Published in La Nostra Lotta
Organization for the Communist Party of the Proletariat of Italy
June, 1998

Vlorė, Albania

Interview with a Representative of the Salvation Committee of Vlora

Question. Vlora has been called the Stalingrad of the Balkans. Is this town playing a major role in the struggle for the restoration of socialism in Albania?

Answer: I think so. We should understand the gravity and the dimensions of the Albanian crisis: the political, economic and ideological crisis. This crisis is particularly deep here in Vlora, which was hit hard by the so-called "financial pyramids." The fraud amounted to $600 million US, half of the money taken by the "pyramids" in all Albania.

The cause of today's struggle was in the beginning mainly economic, but it grew as our people began to denounce the regime of Sali Berisha. But while the objective conditions were mature, the subjective factors were still lacking, since our young Communist Party of Albania was (and still is) illegal and had to endure a ferocious repression, and lacked organization which did not permit it to fully play the leading role in the popular rebellion.

Question: But the party was legal in the beginning, wasn't it?

Answer: Yes, it was legal from its foundation in 1991 until the end of 1992. But the most important thing for a Marxist-Leninist party is not whether it is legal or illegal, although legality is very useful. What is important is to be at the head of the people, the women, the youth.

Historically my people have always struggled for freedom, and the people of Vlora are particularly known as fighters.

Berisha found in Vlora an unshakable bastion, the heart of our people. Everybody, the youth and the elderly, were united when 5,000 troops sent by Berisha entered Vlora and were forced to retreat in 15-20 minutes. The revolt swept away all the state institutions and for six months Vlora was Berisha's Stalingrad.

Question: What is the name of the Committee that led the struggle and does it still exist?

Answer: It is called the Salvation Committee. The Committee was formed first in our town, but soon we sent representatives to all the cities of Albania who participated in the formation of such Committees. The rebellion needed a head, an organization and a strategy. The Committees were made up of socialists, republicans, people from the "National Front," "Legality" and of course from the Communist Party which was then an illegal party, although everybody knew of its presence.

In the framework of this struggle for national interests we stand for the formation of a broad front, as Lenin taught.

The Committee led the political struggle, while a military Committee organized battalions, companies, squads, and led the people in seizing weapons from the army.

We had the territory under our control and followed the movements of the enemy troops, an "enemy" in quotation marks since they were Albanians deceived by Berisha. The resistance began as guerrilla detachments based on the villages around Vlora, where we had the core of our forces. We built up barricades throughout the city, which can still be seen.

The rebellion in Vlora alarmed Europe, not because Albania is important, being a small country, but because of the example that it set. People in Germany, Naples and other places people saw the masses struggling in the streets. The foreigners tried to understand what is the character of our revolt (political or economic), since the capitalists know that when the masses move the states can easily collapse. For example, General Giglio of the Multinational Force always asked me: "If you win, what type of regime will be established in Albania?" and he waited for my answer staring at the portrait of Stalin behind me. I tried to calm him by saying that Stalin was a great anti-fascist who led the struggle of the peoples against Nazi-fascism.

Question: As communists, we a criticize the "Refoundation Party." If they are communists, they should be consistent: in the beginning they opposed the intervention of the Multinational Force, but in the end their representative Brunetti voted for the intervention. If one advocates proletarian internationalism one should be consistent: our people also suffer from this intervention.

They have committed a great mistake, they are not true communists, but false ones and they serve the interests of the bourgeoisie.

Do the Salvation Committees still exist?

Answer: After the elections the Committees had exhausted their task. But we Marxist-Leninist communists know that the problems of our people will not be resolved while capitalism still exists. Although with Fatos Nano we have a democratic regime which is better than that of Berisha, Nano is the other side of the same coin. The Socialist Party says it is on the left but in practice it is always on the right.

The people of Vlora have exposed Berisha and his criminal collaborators, but in a year nothing has been done. This question still remains unresolved and it is not surprising that the socialist Fatos Nano is doing nothing.

After the dissolution of the Salvation Committees, two organizations were formed. The first is called "10th of February" in honor of our hero Abdul Rusteni, who fell during the revolt; the second is called the "Committee for the defense of the interests of the people." We communists work in both these committees.

Question: After the first stage of the struggle, the collapse of the fascist regime of Berisha, what are the tasks of the communists today?

Answer: Our situation is very peculiar. We have passed from socialism to capitalism, and now we are acquiring experience in the struggle under new conditions. In any case we have the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, of comrade Enver Hoxha.

We stand for the class struggle, for the revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. We suffer from all the evils of capitalism and from the consequences of the policies of the revisionists. The creation a strong organization is very important and the popular revolt has been a great school for the formation and evaluation of cadre.

Our Party works in the unions and in the organizations of peasants (who account for 60% of the population and are very patriotic).

Question: The Socialist Party of Fatos Nano is pursuing some goals: the total liquidation of the socialist property, the complete restoration of capitalism, the insertion of Albania into the system of the European imperialism, of NATO, the penetration of foreign capital in Albania, etc. What is the program of your Communist Party?

Answer: First of all one should remember that the treason of Ramiz Alia and his clique had affected the country first ideologically, then economically and finally politically.

Berisha and Fatos Nano became the followers of Alia. The state economy has shrunk by 80%; 18,000 employees were fired. first of all the communists; 100,000 employees from various economic sectors have been laid off, 700,000 Albanians (out of 3 million), most of them youths, were forced to emigrate; 22,000 young women have been forced to become prostitutes abroad; in 1997-98, 13,900 children could not go to school; in the country marijuana is raised and many kinds of drugs are smuggled into the country; the financial pyramids have seized 5,000 homes as private property.

Question: The mass "information" media report that the situation in Albania is the result of a war among gangs. What is the truth?

Answer: The Albanian revolt was a popular upsurge that has matured over time, that was detonated by the "pyramid" fraud that amounted to more than $1.2 billion US. During the revolt 2,000 demonstrators died, mainly youths, and more than 10,000 were wounded. But this struggle will continue, because our people are armed.

Question: Our party is against foreign capital, against NATO, against the European Community, against all the secret services that operate, especially the Italian special corps. We are for the use of all forms of struggle, but mainly for revolutionary ones, for the proletarian revolution! The parliament is only a tribune. We do not want to limit ourselves to changing faces.

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