Greek Communist Youth – Rigas Feraios

The Greek Communist Youth «Rigas Feraios» (Greek: Ελληνική Κομμουνιστική Νεολαία «Ρήγας Φεραίος», abbreviated EKON Rigas Feraios, ΕΚΟΝ Ρήγας Φεραίος) was a communist youth organization in Greece. The organization was baptized after Rigas Feraios, a national hero from the Greek War of Independence.[1] EKON Rigas Feraios was the youth wing of the Communist Party of Greece (Interior) and formed the backbone of the party.[2] Rather than being merely a front of the mother party, the Rigas Feraios youth organization exercised significant influence over the party.[2][3] At its peak, EKON Rigas Feraios had some 15,000-17,000 members.[3]

The Rigas Feraios youth organization was established in 1967, shortly after the beginning of the Regime of the Colonels.[1] It was the first illegal youth organization to emerge after the coup.[4] The organization succeeded the now defunct Lambrakis Democratic Youth (DNL), the founders of Rigas Feraios had belonged to DNL.[4][5] Rigas Feraios members were active in organizing resistance to the new regime, distributing leaflets and painting anti-junta graffiti around the country.[5] By September 18, 1968 many Rigas Feraios organizers had been arrested by the junta.[5] On October 29, 1968 the Rigas Feraios leadership was put on trial. The defendants were sentenced to jail, with sentences ranging from 5 to 21 years.[5] A failed attempt to initiate low-scale armed struggle was launched in , with the formation of the 'Aris-Rigas Feraios' armed group.[5]

The Rigas Feraios organization aligned with the New Left, although influenced by Eurocommunism.[5] As the Communist Party of Greece split in 1968, Rigas Feraios became increasingly tied to the Communist Party of Greece (Interior).[5] Rigas Feraios, which took a critical stance of the Soviet Union, would now compete with the pro-Soviet Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) over the influence of the leftwing youth movement in the country.[6] By 1972 Rigas Feraios was the largest youth organization, although KNE eventually outgrew it.[5] EKON Rigas Feraios had a key role in organizing the November 1973 Athens Polytechnic uprising against the military junta.[1] The student wing of EKON Rigas Feraios was known as 'Democratic Struggle-Democratic Unity' (DA-DE).[6] In 1974 DA-DE won 14.6% of the national student vote, in 1975 16.42%, in 1976 17.52%, in 1977 20.94% and in 1978 in 16.7%.[6]

During the 1970s EKON Rigas Feraios underwent period of internal strife, which ended up in a formal split in 1978 as the minority wing formed the B Panelladiki.[6] The influence of EKON Rigas Feraios declined towards the end of the 1970s.[6] In 1979, DA-DE won 7.5% of the national student vote. In 1980 it obtained 8.9% and in 1981 10.1%.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Kevin Featherstone; Dimitrios K. Katsoudas (1987). Political change in Greece: before and after the Colonels. Croom Helm. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-7099-1091-6.
  2. ^ a b Juan Botella; Luis Ramiro Fernández (2003). The crisis of communism and party change: the evolution of western European communist and post-communist parties. Institut de Ciències Polítiques i Socials. p. 30. ISBN 978-84-600-9912-3.
  3. ^ a b Heinz Timmermann (1979). Die Kommunistischen Parteien Südeuropas: Länderstudien u. Queranalysen. Nomos-Verlag-Ges. pp. 269, 283. ISBN 978-3-7890-0470-4.
  4. ^ a b Michel Forsé; International Research Group on the Comparative Charting of Social Change in Advanced Industrial Societies (29 April 1993). Recent Social Trends in France, 1960-1990. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 410. ISBN 978-0-7735-0887-3.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Kostis Kornetis (30 November 2013). Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance, Cultural Politics and the 'Long 1960s' in Greece. Berghahn Books. pp. xvi, 77–78, 80, 131. ISBN 978-1-78238-001-6.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Timothy Brown; Lorena Anton (30 July 2011). Between the Avant-garde and the Everyday: Subversive Politics in Europe from 1957 to the Present. Berghahn Books. pp. 78–80, 82. ISBN 978-0-85745-079-1.