Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 36, No 11 May 30th, 1973
The Example Set by Albania
The Example Set by Albania
When Salient ran an article on Albania earlier this year it was received by same students with considerable misgivings. The article below indicates that at least one New Zealander, who is neither on the Salient staff nor a member of the C.P.N.Z., sees much to be impressed with in the people's democracy of Albania.
The well dressed people, the relaxed atmosphere in the streets the bright new houses, the absence of anything that reminds you of poverty in a country which was known until all too recently as the poorest country in Europe is what struck me most forcibly as a first impression. Tirana immediately pleased me with its calm beauty and jolly crowds
Thanks to the generous hospitality of the State University of Tirana whose guest I was for three weeks, I saw Albania from North to South and can say that this air of prosperity is general and that Albania's Party of Labour has indeed performed some kind of a miracle.
I came to Albania to study socialism as a mode of development for formerly backward countries and I am leaving that little country with no doubt in my mind that the socialist system established in Albania has achieved everything bourgeois economists prescribe in their innumerable textbooks on development without any success. For they leave out the most essential aspect of development: the required change in the social system.
My impression is that Albania represents truely "development from the bottom up". Because the social system of Albania is based on the rule of the working class in alliance with the peasantry, the human potential which is so dreadfully neglected in backward countries has been brought out fully. To travel through a country where one third of the population goes to school or university and where the other two thirds are similarly improving their qualifications to produce more and help others more effectively, is indeed a revelation. Men and women In Albania, increasingly liberated from age-long subjection know that every bit of their power is required to construct a happy country And they have fully met this challenge The secret of their success seems to me to lie in the fact that they take a conscious part in the planning of their future. Everywhere I could see the objectives of the people spelled out. I have been impressed by the ubiquitous posters and notice boards setting out the Party's ambitions objectives for the whole country and when studying the clearly exhibited development objectives of each gigantic new enterprise, each shop, each cooperative farm or other place of work we visited.
So, my main impression is that of a country which has become conscious of its potential and which is realizing it at great speed
Today one wonders how anybody could have spoken of Albania as "the poorest country in Europe". For here we have a country rich in iron ore and copper, in nickel and chrome, in oil and gas, in hydro-power as well as coal. Here we have a country of sunny hills and vast plains which are already yielding abundant agricultural production.
The answer to the question why Albania could have been the poorest country in Europe was given to me in the many magnificent museums of history which we visited. Albania, for centuries, has been the object of imperialist oppression of one kind or other. It started at the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and it continued through the times of the Byzantine and Turkish Empires to those of the Italian fascists and German nazis.
Only when under the leadership of the Party of Labour and the guidance of Enver Hoxha the partisans of Albania liberated their country from foreign oppressors and handed it over to the people could the rich treasures of Albania's natural heritage and the talents of its people be realized.
My impression is that here we have a model of development which shows how socialism can solve the problems of development which bourgeois politicians and economists have been unable to solve.