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Date: Fri, 18 Apr 97 18:15:21 CDT
From: (Brian Hauk)
Subject: Imperialist Hands Off Albania!

Imperialist Hands Off Albania!

Editorial, The Militant, Vol.61 no.16, 21 April 1997

Working people and youth around the world should join the thousands of their brothers and sisters in the Albanian city of Vlore, as well as protesters in Greece and Italy, in organizing demonstrations, picket lines, and speak-outs against the military occupation of Albania now under way.

The goal of Rome, Paris, Athens, and their imperialist brethren is to speed the day when these capitalist powers can overturn the remaining gains of the 1944-46 Albanian revolution and reestablish the complete domination of wage slavery in that country. The pretext for military intervention, securing distribution of "humanitarian aid," is a transparent fraud. Leaders of the rebel defense councils have repeatedly stated they are capable of organizing distribution of food, medicines, and any other aid shipments from abroad. Humanitarianism - professed by Rome, Athens, or Paris - is also a bald-faced lie.

Italian imperialism was the former colonial power dominating Albania before World War II. Mussolini's fascist armies attempted to perpetuate that superexploitation of the country's toilers through a massive invasion in 1939. The Italian and German occupiers were defeated by a popular partisan movement that then led a successful socialist revolution, abolishing capitalism and establishing a workers state by 1946. Recently, the Italian navy exposed Rome's "humanitarian" face when it sunk an Albanian boat full of refugees, drowning dozens.

The Greek rulers have invaded Albania three times this century with the goal of annexing part of the country. Athens now says it intends to send part of its contingent right into rebel-held Vlore, the cauldron of the anti- Berisha rebellion. One of the stated aims of the invaders is to take the weapons out to the hands of the armed toilers, thus aiding either the hated Berisha regime or another pro- imperialist administration.

Washington, which propped up Berisha with military and economic aid for five years, has decided not to deploy troops at the moment trying to position itself for future intervention if its capitalist brothers in Europe come up short of their goal. That's what U.S. imperialism did during the 1992-95 war in Yugoslavia. It let the Yugoslav toilers bleed, posing as a defender of peace while secretly encouraging the slaughter, creating the image that its rivals in Europe are incapable of "stopping the war." Washington then bombed Bosnia, paving the way for the imperialist-crafted Dayton accord and the subsequent U.S.- organized occupation of parts of Yugoslavia by NATO troops. The Clinton administration, which gave its backing to the Italian-led expedition, is mulling a similar scenario in the case of Albania.

Before the imperialists can accomplish their goals, however, they have to confront and militarily defeat not just the toilers in Albania and other workers states, but working people in their home countries as well. Labor resistance to the bosses' profit drive in Italy, Greece, France and other capitalist centers, along with the initial opposition in the streets against intervention, objectively aids the Albanian toilers. This is the time to tell the truth about the Albanian and Yugoslav revolutions and their accomplishments, and organize actions demanding: Imperialist hands off Albania! Not one soldier or penny for intervention! Open the borders to all Albanian refugees!

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