October 16 is the 102nd birth anniversary of Comrade Enver Hoxha, one of the greatest Marxist-Leninist personalities of the twentieth century. Leader of the Party of Labour of Albania from its founding in 1941 until his death in 1985, and architect of socialism in Albania for five decades, Comrade Enver was a staunch anti-imperialist anti-fascist fighter and defender of the teachings of Marxism-Leninism. On the occasion of his birth anniversary, MEL recalls his towering achievements for the cause of revolution and socialism and honours his memory.
Enver Hoxha was drawn to communism as a young student in the 1930s. In the late 1930s and 1940s, his small country Albania, one of the poorest and most backward in Europe, came under the jackboots of first the Italian fascists and then the German nazi fascists. Under the conditions of war and ferocious repression, Com Enver took the decisive step that was to lead to the liberation of his country – he played a leading role in uniting the different Albanian communists to establish, on November 8, 1941, the Communist Party of Albania (later renamed the Party of Labour of Albania).
The young communist party rapidly became the sole leading force of the heroic national liberation war of the Albanian people. The Albanian patriotic fighters under the Party’s leadership pinned down more than 700,000 nazi and fascist troops on their soil and liberated their country in November 1944 entirely with their own resources and the sacrifice of 28,000 martyrs. The profound and enduring unity of the Party and the people of Albania, built and tested in the flames of the National Liberation War, was embodied in the Democratic Front of Albania.
The end of the War saw the birth of the new state power in Albania as a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Under the leadership of the Party of Labour of Albania headed by Com Enver Hoxha, the country made unimaginable and huge strides in the spheres of post-war reconstruction, the economy, education and health, scientific and technological progress and the well-being of the masses of people. Land reforms gave land to the peasants who hitherto had to toil in miserable conditions for the landlords. Agriculture was extended and put on an increasingly scientific basis, with the perspective of fully providing for the needs of the people. An entirely new socialist industry was built. From having the lowest literacy rates in Europe, literacy rose to over 90%. Before the new state power, Albania had just a handful of doctors, but under socialism it educated and trained its own medical and scientific and technical personnel. Diseases like malaria, which once wiped out whole sections of the population, were completely eradicated. A network of roads and electricity was extended to even the remotest village in this country with a mountainous and difficult terrain. The status of women, which was extremely low in pre-liberation Albania, was immeasurably raised, and women and girls could be found at the forefront of all fields of endeavour in Albania.
The lesson that can be drawn from all these achievements of Socialist Albania which will remain forever undiminished is that, under the leadership of a communist party with a correct Marxist-Leninist line, and with close unity between the Party and the people, a country can overcome all odds to lift itself out of backwardness and crisis and forge a brilliant new life for the people. A very great credit goes to Com Enver Hoxha for the leadership he provided to the Party of Labour of Albania in bringing about these successes.
In defence of Marxism-Leninism
Enver Hoxha’s contribution lies not only in the achievements of socialism in Albania, but in the rich legacy of his consistent and unwavering struggle to uphold the principles of Marxism-Leninism in the conditions of the second half of the twentieth century – particularly in the face of the treachery of the Khrushchevite and Chinese revisionists, and of the Titoite and Eurocommunist brand of renegades in Europe.
The end of World War II and the victory over fascism, which in many countries was led by communist parties, had led to a great rise in the strength and prestige of the socialist camp throughout the world. In these circumstances, modern imperialism, headed by US imperialism, made great efforts to undermine communist parties from within, to stem the revolutionary tide. Among the first to show their anti-communist colours were the Titoites in Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav revisionists tried to gobble Albania using the profound internationalist feelings of the Albanian communists, as well as their agents within the Communist Party of Albania. Comrade Enver Hoxha had to wage an extremely difficult struggle against the Yugoslav revisionists and their anti Albanian plans. The struggle of the Albanian communists against Titoite revisionism contributed to the unmasking of the Titoites within the International Communist Movement, as enemies of revolution and socialism. In his work, “The Titoites”, Comrade Enver Hoxha vividly brings out the true anti communist, chauvinist character of the Yugoslav revisionists, and the glorious struggle waged by the Party of Labour of Albania against this dangerous revisionist current.
The big communist parties in some of the countries of Western Europe also adopted an anti-Marxist line, gradually integrating themselves completely into the bourgeois social-democratic states in their countries. Under the leadership of Enver Hoxha, the Party of Labour of Albania early on identified the anti-communist elements in the lines of these parties, and armed their cadres and people against them. Enver Hoxha’s work “Eurocommunism is anti Communism” brings out how the communist parties of Western Europe degenerated.
The opening shot in the reversal of socialism in the Soviet Union was fired by the Khrushchevite revisionists at the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956. At this Congress, in a closed session, Khrushchev delivered a so called “secret speech” whose content was to slander and denigrate the life and work of JV Stalin. This “secret speech” was handed over to the Yugoslav revisionists and the imperialists. At an international conference of communist and workers parties in Moscow in 1960, the Khrushchevites sought to line up all the other parties behind their anti-communist line, starting with their denunciation of Comrade Stalin. At this meeting, Comrade Enver confounded the revisionists’ plans by openly denouncing their moves in front of all the assembled delegates and rising to the defence of Marxism-Leninism. About the Khruschevites’ defamation of the great Stalin, he boldly declared: “One must defend the work of Joseph Stalin. Whoever does not defend this is an opportunist and a scoundrel.” Comrade Enver condemned the Khrushchevites revision of the fundamental principles and conclusions of Marxism Leninism. This stand was a great inspiration to Marxist-Leninists all over the world who began to organise themselves to fight against Khrushchevite revisionism which had taken hold in the communist parties of their countries. Comrade Enver Hoxha’s work “The Khruschevites - Memoirs”, is an outstanding contribution to the treasury of Marxism-Leninism.
Another great challenge to communism was posed by the unfolding of the thoroughly anti-Marxist-Leninist character of Maoism, the guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China. This was a particularly dangerous trend, as the CPC had stood together with the Party of Labour of Albania in exposing Khrushchevite revisionism, and hence had much influence in the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement. As Enver Hoxha has revealed in his book “Reflections on China”, the PLA and Albania did its best to make its principled opposition to the stands and policies of the CPC known in a fraternal way to the Chinese, but when this had no effect, it courageously did not hesitate to openly expose and criticise them.
The rich experience of the principled struggle of the PLA in defence of Marxism-Leninism and against the various forms of revisionism, as well as the struggle against internal and external enemies both before the revolution and after, has been brilliantly analysed by Comrade Enver in his works.. These works are a marvelous testimony as to how a Marxist-Leninist party must conduct itself in the face of attempts to undermine our great ideology, Marxism-Leninism, and sabotage socialism. The PLA and Enver Hoxha’s struggle to expose and defeat revisionism came at great cost to Albania, which had to face pressure, blackmail and sabotage from all sides, from former ‘comrades’ in the international communist movement, because of its principled stand.
Enver Hoxha’s great work, “Imperialism and the Revolution”, published in 1978, summed up this entire struggle against modern revisionism, while also reaffirming the great Leninist thesis on the character of our epoch as the epoch of imperialism and the proletarian revolution. It elaborated on the nature of imperialism in the current period as well as on the strategy and tactics that the proletariat must follow to defeat imperialism and build socialism in the present conditions.
The passing away of Comrade Enver Hoxha on 11 April, 1985, proved to be an irreparable loss for the Albanian communists and people. When just a short time later world imperialism launched its furious offensive against communism the world over, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the counter-revolutionary tide swept over Albania too. The great achievements of socialism in Albania, and of Enver Hoxha, were denigrated and reversed by the imperialist flunkeys who came to power there. This has been an immeasurable tragedy for the Albanian people and for the communist and progressive forces the world over. Nevertheless the life and work of Comrade Enver Hoxha continue to hold rich lessons for the communist movement in our era. The life and work of Comrade Enver Hoxha teaches us to soundly grasp and implement the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, to build and strengthen the Party at all times, to stand up boldly to imperialism and reaction, and to build and always rely on the powerful unity of the people. The communists and working class of India raise their fists in salute to the memory of Comrade Enver Hoxha!