BOOKS, pictures, plays and films are, in the eyes of the Communists, ideological weapons. For that reason, as soon as possible, they welded writers, journalists, artists, actors and all other breeds of "artists and intellectuals" into monolithic professional associations where their activity could be most easily supervised.
A writers' conference, for instance, was prevailed upon in March 1949, to unite existing organizations into a single Czechoslovak Writers' Union to which only 220 Czech and 60 Slovak writers were admitted, along with 100 young "candidates." No writer who does not belong to the union can get his work published.
Within their professional associations, the "artists and intellectuals" are circularized, called together for meetings, instructed in the way they should go, and well taken care of so long as they behave. Their association sees to it that their fees are more than enough to live on, arranges vacations for them at well-appointed rest camps, and keeps them up to snuff politically. When the watchdogs of the Communist Party decided in July 1949, that scientific writers, for instance, were "politically naëive" and "isolated from the people," a series of two-week training courses were arranged for them involving "swimming parties" and "singing in the morning" -- all intended to instill in them the proper "People's Democratic" attitude.
Similarly, in December 1950, the Writers' Union brought a group of writers to the industrial center of Ostrava for a week so that they might, by talking to the miners and their wives, to steel workers and foundry men, "learn what their readers want of them, how they have satisfied or failed their exacting new public."