By Alexander Meksi
The third part
(‘Palace of Brigades’ December 11, 1990)
Memorie.al / Ramiz Alia enters the hall applauded where the meeting was scheduled, accompanied by the Minister of Education Skënder Gjinushi and the first secretary of the Albanian Working Youth Union Lisen Bashkurti. Alia first meets with some of the participants in this meeting, and then gives a speech, announcing the decisions taken by the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Albanian Labor Party, regarding the latest developments in the country.
Continued from the previous issue
Arben Demeti: You are in front of the microphone, do you agree?
Ramiz Alia: They can call it whatever they want, the party can call it, the association can call it, he understands. Just have to obey the laws.
(The hall applauds long for Ramiz).
Ramia Alia: He just has to respect the laws and not go against the interests of the people. Beware of this.
Arben Meçe: Are you facing the interests of the Party can it go?
Ramiz Alia: It can depend on how far the interests of the Party are and how far the law captures these interests. The law is not of the Party (interference from the hall).
Zef Brozi: There are legal norms defined. What about the party should there be other requirements. Should there be no conditioning from your program?
Ramiz Alia: There is another problem with the law; there is no need to enter here. There is another problem with the law.. (Interference from the hall).
Zef Brozi: Should there be other demands for the Party, because there should be other demands for the Party?
Ramiz Alia: He may not be anything, but you have to be careful in these programming issues as well. I would like to draw your attention to the economic issue that you have there in the program. I would like you to be a little aware, that you are not well aware and of course you can also create different opinions.
The economic situation, I have said publicly, publicly even in the meeting with the youth, when it was on November 23, that it is serious. Even this serious condition has many reasons. One of the basic reasons is that we have outdated production techniques and technology. Its renewal requires large investments, investments which we are trying to realize, not only by using all our reserves and opportunities, but also by cooperating with foreign firms, and even seeking loans. Exactly why we are acting in this area, you know that the Presidium of the People’s Assembly passed two special laws that allow foreign investment, understands, and obtaining loans.
That is why in the 12th Plenum of the Central Committee I specifically emphasized that in the next Constitution, the article on the issue of loans should be revised. But let us not forget other conditions, which are especially influential when we talk about today. I have in mind the atmospheric conditions. I also told the gathering of those young people who were there. This year’s drought cost us, which severely damaged electricity, severely damaged our agriculture, $ 150 million. You probably do not guess, it means 150 million dollars. But to do…. (Interference from the hall: it’s not our fault). No no no. It’s not your fault, its relative. You do not get relative to what, so it’s not your fault. But I’m telling you that our national export annually is $ 400 million. So making this comparison, I think it comes out more in the evidence, than the damage we had from the drought. Can anyone say, as I was told, that drought is just us? No, it’s not just drought. It is not true that it is only in us and in others it has been drought. But we should not forget that we are a small country and when the drought occurs in Shkodra, the same drought has gone to Gjirokastra. Elsewhere, droughts occur at the bottom of Italy, but not in the north, and so on. Therefore this current situation, I am not talking about the general situation, should be well taken into account. We are taking measures to face these difficulties we have. You have heard Comrade Adil say that the Government is trying, in various ways, including loans to meet the needs of the people for this issue as soon as possible. (Interference from the hall: what are the roads?). The roads are to import, to import oil that was not made, sugar that was not made, cereals that were not met, especially corn for livestock, because corn, we did not get almost 50 percent, import of potatoes, import of rice. These are food commodities which amount to nearly $ 80 million.
From the hall: Do these affect next year?
Ramiz Alia: These next year do not affect, because we are doing exactly this account, to complete now for next year, that the consequences of this year look next year.
From the hall: Was the drought continuing?
Ramiz Alia: I understand and I understand. Even the years, even the years, there was a drought, and next year we will not have that when they say it then it seems like God when he has stoned us like that when they say it, then, but still, we must try to face it. We, on the other hand, are now facing them and we are asking for the start of the new economic mechanism on January 1 of this year, with raw materials in all plants and factories. In order for workers not to be left without raw materials as they are left now, he understands. That this year 40 thousand workers have worked part-time and we are forced to pay 80 percent of their salary. What does it mean to pay 80 percent of a worker’s salary? It means paying money and not getting production. Whoever is an economist here understands that this is a bad thing for the economy, because it is a source of inflation, he understands. But we could not leave the working class, that through no fault of its own, be left without income. Market economy means letting go of the free price game. If you have patience I will explain to you a little bit what is the situation with us to then see if we should go to this version? I’m not saying do we have to go tomorrow; do we have to go to this version? That’s why it’s the issue I said, patience that people seek day by day. The problem thus arises brethren. Albania has developed on the basis of some international economic relations it has had. What were these international economic relations that Albania had? Until years, in 1989 our export and import was done on the basis of stop prices. What does stop prices mean? Economists help me a little you. I tell you, I explain everything to you … We made agreements with the countries of Eastern Europe and with Yugoslavia, and with Eastern Europe, and with China, I am talking about these countries, a 5-year agreement on the basis of which we said we would get these , these, these spoils, we will give these, these, these spoils. We would buy them at that price, we would sell them at that price, and those prices were fixed for 5 years. (Intervention from the hall) On this basis, since they were fixed prices, we had also set the salaries of the Stop people. That is, we have the salary table, how much did the worker get, how much did the teacher get, how much did the actor get, I believe that you, who are an actor, also had the salary, it may have changed once in 5 years or how you have it, that there is a norm even there and all ie, the same. Market prices were also stop, price of sugar, price of bread, price of flour, price, butter, price of meat, price of clothing etc etc. Now what happened? Now relations with all the countries of origin, including Yugoslavia, have come to an end as stop price relations. We now give and take on the basis of conjunctural prices.
Someone from the hall: When did this start?
Ramiz Alia: Starting from the beginning of this year, and without clearing. (Interference from the hall: since the early ’90s?). Yes since the early ’90s.
Hall: We are not seeing results?
Ramiz Alia: Forgive me, forgive me. You do not see the result; you have to look at the bad and not the good. I explain to you now. This is for the worse; it’s not to be applauded. D.m.th no more stops price deals. What does this mean? This means we sell and buy according to the conjuncture. Today they bought coffee for $ 400, tomorrow they bought it for $ 700. Do you understand this? Today they bought wheat for 120 dollars a ton; tomorrow they bought 150 dollars a ton.
(From Hall: So we can sell?)
Ramiz Alia: You are right here, we can sell. What happened, since you opened this conversation, what we sell you, are minerals. The price of chrome has dropped, the world economic structure, what are you economist?
Shinasi Rama: No, I am for foreign languages?
Ramiz Alia: For foreign languages, well, Makari reads well. Metallurgy has fallen, armaments are falling, chrome is needed right here… so this is where prices have dropped. Copper prices have dropped, so the raw materials we export have fallen. Now the contradiction we are in today is this: there is no product that we do not subsidize. You buy bread, to know that the state subsidizes the bread you buy for 5 lek. You buy coffee to know that the state pays 100 lek. You buy sugar; know that the state pays for sugar. And so for most goods, that’s why I said it’s a bad thing, because of that change. So here we come now, where does the state get the money? The state issues the reserves. You understand, because every man eats himself. This is the problem, the most economic, the most acute, the most serious problem we have.
Hall intervenes: How can we get out of this?
Ramiz Alia: Wait avash, avash. This has a way and this way would be to review all those measures we have taken forward. What are the measures we have taken forward? That you study and do not pay taxes, that you eat in the canteen, the state subsidizes. In our homes we live, the state subsidizes, you go to the hospital, you are hospitalized without any money, the state subsidizes. (Interference from the hall: not laid out like this) .Wait wait. We have it categorical. No more soul, wait.
Shinasi Rama: What do these microphones have that do not work?
Ramiz Alia: This is exactly how it is said that the economy is concrete and that is why I told you to be concrete. (Intervention from the hall). The economy has some laws of its own, strong understands. We have followed the economy, for the economic development of the country, and together with it we have also followed the social aspect. D.m.th., we have given great importance to this aspect to provide low rent house, to provide hospital, school without any tax, no one pays tax understands…
Shinasi Rama: What does the workshop get paid for 4 thousand ALL? Now let’s not talk like that.
Ramiz Alia: slow down boy, slowly, slowly … Listen here, the issue is here. I did not tell them to confuse you with these things, but I just wanted to emphasize that these economic problems are not so simple. If it is done as you say, you do not say anything about it, but others say that in order for the law of the market to be applied, then as of tomorrow we must remove the state subsidies. If we remove state subsidies, prices will skyrocket; wages will definitely rise as well. We must raise wages necessarily. But, another phenomenon will happen, that in our enterprises there are many workers who are not needed, so they will become unemployed. So let’s go to this version? That would be suicide. (Intervention from the hall). Come on, let me finish, wait guys because you do not have them, you do not have them, you do not know all this.
Arben Imami; No information?
Ramiz Alia: If it is not your fault, you do not have information and I am telling you to have information, because this would immediately cause you to realize a very high unemployment. You read I believe, if you do not read wrong you have, but you have to read, you understand.. What is happening in these countries of birth? The Romanians decided to remove the price subsidies, he understands … and they will enter into force on January 1st. Yesterday they gave the news that this decision is canceled, to be postponed to June 1 of next year, because they saw that immediately there would be a very big reaction, because there would be a large workforce that would go out of use and from on the other hand, what was called social differentiation would be created, which one party has to buy would buy, another party that has a lower income, would not buy. This is the situation to keep in mind. Now in our conditions, we have to walk, so I said to him the issue of prudent and careful steps. We must avoid these kinds of social consequences, which harm the interests of the people. We must take cautious steps, we must necessarily adapt to the developments of the situation, but without causing these great perturbations in the economy and in the people. We must keep in mind that neither the dismissal, nor the anarchy in the economy, nor the outburst of discipline that I spoke about in the Plenum of the Central Committee, do not serve to improve the situation. On the contrary, the economy is thus aggravated. Not to forget one more moment. Thank you very much all of you, the students, the working class, the peasantry and all the people. What please? Be careful and do not forget that foreigners do not invest if they do not have a guarantee for the political situation of the country, if they do not have a guarantee that the political situation of the country is stable. In a country where there is no political stability, no one is interested in investing. Because it would be a waste of his capital. Therefore, for the sake of the interests of the homeland, for the sake of our development, for the sake of improving the situation of our homeland, our people, our economy, we must strengthen the political situation, must not cause disorder, and not cause anarchy, not to cause dismissals. Instead everyone should work in the workplace. Work with all forces with discipline. The student in the school, the worker in the work center, the peasant in his work, the clerk in his office, to work with patriotic conscience, with the conscience that in our hand, I emphasize in our hand, is, that this land, this homeland, to take this Albania forward. This is what I ask of you, this is what I ask of the youth, this is what we want you to look at in these issues, to look in these directions.
Ardian Petrollari: Excuse me, forgive me. I am in the Faculty of Economics and I had the opportunity to express some opinions, they are not scientific, nothing, but short. You said we were bad. Good why are we bad? Because there are two ways for us, i.e., to increase the total social product: to improve technology, to increase the number of labor force. The second is limited from below, from above it is not done, i.e., it is out of a certain possibility, with subjective desire it is not done i.e., the artificial increase of the workforce. So technology perfection remains the first, but to perfect technology you have to have money. If you have money..
Ramia Alia: Should you sell or get a loan?
Ardian Petrollari: Yes, but it is also the other thing that I have learned, as far as I know, if you look at the clock it can be short.
Ramiz Alia: To you now, now we are coming to the end
Ardian Petrollari: If for investment work, what we produce today we consume tomorrow. It is clear that we do not have the investment capacity to reap the fruits of our investments after 5 or 6 years. Now what hinders us and what should we do concretely?
Ramiz Alia: We must cooperate with the world.
Ardian Petrollari: Yes, yes, but in order to cooperate with the world, you have to create the legal, economic, political and social conditions, precisely for him to come here to invest.
Ramiz Alia: Exactly what I said, we need stability.
Ardian Petrollari: What have we done so far, maybe I am holding you accountable for this work?
Ramiz Alia: No no (laughs). The question is clear. We made legal laws to guarantee foreign capital that can invest in Albania and your capital is provided by the state. This is the biggest guarantee. Second we made the law that the foreign investor has the right to invest and extract profits which he can also transfer to another bank. These are the guarantees we have given to foreign capital on this issue. Now from the point of view of political stability we think that political stability in Albania exists, political stability in Albania is in our hands.
Room: Who are we?
Ramiz Alia: Look at the hands, all of them
From the hall: People?
Ramiz Alia All, all the people. Political stability is in your hands, led without a doubt by the state, by the Party (Here there is interference from the hall, Adrian Petrollari adds: or by other parties), by all the different organizations that fight and work for Albania, for independence, for freedom, for socialism. Look does not forget understands that stability is in our hands. If arthritis, collisions, unwanted situations are to be created there is no stability. There is no stability, there is no guarantee, there is no guarantee, and the situation is not fixed.
(Debate in the hall)
Ardian Petrollari: Yes, one minute now
Ramiz Alia: I explained to you from the beginning, why such situations occur.
Ardian Petrollari: In the law on investments you can find two weak points. In the first place, ownership of land is not sanctioned, because ownership of land is not stated to remove the state monopoly, because again the state monopoly exists.
Ramiz Alia: It has nothing to do with it. For rent, land is not for sale. Do you want to sell Albania?
Room: No no no
Ramiz Alia: Then how to sell the land. (There is interference from the hall)
Ardian Petrollari: There is a contract for this work; there is a contract for this work.
Ramiz Alia: Yes, rent it, but not sell it. It is for rent.
Ardian Petrollari: Exactly for this job, foreign investors have left.
Ramiz Alia: Who told you that they left, who?
Ardian Petrollari: They have left, they have left. He left…
Ramiz Alia: Listen guys you are very poorly informed. No foreign firm has left because land has not been leased to them. Since you say that you are aware and to refute this work I am telling you. With a German firm, an agreement has been started, ala has not been completed, the preliminary agreement has started, now at the end of this month they will come to sign it understands, regarding offshore oil exploration. D.m.th., we provide, cooperate with rent for the exploitation of offshore oil.
Arben Imami: Success then.
Ramiz Alia: Success for everyone, but that depends on the situation we have to create. This is the problem.
Azem Hajdari: These points that we have made, the students ask us to give explanations for each point. I have only one question.
Ramiz Alia: Ask the question…
Azem Hajdari: We are talking about electoral subjects and when we talk about electoral subjects, how will the party go to these electoral subjects, equal?
Ramiz Alia: Equal to all, it is said in the law. That you read the law?
Azem Hajdari: When?
Ramiz Alia: The law states that all participants in elections are equal electoral elements.
Arben Imami: Comrade Ramiz, we will go there.
Ramiz Alia: Go.
Arben Imami: Let us not prolong, because I am not worth prolonging. Do you generally agree with these points, because the word came to us last night, that you agree with these points? For example, is it about the problem of freedom of the press, the problem of violence, so that those who are here and a part of those who are there are not affected? (Interference from the hall: not to be touched)
Ramiz Alia: Do not worry they will not be affected do not worry. Just listen here, as President, I will say one thing, keep in mind you, not only students but also all our citizens, including all our state bodies and various state bodies. Everyone must obey the laws. We are talking about the rule of law, then all the various state bodies, all the state bodies, the students and the youth, the peasants, the workers and the civil servants must be subject to the law. If, in relation to what you say, the police have exceeded their competencies, you understand, measures will be taken against the police officers who have exceeded these competencies. (Hall reacts: they have many competencies). Wait, wait wait. But if someone acts against the law, the rule of law also acts against him. I was told that a box of grenades had been stolen from a warehouse.
Tefalin Malshyti: Let him be considered a thief..to be punished as a thief, he …
Ramiz Alia: Wait wait, wait. Who needs grenades?!
Azem Hajdari: We do not need them.
Ramiz Alia: Therefore the law (hall reacts). He is busy, not with you not with you. I have the word, I did not say to you, that the culprit has been found and he will answer before the law. Understands anyone who goes against the law must be held accountable before the law. Therefore…
(From the room: We very much agree with that)
Ramiz Alia: Very much agree. Therefore every man must appear before the laws. There are laws that everyone must abide by. Now from those events that you have there there are cases that you also did not respect the laws. I your friends, that night, you remember huh?
Arben Lika: I remember, I was there that night.
Ramiz Alia: I told you that night too, be careful; be careful that there are laws on collection. The policeman is a policeman. He has a law and it says stop, stop, and stop. They push him and push him, when he shoots him with stones, when the windows are broken, you also break the windows of his car (tells by Skënder Gjinushi), (the hall reacts). Listen, listen, I’m talking openly with you, I want to be honest with you to the end, do you want to be honest with me?
Arben Lika: Definitely, definitely.
Ramiz Alia: The point is that I invite you all that we must occupy the whole law correctly. And I said in turn I address the police bodies to the state bodies, which are in charge of enforcing and respecting the laws, just as I address the citizens, including the youth. Observance of laws correctly, in a civilized way, exactly in what we call democratic ways. Therefore we must all obey the laws. Someone told me why you do not take action, comrade Ramiz? I said, but why would you make me a dictator?
Hall: Who was it? Remember?
Ramiz Alia: I remember how I cannot keep it. He was a good man. He was a very good man and I respect him, he joked, he was very good. (From the hall: he was misinformed.) I also told him not to ask me, because I do not become a dictator, I will obey the laws. (Applause)
Ramiz Alia: Even I, who am charged by the people, by the state, by the party by the government, by all the measures with this post that I have, I am for him to protect the laws, and to be protected and respected. We respect them all from me to the last man.
Zef Brozi: Comrade Ramiz, I have done a study on the legal culture of student, school, and etc. youth. It is a big problem; nationwide since legal education we are very deficient. Even this conversation is a living proof of what I am saying. Because students do not know some articles of the basic Constitution, some things should not.
Ramiz Alia: Well, not everyone is in justice…
Zef Brozi: Therefore, we have suggested that a subject with basic legal knowledge be introduced in all faculties (Ramiz Alia: Bobo, you charge them completely).
Ramiz Alia: I think we should leave now. Wait wait. (Feedback from the hall) One minute, one minute. It turns out I’m not done. The point is, such laws must be taken into account. Look, I said the rules and laws that we must apply, otherwise you understand, that law and order works against everyone. (React room). You are a student and if you do not go to school for three days, you are expelled from school. Keep this in mind. (React room). The worker is a worker and if the worker did not go to the factory, his salary will be cut. Look, even when not all goes the salary will not be paid, for this to be convinced. Therefore, we must keep in mind that if we talk about law enforcement issues, I told them my opinion, I tell you, I repeat it to you, so that you can listen to it. I ask everyone, starting from the state bodies, from the police bodies and from all the different bodies, interventions … even from the citizens, to apply the law. Both the students and the citizens must all respect the law, do not forget this… Intervention … That these issues cannot…
Azem Hajdari: ….. We may have some problems …… we have come here as student representatives and we will tell them what you will tell us, that we trust you. … This faith … we will never lose it. Now the problem arises here. The problem is that for these points of our requests, which the students have submitted, which point is not realized to the students. Which point is unfeasible?
Arben Lika: Now regarding the second point…
Ramiz Alia: Come on, I have them here. I think that in these issues, the fundamental thing that interests you, that interests the youth, that interests us all, is the issue of the demand for pluralism. This is the policy to find out.
Azem Hajdari: This is it.
Ramiz Alia: That’s right. This issue, I told you my opinion, and I believe you are all clear on this matter. Now that the UN charter is published here, the charter of this charter and that, all these things we will do that we have in mind, without telling you this, that we would publish all these documents. Do not worry that they will not give you anything, any great wealth, understand.
(Intervention from the hall: So we were told we will publish them, we will do it, and again…)
Ramiz Alia: You see how uninformed you are. It’s not your fault
Azem Hajdari: We talked to the press, Comrade Ramiz (reactions from the hall)
Ramiz Alia: Look do not open such topics, because these things (feedback from the hall)
Azem Hajdari: One of our requests is the press.
Ramiz Alia: The problem of the press is, you say we will make a newspaper, make a newspaper…
Arben Imami: Shall we make the newspaper?
Ramizi Alia: Do it, but I said implement the laws, for the good of the country, society and Albania.
Azem Hajdari: We explained from the beginning, to assure you, that this is the national feeling. We are the sons of the people and we are with you for democratic reforms, and there is nothing to manipulate here. It’s us, and I’m convinced, along with these friends that no one implicates us. (Ramiz Alia intervenes: agree, agree). We will walk this path, together with you, and the dialogue has only this purpose, that we walk in this certain direction. Those who try to manipulate us will not achieve the goal. Therefore our requests, these requests that we have submitted, want your help as well.
Arben Imami: We also want your help as President…
Ramiz Alia: Look at my help, if you love me listens to me, listen to me. My help will be unreserved, if you are put to work, that is, you will go to school, put an end to those situations that arise, which you are convinced that someone else, not you, can and wants use them for other purposes. You do not argue about it, so follow the lessons, go to school, keep working for this organization you want, work out the program you have to work on, work out the programs you want, you know. If you want to cooperate with the youth organization on the issue that interests you in the withdrawal of deputies, it does not matter, if you want, if you do not want not to join.
Azem Hajdari: We cannot unite that the youth organization is a transmission belt; the Youth Organization is a transmission belt. Only Altin Goxhi has entered there.
Ramiz Alia: It does not matter at all, because maybe you can agree, it does not matter.
Azem Hajdari: This is one of our main problems … /Memorie.al
(interference from the hall: it does not matter at all).
The next issue follows