Anarchism in Greece

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Anarchism in Greece has emerged from occasionally overlapping but mostly diverse inclinations. It is often difficult to trace the connections of the various anarchist leagues and affinity groups, as they remained mostly underground.[citation needed]

Anarchist-communists march in Athens, Greece on 1 May 2014 at Syntagma Square next to the parliament building while holding red-and-black flags (an anarchist-communist symbol) and a banner which reads "1884-2014 1st May, struggle for a new society without exploitation of human by human until the overturn of the state and the capital, for the worldwide revolution, anarchy and communism.Anarchist newspaper Black Flag and anarchist organization Circle of Fire".


An anarchist poster on a wall in Thessaloniki has a quote from Mikhail Bakunin.
Anarchist posters on the streets of Salonika, Sept. 2009


The first libertarian texts were published in Greece in 1860 and some organized anarchist action started in Athens around the same time. Much was written and published by anarchists and libertarian radicals of that time, deeply influenced by the activities of similar European movements.[citation needed] Emmanouil Dadaoglou[a], a merchant from Smyrna, had probably come across anarchist ideas after meeting Italian political refugees, who first arrived in Patras in 1849 due to the War of the Two Sicilies. Together with Italian anarchist Amilcare Cipriani, founder of the "Democrats Club", they organized a group and took part in the revolution against Otto of Greece in 1862. They put up a barricade near Kapnikarea in Athens.[2] From 1864 to 1867 Dadaoglou lived in Napoli where he became a membe r of the International Workingmen's Association (IWA), following the ideas of Mikhail Bakunin. At that time he met Maria Pantazi(her existence is highly disputed[3]), a former prostitute, who became his lifelong companion. In the late 1860s he returned to Greece, where he died in 1870. After his death, Maria Pantazi left Greece and died in the aftermath of the Paris Commune, at the hands of the Royal Guards, in 1872. The first anarchist publication in Greece appeared on 3 September 1861, in the daily newspaper "Φώς" (Light), issue 334. It's the main article of the paper, titled "Anarchy", part A, by an anonymous writer. All the copies were confiscated a few hours after their release and a police raid was staged, forcing the owner of the paper to condemn the article, so part B was never published. Libertarian movements also occurred in the Ionian Islands, with the names of Mikelis Avlichos and Nikos Konemenos saved for us. Avlichos studied in Bern, Switzerland where he met Michail Bakunin, and afterwards he returned to Cefalonia, his birthplace. He published some articles. Konemenos, living in Corfu, was one of the first to use the term "communism" and one of the first to speak for women's rights. In 1893 he published a book in Italian called Ladri ed omicidi (Thieves and murderers).


The newspaper Greek Democracy: Revolution is the law of progress.

The seeds sown during the previous decade flowered, producing revolutionary organizations in many parts of Greece, such as Athens, Syros, Messinia, Aegio, Filiatra, Cefalonia and Patras. Yannis Kordatos, in his Comprehensive History of Greece, writes: "The anarcho-socialist ideas found ground to spread in Patras in my opinion, due to the presence of 5,000 proletarians, the proximity with the Ionian Islands and their radicals and the good communications of the city with Europe." Anarchists in Patras formed a collective called "Democratic Association" in 1876, which, because of the city's favorable position and its port, acquired close and constant relations not only with fellow Anarchists from nearby Italy but with other European organizations. They tried to coordinate all the groups in Greece and to form the first Greek Chapter of the International Workers Association. A league called "Democratic League of the People" was formed and in an article in the Italian paper Il Martello published in Bologna, Italy, was an announcement of the league's existence: "...later on we will send you the general policies of the Democratic League of the People and the specific policies of the Company of Patras... Soon enough we will publish our socialist newspaper as an instrument of IWA ...". The following repression from the Greek state was in accord with a European state agreement, a fact that can be proved from several diplomatic papers. In the newspaper Bulletin of the Jura federation on 10 June 1877: "Greece in its turn joins the agreement of civilized nations, those who are sleepless in taking measures of pressure in keeping the social order".In 1896, two new associations are established: One in Patras and the other in Pyrgos. The most active members were D. Badounas, D. Arnellos, D. Karabizas and the poet P. Tsekouras.[4] They translated various anarchist articles and later the same year they published the anarchist newspaper Epi ta proso ("Forward") with Anarcho-socialist inclinations around which gathered Anarcho-Christians, Anarcho-communists, Socialists, and even Individualists.[5] At the turn of the 20th century most of the urban centers in the country had an Anarchist nucleus. In 1913, Anarchist (for others historians just a madman) Alexandros Schinas shot and killed King George of Greece in Thessaloniki. He was tortured and murdered by the police six weeks later.


In the spring of 1919, Greeks in the Mariupal region formed defense units in reaction to the events of the October Revolution, joining the Makhnovshchyna. Indeed, "twenty per cent of the Makhnovist forces were Greek and [...] according to Arshinov some of the best Makhnovist commanders were Greek".[6][7]

Many anarchists participated in the socialist "Federacion"[citation needed] of Saloniki and later in the Socialist Worker's Party of Greece, which was to become the Communist Party of Greece (CPG) in 1923, and which slowly absorbed most of the Greek revolutionaries[citation needed]. Many other anarchists were active in local workers' struggles that flared up in the 1920s. Notable examples were Constantinos Speras, anarchosyndicalist and leader of the "strike of Serifos".

After 1920

Anarchism, as a movement was unapparent after the 1920s, because of the Marxist ideology resonated among working class and anarchist were persecuted by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the State (which took various forms). Anarchism in Greece would re-appear some decades later, in 1967.[8]


An anarchist protest in Athens in 1990, against a court's ruling that the policeman who shot and killed M. Kaltezas was innocent. The banner reads: "we are the blossom of the Greek youth"...

The new phase of the Greek anarchist movement started during the dictatorship of the Greek military junta of 1967-1974. Students returning from Paris, where they had taken part in the events of May 1968, getting in touch with leftist and anarchist ideas, started spreading these ideas among the radical youth of the time. In 1972, Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle was published in Athens, along with other Situationist texts. Mikhail Bakunin's God and the State and Peter Kropotkin's Law and Authority followed. "Black Rose" bookshop carried these publications of "Diethnis Vivliothiki" ("International Library"), which went on to publish books by Rosa Luxemburg, Ida Mett, Henry David Thoreau, Murray Bookchin, Max Nettlau, Jerry Rubin, and many others. In 1973, "Electoral Strike", a translation of a 1902 French text against voting in bourgeois elections was published, as an answer to the junta's "democratization process" and planned elections. Anarchists were among the main actors in the student movement against the junta. Greek anarchists in the light of May 1968 and the Italian autonomist movement opposed anarcho-syndicalism in favor of direct class war. Their influences were the classics (Bakunin, Kropotkin) but also the Situationist International and autonomist Marxism. They came mostly from communist backgrounds, disillusioned with the reformism of "communist" parties worldwide. They were against fascism, capitalism, imperialism, bureaucracy, racism, sexism and any kind of authority - especially that of the Communist Party (KKE), which was projecting itself as the sole keeper of revolutionary truth.[citation needed]

The turning point came during the student uprising against the junta at the Polytechnic School in Athens in November 1973. Anarchists[citation needed] painted "Down with the State" and "Down with the Capital" on the front gates of the Polytechnic, took part in the first occupation committee, put up barricades in the surrounding streets, and fought battles with police and army for three days. On the night of 17 November, army tanks and police moved into the Polytechnic, ending the occupation and killing dozens in the process. Seven months later, the junta collapsed and a new, "democratic" government was sworn in under right-winger K. Karamanlis. In September 1974, left-wing organisations (including the GCP) were legalized again after 25 years. This led to an explosion of Maoist, Trotskyist and Guevarist groups, which together with the Anarchists were at the left of the GCP. After 1976, another libertarian publisher appeared, "Eleytheros Typos" ("Free Press"), popularising Anarcho-communism, the Spanish Revolution, and dissident movements from around the world.

The movement strengthened in the late 1970s, when many people left the Communist Party and a host of Maoist and Trotskyist groups (who were strong in the mid-1970s) and found themselves on the side of autonomists and Anarchists. Rock music and hippie culture had a strong impact. The university occupation movement of 1979–1981 was largely instigated by Anarchist and leftist groups. Near the Polytechnic, the student neighborhood of Exarchia became a "free zone", where leftists, Anarchists, hippies, and others were in charge. In the riots of May 1976, masked Anarchists attacked the police and public buildings, fighting on the side of thousands of workers and students. That led to arrests and the first "anti-terror" legislation. By 1980, the government's "anti-terrorist" campaign and the orchestrated heroin epidemic had begun to take their toll. An attempt to unite groups from Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, Agrinio and Livadia in a Federation failed.[citation needed]


Clashes in 1989

The first generation of Greek anarchists were disappointed, and the great majority of them left the movement gradually, when the first Socialist Party government was elected in 1981 and in alliance with the Communist Party attempted to end "the social conflicts" of the 1970s. Isolated from everywhere, the anarchist movement took a downturn. A new wave of young anarchists, more aggressive and violent than the first generation, emerged in the mid-1980s, influenced by the punk subculture [9]

A poster released in 1982. The main text says "Cops sell the heroin". It is simply signed "Anarchists", a common practice.

Between 1985–1986, almost daily demos and clashes between anarchists and the police took place in Athens. Α 15-year-old youth, Michalis Kaltezas was shot dead by the police during this period and his killing caused huge riots in Athens and Thessaloníki. The government's reaction to the occupation of the Chemistry Department of Athens University[citation needed] made the oppression against anarchists almost unbearable, but the anarchist movement survived, and managed to stage demonstrations with thousands of participants in Athens. The attack by an anarchist demonstration on the hotel "Caravel" hosting a far-right conference (among the participants was Jean-Marie Le Pen) was also a peak in the anarchist movement of the 1980s. In 1989 the Socialist Party was again in the opposition and the Communist Party in the (right-wing) government.

The 1980s generation faded slowly, and a new wave of anarchists appeared in the wake of the 1991 high school student uprising. The 1991 high school student movement was the most massive ever in Greece, involving about 1500 school occupations and demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people [10]. The murder of teacher Nikos Temponeras caused an almost general insurgency in all main Greek towns, with a 25,000 strong demonstration in Patra where Temponeras was killed, which was followed by the burning of the police station and the Town Hall. The same day in Athens four people died in a fire which occurred during a massive demonstration. The civil unrest stopped only after the minister of Education resigned.


In 2002, the "Anti-authoritarian Movement" ("Αντιεξουσιαστική Κίνηση" – "Antiexousiastiki Kinisi") was established on the general lines of Left Anarchism and direct action. It is active mainly in Athens, Thessaloniki, and a few more urban centers. In 2004, Anarchists opposed the staging of the Olympic Games in Athens because of the intensification of state control and repression. Since that time, many Anarchist posters and pamphlets appear in two or more languages: Greek and Albanian (and sometimes Bulgarian, Arabic, and Georgian), showing solidarity to "foreign" workers in Greece.

The Anarchist group Anti-State Justice coordinated several bombing attacks in early 2006.[11]

December 2008

On 6 December 2008, 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, was shot dead by a policeman after a verbal exchange in the libertarian stronghold of Exarchia, Athens. Within an hour, anarchists, leftists, and sympathizers rioted and attacked banks, police vehicles and government offices in the area. The government's attempts for a cover-up and refusal to apologize brought thousands to the streets for daily clashes and demonstrations.[12] The parliament building was besieged for weeks by angry crowds. Major violence erupted during one of the marches, with rioters attacking and setting fire to many public buildings, banks, and shops. Thousands of young people staged angry protests across Greece for a week, attacking police stations in every town.[13] In almost every neighborhood of Athens and Piraeus, police stations, banks, and big businesses were firebombed. Notwithstanding violence emerged in every town, there have been commentators highlighting on self-organization activities in neighborhoods (especially in Athens) that emerged as the outcome of the spread of youth radicalism between 2008 and 2012 [14]. Overall, the "December Unrest"-as it became known-gave a new impetus to the anarchists who were at the forefront of the movement.[citation needed]


Anarchist groups organized and participated in protests against the measures implemented by the government to resolve 2010 Greek economic crisis that was precipitated by the 2010 Greek sovereign debt crisis. In April 2015, the authorities shutdown Indymedia's internet server at Athens Polytechnic, but activists forcibly reopened it a few days later.[citation needed]. Certain anarchist groups and networks, in conjunction with activists affiliated to anarchist and libertarian ideas, during the beginning of the crisis, differentiated themselves from violence, becoming engaged in self-organization activities [15]

See also


  1. ^ Moskof Kostis disputes his existence [1]


  1. ^ Μοσκώφ, Κωστής (1985). Εισαγωγικά στην ιστορία του κινήματος της εργατικής τάξης (2η έκδοση). Αθήνα: Καστανιώτης, σελ. 152.
  2. ^ Page 412, "History of late and modern Greece- Volume A'" Tasos Bournas. Kastaniotis ,1997 Athens ISBN 960-600-524-0
  3. ^ Μοσκώφ, Κωστής (1985). Εισαγωγικά στην ιστορία του κινήματος της εργατικής τάξης (2η έκδοση). Αθήνα: Καστανιώτης, σελ. 152.
  4. ^ History of the Greek Workers Movement by Yannis Kordatos
  5. ^ The History of the Greek Workers Movement by Yannis Kordatos.
  6. ^ Heath, Nick. "The Greek Mahknovists: A short account of the role of the Black Sea Greeks in the Makhnovist movement". The Anarchist Library. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  7. ^ Chop, V. M. (1918-10-01). "Participation of Priazov'ye Greek Colonists in the Makhnovist Movement (1918-1921)". Kate Sharpley Library. Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  8. ^ Alexandrakis 2010, p. 76.
  9. ^ Kitis, E. Dimitris (2015). "The anti-authoritarian chóros: A space for youth socialization and radicalization in Greece (1974-2010)". Journal for the Study of Radicalism. MSU Press. 9 (1): 1–36. ISSN 1930-1189. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Greece after the school occupations, 1991". 27 November 2010. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  11. ^ Also Greek: Αντικρατική Δικαιοσύνη Antikratiki Dikaiosini.
  12. ^ "More riots in Greece over fatal police shooting of teen -". Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  13. ^ Sagris, Tasos; Schwarz, A.G, eds. (4 January 2010). "3. These Days are for Alexis". We are an image from the future: the Greek revolt of December 2008. AK Press. ISBN 9781849350198. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  14. ^ "The Greek December Revolt and its Current Relevance". Institute of Anarchist Studies. Retrieved: 16 April 2018.
  15. ^ Michail Theodosiadis and Eugenia Siapera, (Digital) Activism at the Interstices: Anarchist and Self-Organizing Movements in Greece Journal Triple C. 15 (2): 505–523. Retrieved 16 April 2018.

Bibliography and further reading


  • Revolt and Crisis in Greece. AK Press & Occupied London (2011).
  • A brief history of anarchism in Greece. Anarchist Gallery (1986).
  • Early Days of Greek Anarchism: The Democratic Club of Patras & Social Radicalism in Greece Edited and translated by Paul Pomonis. ISBN 1-873605-68-4
  • Stergios Katsaros-I the provocateur, the terrorist. The charm of violence, S. Katsaros . Mayri Lista (1999). ISBN 960-8044-02-2
  • The Boatmen of Thesalloniki. The Bulgarian anarchist group and the bomb attacks of 1903, G. Megas. Troxalia, 1994 ISBN 960-7022-47-5
  • Yannis Kordatos, Great History of Greece, Athens, 20th Century Publishing
  • The History of the Greek Workers Movement by Y. Kordatos. Athens, Mpoukomanis Publications (1972)
  • The Greek Speaking Anarchist and Revolutionary Movement (1830–1940) Writings for a History, James Sotros. No God-No Masters, December 2004
  • The Strike of Serifos, K. Speras. Bibliopelagos (2001) ISBN 960-7280-14-8.
  • Alexandrakis, Othon. "The struggle for modern Athens: Unconventional citizens and the shaping of a new political reality." (2010) Diss., Rice University.

Magazines and newspapers

  • Solidarity - monthly anarchist newspaper - issues n.1 (15/11/1983)
  • The Arena - monthly anarchist newspaper issue n. 1 (?/11/1984)
  • Test - anti-authoritarian newspaper issue n. 8 (14/11/1986)
  • Against - monthly anarchist newsletter issues n. 1, 2, 6 (1988–1990)
  • Riot - anarchist newspaper - issues n. 3, 9, 13, 14, 18, 21, 24, 28
  • Anarchist bulletin - Special edition November 2005
  • [Diadromi Eleftherias - Route for Freedom - Panhellenic Monthly Anarchist Newspaper since March 2002]
  • Kitsantonis, Niki (May 22, 2017). "Anarchists Fill Services Void Left by Faltering Greek Governance". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
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