Party of Labour of Albania
|Party of Labour of Albania|
|Partia e Punës e Shqipërisë|
|General Secretary||Enver Hoxha (1941–85)
Ramiz Alia (1985–91)
|Founded||November 8, 1941|
|Dissolved||June 12, 1991|
|Succeeded by||Socialist Party of Albania|
|Headquarters||Tirana, People's Socialist Republic of Albania|
|Newspaper||Zëri i Popullit|
|Youth wing||Labour Youth Union of Albania|
|Politics of Albania
The Party of Labour of Albania (Partia e Punës e Shqipërisë, PPSH in Albanian, sometimes referred to as the Albanian Workers' Party) was the vanguard party of Albania during the communist period (1945–1991) as well as the only legal political party. It was founded on November 8, 1941, as the Communist Party of Albania (Partia Komuniste e Shqipërisë), but its name was changed in 1948. In 1991, the party was succeeded by the Socialist Party of Albania. For most of its existence, the party was dominated by its First Secretary, Enver Hoxha, who was also the de facto leader of Albania.
In the 1920s, Albania was the only Balkan country without a Communist party. The first Albanian communists emerged from the followers of Albanian clergyman and politician Fan S. Noli. Once in Moscow, they formed the National Revolutionary Committee and became affiliated to the Comintern. In August 1928, the first Albanian Communist Party was formed in the Soviet Union. The most prominent figure of the party was Ali Kelmendi who left Albania in 1936, to fight in the Spanish Civil War. He was later regarded as the leader of a small group of Albanian Communists in France. However, no unified organization existed in Albania until 1941. Following the German attack on Russia, Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito under Comintern directives sent two Yugoslav delegates Miladin Popović and Dušan Mugoša to Albania. After intensive work, the Albanian Communist Party was formed on November 8, 1941 by the two Yugoslav delegates with Enver Hoxha from the Korca branch as its leader.
The PKSh was the dominant element of the National Liberation Movement (LNC), formed in 1942. The LNC drove out the German occupiers (who had taken over from the Italians in 1943) on 29 November 1944. From that day onward, Albania was a full-fledged Communist state. In every other Eastern European country, the Communists were at least nominally part of a coalition government for a few years before seizing power at the helm of out-and-out Communist dictatorships. King Zog was barred from ever returning to Albania, though the monarchy was not formally abolished until 1946.
In the elections for the Consistuent Assembly held on 2 December 1945, the Democratic Front, organized and led by the PLA, received 93.7% of the vote; international diplomatic observers and foreign press correspondents concluded that the election had been fairly conducted, reflecting the popularity of the Democratic Front.
Under Hoxha, the party became the most rigidly anti-revisionist party in the Soviet bloc. However, in 1961, Hoxha broke with Moscow and withdrew from the Warsaw Pact over Nikita Krushchev's increasing repudiation of Stalin's legacy, opting instead to align with China under Mao Zedong. The party even went as far as to engineer an Albanian version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. When it became apparent that Mao's successors were moving away from his legacy in 1978, Hoxha declared that Albania would blaze its own trail to a socialist society.
Hoxha led the party and state more or less without resistance until his death in 1985. His successor, Ramiz Alia, was forced to initiate gradual reforms in order to revive the country's stagnant economy. However, in late 1989, various elements of society began to speak out against the restrictions still in place. The execution of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu led Alia to fear he'd be next. In response, he allowed Albanians to travel abroad, ended the regime's longstanding policy of state atheism, and slightly loosened government control of the economy. However, these measures only served to buy Alia more time. Finally, bowing to the inevitable, on 11 December 1990, Alia announced that the PPSh had abandoned power and legalized opposition parties. The PPSh won the Constitutional Assembly elections of 1991. However, by then it was no longer a Marxist-Leninist party, and was powerless to prevent the adoption of a new interim constitution that formally stripped it of its monopoly of power.
In 1991, the PPSh dissolved and refounded itself as the social-democratic Socialist Party of Albania, which is now one of the two major political parties in Albania. A group called "Volunteers of Enver", led by Hysni Milloshi, laid claim to the identity of the PPSh as the Communist Party of Albania.
The ideology of the PPSh was Anti-Revisionist Marxism-Leninism. The party organisation was built up following democratic centralist principles, with Hoxha as its First Secretary. Article 3 of Albania's 1976 Constitution identified the Party as the "leading political force of the state and of the society." To help carry out its ideological activities it had an associated mass organization known as the Democratic Front. Its daily publication was Zëri i Popullit (Voice of the People) and its monthly theoretical journal was Rruga e Partisë (Road of the Party).
The highest organ of the Party, according to the Party statutes, was the Party Congress, which met for a few days every five years. Delegates to the Congress were elected at conferences held at the regional, district, and city levels. The Congress examined and approved reports submitted by the Central Committee, discussed general Party policies, and elected the Central Committee. The latter was the next-highest level in the Party hierarchy and generally included all key officials in the government, as well as prominent members of the intelligentsia. The Central Committee directed Party activities between Party Congresses and met approximately three times a year.
As in the Soviet Union, the Central Committee elected a Politburo and a Secretariat. The Politburo, which usually included key government ministers and Central Committee secretaries, was the main administrative and policy-making body and convened on a weekly basis. Generally, the Central Committee approved Politburo reports and policy decisions. The Secretariat was responsible for guiding the day-to-day affairs of the Party, in particular for organising the execution of Politburo decisions and for selecting Party and government cadres.
First Secretaries of the Party of Labour of Albania
- Enver Hoxha (Secretary of the Central Committee to February, 1943) November 8, 1941–April 11, 1985
- Ramiz Alia April 13, 1985–May 4, 1991
The staunchly orthodox stand of the PPSh attracted many political groupings around the world, particularly among Maoists who were not content with the CPC attitude in the late 1970s. A large number of parties declared themselves to be in the "PPSh line", especially during the period 1978-1980. However, many of them abandoned this certain affiliation after the fall of the communist regime in Albania. Today, many of the political parties upholding the political line of the PPSh are grouped around the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organisations.
Various friendship associations were also formed by international Communist sympathisers who supported the Party:
- China–Albania Friendship Association
- Soviet–Albanian Friendship Society
- USA-Albania Friendship Association
- India–Albania Friendship Association
- Friendship Association Norway–Albania
- Spain–Albania Friendship Association
- Swedish–Albanian Association
- History of Albania
- Fall of communism in Albania
- Eastern Bloc politics
- Politburo of the Party of Labour of Albania
- Miranda Vickers. The Albanians: A Modern History. IB Tauris: New York, 1995
- Afrim Krasniqi: "Partite Politike ne Shqiperi",ISBN 99943-861-1-5
- Documents of the Party of Labour of Albania
- A speech delivered by E. Hoxha commemorating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the PPSh