Comrade Mimis Livieratos, an emblematic figure of the post-war Greek revolutionary movement, is no longer with us! The young rebel of ELAS, the last remaining delegate of the founding conference of the Communist International Party of Greece, the Greek section of the Forth International, the prisoner of Makronissos, the leader and organizer of the illegal weapons factory in the Sahara desert on behalf of the Algerian FLN, the anti-dictatorship activist, comrade Mimis, a point of reference for the entire Greek Trotskyist movement, has passed away today 16th June 2023 at noon, aged 96. His life interweaves with the history of the revolutionary movement; to write it down is to write the history of the movement itself, at least until 1974. Here, all we can achieve is a brief historical sketch of his revolutionary turbulent life.
Mimis Livieratos was born in 1927 in Petralona, a worker neighborhood of Athens, and lived there until today. During the Nazi Occupation, he initially participated in the Nea Epochi group, formed around Costas Anastasiadis and included, among others, several young activists, such as Giorgis Dalavangas – his intimate lifetime friend, Leonidas Kyrkos, Cornelius Kastoriadis, but also figures like the Historian Yiannis Kordatos. They eventually came into contact with the typographer and former secretary of the KKE, Thomas Apostolidis, to form, along with other activists, the Revolutionary Socialist (Communist) Party of Greece (ES(K)KE), publishing a paper initially under the title of Socialist Idea and then Red Flag.
Mimis joined ELAS (Greek People’s Army) and attended its Reserve Officers School. Soon after the Liberation, in December 1944, ES(K)KE fused with ELD to form SK-ELD. Mimis and a group totaling about 15 activists initiated an independent tendency to participate in the discussions on the new revolutionary party together with the EDKE, DEKE, and the Thessaloniki Regional Committee of the International Communist Party. They finally resigned from SK-ELDA and took decisively part in the founding conference of KDKE (Communist Internationalist Party of Greece), which took place at the end of July 1946 in a ravine of Penteli. During the Civil War, the KDKE openly and critically supported the struggle of the Greek Democratic Army while predicting its defeat! By the end of 1947, the Workers‘ Struggle was banned; The paper was compelled to become mimeographed, and the 2nd congress of the party took place in 1948 in deep illegality.
Comrade Livieratos was then forcibly drafted to the army only to be sent for reformation in the concentration camp of Makronisos, where several members and cadres of the now-illegal KDKE were also detained.
In the 1950’s, along with other comrades and youth socialists, formed the Socialist Youth League. From 1951 on, he participated in the Free Trade Union Movement of Dimitris Stratis and, from 1955, in the Democratic Trade Union Movement.
At the fifth conference of the KDKE, which decided the entry-ism in the EDA as a party-building strategy, Comrade Mimis was one of the protagonists. This decision provoked strong reactions and the expulsion of many dissenting cadres from the party.
A little later, at the behest of the International, which had played a leading role in the solidarity movement with the National Liberation Front of Algeria, M. Livieratos left for Morocco. In the middle of the Sahara desert, surmounting incredible difficulties, a group of European revolutionaries – joined by comrade Theodosis Thomadakis from the Greek section – was to set up an illegal weapons factory (producing rifles and mortars), as Mimis brilliantly records in his book The Invisible Factory.
After the victory of the Algerian revolution, Livieratos returned to Greece, where the KDKE, since 1959, publishes the Marxist Bulletin, and from 1964 the magazine Our Discours. He writes for both; he is a member of the Central Committee and the Politburo and participates in all the struggles of the time and, of course, in the Iouliana uprising. Shortly before, after the eighth conference of the KDKE, another tendency, disagreeing with the EDA’s entry-ism tactics, had quit the party and formed an independent organization named OKDE (Organization of Communists Internationalists of Greece) which from October 1964 on publishes the Workers Democracy.
At the same time, there are developments in the International. After the unifying conference of 1963, the tendency of Michalis Raptis (Pablo) is in the minority, to be excluded from the FI, for reasons of discipline two years later. This exclusion causes reactions in almost all parts of the International, in which Mimis Livieratos is involved. Following tensions in the Central Committee of the KDKE regarding the publication of an article by Michalis Raptis. Livieratos is temporarily excluded from the Central Committee. He rehabilitated to the CC on the very day of the coup d’ état (!), which, in a brief session, decided to found the Democratic Resistance Committees, which are rapidly growing. Comrade Mimis escapes arrest and flees first to France and then to Germany. Having departed from both the Section and the International, he works closely with Pablo and PAK, publishing the paper Liberation among Greek political émigrés.
Comrade Mimis will return to Athens shortly after the fall of the dictatorship to join PASOK along with a group of former members of the Greek Section of the Forth International. He will be a member of the first Executive Office of the party and Giorgos Dalavangas member of the Central Committee. They resigned from PASOK in 1977 to form with old comrades the Unity and publish the magazine of the same name for years. After Unity, comrade Mimis Livieratos will not join any of the organizations of the Trotskyist movement, maintaining friendly relations with almost all of them. He persistently dealt with the history of the labor movement, trying to save the memory of the prewar class struggles. He published four volumes and wrote, among other things, on the history of the GSEE (General Confederation of the Greek Workers) and the Iouliana uprising. He publishes dozens of pamphlets as part of the Unity project, and, for many years, the paper Unity, with economic news, focusing on the particularities and dynamics of Greek capitalism.
To us, Mimis Livieratos has been a valuable comrade. But he is also a historical legacy of the Trotskyist movement. Spartakos has hosted many of his articles while he participated as a speaker at conferences of the Pantelis Pouliopoulos Institute for Social and Political Research.
The Organization of Communist Internationalists of Greece – Spartakos, the Greek Section of the Fourth International, pays tribute to Comrade Mimis Livieratos, a revolutionary who, from 1942, almost as a child, until 2023, in his old days, for more than 80 years, remained loyal to the red flag and the socialist revolution!