The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

SELECTED ORGANIZATIONS

Club of Committed Non-Party Members (KAN) A loose association of citizens, mainly from the intelligentsia, who gradually formed a political "club" starting in April 1968. As the name of the club implied, all those who took part in KAN were not members of the CPCz. KAN functioned as a discussion group which subsequently could have become the nucleus of a new, non-communist political party. It was banned in September 1968 when the Ministry of Interior turned down the KAN statutes.

Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPC, or KSČ) A Marxist-Leninist political party that ruled Czechoslovakia from 1948 to t989. The hierarchical structure of the party was based on "democratic centralism," a euphemism denoting strict conformity with central directives and rulings at all levels. The lowest organs of the party were the branches in workplaces and localities, directed by district committees that in turn were directed by CPCz regional committees. The highest organs were the Central Committee and the Presidium which it elected. The top official in the party was known as the "first secretary" from 1953 until 1971; in 1971 the title was changed to "general secretary." In principle, the supreme body of the CPCz was the Congress, which usually convened once every four years. The most recent congress before 1968 was the 13th, held from May 31 to June 4, 1966. In between congresses, decision-making rested with the Presidium, the Central Committee, and the district and regional party conferences. In 1968 two new party bodies were established. In response to the existence of the Communist Party of Slovakia and the demand to establish a separate Czech communist party (just as the Czechoslovak state was federalized in 1968), the CPCz CC plenum of November 1968 adopted a decree setting up a "Bureau" to run party work in the Czech Lands. Plans for the full-scale federalization of the party were abandoned at Soviet behest, however. The November 1968 CC plenum also decided to establish an Executive Committee of the CPCz CC Presidium as a body to run the party on a' day-to-day basis. This organ was dissolved just five months later, however, by the CC plenum in April 1969.

Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) An economic organization of communist states, established in Moscow in January 1949. Full members included all the Warsaw Pact countries as well as several communist states in the Third World.

Czech National Council (ČNR) Created in June 1968 in accordance with Constitutional Law No. 77/68 regarding preparations for the federalized restructuring of the ČSSR. The first elections to the ČNR took place on July 10, 1968. After the Czechoslovak federation was formally established, the ČNR became the legislative body of the Czech Socialist Republic.

K-231: An association of citizens who had formerly been imprisoned under Law No. 231/48 ("In Defense of the Republic"). K-231 's main goals were to secure the rehabilitation of all political prisoners and to expedite the work of the Rehabilitation Commission. After a Law on Rehabilitations was passed on June 25, 1968, K-231 members actively contributed to the work of the Rehabilitation Commissions. The club was banned in September 1968 when the Ministry of Interior refused to approve its statutes.

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