Communism in Czechoslovakia, 1948-1960

By Edward Taborsky | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE PARTY'S OPERATIONAL CODE IN THEORY AND PRACTICE

WITHIN the Marxist-Leninist ideological armory high priority is assigned to principles governing the interrelationship between Party organs and individual Party members. Elaborated primarily by Lenin, this operational code seeks to reconcile the precepts of inner democracy with the paramount needs of iron discipline and autocratic leadership. Thus, unwittingly, Lenin built into the chosen Party a Jekyll- Hyde complex with the good Dr. Jekyll steadily losing ground to the evil Mr. Hyde. In due time the high-minded principles of "inner- Party democracy" shared the fate that has befallen so many other tenets of Marxism-Leninism. Their substance had been corroded by the destructive acid of totalitarianism.

The Czechoslovak Communists have been as imitative of the Soviet Party in the adoption of their operational code as in the arrangement of their Party's organizational structure. The time-honored Leninist precepts of "democratic centralism," "free and businesslike discussion," "criticism and self-criticism," and "the observance of Party and state discipline" were enthroned as supreme deities guiding the Party's behavior. The chapter of the KSČ Statutes dealing with the duties of Party members was taken bodily from the Soviet Party rules. When the post-Stalin condemnation of the "cult of the individual" elevated the "Leninist principle of collective leadership" in Soviet Russia, Czechoslovak Communists at their Tenth Party Congress in 1954 promptly inserted a like section in their Party Statutes. Also, the KSČ inherited from the Soviets the sharp contrast between theoretical concepts and their application in actual practice.


INNER-PARTY DEMOCRACY

According to its Statutes, the foundation of the Party's internal life is "inner-Party democracy" and its cornerstone is "democratic centralism." " Lenin's and Stalin's bolshevik principle of democratic centralism," said Gottwald, "offers a reliable guidance on how to

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