Research note: Indonesian exile in Tirana, Beijing, Moscow


Draws on material curated by Jürgen Schröder  at the mao-project website, the core information provided in the Wikepedia article, Indonesian Communist Exiles in Albania (2021) and that in an article by Prabono Hari Putranto,  API: An Indonesian Journal of the late 1960s–1970s from Albania . Other sources acknowledged in text. Further documentation available at the Indonesia section of Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line  https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/indonesia/index.htm    e.gJustus Maria Van der Kroef (June 1977). The Indonesian Maoists: doctrines and perspectives. School of Law, University of Maryland.


In Indonesia, in September 1965 the rumours of a coup d’etat being organized by the Council of Generals, indicate that the Army generals will move on October 5, 1965, the national celebration day of Defense.

The so-called September 30th movement against the coup plans of the generals is formed by the communists, under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Untung, the commander of the 3rd Sukarnos’ bodyguard. It goes public with a press release and tries to eliminate approximately 60 generals, but only succeeds with six, rather unimportant ones. Progressive officers with the support of the PKI want to eliminate the ‘Against the People’ side of state power, which leads to a right-wing coup. The PKI then claimed that Sukarno would not allow all communists to be killed. In reality, the chairman of the PKI, D.N. Aidit, Lukman and other leaders of the PKI and the trade unions were amongst those brutally murdered in widespread massacres unleashed by the military.


The Indonesian Tribune published in its January issue (No.3) the self-criticism adopted by the Political Bureau of the Cen­tral Committee of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in September 1966. The self-criticism entitled “Build the PKI Along the Marxist-Leninist Line to Lead the People’s Democratic Revolution in Indonesia”, says that the disaster which has caused such serious losses to the PKI and the revolutionary move­ment of the Indonesian people after the outbreak and the defeat of the September 30th Movement has lifted up the curtain which for a long period has hidden the grave weaknesses of the PKI.

An editorial in Hongqi [Red Flag], No.11, 1967, People of Indonesia, Unite and Fight to Overthrow the Fascist ­Regime, commented

“… the Political Bureau of the In­donesian Communist Party sums up the experience and lessons of the Party in leading the Indonesian people’s revolutionary struggle, criticises the right opportunist errors committed by the leadership of the Party in the past, points out the road for the Indonesian revolution, and lays down the principles for future struggle.” [i]

The Banned Thought website, notes that the PKI self-criticism, republished by Beijing’s FLP in a pamphlet “People of Indonesia, Unite and Fight to Overthrow the Fascist Regime”, (Peking: FLP, 1968), was co-authored by Sudisman, (the fourth-ranking PKI leader before October 1963) assumed the party’s leadership and led the Political Bureau after the murder of the Aidit by the Army during the 1965 massacres.

“Apparently the full document (which is not included in the pamphlet from China) specifically blames Aidit for the revisionist road after 1951 and the resulting catastrophe. But the ideological thrust of the self-criticism is against the so-called Bandung theses, a revisionist line that led to uncritical support of Sukarno among other things. Sudisman himself was arrested by the fascist regime in December 1966, put through a show-trial in 1967-68, and then executed. This PKI self-criticism was publicized internationally, especially by another Political Bureau member, Jusuf Adjitorop, who was based in Beijing after 1965.”

He was in China when the 1965 massacre occurred part of a sizeable delegation that had travelled to the People’s Republic of China to participate in the anniversary celebration of the Chinese Revolution. Others had left Indonesia to study in Eastern Europe, including Albania. Despite the terror inside Indonesia, the party’s skeleton apparatus continued to function in exile.

The PKI self-criticism that emerged from militants in China was distributed internationally, this was publicised in broad terms by oversea ML organisations in the Federal republic of Germany, the  KPD / ML-ZK, summarised the new program as the three banners:


– Building a ML Party free from subjectivism, opportunism and revisionism,
– armed agrarian revolutionary struggle of the people under the leadership of the party and
– revolutionary united front against feudalism, bureaucratic imperialism, based on the class alliance of the workers with the poor peasants under the leadership of the party.  [ii]

In the aftermath of the massacres, revisionist lies and their defamation of the People’s Republic of China was evident in  their portrayal of the counterrevolutionary coup d’état in Indonesia in 1965. In their historical falsification, they claimed that it was the Mao Tse-tung ideas that disarmed the Indonesian Communist Party and then plunged it into a coup adventure. “The tragic consequences of the events of September 30th, which were inspired by the ‘ideas of Mao tse-tung’, showed the damage that Beijing’s adventurous policies can do to the national liberation movement.”

German Maoists protested that:

“The social-imperialists are now unscrupulously twisting the facts and presenting the desperate attempt by progressive sections of the army under Lieutenant Colonel Untung to fend off the counterrevolutionary coup as the real cause of the counterrevolution. We recognize the core of this argument again: whoever leads the fight against fascism is calling fascism on the scene. Anyone who aggressively fights imperialism must reckon with its annihilation by imperialism.

The lesson: If the Communist Party does not prepare itself and the people in good time and on all sides for the path of armed struggle, it will subject the masses to imperialist rule. The Indonesian example shows who is going this way. The lesson that the Indonesian CP itself has drawn from its defeat is just as clear: Maintaining friendship with the modern revisionists’ means giving up the resolute struggle against imperialism. ” [iii]

In addition there was criticism of the Soviet Union’s stance of maintaining a normal and political trading relationship (in much the manner China was criticised for in relation to the military coup in Chile in 1973). The Communist League drew a direct connection when in February 1974, the KB publishes the third revised edition of the brochure “Chile from ‘peaceful transition’ to fascist military dictatorship” with the article “How the Indonesian CP criticized its mistakes after the fascist military coup in 1965” [iv]

 Very quickly a union delegation from the SU arrives in Indonesia in January 1967 “to exchange views on common interests” in the aftermath of the military smashing the PKI’s trade union organisation. The ‘Komsomolskaja Pravda’ in an article on Indonesia (in March 1967 1967) argued , it is early to judge the policies of the new Indonesian government, but if the current leaders see to it that the country does not fall under imperialist influence, Indonesia deserves a leading place in the modern world. “

Following the massacres of half a million people, members and sympathisers of the Partai Komunis Indonesia/Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) by Indonesian military and civilian allies in 1965-6, those communists and progressives aboard wisely stay there avoiding the murderous repression of the Suharto regime that saw between 600,000 and 750,000 people were imprisoned.

For exiled members and sympathizers [v] of the pro-Chinese Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) there was a dilemma of where they should be based to rebuild the opposition to the military regime. Beijing was an option rejected as the dominant view was that neither the Chinese government nor the PKI wished for the party would be perceived as too closely linked to China. The seemingly unlikely choice of the Albanian capital Tirana offered a number of positive possibilities. It was a friendly environment for the PKI who had opted not to condemn the Albanian party at the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1961.  The PKI could operate in a supportive political environment, indeed In March 1967 Radio Tirana  broadcasts in Indonesian twice daily. (Radio Tirana discontinued its Indonesian broadcasts in 1991).

Geographically Albania was close to other centres of exiled Indonesian student activists across Eastern Europe. In the early 1960s, scholarships had been offered to Indonesians to study in countries such as Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, the Soviet Union and Hungary and, by September 1965, hundreds of Indonesian students had received scholarships to study in the Eastern bloc.

Tirana was already a destination for Indonesia party members studying and working in the capital. A political presence made clear at the 5th congress of the Party of Labour of Albania (PPSh) in November 1966. The PKI delegation at the congress was led by Jusuf Adjitorop, a candidate member of the PKI politburo before the coup.  He survived the purge of PKI by being in China for medical treatment prior to the coup.

In his address to the Albanian party congress, Adjitorop called for the reconstruction of PKI under the banner of Marxism–Leninism and Mao Tse-Tung Thought, calling for protracted armed struggle of the peasantry to overthrow the rule of Suharto and Nasution. [vi]

According to Prof. Justus van der Kroef there were about forty Indonesian communists staying in Tirana in the early 1970s, around half of them organized in the Persatuan Peladjar Indonesia (‘Indonesian Students Association’). The Tirana-based group were assumed to act as spokespersons of the party. [vii]

An English-language bimonthly journal, Indonesian Tribune, was issued from Tirana. The publishing house of Indonesian Tribune was called Indonesia Progresif (‘Indonesian Progressive’). The Persatuan Peladjar Indonesia (‘Indonesian Students Association’) in Albania published the journal Api Pemuda Indonesia (‘Flame of Indonesian Youth’).

Swie Siauw Poh and Ernest Pinontoean were key organizers of the Tirana group. The writer Chalik Hamid, who had travelled to Albania to study journalism before the coup, was one of the members of the group that produced Indonesian Tribune and Api Pemuda Indonesia and worked as translator for Radio Tirana. He stayed in Albania until 1989.

The account given  to journalist Martin Aleida who interviewed Chalik Hamid, in Tirana,  had API  started by Anwar Dharma, an ex-correspondent of the PKI’s  Harian Rakjat (People’s Daily) in Moscow who had  reported on his unwarranted expulsion by the Soviet authorities due to his critical views towards them (Dharma 1966). Anwar Dharma then moved to China and was instructed by the Delegation of the Indonesian Communist Party in Beijing to go to Albania to start there a publication in Indonesian and in English. After his arrival in Tirana, Anwar Dharma also initiated an Indonesian programme for Radio Tirana. (Chalik Hamid was one of Anwar Dharma’s first contact persons in Tirana, and it was him who taught Dharma to speak Albanian).

Chalik Hamid on his role in Albania suggested it is not entirely correct to say that it was an official command from the PKI as the party was already disbanded. The PKI’s remnants in Beijing at that time, even in the publications of API never called themselves as PKI but as Delegasi CC PKI (‘The Delegation of CC PKI’)  [viii]

“API – Api Pemuda Indonesia” (‘Flames of Indonesian Youth’) had two different editions of API were issued, one in the Indonesian language, the other in English and/or French, both with differing contents and The Indonesian version is published monthly, but the English/French edition bi-monthly.

Indonesian Tribune and Api Pemuda Indonesia were the two main organs of the pro-Chinese PKI. These publications were illegal inside Indonesia, and one could be arrested for possessing a copy

The political ideology of API which was already stated on the title page Marxisme – Leninisme – FMTT is discussed in every issue of API. There is a section called Belajar Marxisme – Leninisme – Fikiran Mao Tje Tung (‘Learning about Marxism – Leninism – Thoughts of Mao’) which usually contains translated works of Marx, Lenin or Mao and sometimes also an analysis of their works.

 The magazine had a section called Komentar Radio Tirana (‘Commentaries of Radio Tirana’) which provided insights about some particular issues which were trending at that time. In March 1967 Radio Tirana started to broadcast in Indonesian twice a day, therefore it seems likely that this section was a highlight of the broadcasting materials of every month. 

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

Tirana was also convenient for communication with solidarity organizations operating in Western Europe. For example, in the Federal Republic of Germany, solidarity is practiced at universities, for example in Munich (1967/ 1968), later also in Tübingen (1969) and in Heidelberg (1969),

A group, the Indonesia Working Group, in Cologne were active and  Indonesians in Berlin regularly published Mengabdi Rakyat as a bulletin to oppose the New Order regime. [ix] The Indonesian Revolutionary Group (GRI), from Berlin, were students organising in the Federal republic of Germany.

Representatives of the Indonesian youth group in the FRG built working relationship with local German the Marxist-Leninist  K-Groups, Rote Fahne reports their presence In Cologne when the KPD held a major rally at the end of its 1st party congress (June 26, 1974) with 6,000 people.

Solidarity activities in protest to the two-day visit of the Indonesian President Suharto to the Federal Republic of Germany in September 1970 were organised by exiled Indonesians, their supporters and German Maoists such as the KPD / ML local group Frankfurt call for a demonstration , an Indonesia Teach In was organised  in Bonn and awareness raising material published such as  at the University of Tübingen were the student Marxist-Leninist groups distributed an article “The Indonesian people in the anti-fascist struggle “. [x]

The KPD / ML carried an article in Roter Morgen  on “10 years of fascist dictatorship in Indonesia. Heroic armed struggle of the Indonesian communists”. [xi]

Next door Indonesians in the Netherlands, partly due to its past colonial links to the region, had established communities and developed solidarity networks that saw the Tirana produced API distributed by mail to Indonesia; safer to post from non-Eastern bloc states , such as the Netherlands. Daraini’s study refers to several Dutch organizations: Indoc, and an organization initiated by the founder of Indonesian Studies in the Netherlands, Professor Wim Wertheim I (1907-1998) to support the struggle of human rights’ issues in Indonesia under the governance of New Order,    Komitee Indonesië, a solidarity group with the oppressed and democracy activists in Indonesia, and PPI Amsterdam. The latter student organization was renowned for being progressive in comparison with another, similar student organization. PPI Amsterdam at that time published a bulletin called Berita Indonesia (Indonesian News) distributed to various places including Australia and the USA.

Solidarity activities around Indonesia from 1975 became conflated with campaigning on the issue Indonesian aggression in East Timor e.g. Tapol in the UK promoting human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia, established in 1973 by Carmel Budiardjo, a political prisoner in Indonesia . [xii]

June 1976 saw a three-day international conference on East Timor and Indonesia begins in Bonn: “The organizers were the Journal of Contemporary Asia (Stockholm / London) and the Bonn Committee for the Independence of East Timor.”  [xiii]

The experience of exile elsewhere _ Beijing

The exile community in China was quite diverse and consisted of PKI members and sympathisers, students who had been studying in the Eastern bloc and in the Soviet Union, and pro-Sukarno people. On 30 September 1965, there happened to be a 500-strong Indonesian delegation in China for celebrations of China’s national day, 1 October, which marked the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Chinese Revolution.

Some members of this politically diverse delegation stayed in China but not all. The Beijing contingent grew as many PKI members left the Soviet Union for China due to splits inside the PKI. In China, a separate party leadership emerged, known as the Delegation of the Indonesian Communist Party. Mirroring Sino-Soviet rivalries, the Delegation urged Indonesian leftists in the USSR to join them in China. Hundreds did so. These rival factions were separated by mutual distrust until they each disbanded toward the close of the cold war.

“There were debates among party members about ‘what had gone wrong’ with the PKI, including questions about why there had been no resistance to the military purges. Older PKI members from the pre- Aidit period (before 1951) argued that the party leadership had placed too much trust in President Sukarno and that, by operating wholly as a legal party, the leadership had exposed the membership to grave dangers of political repression. Debates within the exile community in China exposed the inter-generational differences in political experience and these were testament to the growth and development of the PKI as a mass party between 1951 and 1965. The situation led to dissatisfaction among the exiles and added to the uncertainty of their stay in China.”  [xiv]

Taomo Zhou’s study [xv] looked at this issue.

For  members of the Indonesian and Filipino Communist Parties living in China during the Cultural Revolution, political upheavals in their home countries—the September Thirtieth Movement in Indonesia in 1965 and the Plaza Miranda Bombing in Manila in 1972—turned their originally temporary travels abroad into long-term exiles. The rise of anti-communist, authoritarian regimes led respectively by Suharto and Marcos made it unsafe for these exiles to go back and stranded them indefinitely in another land.

The foreign policy pivot at the start of the Seventies saw the 1972 Sino-US rapprochement, and China redirected its foreign policies and retracted its support for foreign revolutionary forces. As China sought normalization of diplomatic relations with Suharto’s Indonesia and Marcos’ Philippines, the exiles’ very existence became an embarrassment to Beijing.

The Chinese government moved them in the early 1970s from Beijing to Nanchang, 1250 km away, the provincial capital of the landlocked Jiangxi in southeast China. Taomo Zhou observed that as for the exiles, many had left for Western countries by the early 1980s. The Indonesians who stayed became naturalized Chinese citizens and some even transformed themselves into devoted advocates for Deng Xiaoping’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

Living in Moscow

David Hill has explored the phenomenon of Indonesians living in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) when the military regime came to power in their homeland. [xvi] Moscow was a popular destination for Indonesian students in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the Soekarno regime pursued both socialism and close ties with the Soviet Union.  By mid-1965 when General Suharto seized power in the country and began his purges on communists, several thousand Indonesian students were enrolled in various courses in Soviet universities.

With the rise in Jakarta’s New Order under Major-General Suharto after  October 1965 saw thousands of Indonesians abroad effectively isolated. Faced with detention or execution if they returned home, Indonesian leftists and other dissidents became unwilling exiles. Several thousand Indonesians were then studying in the USSR, where they were one of the largest foreign nationalities in Soviet universities and military academies.

  After the 1965–66 purges in the Soviet Union, as in the Indonesian Students Association in Czechoslovakia (Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia, PPI) there was a split between the pro- and anti-Suharto camps. Those ideologically inclined decided to move to China. The most influential grouping of Indonesians who remained in Moscow after 1965 was known as the Overseas Committee of the Indonesian Communist Party. They echoed the Soviet positions, calling  the KPI line before the coup on September 30, 1965, the Chinese line and advocated the united front with Sukarno and Suharto.   Around 2,000 choose to stay in the Soviet Union. Revisionist supporting Indonesian exiles in Moscow published a Russian-Bahasa Indonesia journal in the 1970s titled OPI, an abbreviation of the organization’s title Organisasi Pemuda Indonesia. The journal focussed on Indonesian politics and the role of young people.

 There were fragments elsewhere and Vannessa Hearman writes of “The last men in Havana: Indonesian exiles in Cuba” . A small group of six Indonesians exiled from Suharto’s New Order regime who settled in Cuba from the early 1970s onwards. [xvii]


[i] See Five Important Documents of the Political Bureau of the CC PKI (marxists.org)

[ii] Roter Morgen No. 8, Hamburg 1970

[iii] Rote Fahne No. 34, Berlin January 14, 1972

[iv] KB: Chile from the ‘peaceful transition’ to the fascist military dictatorship, Hamburg 1974

See also :  Dharma, Anwar (1966): Soviet Revisionists’ Shameless Collaboration with Indonesia’s Fascist Military Regime Condemned. Beijing Review No. 42, 14 October 1966, 30–32

[v] Knowledge of the Indonesian exile communities did not grow until the 2000s attracting some academic research. The life stories of how they found themselves in exile and the social and political issues they faced are appearing in studies

Hill, D. T. (2008). Knowing Indonesia from Afar: Indonesian exile and Australian Academics (pp. 1–13).

Hill, D. T. (2010). Indonesia’s exiled Left as the Cold War thaws. Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, 44(1), 21–51. 70

Hill, D. T. (2014). Indonesian Political Exiles in the USSR. Critical Asian Studies, 46(4), 621–648.

Sipayung, B. A. (2011). Exiled Memories: The Collective of Indonesian 1965 Exiles. International Institute of Social Studies.

 Ibnu Nadzir Daraini (2017) Imagining the Homeland: The use of the Internet among Indonesian Exiles in the Netherlands

[vi] Communist and Workers’ Parties and Marxist-Leninists Groups Greet the Fifth  Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania held in Tirana from November 1 to November 8, 1966.  Tirana: The Naim Frasheri Publishing House 1966

[vii] Van der Kroef (1977)

[viii] API: An Indonesian Journal of the late 1960s–1970s from Albania

[ix]  Daraini (2017) p22

[x] Roter Pfeil/ Red Arrow  No. 10, Tübingen September 29, 1970.

[xi] Roter Morgen No. 41, Dortmund October 11, 1975, p. 7

[xii] https://www.tapol.org/news/international-solidarity-movement-east-timor-weapon-more-powerful-guns

See: https://etan.org/ifet/support.html  and https://timorarchive.ca/.

[xiii] Workers’ Struggle No. 83, Hamburg June 28th, 1976, p.47

[xiv] Hearman (2010) p.90

[xv] Reluctant Revolutionaries: Indonesian and Filipino Communist Exiles in the People’s Republic in the Wake of Sino-US Rapprochement

[xvi] David T. Hill (2014) Indonesian Political Exiles in the USSR, Critical Asian Studies, 46:4, 621-648, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2014.960710.

David Hill,  Emeritus Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and Fellow in the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University in Australia

[xvii]  Hearman V., “The last men in Havana: Indonesian exiles in Cuba”  Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, vol. 44, no. 1 (2010), pp. 83–109.


Research Note ~ Albania’s African contribution

Albania’s part in the anti-revisionist establishment of a contact network and expanding the assistance to foreign communist groups everywhere was partly explored in a study by Albanian journalist Ylli Molla, of the help given through political and military training by the Albanian authorities. [i]

Marku‘s academic study noted that, with the collaboration of Jacques Grippa in Belgium, strong ties were established with illegal communist groups in Congo Brazzaville, where Grippa had good connections with the revolutionary groups.[ii]

In late 1966 a meeting was organized in Rome, with the help of the Albanian embassy, and was attended by Congolese members of an illegal group. Secretly these members went to Albania for military and political training.

Speculation is that if it not been for the Chinese support, Albania would not have had the power to finance parties and train illegal groups from four continents. We know that the Albanian party passed on financial contributions from a fund set up as Chinese aid to various Marxist-Leninist groups[iii] . Elidor Mehilli, drawing upon Albanian archives for his study “From Stalin to Mao, Albania and the Socialist World” made the observation that in the early 1960s the

“Albania’s party devised a special hard currency solidarity fund to assist Marxist-Leninists groups around the world. Initially it consisted of 700,000 US dollars. China issued half a million, and the rest came from internal funds. Here was the ruling party of a country that still struggled to feed its inhabitants, projecting itself as a source of revolutionary activism in the Third World and in Western Europe. In 1964, the party Secretariat disbursed money to marginalized Polish Marxist-Leninists; the Belgian Communist Party; the Communist Party of Brazil; the Communist Party of Peru; the Italian Marxist-Leninist paper Nuova Unita; and groups in Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Columbia. Activists in Australia and Ceylon were hired as foreign correspondents for the party daily. Small sums also went to a coterie of Marxist-Leninist characters in Paris and London (the short lived Committee to Defeat Revisionism, for Communist Unity), as well as in Vienna. The United States-based Hammer and Steel received modest contributions as well. Beyond the funds, Albanian officials established direct links with Iranian Marxist-Leninists (the Revolutionary Organisation of the Tudeh Party held its first congress in Tirana in 1965). Indonesian students enrolled in Tirana’s university, and a few Indonesian Communist officials were treated to paid vacations.” [iv]

Albania provided financial aid, political and military training for other militants, employed overseas Marxists on its propaganda work on radio and in print, provided scholarship for foreigners at the Lenin Party School and lecturers on guerrilla warfare and the Albanian experience.[v]

Albania, in coordination with China, did not train these groups with the exclusive goal of a communist revolution. What was most important was to challenge the imperialist, including Soviet power and influence in Africa. The two Congolese states, Congo Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo, were illustrative of this.

Visitors, according to Ylli Molla, were said to include Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (1945 -), Kabila (1939-2001),  Amazonas (1912-2002),Omar Bongo, Arafat (1929-2004), Khalil – Abu Jihad (1935-1988).

At the 5th Congress in 1966 there had been a delegation address by the Revolutionary Communist party of Sudan. In 1971, at the Party of labour’s 6th Congress there were 41 parties that either sent a delegation or a message addressed to the congress, No African delegates were listed.

Storm centres of the world revolution may have been in Asia, Africa, Latin America, but publically there was little acknowledgement of African-based fraternal parties. Even in press articles on neo-colonialism in Africa[vi] it mentions no fraternal organisations, although it may have been signalling a sub textual criticism of their Chinese allies as the article looks at US policy and expansionismas the main support of the exploiting colonial system in Africa. Albanian main interest lay in Latin America and Europe in terms of fraternal groups as demonstrated in the aftermath of the 1978 split with the Communist Party of China.

RADIO TIRANA

From November 1964 there were regular and sustained foreign language programs broadcasting the Albania’s uncompromising Marxist-Leninist worldview.

The external service Radio Tirana was one of the largest broadcasters in Europe, with a massive megaWatt transmitter operating on 1395 kHz, broadcasting in 20 foreign languages, apart from Albanian targeting Albanians living abroad. These broadcasts were in the following languages: Chinese, Arabic, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, Portuguese, Indonesian, English, French, German, Swedish, Spanish, Persian, Russian, Greek and Bulgarian.

Radio Tirana would broadcast commentaries such as

– “Success of the liberation struggle of the Sarawak people”
– “Congo Kinshasa – The liberation struggle is expanding”

– “The flames of the armed struggle of the Mozambique patriots are spreading constantly”
– “Guinea-Bissau is resolutely leading the fight against the Portuguese colonialists” (1971)

-” The armed struggle of the patriots of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea -Bissaus records new successes “(1972)
-“The two imperialists Super Powers – Sworn Enemies of the Angolan People “

 – “The people of Angola are constantly expanding their struggle against the Portuguese colonialists” (1974)

A consequence of the Sino-Albanian split was that Albanian relays of Chinese broadcasts were discontinued from July 1978. The relays consisted of half-hour broadcasts in Czech, English, Hausa (to reach Nigeria), Italian, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish and Turkish, totalled 91 hours. There were also New China News Agency transmissions in French and Spanish for 54 hours a week.

After the breach with China, the location of main supporters of the Albanian line were in organisations based in Latin America and Western Europe with a core group of twelve organizations begun to hold regular conferences with the goal of building the unity of Marxist-Leninists.[vii]

An African group who sided with condemnation of Mao Zedong Thought was the clandestine Union des communistes du Dahomey founded in 1976, it was listed as the Communist Party of Dahomey, as fraternal delegation at the 8th Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania held in 1981. Renamed Parti Communiste du Bénin, the PCB was associated with the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (Unity & Struggle). It published En Avant printed in Canada and smuggled into Benin. It was only legally recognized on September 1993.

Probably the most successful of organisations allied with the Hoxhaist wing of the 1980s anti-revisionist movement was the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigrai (MLLT) who were at the core of the TPLF.

“At the beginning of 1980 comrade Enver Hoxha’s latest writings managed to find their way to the TPLF. It was a very important event in the history of the development of the (ML) core. Mao Tse-Tung’s thought which hitherto, had been taken as a development of Marxism-Leninism by the Core was mercilessly exposed in comrade Enver Hoxha’s book, Imperialism and Revolution, and set the whole Core reading and re-reading this book.[viii]

There were claims for elsewhere: Upper Volta, Dahomey, Senegal, Angola and elsewhere in Africa of the Marxist-Leninist movement going from relatively simple propaganda activities to active involvement in the struggle against suppression of workers and their unions. The Canadian newspaper IN STRUGGLE! refered to La Flamme published by the Communist Party of Dahomey; ECH-CHOOLA published by the Tunisian Communist (Marxist-Leninist) Group ECH-CHOOLA; Le Protetaire published by the Union of Communist Struggle of Upper Volta, that vied with a rival Marxist-Leninist group , the Voltaic Revolutionary Communist Party. [ix]


[i] Molla, Ylli, Guerrillas made in Albania: the story of Arafat, Kabila, Lula, Amazonas and fighters from 11 countries, who were prepared politically and militarily by Albanian educators (Tirana: Botolarart, 2016)

[ii] Ylber MARKU (2017)Sino-Albanian relations during the Cold War, 1949-1978 : an Albanian perspective

[iii] Elidoe Mehilli (2017) From Stalin to Mao: Albania and the Socialist World. Cornell University press p218.

[iv] Elidor Mehilli  (2017) “From Stalin to Mao, Albania and the Socialist World” Cornel University Press  p218

[v] Other studies include

Pedrazzi, Nicola, The Italy that Enver dreamed of: partisans, communists, Marxist-Leninists: the Italian friends of popular Albania (1943–1976) (Nardò: Besa, 2017)

Carlos Hugo Studart Corrêa, ‘In some place in the Amazon rainforests: the memories of the two guerrillas of Araguaia (1966–1974)’, PhD dissertation, Universidade de Brasília, 2013.

[vi] Paskal Milo, Neo-colonialism in Africa. Albania Today #1 1973

[vii]  See; State of the Movement (1999) Section 2: The Albanian Intervention pp 47-126. https://emaoism.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/state-of-the-movement.pdf

[viii] . Some Stands of the Marxist-Leninist Core of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, T.P.L.F.

[ix] In  Struggle! #182, November 27, 1979.

The Polish service of Radio Tirana

Radio Tirana International no longer broadcast in Polish. Today the foreign language output is restricted to Turkish, Serbian, Greek, German, Italian, French and there are seven half hour livestream on the internet in English on a daily basis.[i]

It was different back then when you could tune into Radio Tirana broadcasting in Polish in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Polish section of Radio Tirana began broadcasting in September 1966 and in 1967 had daily broadcast of three half-hour programs. Later their number increased to four a day, and from July 1968 eight programs  in Polish for four hours a day on short and medium waves, when the Polish BBC section averaged just over three hours a day.

Monitored by the Polish Ministry of Interior in 1968, their analysis noted Radio Tirana broadcast 197 programs in Polish focused on 265 topics on socialist countries and 74 on different capitalist countries. By 1973, the radio broadcast 248 programs, of which only 43 concerned capitalist countries. Radio Tirana broadcasts were an interesting curiosity; the output of the Tirana-based service also served an anti-revisionist Polish domestic agenda rather than a simply international propagation of the viewpoint of Albanian authorities.

Virtually all broadcasts were readings of texts bristling with rhetorical language of the anti-revisionist movement and a vital source of information for supporters and opponents alike. Broadcasts of the Polish section of Radio Tirana, similar to KPP leaflets and pamphlets, focused on criticizing Polish party and government policy and accused Gomułka and later Gierek for the desire to restore capitalism. It is worth noting that problems and subjects raised on the airwaves by Radio Tirana were often picked up by Radio Free Europe, which also widely informed listeners about the activities of Mijal and the repression of authorities in Warsaw against the Polish Maoists.

Overall, the illegal oppositional Communist Party of Poland, headed by former CC member Mijail , concludes Margaret K. Gnoinska, was a  nuisance for the leadership of the ruling Polish United Workers’ Party (PUWP) domestically, and had a certain effect on international politics complicating  reformist First Secretary Gomułka’s delicate diplomacy with both Beijing and Moscow.[ii]

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Mijal had became the Polish embodiment of anti-revisionism within the international communist movement; he defended Stalin and his legacy and joined those communists who rejected a pro-Soviet orientation, thereby aligning himself with China and Albania. Maoist thought did resonate to some degree with the younger generation of Polish communists who also saw it as a means of challenging the Kremlin’s control of Eastern Europe.[iii]

The authorities propaganda attempts to discredit the KPP centre on Mijal himself: “ Only the sympathizers of communism in the Chinese edition, such as publishers of the La Voix du Peuple communist Belgian communist authority, treated the Mijalists with full seriousness”. [iv]

In April 1967, the Polish service of Radio Tirana broadcast the KPP’s “To fight in defense of socialism against the revisionist agent of imperialism.” Broadcasts often coincided with the physical distribution of pamphlets reported by radio Tirana , e.g. “KPP is fighting and calling for battle!” or “I lost the compass of Marxism, or Polish paths to socialism.” The latter was so extensive promoted that in May 1968 it was read daily for 10 consecutive days.  The co-ordination of the propaganda offensive between Albania and the communist resistance inside Poland was seen as part of the internationalist struggle against modern revisionism by the Albanians and others.

Polish journalist Micheal Przeperski noted the importance given to current political comments and the anti-Semitic prejudices in the KPP commentary in his article on theAlbanian adventure of comrade Mijal[v]

“ On the events at the University of Warsaw of March 8, 1968, Tirana said: “Students’ speeches in Warsaw cannot be detached from the general political situation in the country, which is difficult, nor can they be called hooligan, because these accidents are deeply social ( …) not the youth, and the party is responsible for this tragic spectacle. ” At first glance, it might seem that the KPP supported the victimized students. Nothing could be more wrong, because it was further stated: “Who are the students defending? Student manifestations (…) are organized from the outside in order to maintain the largest group of Jewish nationalists and their supporters in leadership. “

This was all the more surprising because a few months earlier, in October 1967, Radio Tirana talked about the agent’s role of “Zionist elements exercising power in Poland together with Gomułka.” Thus, the Jews were simultaneously with Gomułka and against Gomułka, and always against vital national interests. This confusing rhetoric brought the KPP closer to the anti-Semitic faction of the so-called partisans within the PZPR. The latter, however, have never allowed themselves to openly question Gomułka’s leadership.

And this was the comment on the entry of Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia in August 1968: “An armed assault carried out at night on CSR bears barbaric fascist aggression.” But this time, in no way meant any support for the ideals of the Prague Spring, whose leaders were described as “Dubček’s counterrevolutionary clique.”

Programs presenting letters from listeners from the country were important for every medium broadcasting from abroad, highlighted because they presented evidence that the station was listened to in the country. On the other hand, letters signed by “communists and honest Polish workers”, using exactly the same phraseology as the editors from Tirana, raised considerable suspicion. It should be noted that not all letters from readers were written by the editors.  If a letter containing a lot of details that made them credible, from “a certain comrade from Lodz”, read in December 1967, described the story of Zygmunt Kępa, “a pensioner and old revolutionary”, sentenced to three years in prison for distributing KPP brochures and appeals. The author pointed out not only a positive hero, but also villains. Judgment was issued by judge Halina Michalak and jury members Jan Minister and Leon Kamiński, and the prosecutor was prosecutor Kazimierz Masłowski, with whom he cooperated with SB provocateur Władysław Karbowiak.

Supporters of the KPP had indeed sent critical opinions to Albania about the situation in Poland. An example of operational elaboration may be used as an example codenamed “Radio”, founded in January 1976 by the SB in Sieradz.

The state response promoted by an anonymous letter addressed to Tirana and sent from Łódź became the reason initiating multi-track surveillance reaching hundreds of people. The letter’s writer described himself as a member of the CPP and “critically ascribed the People’s Republic of Poland” authorities for wanting to introduce capitalism in the country “using fascists methods of operation. “

The Ministry of Interior staff suspected that the sender of the letter could have been someone inhabiting the Sieradz province, and began a complicated operation to detect it. In its course to determine and identify the alleged KPP supporter, they designated 317 people who could be potential writers of the letter, They searched about 2,000 applications and complaints in terms of analysis of the convergence of the nature of the letter, and for the same purpose reviewed about 22,000 applications for permission to use a radio and television set. Despite SB officers’ efforts they were unable to identify the author of letter.  [vi]

Kazimierz Mijal, secretary general of the KPP, in February 1966, illegal left the Polish People’s Republic, with an Albanian diplomatic passport in the name of Servet Mehmetka. In exile in Tirana, Mijal was in contact with Poland. He controlled the underground KPP, published the paper “Czerwony Sztandar” that was smuggled back into Poland and most accounts state, he began to run the Polish program of Radio Tirana. However Robert Mazurek, talking with Kazimierz Mijal in May 1998, asked:

– Albanians were very interested in Poland at the time, and founded the Polish section of Radio Tirana.

They used my materials there sometimes. When I lived there, I gave them an interview once, but I had nothing to do with them.

An incredulous reply from Kazimierz Mijal when his name became synonymous with the broadcaster.

A harsh but not unfair judgement was that in practice Mijal did not manage to garner support among the workers in Poland and thus did not further Beijing’s ambitions of fomenting a radical revolution in the Soviet bloc. His efforts were eventually silenced by the Polish security services on instructions from the party.[vii]

In Poland, the state had more success in neutralising the banned KPP whose organized groups were active in Warsaw, Wrocław, Łódź, Katowice, Pabianice and Żyrardów . The state managed to introduce agents into the KPP. Several active members were arrested and sentenced to several years in prison. By the mid-1970s as a result of State security operations under the code name “Znak”, the KPP was shattered and its activists forced to cease operations.[viii] Although reports appeared announcing its dissolution in 1972, Mijal continued to issue pronouncements and commentaries in its name as did Radio Tirana.


ENDNOTES

[i] http://rti.rtsh.al/chi-siamo/

[ii] Margaret K. Gnoinska (2017): Promoting the ‘China Way’ of communism in Poland and beyond during the Sino-Soviet Split: the case of Kazimierz Mijal, Cold War History, DOI: 10.1080/14682745.2017.1362394

[iii] See: Which East is Red? – Andrew Smith

[iv] See: “We Present Kazimierz Mijal” published by FBIS, East Europe Report February 2nd 1985   JPRS-EPS-85-017   

[v] Taken from Michael Przepererski  “Albanian adventure of comrade Mijal” Polityka , October 2nd 2012

[vi] Taken from Przemysław Gasztold ,Maoism on the Vistula? Activities of the Communist Party Of Kazimierz Mijal , memory and justice 2 (32) 2018

[vii] . Gnoinska (2017)

[viii] Jakub Kryst: A hard – headed adventurer , ” Focus Historia “, No. 3 (38) from 2010

Re-tuned to Radio Tirana

woodsmoke

“Ju flet Tirana” (“This is Tirana speaking”) foreign language programmes of Radio Tirana began on November 22nd 1964.

The new building of Radio Tirana was inaugurated in December 1965 with 8 transmitting studios, 5 recording studios, 5 montage studios, central and a large music studio.

Radio Tirana presents

China helped Socialist Albania soon after the inception of the Sino-Albanian alliance in the 1960s build an extensive broadcasting facilities. In 1945, there were only two radio transmitters in Albania. By 1969, there were 52 transmitters, all but eight of them short wave and Radio Tirana broadcasted propaganda in 17 languages to an oversea audience of friends and sympathisers.

During the 1970s, the station broadcast to Europe on 1214 kHz, causing interference problems for the British BBC Radio One on the same frequency. During the 1980s and early 1990s the international service was broadcast on 1395 kHz (along with various short wave frequencies) and was received throughout Europe during the evening and through the night. Radio Tirana also upset many amateur radio operators in Europe by operating transmitters in the 7 MHz (40 metre) amateur band. [http://www.visit-tirana.com/news/view/150/The_story_of_Radio_Tirana-_the_first_radio_station]

There were constant requests for reception reports.

Front and backof the QSL card sent out in the Summer of 1976sw_international_broadcasters_tirana_2

Front and back of the QSL card sent out in the Summer of 1976.

In October 1966 inaugurated at Durres (Fllaka) was a medium wave transmitter with a power of 500 kW, and 5 years later neighbouring it was installed a second transmitter of 500 kW ; both transmitters broadcast the programmes of Radio Tirana external services.

At the time of the building works Western speculation was that the Chinese were installing a missile base in Albania, mistaking the transmitter sites for rocket-launching pads. During the inaugural ceremonies in 1966, there may have been an allusion to such speculation when the transmitters were referred to as “our ideological rockets”. They reached far and wide thanks to Chinese-built transmitting stations, which made Radio Tirana on short wave one of the clearest signals in the region despite coming from a country which was one of the poorest and smallest in Europe.

The external service Radio Tirana was one of the largest broadcasters in Europe, with a massive megaWatt transmitter operating on 1395 kHz, broadcasting in 20 foreign languages, apart from Albanian targeting Albanians living abroad. These broadcasts were in the following languages: Chinese, Arabic, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, Portuguese, Indonesian, English, French, German, Swedish, Spanish, Persian, Russian, Greek and Bulgarian. 1977 ATA cover.jpg

Partly sustaining this foreign language output were native speakers, a small community of ideological sympathisers, resident in Tirana’s “German villas”, working to polish the presentation of the written and audio propaganda output of the Albanian institutions. Employed as translators in Albania; either in the state publishing houses, Radio Tirana or ATA (Albanian Telegraphic Agency), with some contributions at Tirana University.

“Habla Tirana. Habla Tirana. Están en sintonía de radio Tirana…”

At the beginning, there were three 30 minute radio-broadcasts in Spanish: one for Spain, more for Latin America and a joint one for both. Later, there were  two 1 hour broadcasts: for Spain and  Latin America.

A study* lists at least 23 Partido Comunista de España (marxista-leninista) militants as working as translators in Albania, the last ones to leave in 1990. The mail of PCE (m-l) came to the Spaniards of Radio Tirana always in the name of Luis Buhalance.

Other marxist-leninists, although less in numbers, came from Latin America to work at Radio Tirana and “Albania Nueva”, a bi-monthly illustrated political & social magazine. They worked as professors of Spanish language, they prepared news or edited them, they corrected the texts translated into Spanish from Albanian, and also hosted radio programs. Engaged in translating political works and the numerous writings of Enver Hoxha produced by the state publishing houses, there were also people like Ramon Sanchez Lizarralde who engaged in fiction translation, mainly the works of Ismail Kadare. Their activity and engagement lasted for a certain period of time (generally 2 to 4 years), then later they went back to their country and were replaced by other incoming couples. They were part of the propaganda machinery of the communist regime, as well, to transmit the voice and successes of the socialist Albania in the world.


* Learning the Spanish Language for Ideological, Political, and other Curious Reasons. European Journal of Social Sciences Education and Research Vol 2, Issue 1 January-April 2015


New Zealander June Taylor, one of the many foreigners who worked at Radio Tirana as announcers and translators was hired in 1974 to read and translate news and stayed at the radio station for 19 years. “News arrived at the very last minute. The quality of translation left much to be desired and they were packed with boring slogans,” Taylor said. Phrases like “the army and the people are one and indivisible”, or how the “working collective of the Enver Hoxha tractor combine fulfilled the plan three months ahead of schedule” were among those she read out for years.          [Linda Spahia , Radio Tirana dumps Marxism, gets religion Reuters, December 16, 2002]

A consequence of the Sino-Albanian split was that Albanian relays of Chinese broadcasts were discontinued from July 1978. The relays consisted of half-hour broadcasts in Czech, English, Hausa (to reach Nigeria), Italian, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish and Turkish, totalled 91 hours. There were also New China News Agency transmissions in French and Spanish for 54 hours a week.

In 1987, 66 hours of programmes were broadcast in 20 foreign languages every day. Political propaganda predominated and included: Introducing Albania, Listeners’ Letters, Culture and Art in Socialist Albania and The Song of Our Life. Radio Tirana also presented programs of revolutionary music from around the world, while the programme, “What we saw in socialist Albania” offered interviews with foreign visitors to Albania.


Here is an archived five minute studio tape of part of one of the last English broadcasts just before the influence of Enver Hoxha collapsed in Albania. http://jonathanmarks.libsyn.com/radio-tirana-1990-in-studio-quality


During the last months of the socialist era, overtly political programming was drastically scaled down, and the long-established practice of playing “The International” at the end of each broadcast was abandoned. The interval signal of Radio Tirana during this period was the first few bars of the Albanian revolutionary song With a Pickaxe in One Hand and a Rifle in the Other (Në njërën dorë kazmën në tjetrën pushkën). This song also served as the signature tune of Radio Tirana’s foreign language broadcasts.

After the collapse of the regime, the foreign radio service was cut to seven languages and just three hours a day. Now with spare transmitting capacity and unused equipment and no programme, the aging facilities were offered out. Religious broadcaster Trans World Radio became the main client of Radio Tirana’s foreign service and its saviour from bankruptcy. Other paying clients served include Voice of America of the United States, Germany’s Deutsche Welle and the Italian RAI.

After diplomatic relations were restored between the two former allies a rental agreement between the Albanian Radio television and the Chinese Film and Radio Television leased the Radio Centre of Short Waves in Elbasan (Cerrik) to the Chinese in December 2003 for at least 15 years. The arrangements discussed in greater detail in THE HISTORY OF RADIO TIRANA TRANSMITTERS http://www.worldofradio.com/dxld6150.txt.


Related postings

For an earlier posting on Radio Tirana

A previous discussion on  Friendship Publishing II  and  Friendship publishing

20. Communists under Revisionist Rule

The acrimonious Sino-Soviet split did have ramifications for Eastern European parties however the dimensions or the organizational strength of the opposition to the official line interpretation “in accordance with the new historical conditions” laid down by the CPSU, should not  be overestimated amidst the stress and tension within the individual parties. This posting provides an introductory survey to little known occurrence of East European Communist dissidents, these episodes, looking at the appearance of anti-revisionist groupings,  reflect a sporadic , and often individual response against the dominant power structure and ideological hegemony in Eastern Europe.

There is not much evidence that China went to work trying to foster pro-China faction within the East European countries; in the only example of another anti-revisionist party created out of the existing ruling party it was the Albanian support that was decisive. The Chinese informed the Party of Labour that “it knew nothing” about the formation of the KPP/  Communist Party of Poland, that :

It had not been informed by the Polish Marxist comrades, but also that it did not maintain secret links with them and did not help them apart from the open stand in its press about the struggle against revisionism.”     Enver Hoxha, Reflections On China I (1962—1972) The «8 Nentori» Publishing House1979 p218

Norwegian Maoist, one-time International Secretary of the AKP (ML), Tron Øgrim (1947 – 2007) recalled, on the subject of illegal Marxist-Leninist parties in the revisionist “Eastern Bloc”, that “in ALL the former eastern states (as well as the western) there were Chinese supporters in the “old parties” down to the “individual, personal” ones. We met such people round in Norway when we expanded the AKP(m-l) everywhere during the 60s – people who had just dropped out on an individual basis in sympathy to the Chinese line during the early 60s.”

It was true that only one party recognised and publicised by both Albanian and Chinese parties was the CPP of Mijhal, although Tron Øgrim internet gossiping said: “In Romania I heard about a secret “Maoist” faction existing for some time inside the Ceausescu party, never heard any name for it.” (Internet posting June 8, 2005)

The SOVIET UNION

Opposition to Khrushchev within the Communist Party was clearly evident through the purge of leading members and throughout the party. However the extent this was then manifest in organised political opposition adopting a strategy to challenge revisionist rule was difficult to gauge. The most widespread of political statements purports to have originated in the Soviet Union was the “Programmatic proclamation of the Soviet Revolutionary Communists (Bolsheviks)”. Various language editions of this pamphlet was produced and circulated within the Maoist movement, and it represented an anti-revisionist platform attacking the revisionist ruling clique.

READ MORE  The SOVIET UNION

 

POLAND

The best known of Eastern Europe’s dissident “Chinese Faction” was Kazimierz Mijal (1910- 2010) founder-leader of the Polish opposition group calling itself the Communist Party of Poland. This brief treatment is a marker for a more extensive documented exploration of anti-revisionism in Poland, which can be found at https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/poland/index.htm providing party articles and autobiographical material on Mijal’s long political career.

Kazimierz Mijal illegally left Poland holding an Albanian passport and then onto exile in Tirana. The oppositionist underground Komunistyczna Partia Polski / Communist Party of Poland was the most publicised of the Marxist-Leninist forces operating in the revisionist countries, supported clandestine by Albanian aid in production and distribution of its printed journal Red Flag and via the Polish language broadcasts of Radio Tirana.  Mijal went to China, where he was well received. In 1966, the leader of that party, Kazimierz Mijal was received in Beijing by Chairman Mao on December 21, 1966. He went there twice. The second time he was there was 1975; again there was a picture in Remin Ribao received by Kang Sheng and Geng Biao and some other leaders. During the Albanian China split, Mijal sided with China. So in 1978 he fled to China under threats to his life from Hoxha (according to himself). He went from China and illegally entered Poland, where he was arrested during the 80s after living there illegally for some time. The Communist Party of Poland had faded from the political scene however in the 1980s the organization Polish Association of the Defense of the Proletariat / Stowarzyszenie Obrony Proletariatu was considered to be supporters of ideas of Kazimierz Mijal. The Polish Party of the Working Class – Initiative Group/ Polska Partia Klasy Robotniczej – Grupa Inicjatywna posted some of Mijal’s articles on their website.

 

DDR: German Democratic Republic

For some East Germans, the Chinese example reflected back their own state’s digression from the path of both independence and communist tradition. There was respect for China’s independent-mindedness but political sympathy for the Chinese was especially strong among the group known as the ‘old comrades’ (alte Genossen), that is, people who had joined the German Communist Party (KPD) in the 1920s.  A series of East Germans were expelled from the SED around the time of the Sino–Soviet Split in 1963 for siding with the Chinese against the Soviets.

READ MORE DDR

 

HUNGARY

Outside of Albania obvious signs sympathetic to the anti-revisionist line were often only oblique observed :  in Hungary  the indication of dissent was evident  when the ruling Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party journal “Tarsadalmi Szemle” accused some Hungarian Communists of being unable to understand that in the present era “war is not fatally inevitable, that the forces of socialism are capable of preventing the outbreak of a world war and local wars and that on the international level the struggle against imperialism is the main front of the class struggle.”

READ MORE  HUNGARY

 

A Maoist Coup in Bulgaria

Rumours would occasional surface in western press accounts as that of the mysterious unsubstantiated “pro-Chinese faction” in Bulgaria. The faction was exposed by the Bulgarian counter-intelligence service and between 28 March and 12 April 1965 most of the plotters were arrested under an operation called “Fools” (Duraci – from the Russian).

READ MORE A Maoist Coup in Bulgaria

Czechoslovakia (as then was)

The more frequent evidence of sympathy with the anti-revisionist position were individual expressions of general political support  so a regular feature on Albanian’s state broadcaster was news from parties supporting the international and domestic line of the Party of Labor of Albania, and letters from listeners were also broadcast as evidence of international wide support for anti-revisionist communism. Even the slimmest evidence of support would be used to bolster the analysis of seething unrest in the revisionist-ruled east European states. So on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the proclamation of the People’s Republic of Albania, greetings from MARXIST – LENINISTS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA was broadcast on Radio Tirana [January 16, 1976] that proclaimed:

“The Czechoslovakian people welcome the achievements of the Albanian people, welcome the construction of its beautiful socialist father-land. The Czechoslovakian Marxist-Leninists, the genuine friends of the Albanian people and the Czechoslovakian working class, look at Albania respectfully, at this banner of freedom and socialism in Europe, this banner of struggle against imperialism, social-imperialism and reaction.”

In a re-broadcast letter, which the Czechoslovakian listeners sent to Radio Tirana, there were expressions of solidarity and sympathy: a suggestion of both support for the anti-revisionist line and reassurance that they were not alone listening to the radio.

“We must admire the revolutionary resoluteness and the efforts of the work, with which the Albanian people started working for the construction in Albania – with the aim to develop and strengthen the future socialist society.”

 

NEXT TIME >>>>>> The Communist Resistance in East Germany

 

When the Albanian state media trumpeted the formation of the GDR Section of the Communist Party of Germany/ Marxist-Leninist: Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands/Marxisten-Leninisten, Albania Today declared, it “a victory for the German working class”

We know more about the clandestine activity of the German Maoist KPD / ML under the revisionist regime of the DDR as the most documented episode because of the publicity given to it by the KPD/ML led by Ernst Aust upon its formation in Roter Morgen , the memoir of Herbert Polifka , a member of the DDR Section of the KPD / ML who  published a book on the subject entitled “Die unbekannte Opposition in der DDR. Zur Geschichte der illegalen Sektion DDR der Kommunistischen Partei Deutschlands” [The unknown opposition in the GDR. The history of illegal section in the GDR the Communist Party of Germany], and the research by Tobias Wunschik, “The KPD / ML Maoists and the destruction of their section in the GDR by the Ministry of State Security.”

Sounds from the Ether : Radio Tirana

Hear Skanderbeg in a conversation and it probably reveals a youthful passion because before the Internet was widespread, short-wave radio was the most immediate way to get first-hand reports from all over the world. And Skanderberg would have been the subject of many talks on Radio Tirana, the English-speaking Albanian equivalent of the BBC World Service. Enter into correspondences, and in return postcards, books, tourist information,  personally written letters , the programme schedule and Badge

Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH) (Albanian Radio and Television) had been established on 28 November 1938. Under the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania, Radio Tirana belonged to the group of the world’s most powerful radio stations submitted abroad in foreign languages- even though Albania is a small country with only 2 million inhabitants at that time. At the time, Radio Tirana had the most powerful medium wave transmitter in Europe (1000kW). The transmitter based at in Lushnjë – in Central-West Albania near the Adriatic was built by her Chinese comrades in the 1960s. Radio Tirana also had quite a powerful signal on shortwave at 9480 kHz. Radio tirana

From November 1964 there were regular and sustained foreign language programs presenting the Albania uncompromising Marxist-Leninist worldview. Foreign-language external radio services were—and inevitably still are—sources of propaganda. Radio Tirana had its own delights through the crackles and fade in and outs of sound from the radio, with exhortations to write in with reception reports. This plea can still be occasional heard on World Radio Network , the digital channel providing a selection of current international short-wave radio broadcasts from throughout the world .

Amidst the calls for militant class struggle against US Imperialism and Soviet Social Imperialism, extracts from the works of Comrade Enver Hoxha were read out. In pre-internet days the distribution of English-material from the various foreign language publishing houses were largely restricted to embassies, friendship organisation and small Marxists groups. The programme What We Saw in Socialist Albania offered interviews with foreign visitors to Albania. The Albanian authorities through invitations for delegations to visit the country and attend party congresses and supply of literature from the <8 Nentori> Publishing House, supported and cultivated the young Marxist-Leninist organisation. Listening to Radio Tirana was a reliable channel of information about Albanian policies and positions. As Enver Hoxha
“Our confidence and determination in the victory of world proletarian revolution become strong and we rejoice when we see the formation and consolidation everywhere of the new communist Marxist-Leninist parties. It is a great experience which we gain from the joint experience of all the communist Marxist-Leninists parties, big or small, old and young…. The great Marxist-Leninist unity between Marxist-Leninist revolutionary parties is being tempered in struggle and in revolution.”
Besides ‘Zeri I Popullit’ editorials, Radio Tirana would broadcast “A Review of the Marxist-Leninist Movements Across the World”. In the section Leafing Through the Marxist-Leninist Press there were roundups of the activities of the all the pro-Albanian M-L parties including quoting from “Workers’ Weekly” newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). It received more press coverage from the Albanian media than it ever did in Britain. [Although its spokesperson was once interviewed briefly on BBC Radio 4 Westminster Hour, January 4, 2004 ].
They also had the occasional programme of revolutionary music from aKPD_advertround the world, included some pieces by the musicians of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). There were in different languages the promotion of the need for revolution beit in the German language broadcasts, and Polish Communist Kazimierz Mijal had his anti-regime opinions broadcast in Polish from 1966 to 1978.
The Albanian revolutionary song With a Pickaxe in One Hand and a Rifle in the Other served as the signature tune of Radio Tirana’s foreign language broadcasts. The pickaxe and rifle were part of the logo of Albanian Radio-Television during this period, and there was the practice of playing “The Internationale” at the end of each broadcast. It was a reciprocal relationship as the newspapers carried promotions for the radio broadcast service.
Now, employing the Isobel Oakeshott defence around the fictious Cameron pig story, I don’t recall the accent of the radio announcer, it may have well been a New Zealand accent – the Communist Party of New Zealand had sided with Albania in the 1960s during the ideological break with the revisionists in the Soviet Union, and again in the late 1970s when Albania condemned as “anti-Marxist” its former Chinese allies. However Blogsphere gossip names the woman with ‘the interesting accent’ who worked as a Radio Tirana announcer as June Taylor (her married name being June Prifti). She accompanied her father (a New Zealand dentist) to Albania in the early 1970s and got a job at the radio station as one of the main English language female presenter of Radio Tirana during the 1970s. She stayed there for around 20 years. Gossip has June and her husband returning to New Zealand in the 1980s.
Now this might have as much substance as the story of Cameron’s encounter with a pig and what adds to the confusion is that leading Albanian supporter Bill Bland was a dentist who had lived in New Zealand. Maybe the mash up narrative illustrates the surreal wonder that came over the airwaves from 1970s Radio Tirana.