Download Civic Freedom in Central Europe: Voices from Czechoslovakia by H.Gordon Skilling PDF

By H.Gordon Skilling

Recording the perspectives of dissidents at the nature in their personal actions, this booklet comprises over 20 brief essays via a couple of prime humans from constitution seventy seven. individuals contain Vaclav Havel, Eva Kanturkova, Libuse Silhanova, and Zdenek Rotrekl.

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Additional info for Civic Freedom in Central Europe: Voices from Czechoslovakia

Example text

Have their origin in totalitarian communist systems. They characterise conflicts between independent thought and behaviour, and the totalitarian state, which demands control over all aspects of social life. In democratic and authoritarian systems autonomous institutions of social life are a fact of life: in totalitarian systems, such institutions must struggle to establish themselves. In totalitarian systems of social organisation dependent forms of behaviour are preferred and rewarded. The political norm, even in common matters, requires that one wait for directives or official permission, and not act from one's own impulses without approval.

The declared intention of the Soviet Union to refrain from intervening to influence the course of events deprived the regimes of any support from Moscow. Confronted with enormous popular pressure, the communist parties had to make one retreat after another and to yield much of their previous hegemony. With the exception of Romania, they made radical changes in leadership and announced plans of democratic reform in order to stave off total disaster. One by one, they abolished the formal monopoly of power by the Communist Party and pledged themselves to introduce pluralism and democracy.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA'S FUTURE Czechoslovakia lagged behind its Polish, Hungarian and Soviet neighbours. Its independent society was still immature and did not constitute a political opposition in a real sense. Only the embryonic elements of pluralism and a civil society could be said to have come into existence. Since mid-1988, however, society began to take more substantial steps to escape from the overwhelming thrall of the state. Wider sections of the population displayed a civic courage hitherto lacking.

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