Date: Thu, 20 Mar 97 11:38:09 CST
From: (Brian Hauk)
Subject: U.S., Greece Hands Off Albania!
Organization: InfoMatch Internet—Vancouver BC
Article: 7604

U.S., Greece Hands Off Albania!

Statement by the Committee of Communists in Athens, Greece, The Militant, Vol.61 no.12, 24 March 1997

Working people of Albania deserve the wholehearted solidarity of their brothers and sisters in Greece, the Balkans, and around the world. Albanians who have rebelled against the pro-imperialist regime of Sali Berisha are not armed criminals and Mafia operators as the Greek government, which until yesterday supported Berisha, incessantly echoes. They are workers, peasants, youth and other layers of society who have been deeply affected by the economic crisis and are taking their destiny into their own hands.

Ninety percent of industry in Albania is idle. People subsist thanks to the remittances of immigrant workers that account for 50 percent of Albania's gross domestic product. These are the results of the pro-capitalist measures of the Berisha administration. The mobilizations that started as protests after the collapse of the “pyramid schemes,” were detonated due to the desperate economic breakdown in the country. Working people have also put forward broader democratic demands and turned against the secret police and other forces of repression.

The armed protesters have taken control of major cities in the south and sections of the army have joined them. The Berisha government has tried unsuccessfully to drown the uprising in blood.

The insurrection of the toilers is the greatest obstacle to the attempts to restore capitalism. The mobilizations show that despite whatever illusions Albanian working people may have had in the “miracle” of capitalism—illusions created by the extreme isolation of working people during the Stalinist police state of Enver Hoxa—they resist mightily when capitalist barbarity cuts into the skin. Until now Berisha was the man of U.S., Italian, and Greek capital.

The parties of Berisha and imprisoned Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano have the same basic program. They have the perspective of the restoration of the market system, of capitalism in Albania. They differ only in the tempo in which such a perspective can be carried out. They have successively ruled the country and have represented the interests of the same social layer, the privileged bureaucratic caste that has controlled the political and economic life of the country for decades and shut out working people from politics.

The workers state in Albania, as elsewhere in Eastern Europe, has been horribly deformed by the betrayal of the Albanian revolution by the Stalinist regime. The bureaucratic methods of planning and management of the parasitic caste in power led this state to a long-term crisis. However, it's one thing to betray a revolution and another to overthrow it. No matter how much these states have been deformed, the uprising clearly shows that the pro- capitalist policies of the bureaucratic regimes, the introduction of a few capitalist enterprises, and the opening up of their markets to foreign investment are not sufficient for the restoration of capitalism in the Balkans. The overturn of nationalized property relations can occur only with a catastrophic defeat of the toilers through a bloody imperialist military assault.

The dream of international capitalism for an immediate exploitation of the markets and of the labor power in Eastern Europe has been transformed into a nightmare. In its efforts to bring back these countries within the sphere of stable capitalist exploitation, imperialism has and will continue to face the wrath of working people.

We must oppose imperialist intervention no matter what pretext is used for it. Whether in the name of “restoring order,” “humanitarian aid,” “evacuating foreign nationals,” or “support for democratic elections,” an intervention by the European Union (with the participation of the Greek government) or by Washington, will be used against the workers of Albania. U.S. and Italian troops are already in Albania. The American, Italian and Greek fleets are in the Adriatic. A strengthened Eighth Division of the Greek army is patrolling the Greek-Albanian border with fingers on the trigger.

Behind the calls for the protection of the Greek-speaking minority in southern Albania, lies the vision of Greek capitalism for expansion in the Balkans. The uprising of the Albanian people has caused panic among Greek capitalists—an occasion for workers to celebrate! Some of their enterprises have been targeted as symbols of exploitation. The government in Athens tries to convince us that the interests of the large manufacturing, commercial and tobacco businesses that have set up shop in Albania are also the interests of workers in Greece. There is nothing further from the truth.

It is the policies of the Greek government that place in danger the Greek-speaking minority and other citizens of Albania, as well as workers and farmers in Greece, by fanning the flames for imperialist intervention. Greek imperialism sees the Greek minority as pawns in its foreign policy. Greek capitalism has never given up on its historic goal of carving up southern Albania as its loot. These aims were dealt a death blow with the revolution of the Albanian workers and peasants in the 1940s.

Various Greek political parties shed crocodile tears for the Greek-speaking minority; at the same time they refuse to vote for giving these same people complete political rights when they step into Greece.

The press is sounding the alarm on the dangers the minority faces and the dangers of a new wave of Albanian immigrants into Greece. What is really happening is the preparation by the Greek government of the pretext for intervention under the cover of the European Union. They are doing all they can so that workers in Greece are unable to recognize that the Albanian insurgents are our natural allies. To no avail.

The Albanian workers are giving us a taste of the struggles that will increase in the future in many workers states. Through such battles the workers there will construct new revolutionary parties capable of leading them to find their way back to communism, giving an impetus to struggles that can lead their brothers and sisters in Greece, and other capitalist countries in the region, to take political power out of the hands of the wealthy exploiters. Working people should demand:

U.S., Italian, and Greek hands off Albania!
Solidarity with the rebellious workers of Albania!
No to deportations!
Equal rights for Albanian and other immigrants!