Mitchell Hambis

Hambis Mitchell


Mitchell was a leading personality in the Greek Cypriot community in Britain, who was in charge of 'The Vema' newspaper which largely followed Communist lines. During the 1950s and 1960s, the British Communist Party enjoyed considerable support from the Cypriot community, which was focused on support for the Cypriot Progressive Party of Working People (usually rendered as AKEL from the Greek words for this name).


Mitchell was the leading figure in the Cypriot Affairs Advisory Committee of the Communist Party, which was the main body responsible for organising British Cypriot members and effectively the body controlling Vema.  He was, for a period, a member of the Executive Committee of the Party.  


Many but not all AKEL members resident in Britain at this time also held British Communist Party membership during this period and the Party across Britain enjoyed considerable financial support from Cypriot businessmen, who were often focused on the ownership of cafes and chip shops. Cypriot membership of the British Party was especially big in boroughs such as Haringey in London.


After the events in the early 1970s, AKEL in Cyprus got frustrated with 'The Vema' line, which tended to over-stress (to AKEL’s collective mind) unity between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. When AKEL opened its own newspaper in Britain, 'The Parikiaki Haravgi', as an extension of the 'Haravgi' newspaper, which in Cyprus is the organ of AKEL and funded by the party, Vema faced an uncertain future. Added to the problems of competition, the leadership of the British Cypriot community was by now becoming very elderly and more distant from their community than British-based AKEL forces.  The support given by Hambis Mitchell and his close comrades for the revisionist element of the CPGB leadership in the factional controversies of the 1980s (purely on the basis of discipline and loyalty) was the final nail in the coffin for a tendency that had once seemed paramount.




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