Charta 77 a její dědictví
Matěj Metelec (A2 journal)
Contradictions: A Journal for Critical Thought II, no. 1 (2018): 77–98
Keywords: Charter 77, radical left, antisystemic movements, dissent, dissident ghetto, underground in Czechoslovakia, political activism
The essay follows a certain symmetry that is between the dissident organization Charter 77 (founded in Czechoslovakia in 1977) and the current Czech radical left. The essay works from the assumption that the definition of “systems” is more important than the nature of these “systems.” One way to understand the issue is to look at the relationship between Charter 77 and the Western radical left of its day, which provides the ideological antecedent of today’s Czech left. But in the contemporary political context, paradoxically, the position of the radical left is structurally moving away from that of the left that was a part of Charter 77 and is coming closer to that of the anti-communist constituents of Charter 77 and to the cultural underground that remained outside Charter 77. Evidence of the continuity between those tendencies can be seen in the police repression of recent years, which points to similarities in how the police view representatives of these different “antisystemic” movements. But perhaps the most striking point of comparison between the dissidents and today’s left can be seen in their separation from majority society and in their ambition to forge something like that society’s moral conscience. This leads to a situation known in the Czechoslovak dissent of the 1970s and 1980s as the “dissident ghetto.” The notion of the self as a holder of knowledge of the true nature of things, which enables the self to preserve its moral integrity in relation to the “system,” appears to be of no less significance to the present radical left than it was to Charter 77.
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