The local bodies’ elections in Albania, held on June 30, has ignited widespread controversies in the country. The election for the 61 municipalities and their 1,590 council seats, was boycotted by the opposition and received poor voter turnout. Out of the 3.5 million Albanians entitled to vote, reportedly, only 21.6% turned up for polling.
The opposition in the country, led by the Democratic Party, has been protesting and demanding the resignation of the prime minister, on charges of corruption and fraud. Their MPs, calling for immediate general elections in the country, had relinquished their parliamentary posts, earlier in February. In addition, they were against the conduct of the local body elections in June. But prime minister, Edi Rama, of the Socialist Party of Albania, has refuted the allegations against him and gone ahead with his plan for municipal elections scheduled in June.
The continuing political unrest, the local bodies’ elections being the latest episode, has has been a source of constant chaos. At this juncture, Peoples Dispatch spoke to John Bruchi, Secretary of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Albania, regarding the political situation in the country.
Peoples Dispatch (PD): What is your opinion about the protests against the current government in Albania?
John Bruchi (JB): As a result of the misconduct of the ruling bourgeoisie, represented by the three main political parties: the Democratic Party (DP), the Socialist Party (SP, alias Renaissance) and the Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI), Albania is in deep political and social crisis today. These parties, that have been in government for three decades, have effectively auctioned off the country using the slogan of ‘reforms’, which are impositions by Euro-Atlantic imperialism, as a condition for EU integration. Through antitrust concessions and agreements, they have turned Albania into a “Banana Republic”.
This crisis situation necessitates the protests by the working class, the peasants and the poor of the cities and the villages. But unfortunately, thanks to the overwhelming propaganda of bourgeois power, backed by international imperialism, Albanian society has lost its unity inherited from the period of socialism. In Albania, the working class is impoverished and degraded; their unions do not exist or are put in the service of bourgeois power, while the peasantry is left at the mercy of fate. The youth find no employment and integration opportunities in the country, so they take the daily routes of migration to European countries and beyond to ensure their survival. True intelligence has been sidelined and degraded.
While the working classes are disorganized, bourgeois political parties in the opposition, like the DP, SMI and their followers, have mobilized militants with the goal of returning to power as soon as possible. Once in power, it may be expected that they, like always, will attempt to undeservedly seize assets, at the expense of the general public. In their protests, which have been going on for several months, attendance of politically disengaged citizens has been registered, who are deceived by the propaganda and false promises of the organizers. The cause of these protests is not the protection of the interests of the working masses, but merely represents the aim of power rotation within an entrenched class and political system. Such manipulations by the opposition parties cannot solve the political and socio-economic crisis of the country. Only a meaningful passage of power into the hands of the working class, in alliance with the working peasantry and the popular intelligentsia, is a solution to the crisis, which could lift the country from an abyss where the corrupt bourgeois class has total control.
PD : What is the general opinion of the public about the Socialist Party led by Edi Rama?
JB: The Socialist Party was born in June 1991, however, it was the product of conversion from the earlier Party of Labor of Albania (PLA), under the direction of political mobster, Ramiz Alia, former Secretary of the Central Committee of the PLA. He completely usurped the party and power in Albania, after the loss of the Glorious Leader, Enver Hoxha. At that time, it was believed by the majority, that the Socialist Party would continue to maintain the values achieved under socialism, but it soon turned into a genuinely bourgeois party. Despite the label, its political and economic program, today, has nothing to do with socialism. It has now been fully unified with the Democratic Party, which since its creation in 1990, has simply remained a neo-Nazi clan, backed by international forces that are complicit in the destruction of Socialist Albania.
The current leader of the Socialist Party, who is the prime minister of the country, Edi Rama, had promised the electorate that he would realize a government which is for the citizens. However, besides changing the name of the party (from Socialist Party to ‘Renaissance’), and its colors, he has, above all, changed the program and put his government at the service of the financial oligarchy, with whom he has made political, economic, and criminal partnerships for the maintenance of power in every way.
The ‘success’ that Edi Rama has achieved and is achieving with his ’Renaissance’, rests on his leftist constituency, which makes up the majority of the population. This electorate, despite noting that Edi Rama has fallen out of line and does not provide real representation, continues to fear the return to power of the Democratic Party, under its leader, Sali Berisha, who will run for governor. Like his predecessors, he has performed numerous anti-national and anti-people acts. Precisely because of the danger of the DP and Berisha returning, the leftist electorate prefers Edi Rama’s party, the ‘Renaissance’, which they think is the ‘least evil’ option. It is precisely due to this ‘scheme’, that the two main parties (DP and SP) have secured the ‘cake’ of power between them, as do almost all the bourgeois parties of the current capitalist system.
However, like the DP and the SMI, Edi Rama’s ‘Renaissance’ is increasingly being discredited in the eyes of the electorate, and it will not be a distant day when she, along with her siblings, goes out of the political scene in our country.
PD: Who are these anti-government protesters? What is their political stance and ideology?
JB: As we have mentioned above, there are many reasons to demonstrate and protest in our country today. Galloping corruption that has engulfed politics and state administration; organized and street crime; the social gap between the financial and state oligarchy and the general masses; total lack of justice and impunity in government crime and corruption; the looting of the country’s underground assets; and sale of national interests are some of the motives for vigorous protests against the political class that has gripped the state, and scalps it according to its own interests and that of those it serves. But the current protests, which include not only party militants, but also citizens with unresolved issues and problems, are triggered and manipulated by the Democratic Party and Socialist Movement for Integration. The philosophy of the protest leaders is to seize undeserved power, using it not only for enriching themselves and their clans, but also for shielding from the crimes committed during political and governmental activities during the long and failed transition of the so-called “bourgeois democracy”.
PD: Do you believe that Albania is still reeling under the political and ethnic conflicts that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia?
JB: Before 1990, Albania was a Socialist People’s Republic. Under the leadership of the Labor Party of Albania and its leader Enver Hoxha, it had successfully built the foundations of socialism and embarked on the path of fully constructing a socialist society, which is the intermittent period until the transition to communism. After the death of the Marxist-Leninist, Enver Hoxha, his deputy, Ramiz Alia, who had a disguised agenda, turned the wheel of the party and the state. With the help of Euro-Atlantic capitalism, he overthrew the socialist system of dictatorship of the proletariat, and replaced it with a capitalist system.
To achieve this overthrow, degenerated constituencies within society were used, who, aided by external agents, came out openly as anti-Communist. They employed sugary slogans selling capitalism as a means to “paradise”, dubbing it as “the free economy of Europe”, which would follow the “rule of law” provide “complete freedom of the individual” and “abundance and happiness for all”. These deceptive slogans misinformed the crowds, who initially lent their support to capitalism, hoping that in a few years Albania would become “like Europe”, which was another slogan of the flag-bearers of bourgeois democracy. However, soon the people realized that the slogans of the bourgeoisie that came to power, were frauds.
The responses and reactions of the people reflect a search for the time of Socialism and Enver Hoxha. If they are not yet ready to rise in revolt against the current bourgeois system, it is because they still do not see an alternate credible political force and appropriate political circumstances to effect the return of power into the hands of the people.
The influence of the conflicts of power in Albania is not the same as what happened in the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. In these countries, the theory and practice of socialism and communism had degraded well before the collapse of the “Berlin Wall”, which marks the collapse of the socialist camp. While in Albania, as long as the great leader Enver Hoxha lived, socialism was moving at the right pace, without wavering from the communist path. The collapse, in 1990, came almost immediately, not as a failure of the socialist system, but as a result of the betrayal of the top leadership of the Labor Party that governed the state. Thus the conflict following the fall of socialism was deeper, and it is deepening every day. The Albanian people who have known and experienced socialism are reclaiming it only three decades after its overthrow, because in that system, they saw a real and secure future for themselves and for the country.
PD: Do tell us about the current role the Communist Party of Albania plays in the national politics and some of your interventions in the popular movement in the country during these years.
JB: After the death of the unforgettable leader of the Albanian people, Enver Hoxha, the upper echelons of the Labor Party, led by Ramiz Alia, in 1991, diverted from the communist path, resulting in the re-emergence of the bourgeoisie, a regressive move for the country. Disagreeing with this turn towards regression, on September 10, 1991, revolutionary poet Hysni Milloshi, along with his friends, re-founded the Communist Party of Albania, the direct successor of the Communist Party founded by Enver Hoxha on November 8, 1941 and successfully led by him for 44 consecutive years.
In 1992, the Communist Party was outlawed and forced to act under an illegal status until July 1998, when the party regained political freedom. It began its activity in the Albanian pluri-party spectrum, trying to convey to the masses its political line and program, with the objective of returning power to the people and building a just, free and democratic society.
During all these years of ‘democratic’ transition, the party has not ceased its ideological and political struggle against the capitalist system, in defense of the core values of the two great era under the leadership of Enver Hoxha in the second half of the 20th Century: The Age of National Liberation Movement (LANC) and the Age of Socialist Construction. In this incessant war, the party is confronted daily with all the accessories of propaganda and violence emanating from the capitalist system. However, the Communist Party’s political actions have always focused on defending the values of LANC, the achievements of socialism and the figure of the leader of the Party and the socialist state, Enver Hoxha ,who has been attacked in an unabated fashion, by enemies of socialism, communism and Albania.
The Communist Party, in its activity, is supported by two military and political organizations: the Communist Youth Organization, founded by Qemal Stafa, and the Communist Women Organization, founded by Margarita Tutulani, that refresh and fill the ranks of the Communist Party. One of the political actions of the party has been the participation in the bourgeois political elections, with the objective of entering Parliament, to use it as a platform, in order to expose the regime and the capitalist exploitation system. This objective has not been achieved because the bourgeoisie has used all the means of propaganda and violence, at its disposal, to restrict the party’s presence in Parliament.
However, the Communist Party has not stopped, and will not stop in its path. With communist courage and militancy, it continues to work and fight to become an important political factor by quickly taking the popular lead, at the head of the working class, peasantry, and poor strata of society. Leading them on the true path of revolution, it aims to restore the socialist system; a system where the people themselves decide their fates; and where freedom, independence and democracy are functional and true.