The Marxist, XXXI 3, July–September 2015




Ideology as Compass,

Strengthen the Party


We are publishing excerpts from the Report on Organisation, of the 22nd Congress of the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), held on 4-7th June 2015. As our readers are aware, AKEL is the leading communist party in Cyprus and was elected to lead the government, as the President of the country between 2008-2013 with 53.36 percent vote. It leads many working class and popular struggles on various issues and is one of the important political parties in the country, enjoying popular support. A reflection of this is found in the consistent vote share it commands in the elections – around 33 percent. – Editor


The Programmatic Congress of AKEL discussed and reconfirmed the ideological identity of the Party. The main elements that constitute the ideological character of AKEL are the following:

– AKEL as a modern Communist Party is guided by the world outlook of Marxism-Leninism “which develops with the endless progress of knowledge and by economic and political evolution.”

– After 1990, with the dissolution of existing socialism, the battle on the ideological front is inevitably being conducted in very difficult conditions. Having our ideology as our compass, it is imperative that we dialectically analyse the new given situation and set out new ways of work in the arena of ideological struggle.


The main axis of the Party’s efforts to upgrade its functioning and activity so as to respond more effectively to the country’s political and social developments is through bold and determined changes in relation to the content and forms of action at a local, district and central level.

The current organizational model was built up many years ago in very different conditions. Undoubtedly it helped the Party achieve many successes, indeed during difficult times. However, the functioning of the bodies and more specifically of the Party Base Organisations (PBO) needs to improve so that it adapts to the new given conditions in a concrete and creative way, by overcoming the shortcomings that are observed today, related to the more effective participation of party members and cadres.

What is the current situation?

Local level (Party Base Organisations)

The situation of quite a few PBO’s is not satisfactory. Year after year the participation, activity and intervention of party members is declining, particularly at a local level, while what is actually needed is for party members to develop activity in line with the Party’s policies and decisions, as leaders in their own area and field of work: through the assumption of initiatives to promote and solve local problems, thus contributing to the functioning of the local club/association of the Peoples Movement of the Left, the development of youth activities, the highlighting and campaigning on social, cultural, environmental and ecological issues. These elements define pretty much the ideal Party member.

This situation leads to having PBO’s where:

• Many of our members are inactive with no participation in the meetings of the PBO or any other activity.

• The meetings of the PBO on quite a few occasions are convened only if they have been preceded by a decision of the Central Committee or the District Committee, resulting over time in these meetings being transformed into routine assemblies without actually dealing substantively with issues related to the PBO’s activity within its local community. Consequently a large number of new members are not assimilated in the work and over time become detached.

• Many Party Bureaus do not function on a regular basis.

• The main burden of participation in the various election battles and mobilisations falls on the shoulders of a limited number of our cadres, which is recording a downward trend as a result of our inability to replace any departures. This results in fatigue being observed considering that the volume and dimension of Party work is increasing.

This is the situation in general terms, which of course is not something new. It is obvious that with such problems the possibilities of achieving the intervention we are seeking in society are limited. That is why for us there is no other way forward other than our efforts to change this situation.

What must be done?

The most important thing our efforts must focus on is to make PBO meetings interesting for members. And this will be achieved only when we decide to involve party members in practice in the discussion regarding serious issues. We should assign them a task, but also a saying in the decision-making. In this way party member’s activity and participation assume a meaning and content.

It is understandable that the pace of developments is now rapid and this does create in practice difficulties in itself. However, we should promote concrete solutions.

• It should be understood that without concrete activity PBO meetings do not assume a creative and meaningful content.

• We should have demands from PBO meetings and take all necessary measures for their proper preparation by utilizing the regular functioning of PBO Bureaus.

• The guiding bodies have a responsibility to reply to all questions raised by members in PBO meetings.

• Carefully on the one hand, resolutely on the other we should proceed with the settlement of our party membership dues and complete the issuing of Party membership cards, aiming by the next Congress to achieve members participating actively in the life and struggle of the Party. After engaging in a prior face-to-face and substantive contact those members who unjustifiably have not paid their party subscription and renewed their party card for several years should be deleted from the party membership list. Unjustifiably means, not the elderly, unemployed, ill and so on. This of course will result in reducing the number of party members, but what is the point of having a bigger number of party members only on paper?

• We should look at any possible ideological and political causes for the detachment of a number of members from the ranks of the Party.

• The recruitment of new members to the Party should be done with stricter criteria. We must be sure that they are genuinely interested in becoming Party members and that they understand what it means to be a member of the Party. We could, without returning to the custom of a probationary Party member, implement a practice whereby in the first three years, the new members will attend educational/ideological classes on an organised basis.

District level (District Committees, Rural-City Committees)

The Party District Committee is the highest party guiding body at a district level.

• It deals with and handles matters relating to the functioning of the Party, but also issues related to the problems and everyday life of the district. Consequently, its composition too should be proportionate. That is to say, it should be made up of the most active cadres, those that are steeled in the daily work and life of the Party itself. The content of the discussion in the sessions of the District Committees as well should be even more corresponding.

• It is also imperative – for those District Committees who have not done so – together with the approval of the organizational plan and budget to ensure that the annual action plans are subject to approval.

The role and usefulness of the Rural and Urban City Council is the subject of a lot of discussion. The bodies, Secretariats and Committees function with several problems, while their activity is no different from the district bodies, organizational or thematic. Many of their members are simultaneously also members of District Committees. This is on the one hand inevitable, but at the same time unproductive. What could help and make their functioning more substantive are the following:

• It should be made clear that these are auxiliary bodies for the fulfilment of organizational and concrete objectives of the Party in the countryside or in the city.

• We should proceed immediately to the simplification of their structures and procedures.

• The bodies should be composed exOfficio by the Secretaries of PBO’s or the Secretaries of the Borough Committees and the Party Supervisors.

• Conferences should be specialized and thematic.

Central level (Central Committee)

The Central Committee is the highest guiding body of the Party between two Congresses.

The way the C.C. functions can contribute greatly towards the efforts to advance the Party’s activity, provided of course that it convenes regularly and first and foremost that it will improve the way it operates so as to become more productive and efficient.

Members of the C.C. must be comrades, who play a leading role in the various aspects of the Party’s life and struggle; who participate decisively not only in the shaping of its decisions, but also in their day-to-day implementation that directly links political guidance with daily activity in all its manifestations.

With this in mind, it is important that the process of electing the members of the C.C. should ensure as far as possible, that comrades will be elected who have these characteristics and whose participation in the C.C. will be the most beneficial for the party. Our aim must be the greater participation in the C.C of voluntary non-full time cadres in the body.


Our demand for enhancing democracy in all spheres of public life cannot but be reflected also in the functioning of the Party, given that this is how the superiority of collective work versus individuality and the strength of collective action are demonstrated and proved in practice. If party members do not feel – whether rightly or wrongly – that their opinion is heard and that they are the real proprietors of the Party, then a lack of interest in party activity and an emotional distancing between the party member and the Party is inevitably created.

• Helpful to the effective participation of members is the all-round briefing on the Party’s activity at all levels so that the opportunity to participate in the decisions, control, and activity of the Party is ensured. Towards this end the Party must make use of all the means at its disposal – for example, the internet – apart from the political briefings given in PBO meetings.

• There are issues on which, despite the possibility of a decision by the Party’s leading guiding bodies, a wider consultation and weighing up of Party member’s opinion is imperative. In the past the Party has used various procedures towards this end. From time to time moulded questionnaires or even on serious issues ballots could be used that will register the position of party members.

• The ability to monitor/control the activity of the guiding bodies by members is also a component part of democratic functioning. A procedure for the annual political briefing of the C.C. must be established that should be the subject of discussion in PBO’s.

• Finally, it is important to encourage the assumption of initiatives by Party organizations, particularly at a local, but also regional or district level.


Criticism, self-criticism and creative control, both on an individual and collective level, constitute fundamental principles of the Party’s functioning. These principles apply or should apply to all collective bodies of the Party – from the C.C. down to the PBO and vice-versa, each and every one cannot refrain from these principles.

Life has shown that as long as these principles are implemented in the Party’s daily activity, where control is a constituent part of organized life, with a creative approach, then we can to the same extent aspire to a proper and upgraded functioning of the Party.

For that reason, the Party Statutes and Rules of Operation must be implemented faithfully and creatively and not at will. For this purpose it is necessary that the Party collective bodies be characterized by continuity and consistency in their actions and functioning, by cultivating a culture of comradeship, emotive unity and a humane approach. Transparency, democracy, freedom of opinion should be promoted in the organization and functioning of all Party bodies.


Renewal and progressive modernization are a source of life for the Party; a renewal based on principles and values with quality and content, with substance, not some false renewal with a superficial approach of the issue or the simple alteration of people.

Today, more than ever, it is necessary to leave behind weaknesses, gaps and shortcomings. What does that mean in practice?

• The policy of developing and promoting cadres should be a daily and constant effort.

• We should leave the safety of a routine behind us and bring to the fore ideas, methods, contemporary and innovative, that will strengthen the ideological-political character of the Party.

• We should proceed to extending the restriction of terms of office, both for civic and party posts, taking measures so that such a decision should not be to the detriment of our work.

• The ideological-political and organizational upgrading of the Party is unthinkable without young people, fresh ideas, what is innovative itself, but always based on social – class criteria. In cooperation with EDON Youth Organisation and the wider People’s Movement of the Left, we should focus on and invest in the young generation.

• We have to admit that the degree of renewal and integration of new members into the Party from the ranks of EDON does not reflect the mass character and participation of young people in EDON’s activity. This phenomenon certainly has its organizational and practical dimensions as well, but it also has other dimensions that should not be underestimated at all. We need, in cooperation with EDON, to discuss in a comprehensive manner the causes of this phenomenon in order to take concrete measures to address them.

• Criterion for the recruitment of new members to the Party was and still is hard work, faith and devotion to the Party and its ideology, as well as the participation and social and political recognition of candidate members. Even in today’s conditions where life itself demands qualities such as expertise, knowledge and experience, ability, for the Party competence, honesty and respect for ethical principles are needed, as well as all-round personalities that should represent in effect examples.


The role of ideological-educational work is very important. With the knowledge and specialisation acquired through ideological work, the effectiveness of the Party’s political activity and all-round intervention in society is strengthened. Through it, the ideological unity within the Party itself is enhanced, while at the same time the resistance to phenomena that should be alien to our Party, such as “paragontismos”, (Note: the permanent goal of pursuing personal ambition/advancement by abusing positions of power, acting in a way so as to serve self-motivating interests) selfishness and opportunism, is enhanced. It is a common belief that our ideological-educational work has declined over the past years, despite the fact that at a central level important decisions have been implemented, aimed at strengthening our work in this field. The creation of the Research Institute “Prometheus” and the establishment of a Pancyprian Party Cadre School reflect such decisions taken.

In practice, particularly at a grassroots level, the required importance to ideology-educational work is not given. Even where a decision has been taken to proceed with such educational work, the cases where this decision has not been accompanied by the necessary preparation so as to give this work a mass and successful character are not uncommon.

It is evident that we must pay more attention to educational work.

• Better use of the Research Institute of the Party, the Party School and the Auxiliary Offices/Departments of the Party should be made. It is imperative that their activities need to be more coordinated with the Party and its needs.

• The possibility of issuing a theoretical organ must be examined.

• We should adapt our educational work more to what is topical. This will stimulate more the party membership’s interest and make it more lively and comprehensive. A fundamental prerequisite is the updating of the subject matter and existing materials for educational work. Such a procedure has already begun, but must be speeded up and expanded.

• Ideological/educational work should be more systematic and gain more consistency and continuity with regards to its themes. This can be achieved by strengthening the central programming, which outlines the framework of ideological and educational activities, without of course hindering self-actions and the assumption of initiatives at a district and local level. The Central Educational Department must upgrade its activity by coordinating all educational work.


From time to time trends and behaviours intrude in our Party, especially among the party membership, that are a consequence of bourgeois influences.

Its not uncommon for the Party becoming a recipient of ideas and proposals promoting the revision of its ideology and policy. We are besieged by advice and encouragements that the Party should revise its principles and positions as a Marxist-Leninist Party, revise democratic centralism, proletarian internationalism, its anti-imperialist and class character or that the Party has fulfilled and completed its historical cycle and must adapt to the “new conditions”.

The mass media, the political and economic system in general, newly founded think tanks and political figures are in the forefront of these attempts. The main purpose and goal is for AKEL to transform itself into a superficial, loose and social democratic Party.

However at the same time, especially at a time when the pressure exerted on the Party is immense, we are also confronted with views which, using “revolutionary” rhetoric and empty slogans devoid of content, lead the Party to isolation from the popular masses by choosing the easy path of having contact with those who are already convinced.

This is the reason why it is of paramount importance that the Party abides by policies that do not violate its principles. Furthermore, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois attitudes and mentalities affect party members in habits, practices and political behaviour. Individualism and “paragontismos” in our lives, the “ego” and “superego”, the self-promotion, the underestimation and degradation of organized struggle and life in the party are some examples of such type of behaviour. In addition, errors on crucial issues for our Party are observed, such as ethics, corruption and “diaploki” (Note: system of interwoven interests). These are crucially important principles which unfortunately, especially recently, have been dealt a blow.

This is why the following are needed:

• Continuous and qualitative raising of the political and ideological level of party members and cadres. We should revive self-education in the Party’s life.

• Take measures for the active participation in the Party’s organized life, starting from decision-making to their implementation.

• Exercise decisive control, based on the party statutes and rules of procedure by the collective bodies of the Party.

• Timely and critical assessment of behaviours based on the rules of party ethics and briefing of the members of the Party, as part of the life of the party and of the process of criticism, self-criticism and creative control.

• Rejection and combating of every phenomenon promoting individual prevalence or promotion both in the party, as well as in public posts.

• Implementation of measures by the collective bodies of the Party, in accordance with the Party statutes during electoral procedures or/and during the period preceding elections, which can contribute towards preventing the growth of such phenomena.


The Ancillary Departments/Offices of the Party were set up to help the party elaborate specific policies in separate areas; to monitor, assess and intervene in developments of their responsibility and to maintain contact with concrete groups / sections of the Party or in general. At the same time they need to offer assistance to the activities of the popular movement in specialised sectors. Especially in today’s conditions the need for the better functioning of the Auxiliary Offices is greater.

Making an overall assessment, the activities of Auxiliary Office in recent years varies; ups and downs in their functioning and effectiveness are observed. This hinders the Party’s efforts to make a difference on issues that specific groups of the population are strongly concerned about.

Within the context of improving of our work in this area, broader Areas of Activity have been formed (for example, to monitor corresponding Ministries) in which flexible and specialized Departments/Offices will operate.

Further changes that should be made:

• Both the Areas of Activity and Departments/Offices should meet regularly, with a specific agenda and topics, evaluate their own work and proceed to make corrective changes.

• The Departments/Offices can even involve friends of the Party, with the scientific knowledge in their work or set up ad hoc committees where necessary.

• Renewal of the members of Departments/Offices should be made at regular intervals, given that in the period between two Congresses cases of inactive members are noted, or potential members can appear who can assist their work.

• The promotion of issues and decisions regarding proposals on policy issues as a rule must be taken and promoted by the Departments/Offices towards the leadership and not the other way around. Consequently, approaches arguing that “we did not deal with the issue because we weren’t told to” cannot be a justification.

• The Heads of the Departments/Offices play a decisive role in their smooth functioning and must fulfil this role effectively. Also important is the role of the member of the Political Bureau who has been assigned the task of following the specific Department/Office.

• The Auxiliary Departments/Offices, particularly at this current juncture, should open up more to society, influence and to listen to its pulse.

Experience shows that not only do open discussions, concrete visits and forms of public consultation raise significantly the Party’s prestige, but they also can generate the necessary reflection and fermentation among specific groups of people.

• Those Departments/ Offices relating to the activity of the broader People’s Movement of the Left (local cultural and educational clubs, mass organizations, party factions organised in concrete areas/issues, etc.) should prioritize in the period ahead of us the enhancement of our Movement’s activity. This is an important factor in the broader strengthening of the Party.

• The District Auxiliary Departments/Offices should be established and function according to the needs of each District and not simply copy the operation and content of the Central Auxiliary Departments/Offices.


AKEL until today gave an account of the state of its finances before the Pancyprian Party Congress and the District Conferences. In keeping with the Law passed by the House of Representatives in December 2012 we have proceeded to the presentation of comprehensive financial accounts before the Registrar of Political Parties and by extension the Auditor General of the Republic.

With transparency and respect for society we have proceeded even further by making public our financial statements and our assets, including our immovable property. The financial statements of the revenues and expenses of our election campaigns will also be made public separately, as we did – the first party to do so – in the European elections 2014.

Due to the severe financial problems brought about by the economic crisis and the dramatic decline in the party revenues painful measures were taken. Despite the measures taken to reduce the number of the party’s full-time cadre mechanism, the Party’s finances are expected to deteriorate even further, endangering the Party’s ability to meet its needs and fulfil its obligations.

The new given conditions, as they are evolving, demand that we study and take measures aiming on the one hand at the financial strengthening of the Party and on the other at minimizing costs and the further tidying up of our finances. The functioning of a Single Accounting Office, which is beginning to be implemented, aims to better coordinate and control the finances of District Committees, most of which to survive need the support of the C.C. Other organizations of the People’s Movement of the Left and mass media close to our political spectrum also receive financial

 support from the C.C. It is imperative that we immediately function in a rational way and with balanced budgets.

In the new economic environment evolving, it is necessary to evaluate from the beginning the functioning of the party full-time cadre mechanism and strengthen voluntary work so as to cover the loss of forces that is being observed in the full-time cadre mechanism.

The general assessment is that to secure the necessary financial means the Party’s cadre mechanism, both voluntary and full-time, devotes a great deal of its forces. The responsibility unfortunately is increasingly limited to fewer and fewer comrades, those who are fully aware of its necessity. The exhaustive and arduous effort to secure the necessary economic means also restricts the possibility of the better political, organizational and other utilisation of our cadre force.

Besides the full-time cadre mechanism, there are also other people who represent the Party on a full-time basis in various agencies and institutions (European Parliament, Parliament and other) and which we need to reassess their better utilization and performance.


The practice of the New Forces was adopted by the Party in the early 1990’s and in view of the 1991 elections, as a response to the efforts by AKEL’s opponents to isolate it. It based itself on our Party’s timeless policy of forging cooperation with progressive personalities and forces.

The practice of the New Forces over the years has offered a lot to the Party. The custom continues to be useful. The New Forces through the years have become a bridge of communication and contact of the Party with the Centre and the Centre-left and in some cases with moderate personalities of the Right. The custom provides cover to people who do not identify with AKEL’s ideology, but who support its positions on central issues and rally their forces with our Party.

Two and a half decades since this practice was created, changes must be made so that it can continue to fulfil its role. The main observation made by representatives of the New Forces is that their connection and utilisation is irregular and mainly confined to electoral campaigns. What they want is a more permanent connection and to be utilised more frequently.

In order to achieve this, the following are needed:

• The New Forces should be recorded analytically and concretely, by district, their numbers supplemented and their list renewed.

• District Secretaries at a district level and a member of the Secretariat at a central level should assume the main responsibility of organizing a continuous contact and proper relationship with the New Forces.

• Meetings should be held regularly every six months and extraordinarily whenever there are important on-going developments, so that on the one hand they are informed and on the other they can channel their own thoughts and opinions to the Party.

• There must be continuous and steady personal contact that should be organized by the District Organizations so as to ensure continuity in our relationship with them.

• They must be invited to all events and other broader activities organised by the Party.

• Technology can be used and an internal e-mail created for horizontal information and the discussion of issues.


In contemporary societies, the formulation and mass dissemination of news always had a special importance because it plays a decisive role in shaping public opinion. This role has been dramatically strengthened in recent decades with the explosion new technologies have brought, the Internet in particular, which has enabled the rapid transfer of news in almost no time.

Cypriot society inevitably follows the same roads followed by the rest of modern societies too. New forms of communication and channelling information are increasingly occupying a greater share in the field of information, despite the fact that the classic forms (television, radio, newspapers) still continue to occupy a prominent position.

The Right in Cyprus controls the majority of the mass media. This allows it to determine the communication agenda and manage the news. Convenient news for the government and ruling forces are projected and sustained over time. News and reports not convenient or to their liking are downgraded and disappear fast. The government makes headline and front page news anything it considers as positive for it, whilst downgrading anything negative.

The dominance of the Right in the mass media gives it a significant advantage, but which cannot fully hide and indeed forever, the anti-social anti-peoples nature of its policy. The communication policy can only up to a point build up images, but it cannot permanently perpetuate them. No communication policy can have lasting results, if it does not also adapt and does not reflect reality. More than two years since the Right came to power, we note problems in the communication management of various issues.

Consequently, in the current conditions the existence of a mass media that will serve the interests of the working class effectively has never been more imperative than today. “HARAVGI” daily newspaper and “ASTRA” radio station have made a great contribution to the cause of informing, enlightening and educating our people. But times are changing and demands are growing. The upgrading of both “HARAVGI “ and “ASTRA”, their coordination, mutual channelling of information and their recognition as a source of quality, timely, reliable and alternative news and information is imperative not only for their economic survival, but also to fulfil effectively the role assigned to them. These are the reasons for the decision taken to establish the Media Group “Dialogue” under which the newspaper, radio station and news web site operates.

Our own communication policy

• The Party must have a comprehensive communication policy and we should not limit ourselves to addressing day-to-day issues and news. An effective communication policy unquestionably must have a strategic plan on how to project the Party’s core political positions.

• There are times when basic positions of the Party to address the big problems and challenges the country is facing are not being perceived by society because there is a lack of consistency and continuity (repetition) in their projection. This in the minds of a section of society makes it seem like a party that only rejects, but has nothing to propose.

• Focus and specialisation in our messages is often absent from the Party’s communication policy. The public we are addressing is not uniform, nor is it at the same level. We address the Party core support base in one way, and the broader spectrum of our voters in another way and our former voters in a different way. There are also different age characteristics. A big percentage of young people in particular do not follow the traditional mass media, nor do they respond to the traditional language of the party.

• The lack of strategic planning is also accompanied by major weaknesses in the handling of daily communication work. This is usually restricted to issuing statements, but which on the same day are not publicised or broadcasted. There is no plan whose implementation can sustain our positions and criticism over a period of time.

• Sometimes our communication policy lacks identity. That is, people cannot easily and at first glance distinguish the Party’s basic position, fundamental disagreement and criticism to what is happening. There are times when this communications policy is timid and anonymous, while sometimes repetition is absent.

What should be done:

• A long-term communication strategy should be elaborated.

• The main objective of this strategy is the promotion of our realistic alternative proposal concerning the situation Cyprus finds itself in today orientated to the near future for a speedy exit from the crisis and the Memorandum in a Cyprus that will have a healthy economy based on people’s needs and satisfying society’s practical needs. Our proposal must represent in a coherent way the opposing pole combating government policy that is trying to load the burden of the crisis on the backs of the working people and the non-privileged. At the same time government policy is seeking to shape the social and economic conditions and specifics of a neo-liberal model for the coming decades.

• Within the framework of this plan and based on the key policy objectives it is necessary for the Party to strive to be acknowledged once again as the party defending the interests of the working people and people in general, but at the same time also as the Party which can combine the class with the national and patriotic interests; as a Party that does not restrict itself to reacting and rejecting, but is a Party that has elaborated positions and assumes its responsibilities; as a militant, responsible and prudent Party.

• This planning must include specific actions and policies on all aspects of communication policy (e.g. how we use the traditional mass media, how we make use of the party press, how we use the internet and especially social network media, what are the basic slogans and keywords we employ in our communication, how we exhaust even the minimal possibilities to shape our communication agenda, how we sustain our messages over time, how we communicate with “difficult” age groups, how we reach out to our former voters).

• Daily communication policy must be as uniform as possible (the same arguments and positions, the same keywords and slogans, the same core points should be transmitted and as much as possible with the same stance).

• An effective mechanism to monitor and check the main news reports and key topical programmes must be established so that we can intervene, reply and comment. In general, we must have the capability of not letting anything important from the government’s positions, differences and contradictions of the government go unobserved.

• We should make further use of new technologies to spread the Party’s positions to the party membership (internal correspondence, applications for mobile phones). It is simply not enough to send out announcements. It is often more efficient to circulate the “essence” of our positions. In that way, our positions and proposals are more easily read and become understandable.

• For all of this to be accomplished a functional and efficient mechanism is required. It is important that we proceed to the unification of the Communications and Press Office and to the strengthening of the existing mechanism to be in a position to fulfil our goals.