Primary Sources

Czechoslovak Anti-Charter 1977

Description

In 1976, the government of Czechoslovakia arrested the Czech psychedelic rock band, the Plastic People of the Universe, for disturbing the peace. In the subsequent trials, the band members were convicted and sentenced to 8 to 18 months in prison. In response to the arrest of the band, a group of Czech artists, writers, and musicians, including Vaclav Havel, circulated a petition for their freedom, known as the Manifesto of Charter 77. In response to the actions of Charter 77, the Czechoslovak Communist Party and all of the official artistic, music, and literary associations issued "For New Creative Deeds in the Name of Socialism and Peace," a repudiation of all of the claims of Charter 77, particularly arguing for the government's support of human rights in Czechoslovakia. Singled out for further attack were the "backsliders and traitors" (in other words, Charter 77), who challenged the righteousness of the Communist Party.

Source

"For New Creative Deeds in the Name of Socialism and Peace," from Vilém Prečan, ed., Charta 77 1977-1989. Od morální k demokratické revoluce [Charter 77 1977-1989. From a Moral to a Democratic Revolution], translated by Bradley F. Abrams, (Scheinfeld-Schwarzenberg: Čs. Středisko nezávislé literatury and Bratislava: ARCHA, 1990), pp. 35-38.

Primary Source—Excerpt

The whole world is in motion. Our socialist world is strengthening and enriching the material and spiritual values destined for the welfare of man.... Our socialist world—at the head of which stands the Soviet Union, because of its breathtaking example of the construction of a communist society, its creative employment of all scientific, scholarly and technical discoveries, and its tireless initiatives for peace - has enough strength to defend the results of its labor.

...

That is why—in accord with the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference—we stretch out our hand across the borders of countries and continents, fully aware that true art and true culture should help individual nations and all of humanity move forward; they should create understanding among people of diverse countries; they should win people over to the humanistic perspective on peace and mutual cooperation in the interest of happy human life. That is why we hold in contempt those who, in the unbridled pride of their narcissistic haughtiness, for selfish interests, or even for filthy lucre in various places all over the world—even in our land a small group of such backsliders and traitors can be found - divorce and isolate themselves from their own people and its life and real interests and, with inexorable logic, become instruments of the antihumanistic forces of imperialism and, in its service, the heralds of disruption and discord among nations. Historical development convinces us that the spirit of peace and cooperation in the world is growing stronger, that it is precisely true culture that is one of the most effective means for achieving understanding between people, and that every artistic work that is committed to life and man's bright future is a dove bearing the message of tranquility on all continents.

How to Cite this Source

Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, "Czechoslovak Anti-Charter 1977," Making the History of 1989, Item #22, http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/items/show/22 (accessed October 24 2014, 12:15 pm).