Tirana builds an Internationale (1)

This article –posted in four parts- outlines the attitudes, developments and reasons why the early anti-revisionist expectation of a Marxist-Leninist international was not forth coming.

It is far from comprehensive in its coverage of all the factors involved – especially in terms of Albanian relationship with neighbouring Yugoslav – but concentrates on the newly emerged communist movement that looked to the anti-revisionist centres of Tirana and Beijing in the second half of the Twentieth Century.

Internet Sources can be exhaustive but these four provide an excellent beginning: without a hint of irony, one of the premier websites to maintain the work of Enver Hoxha is the Russian site, www.enverhoxha.ru. There is a Hoxha library maintained at the Marxist Internet Archive https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hoxha/works-index.htm that is far easier to navigate,   while the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line provides access to an extensive range of Albanian anti-revisionist material in the English language https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/albania/index.htm. Well worth a trawl is the website of Michael Harrison http://michaelharrison.org.uk/albania-pamphlets-and-magazines/  providing an archive of documents, speeches, magazines and general articles that were produced in (and about) Albania during its attempts at socialist construction.

Many of the articles and sources used throughout the article now have a web presence, so google them if further reading is so desired.

 

 

The struggle against modern revisionism

“Marxism-Leninism gives us the right to say our word and this law can take nobody away from us neither by political and economic pressure nor by threats or etiquettes which one fastens to us.”

(Enver Hoxha at the Meeting of 81 Communist and Workers’ parties in Moscow on November 16, 1960 )

In the early 1960s the dominant established, and largely pro-Soviet leadership expelled communists like Jacques Grippa in Belgium who sought to build a movement around the perception of Soviet Union’s rejection of Marxism’s main ideological tenets. The majority of organisations were small and isolated formed by members opposed to the ‘revisionism’ of the Communist Parties: exemplified in Britain by Michael McCreery’s Committee to Defeat Revisionism, for Communist Unity and the Kommunistisk Arbjdskrets- Communist Working Circle – led by Gottfred Appel in Denmark. Communists such as these identified with the Sino-Albanian side of the polemic largely because the arguments reflected their own concerns and criticisms of their own party leadership as well as in reaction to the anti-Stalin criticism of the CPSU under Khrushchev.

The initial wave of activists were anti-revisionists, defending an orthodoxy of Leninism and initially characterised by pro-Stalin sentiments, regarding criticism of Stalin, such as Khrushchev’s 1956 ‘Secret Speech’, as an attack on the experience of building socialism in the Soviet Union. In opposing the Soviet notion of a party and state “of the whole people”, opponents were wary of anything that diluted a “Leninist” party focused on factory-based workers in domestic politics. They looked to Albania and China and saw their own concerns reflected in the criticism made of the Soviet Union’s leadership and its policies.

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Tirana builds an International1

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