Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History


Stalinism and Communism in Albania

The article reprinted below first saw the light as an anonymous contribution to Fourth International, Volume 10, no.1 (whole no 91), January 1949, pp22-8, a magazine published by the Socialist Workers Party of the USA. Its author, Sadik Premtaj, had been leader along with Anastas Lulja of the Youth Group, one of the three organisations that had united together under Yugoslavian tutelage to form the Albanian Communist Party in 1941. A fourth organisation, the Zjarri (Fire) Group, said to have been Trotskyist, was not invited to the Tirana founding conference.

When Premtaj and Lulja gained the support of the Vlöre Regional Committee in 1943, Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu took part personally in the expedition that killed both of its leaders, and whilst Lulja was ‘executed’, Premtaj fled abroad. He represented Albania at the Third World Congress of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International in August 1951, and took part in the deliberations of its Central European Commission. He appears in this narrative under the pseudonym of ‘Xhepi’.

Of the people mentioned in this account, Lazar (Zai) Fundo was captured in northern Yugoslavia, and because of his Trotskyist beliefs, was accused of contacts with British intelligence, and shot. Sejfulla Malëshova, who returned from Moscow in 1943, protested at the purging of Ymer Dishnica in May 1944, and after the liberation tried to secure his rehabilitation, for which he was eliminated from the leadership.

After Hoxha had taken advantage of the Stalin-Tito split to rivet his control over the Albanian Communist Party, all pro-Yugoslavs were expelled from both party and government, including Koçi Xoxe. Nako Spiru, an anti-Yugoslav, had already ‘committed suicide’. Even the party organisational secretary, Tuk Jakova, fell into disgrace after 1951 for reminding Hoxha that it was the Yugoslavs who had in effect founded the ‘Albanian Party of Labour’. Premtaj’s account of the predominance of the Yugoslavs receives confirmation from Milovan Djilas’s Conversations with Stalin, London 1963, pp.114, 133 and 139. The grisly tale of the evolution of the Albanian Communist Party is told in full in Arshi Pipa’s The Political Culture of Hoxha’s Albania, in Tariq Ali (ed,), The Stalinist Legacy, Harmondsworth 1984, pp.435-64. It comprises a unique example of uneven and combined development – of tribal blood feud and Stalinist gangsterism. The latest to receive the classic Hoxha treatment was Shehu, who ‘committed suicide’ in 1981. The early years of the present ruler of Albania, Ramiz Alia, are described by Jon Halliday in Tyrant of Tirana, The Times, 11 January 1990. The cult of Enver Hoxha continues even today. Cf. Peter Popham, Ruling from the Grave, Independent, 14 April 1990.

The Stalinist version of these events, which preserves a tasteful reticence over the fate of the various oppositionists, is to be found in the History of the Albanian Party of Labour, Tirana, 1971. Whilst we have reproduced its descriptions of the politics of the groups opposed to the Korçe Group, it need hardly be emphasised that they cannot be relied on, coming as they do from an organisation whose chief method of political dialogue is the revolver.

A whole book would be required to present a complete picture of the Communist movement in Albania, and the manner in which it has been betrayed. Here I shall limit myself to presenting only the most important points which, I am sure, will serve as a lesson to the proletariat of all countries, who are still unaware that Stalinism represents everything except a Communist movement.

I consider our experience to be a good lesson because I know that the working class of any given country learns not only through its own experience but also through the bitter experiences of workers in other countries. When one is warned that a fire is raging somewhere, it would be foolish and even mad to try to confirm it by putting one’s hand into the flames.

And now let us proceed to our subject.

Prior to 1941 there was no Communist Party in Albania. There were only three groups – the Shkodër group, the Youth group and the Korçe groups [1] – and while all three claimed to be Communist, they were in constant conflict with one another. Lacking experience and a Marxist-Leninist education, these three groups were unable to arrive at a correct political line. Each group acted in accordance with its own ideas and impulses, and the major part of their activity consisted of polemics against the other two rival groups.

Toward the end of 1941, after the USSR’s entry into the war, the Shkodër group and the Youth group felt the need of unifying their forces, and at the same time they issued an appeal to the Korçe group (the group of the incumbent president of Albania) but the latter flatly refused to reply to all appeals for unity. Unable to effect unification of the three groups by themselves, and seeing the USSR (which they looked upon as the fortress of world Communism) imperilled by the Hitlerite armies, they decided to ask for the intervention of foreign comrades. Comrades of the Shkodër and Youth groups who lived in the Albanian province of Kosova, which was, as it still is, under Yugoslav rule, found the opportunity to establish contact with Meladin Popovich and Dusham, Yugoslav Stalinists. The Albanian comrades from Kosova explained the situation of the three Albanian groups to the Yugoslav Stalinists and, in agreement with the leaders of all three groups, they invited the Yugoslavs to come to Tirana in order to assist in founding the Albanian Communist Party, and in putting an end to past dissensions.

The two Stalinists were presently brought secretly to Tirana, and although they had no official authorisation from the Yugoslav CP, they were accepted and their proposals were adopted.

Their first proposal was to convene a Conference with a certain number of delegates from each group. In addition to the Yugoslavs, 16 representatives of the three groups participated in this Conference, whose object was to found the Albanian CP.

The Founding Congress

Representatives of each group made a report and a self-criticism of the work their group had conducted, and at the same time presented a criticism of the work carried on by the other groups. After each report, self-critical and critical, there was a general discussion which became heated and degenerated into personal recriminations; the old group spirit certainly did not fail to reveal itself in the course of the discussions.

Upon the termination of the discussion, the Yugoslavs, who had taken note of the revolutionary spirit and consciousness of the Youth, took advantage of the latter’s sincerity and modesty in order to offer the following criticisms:

  1. The Youth had failed to carry out as broad an agitation among the masses as they should have.
  2. They had confined themselves in the main to forming the cadres and translating Marxist books.[2]

The leaders of the Youth group, Anastas Lula and Xhepi, supported by several elements belonging to the other two organisations, among them Vazil Santoja, replied to this ridiculous criticism as follows:

We do not claim we did everything we should have done. On the other hand, you ought to know that it was not so easy to do what you are suggesting. You are unacquainted with the circumstances, conditions and customs of our country, just as we are unacquainted with those in your country. In Albania, Communism is an imported doctrine. It is not a product of the development of economic conditions in Albanian society. Here the Communist movement was launched by intellectuals, particularly by students in the secondary schools.

`Albania is a backward agricultural country without any industry. There is no industrial proletariat among us and consequently we have no proletarian organisation pursuing, at least, economic objectives.

Moreover, you should not make the mistake of viewing present and past conditions in the same light. New conditions are making a travesty of the old. At the beginning, during the early days of the Fascist occupation of our country, it was very difficult to carry on open agitation among the masses for two reasons. Firstly, because the successes of the Nazi-Fascist armies made our people lose all confidence in an eventual Allied victory. Secondly, because in the first days of occupation, Fascism, pursuing its own objectives, set about making temporary improvements in the economic conditions of the masses, who had been far worse off under the previous regime of King Zog. [3]

Despite this, we did our best to reach the masses. We never restricted our activity to forming cadres and translating books, as charged by the Korçe group, which thereby reveals its old hatred of us. We are not against friendly criticism; on the contrary., we welcome it, because criticism of our past activity strengthens us and increases our experience for the future. We are a Youth group, full of enthusiasm but unfortunately lacking in experience. The same may be said of the other two groups, who have in their reports greatly exaggerated their past work.

We have never had the intention of exclusively forming cadres, with the idea that at a certain point in their formation, they would march pompously toward the masses. There are no limits to the formation of cadres. Building cadres and working among the masses are two closely interrelated things: the more cadres we have, the better we can reach the masses, and, conversely, the more we penetrate the masses, the greater will be the number and strength of our cadres. As soon as we finished our studies we went into the country and formed study circles everywhere, which are daily increasing in number; and we did this in the interests of our cause, without any considerations of a personal nature. Today, with a complete change in the situation, now that everybody can see with his own eyes that the ‘glorious armies of the Duce’ are not at all invincible, as the Albanian Fascist functionaries used to boast, we are able to reach the masses on a far greater scale, and at the same time, can start direct action against the Fascist plague and its servile functionaries.

Finally, what has been done is past and cannot be changed. Some have accomplished more, others less. Our main concern now is to be able to do our best as good Communists.

Despite these declarations, which were made not in self-justification but out of simple regard for the truth, the representatives of the Youth were unable to understand why the two Yugoslav Stalinists continued to regard them so banefully. Moreover, when they asked for more detailed explanations of orders and proposals, the Stalinists became angry and berated them as intellectuals. Whenever they were at a loss for an explanation, the Stalinists used the term ‘intellectualism’ as their supreme argument.

The Albanian comrades had asked for explanations sincerely and in good faith. They sought these explanations in order to learn more clearly what they were supposed to do, for in this way tasks are accomplished in a much more satisfactory way. There are obviously cases where this would require too much time from the leaders, but resolutions which require no explanation until after they are carried into effect are exceptions and not the rule. Nevertheless, the comrades who found themselves in the opposition accepted all the decisions of the majority, even though they were not always convinced of their correctness.

At the conclusion of the discussion, Meladin asked the conference of Albanian comrades to empower him to appoint the Central Committee of the Party. This was voluntarily agreed to, in good faith and out of utter ignorance of the customary Stalinist manoeuvres. Meladin then requested the names of two or three candidates from each group, from among whom he would select the members of the CC. But he fixed as a condition that the candidates should not be chosen from the former leaders of the groups, as their past differences would endanger the work of the Party, especially if new differences arose within the Central Committee. This argument was also considered valid by the Albanian comrades.

A few days later the leaders of the Youth group learned that the CC had been formed by leaders from the other two groups plus a rank and file member of their own. Although disappointed by this evidence of Meladin’s obvious bad faith and trickery, they offered no objections. Indeed the Youth thought that Meladin, as an experienced foreign comrade, was entitled to their confidence and that he was acting solely in the interests of the Party. Besides, the Youth did not want Meladin to think that they were interested in becoming members of the CC at any cost. The Youth group leaders were not at all concerned with gaining posts; their sole objective was the interests of the Party.

But Meladin’s actions were strictly in keeping with his character. As a Stalinist bureaucrat, he could not have acted otherwise. The orders which he had received from his superiors called only for the creation of cliques of mere agents utterly at the disposal of the Kremlin. Meladin had quickly learned that the Youth group leaders, because they were genuine Marxist-Leninists, conscious of their mission, and revolutionists in the real sense of the term, constituted an obstacle in the execution of his plans.

A Clique Takes Form

As soon as the membership lists of the three groups were turned over to the CC, together with all material resources (literature, typewriters, funds etc.), one of the Yugoslavs, Dusham, and a member of the CC, who was his lieutenant, began to establish branches, mixing up the members of all three groups. Fearing the members of the Youth group, they put into these branches the greatest possible number of sympathisers of the other groups with the aim of ensuring a majority in the elections to the regional committees. They included these sympathisers under the pretext that at the given stage few of the comrades had the necessary qualifications for party membership. At the same time, to secure a majority, they did not hesitate to bring in people of extremely dubious character. They were not at all fearful of people lacking in character or education; all they feared were Communists. Their fears were groundless at the time, but people whose conscience is troubled tend to suspect the whole world. Had the Youth group leaders sought to obtain posts, they could have done so at the very beginning by refusing to entrust the nominations to the CC to the Yugoslavs, and by insisting that they be given places on the CC in conformity with the will of their membership.

During the delegates’ Conference (1941) which was to elect the Tirana Regional Committee, one member of the Youth group rebelled against election methods which he termed ‘Fascist’. This comrade was made indignant by the conduct of the Yugoslavs, who employed various subterfuges to elect candidates of their own choice.

Obviously these facts and others of lesser importance contributed to the birth and growth of discontent among the Youth militants. Indignant comrades came to their former leaders, Anastas and Xhepi, in order to express their discontent. They were advised as a rule not to come on matters which the Party alone could regulate, not individuals. They were advised to take up every demonstrable fault or error with their branch leaders. They were also advised not to rebel, inasmuch as the Party was new and mistakes were naturally unavoidable.

Despite these efforts of Anastas and Xhepi to do their best to calm the discontented comrades by speaking in favour of the Party all the time, they were accused by Meladin and his CC of stirring up dissatisfaction. These charges hurt them deeply. They had shown enough political courage to confront far greater political difficulties during the Fascist occupation, but also under the dictatorial regime of King Zog. Had they wanted to, they would certainly have had enough courage to oppose Meladin openly, this same Meladin whom they themselves had freed from a concentration camp and brought to Tirana, where they put everything into his hands of their own free will.

The First Clashes

As soon as Meladin consolidated his position in Albania and formed his own clique, he called a conference whose purpose was to place Anastas and Xhepi on trial on the charges of cliquism. [4] Here is the text of the conference resolution:

It has been established that both of you have not yet rid yourselves of the sectarian spirit, and what is even more serious, you have been the principal instigators of this spirit among other comrades of your former group. You must admit that this is an obstacle for the Party. The Conference instructs you to confess your errors and to self-criticise yourselves.

In addition to Meladin and his agents in the CC, participating in this Conference was an individual who only three months before had been accused by Meladin himself of being a secret service agent. Despite this, Anastas and Xhepi entered no protest and permitted the Conference to take its course. Their reply was as follows:

It is obvious that when some things do not go well in the party, there must be some obstacle to its growth. And we agree with you that this obstacle is the old group spirit. But you should not examine this group spirit one-sidedly. As Marxists we should always try to resolve our problems with the aid of dialectical materialism. You know that there is no effect without a cause. The group spirit manifested among our comrades is the product of the group spirit which prevails to a far larger extent among the other two groups who are in the Party leadership. Disappearance of the group spirit among the leading comrades would rapidly cause it to dissipate among the other comrades. But inasmuch as you have arrogated the right to place us on trial, and because of this cannot allow us to expose your own faults, we have no other resource, in the interests of the Party itself, than to shut our eyes. We repeat that the group spirit will be dissipated only to the extent that you will furnish proofs of justice and impartiality.

The Conference closed with the following statement by Comrade Meladin:

In the event that the CC decides to expel you from the Party and at the same time, taking into consideration your qualities as old revolutionists, decides to maintain contact with you, are you willing to abide by its decision? On the other hand, we must warn you that if you take a hostile attitude, the Party will adopt more drastic measures against you.

Even a child could understand the obvious fact that the CC of the Albanian Communist Party existed in name only, while the real CC was constituted solely by Meladin and Dushan. Everybody knows that the members of the CC were only Meladin’s agents and the executors of his orders.

Anastas and Xhepi, who loved the Party more than their own lives and who hoped that things would improve, were not only incapable of a hostile attitude toward the Party but were, on the contrary, willing to remain at its disposal at all times. From that time on, while accepting the collaboration proposed by Meladin, they began to suspect that his systematic attacks would augur no good. Meladin’s behaviour showed them that he was not a genuine Communist. They began to look upon him as a crafty Serb chauvinist who, under the mask of Communism, wanted to form a clique for the sake of better serving the interests of his country.

Nevertheless, the leaders of the Youth group thought it best to leave the responsibility for the consequences of this situation with the CC. Rather than provoke a split in the Party, they preferred to submit. Although expelled from the Party, they fulfilled all the tasks assigned them scrupulously and with good will. Unfortunately, however, their honesty and revolutionary conscientiousness were an irritant to the bureaucratic clique. Honest comrades and good revolutionists, who enjoyed great sympathy among the rank and file, had to be eliminated at all costs. To this end, the leadership ordered its agents to set up control over the activities of all genuine Communists generally and the foregoing two comrades in particular.

Anastas and Xhepi, although they took note of this, made no protest because they knew the need of a Communist party to control the activity of the comrades. What revolted them was the fact that those placed in charge of this control were without even a minimum of Marxist education, and, therefore, unqualified for such a task. This task is indeed a very delicate one, because a poorly educated comrade is in the nature of things unable to judge matters correctly and is liable to make inaccurate reports which would victimise comrades under his surveillance.

But what is far worse, the agents were under CC instructions to bring in unfavourable reports about the comrades under their surveillance. A whole number of reports were made whose contents remain to this day unknown to the comrades in question. These comrades knew that the Communist principle of controlling members is based on the excellent intention of uncovering and correcting errors. But in no case is it permissible to use this control for the purpose of catching the comrades in a trap. Unfortunately, in the Albanian Communist Party the spirit of setting snares prevailed over the spirit of correcting errors. Effective control from top to bottom, such as Lenin favoured, was not even given a thought by the Albanian CP. There was exclusively tight control from above, whereas Leninism teaches us that control must be far stronger from below, since errors committed by leaders can be catastrophic, while those committed by individual members cannot seriously damage the Party.

If a comrade tried to criticise on the branch floor any errors committed by a Party leader, he was not only denied the right to offer such criticism but found himself subjected to attack by the branch leader and labelled a Xhepist, a Trotskyist, a saboteur and the like. To avoid being misrepresented in this way, the comrades no longer dared criticise errors which they might have observed. Here is an example of criticism which one branch member addressed to a member of the Regional Committee of Valona concerning another leader. The comrade in question, returning one night from one village to another with an escort of armed partisan guerrillas, met up with some Fascist militiamen and instead of showing himself worthy of the post he held in the Party, he fled like a coward, abandoning his comrades and even his overcoat. On another occasion, in the course of bitter battle (a battle that became an epic among the Albanian people) against the Fascist army sent to deal a blow to the village, Gjormi, this same individual, left the front on the pretext that he had a stomach-ache, only in order to dine on roast chicken in another village from where he could be certain of not hearing even the noise of battle. There were many other similar cases.

Persecution of the Opposition

Greatly worried by constant criticisms and seeing itself losing ground every day, the bureaucratic clique thereupon decided to find some way out of this deadlock. The only way it could defend its positions was to get rid of the revolutionary opposition as quickly as possible while it was still in an early stage. To crush it, the clique resolved to get rid of all uncompromising revolutionists by means of secret assassinations.

Once the decision was made, it was immediately carried out. The best-known Marxist-Leninist in Albania, Anastas Lula, was brutally murdered. As soon as this terrible news was learned by Comrade Difi, political commissar of the Mallaxastra battalion (it was at the time the largest single partisan military unit), this devoted member of the revolutionary opposition came to see Comrade Xhepi in order to discuss the matter with him and agree on a course of action. Difi said:

I have just learned something which is revolting not only for you personally but for every conscious Communist. Several days ago the CC held a Conference where it was decided to condemn you along with Anastas and several others to death. Anastas was placed under arrest by a squad from the battalion to which he belonged and marched off to a village where he was unknown to the inhabitants and where he was denounced as a Trotskyist, traitor, spy and so on. When he tried to speak in order to refute these accusations, he was led away by the squad and brutally assassinated. In your case they have decided on a different type of assassination. Knowing that you enjoy great popularity among the Party rank and file and the inhabitants of Valona, they have decided to kill you secretly during the night and to organise the next day a magnificent funeral, with flowers, wreaths and speeches extolling your heroism and virtues. Our problem is to decide what can be done to put an end to this frightful individual terrorism. I know that what I am doing is a violation of Party discipline, but this infraction is absolutely necessary and is committed for the sake of saving the Party and preventing errors which can lead only to catastrophe. Besides, in turning to such a comrade as you, I know full well that their charges against you are pure fabrications. If you had any intention of harming the Party in order to take over the leadership, as they say, I know that you would have first confided in me, your most intimate comrade. Just the opposite is true. Each time I voiced my discontent with the Valona Committee, you have tried to persuade me that it was necessary to have confidence in the Party. I cannot understand how anybody could accuse you of such a thing. To me they are only a clique who, under the mask of Communism, are seeking to secure a perpetual monopoly of the Party leadership, and in order to achieve this, they have decided to exterminate all revolutionists of any worth. How can anybody justify the assassination of comrades, without trial and without any opportunity to defend themselves? I believe this is an open betrayal of our revolutionary movement, but I am asking you, as an experienced Communist, to show us some normal way whereby we can put a stop to such proceedings.

In Xhepi’s opinion the best Communist way would be to convene a Conference consisting of at least two delegates from each branch, all members of the Valona Regional Committee, plus one or two members of the Central Committee. (Valona was one of the most revolutionary centres and the idea was that it was the best place to begin to apply Leninist principles of democratic centralism. The others would later follow its example.) The object of this Conference should be a general examination of the faults and errors committed, and, if any had been committed, to condemn those who were responsible. If the proceedings showed that the Valona Committee no longer held the confidence of the majority of the comrades, a new Committee should be democratically elected.

But although close to 80 per cent of the members wanted this Conference called, the Valona Committee along with the Central Committee categorically opposed it. At first they put on an act of favouring the idea of such a Conference, doing so solely in order to gain time and prepare a plan for eliminating the most active and conscious comrades. As soon as their terrorist plan was completed, they secretly arrested the political commissar of the Dukati commune. They likewise organised an ambush for the assassination of Comrade Xhepi, but he escaped thanks to comrades who warned him in time. They also treacherously arrested Xhemil Cakerri, political commissar, and Vangjo, commander of the Valona battalion. They were brought to a mill where they were to be assassinated. The political commissar was brutally murdered, but the commander succeeded in escaping with only a hand wound and took refuge in a village whose inhabitants gave him a friendly reception.

Memet Shehu (today the Stalinist commanding general), the most notorious criminal in Albania, went to this village and re-arrested Vangjo, telling the village people that the assassination attempt had been an accidental act of the escort and that Vangjo was now to appear before the Party judges.

Vangjo was then led to a house in the middle of a forest where, at the point of a gun, he was forced to write to his battalion an order transferring his command to the general in question. He was kept prisoner for three months and then succeeded in escaping and rejoining the opposition comrades.

Meanwhile, assassinations of the revolutionary oppositionists became more and more frequent. In the press and through all the vehicles of propaganda, the leadership sought to create the impression that the demand for calling the Conference had been put forward only in order to destroy the Party, and that it was actually a conspiracy under Xhepi’s leadership.

Had the revolutionary opposition engaged in a conspiracy, as the Stalinists claimed, the overthrow of the clique would have been unavoidable and would have presented no difficulty inasmuch as the clique was in the minority at Valona. But the comrades of the revolutionary opposition, knowing nothing of the Stalinist terrorist methods, sought on the contrary to act in the most legal way possible within the Party. They were not and could not have been enemies of the Party: But the leading clique had made its irrevocable decision to crush them by any and every means. The revolutionary conscience of the opposition made it impossible for them to use their arms against their comrades. The Stalinist clique, on the other hand, had no scruples whatever about plunging their hands into the blood of revolutionary militants, tried and tested in the struggle against Fascism and the occupation forces.

It is self-evident that the revolutionary opposition of Albania fell victim to its own scruples, and it is this which permitted the systematic elimination of all those who declared themselves in favour of the Conference. It should be comprehensible even to a child that the bureaucratic clique refused to call a Conference not because it deemed the Conference a danger to the Party but because it was unable to justify its actions, and above all, because it found it impossible to explain its deviations from a genuine Communist line. Therefore, by far the easiest way was to gain time through terror. If the Stalinist leaders had been real revolutionists they would have had no reason at all to fear holding a Conference, whose sole aim was to rectify past errors and to elect the Party’s leading bodies in a democratic manner.

It was impossible for Communists who had made so many sacrifices to found the Party to have attempted to destroy the fruits of so much labour with their own hands. The Stalinists knew this very well. No, the real reason for their trickery was their fear lest they lose the leadership of the Party. Even had they desired to accept the wholly justifiable proposal of the revolutionary opposition, they would have nevertheless been unable to do so, for they played no independent role. Not they but someone else was in command in Albania – Generalissimo Stalin.

At all events, it is the opinion of the writer that the tragic plight of our Party is sufficient evidence that Stalinism has not only substituted itself for Fascism but has far surpassed Fascism in its methods and politics.


It is self-evident that not very much could have been expected from the Albanian Communist Party. But there are other Communist parties, old parties with good revolutionary traditions – such as the French CP – whose leaderships have for a long time simply been instruments of the bureaucratic clique in the Kremlin. The Albanian Communist movement was still in its embryonic stage when it became infected with Stalinism. Few of the comrades had even a vague conception of Marxism-Leninism. The rest were sympathisers convinced on an emotional plane of the correctness of Communism rather than educated revolutionary members. It is indeed difficult to become a Communist by merely decreeing it, as was the case in Albania. Communists are the products of specific social and economic conditions (the class struggle), and these had not reached a sufficient degree of maturity in Albania at this time. The Party had not existed for even 18 months, and the Albanian Communists lacked the necessary time to educate themselves and develop.

There was no industrial proletariat and, consequently, the organised class struggle did not exist. What is remarkable is that the Albanian people, despite their rude struggle for existence and against the oppression of foreign regimes, have shown such incomparable revolutionary spirit.

Owing to the fact that leaders of the Albanian Communist movement had not assimilated even the elementary principles of Communism, the Yugoslav Stalinists were naturally able, without encountering any obstacle, to form a clique blindly obedient to their orders. Needless to say, their first directives were to eliminate by assassination the genuine Marxist-Leninist revolutionists. For them Communists alone represented a danger. Fascists and reactionaries were, in their eyes, of secondary importance.

Thus, faithful to foreign masters who promised them posts and distinctions, this clique proceeded to assassinate the outstanding revolutionary militants, those who had in reality built the movement in Albania.

After the refusal of the leadership to call the Conference and after it started to use terrorist methods against the revolutionary opposition, the latter issued an extensive bulletin, entitled Why We Have Broken with the So-Called Communist Party. This document was signed ‘The Genuine Communist Organisation’. The aim of this bulletin was to acquaint the Party members and the population as a whole with the betrayals which were being perpetrated.

After the publication of this bulletin, the Valona revolutionary organisational movement was followed by other similar movements elsewhere in Albania, particularly such centres as Berat, under the leadership of revolutionary militants Resul, Namik and Fatbardh.

Unfortunately, these movements were condemned to isolation because they started in a period when the bureaucratic clique had already consolidated its position by the terrorist and demagogic methods.

The Stalinists then began accusing the revolutionary opposition of working on the side of reaction. But the revolutionists were able to prove, with ample facts, that it was the Stalinists who were disillusioning the masses and the Party sympathisers by the employment of terrorist methods against comrades whom everybody knew as revolutionary militants from the very beginning. And what else could the people do but turn away from this Party known to them as the assassin of such best known revolutionists as Anastas Lula, Neki Hoxha (Vangjo), Xhemil Cakerri, Lazar Fundo, Resul Tozhari, Namik Mequemeja, Xhafer Dalami, Xhelal Hoxha, Nimet Mitaa, Haki Xhelo, Duro Kanina, Idajet Bolena, Zef Noja and a hundred others who had distinguished themselves by their revolutionary work.

(Lazar Fundo and Halim Xhelo were the first communist propagandists in Albania. Lazar Fundo had also been a member of the Communist International for a long time. He left it when he saw that it had been changed into a mere tool of the Kremlin bureaucratic clique. Upon leaving the Comintern, he denounced the betrayals of Stalin and in order to safeguard the Communist traditions, he propagated Trotskyist ideas in Albania.) [5]


And how was it possible for the people not to lose confidence in this Party when they learned that a Fascist colonel in the Italian army fired a salvo of three shots to celebrate his joy over the assassination of these revolutionary heroes, who had been the terror of the Fascists in Albania?

And how could the people fail to be deeply shocked when the most intransigent enemies of Fascism and reaction were assassinated by their own Party, and the most cherished wishes of the Fascists became thus realised through their worthy emulators, the Stalinists?

To sum it up, the Albanian Communist movement degenerated with the intervention of the Stalinist agents whom we have already designated.

Following upon their intervention, the frankness of the past became replaced with hypocrisy and vile slander; loyalty to Communist ideals with careerism and the leadership cult; self-discipline with an iron discipline imposed from the top; criticism became exclusively self-criticism; freedom of thought gave way to blind obedience. Former respect, freely given and inspired by comrades who had given repeated proofs of their devotion to the movement, was replaced by compulsory idolatry for unworthy people, for ignorant and vile petty bourgeois like colonel Enver Hoxha and Co.

The majority of Party members, and its sympathisers, along with the Albanian population as a whole are becoming daily more and more aware of the growing degeneration of Communism which stems from the bureaucratic Stalinist clique. The so-called People’s Courts are rendering a great service by revealing to the Albanian people the real designs of the promoters of the new ‘People’s Democracies’. The cowardly assassination of hundreds of Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries; the recent death sentence passed on the well-known old revolutionist Hasan Reci (he has been condemned thrice to death as a Communist: once by King Zog’s government, once by the Fascist occupation forces, and now for the third time by the Stalinists); imprisonment of the revolutionist Kadri Hoxha, one of the most devoted revolutionists who has contributed a great deal to the cause of Communism; the purge of the old revolutionist Sejfulla Malëshova, a pioneer of Communism in Albania who spent most of his life abroad in efforts to coordinate the Albanian movement with that of other countries and who was for a long time professor of materialist philosophy at the Moscow University [6]; the social and economic privileges of the bureaucratic caste; and, above all, the oppression of the people by the dictatorship of a simple clique – these are some of the outstanding characteristics of the betrayal of the Albanian Communist movement.

Today the question is: Will the Albanian people remain passive forever, accepting this state of affairs as an incurable disease? The people of Albania remain revolutionary. They will be able, under the leadership of the most devoted Marxist-Leninists (powerless for the moment but ever prepared to renew the struggle), to rid themselves of these deadly microbes within human society. It was the people, trusting the promises of the Stalinists, that gave them power. And it will be the people, seeing with their own eyes how the Stalinists have betrayed the ideal of the people, and of the thousands of comrades who have fallen for the cause, that will put an end to their crimes. Under the banner of the Fourth International the people of Albania will resume their march toward the liberation of human society and toward Socialism.

Sadik Premtaj



1. The Korçe Group was founded in June 1929, and was strongly influenced by the Greek Archeio-Marxist Group to begin with. But after Ali Kelmendi returned from Moscow it was turned in a Stalinist direction, and the main supporter of Archeio ideas, Niko Xoxi, was expelled. Enver Hoxha joined the Korçe Group when he returned from Western Europe in 1936.

The Shkodër Group was formed in 1934, and was joined by Niko Xoxi, who led it along with Zefa Mala. From 1938 it issued Buletini Jeshil, an illegal journal which argued against the ideas of the Popular Front held by the Korçe Group. According to the Stalinists, its leaders “were for direct social, and not for national, revolution, that they were opposed to imperialism, but unwilling to collaborate with the nationalists; that they were in favour of direct action when the time came, and not of dilatory and roundabout actions” (History of the Albanian Party of Labor, pp.53-4). The smashing of the group by arrests and torture in 1939 created the disillusionment that turned. its remains towards Stalinism.

The Youth Group carne from a split inside the Korçe Group in 1940. It was led by Anastas Lulja and Sadik Premtaj, “elements of pronounced Trotskyite and Anarchist inclinations”, according to the Stalinists, who described its ideas as “that the Fascist invasion would bring about the development of capitalism, the growth of the proletariat, and the consolidation of the relations between the Albanian and Italian working classes. Thus class struggle would develop, creating favourable conditions for founding a Communist Party to lead the struggle for Socialism” (History of the Albanian Party of Labor, p.75).

2. The accusations of inactivity among the masses and trying to form cadres merely by translating Marxist books levelled against the Youth Group are still maintained by the Albanian Stalinists: “It held that in Albania there was no proletariat, no class struggle and, therefore, no basis existed for the formation of a Communist Party, that the peasants were conservative, reactionary, and could not become the ally of the working class. Thus they had adopted the Trotskyite theory of educating and preserving cadres. They considered connections and work with the masses as dangerous, for that would endanger the cadres!” (History of the Albanian Party of Labor, pp.74-5).

3. Ahmed Zögu proclaimed himself ‘King Zog I’, and ruled Albania (1928-39) until the Italians decided to bundle him out of the country.

4. The extraordinary conference which was to be the trial of Lulja and Premtaj took place in Tirana in June 1942.

5. Lazar Fundo was accused by the Stalinists of having “sabotaged the work of sending Albanian volunteers to Spain to fight against Fascism and, finally, came out in the open against the Soviet Union, taking under his protection the Bukharinites, Trotskyites, and other hostile elements condemned by the Communist (Bolshevik) Party of the Soviet Union” (History of the Albanian Party of Labor, p.53).

6. Sejfulla Malëshova was removed from the Political Bureau and Central Committee in 1946, and was afterwards imprisoned.

Additional Note on the Zjarri Group

This group was first formed by Andrea Zisi among Albanian exiles in Athens in 1936, and assuming the pseudonym of ‘Zjarri’ (Fire) it transplanted itself to Albania in 1937. It never formed part of the Albanian Communist Party founded under Yugoslav tutelege in 1941. It joined the Balli Kombëtar (National Front) that was set up in 1942 to fight the Italians, and was later ‘wiped out’ by the Stalinists (History of the Albanian Party of Labor, pp.131, 139). It is described by the Stalinists as having “sometimes launched such leftist slogans as ‘for a proletarian revolution’, ‘for the struggle against capital’, ‘for the dictatorship for the proletariat’, with the intention of winning the trust of the working masses, sympathisers of Communism, or at other times posed as ‘nationalists’ with the intention of detaching the nationalist patriots from the National-Liberation War and from the Communist Party” (ibid.). It is clear that whilst none of these groups were Trotskyist properly so-called, Trotskyist ideas did penetrate Albania through the channel of the Archeio-Marxist group in Greece.

Updated by ETOL: 6.8.2003