An Interview with Czech Communist Ideologist Josef Skala – Part 2
By: Alexander Gegalchiy – translated by Jafe Arnold
Based out of Prague, Czech Republic, Alexander Gegalchiy is President of the International Russian Award Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting and awarding Russian and Rusyn authors for their contributions to the Transcarpathian heritage of the Russian World. He is also a member of the editorial board of “Western Rus”, a publishing project whose aim is the research and promotion of the concept of the “Russian World” specifically as it applies to Byelorussian identity.
Forward from CSS Research Fellow and Analyst Jafe Arnold:
n the below, second installment in CSS’ new series exploring syncretic-oriented themes among the “new-old” left, particularly in the Czech Republic, we are joined by Alexander Gegalchiy, who in July 2016 posed a series of hot topics to Czech communist ideologist Dr. Josef Skala to provide his original commentary. The resultant monologue contains a number of pertinent undertones, including a critique of the modern “left”, an approach to a socialist agenda from both a “pan-European” and “sovereigntist” perspective, a recognition of the changing superstructural manifestation of proletarian issues to involve formerly “reactionary” formations of the “right,” as well as a hint that so-called progressive notions as free migration and multiculturalism in fact have quite different origins and consequences for anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist motives.
These underlying themes are examined in the specific contexts of Brexit, the contemporary structure of the European Union, the struggle of independent media, and Atlanticist NATO’s aggressive encroachment upon Russia. As such, they are relevant not only to Skala and co.’s experience, but to the paradoxes and challenges facing both the anti-capitalist “left” and “right” in post-modernity. The importance of geopolitics that constantly resurfaces in Skala’s appraisals is evidence of this axial approach as opposed to the “linear” approach so characteristic of the 20th century left in determining “who are our enemies and who are our friends” (Mao). Perhaps equally importantly is this perspective’s expression by a leading representative of a major force with roots in the 20th century socialist bloc which has, in Skala’s appraisal, consistently defied “social-democratization.”
In this contribution, readers will find a unique reflection of anti-Atlanticism in both its “Eurosceptic” and European-civilizational variety, an implicitly Eurasian geopolitical apperception, and a simultaneous commitment to the laocratic essence of “old left” proletarian ideals, all integrated into a syncretic expression whose basic contours and convergences can be traced throughout Karl Popper’s broad “enemies of the open society.” It is this larger context as well as its specific manifestations in contemporary antagonisms which CSS is excited to present and investigate in the words of Dr. Skala, made available thanks to the work of Mr. Gegalchiy.
European civilization in crisis
Today’s European elites resolve only the most banal problems. Serious issues, besides their salaries and pensions, bore them. Trust in democratic institutions is falling as a natural result, which is leading to serious changes on the political map of Europe. Decisions are shifting to the right, to new forms which smack of authoritarianism. Entirely totalitarian manners of governance are on the way – what else can global eavesdropping and surveillance openly used for blackmail can be called? Add to this regime changes and exported wars…The only way forward is opting for that very civilization which these undeserving “elites” exclude from their games. Such a civilization is in the interests of the overwhelming majority of humanity. The situation can only be solved by a block which gives the majority a political voice. And there will be no calm until the order of the majority is realized.
Brexit, the EU, and the Left
Everything is being mixed up. With Brexit, for example, people who usually vote for the “left” voted to leave. Workers are even beginning to support Marine Le Pen! What’s happening with the traditional left – have they ceased to satisfy their European voters? The genuine left is still licking their wounds while those who are trying to pursue independent policies are immediately bombarded with cluster bombs against “Stalinism.” The term “New Left” employed by the American professor James Petras concerns those ladies and gentlemen, including the youth, who are fixated on mere salon reputation. They have forgotten about even the most basic reforms guaranteeing society at least a partially human face. The consumerist “here and now” reigns and systemic changes are relegated to the realm of science fiction. Ideologues’ slogans and leaderships’ causes don’t touch anyone’s heart or ever take flight. “Catastroika” captivated the left who were once the speakers of the working masses. At the same time, fear and anger among the radical right is growing. The situation as a whole is reminiscent of the ’30’s of the last century.
The English referendum demonstrated the increasing contraction between the young and old, the rural and the urban, and the poor and the rich. Those who are richer and more cosmopolitan were for “refugees” and the EU, while the others were for the opposite. Overall, the vote turned out differently than according to plan. Out of panic, fragments of “truth” found their way into “public” mass media such as, for example, the fact that the majority of the native population of the UK and rural counties voted for leaving the EU while immigrants and London voted to remain. This paradise’s financial “banksters” want to keep their parasitic pensions and profits and try to privatize everything else left in the world.
Brexit once again opened discussions on reforming the EU, which many criticize for its sluggishness, red tape, and inability to competently respond to today’s new challenges. But attempting to streamline the Brussels bureaucracy is like a cat chasing its tail. The EU crisis is a dead end for capitalism. Those reforms that have been promised solve basically nothing. Neither Juncker, Tusk, nor Schultz can do the trick. A harsh hangover awaits those Europeans who are hoping for a “revival.” What is needed are not only “other forms of cooperation” but another type of civilization. The current type which is dictating “European integration” to us is bursting at the seams as European bank stocks fall by tens of percent.
Public opinion polls have long since demonstrated Czechs’ low confidence in the EU. This has less to do with the fact that people are not so familiar with the subsidies that the Czech Republic receives than with the fact that the “benefits of European subsidies” are in fact largely a fiction. The dividends which leave the Czech republic for abroad are at least ten times larger than the “subsidies” we get! Public debt is three times larger than the net balance of Eurosubsidies, and this debt was born out of the “Eldorado” of privatizations whose earnings mostly went to our “strategic partners.” Czechs and Slovaks were robbed of the economic sources which earlier had no debt. Brexit is only worsening this situation as the deadline nears when we will become the net payers out of all subsidiary recipients. The “ordinary citizen” will be forced down to his knees in his own country and will feel that it is his skin that is on the line.
Is re-nationalization the answer?
Will communists nationalize everything when they come to power? It is important to not let the scarecrow of “nationalization” blind society towards its own, real “nationalization,” as was the case with the “socialization” of banks which actually took entrepreneurs and voters by the throat. The debt and interest marked on us all are already larger than everything that was nationalized after the war. When the “democratic West,” not the socialist alliance, started the Cold War, Czechoslovakia was transformed into the “forge and workshop” of the bloc which had to resist the force of the West. Given the level of technology back then, this led to an increased demand for a labor force in mines, metallurgy, and mechanical engineering. The achilles heel of today’s economic structure is the reverse situation. Technological progress has given rise not to giving work to the “jobless” but to “job-loss”, i..e. a lack of work for those in need of it and the unemployed. This puzzle consists of a shortage of work, not a deficit of work force. A country that follows capitalism to the horizon and is incapable of offering jobs only works against itself. The problem of nationalization looks much different today than it did in the past. The majority of large enterprises are already part of supra-national verticals. Breaking them down into national components would be against economic and industrial logic. But this does not mean embargoing democracy in the economy, but rather searching for new paths of development. The current state of so-called “stability” is an over-glorified one which is but a government and international monopoly. Any other view runs into problems with the censor.
Independent Media and the witch hunt for Eurosceptics
In the age of social networks, people can easily obtain information that is absolutely contrary to the policies they are fed. Rumor has it that the internet has “educated” citizens to distrust the powered elites. But this distrust has other reasons: the elites themselves have turned into empty casts. The vox populi already perfectly understands this. The internet is breaking the previous absolute monopoly over information, reveals facts which were previously kept locked up, and subverts the foundations of the ruling catechism. It offers the forbidden fruit. What’s more, it costs much less than hard-copy publications. Truly independent media are being born all the more rapidly. In the Czech Republic, such already have more readers then all political newspapers taken together. Authorities have unleashed dozens of “critics” against independent media that are paid for by citizens’ taxes and run an “Un-American Activities Committee” against “Kremlin agents.” This is pure paranoia. Today’s dissidents are not foreign agents, just like the weather doesn’t create the internet’s psychopaths.
NATO vs. Russia: The Absurd Endgame
The Warsaw NATO summit decided to expand the presence of troops in Eastern Europe “as a response to the danger posed by Russia.” Yet they prefer to remain silent on the fact that the historical origins of the Baltic “elites” who applauded this decision were gathered from the American emigration originating in the 1940’s. Today’s Polish right wing is a kind of cross between Russophobes who have lost their minds and American Janissaries. When they foam at the mouth over what happened in 1939, they always forget to add how they planned to march on Moscow with Hitler, if only he hadn’t cheated them.
Dr. Skala speaking at the Czech Peace Movement’s “Yes to Peace! No to NATO!” assembly in Prague Municipal Hall on June 11, 2016.
A military force is gathering on Russian borders which hasn’t been there since the Red Army drove one such back in the Second World War. In Warsaw, NATO decided that this force needs to be even larger. Big Brother is making human shields out of us. The so-called “Russian threat” is just like the “weapons of mass deception” that Blair lied about in Iraq, for which he now faces a tribunal. Only an idiot or a crook could ever dream about “putting Russia on its knees.” Any real statesman would create a coalition with Russia against terroir like Roosevelt and Churchill did against Hitler.
They’ve already made us into accomplices to war crimes twice. Most have already sobered up since the bombing of Belgrade. Afghanistan and Iraq were even more harsher lectures in which blood was used to wash the cruelty of both of these aggressions and their fragrant lies. But back then, this was still just a shame for us. And then began the “humanitarian strikes” against Libya and the direct export of chaos. Europe “didn’t notice” the devilish murder of Gaddafi. Now, we’re waiting for the next migration wave like sheep.
Of course, the recent turmoil in the EU could lead to a revision of relations with Russia or a loosening or lifting of sanctions. Today’s Russia is restoring its sovereignty. This should be no surprise following the devastation which Gorbachev and Yeltsin brought to her. An updating of the balance of power in the world which Russia’s actions are leading to is also in Czech interests. The sanctions that were supposed to “punish” the Russians instead seem to be a form of masochism. The horror movies about “Putin’s schemes” which are arousing shock in the EU are reminiscent of “straitjackets.” Should we also build a European security system against France and Germany!? The same stupidity is present in what they are trying to do against Russia. “Holier than Obama” Europe is showing itself to be a theater of the absurd.