The events at the Athens Polytechnic in 1973 consist one of the most significant moment of class struggle in Greece during the second half of the 20th century. But what was the historical background and the socio-political developments that led to the uprising of the Greek youth?
During the fascist occupation 1940-44, several of these officers participated in the security forces and the mopping'up operations against communists; some of them even worked with Gestapo and were later connected to the secret services of the English and Americans. The military junta, headed by G. Papadopoulos, N. Makarezos and the generals S. Pattakos and G. Zoitakis, having planed a conspiracy with the king and based on the article 91of the Constitution of Greece, published a decree stating the transition of all of the power to the army and the abolition of a series of articles of the Constitution, concerning democratic rights.
Having seized the power, the military dictatorship proceeded with the materialisation of the "Prometheus" operation. Every democratic liberty in the country had been abolished, a marshal law had been imposed, strikes and meetings were banned, harsh censorship was introduced, political parties and progressive social organizations were also banned. The army took upon it extensive authority, arrests and searches had been conducted. By the order of the dictatorship, thousands of political and social fighters of our country were arrested, first and foremost cadres of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the legal, until then, political party, United Democratic Left (EDA), through which, communists also fought. According to statements by the officials of the dictatorial regime, more than 40 thousand communists had been arrested till the May of 1967.
In order to deceive people, the colonels named their coup "national revolution", which was supposed to have been conducted "for the benefit of all the classes of the Greek society". The army and especially the officers, were declared "driving force of the revolution", and the struggle against communism had been set as the main goal.
The coup became possible in Greece, because the military forces of the country were under the strict control of the reaction. The labour and democratic movement had not still reorganized its forces after the defeat in the civil war of 1946-1949. The development of the mass movement in Greece was impeded by the emergency laws, which first of all prohibited the action of KKE. The leaders of the "Centre Union" Party followed a policy of fragmentation of the democratic forces, disintegrating any common stance of the opposition, aiming at the repulse of the reaction, thus enforcing it. The opportunist elements that existed inside KKE during that period had succeeded in 1958 a decision to be taken for the dissolution of the illegal party organizations, to be taken, supposing that KKE, could, at the end, allegedly be replaced by a wider structure of the Left, EDA. EDA, despite its' high election results, up to 28%, not only failed to develop a true alternative, but even failed to prepare the party forces and the popular movement before the coup.
The regime of the 21st of April of 1967 was an overt terrorist military-fascist dictatorship of the domestic and foreign monopolies. A characteristic particularity of the military-fascist regime has been no other than the close involvement of the American imperialism, in the preparation and the establishing of the dictatorship.
after the coup, KKE strengthened its' struggle for the rallying of all
of the democratic and patriotic organizations. It summoned all the
patriots, despite their party belonging, at factories, neighbourhoods,
villages, universities, schools and state institutions, to organize in
resistance committees, in order to overthrow the fascist dictatorship.
On the initiative of KKE and EDA, the Patriotic Anti-dictatorship Front
(PAM) had been formed on the May of 1967. Later, other anti-junta
organizations made their appearance, such as PAK and the "Democratic
KKE at deep illegality and in spite of the blows it had endured not only from junta, but also from the opportunists who had split the party in 1968, managed to regroup the party organizations, created the "Unified Trade Union Anti-dictatorship Movement" (ESAK) and set up its' youth organization, the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE), which was going to play an avant-garde role in the Polytechnic uprising in 1973.