The Pendulum Swings

Does anyone remember the Cold War?

The year is 1968–I was on my first tour of duty in Vietnam (9th Inf Div, Mekong Delta) and another event was taking place……the Prague Spring as the MSM had labelled it….

In 1968, with their political, economic and social problems reaching critical mass, the communist party of Czechoslovakia replaced Novotny as Party Leader with Alexander Dubcek. Dubcek pushed practical reforms across the board, not only for Czechoslovakia but for the Warsaw Pact (the Soviet answer to NATO) as well. Dubcek’s reforms would, as he put it, put “a human face” on socialism. He established “a humanistic socialist democracy which would guarantee, among other things, freedom of religion, press, assembly, speech, and travel” Dubcek also pushed to improve relations with every nation in the world, regardless of the social and political affiliations; as a result, Dubcek’s popularity with the people of Czechoslovakia grew immensely. His popularity, however, did not extend to the other nations of the Warsaw Pact.

On the night of August 20, 1968, troops from Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany, and Poland occupied Czechoslovakia. The Czechoslovakian government immediately declared that the “invasion was a violation of socialist principals, international law, and the United Nations Charter.” (1) During the occupation, those who initiated and supported the liberal reforms were forcibly removed to the Soviet Union in secrete and “were compelled to sign a treaty that provided for the “temporary stationing” of an unspecified number of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia.”1 On April 17th 1969, Dubcek was replaced as First Secretary by Gustav Husak and later was, along with many of his followers, stripped of party affiliation in a purge that slashed party membership by over a third.

You see Ducek had wanted to install more democracy and some economic reforms to his country…..the USSR took exception to these changes and invaded and occupied and the reforms died an instant death.

I bring this history lesson light because the democracy pendulum is beginning to swing again this time to the LEFT.

Prague in the Czech Republic is experiencing the swing….the Communists are making head way in the politics…..

When the United States, Britain and France bombed Syria earlier this month, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis showed support for his Western partners one day before rowing back the next.

The military strike turned from “inevitable” to an act described as changing nothing after Babis was rebuked by the far-left Communist party, showing the fine line the billionaire businessman is walking as he tries to form a government.

Babis is aiming for a pro-Western administration but political fragmentation in October’s election means he needs the pro-Russian Communist party to either support it or abstain, ending the party’s pariah status since communism fell in 1989.

Interesting how the political pendulum is swinging to the Left…..fascinating…….

15 thoughts on “The Pendulum Swings

  1. There are still people around who can remember that life under the Communist system was not so bad as it was painted. Countries like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, DDR, Hungary, and Bulgaria actually provided better care for their people and more equality, than under the Capitalist system that returned. So not a great surprise to see some going back to The Left, and others embracing the Far Right.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. See when we talk like that people cannot the disassociate the social part from the political…..the rise of the oligarchs have helped communism get another look….chuq

    2. I’m most familiar with the DDR. My dad grew up there post WW2, when it was still very rough economically. But after he left, it slowly became probably the closest thing to a “socialist paradise” there ever was. Much better than most East Block nations. We visited family & friends there almost every year in the 80’s. Everybody had jobs, healthcare and good food…although dairy products were damn hard to get for some reason there. Supplies were “erratic”. But boy did they have a damn good public education. Farm kids in Grade 8 spoke English on-par with me and they were doing math at a Canadian High School Senior level. I’m lucky if I can get English proficiency half that level from your average teen here today. And most teens can barely even count to 10 without Siri’s help.

      And the oppression? Yeah, the USSR had a similar number of bases in the East as America had in West Germany…which are STILL there to “protect the FDR from Soviet invasion” from Russian bases that were closed almost 30 years ago….The Russian soldiers caused 3/4 of all the crime/trouble there and were a constant, unspoken, conceptual threat.

      Yes, 1-2% of the country informed for the Stasi. (I knew 2, one killed himself when the Stasi building was stormed.) and most citizens had at least a small file on them. Then again, who here doesn’t have much more invasive government & corporate files on them today? Nobody! Who isn’t under constant surveillance in “Western Freedom” in 2018? Nobody! Loserbook alone would make the Stasi hang their head in shame.

      As an example…At the peak of the 80’s Cold War, I was caught at Checkpoint Charlie smuggling in “contraband” (strictly verboten pamphlets I picked up at the West German Reichstag that explained how FDR democracy worked) It was taken from me. But the guard was smiling as he wagged his finger at me, called me a “bad boy” and waved me into his country. To be perfectly honest, I am FAR, FAR more intimidated/fearful crossing the Canada-US border today than when I was caught carrying “contraband” through Checkpoint Charlie. This how nasty things have quietly become over here.

  2. He who believe Communism disappeared with the USSR is fooling himself. Russia will continue with trying to build an empire, other countries will have leaders swaying back and forth according to the system with the highest bribes and perks.

      1. Which only makes matters worse. Stalin was to Communism what Jerrod was to Subway. Stalin was the ultimate paranoid, power mad, goon willing to kill off…not just his own people…but truly dedicated fellow Communists…even ones who put him in place. Shit, even Hitler looks “not all that bad” next to Stalin.

        But even after all that, the locals still prefer Stalinist thuggery to the political/economic ideal he claimed to stand for. (See: Putin’s success) Or democracy for that matter. They prefer to be governed by thugs.

  3. With (mostly rightist) thugs rising everywhere….there’s actually a country on this shithole of a planet moving to the Left??? Did I hear that right…or are the “medical brownies” kicking in?

      1. I was in Prague a few years back. Beautiful place! (Tip: Take the train & forget about using your car because you can walk faster!) Had the best duck (repeat: duck) ever there. Just thinking about it still gives me wood.

        But scratch the beautiful surface and you can see the Kafka-esque underbellly…and the crime hiding in almost every corner. And from what I hear, most of the crime there is Russian operated. The Russian Communists withdrew…to be replaced with their mobsters.

        In all, I can see why (like the folks in East Germany I mentioned above) a lot of people have been disappointed/underwhelmed with what the collapse of the Wall brought them. The jeans and Barbie dolls all ring hollow when you struggle under crooked governments, crime & less stable economies. Watching the sketchiest people in town become the richest people in town is a tough pill to swallow.

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