treaty that is promoted in the E.U., attempts to institutionalise the conservative neoliberal model. While it speaks of a common defence of the E.U., in actual fact the E.U. remains connected to the USA and NATO with the aim of interfering in other countries in the name of the fight against terrorism. The European peoples can depend on their long-standing struggles and revolutionary traditions in order to defend their achievements and fight for another Europe. A Europe of the peoples and employment, and not of monopolies and imperialism. The forces of the radical Left in Europe are pioneers in the struggle for a Europe of the Peoples.
72. In the face of brutality of modern imperialism the only hopeful alternative that exists is the fight for peace, democracy, social justice and socialism. The counterbalance of imperialism is no other but the struggles of the peoples and the progressive forces of humanity. Nobody can stop the course of history. Capitalism itself with its inherent contradictions produces and reproduces class struggle and social and political struggles aiming at a different world that is possible. AKEL, faithful to its internationalist ideology will continue to express in every way its solidarity with the peoples that struggle for freedom, democracy and social justice. AKEL will continue working within its capabilities for rallying and coordinating the left forces on a European and International level so that the Left will play the necessary role for transforming the world.
Looking into the future
73. We honor the 80th anniversary of the CPC-AKEL rightly feeling proud of the history, contribution, the struggles and sacrifices of the Party of the Working People for Cyprus and for our people. This Party has always worked hard for progress, freedom and democracy. It has never caused harm in any way to this country and our people. Our hands were never covered in the blood of our compatriots. Conspiracies, bloodshed and betrayals were always unknown for AKEL. On the contrary, many times we were their target paying a heavy price for this.
Our eighty-year course justifies beyond any doubt the pioneers that took the important decision to create the Party. A Party that, in the poet’s words "was not a result of chance but a mature offspring of need." In those crucial times for our country, if the positions and politics presented by AKEL were followed by others as well, a lot of tragedies and adventures would have been prevented and we could have shaped a better life for our people.
With the experience of our 80 years we look at the future with certainty and faith. This party will continue to justify and honour the expectations of the people and the working people. It will continue inspiring the new generation; fight for Cyprus and a just solution of it problem and it will continue struggling for the working people.
We will mark the 80th anniversary of the CPC-AKEL with the glamour it deserves. However, the greatest, honour to this historic anniversary will be for all of the members of AKEL, for the people of the Left and for those who appreciate AKEL, to work in order to make it even stronger, bring it closer together, to make it even more capable to meet the needs of the times and the expectations of the people. It is up to us to prevent the ideals from fading. It is up to us to continue giving life to our dreams and visions.