The Guardian September 4, 2002


Czech and Slovak solidarity actions

Members and supporters of the Czech and Slovak Communist Parties and 
Germany's Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) late last month took part in 
actions which demonstrated that internationalism is alive and well in 
central Europe.

Two thousand five hundred Czechs and Slovaks attended a rally on Saturday 
August 24 in the west Slovak border town of Holic marking the 58th 
anniversary of the start of the anti-fascist Slovak National Uprising in 
1944.

It was the 12th time since 1989 that the cross-border rally had been held. 
It was addressed by the leaders of the Communist Party of Slovakia and the 
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia.

Slovak Communist leader Jozek Sevc referred to the hardships suffered by 
the country's five million people since 1989. "There are 600,000 now out of 
work and over 700,000 living below the poverty line."

With parliamentary elections due in Slovakia on September 20-21, the 
success of the Czech communists in last June's elections had struck fear 
into local "democrats" who had tried to ban "the propagation of communism" 
and intimidate the Slovak Communist Party's members and supporters.

The party was attempting to win its first seats since 1989 in parliament 
"in order to give real help to its suffering fellow-citizens".

But as far as the right was concerned, Sevc said, the election campaign was 
not about allowing the people to manifest their free will.

"It's not about manifestos and ideological convictions. It's about a fierce 
struggle over money veiled by promises and deception of the people." Sevc 
called the Czech communists "the moral victors" in the June elections.

The theme of Czech communist leader Miroslav Grebenicek's speech was the 
complex political, social and economic situation which existed in the Czech 
Republic after the floods and on the eve of November's municipal and Senate 
elections, the Prague NATO summit in November and the choosing of a new 
Czech President.

"More and more people are looking for an alternative society different from 
hard-line capitalism." He called those who had tried to criminalise the 
concept of a socially just society "scoundrels and fools".

He said that his party supported the mutual interests of the Czech and 
Slovak peoples and a common role in tackling the risks facing 
nationalities, nations and society in Europe. He wished the Slovak 
Communists well in the election.

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Postmark Prague

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