Wednesday, 23 April 2014

MfD: Parties need common social goal

18 December 2012

Prague, Dec 17 (CTK) - The Czech scene lacks a social contract of democratic forces on the range of interests of the country as their common homeland, which, if struck, could help fulfil the legacy of Vaclav Havel, Bohumil Dolezal writes in Mlada fronta Dnes on the eve of Havel's first death anniversary yesterday.

Havel, a dissident-turned-president, is widely believed to have strived for a society that would be more human than the preceding communist one, and to have basically succeeded, Dolezal writes.

Havel's famous thesis about the truth and love that will prevail over lie and hatred has a real basis. The question is why it sounds banal and unconvincing now, Dolezal says.

First, Havel undoubtedly wanted to replace the bolshevik regime, based on hatred as the motor of world developments, with a society based on love for one's neighbour. Why did not he say it directly? Dolezal asks.

True, his direct reference to the Gospel might have been disliked by many, including Havel himself. Nevertheless, the belief in "something" above humans, which is widespread among Czechs and was obviously shared by Havel, is no genuine faith, it is incorrect and impractical, Dolezal says.

Furthermore, Havel's noble thesis was in practice embodied by the Civic Forum (OF), a group serving exclusively political manipulation by presenting itself as a force representing all, unlike political parties, Dolezal continues.

The OF arose as a broad anti-communist movement in the revolutionary days of November 1989 to urge and negotiate the demise of the communist regime.

Later the OF helped promote the expedient fiction of a "civic society" that should substitute for or even fully replace politics, Dolezal writes.

In this respect, then PM Vaclav Klaus's criticism of Havel was quite legitimate, the public rightfully rejected Havel's plan and a different, more correct model based on political parties prevailed, Dolezal writes, alluding to the first half of the 1990s.

However, in opposing his rival Havel, Klaus was unable to propose anything else but traditional Czech nationalism dating back to the late 19th and early 20th century, that includes authoritarian elements and that clearly surfaces in the annual bombastic celebrations of the October 28 anniversary of the birth of independent Czechoslovakia, Dolezal writes.

In common liberal terms, the state is a practical arrangement that sovereign individuals establish to free their hands. At the same time, however, the state is an arrangement enabling people to survive. That is why they should want it to improve, get rid of mistakes and they should also love it, by which the state turns into homeland, Dolezal writes.

The Czechs seem not to consider the Czech Republic their homeland. In their eyes, politics is a merciless, never-ending and still intensifying class struggle between the "right" and the "left," he continues.

Each Czech government coalition tries to "save" the state by clinging to power under all circumstances, while the opposition is striving for power with all its force, irrespective of whether it is compatible with democracy, Dolezal writes.

A latent social contract between democratic forces that would define the range of common interests, the homeland's interests, is lacking. Instead, the senior opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) stick to an unwritten agreement with the Communists (KSCM), with which they want to topple the right-wing government by a concerted effort, Dolezal writes.

However, the Communists are totally untrustworthy. As a party of a bolshevik type, the KSCM is ready to observe agreements and deals, but only if it suits its own aims, Dolezal points out.

On the other hand, the CSSD is in a difficult situation, because it is the only [democratic] party on the left. As a result, it cannot but tend to cooperating with the extremists [Communists], Dolezal continues.

This is also because the Czech Republic has two [ruling] parties [the Civic Democrats (ODS) and TOP 09], each of which presents itself as the "genuine right," but it has no centrist party, Dolezal writes.

Unfortunately, since the 1990s a centrist position has been viewed by Czechs as a compromise between democracy and bolshevism. If a social contract on the common homeland's interest were achieved between the right and left [i.e. between the ODS and the CSSD], it would also mean fulfilling the legacy of Vaclav Havel - a kind of a partial and temporary victory of truth and love over lie and hatred, Dolezal concludes.

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