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The politics of opposition in a one-party state: The case of Czechoslovakia 1977-1988.

Williams, Rosemary Caroline (1993) The politics of opposition in a one-party state: The case of Czechoslovakia 1977-1988. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

In conditions of normalization, political and economic stagnation and popular apathy, the Czechoslovak opposition placed its emphasis on the ostensibly 'non-oppositional' demand for human rights and legality, coupled with the development of an independent political and cultural life. The first section of this thesis presents a study of the Charter 77 movement, which for the first time united people of disparate political viewpoints behind the non-ideological demand for human rights. This demand, which is seen to be a fundamental challenge to the regime, was coupled with a new concept of politics which emphasized the 'moral foundation of all things political', and called for a moral revival or 'revolution' from below. Chartist thinking also centred on the development of independent civil initiatives and the creation of a 'parallel polis'. It emphasized the individual citizen, and sought to transform the relationship between the citizen and the state. The second section examines the spectrum of viewpoints expressed in the parallel political life in Czechoslovakia, from Marxist to conservative. Despite the reduced emphasis on ideological labels in the late '70's and '80's, basic ideological differences remained, reflecting the traditional plurality of Czechoslovak political life. The third section examines the oppositions' concern with international problems and solutions. The Czechoslovak opposition in the 1980's abandoned the idea of seeking separate national solutions, and instead argued that change in the geo-political status quo in Europe was the necessary pre-requisite for any significant internal improvements. It sought the democratic transfomiation of the Eastern bloc and European reunification. This thesis charts the increasing politicization of the Czechoslovak opposition in the late 1980's, from 'anti-politics' to the enunciation of more directly political goals, and culminating in the 'rehabilitation' of politics in the pre-revolutionary period.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General, East European Studies, Slavic Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/1306

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