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The Communists in Prague. The causes of interwar KSČ's electoral success

Publication at Faculty of Arts |


The issue of support for the interwar communist movement has long been distorted by ideological agendas of various types inserting themselves into historiographic debate. An extreme Marxist position perceiving the working class as the key player in history to a certain extent considered adherence to KSČ as a revolutionary avant-garde for an unexpressed axiom.

In contrast, the post-Velvet Revolution condemnation of political extremes challenging the democratic nature of the Republic at the time remaining in the background of narratives on the investigated period was the result of marginalisation of the causes of an authentic affiliation for a large number of citizens with the radical left as represented by KSČ. The submitted investigation of the strategies of communist activists exploited at the local level of the Prague outskirts endeavours to reveal the mechanism for reaching out to potential sympathisers recruited from the population, their conviction that communist agitators play the role of people's tribunes and the subsequent mobilisation of these supporters to ensure active involvement in demonstrations and other subversive events.

It is the symbolic path to the streets and radical declarations of support for the revolutionary programme which appear critical. The map in this journey was KSČ's ideological and political agenda, held together by the promise of change bringing social inequality to an end.

It should be stressed that its beginning can be traced back to opportunities for the communist movement to secure immediate, if partial, change in the lives of its sympathisers, and not what was to some extent an abstract promise of achieving socialism through a revolutionary path, something often mentioned in regard to the communist movement. A clearly more important aspect at the beginning of the process of political activation of the population of Prague's outskirts was the opportunity for shopping cheaply in co-operative stores, securing leisure activities and the option for social advancement.

It was the trust built up ly through personal contact between communist activists and the population of the outskirts which allowed KSČ to fill the centre of Prague with people willing to clash with the establishment when required.