May 1, 1998
After having known several years of isolation in prison and having then been prevented from taking part in political and public life, I have the great pleasure of taking part in this meeting with sincere friends of Albania and comrades of our sole ideal, Marxism-Leninism.
I take advantage of this occasion to greet you and thank you, you and your parties as well as the groups that you represent, for the support that you have given my country and all of us, the Albanian communists, during the most difficult moments that we have gone through and are still going through.
Allow me to greet and thank particularly the comrades of the PTB and comrade Ludo Martens for the honor he has given me by inviting me to the events on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Communist Manifesto as well as to this seminar.
The topic of this seminar is very interesting, and on this occasion it is comrade Hysni Milloshi, the representative of the CPA, recently legalized, who will speak.
I would like to stress that I would be very happy if I could speak about the struggle of the working class, about its success during these last years and about the perspectives which are offered to it on the eve of the 21st century. Unfortunately, in Albania, for the moment, there is no more working class, in the true meaning of the word. There are many unemployed people, proletarians ready to sell their labor and their power, but there is in effect no more working class, and it is certainly no longer in power. The obscurantist forces have reversed the socialist system in Albania with a barbarous ferocity, and contrary to what has taken place in the other formerly socialist countries, these force have completely ruined our industry as well as all the wealth that the Albanian people had created at the cost of great sacrifices during the fifty year of popular power under the leadership of the CPA (PLA) and Enver Hoxha. Except for some hydroelectric power stations, no factory remains standing. The machines and tools were destroyed and resold abroad, like vulgar scrap intended to be melted down. Even the railway tracks were removed to resell them in Yugoslavia, by way of Montenegro.
How did the Albanians get to this point? It is not easy to understand. It is they who built the country with great enthusiasm. For 45 years, they worked and lived quietly, honestly and in unity. A person commits suicide when he is extremely desperate. This self-destruction of the Albanian people seems to be the sign of an immense despair. They felt abandoned at the crossroads. But the Albanian people have always been strong, courageous, proud and honest. They are a close-knit people, with virtues and a thousand year old culture, and one can not change this character in five years. But what happened to Albania shows the inhuman character of capitalism and imperialism.
Albania is the only country in Europe in which 60% of the population is rural. The collectivization of the land (apart from private plots) was extended to the whole territory. The life of the inhabitants was modest, especially in the mountainous villages (it should be known that 2/3 of Albania is mountainous), but their existence had completely changed compared to the time of king Zog. Each village had its school, its medical center and its maternity clinic. The telephone and paved streets gave the peasants the possibility of profoundly modifying their existence. The electrification of all the villages, even the most distant, the spread of the radio, television, and all other apparatuses, was a true revolution.
Today, the agricultural cooperatives have been liquidated, all the citrus fruit plantations and olive groves have become a wasteland. The peasants own the land, but like small capitalists, in a primitive capitalist society in the process of taking its first step, they can not cultivate their land due to the lack of mechanical means and of chemical fertilizers, since they do not have a way of procuring them. The whole system of allotments which had been set up during popular power have since been destroyed. Swamps have reemerged and malaria has make a reappearance, while in our time, it was impossible to find even one case to show to medical students. Other endemic diseases, like tuberculosis, have also reappeared. The medical centers in the villages no longer exist and the schools could not escape the general destruction either. The popular Power, in accordance with the program of the Party of Labor, had built them everywhere in Albania, even in the most distant mountainous zones, and hundreds of teachers and doctors worked with passion to develop these zones. At the time the Communist Party seized power, 85 to 90% of the Albanian population was illiterate, and there were only 360 intellectuals who held diplomas, which they had obtained in foreign universities. In a very short time, illiteracy had been eliminated and two or three decades later, all the youth in the towns and villages finished at least the obligatory course of education (eighth grade). At the beginning of the nineties, the plan provided that 70% of the pupils should attend secondary school, either in general education (high schools) or in technical or professional education. There is a characteristic, in the field of education in Albania. Historically, the five centuries of the Ottoman yoke were not able to wipe out the Albanian language. The Albanians were forced to change their faith by force, but they have always fought to preserve their language, which was the symbol of national unity, and it will always remain such. Nevertheless, Moslem fanaticism left its traces. When Albania liberated itself in 1944, in certain regions and especially in the towns, the women wore the "chador" (as in Algeria), which in our country was black. In the villages, the women did not wear the chador, but they were still oppressed by the men. The Communist Party did everything for the women. Its militants worked with zeal and ardor to draw them into the schools and the schools did not take long to be mixed (girls and boys). It was a great step towards the emancipation not only of women, but also of the whole Albanian society. During the 45 years of popular Power, the universities of our country and partially the foreign universities trained more than 300,000 specialists, men and women, in all scientific, social and cultural fields.
In the seven years of the democratic regime, illiteracy has reappeared, the children no longer go to school but must tend to the cattle or work in the fields. Even in the capital, Tirana, one sees girls wearing the veil imposed by Islamic missionaries, who want to make us go back to the times of medieval obscurantism. In the name of supposedly democratic freedoms, like poisonous mushrooms there are springing up many churches and mosques, as well as various religious sects that had never been known in Albania.
Religion always sought to divide our people, but our great men of the Renaissance left us a saying: "the religion of the Albanians is Albania." Faithful to this historical maxim, of a patriotic and also revolutionary nature for national emancipatory unity, the Party of Labor and Enver Hoxha decided to make Albania an atheist State.
Currently, in Albania, the young people do not see any prospect for study or work. Albania is a country where the average age of the population is 26 years, unlike other countries in Europe where the population is much older. This is the reason for the massive exodus of our youths, who take by storm the ships that dock in our ports to flee to Italy or who even risk their lives to get to Greece. All these young people have taken the road to Europe or America where they now work like slaves. To conceal this pitiful reality, the clan of Sali Berisha, with the assistance of his godfathers, built the foundations of pyramid schemes which absorbed all the resources of the Albanian people. People sold their homes and their cattle in order to invest their money in these pyramid schemes which were presented as the miracle of Albanian capitalism. And what makes it worse is that even the money sent back by the emigrants, earned by the Albanians at the cost of great sacrifices, was absorbed in these pyramid schemes. It is said that in all close to a billion dollars was lost. Imagine what that meant for a small country like Albania. With this money, Berisha bought votes, corrupted judges and prosecutors, paid mercenaries to defend him, he freed from prison criminals whom he used to beat and injure the socialist and communist militants and other opponents when they demonstrated against him, [these criminals] put explosives in public and private buildings in order to terrorize the people.
Sali Berisha went so far, with his anti-communist and dictatorial methods, that the people revolted. The revolt broke out in Vlora, our capital in 1912 where independence was proclaimed, and in all the towns of the South of Albania, before spreading from the South to the North of the country. The population that revolted took up arms and finally succeeded in forcing the clan of Sali Berisha, which was called "the clan of gangsters," to give up power. Once again, the great powers, very worried about the popular revolt and the fact that the people were armed, intervened by means of their Euro-Atlantic institutions, the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe]. With the assistance of all the political parties, of the left and the right, with their social-democratic and reactionary leaders, they formed an emergency government of "containment." They appealed for aid from the international military forces of the UNO, under the pretext of keeping peace in Albania. President Berisha, whom they installed in power and who is nothing more than a dictator and a criminal, was saved and the people who revolted were betrayed.
But our people, conscious of their role in catastrophic situations for the existence and future of Albania, decided at the time of the election, to give with their vote a decisive blow to the Democratic Party and its leader Sali Berisha. The elections became a popular plebiscite which gave 2/3 of the parliamentary seats to the Socialist Party, which exercises power today, in coalition with other small parties. The Democratic Party did not win a single deputy in the capital, which sufficiently proves the resentment of the people towards Sali Berisha.
The Socialist Party has been in power for ten months, but whole layers of the population are not content with the government of Fatos Nano, the leader of the SP. It did everything possible to ensure the support of the great powers and of the internal anti-communist forces and it has completely and definitively broken with the heritage of the Party of Labor of Albania. With the legalization of the Communist Party, the Socialist Party will certainly lose a good share of its voters who are disillusioned with its policy. The Albanians have understood for a long time that the great powers want to perpetuate the crisis in Albania. The Albanians are asking: why did they promise so many things for Albania and do nothing? Meetings were organized in Rome, London, Strasbourg and here, in Brussels, there is talk of assistance, investment, of mini-Marshall Plans, etc, but up to now, nothing really concrete has come of this.
It is said: it is necessary to ensure public law but this is impossible if the international mafia continues to nourish crime, smuggling, and a whole range of other phenomena that were never known before, like drug-trafficking, prostitution, etc. For the Albanians, it is unacceptable that some of the great powers of Europe and the trans-Atlantic defend these politicians, the same ones who destroyed Albania.
Another anguish was added for the Albanians. By barbaric massacres on the part of the Serbia of Milosevic against our brothers in Kosova, families and entire villages have been eliminated. That constitutes a harbinger of the old plans of the Serbs to carry out ethnic purification of the territories in which Albanians have lived for centuries, well before the VIIth century when the Serb Slavs appeared in the territory of Kosova.
Why did the Contact Group of the great powers at their meeting in Bonn and recently in Rome, give time to Milosevic? Thus, the indifference and the time lost in not taking severe sanctions against Serbia, this chauvinist and most aggressive country within the former Yugoslav Federation continues to terrorize the Albanian population of Kosova and thus prepares the military terrain and threatens not only Albania but the whole Balkan region, and even beyond. The Socialist majority and the coalition which it leads make appeals to NATO to send military forces to Kosova. The right-wing parties tied to the Democratic Party go still further, demanding that NATO be granted entry facilities to Albania through its ports. Such is the goal of the United States and the European Community in nourishing the crisis in Albania: to be able to put their feet on Albania, which is the strategic point where the paths to three continents cross. Such is the misfortune that has always followed Albania. This small country, throughout its history, has always been the prey to powers to the East, West, North and South, which covet it in order to divide it among them and to thus have a place that allows them access to three continents.
But the Albanian people have fought against the fascists and won, they have built socialism at great sacrifices and they fully deserve this socialism.
I have the firm conviction that the people have not forgotten and that they will fight again for the independence and sovereignty of Albania and for socialism.
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