There is a new push in the Czech Republic to get the court that regulates political parties to suspend the right of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia to run candidates for public office or otherwise function like other political parties. The party is the successor in the Czech Republic to the old Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.

The argument for suspension of the CP, used earlier against its youth league, was that it has not given up its claim to represent the ideas of Marx and Lenin, or its stated aim of replacing private property with social property. The part about Marx and Lenin focuses on their alleged espousal of violence as a means of political change, which, according to the eight right-wing senators who have brought the case to the court, violates the constitution. The part about changing private into social property gives a hint as to the real reasons for the persecution campaign.

The allegations against the CP of Bohemia and Moravia are, in a sense, “true.” It indeed promotes the political and economic ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin, though it does not call for the violent overthrow of the government. It also is for socialism, which means social and not private ownership of the means of production.

But the accusers are hypocrites and the accusations are a smokescreen for another agenda.

On the issue of armed struggle, neither Marx, nor Engels, nor Lenin nor the Czech Communists ever called for armed struggle to overthrow governments when even a flawed bourgeois democratic regime was in power. So what are the Czech rightists really worried about?

The Czech Republic and other countries in the region have been hit hard by the world financial crisis (which, by the way, was not caused by communists). The ruling classes in each country, linked to international monopoly capital, want to balance the shrinking national budgets on the backs of the workers and other ordinary people.

There are parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic on May 28-29. Polls on voting intentions show that the Social Democrats are in first place with about 33 percent, the right-wing ODS (Civic Democrats) are second with about 24 percent, and the Communists third with between 13 and 14 percent. This represents an advance for the Social Democrats and Communists, and a reverse for the ODS. The remaining four parties running candidates are right wing.

In the country’s parliamentary system of government, the national leadership, to replace the current caretaker government, is selected by the parties that win the most seats in the lower house of parliament. Both the Social Democrats and the Communists have promised to fight to protect social welfare, while the ODS and the other right-wing parties would emphasize privatization and austerity. The prospect of a Social Democratic victory stiffened by a strong Communist presence is surely frightening to those people who have been accumulating fortunes and enjoying privileges since the old socialist regime collapsed, even though up to now the leadership of the Social Democrats has refused to work with the Communists, making an actual SD-Communist coalition unlikely.

So suddenly a new anti-communist campaign appears, which, if successful, would subtract that 13-14 percent from the left side of the parliamentary equation.

Very convenient!

This is a crass power grab which should be denounced by all progressive people worldwide.

I am cheered by the news that a Czech court has reversed a 2008 verdict that had abolished the Union of Communist Youth, the youth branch of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia. The prosecution of the Union of Communist Youth had been based on the same logic as the right wing’s demand that the courts suspend the CP’s right to participate in elections.



Emile Schepers
Emile Schepers

Emile Schepers is a veteran civil and immigrant rights activist. Born in South Africa, he has a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University. He is active in the struggle for immigrant rights, in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and a number of other issues. He writes from Northern Virginia.