Political Culture: Continuity and Discontinuity

  • Frederick M. Barnard

Abstract

I would like to preface what follows with a personal anecdote because it helps, I think, to illustrate the peculiar blend of continuity and discontinuity that characterized Czechoslovak political culture at its emergence.

Keywords

Europe Income Stratification Boulder Pebble 

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Notes

  1. 2.
    The reference is to Trollope’s Autobiography, chap 20. On this point, see also Joseph Rothschild, East Central Europe Between the Two World Wars (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1974).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Edward Táborský, Naše Nová Ústava (Prague: Čin, 1948), p. 83. Roman Szporluk, The Political Thought of Thomas G. Masaryk (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981), p. 150.Google Scholar
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  5. 4.
    Robert J. Kerner (ed.), Czechoslovakia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1944), p. 165Google Scholar
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  7. 5.
    Hugh Seton-Watson, Nationalism and Communism: Essays, 1946–63 (London: Methuen, 1964), p. 78.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Vladimír V. Kusin, The Intellectual Origins of the Prague Spring (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971), p. 13Google Scholar
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  10. 7.
    Pavel Machonin (ed.), Československá společnost (Bratislava: Epocha, 1969), pp. 159–61Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    Peter Hruby, Fools and Heroes: The Changing Role of Communist Intellectuals in Czechoslovakia (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1980), p. 93.Google Scholar
  12. Z. A. B. Zeman, Prague Spring (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1969), pp. 144–50.Google Scholar
  13. Eugen Loebl and Dučan Pokorný, Die Revolution rehabilitiert ihre Kinder: Hinter den Kulissen des Slansky-Prozesses (Vienna: Europa Verlag, 1968).Google Scholar
  14. 10.
    See A. H. Brown, ‘Pluralistic Trends in Czechoslovakia’, Soviet Studies, XVII (1966), 453–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. H. Gordon Skilling, ‘Background to the Study of Opposition in Communist Eastern Europe’, Government and Opposition, III (1968), 294–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Barbara Jančar, ‘The Case for a Loyal Opposition under Communism: Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia’, Orbis, XII (1968), 415–40.Google Scholar
  17. 14.
    For an interesting account of the formation of opinion groups during this period, see ‘Documents: Czechoslovakia — Before the Invasion’, Survey, 69 (1968), 22–3. It has rightly been pointed out that to view the form of opinion differentiation in terms of conformist and dissenting is an ‘absurd over-simplification’. H. Gordon Skilling (ed.), Interest Groups in Soviet Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), p. 395.Google Scholar
  18. 15.
    Karl Marx, ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’, Selected Works (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1968), p. 101.Google Scholar
  19. 16.
    By far the greatest problem with Masaryk has always been the difficulty of keeping apart the ideas from their begetter, and thus to separate Masaryk the thinker from Masaryk the political actor and subsequent president. Masaryk himself, however, strove for a synthesis of theory and practice, especially in politics, in which, he declared, political practice presupposes sound political theory. See Karel Čapek, Hovory s T. G. Masarykem (Prague: Borový and Čin, 1936), pp. 281–5. For more detailed criticism of Masaryk’s idea of synthesis, see Jan Patočka, ‘An Attempt at a Czech National Philosophy and its Failure’, in Milič Čapek and Karel Hrubý, Masaryk in Perspective (SVU Press, 1981), pp. 7–9, 13–15, 21–2, and Hanuš J. Hajek, T. G. Masaryk Revisited: A Critical Assessment (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983).Google Scholar
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  21. 17.
    Milan Machovec, Tomáš G. Masaryk (Prague: Melantrich, 1968), pp. 12Google Scholar
  22. Antonin Liehm (ed.), Gespräch an der Moldau (Wien: Molden, 1968), p. 341Google Scholar
  23. Lubomír Nový, ‘Masarykovské kontradikce’, Plamen, IX (1967), 78–82Google Scholar
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  25. 18.
    T. G. Masaryk, The Making of a State (London: Allen and Unwin, 1927), pp. 172–7Google Scholar
  26. Miroslav Trapl, ‘Masaryk a revoluce’, Sociologická revue, vol. XIII (1945), 120–30.Google Scholar
  27. 20.
    Čapek, Hovory, p. 272; Masaryk, Die philosophischen und soziologischen Grundlagen des Marxismus (Vienna: Manzscher Verlag, 1899Google Scholar
  28. 24.
    Vladimír Klokočka, Volby v pluralitních democraciích (Prague: Svoboda, 1968), pp. 245Google Scholar
  29. 26.
    Raymond Aron, ‘Can the party alone run a one-party state?’ Government and Opposition, II (1967), cited in Ghita Ionescu, The Politics of the European Communist States (New York: Praeger, 1967), p. 45.Google Scholar
  30. 27.
    Non-communists realized that they were too atomized to exercise any appreciable check upon the political power of the Communist Party for some time to come. There was in fact some fear expressed that the multiplication of non-communist parties, and the competition between them, would accentuate rather than attenuate the monolithic pressures within the Communist Party and, possibly, also its hegemony over them. See, for example, Alexander Kliment, ‘The Activity of the Unnamed’, Literarní Listy, 14 March 1968; Zdeněk Mlynář, ‘What next with our Democracy?’ Rudé Právo, 26 March 1968; or Petr Pithart, ‘Political Parties and Freedom of Speech’, Literarni Listy, 20 June 1968. A good review of official positions on the leading role of the Communist Party during the Prague Spring can be found in Galia Golan, The Czechoslovak Reform Movement: Communism in Crisis, 1962–1968 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971), pp. 299–312.Google Scholar
  31. 28.
    H. Gordon Skilling, Czechoslovakia’s Interrupted Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), pp. 272–3.Google Scholar
  32. 30.
    In 1966 Z. Mlynář and V. Pavlíček, in an important sociological symposium, not only insisted on the centrality of politics, but indeed went so far as to demand the professionalization of politics as well as the political representation of interest groups. R. Rohan, another contributor to the symposium, argued similarly. See Pavel Machonin, Socialní structura socialistické společnosti (Prague: Svoboda, 1966), pp. 642–58Google Scholar
  33. Radoslav Selucký, Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe: Political Background and Economic Significance (New York: Praeger, 1972), p. 20.Google Scholar
  34. 31.
    Hruby, Fools and Heroes, p. 229. Of course, not all the idealism of the young was untainted by careerism, that is, by the desire to profit from being on the right side. Yet, even in its genuine form, idealism is not infrequently the work of muddled thinking and the language of slogans and images. I have touched on this point in ‘Metaphors, Laments, and the Organic Community’, Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, XXXII (1966), 281–301, and (with Richard Vernon) ‘Recovering Politics for Socialism: Two Responses to the Language of Community’, Canadian Journal of Political Science, XVI (1983), 718–37.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© H. Gordon Skilling 1991

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  • Frederick M. Barnard

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