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Statement of KSM on the situation after the parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic

On Friday and Saturday, 8-9 October, the elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic took place. The elections were conducted entirely according to the principle of the commercial and marketing machinery adapted to business projects and fractions of both domestic and foreign capital. This was what was left of the democratic ideals that were still being fought for by the petty bourgeoisie with the support of the working class during 19th century. Monopoly capitalism has established a fully adequate political and media superstructures for its profit-making purposes.

This, among other things, corresponds to the outcome of the election. Only 4.3 million votes are represented by the parties in the Parliament, 52% of people with the right to vote. The other 48% are not represented. For the most part, this includes the working class, which virtually did not vote in the election or was seduced by emotional marketing.

The result is a parliamentary majority won by the militant representatives of the comprador bourgeoisie (the coalition of traditional right wing parties „SPOLU“ [“TOGETHER”] gained 28%, coalition of Pirate party and independent mayors 16% of votes), representing about a quarter, just 28%, of the eligible voters. While already the current government's policies till now have led society into rising prices, shortages of raw materials and other goods, adventurism in the service of Western imperialism against Russia and China, massive diversion of profits abroad, and dependence on bankrupt and dangerous EU and North Atlantic imperialism, the new majority will only deepen this impasse of crisis. What's more, they will try, through austerity, for the "flexibilisation" of labour relations, the non-valorisation of incomes (minimum wages, pensions and civil servants' salaries) in the face of rising prices, to protect the profits of the big capitalists at the expense of the working and popular strata. They will privatise the remaining state assets. Speculative capital, with its declining rate of profit in the crisis, will penetrate more and more sectors - health, education, pensions and social security, with profits financed by the income and labour of the popular strata.

This will inevitably lead to impoverishment as well as a new need for consciousness of the interests of working classes. But political expression in official institutions will remain limited, as will the waging of struggles for these interests.

Another consequence of the elections, in fact, is the disappearance of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) from the Chamber of Deputies in the very year in which the Communist Party in our country marks the centenary of its foundation. Throughout this century (except for the years of its ban during the pre-fascist Second Republic and the Nazi occupation), the party has always had representation at the parliamentary level. This is precisely the development that we warned against in our pre-election statement.

The causes are long-term. The KSČM has inherited significant popular support from the days of socialism (almost a million votes in 1990, under incredible anti-communist pressure). Over last 15 years, coinciding with Vojtěch Filip's chairmanship, there has been a gradual depletion of both this base and this trust. The party has not used this period to take a breath, to give itself a political profile, to seek impulses, to establish contacts with the working masses, the youth, to develop culturally and ideologically. On the contrary, at the time of the KSM's conflict with the bourgeois power and the temporary ban on the organisation of young communists and communist women, the KSČM effectively turned its back on the KSM. It submitted fully to the rules of the bourgeois system, the party structure adapting itself to the functioning of the parliamentary club. The other functions of the Communist Party - as the centre of the class struggle, as a cognitive collective subject, as a political and cultural vanguard - withered away one by one. The party's newspapers and publications did not shape the class outlook, they merely parroted the corporate mainstream media. Campaigns were run by political-media corporations with dubious roots. Employees of these agencies even wrote articles for the party press under the names of many MPs. In line with bourgeois practice, toothless liberalism with social features became the leading ideology of the Communist Party. Instead of qualitative shifts, the congresses ended with the mere consolidation of the monopoly of the winning representative - Vojtěch Filip, who acted according to the slogan: "The winner takes all".

Even in 2017, the KSČM still managed to come into the Chamber of Deputies, but with the worst result ever (1). Then in 2018 came the suicidal decision - to offer its support to the government of big capitalists together with Social Democracy, without sufficient leverage to push through any progressive policy. We have analyzed and criticized this engagement several times. (2,5)

The election to the European Parliament in 2019, under a programme sowing amongst people illusions about the European Union, about the possibility of a "socialist" improvement of this imperialist and neo-colonialist association, ended up with the election of only one representative of the KSČM (3) The regional election in 2020 have already meant the abandonment of representation in the vast majority of regions. (4)

Nevertheless, there has been no self-reflection by the entire broader leadership in a development leading to inevitable disaster. The chairman himself, Vojtěch Filip, has shamefully combined promises to resign and not to run with his retention as chairman. Here, too, material interests were at work - as vice-chairman of the Chamber of Deputies he had access to a large number of benefits, and his visits to President Miloš Zeman were clearly not presenting a communist view of the political situation. Almost the entire leadership behaved similarly. Meanwhile, the centre of political power in the party was its parliamentary group, which was not an instrument of the party, but rather the party functioned as an instrument of the parliamentary group instead. This is the model for the functioning of bourgeois parties and social democracy, not of the Communist Party. The current result is dismal - half the votes compared to the disastrous result of 2017, 194 thousands of votes and 3.6%. The drop below five-percent-support occurred in all regions, reflecting the overall situation of the party, not the efforts of specific candidates and party supporters.

Despite persistent efforts of the anti-communists, the 32 capitalist years failed to oust the communists. The KSČM, however, gradually defeated itself. Because it abandoned its connection with the working class, which it exchanged for efforts to gain recognition as a party like any other. Instead of being active among the workers, the alpha and omega of its thought became the Parliament; instead of class analysis of social and economic contradictions, social liberalism permeated it; instead of class struggle against capital, it chose collaboration with it, culminating in its governmental tolerance of a cabinet led by an oligarch. There was only verbal condemnation of the imperialist adventures of the army of the Czech Republic; real action in support of the government did not match it. There was a similar contradiction between words and deeds in relation to NATO and EU imperialism (Kateřina Konečná, the only KSČM MEP and one of the candidates for the party leadership, in her statements even justified the EU in the face of criticism). The KSČM abandoned the workers and the workers therefore abandoned it. Just after the election and as a completely belated move, the leadership of the KSČM have resigned. Now the party is facing early congress and election for its leadership.
The electoral debacle of the KSČM, a non-communist party according to the character with a communist brand, is above all a debacle of social liberalism, which has become the ideology and practice of the party. But it is also the debacle of that part of it which, despite its communist self-declarations, has failed in its historic task of waging a political struggle against the prevailing social-democracy in the party, and has demonstrated a profound incapacity for political action and class analysis of the situation. In effect, we have thus witnessed not only an electoral alliance between liberals and opportunists, however much they may claim to be Marxist-Leninists, but also their political alliance, resting on their shared supreme value of the party's parliamentary status, regardless of its real character. Thus, they too, with a common and inseparable hand, placed the party's parliamentary status above the communist character of the party's functioning and struggle. With only a slight exaggeration it can be said that the parliamentary organization or movement was everything to them and the communist goal was nothing. Now, having been expelled from the parliamentary paradise, they find themselves in a world where, as a result, their movement has become nothing and they are cluelessly searching for a goal.

But the loss of lucrative parliamentary posts does not in itself completely diminish the merchant and shady business interests in the KSČM. The party still has a branching structure of districts and properties (in the first place with a building in the centre of Prague) preserved from the long-term savings of party members. These properties will be fought over by many adventurists.

It is this exclusive focus on parliamentarianism that has made the latest disaster so palpable. The tendency not to oppose the leaders, already carried over from the era before the counter-revolution, has led to the absence of profiled political currents in the party; there are only individual figures who often carry with them social democratic, liberal thinking, parliamentarism and reliance on the European Union.

And so the idea of a merger of the bankrupt KSČM, the Social Democratic Party and possibly other even more miniature versions of the same social democracy is now offered to some as a way out of the crisis. This therefore means a new dilution of the parliamentary-government type of politics - uniting under a "non-offensive" name with Social Democracy, which long ago gave up the impulses from which it arose, and for the last 30 years has been responsible precisely for capitalist development, including privatisations and including involvement in the NATO imperialist wars. The attempt to create such a project under the most neutral possible name of "The Left" failed even more miserably in the election with a few hundred votes. This scenario would only be the completion of the defeat and elimination of the Communist Party in our country and therefore the completion of the betrayal and abandonment of its reason for being. The task of the communists is not to add zero with zero and convert them to a common denominator with the vision of the return of a selected few to Parliament.

The task of the communists is much more substantial, to rebuild a communist party whose project is not bound by the EU and parliamentary straitjacket and money, by the acceptance of liberal ideology, and is not only aimed at crossing the 5% threshold for entry into the Chamber of Deputies, but is heading beyond capitalism, towards socialism. Herein lies the difference in the way out of the crisis for communists and social liberals.

The only solution is a return to its centuries-old roots. On what organisational basis, it is a question of the further development of things. What is clear, however, is that it cannot be limited by the framework of the KSČM. Without a fundamental turn and transformation of the KSČM, without a break with the representatives of social liberalism, it is impossible to gain the influence in society. If liberalism continues to prevail over Marxism in the KSČM, it would be the responsibility of the communists to take the initiative to make a new beginning, to establish their own communist organisation. In such a case, the continuation of the agony of the communists in the KSČM would have no meaning. A party representing the workers must work among the workers, to know their needs and interests, to lead their struggles, to articulate their positions transcending the capitalist order. All other tactics (including elections) must be subordinated to this goal. This is why the Communist Party was created, why the struggles against poverty, crisis and war were waged. That is why communists fought and lost their lives in the great anti-fascist struggle. And that is why millions of communists worked in the front lines on the building and defence of the socialist homeland. These best traditions must be restored for the sake of the struggle for the future.

Either the current communists will take it up, or there will be a further decline and the groping popular classes will seek a spontaneous representation of themselves and elsewhere - with all the mistakes and defeats that entails.

Politburo of KSM, October 12, 2021

(1) KSM on the results of the 2017 parliamentary elections http://ksm.cz/dokumenty-ksm/4019-vyjadreni-predsednictva-ustredni-rady-ksm-k-parlamentnim-volbam-2017
(2) Position on the Babiš government in 2018 http://ksm.cz/z-aktivit-ksm/4201-postoj-k-politickemu-vyvoji-v-cr
(3) Ahead of the 2019 European Parliament elections http://ksm.cz/dokumenty-ksm/4291-k-volbam-do-evropskeho-parlamentu-2019
(4) On the results of the 2020 regional elections http://ksm.cz/dokumenty-ksm/4306-ksm-k-vysledkum-krajskych-voleb
(5) Statement before the last general election http://ksm.cz/dokumenty-ksm/4728-prohlaseni-ksm-k-nadchazejicim-volbam



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