Historie – Otázky – Problémy

Addressee: Civic Forum (OF), Prague


Abstract: In his study Revolution with a human face James Krapfl analyzed resolutions addressed to The Civic Forum and The Public against Violence during November and December 1989 in Czechoslovakia. The article contributes to the understanding of the revolutionary events of December and November 1989 through the prism of people who wrote the letters to the Coordinating center of the Civic Forum in Prague. It captures a segment of public opinion and sheds light on the bottom-up processes that were occurring in the revolutionary days. Three hundred letters were analyzed using thematic analysis, which generated three main themes: democracy, socialism, and nonviolence. The discussion on democracy revolved around calls for free elections and removing antidemocratic mechanisms. Socialism was the second most discussed theme. While the authors rejected socialism in the form in which it had been implemented so far, they were calling for its new, unspecified form, mostly labeled as democratic socialism. The fact that they were proud of 1968 Prague Spring and/or their involvement in it prevented them from condemning the entire 40 years of Communist rule. Contrary to them, those authors who backed their statements in traditions of the First Republic (1918–1938) called for condemning the regime’s whole era. The public was thus not fully against socialism in the first two months following the revolution. The third theme, that of nonviolence, was mentioned as a means to achieving democratic and humanistic society rather than as an end in itself. The themes are interpreted and discussed in the context of that time and compared and contrasted with Krapfl’s analysis.

Key words: Velvet Revolution, democracy, socialism, nonviolence, public demands

Bc. Jan Rousek studuje v Semináři soudobých