Although Enver Hoxha had been the leader of socialist Albania since 1941, the ideological branch of Marxism-Leninism known was “Hoxhaism” did not technically emerge until the late 1970s. It was during this time where Hoxha and Mao officially weakened relations, Hoxha believing Mao to be a revisionist. Relations to China were cut furthermore after Mao’s death in 1976, where the new leaders of China were even more openly revisionist than ever, a trait that Hoxha deemed unacceptable. On the other hand, Hoxha had also dismissed the post-Stalin Soviet Union as revisionist as well; he had recognized this before Mao, which was noted in his later criticisms of Maoism. When Khrushchev offered Albania to join the Warsaw Pact, Hoxha refused on the grounds that the Soviet Union had degenerated into a social imperialist nation, following the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Also, the Soviets wished for Hoxha to halt industrial development and become a center of agriculture for them. This was, in some regards, reminiscent of previous affairs with Yugoslavia, in which Tito wished for Albania to become more puppet-like for their own interests, fueled by revisionism. The Soviets also wished for Albania to become a neo-colony, and Hoxha rightfully refused. This inherently counters the claims made against Hoxha for being “too rigid;” other nations wished to have their way with Albania, and it was not simply a matter of defending against revisionism, whether it was “paranoid,” as some say, or not.
Hoxhaism believes primarily in two things distinctly. Anti-revisionism, and that each nation has the right do decide its own routes of development. The former of these beliefs is unique because it views Maoism as a form of revisionism. The latter, was primarily developed in response to the Soviet policy toward Warsaw Pact nations, and also the imperialistic behavior of organizations such as NATO. Hoxhaists also uphold that the Soviet Union, roughly from 1917-1956 [1956 till 1965 marked the early stages of capitalist restoration ] and Albania from 1941-1990, were the only truly socialist nations in existence. Lenin, Stalin, and Hoxha represented the views of the Party, and the working class. Hoxhaism is the most sufficient in it’s analysis of the historical development of socialism, in all nations. It has many specific opinions, sometimes inherently unpopular among other leftists. Aside from the approval of Stalin and obviously Hoxha, Hoxhaists believe such things as Vietnam being a quasi-Red, nationalist movement.
There exist numerous criticisms of Hoxhaism. I will attempt to answer the most prominent ones.
One criticism is in regards to the 750,000 bunkers that were built in Albania throughout Enver Hoxha’s leadership. The charge is that this somehow demonstrated military dominance or something along those lines. Such a charge is baseless considering Albania existed among numerous enemies. Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece, and the like are had been attacking Albania, or had tense relations. Moreover, the bunkers constituted for an extremely small percentage of Albania’s income.
Another criticism is that Hoxha established a cult of personality based on himself. However, this is not true. As with Stalin, the cult of personality was established by others, and not the leaders themselves. Alia, a prominent member of Albanian socialist party, was the main one to establish the cult around Hoxha. He was always modest, however: “It would be a mistake to say that all these colossal achievements in our country are solely attributable to the merit of [me]… I will never allow myself to let it go to my head, no matter to how small an extent.”
The usage of Maoist-like tactics is a criticism, because it supposedly illustrates hypocrisy. This is also a baseless claim, however. First of all, the Maoist-like tactics such as cultural revolution and guerrilla warfare in Albania, happened prior to the realization that Mao was a revisionist. Moreover, they were different from how Mao instituted them. Mao’s cultural revolution was an example of adventurism, idealism, and phony-Marxism which led to a total loss of control. Hoxha’s, was less adventurist and the Party played a larger role, so chaos and anti-intellectual policies didn’t occur. Hoxha’s usage of guerrilla warfare was not strictly rurally and peasant based; the urban cities were attacked simultaneously, which was more effective.
Hoxhaism is too paranoid about revisionism, is another criticism of the ideology. However, this has already been explained. The revisionists during the time of Hoxha’s leadership wanted Albania to become a puppet for their individual interests, and to support social imperialism. Albania managed to be self-sufficient, and self-sufficiency is not at all the same as an “isolated nationalistic state,” in regards to some claims. Diplomatic relations were well established, and many of Hoxha’s top advisers were British, even. Also, anti-revisionism is not dogmatic. Instead, it is based on science. Marxism is science, and as we know, science must be followed in a proper manner as possible, or else the results will be inaccurate.
Another criticisms is that Hoxha outlawed homosexuality. This is a criticism of Hoxha that most Hoxhaists agree with, but to extent, and for different reasons. First, one must keep in mind that very few places in the world understood homosexuality as they do today. From the early days of Marx and Engels, there was much homophobia among the socialist movement, even; Engels was especially homophobic. The reason for this was that the socialists, such as Hoxha, saw homosexuality as something from the “traditional world,” and a product of bourgeois decadence, primarily based on the fact that the upper class men of Roman and Greek society would engage in homosexual behavior. Hoxha also saw homosexuality as a form of gender chauvinism. There are however, some accounts that Hoxha himself may have been a homosexual, but it is not known.
Another criticism is in regards to Hoxha’s supposedly violent policies on religion. However, they were not always characterized by violence, and it was primarily only in the later years of his rule prior to his death where violence became more systematic. The entire campaign to reduce religious influence was on the basis of the tribal and religious warfare that had been decimating Albania for years, and was sexist in nature. In these regards, the overall policy was a success because it significantly reduced religious warfare, but its methods were indeed flawed, as Hoxhaists admit.
Hoxha distributed more than 50% of the land to the peasants and working class.
Hoxha improved literacy rates to nearly 100 percent.
Hoxha established numerous schools and the first University of Albania.
Hoxha established legitimate infrastructure; roads, hospitals, schools, etc.
Hoxha eradicated numerous diseases such as syphilis.
Hoxha allowed the right to bear arms and trained many Albanians in combat.
Hoxha established womens rights.
Hoxha successfully defended against Greek, Italian, and other incoming fascists.
Hoxha recognized the revisionism of the Yugoslavs before Mao.
Hoxha successfully initiated his own cultural revolution, while understanding the reasoning behind Mao’s failures.
Hoxha helped reduce tribal warfare and feuds.
Hoxha abolished direct taxation.
Hoxha exposed revisionism wherever it existed [Mao, Tito, Khrushchev, etc].
Hoxha resisted the demands made by the post-Stalin revisionists of the Soviet Union, which would have essentially turned Albania into a neo-colony.
Hoxha left Albania with barely any foreign debt.
Hoxha established workers control of the means of production and workers democracy.
Written by comrade gl0wstick