On September 3, 1974, Andreas Papandreou announces the founding of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, a political faction that will politically dominate post-colonial Greece and will mark it positively and negatively.
The fall of the Junta on July 24, 1974, found Andreas Papandreou, then 55 years old, in exile in Canada. He did not rush to come to Athens immediately, as one might expect, but extended his stay abroad at the urging of his political friends, as there were fears for his life in the fluid political landscape of the first days of the post-colonial period, which he had characterized simply “NATO’s changing of the guard in Greece”.
At the end of July, he denied reports of the formation of a party, as he believed that democracy had not been restored and that if elections were to be held, they would be fraudulent and contested. Executives of the pro-dictatorial Center Union and especially Yiannis Alevras will finally convince him that substantial political changes are taking place in Greece and that broad popular masses are impatiently waiting for his return to Greece and his descent into politics.
The big decision
At the beginning of August, Andreas makes the decision to come to Greece and lead a party, not the pro-dictatorial Center Union, as many expected, but a new more radical political faction, with a socialist orientation. On August 6, he convenes in Winterthur, Switzerland for the first and last time the national council of the Panhellenic Liberation Movement (PAK), a resistance organization that he had founded during the dictatorship and proclaimed not only the fall of the junta, but also “the release of the country from foreign dependence” and “the realization of radical changes, with the ultimate goal of the socialist transformation of Greek society”.
About 80 people participated in the conference, who the next day decided to dissolve the PAK and transform it into a socialist party, based on the declared principles of the Panhellenic Liberation Movement. At the same time, another committee was tasked with writing a draft “declaration of principles” of the new political formation.
Andreas Papandreou returned to Greece on the evening of August 16 and received a rapturous welcome from his political friends and thousands of people at Ellinikos airport and along the route to Kastri. The slogan that vibrated the atmosphere was “NATO, CIA, treason!” His wife Margarita, his son Giorgos, Kimon Koulouris, Angela Kokkola and Michalis Ziagas got off the plane with him.
One of the first problems he was called upon to deal with was the insistence of several prominent centrist politicians that he lead the Center Union with a renewed face. In favor of this solution were, among others, the pre-dictatorial director of the political office of Antonis Livanis, Yiannis Alevras and Yiannis Charalambopoulos. Andreas does not seem to have taken this prospect seriously and was talking with them for the sake of talking. He was determined to lead a new party and that was where the substantive discussions with his close associates were directed.
The first name
During the preparation of the founding declaration of the new political formation, the question of the name was also raised. Andreas proposed the “Panhellenic Socialist Movement for the Renaissance of Greece”, but the term “renaissance” will be considered by most of his interlocutors as antiquated, while others will say that it looks like a junta slogan. Eventually, it will be abandoned and the name “Panhellenic Socialist Movement” will be chosen.
Antonis Livanis’ proposal to replace “socialist” with the word “democratic” was also rejected. In the “party” or “movement” dilemma, the latter easily prevailed to emphasize the anti-bureaucratic character of the new political formation. The symbol eventually adopted was a green rising sun, inspired by a small Trotskyist group.
The official presentation of the new party took place on September 3, 1974 at the “King Palace” hotel in Athens, in the presence of 150 people, who were its founding core. Andreas Papandreou appeared late in the event hall, wearing a white shirt and a wide leather belt. He read the entire “statement of principles” and then distributed it to the journalists present, printed in a small green booklet.
The central slogan mentioned in the declaration and defining the principles of the new party was the fourfold “National Independence – People’s Sovereignty – Social Liberation – Democracy”. As Andreas Papandreou pointed out, the “main sovereign goal of the movement is the creation of a state free from foreign control or intervention, a state free from the control or influence of the economic oligarchy.
The P.S.K., as the newspapers wrote it in the first days, was a fact. The acronym PASOK, which will eventually prevail, will be imposed through the pages of “Vima” by the political editor Stavros Psycharis.
Source: Time Machine