THE COMMUNIST PARTY AS A WEAPON OF REVOLUTION
"THE DICTATORSHIP of the proletariat is in essence the 'dictatorship' of its vanguard, the 'dictatorship' of its Party as the force which guides the proletariat."1 In strict accord with this fundamental maxim of communist totalitarianism, enunciated by Joseph Stalin himself, the Czechoslovak Communists promptly assumed exclusive control and political leadership the moment they vanquished their democratic opponents in the coup d'état of February 1948. Although purged remnants of all but one of the pre-coup non-communist parties have been allowed to vegetate, their precarious existence does not in any way detract from the full-fledged single-party dictatorship set up by Klement Gottwald and his aides. Since, therefore, the Communist Party is the government of the country, with formal government agencies serving only as obedient executors of Party decisions, it is appropriate to begin this study with an analysis of the KSč the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.
How well or how badly is the KSč equipped to rule? How does it actually operate as the instrument of proletarian dictatorship? Is it truly the vanguard of the working class? What is the caliber of the Party command and what is its relationship to the rank and file? How strong are the Party's ideology and moral fiber? How has it weathered the shock to which it has been exposed in the post- Stalin era? What are the major strains and problems plaguing it, and what are its main sources of strength and weakness? These are some of the questions which will be considered in the first chapters. But before this task is begun, a brief review will be made of the origins of the Party and the highlights of its developments prior to February 1948.
"The foundation of the KSč [in 1921] put at the head of the working class a Party which adhered proudly to Marxism-Leninism,____________________