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Czechoslovakia (1968)

While it is impossible to produce reporting or analysis comparable with that of the recent "CLASS on Czechoslovakia" the anarchists felt that something further should be said.

Firstly the invasion is a failure of Marxism. When the Second International collapsed in 1914 Lenin and his ultraLeftist friends were able to put it down to the non-marxism of the revisionists. In 1968 are the Western Communists prepared to take the same course with the Russian Marxist-Leninists? One could now say that socialism has been betrayed by Marxists of all shades but this would be to confuse the issue. It is not that Marxists are weak and capitulationist or evil and Stalinist, it is simply that if you start off by glorifying the state and the dictatorship of the proletariat you end up thinking that your state is more important than another. Wars are fought for various forms for various reasons: most are fought by states for reasons of state. Czechoslovalia confirms that the Marxist analysis (paltry as it was) of the relationship between the state and socialism was inadequate - Bakunin pointed this out a century ago.

Secondly there is nothing that socialists outside the East European Bloc can do. When the communist parties had a formal association they could have withdrawn dramatically and set up a new one without Russia and her allies (not that they would even today). Today they serve Russia to a lesser extent and in a far more informal manner - they cannot make an obvious break with Moscow without embracing China to underline their change.

Thirdly the Australian left will probably benefit from the invasion rather than the converse. The demands of being anti-Russian have led the newspapers to make heroes out of assorted Czech communists, represent the population as solidly behind liberal communist (they probably are) and to give wide publicity to the CPA and its disagreement with the Russian actions. If it had gone on much longer the government would have started criticizing the newspapers.

Fourthly, an Australian communist said in 1948 or thereabouts that if the Red Army came to Australia it would be the duty of the working class (i.e. communists) to help them. Have there been any new thoughts since then?

Another View

While "the left" marched through Melbourne chanting "Dubcek, Dubcek, Ho Chi Minh", the North Vietnamese unequivocably supported the Russians in their action to protect socialism in Czechosovakia. While the left, particularly the Western Communist parties, argue about socialism, the Russian brand of socialism.

Surely socialism requires that the state look after all citizens and provide full employment, even for the dregs of society. Russia provides this employment by secret police, political commissionars, apparatchiks - and thus serves the down trodden. It is only trying to extend this social security into Czechoslovakia.

The implied similarity between Dubcek and Ho Chi Minh is absurd. By winning maneouvres inside the Czech and Slovak communist parties, Dubcek opened the way for new ideas, criticism and quietly kicked down stairs Novotny and his thugs (in fact, the Ho Chi Minhs of Czechoslovakia). When Ho established the Viet Minh united front he frequently purged those deviationists from the Marxist-Leninist line - either liquidating them or selling them to the French. When the Vietnamese Novotny established a government in North Vietnam, the remainder of the non-communists were disposed of.

Meanwhile the Vietnam war drags on, three thousand Biafrans die each day, Israel and the Arabs continue their own little war, Mexican students rebel, thousand of Persians die in an earthquake . . . . .

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