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Beards in Albania

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Soviet cogitations: 221
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Feb 2013, 06:55
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Pioneer
Post 07 Sep 2013, 07:51
Is it true that Enver Hoxha banned beards? As a Bearded Communist I kinda laughed at it. For a man who loved Marx and Engels so much he would ban something which his idols looked like
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
Ideology: None
Philosophized
Post 08 Sep 2013, 03:59
It was part of his anti-religion initiative. Since Islam has always been the primary religion in Albania, Hoxha sought to uproot one of its most steadfast traditions: the beard.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 08 Sep 2013, 08:22
What C. Gulper said. I think Nasser in Egypt and some other Arab states also banned beards at least for public servants.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2006, 02:14
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Politburo
Post 08 Sep 2013, 21:06
So did Peter I of Russia. Though he didn't ban them, just taxed them heavily. And the religious men were exempt.


"Where Argentina goes, Latin America will go".
Leonid Brezhnev

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Soviet cogitations: 143
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jun 2013, 09:08
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 09 Sep 2013, 07:04
Comrade Gulper wrote:
It was part of his anti-religion initiative. Since Islam has always been the primary religion in Albania, Hoxha sought to uproot one of its most steadfast traditions: the beard.


Beards ,long hair, sideburns all amputated at the border. Must have had something to do with attitudes beyond uprooting Islamic tradition, gulper.
The world is riven by class — not race, gender, age or disability. There is only one human race, and any ideas that promote divisions between us do the work of capitalism.
Soviet cogitations: 12389
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
Ideology: None
Philosophized
Post 09 Sep 2013, 20:11
dodger wrote:
Beards ,long hair, sideburns all amputated at the border. Must have had something to do with attitudes beyond uprooting Islamic tradition, gulper.

Islam and the Beatles. But I have read that Hoxha's specific aim was to destroy religion, which in Albania primarily meant Islam.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 09 Sep 2013, 22:09
It should be right up your alley then eh Order?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Philosophized
Post 09 Sep 2013, 22:43
Dagoth Ur wrote:
It should be right up your alley then eh Order?

Nah, the best way to circumvent Islam is to allow Shi'ites and Sunnis unrestricted access to their beliefs, and also to never allow one to have the advantage over the other. Just as Emperor Julian prescribed against the Christians. Let all the sects have their say, let the fur fly, and let all the outside parties draw their own conclusions about the usefulness of the entire affair.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Feb 2013, 06:55
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Pioneer
Post 10 Sep 2013, 00:59
I still don't understand why he would ban beards, especially with Karl Marx's masterpiece of a beard.
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Soviet cogitations: 12389
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Philosophized
Post 10 Sep 2013, 01:32
Eire wrote:
I still don't understand why he would ban beards, especially with Karl Marx's masterpiece of a beard.

Beards, whether worn by Muslim mullahs or Eastern Orthodox priests, were considered to be a symbol of ancient parochialism. Albania in the early 20th century was the poorest, most backward region of Europe. It was a place where oppression of women and "blood feuds" were still part of basic daily activity. Outlawing beards, as well as other "parochial" and "foreign" activities, was a way to forcibly focus the population on the goal of achieving absolute self sufficiency. This was especially the case after Hoxha fell out with both the USSR and China, and had no powerful allies left to call on.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
Soviet cogitations: 673
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 19 Sep 2013, 04:47
There's 11 pages of "WHY DID HOXHA BAN BEARDS WHAT A MAD THING TO DO" on RevLeft including replies by myself.

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 22 Oct 2004, 15:15
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Politburo
Post 24 Sep 2013, 11:48
I read through all that. Good stuff. I thought it was interesting to read the replies from the old ultra-leftist who spent a large part of his life in Turkey. Food for thought for those on the left who express "anti-imperialist solidarity with the Muslim world" by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian "resistance", and who think it's anti-imperialism to cover up women with veils. But I digress.

Anyway, we're probably not talking about this:

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But about this:

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Obviously the idea of blanket banning any kind of (facial) hairstyle is abhorrent to anyone with somewhat progressive views. But I think people fail to consider even the most basic social context, when in fact context is extremely important. In the 21st-century in the west, we have this capitalist freedom of choice (whether you think this is true freedom or not, bear with me for a moment) and an air of moral superiority deriving from that (i.e. we are free, while "orientals" are robots who all look the same).

The result of this is that in this culture, young people in particular all look different, yet uniform at the same time. We all express ourselves through our hairstyle, our facial hair, our shoes, etc. First in high school you get subcultures and cliques, and then in young adulthood you get a more general postmodern culture of which hipster subculture is the pinnacle at the moment. Thus you get people wearing moustaches against cancer, "ironically" wearing X, saying Y, consuming certain products, etc., people wearing fedoras and retro glasses, girls trying to look like dolls with a 1920s vintage feel, etc. Basically everyone is shopping around for the commodity of "self-expression", and therefore everyone looks different, yet predictable and unsurprising. Mass-produced diversity, different but equal.

In this culture, the idea that wearing a certain item or style is just the expression of pre-existing capitalist social relations, or even pre-capitalist oppressive patterns, is inconceivable. It is impossible for most young people here to see their personal experience as anything but the highest form of individual liberty. Therefore a regime that bans X or discourages Y can only be seen as impinging on this individual freedom in the abstract sense, because they hate freedom and want to stifle individual creativity for some obscure reason. Probably to create obedient worker-drones or something. Because people from other cultures are faceless drones, whereas we are independent and free -- even when we incur €25,000 in study debts, when college students actually pay businesses to get a traineeship (just an anecdotal example from my family), when many of us remain unable to build up anything resembling an existence autonomous from our parents and state loans for well into our 30s -- we are free and they are drones.

From that point of view, it's not even conceivable to have a society where pre-capitalist social relations are dominant, where people are kept illiterate and women are kept barefooted and pregnant by exactly those people who symbolise their dominance by their religious trappings -- robes, beards, whatever. When the revolutionary government takes power and decides to aim its vengeance directly at these symbols, to deprive them of their power in the most physically visible way possible, when those who were on top yesterday are humiliated today; that kind of revanchism should not be surprising to anyone, even if they abhor the idea of "banning beards".

Sorry if this post is rambling a bit, but I think it's important to understand what exactly we're talking about, namely a revolutionary government being established in a society where, even in the mid-20th century, women for instance were assigned the same value as a sack of grain. This could presumably only be solved by striking directly at the source. In doing so, regardless of whether some measures may have been unsavoury, they still showed brass balls in my opinion. Or to quote a great man: "It doesn't matter if you have the beard on the outside, as long as you got the beard on the inside."
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