Once Aryan Skynet Goes Live It Doesn't Matter Who Pulled The Switch
The title of this post is just a joke – it is not my serious assertion that Albania’s communist dictator Enver Hoxha did exactly nothing wrong – but is there something positive that can be said about this avowed Stalinist ideologue? This is Aryan Skynet, so you know there is!
Born into a Muslim family, Hoxha worked as a schoolteacher before rising to national prominence during the Second World War as a leader of the Communist Party of Albania, later renamed the Party of Labor. Fascist violators of Albanian sovereignty were obliged to BTFO. Hoxha split with wartime Yugoslavian allies over Albanian territorial interests and in the aftermath of the war pursued an independent course of autonomy and economic self-sufficiency for his country. The communists deposed Albania’s King Zog – the liquidation of all things “Zog” being a necessary first step in the construction of any social-nationalist state. “The communist regime took swift and severe measures to centralize the economy following an orthodox Stalinist model,” writes Helga Turku:
Throughout 1946, the state nationalized all industries, placed trade under government control, and banned the private sale of land.
For the next four decades Hoxha isolated Albania in an attempt to carry out one of the most ambitious, far-reaching experiments in socialist orthodoxy. He became obsessed with creating what he termed a pure Stalinist state. Although Hoxha claimed to be a faithful adherent to the Marxist canon, in practice he initiated his own version of Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist ideology. Hoxha was a fierce Stalinist rather than a Marxist or Leninist. For him, it was actually Stalin who had discovered the true purpose of the state, and its manner of rule over the populace.1
Hoxha did much to eradicate illiteracy in Albania and entertained “the idea that the key to the problem of modernization and unity rested with the younger generation,” as Bernd Fischer summarizes:
While much of the older generation could clearly never be changed, with proper education and correct cultural influences the youth could construct the new socialist Albania. As with other aspects of Hoxha’s state, this crusade too began during the war. When not fighting, the men and women of the Partisan movement received instruction, including the basics of reading and writing as well as political education.
Once the war was over, education and culture received more serious attention and the major themes of both again indicate the depths of Hoxha’s nationalism. Extreme respect was accorded to the heroes of Albanian nationalism, whether or not they conformed to Hoxha’s Stalinist mold. Much care was extended to the preservation of national monuments, historic towns and cities, many of which were designated as museum cities. Hoxha insisted that Albania’s cultural heritage, folk costumes, folk songs and dances be preserved. Despite this emphasis on history and tradition, the central focal point for education and culture was the liberation struggle of the Albanians against the Axis invaders during the war.2
Hoxha, it has been suggested, “reversed the Leninist idea of national form and socialist content and established his priority of socialist form with a nationalist content.”3 Like his Romanian communist contemporary Ceausescu, Hoxha restricted abortion to boost the Albanian birthrate. Industrialization was also stressed, and a national electrification program was highly successful, as was the effort to make Albania agriculturally self-sufficient.
Another distinctive component of Hoxha’s national communism was its abolition of religion on nativist grounds. Religion is a divisive force in this Muslim-majority country, so Hoxha took as his credo that “the only religion of Albania is Albanianism.” “Until 1967 the government tolerated the continuation of the three religions in Albania, although the numerically dominant younger generations, raised the ‘new way’ through school and by work in factories and agricultural cooperatives, set less and less store by religious belief, condemned as ‘the opiate of the people’,” relate Russell King and Nicola Mai.
In 1967, as part of Albania’s “cultural revolution”, Hoxha outlawed religion and created the world’s first atheist state. All places of worship were closed down and turned into museums or youth centres; clergy were “retrained”, pensioned off, imprisoned or (in a few [fucking based] cases) executed. Hoxha argued that religion was a subversive force in the country, representing the “trojan horse” interests of the historical predatory neighbours and enemies – Turkey (Islam), Greece and Serbia (Orthodoxy) and Italy (Roman Catholicism). Parents were discouraged from giving their children names with any religious significance […]4
“If Hoxha understood Albania to be the vanguard of Stalinism in the world, it is clear why in his view this society must also take the lead in the struggle against religion,” elaborates Denis Jans:
This theme, which echoes through all of Hoxha’s writings, receives special emphasis in his 1967 Report on the Role and Tasks of the Democratic Front for the Complete Triumph of Socialism in Albania. Here the standard Marxist objections to religion are repeated, but only in the most perfunctory way. In Hoxha’s words, “The religious world outlook and the communist world outlook are irreconcilable. … They express and uphold interests of antagonistic classes.” But class analysis is not the only grounds for the repudiation of religion. Though he repeats this Marxist dogma, Hoxha cannot disguise the fact that for him, another factor makes the elimination of religion even more urgent: religion must be eliminated because it stands in the way of modernization. […]
Most important of all, however, religion must be destroyed because of its association with foreign domination. Religion is essentially alien to this society, imposed by those from outside. That is why the clergy, for instance, have always “made common cause with the invader.” For Hoxha, “revolution” means not so much war between classes in this society; rather, it means “to uproot alien customs, traditions and influences, religious superstitions,” and so forth. Religion indeed stands on the side of the class enemy, but more important, it stands on the side of the foreign oppressor.5
A world-historical window pops up, Skynet, and it asks you: “Are you ready” – really ready – “to uninstall communism?”
[Read more about communist nationalism at Aryan Skynet: “Louis-Ferdinand Céline: Communist of the Soul”; “Prokofiev and the Revival of Nationalism in Soviet Music”; “Oppressed by Nostalgia: Was Ceausescu Right?”; “Soviet Nostalgia”]