Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Others on the Fringe: Political Extremism in America

By John George; Laird Wilcox | Go to book overview

19 Marxist-Leninist Party, USA

Until the early 1990s the People's Socialist Republic of Albania was one of the world's two most tightly controlled dictatorships for more than forty years, the other being the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( North Korea). It is, therefore, noteworthy that an American organization, whose very existence depends on a broad range of civil and personal liberties, would defend such a regime.

Numerous small groups have supported the Albanian dictatorship, including the Albania Study Group in New York City and the Chicago Area Friends of Albania. Surpassing these, however, is the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA. The MLP, USA is also significant in the enormous amount of energy and time it expends attacking other Marxist-Leninist organizations. Sectarianism aside for a moment, let's take a look at Albania--whose social system has been idealized by the MLP, USA.

In 1944 Communist partisans took the Albanian capital of Tirana and seized power in the name of the proletariat. They were led by a French-educated high school teacher named Enver Hoxha, the son of a Muslim tax collector and land owner from the town of Gjirokaster. Ruler over all until his death in April 1985, Hoxha raised dogmatism and self-righteousness to high art forms. He and his followers wanted nothing to do with the "decadent and immoral West," which included the Soviet Union and, after the death of Mao Tse-tung in 1976, even China. When Hoxha died, the Soviets sent a telegram of condolence, but the Albanians returned it--unopened.

The quality of life in this dreary little dictatorship was not good. Even at the beginning of the 1990s, Albania still had a disheartening infant mortality rate of 44 per thousand and a literacy rate of 75 percent, both in last place among European nations.

According to Freedom House, a human rights organization that monitors political rights and civil liberties:

Albania is a traditional Marxist-Leninist dictatorship. While there are a number of elected bodies, including an assembly, the parallel government of the communist party (4.5 percent of the people) is decisive at all levels; elections offer only one list of candidates.

Press, radio, and television are completely under government or party control, and communication with the outside world is minimal. Media are characterized by incessant propaganda, and open expression of opinion in private conversation may lead to long prison sentences. There is an explicit denial of the right to freedom

-195-

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