Text of CZECHOSLOVAK COMMUNIST SYSTEM Doc. PhDr. Vlastimil Fiala, CSc
CZECHOSLOVAK COMMUNIST SYSTEM Doc. PhDr. Vlastimil Fiala, CSc.
1. Introduction history of the Czechoslovak communist system and current situation Czechoslovak, Soviet and East European communist system - differences Differences The party systems The election systems, The role of army in society, The attitude to the opposition and dissidents politics Similarities Marx-Leninist/Communist party Marxist-Leninist Ideology Leading role in society of the communist party
2. Main Features of the Communist System 2.1. The existence of the dominant position of the Communist party 2.2. The role of the Marxist-Leninism as a leading scientific ideology, dominating public life dominating/non-dominating private life (Arkadij Gajdar: uk a Gek)
2. Main Features of the Communist System 2.3. The principle of the leading role of the Communist party dominated and corrupted all political, economic, cultural and social structures creation of the quasi democratic facade of the communist regime control of all repressive and powerful state institutions - policy/secret policy, army control of judicial system
2. Main Features of the Communist System 2.4. An existence of strict censorship (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, books, monopoly for information) 2.5 The restriction of the individual freedoms and creating of the closed society limited possibility to travel abroad restriction of the opposition and dissident groups 2.5. Communist party directed all economy and professional activities
2.1. Dominant role of the Communist Party 2.1.1. Structure of the communist party 2.1.2. Personal policy (nomenklatura) 2.1.3. Main organisational communist principle called Democratic centralism
2.1.1 Structure of the Communist party see scheme of the structure of the communist party Scheme illustrates the full extent of the massive party bureaucracies to dominate all society activities. Territorial basis of communist party - territorial divisions (district, city, county, province and nation) corresponding to electoral constituencies.
2.1.1 Structure of the Communist party Extra-territorial basis Primary party organisations based at the workplace (schools, factories, shops, farms, theatres, universities and military barracks, etc.) PPO controlled all state institutions from below to above PPO and their committees managed all political, economic, and social activities. PPO (chairman or general secretaries) influenced also personal policy.
2.1.1 Structure of the Communist party Structure of the Communist party at Palack University before 1989 personal policy (rector, vice-rectors, deans, vice-deans, heads of the departments, vice- head of the departments, academic staff) learning programmes no academic senate or scientific council selection of the students preference to workers and communist cadres
2.1.1 Structure of the Communist party Communist structure on territorial basis (each communist was a member of two PPO) Organisation of party elections Role of the party conferences and congresses Role of the Central Committee of communist party Role of the Political bureau and General Secretary
2.2. Personal policy (nomenklatura) Party control of the society was assured by its personal policy Party organisations controlled all major appointments in their area. State levels (CC Secretariat = ministerial posts, key jobs in the military, security and foreign services, the appointments of directors of major economic concerns and regional party and governments leaders) Local levels (town or cities) the party committee and First secretary would control the appointment of school headteachers, PPO chairs, local council chairs, shop and small factory managers, etc.
2.1.2. Personal policy (nomenklatura) The nomenklatura was literally the list of jobs controlled by the party At the lowest level the membership in communist party was not important for some leading jobs, but this post-holder and their secret personal file were vetted by the Communist party before the appointment was made. Nomenklatura was came to stand for the ruling elite of communism Certain jobs were reserved only for party members; Preconditions the passing so-called one year evening university of Marxism - Leninism which was obligatory also for the people with university education Czechoslovak CP membership vs. family needs
2.1.3. Organisational principle Democratic centralism Uniformity within the party was enforced by the principle of democratic centralism, specific to CP. Democratic centralism was variously defined in the rules of CP - All leading party bodies are elected - Party bodies report periodically to their organisations and to higher bodies - Strict party discipline and subordination of the minority to the majority - Decisions of higher bodies are obligatory for lower bodies. * Characteristic of the Democratic centralism * Noun is centralism, the adjective democratic, so the basic tenet is centralism, not democracy
2.1. 3. Organisational principle Democratic centralism Party secretaries approved who was elected to attend and serve on committees Limited electoral choice, democratic element did not work Factional activity inside party was banned Discussion of policy was non-existent because decisions from the centre could not be questioned. Lower bodies and individual members had to accept decisions from above. Example election of the members of the University Socialist Union of Youth
2.2. Marxist-Leninism as a leading scientific ideology The main ideology and ideological motor of communist party was Marxism-Leninism, The body of ideas culled from the writings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin According CP the M-L was scientific and provided the means to understand all human development, Only CP leaderships could interpret and apply M-L. Only CP members knew the true interests of the people, and could represent them and guide them to communism, the highest stage of human development. Who disagreed with it had to be wrong and was enemy of communist system.
2.2. Marxist-Leninism as a leading scientific ideology The communist system was very inefficient. The party stood above the law and exhibited little sympathy for society's concerns. The criticism of some decision at workplace was understood as direct attack of party politics. The party's enormous power encouraged arrogance and corruption, There were no checks on bad policy.
2.3. The principle of the leading role of the CP party Communist Constitutions and leading role, Legal basis for Communist power, dominated and corrupted all political structures Czechoslovak National front election procedure polling booth was not used, system of minor sanctions (travel abroad, education, professional career etc.), Charta 77 dominated and corrupted all economic structures PPO, no private sector, Five years economic plans, planned economy, Congress of the CP Dominated and corrupted all cultural, social and professional structures all organisations controlled by communist, concerts, trade union etc. creation of the quasi democratic facade of the communist regime control of all repressive and powerful state institutions - policy/secret policy, army control of judicial system
2.4. An existence of strict censorship newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, books, Communist monopoly for information (no information from foreign mass medias) Role of the Radio Free Europe, BBC Czech broadcasting, USA broadcasting Underground pamphlets, books, newspapers
2.5 The restriction of the individual freedoms and creating of the closed society limited possibility to travel abroad no possibility to compare level of the living standard no civic society (civil society is the sum of non- state and extra-familial activities in a nation) mass organisation (Pionyr, Socialist Union of Youth, Revolutionary Trade Union, Union of Women, Svazarm, etc.) restriction of the opposition and dissident groups
3. Totalitarian and Authoritarian Rule discussion about character of the communist systems H. Arendt, Aaron, C. Fridrich J. Brzezinski, G. Sartori, J. Linz, A. Perlmutter Differences among communist states, during their development
4. Conclusion Communism in eastern Europe and the USSR was not uniform. Huge political differences between Stalinist Albania, the political turmoil in Poland caused by Solidarity, the fetid orthodoxy of Czechoslovakia and the GDR, and the struggling superpower politics of the USSR. The crises of the communist regimes were broadly similar at all Central European countries (politically illegitimate, the economic systems were inefficient and decaying, the political systems they headed were corrupt and unresponsive to pressures for change) Very fast re-established the individual freedom of citizens, new political institutions, political parties, free and fair elections