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A Brief History of Czech Anarchism

Anonymous Comrade writes

"Don't Trust Anybody, Not Even Us!"

A Brief History of Czech Anarchism

The motto in the title, attributed to the anarchists of the 20th century,
is typical for the anarchist movement in Bohemia, not only in the
way that it warns against considering anarchism as a dogma.
Czech anarchists also propheticly warned against themselves. The
history of Czech anarchism is a history of a development of
libertarian radicals, who left their ideas and moved into high policy
posts, or became propagandists of the Bolshevik totalitarian
ideology. And even after the revival of the anarchist movement we
can see how the movement politicizes and forms stable
organizations, at the other hand also its cutting-off into activistic
ghettos. The history of the Czech anarchism isn't just black and
white -- and that way perhaps more interesting and instructive.

Tradition Before the Rise of the Movement

Many revolts against authorities can be found troughout the Czech
Middle Ages. The most considerable was the Hussite movement,
that in 1419-1434 lead to a war between the followers of social and
church reforms and the catholics. Those most important in this
movement were epecially radicals, associated in the newly found
town T·bor (that became for a short time the first consumer
commune in the European history ) and the radicals in the adamits
movement (blamed for nudism and in Middle Ages atypical sexual
unboundness). A very important and high-principled pacifist was
Petr ChelËick?, who refused any violence, and also any controling of
man by another man (he affected, e.g., L. N. Tolstoy). On his ideas
stands a small, but culturally important church of the Czech
brothers. Also very important were the peasant revolts with social
motifs in the 17th-18th century, that did not mostly have a good ending.

From the end of the 18th century many national emancipation show
among the czech people living in Habsburk monarchy, that included
Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, part of Poland, Italy etc. With them the
patriotism and nationalism, and frequently conservative opinion
appears too. The environment of the Habsbursk monarchy, which
disliked these endeavours, gave rise to radically democratic
nationalism, supported mostly by young people with political and
social aims. This very group got in the lead of the short revolt in
Prague in 1848, and also Bakunin, at that time a radical democrat,
cooperated with this group. But the anarchist movement itself arose
a few decades later.

The Roots of Czech Anarchism and its Forming

The anarchist movement in the 19th century had several practical
and intellectual sources. First of them was the labourer radicalism,
affected above all by Die Freiheit magazine, edited by a propagandist
of terrorism and former social democrat in emigration Johan Most,
founder of the concept "propaganda by deed". His ideas found strong
responses in Bohemia, and his magazine was being (not really
succesfuly) imitated. Another source was the Czech socialistic
movement in abroad, especially in the USA, where the most active
organizators and activists were being expelled by the continuous
repression. The most radical ones turned to anarchism, and were
extending it back into their countries. A considerable influence over
the anarchistic movement had magazines like Budoucnost (The
) in Chicago or VolnÈ listy (Free Lists) in New York ( from
1890 to at least 1917), partly for its contact with world's anarchist
movement, partly because they were not being censored.

A very significant fund of anarchism was a part of social democracy,
which after its legalisation and establishment didn't agree with the
retirement from the original socialistic ideals and tough partisan
discipline and centralism. Those socialists, often influenced by the
mutualism of Proudhon and the ideals of cooperation, started to
claim "independent socialism". Probably the most considerable
person here was a well known activist and the follower of the
socialist movement VilÈm K?rber (born 1845, died owing to the
police persecution and incarceration 1899), who entered the
independent socialism in 1892 in his magazine Nov? vÏk svobody
(New Age of Freedom). A considerable importance had also a
movement of the nationally and socially radical youth around the
magazine Omladina (The Youth). In February 1894, 68 of those
were sentenced to a short-term prison. By that, many of them got
radicalised and reassured in their anarchistic conviction.

In the biggest associations and around the most expressive persons
the most important magazines were being edited, above all
Omladina. The editorial staff of these magazines became the
organisators and agitators of the movement. But this form of
"organistaion" soon seemed insufficient and the anarchists decided
to unite in a joint program statement. This was defined in 1896 in
the "Manifesto of the Czech Anarchists." As a typical anarchist
document of that age it claimed individualism, refused the state and
capitalism and criticised social democracy. Blackly typical was
that its author, A. P. Kalina, left the anarchist movement soon after.

Anarchism and Anarchosyndicalism

The social bases of anarchism were created by the
north-bohemian miners and the labourers in the textile industry.
Understandably, those were not satisfied by individualistic
proclamations and secret unions. The inability of organization was
clearly exposed in 1896, when there was a 12-day-long mining strike.
Eight thousand miners got involved and several attacks on the mine
officials, strike-breakers and the mine equipment occurred. But this
was used as a pretext for the army, that strongly suppressed the strike,
and as a consequence many of the involved were punished by firing
or expulsion from the country. A litle more succesful was a mining
strike in January 1900, held in Austria and organized by the
social democrats (anarchists actively participated).

A meaningful inspiration for the anarchists was the
anarchocommunism of Kropotkin. This helped them to overcome the
original individualism and at the same time it connected the
partiality to mutalism and cooperating societies in the conception of,
e.g., V. Korber. A small anarchist loan office is founded and several
cooperative project are created, but altogether they were not very

Another inspiration is revolutionary syndicalism. In 1903, after
several years of discussion, the North-bohemian mining federation
(SeveroËesk· hornick· federace, SHF) arose with about eight
hundred members, and a year later two other important
organizations. Czech anarchist federation (»esk· anarchistick·
federace, »AF) with several hundreds of members was intended to
be clearly defined and diffusing anarchist ideas. The Czech Federation of
All Unions (»esk· federace v?ech odbor?, »FVO) (about 1200
members) was intended to be a radical sectional organization.
According to S. K. Neumann, poet and anarchist activist, and to the
notions of the »AF members, it was to be the "brains" of the
movement, while »FVO its "fist", in which vanguardist aspirations
are visible. That was with what the syndicalistic founders of »FVO
could never agree. They weren't just apolitical syndicalists, on the
contrary, they were propagandists of anarchism for a long time. New
specific anarchist group was formed, which headed »FVO, mainly
by K. Vohryzek (1876-1933), a talented self-taught person,
translator, editor and activist. Thanks to his linguistic skills he
was in contact with the world's movement. He was able often to
publish magazines of high quality - Nova Omladina in his edition
was published three times a week. His personal tendency towards
intrigues caused many problems in the anarchistic movement. In
addition to that he financed the movement by thefts and
contrabands of zuckerin and this way also earned his living. Besides
this anarchist it is possible to identify in »FVO a part of people
tending to refuse any connection with anarchism and to stick to
mere radical syndicalism. Later on, under the influence of the
international meeting of anarchists and anarchosyndicalists in
Amsterdam, K. Vohryzek himself inclined to these ideas. This
conception and Vohryzek's authoritativeness caused disputes
between him and younger activists.

The years 1905-1906 were very important, because under the
influence of the Russian Revolution anarchists became more active,
whereas sometimes they acted as a radical component in social
democratic actions, sometimes they came up with their own action.
The mining strike from the 30.8. to 17.9. 1906 was important, but
again ended unsuccesfully, because, besides other reasons, the social
democrats didn't show enough solidarity.

In 1908 the »FVO was officialy dissolved (Austro-Hungarian
authorities terrified by its dissemination among railway's staff) and
repressed. Vohryzek's illegal economic activities became a
welcomed pretext for a trial against him and to discredit the whole
movement. But the movement itself didn't show any sympathies
with him, disapproved him, or even suspected him of being police
informer and also refused his proposal to again getting involved into
the work of the movement.

After the extinction of »FVO, the »AF became more significant,
which after stopping publishing the magazine Pr·ce (The Labour),
succeded in publishing a weekly magazine Z·druha (The
). On the other hand, the syndicalist movement, never
revived its former force and significance, even with new
organisations being formed: Land's Union of Miners, Aegis
(Zemsk· jednota hornÌk?, Ochrana).

Overlap into Art

The anarchist movement had also an important cultural dimension.
In the early ninetieth, some of the ideas of anarchism (above all of
the individualistic ones) were an inspiration for the poets gathered
around the "decadent" ModernÌ revue (Modern Review). We can't
consider this as a deep connection; later on, many from them
inclined to the Right.

An important generation of poets was above all that of S. K.
Neumann (1875-1947), with his magazine Nov? kult (New Kult),
which included anarchism on one side and literature and art on the
other side. "Generation rebel", as it is called, succeded in expressing
their anarchist conviction in their verses and so today children read
,,natural" and "satanic" verses of S. K. Neumann (Devil here was a
metaphor of a proud man), antimilitarist poetry of Fr·Úa ©r·mek or
ironic poetry Franti?ek Gellner in their readers.

To anarchism belong distantly prose-writers as Marie Majerova,
though organized member of social democracy, she belonged to the
group gathered around S.K. Neumann. She devoted one of her
novels to the criticism of individualistic anarchism and the escape to
a "communistic colony". J. Ha?ek, was an editor of several anarchist
magazines. According to some testimonies also F. Kafka
participated in a few anarchist actions and showed his sympathies
towards anarchism.

And many others were deeply interested in art, though today rather
forgotten (Franta Sauer, Michal Mare?, Alois VÏkoslav H·ber),
which showes a relatively high cultural standard.

Antimilitarism and Anticlericalism

Anarchists were not only interested in the exploitation workers, but
also in other specific forms of opression, in which the others.( e.g .
social democracy) showed just an opportunistic interest. Anarchists
found themselves another allies for this initiative.
First of these forms of opression was militarism, which the
anarchists comprehend as the last ripcord of the state and as an
institution, which absolutely demotes a man. Anarchist
antimilitarism was staying in the shadow of the antimilitarism of the
youth of national socialists (opportunistic party trying to involve the
workers into the "national aims", but not nazis!). Only after the
trial against the national socialist militarists and after their party
leaving them, the anarchist youth decided to get back to these
activities. But later they were considerably paralysed by a similar,
but smaller trial. But the anarchists before and even after that kept
propagandising their ideas at the pages of their magazines.
Another fight was anticlericalism. The anarchists were against
religion and especially against the influence of the church. Jan
Opletal, originally a social democrat, was a lot engaged in this ideas.
Beginning from 1900 he was publishing an anticlerical magazine
Matice svobody. Into these problems all the movement got involved.
They were also supporting a czech section of Voln· my?lenka (Free
), although they kept critising its political neutrality the same
as their somewhat bourgeois character. In common they had the
propaganda of seceding from the church, but they weren't much
succesful even among themselves, because of the fact, that seceding
from the church in that time demanded a lot of personal courage.
These activities had also a longer-term importance. The army is up
to the present (also because of other historical reasons) very
unpopular in Bohemia and the Czechs are also infuriatingly
religiously lukewarm. This has many different reasons, but definitely
the anarchists had a certain importance in it.

The Roots of the Decline of Czech Anarchism

The anarchist movement comitted also many faults. We can name e.g .
the small participation of women (which the anarchists are recently
trying to reflect), displays of anti-semitism (but not indeed racist,
rather as a disagreement with the Jewish bourgeoisie - but many
Czech anarchists were Jewish also). Czech anarchism had artists,
writers, editors of magazines and propagandist, but not one theorist.

The movement was also busy with all kinds of problems in the
movement itself, which disgusted many originally promising
followers. Complicated organizations such as »AF and »FVO
needed to have leaders of each union and besides that leaders of the
movement as a whole. These were mostly the anarchist magazines
publishers, who were in fact "full-time activists". This resulted in
creating some kind of elite.

Probably the biggest problem was that the anarchist movement after
twenty years of existence didn't achieve any success. It wasn't
growing, on the contrary, the strikes were ending unsuccesfully and
even the project of creating a "communistic colony" was not
sucesful. As we can see, the movement wasn't able to organise one
succesful strike. The anarchistic attitude and the refusal of partial
changes resulted in a feeling of ineffectivness. But the movement in
that time wasn't able to achieve any changes, but partial changes.
At the beginning of the war Bohuslav Vrbensk? (1882-1944), an
anarchist and a dentist, tried to work out a concept to solve the
situation. He decided to concretize anarchist opposition and define it
not only against any state but before all against the concrete
Austria-Hungarian state. This had a clear aim, the independent
stateless organisation of Bohemia. At the same time they needed an
efficient form of organization, which was supposed to be a "specific
political party " not involved in the state legislative body (this wasn't
so strict in the municipalities) and relatively autonomous, yet
functional, much better than the present »AF (where the decisions
of the leaders were only optional for the members)
Michael Kacha (1874-1940), cobbler and a editor of the magazines
Pr·ce and Z·druha claimed against this proposal. He named it "a
germ of next compromises" and reproached him a non-anarchistic
attitude and forgetting of the the anarchist internationalism. In 1914
a meeting of anarchists accepted Vrbensk?'s proposal, whereas all
the changes and the specification of the program were to be made in
long term, and meanwhile only »AF changed to a federation of
czech anarchist communists (F»AK).

The Big War

Any other changes in the movement were stopped by the outbreak
of the first world war. Immediately after, the anarchist organization
and its magazines were prohibited, also confiscation of its property
and internment of many activists occured. Their places took those,
who got involved in the movemnt recently under different
influences. Their first goal was to maintain the movement, in which
they succeded despite of the fact that many of them left to fight in
the war. In 1915 the traditional anarchists held several strikes in the
north Bohemian and perspectives for new activities are opened.
Prague anarchists got involved in the unrestrained workers activities
and into the creation of workers councils.

Under the difficult wartime condition the anarchists have changed
from a movement being opposed to any state to a radical part of the
Czech policy. In Bohemia the anarchists fought for an independent
Czech state, in cooperation with whole the Czech policy, including
the Right that represented the interests of the bourgeoisie. On 22.
1.1918 the anarchists were actively involved in a big strike and
parallel demonstration, during which they made their speech with
other socialistic politics. They wanted to extend the strike into
northern Bohemian, and they discussed it with Alois Ra?Ìn (later
ultra-right Finance Minister and a victim of the anarchist attempt)
Jaroslav Preiss (director of a big bank). This attempt of a class
collaboration par excellence was an absolute failure, because these
representatives of the interests onf financial capital supported the
strike with their words, not with their money.

During these activities the anarchists got closer to the dissidents
among social democrats and above all with national socialists, with
which they had the prewar antimilitarist fight. The anarchists
(similarly some other socialists) started to endeavour to unite all
socialist parties and in February 1918 they invited the others to do
it. The social demokrats and the national socials negotiated this
without them and unsuccesfuly, so only the anarchists and the
national socialists united in the Czech (later Czechoslovak)
socialistic party (CSS). The anarchists participated significantly in
the creation of their program, which was socialistic and considerably
autonomous, and it left in longer-term space for a social revolution
and a without-state socialism - but it was just a temporary
concession for the national socialist oportunists, only to strengthen
their party during the histrorical crisis. The anarchists participated
in the common general strike the 14. October 1918 and in
promulgation of the Republic the 28. October 1918 as well.

Ministers, Deputies and Founders of the Communistic Party

In 1919, after the end of the war, a meeeting of anarchists took
place, where despite of the disagreement of the members, the leaders
persuaded them that it was necessary that they be united with the
national socialists and dismiss the anarchistic organisation. And in
fact, that was the end of the classical anarchist movement.

The new Czechoslovak Republic was being supported by the
anarchists, because they saw many socialistic hopes in it.
B.Vrbensk? became the minister of supply (1918-1919), later the
minster of public works (1920) and also the minister for health
service and physical training (1921-1922). B. Vrbensk?, S. K.
Neumann, T. Barto?ek and L. Landov·-©tychov· represented the
anarchists in the parliament. But their hopes were very soon
disapointed. The anarchists served the renewing republic to gain the
workers' sympathies. At the same time they calmed the worse
resources of the social discomposure (after war situation in supply).
Anyway, step by step they were being deprived of any real influence

over matters.

The reaction of anarchists were various. In 1920 the group around S.
K. Neumann and his magazine »erven detached (he himself had left
the parliament even before, his place was taken by an anarchosyndicalist
V·clav Draxl) This group went through the enthusiasm about the
Russian revolution to the "socialism of deed" and finally
unconditionaly accepted Bolshevism. S. K. Neumann, after leaving
the »SS, established a federation of communistic groups, which
participated in the establishment and later united with the
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KS»).

In 1923 the group around Vrbensky had a strong disagreement with
its own party and left it; also he left the parliament. They didn't
come back to anarchist ideals, but they attempted to base on the
original programme of CSS. After a complete fiasco in 1925 most of
these became members of the Communist Party. This is an
incredible ending of former partisans of freedom of a man, who
changed into dogmatics singing heroic songs about Stalin and the
Sovet Union.

The Extinction and the Rebirth of Czech Anarchism...

Former anarchists in the CSR acted also in another way. Frati?ek
Sauer, well-known anarchist bohemian is famous for his breaking
down of the Marian column in the center of Prague, about which all
clericals were furious. He is also well-known as one of the founders of
an organisation called the "black arm", which was taking not used
flats and giving to the workers families. In fact, this was the first
kind of squatters in the Bohemia.

Two anarchistic attempts were done in the Czechoslovak Republic.
First executed by A. L. ©ªastn? (16 years old), the 8. January 1919
he shot at the Prime Minister Karel Kram·¯, later very unpopular,
at that time a man that gave rise to the independent state. The
attempt wasn't successful. The target of the second, this time
successful one, was the 5. January 1923 the unpopular Minister of
Finances Alois Ra?Ìn, responsible for an exploiting currency policy.
This time it was nineteen years old Josef ©oupal who executed the
attempt. Both attempts resulted in discreditation of anarchism,
increases of repression and common feeling of support to the people's
victim. After the second attempt the first czech fascist organisation
"»ervenobÌlÌ" (Red and Whites) was formed during the hysterical
demonstrations of the Right.

In this situation any attempt to renew the anarchist movement was
sentenced to fail. This was caused also by the fact that a group that
that tried to do it in 1923 considered anarchism with a kind of
religionlike enthusiasm (e.g. one important man of this group
named his daughter Bakunina Satanela) and at the same time with a
lot of elitism - the "enlighted minority group of anarchist" towards
the "ultituda". This group gathered around a Free Association of
Anarchists (VolnÈ sdruæenÌ anarchist?) and its magazine Bezvl·dÌ
(Anarchy) end didn¥t last even a year.

After its extinction there aren't any information of anarchist
movement, only absolutely fragmentary, accidental and incorrigible
concerning mostly a few individuals, who perhaps sympathized with

So the flag of the libertarian Left was overtaken by the Trotskyists.
But we must specify, that the Stalinists denoted as "Trotskyist" almost
anybody who criticised their system from a Marxistic, but also
revolutionary position. Many of this way denoted didn't revolt aginst
this mark, because at that time a "Trotskyist" was the enemy number
one, and so this word had the excitable sense of the "out of bounds
fruit" or a political taboo, same as anarchism in many societies and
eras. One of the Czech Trotskyists was Z·vi? Kalandra (1902-1950),
originaly a member of KS», later criticising the Muscovite trials and
calling for solidarity with the Spanish POUM. This excellent philosopher
and historian spent the second world war in Nazi concentration
camp and was later, after the bolsheviks coup d'etat sentenced to
death in the first Stalin's trial. The Czechoslovak surrealists took the
libertarian left position and thislead to their ostracism from Stalinist's
side and later to their coming into the underground. An interesting
representative of the czech underground culture is a poet,
prose-writer and philosopher Egon Bondy (born 1930), influenced
by Trotskyism, Maoism and sympathies with anarchism. The
Movement of Revolutionary Youth, a Trockist group, against
which there was a trial in 1971, was inluenced by anarchism too. The
Czech Trotskyist movement was owing to the every day confrontation
with Bolshevik authoritarianism considerably liberal, agnostic,
besides Trotsky they published many others, e.g., the French text
Socialism ou barbarie. Globally emphasis was placed on the
libertarian aspects of Marxism, whereas many Trotskyists who ran
away west from the neostalinistic terror very soon realised their
difference from the little western Trotskyist groups. After the fall of the
Bolsheviks in 1989 the Trotskyists created a free platform of the
autonomous and liberal activities called "Lev· Alternativa" ("The Left
Alternative"), in which the anarchists also participated. It needs to
be said, that the Trotskyists had a similar fate to that of the anarchists
in the 20th century -- from the radical opposition they moved to a fight
against Bolshevik oppression and later they didn't manage to
oppose effectively the restauration of market capitalism after 1989.
Most of them ended among liberals, social demokrats, in the Green
Party or they left politics. Some of them went to the Communist
Party. Today's Trotskyist groups arose newly after 1989, under the
influence of the western Trotskyists, and they suffer from probably all
illnesses of the classical Trotskyism.

The alternative culture had a much more important influence on the
rising anarchism. This arose from continuous prohibitions, that
affected the artistic production very strongly -- and twice the music
groups, which were ispired by the "rotten capitalistic west". A group
of people living in a punk subculture gave rise to an environment
tendency to anarchistic ideas. A very important magazine of Czech
underground cultura called Vokno (Window) reported about
anarchism, punk, squatting or the translations of Hakim Bey and George
Woodcock. Another magazine with an even bigger influence was
Voknoviny (Window-Paper), after 1989 renamed Kontra. The
anarchists retook this magazine in 1991 and with the title A-kontra
it was the first nation-wide magazine in the Czechoslovak anarchist
movement. Already at that time quite strong anarchopunk groups
coexisted, especially gathered around local musically-political zines
of different levels.

The first known anarchist organisation, the Czechoslovak Anarchist
Association (»eskoslovenskÈ anarchistickÈ sdruæenÌ), was founded
in October 1989 in Prague, a month before the change of the regime.
Involved into the Lev· alternativa they were trying to cordinate the
anarchist activities. They were organising anti-army demonstrations,
and very soon the street fights with the fascistic skinheads started,
which culminated in a huge combat at the LeteÚsk· pl·Ú in Prague
on 1.5.1992, which ended by the victory of anarchists.

Anarchists also protested against the abandonment of the original
ideals of the "Velvet Revolution", the creation of a new elite and
restauration of the market capitalism. The first anarchist squats
apperared in 1991-1993. The anarchists participated in ecological
movements and movements protecting the rights of animals as well,
above all as the "action forces" and "cannon-fodders" of
environmentalist movements. There is a visible change in these
movements, from the relatively radical beginnings to today's calm
non-government organisations.

...And Its Development

The first important differentiation in the anarchist movement
occurs in 1992. While the majority claimed the boycott of the
elections, a part of the editorial staff of A-kontra, at that time under
Egon Bondy's influence, defended the opinion, that in that
concrete situation it would be better to vote for the Communist
Party. They chose this way as a "smaller evil", because they
themselves were not able to reach the power to hold back the
aggresive Right, the capitalism and to split Czechoslovakia (which
happened in 1993). In 1992, these anarchists made a "coup" in the
Lev· alternativa, which was supposed to bring new financial
resources, but in fact resulted in the exclusion of the liberals and the
reformists, cooperation with KSCM and to actual extinction of this

In 1991 the Anarchist federation is formed around the magazine
Autonomie, which strongly disagreed with any support to the
KSCM. They attempted to include all parts of the anarchist
movement. Besides this one, also another organisation occurred, the
Anarchosyndikalistick· iniciativa (Anarchisyndicalist initiative,
former Anarchosnydicalist federation), which didn't have but a
little influence. Theories from abroad and the inspiration from the
foreign practise had the most significant influence on the
movement's development.

In 1994-1995 a crisis occurred in the movement. The organisation
Anarchist Federation and the A-kontra magazine extinct and the
traditional methods of activities seemed to be exhausted. For
example editor of A-kontra magazine, Jakub Pol·k, begun to fight
against the neo-nazis in a legal way - he tries to put the fascists into
jail and works as a lawyer of their victims. The Czechoslovak Anarchist
Federation is formed around the magazine Svobodn· mysl (Free
) and its publisher Petr Wohlmuth, that tended to include all
parts of the movement, same as Anarchistick· federace, but this
time with a more specified conception and organisational structure.

Throughout the development of the anarchist movement a
tendention to creating of clearlier defined groups manifested,
altogether based on the theories of class-struggle. Solidarita, with a
strong influence of the Irish Workers solidarity movement, was the
first of them, and in 1996 it left the Anarchosyndikalistick·
federace (which later on connected with the »AF as its
anarchosyndikalist fraction). It created a group with an interesting
development -- from rather nonanarchist revolutionary syndicalism
through the revolutionary anarchist platformism to a kind of
syntheses of platformism, communism and left communism. The
second group, Federace soci·lnÌch anarchist? (Federation of Social
Anarchists, FSA), inspired besides by platformism by Murray
Bookchin's essay "Social Anarchism or a Lifestyle Anarchism" arose
in 1997 around Petr Wohlmuth and created their specific ideologie.
Both of these two had a considerable influence in the theory and in
turning the movement towards social problems and social anarchism.
On the other hand, especially FSA, was famous for its intolerance,
which culminated by atacking an anarchist with different views and

An important impulse to Czech anarchism were the street parties.
The first Czech street party took place on 16.5.1998 as a part of the
worldwide day of action. The taking of the street changed into a
radical demonstration of around three thousand people and struggles
with the police and attacking of the Macdonald's restaurant occurred.
Street party showed the problem of capitalistic globalisation and also
the abilities of the movement. On 5.6.1999 another radical
demonstration of 5,000-10,000 people took place and ended by the
punks atacking the USA embassy. It was the biggest Czech
demonstration against the war in Yugoslavia. An important
autonomous newspaper of that time was Konfrontace
(Confrontation, published in 1998-2000). A considerable influence
in that time gained the antifasism. In 1996 the Antifascist Action
was formed, right after a police repression in the rock club Propast.

The antifascist activities were important for the anarchist
movement as a whole, and we find the followers of anarchism
among the victims of the fascist violence (Filip VenclÌk in 1993,
ZdenÏk »epela in 1994). Beginning from 1999 the neonazis began to
be organized in a political party and organise public demonstrations,
against which many radical and militant demonstration took place,
as the most significant on 1.5.1999. This one ended by a police
repression against anarchists and antifascists, protecting at the same
time the demonstration of the neonazis.

An important event in Czech anarchist history was the IMF and
WB meeting in September 2000 in Prague. Anarchists together with
Trotskyists, radical environmentalists and other organizations formed a
platform Iniciativa proti ekonomickÈ globalizaci (INPEG) and were
intensivly involved in the protests. But the protests, which
culminated on 26.9.in a demonstration of 12,000 people and many
struggles with the police had a lot of mistakes. The platform agreed
in what it criticised but didn't show any alternative. Because of the
one day of protests the work with common people in the Czech
republic was forgotten. For more, the campaign in the media after
the protests strenghtened the repressive climate in the Czech

After the protests the weakened movement was going on in its
activities, the single organization development, but also the
atmosphere of the "activistic ghettos" is strengthened throughout all
movement. Meanwhile, some attempts of self-reflection occurred.
Besides the anti-NATO campaign, the renewal of
anarchofeministic activities (existing already in the 1990s) is very
important. In 2001 an anarchofeminist organisation is formed, the
Feministick· skupina 8. b¯ezna (Femminist Group of 8. March),
whose aim is to bring new topics into the society but also into
anarchist movement.

Literature :

in English:

Tomek, V·clav: From the idea of freedom to Authoritarian
Emancipation. Historic Experience of Czech Anarchism. In Sekelj,
Laslo and Tomek,V·clav (eds): Anarchism. Community and Utopia.
Prague, 1993.

In German:

Tomek, V·clav: Volk! Offne Deine Augen! Anarchism land
Tschechien. Wien, 1995.
Grochtamann, Franz Ulrich: Anarchosyndikalismus,
Bolschewismus und Proletkult in der Tchechoslowakei 1918-1924,
Munchen, 1979.

Translated by Petra Horsk.

This article was published in English for the special issue of A-kontra printed
for the anti-NATO protests. It will be also available in *.pdf as soon as

Source: A-kontra (a-kontra.csaf.cz or www.csaf.cz)

OdchozÌ zpr·va neobsahuje viry.

Zkontrolov·no antivirov?m systÈmem AVG
Verze: 6.0.422 / Virov· b·ze: 237 - datum vyd·nÌ: 21.11.2002