Christakis, Leonidas, 1928-2009

Leonidas Christakis

A short biography of Leonidas Christakis, publisher of the first counterculture antiauthoritarian magazines in Greece during the colonels' junta, who has died aged 81 in Athens.

Submitted by taxikipali on May 2, 2009

Leonidas Christakis who died at the age of 81 in Athens and was burried with a political funeral last Thursday (30/04/09) was born is Thessaloniki in 1928. He graduated from the Paedagogical Academy and the Fine Arts School, and first worked as a classical violinist. During the Nazi occupation of the 1940s, he took part in the Resistance and participated in numerous ant-occupation actions. During the December 1944 battle of the Communists with the English, he was part of the armed resistance to the British invasion, operating as part of the explosives unit of the guerrillas. After the Communist defeat in the civil war, and while being persecuted by the monarchy for his anarchist ideology, he worked as a freelance reporter and painter of fringe and underclass society in Athens. During the Colonels' junta (1967-1974) he produced the first underground anti-authoritarian counterculture magazines in the country, Kouros and Panderma. After he published a pamphlet on how to construct molotov cocktails and destroy tanks, he was arrested, accused as a terrorist leader and imprisoned in the junta's dungeons, but later released under the pressure of the country's leading artists.

After the collapse of the dictatorship, he continued his prolific publishing activity, producing the dreadnought of the post-junta radical press, Ideodromio [ideadrom]. Through its 126 issues the greek-speaking public was first familiarised with ideas as diverse as the manifestos of RAF, Wilhelm Reich's orgon-theory, the Beatniks, and illegalism. At the same time, Leonidas published a series presenting new radical greek poets. He also authored numerous books on Athens' underclasses and fringe society: "The history of hobos", "Chaos and culture", "The world history of robbery", "The dictionary of being high", and "Our saints" featuring portraits of anarchist, urban guerrillas and counterculture figures neglected by official greek history, were amongst the most popular of his works. For his prolific and heretical writing he remained in the usual suspect list of the now republican police, under the code-name "number 23". He was customarily arrested after every major riot or armed struggle incident until 1981 when the Socialists assumed power. Leonidas Christakis remained until the last days a vibrant controversial figure of the radical movement in Greece. He is immortal.