February the 8th 2021 – the centenary of the birth of Nexhmije Xhuglini (Hoxha)
On 7th April 1939 the Italian Fascists landed an invasion force in the port city of Durres and the Albanian people (led by those who considered themselves Communists) organised a demonstration in Tirana calling upon the self-crowned ‘King’ Zog to arm the people and resist the invaders. Nexhmije was one of those demonstrators.
In response to the invasion Zog ran away and spent the rest of the Second World War in luxury and safety in Britain while the country of his birth was occupied by first the Italian and then the German Fascists.
Barely out of her teens, on 8th November 1941, Nexhmije was one of the founding members of the Albanian Communist Party along with Qemal Stafa (who became leader of the Party’s Youth section – of which Nexhmije was also a member) and Enver Hoxha, later to become leader of the Party and the country.
Following the occupation Nexhmije was involved in the production and distribution of anti-fascist propaganda, mainly in the Tirana area, working in the youth section as well as being a women’s organiser.
For a couple of years there was no united resistance movement to the invaders – although various guerrilla groups made life as uncomfortable as possible for the fascists. There were also many demonstrations, in various parts of the country, where unarmed Albanians took to the streets protesting against the occupation, such as the demonstration of college students and teachers on 6th March 1942 in Gjirokaster.
On 16th September 1942 a conference was held in the farm of Myslym Peza, a few kilometres to the west or Tirana, called and organised by the young Communist Party, where the National Liberation Front was established, which, eventually was successful in clearing both the Italian Fascists and the German Nazis from the country.
In her early twenties Nexhmije joined the Partisans fighting the invaders, as did many young women in the country at the time. The example of Liri Gero and the 68 girls from Fier being a prime example of this. Young Albanian women decided that if they wanted to achieve freedom then it had to be fought for by themselves rather than it being bestowed upon them by men at some time in the indeterminate future.
Final victory over the German Nazis was achieved with the liberation of Tirana on the 29th of November 1944. Albania being one of the few countries in the Second World War who liberated themselves without the aid of either the Soviet Red Army from the east or the forces of the British and Americans coming from the west.
Having fought and struggled together with Enver Hoxha in the partisan movement Nexhmije married him in 1945 and from then on was known as Nexhmije Hoxha.
After liberation she became chair of the Albanian Women’s Union and in the early 1950s she was elected to the Central Committee of the Party of Labour of Albania (which the Albanian Communist Party had renamed itself after 1948).
In 1966, after the ten-year long struggle against revisionism within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and other parties in the International Communist Movement, Nexhmije became the head of the Marxist-Leninist Institute. This was a school for Party cadres and was an important, and crucial, development in the struggle within the Party to oppose revisionism and the re-introduction of capitalism within the country.
This was at the time which can be called Albania’s ‘Cultural Revolution’. This revolution was not as extensive as the very well-known Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, not least because the population of the country was much smaller and had, literally, many enemies right at their borders.
This was a struggle of ideas and this was the time when much of the anti-revisionist, revolutionary material produced in Albania started to be published, translated into various other languages and distributed worldwide.
In 1985 Enver Hoxha died. However, Nexhmije continued to play an important role within the Party and country. However, the increased isolation in a hostile world, which followed the counter-revolutionary coup in China after the death of Comrade Mao Tse-tung, meant that the economic situation became untenable and allowed reactionary forces to use the people’s discontent to rally against the Party and all those in the leadership.
Chaos and anarchy took control of Albania and in 1991 Nexhmije was put on trial as a scapegoat for those in power at that time to hide their inability to run the country – along capitalist lines and even with the support and backing of the capitalist and imperialist nations.
She was accused of embezzlement of government funds and ludicrous stories were spread by the reactionaries in an effort to make her conviction more convincing.
Anyone who has visited Tirana and has seen the building which used to be the home and the office of Enver Hoxha and his family will realise that this was not a family which surrounded itself with luxury, as is the case and the norm in capitalist countries. It’s a modest, two storey building – which people can actually enter part of nowadays as one side of it is a cafe.
No evidence was ever presented of a luxurious lifestyle. If they were living in the sort of luxury it was claimed, then images of that would have been presented many years ago.
Even when Comrade Enver left Tirana to holiday in the mountains he stayed in, again, a very modest building in Peshkopia which is no more than a large, family house. People can actually stay in this building now as, for a number of years now the building has been used as a cheap hostel. This just goes to show that the claims of a luxurious lifestyle are hardly proven.
When Nexhmije died on 26th February 2020 she was really one of the last people who would have been around at the time to actively fight against the fascist invaders and then, after liberation, attempting to construct socialism in Albania. Her death was really a definitive break between the present era and the construction of socialism.
Although being a small country, in the 1960s and 70s Albania was able to construct a modern agricultural system based upon state farms and an industrial base which produced much that the country needed – following the concept of self-reliance.
All that capitalism has given to Albania in the last thirty years is the destruction of all those factories which produced so much. For Albanians the largest export the country has now is its people.
There are some who now consider the exploitation of the extensive mineral resources of Albania, although located in the more inaccessible parts of the country, is the way ‘forward’ but this will just turn it into a producer of prime materials. All the real profits from such a move would be gained by huge transnational companies and other foreign financial institutions.
Albania now has no real leadership which isn’t corrupt, inept and more intent on currying favour with the European Union than it is in working for the interests of the Albanian people.
For the Albanian people now that independence is well and truly lost.
Tributes to Nexhmije – on the occasion of her death on 26th February 2020
Writings of Nexhmije Hoxha
Unfortunately there’s not a great deal published in England but what is available will be reproduced here.