Primary Sources

Teleprint, Information on the Conclusions of Nation-wide Party Congress held in Prague

Description

The Czechoslovak Communist Party faced some unpleasant realities on November 28. The previous day's general strike had seriously weakened its hand. That day's negotiations with opposition leader Civic Forum forced it to accept several devastating conditions, including the removal of its constitutionally-guaranteed domination of state and society. Party members had not yet resigned themselves to their fate, though. As negotiations were proceeding, 3,500 communists met in closed session at the nationwide party congress at Prague's Palace of Culture. The final resolution of this meeting was presented in the teleprint here. Considering the generally pessimistic outlook, delegates were in a fighting spirit. In his speech, newly-elected Secretary General Karel Urbanek called upon communists to continue opposing any forces (including Civic Forum) that attempted to undermine socialism. That spirit also appeared in some of the otherwise-cryptic resolution's items, including the refusal to give up local communist organizations, party property, or the People's Militia (factory-wide worker defense units). By holding onto its material resources, the party could still organize on a local level and infiltrate Civic Forum committees. While the congress didn't prevent the party's fall from power, it did indicate the communists' determination to carve out the best possible position for themselves in the new circumstances.

Source

Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, "Information on the Conclusions of Nation-wide Party Congress," teleprint, Prague, November 28, 1989, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

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The nation-wide party caucus which took place in Prague on 28 November 1989 reached the following conclusions:

1.The political directive for the plan of action of the entire party over the next few days is laid out in the speech of the Secretary General at the Nationwide Party Caucus....

2.To acquaint every communist with the discussions of the Caucus, and explain the conclusions of its discussion and seek their fulfillment by communists and other workers. To strengthen the unity of the party behind the principles of socialism....

3. It gives total support and trust to our leadership of the Central Committee and its Secretary General, comrade Karel Urbanek, during the discussion of the current problems.

4. The CC CPCz proposes to begin an analysis of the entire forty-year period of the construction of socialism, especially the years 1968-1969.

5. Engage in an active dialogue and cooperate with all who want to build a socialist Czechoslovakia. This [includes] those individuals and groups who are concentrated in the Civic Forum and uphold these positions. To show at the same time the true side of those who, in the name of the citizens, try to break up the socialist leadership of our CPCz.

6. To enable the members of the CPCz expelled from of the party in connection with the developments of the years 1968-1969 to return to the CPCz, as long as they are in favor of socialism.

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8. We refuse the demands for the liquidation of the People’s Militia, basic organizations in the workplace and the transfer of party property. The People’s Militia are not aimed against our nation, but are necessary to prevent sabotage and revolutionary attempts.

9. The main goal at the present is to secure the fulfillment of all the tasks in the national economy. To ensure the continuation of production, supply, operation of services and healthcare. The communists must lead by example in these activities.

10. The caucus repudiated the random attacks of the Civic Forum against the president of the republic, for this function must be protected in accordance with our Constitution.

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How to Cite this Source

Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, "Teleprint, Information on the Conclusions of Nation-wide Party Congress held in Prague," Making the History of 1989, Item #516, http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/items/show/516 (accessed November 24 2014, 7:28 am).

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